This is another in a series of articles about homebrewing in the DC area by Carl Weaver of RealHomebrew.com. Want to learn about making your own beer? Keep an eye out for Friday homebrew features.
I wrote about cream ale before. It is a good beer for the coming summer, light and refreshing, not too bitter, and easy-drinking – a perfect companion to while away the time with as you enjoy the evening whir of insects or traffic, whichever is more pervasive in your neighborhood.
The American Homebrewers Association recently had what they call $12 Cream Ale as a homebrew recipe of the week. I just about howled at the moon, I was so excited. $12 for a whole batch of beer? Sign me up! It sounded almost too good to be true. I looked at the recipe, and I am sure it would produce a fine brew, but the only way this is a $12 recipe is if you get half the stuff for free. The grain alone, 11 pounds of it, will cost nearly $2 per pound at Northern Brewer. Even if you buy a giant sack of it at 50 Pound Sack, it is slightly more than $1 per pound. That’s almost $12 right there.
Maybe if you are buying in bulk at wholesale prices, you can get down to almost $12. I priced it at my local-ish homebrew store (yes, they ship too, and have great prices, as does Derek at My Local Homebrew Shop) and it is a little more than $30 before tax. Northern Brewer could get me everything for more than $40. Even if I malted my own regular supermarket barley, that is $1 per pound at the cheapest. No way this whole brew is $12.
In short, unless you rob someone, I have no idea how you can make this homebrew recipe for $12. All the same, it looks like a good recipe. Nothing complicated, just good, honest beer. I bet it tastes great. It won an award, so I am guessing the judges know what they are talking about. Honestly, I can’t wait to try this.
Here is the recipe, copied from the AHA website. Do you know how to make this for the amount in the title? Please share the secret if you do.
11.0 lb (4.99 kg) Briess two-row malt
0.75 oz (21 g) Willamette pellet hops, 4.7% a.a. (60 min)
0.5 oz (14 g) Willamette pellet hops, 4.7% a.a. (30 min)
0.25 oz (7 g) Willamette pellet hops, 4.7% a.a. (0 min)
White Labs WLP051 California Ale V yeast
2.6 volumes forced CO2 to carbonate
Mash grains at 154° F (68° C) for 60 minutes. Mash out at 168° F (76° C) for 10 minutes.
I recommend a 60-minute boil, following the hop schedule. If you are not force-carbonating the brew, use about 5 ounces of priming sugar at bottling time.
As my friend Reggie would say, “Easy peasy lemon squeezy.” I am not sure exactly what that refers to, but this is not a complicated recipe. Sometimes the simple ones produce the best results, though. Let me know what you think when you try this.
This post first appeared at RealHomebrew.com.