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Monday, July 11, 2016

July Brew of the Month: Pre-"Joe"-hibition Cream Ale

By Joe Potter

The anniversary of our declaration of independence, July is a great month to celebrate our nation’s history, and the summer heat requires a refreshing, cool homebrew while doing so. Therefore, July’s Brew of the Month is a Pre-Prohibition Cream Ale: A light and crushable historical style higher in alcohol and slightly hoppier than modern versions. This brew uses local malt from Pilot Malt House, Michigan honey and an interesting lemon-lime hop from New Zealand. The honey drives attenuation, giving the beer a thirst-quenching quality perfect for a sunny Michigan summer.

In cream ales, the fermentables can include up to 20% adjuncts (corn is traditional) and up to 20% brewing sugars added during the boil. Wanting to avoid an overt corniness, I substituted half of the flaked maize for flaked rice, using a pound of each. I included a pound of Pilot 6-Row to help enzymatically convert the adjunct sugars. I wanted this beer to be highly attenuated, so I mashed for 90 minutes at 149°F. Additionally, I added 0.6 pounds of honey during the boil to boost the alcohol and dry out the beer. Style guidelines allow for any hop variety to be used, and I was intrigued by the citrusy and lemon-lime characteristics of the New Zealand Motueka hop. I used this single hop for all my additions, including dry-hopping, a common practice for Pre-Prohibition beers.

Desiring as clean a beer as possible, I fermented with White Labs San Diego Super Yeast (WLP090) and fermented it between 61-65°F. This strain is very similar to WLP001 California Ale in terms of flavor profile but is quicker, prefers a lower temperature (65-68°F) and can be more attenuative. If you are unable to ferment that cool, try WLP001 or Safeale US-05. My starting gravity was 1.049 and I finished out at 1.005, resulting in an apparent attenuation of 89% and a 5.78% ABV beer. This beer received a lot of praise from my friends and coworkers and scored a half point shy of a Gold Medal at the 2016 Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition.

All Grain Recipe ($29.58)

    • 6 lbs Castle Belgian Pilsner Malt
    • 1 lb Pilot 6-Row
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Rice
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Maize
    • 0.6 lbs Michigan Honey (available at Siciliano’s)

Partial Mash Recipe ($31.09)

    • 1 lb Pilot 6-Row
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Rice
    • 1 lb Briess Flaked Maize
    • 4.5 lbs Briess Pilsen Light LME
    • 0.6 lbs Michigan Honey (available at Siciliano’s)

Hops & Yeast

    • 0.25 oz Motueka @ 60 min
    • 0.50 oz Motueka @ 30 min
    • 0.25 oz Motueka @ 0 min
    • 1.00 oz Motueka - Dry Hopping
    • White Labs San Diego Super WLP090
The staff at Siciliano's is always eager to answer your homebrewing questions. Stop by for help developing custom-made recipes like this one!

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