Saturday, August 4, 2012

Batch #12 - Liberty Cream Ale (All-grain)

This batch is a copy of Midwest Supplies' Liberty Cream Ale.  Their description is "A perfect Ale for those who enjoy a lighter bodied beer. A refreshing and easy to brew, light Cream Ale. A real crowd pleaser for all tastes..."  I wanted to brew something up that I could easily share with my friends so hopefully this will be the ticket.  In case you are wondering, "What makes it a cream ale?"  This is debatable but most brewers agree that the common denominator is that the grain bill must contain corn.

  • 7 lbs. of Domestic 2-row Pale Malt
  • 2 lbs. of Flaked Corn
  • 8 oz. of Carapils
  • 1 oz. Cascade Hops (60 minutes)
  • 1 oz. Cascade Hops (2 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp. PH 5.2 Mash Stabilizer
  • 1 Whirfloc Tablet for clarification
  • 1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
  • 1 pkg. American Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1056)
  • 5 oz. Corn Sugar
  • 8.5 Gallons of Water
  • 20 lb. Bag of Ice
Process (for all-grain batch sparging):
  1. Clean and sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with your beer.
  2. Prepare your strike water by heating 12 quarts of water or 3 gallons (or approximately 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain) to a temperature of 162-170 degrees (10-18 degrees above target temperature to account for temp loss when added to grains).  Aim for 179 degrees.
  3. Add about 4 quarts of your strike water to the mash tun to heat it up and begin adding your crushed grains and the remaining strike water.  Stir thoroughly to avoid dry pockets (dough balls).
  4. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined check the temperature to ensure it is approximately 152-154 degrees.  If not, adjust by adding hot or cold water. 
  5. Once your mash is at the proper temperature add pH stabilizer, stir and close the mash tun and let steep for 60 minutes.
  6. Prepare your sparge water by heating 4.75 gallons of water (1/2 gallon of water per pound of grain) to a temperature of 170 degrees.  Be careful not to go over this temperature as tannins can be leached.
  7. Optional - check for starch conversion by performing an iodine test or simply taste the mixture.  If conversion has taken place the mixture will taste sweet.
  8. Perform vorlauf by slowly collecting the first runnings of your wort and adding them back to mash tun.    Take care to not let grain bed collapse by draining too quickly or dumping first runnings back in the mash tun with too much force.  Repeat this step 2-5 times until the runnings are free of debris and running relatively clear.
  9. Collect your first runnings into your brew pot by allowing all of the wort in your mash tun to slowly drain out.  Take your time and be careful to not let your grain bed collapse.
  10. After your mash tun has drained close the valve and add all of your sparge water to the tun and stir.  Do not worry about disturbing the grain bed as you are going to create a whole new grain bed for the second runnings.
  11. Repeat Step 9 above (vorlauf) and collect enough wort until you have about 6.5 gallons of beer.
  12. Return brew kettle to burner and bring wort to a vigorous boil.
  13. As soon as the beer begins to boil add 1 oz. of Cascade hops for bittering and boil for 60 minutes.
  14. With 15 minutes left in the boil add Whirfloc tablet and wort chiller (to sanitize).
  15. During last 10 minutes of boil add 1/2 tsp. of yeast nutrient dissolved in small amount of warm water. 
  16. With 2 minutes left in the boil add 1 oz. of Cascade hops.
  17. Terminate boil and chill to fermentation temperature of approximately 70 degrees.
  18. Take a specific gravity reading and record.  Target is 1.042-1.046
  19. Estimated post-boil volume is 5.5 to 6 gallons.  Optional - add water to achieve target SG.
  20. Transfer to fermentation carboy by siphon.  Strain if desired.
  21. Optional - add water to achieve desired volume.
  22. Pitch yeast and aerate well using pure oxygen.
  23. Attach blow-off tube and ferment until complete according to hydrometer readings (at least 2-3 weeks).
  24. Prepare priming sugar by boiling 2 cups of drinking water and add 3.9 oz. of priming sugar.  Be careful not to scorch.  Boil for 5 minutes and add to bottling bucket.  Add wort, stir gently for 1 minute and bottle.
Notes, Results and Lessons Learned:
  • Brew Day - Sunday, August 5, 2012
  • Bottling Day - Sunday, September 2, 2012
  • OG - 1.046
  • FG - 1.014
  • ABV -  4.2% (estimated)
  • Notes - Almost 4 weeks in Primary; no secondary.  Very clear at bottling.
The Verdict:
  • Wow... this one delivered as promised.  Not the super hoppy style I'm used to but a lighter, crisp, clean beer that should appeal to a wide variety of beer drinkers.  Worth repeating...

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