This week we put a a little tasting video of American Cream Ale.  I like brewing American Cream ale at least once a year, more if I can.  American Cream Ale is a clean straw colored ale usually brewed with a touch of some adjunct like rice or corn.  Historically, it is one of the lightest ale brew, meant to compete with the Lager brewers of the day before refrigeration was widely available or affordable to all brewers.

As we sip this wonderful brew we hit the high points on brewing American Cream Ale, and what makes a great one:

First and foremost, to brew any light beer requires great yeast management and fermentation practices.  While we usually advocate making a starter I routinely get away with rehydrating two packs of dry US05 from Fermentis and upping the ueast nutrient at the end of the boil.  This has always given me a quick and clean ferment.  I like to pitch the yeast at 62F, let it go for a day, then reset my temp control to 65F and let it go there for another 5 days.  I’ll force the beer up to 68or 70F for the final week to ensure that the yeast dries out the beer plenty.

Second is the hopping.  I love to use Liberty hops in this beer. It has a nice combination of earthy notes but retains a very nobel hop like character in the nose.  I use liberty throughout.  Primarily at 60min, 20 min and just before flame out.  I sulfate addition to help accentuate the hops could be useful if you have very soft water.  However, I find the soft water also help maintain nice malt backbone that can get lost in a super light and super clean ale.  So its a balancing act between the two water profiles.  You just need to brew it and see which you prefer.

Third is the adjuncts.  Don’t be afraid of a little table sugar and or some corn or rice to help dry the beer out.  I like the use of flaked corn because it leaves a flavor mildly reminiscent of American light lager.  I brew this beer for many friends and family that aren’t necessarily craft beer people.  So that flavor profile (along with the pale yellow look) draws them in and makes them feel comfortable with a style of beer they’ve never heard of.

Brewing American Cream Ale is like learning how to make a good white sauce in the kitchen.  You just have to try it and have it in your brewing arsenal.  Brewing a clean American Cream ale if any thing should boost your confidence as a brewer to know that you can brew something that is so simple flawlessly.

Its a great beer to have anytime of year.  Give the style a go and let us know what your experience is.
Brew On!