In Recipe


This is a slightly different version of my previous Blonde Ale. This verion uses all 2-row instead of a 50/50 mix of Pilsner & 2-Row, unmalted wheat instead of malted wheat, Crystal 10 instead of Crystal 20, Hallertau instead of Spalter and instant rice instead of flaked rice. As before, I was going for a nice easy drinking session beer. Nothing offensive but balanced & drinkable.

The biggest change was the use of 100% 2-Row. No real reason just wanted to try brewing the beer this way. Although it was still a very good beer I think it was missing the malt complexity that splitting the base malt between 2-Row & Pilsner malt. Went with Crystal 10 instead of 20 mainly for color reasons, I wanted to get it a little lighter in color. I couldn't really taste the difference, I would probably have to do a side by side comparison.

I love unmalted wheat because I think it gives more of a wheat flavor (or what people expect to be a wheat flavor). Since the starches gelatinize at a relatively low temperature (130-150 degrees Fahrenheit)it can be directly added to the mash without any pre-cooking. Even if the mash temp is below 150 (the upper end of the gelatinization temperature range for wheat) I wouldn't be worried about losing some conversion due to some un-gelatinized starches in the wheat with it making up only about 10% of the grist.

I used instant rice because I didn't have flaked rice on hand. Instant rice is pre-gelatinized so you can add it directly to the mash. There's plenty of enzymes in the 2-Row to confert the rice and unmalted wheat. I used instant brown rice for the record because all the instant white rice I found at the supermarket was enriched. I didn't notice any different flavor contributions from the brown rice (instant) compared to the white rice (flaked). This doesn't surprise me since rice in general adds little in terms of flavor.

I used Hallertau instead of Spalter just to change it up. Both are German Noble hops and in a beer where the hops play a supporting role as this one, you can really use any noble or noble-type hop without much perceived difference.

Blonde Ale (BJCP Description)
(6 Gallons, ~72% Eff, Tinseth)

OG: 1.044
FG: 1.011
IBU: 20.6
ABV: 4.4%
SRM: 4.1

7 lbs - Domestic 2-Row
1 lb - Unmalted Wheat
1 lb - Crystal 10
1 lb - Instant Rice

1.5 oz German Hallertau 3.9% @60 Min
.5 oz German Hallertau 3.9% @ 10 min

Yeast: US-05

Mashed 60 min @ 154, 1.25 qt/lb

Tasting Notes:
Look - Light straw color, haze, 1 finger head that sticks around, nice lacing
Aroma - Grainy malt, little hop aroma/flavor
Mouthfeel - Medium bodied
Taste - Incredibly clean tasting, grainy malts, slight noble hop flavor, creaminess from the unmalted wheat, very easy drinking.

Overall this beer hit it's mark. As compared to the previous version, it lacks some of the malt complexity from the Pilzner malt, but has a really nice creaminess from the unmalted wheat. The only problem is the beer is very hazy from the unmalted wheat haha. I guess there's some trade-off but the haze is fine with me.

I entered this into the 15th annual B.E.E.R. brew-off and it won the silver in the Light Hybrid category. Woo hoo. As far as the comments go from the judges, they basically detected a minor flaw and said it is the only thing keeping this beer from scoring in the 40s.

There was a slight acetic acid character they noticed. I hadn't noticed this before I bottled the beer for competition, so I'm inclined to blame it on sanitation post-fermentation, but the beer was also getting a little long in the tooth so it could have always been present but just not yet noticeable. Anyway, the reason I enjoy competitions (enjoy may not be the right word haha) is because they are very humbling. As good as you think you're sanitation/process/recipe/etc. is, it can always improve.

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