In Recipe

BLONDE ALE - VERSION 2

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.

Notes:
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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