First Amendment Blonde Ale

This batch is a slight rework of my favorite blonde ale recipe. I upped the base malt a slight bit, and have switched to just Warrior as a bittering addition. I recently bought a pound of the stuff–my intention is to use it for the bulk of my bittering additions in various recipes going forward. Warrior’s bittering properties are supposed to be fairly gentle (attributed to its low cohumulone values), so I figured I would try it out as an alternative to some other hopping strategies I have used in the past.

The name honors the Women’s Marches that took place across the country on the day I brewed this (I was there with my family at the Los Angeles one)–and of course, it honors all who peacefully and proudly exert their constitutional rights, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

Overall, I was quite pleased with how the brew session went. Other than a high-than-expected efficiency (which is not the worst thing on the planet), I hit my temperatures and brew numbers quite effectively.

First Amendment Blonde Ale

  • 9.5 lbs. 2-row brewer’s malt (California Select, Great Western Malting Co.)
  • 0.5 lb. 20° caramel malt (Briess)
  • 0.4 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc table, 10 minute boil
  • 1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. California Ale yeast (WLP001, White Labs)

Target Parameters

  • 152° mash, 60 minutes
  • 1.051 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.2% abv, 24 IBU, 5 SRM, 5.5 gallons into the fermenter

Procedure

  • Three days in advance, I made a 1.5L starter. It ran on the stir plate for two days, before I split it up and cold-crashed it. I set aside 0.64L for another batch, and the remainder will be used in this batch.
  • I built up my water from RO for this batch, adding all of the minerals to the strike water (3.375 gallons). I used 4.9g gypsum, 0.9g epsom salts, and 4.6g calcium chloride. I also added 2 tsp. of phosphoric acid (10% concentration), to acidify the mash. The final target brewing water profile will be 75 ppm Ca, 100 ppm S04, and 75 ppm Cl. This profile, based on one in the Palmer and Kaminski water book, will hopefully avoid the “flabby” taste I have been getting in my blonde ales brewed with local tap water.
  • I warmed up my mash tun with 3.375 gallons of water at 170°. Once it hit 164°, I added the grains, to hit my target mash temperature of 152° on the dot.
  • I mashed for 60 minutes. I checked the pH, and it was around 5.4.
  • After 60 minutes, I added 1.3 gallons of water at 185°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings.
  • Next, I added 3.5 gallons of water at 185°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • I total, I collected 6.8 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.044–82% efficiency! I’ll aim for a lower boil in order to ensure I don’t overshoot my target gravity.
  • Once I brought the brew to a boil, I added the hop pellets in a bag and boiled for 60 minutes, adding the Whirlfloc and Fermax with 10 minutes to go.
  • After 60 minutes of boiling, I chilled the wort to 70°, transferred to the fermenter while aerating, pitched the yeast, and sealed it up.
  • I brewed this beer on 21 January 2017. Starting gravity was 1.051, precisely on target. I plan to ferment this batch at 66°.
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