My lighter-colored beers lately have been primarily lagers, but it is nice to switch this up from time to time. So, I decided to create an experimental ale recipe that hit the target of being sessionable, flavorful (with some malt character and a bit of hop character too), and light in color. It doesn’t really conform to any style, although I guess you could make an argument that it’s an American(ish) blonde ale. No matter what you call it, it’s pretty darned good! I also have the memory of sharing a few glasses of this with a good friend who was going through a pretty rough spot in life…although it sounds cheesy (and perhaps it is), so much of brewing isn’t just the end product, but the memories that go with each glass and the people with whom it is shared.
Easy Days Ale
- 4 lb. Finest Maris Otter Malt (Crisp)
- 4 lb. 2-row Xtra Pale Malt (Viking)
- 1.5 lb. white wheat malt (Briess)
- 11 oz. caramel 10L malt (Briess)
- 4 oz. Melanoidin malt (Weyermann)
- 4 oz. rice hulls
- 0.25 oz. Magnum hop pellets (10.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
- 0.8 oz. Simcoe hop pellets (12.7% alpha), 15 minute whirlpool
- 1 pkg. Safale American ale yeast (US-05)
- 1.047 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.7% abv, 18 IBU, 6 SRM
- Claremont tap water, treated with Campden tablet to remove chlorine
- Full volume infusion mash at 154°, 60 minutes
- I mashed in with 7.25 gallons of water at 160°, to target 154° for 60 minutes, with recirculation. I added 7.5 mL of 88% lactic acid, to reduce the mash pH. After 60 minutes, I raised the mash to 168° for 10 minutes, before removing the grains.
- In total, I collected 6.4 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.041, for 67% mash efficiency.
- I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After a 60 minute boil, I turned off the heat and added the whirlpool hops for a 15 minute whirlpool.
- After the whirlpool, I chilled the wort down to ~75°, before putting it into the fermentation chamber and chilling it the rest of the way to 68°.
- I brewed the beer on 16 April 2021, and it had a starting gravity of 1.048.
- I fermented at 68° until 23 April 2021, when I moved the beer to ambient temperatures.
- I kegged the beer on 6 May 2021, and noted a final gravity of 1.015. This is a bit higher than expected, working out to 4.3% abv.
- Medium gold with slight haze, moderately persistent white head
- Lightly malty; light bread dough character, with a light hint of caramel. No hop aroma.
- Moderate doughy, light malty character; relatively low, clean bitterness; a light tartness from the wheat that is pretty pleasant.
- Moderately light body; smooth finish; moderate carbonation.
- Would I brew this again?
- This is a very solid session ale; it’s nothing spectacular, but I’m OK with that. I think it would benefit from a little more hop character; the bitterness is fine, but I think a little dry hop charge or a hop stand would help to liven this up a bit. It’s very drinkable, and makes a nice go-to on the tap selection. The malt character is pretty nice; it’s a little more interesting than the usual “2 row+crystal” malt zone that many ales of this type occupy.