An homage to Robert Toot! A delicious classic cream ale recipe that will bring back memories of Summer times with your Pop, enjoying a drink after a hard day's work.
No one seems to know the origin of the title “cream ale” for this style of beer. It’s quite possible that the term came from marketing efforts to make the beer sound richer than the lagers it was competing with. The goal was always a crisp, light, refreshing easy-drinking beer and never cream-like at all.
The ingredients for this American style beer are US in origin. With 80% or more of US barley malt, up to 20% of the grainbill is usually corn or rice or a combination of both. Rice is more neutral in flavor, thinning the body and flavor of the beer, while corn leaves a bit of flavor behind in the form of a hint of sweetness in the flavor and a bit of corn aroma, depending on the amount used. Before well-modified malt was readily available, it was common to use 6-row barley which has more enzymes for turning the starches from rice and corn to fermentable sugars. Nowadays, regular US 2-row is most commonly used since today’s malt has plenty of those necessary enzymes. Using 6-row will give a more “grainy” flavor to the beer, while the 2-row will be more of the familiar bready malt most are accustomed to.
In the early days of this beer style, Cluster hops were most often used as the only hop addition since cluster hops were grown in America and quite plentiful. Traditionalists will still use them, but other clean US hops or noble hops will make a fine cream ale. For a crisp refreshing clean flavor, a neutral US yeast fermented at 18-20C (64-68F) and then cold stored for 2-4 weeks if possible is ideal. Alternatively, a hybrid yeast (like a yeast specifically designed for cream ales) will give great results.
Because this beer is so light, there is no place for a brewing flaw to hide. Keeping the fermentation in the ideal temperature for your chosen yeast strain and using low mineralized water with little alkalinity is important. With those things covered, this beer is easy to brew and easy to drink!
New to Brewing or just need a refresher? Check out our "New To Brewing Guide" for easy to follow instructions for extract or all grain brewing!
Target OG: 1.052
Target FG: 1.010
Target ABV: 5.5%