As a home brewer there is nothing quite as exciting as the weather warming up and the thought of all the beers you are going to make with the intention of sitting out in the garden, on the beach or the backyard and sipping on something thirst quenching. A pale and light beer.
We are talking lawnmower beers, which is an American phrase I am particularly fond of. The idea is to have a highly quaffable beer that’s perfect for drinking after a day working in the sun. In this recipe, I’m calling it a Blonde Ale, sometimes I call it a Summer Ale and other times even a Pale Ale, I’m not all that interested in categorising.
I have the vision of a beer that is all about being drunk outdoors. I live by the beach so as soon as the sun arrives here in Cornwall I’m thinking about making the most of it a taking a picnic and more importantly a few beers. Drinking beer in this sort of environment calls for something easy drinking and refreshing, not a hop bomb or a dark beer.
A Bit About Blonde Ale
Blonde Ale is technically an American beer style although you could say the beer style is just as common in the UK. The intention is to brew something crisp, refreshing and a beer that is a close reflection of a Lager or Pilsner. Blonde Ales are a little bit tricky to define more than that, it would seem to be an attempt more than anything else to brew a pale beer that will appeal to people who usually drink lager. I like to think of them more than that though I think they are a beer to encapsulate a feeling, mood or even a season.
Blonde Ale Recipe
I come up with the recipe using the hops I had available and those just happened to be nice traditional varieties suited to lighter beers and lagers, Bobek and Perle. I want flavour from them though, more so than a typical Lager will deliver so the aroma additions are bigger and later.
The yeast I chose was Safale S-04, although this was more a case of having that around, the beer would be good with Safale US-05 although slightly less fruity. If you choose a liquid yeast a Kolsch yeast would be a good choice or for more flavour an English strain.
The malt bill is primarily Pilsner malt with a little dab of Maris Otter and Vienna for a maltier backbone than 100% Pilsner malt and a little bit of Carapils to aid head retention.
This Blonde Ale is a combination of everything I try to aim for when brewing a beer. The first thing is trying to keep everything as simple as possible.
What I mean by keeping things simple is to only add what is necessary to achieve what you are aiming for in terms of flavour, colour and body. There is no point having 7 types of malt when 2 or 3 will do, the same with hops.
The second thing about this Blonde Ale is using up what you have. My advice is always use the freshest ingredients. If you have leftover ingredients stored away, try and use them as soon as possible. The last thing you want to do is have to throw away beer ingredients because they go stale or deteriorate.
Summer Blonde Ale ================================================================================ Batch Size: 19.000 L Boil Size: 22.000 L Boil Time: 60.000 min Efficiency: 70% OG: 1.046 FG: 1.011 ABV: 4.5% Bitterness: 31.4 IBUs (Tinseth) Color: 4 SRM (Morey) Fermentables ================================================================================ Name Type Amount Mashed Late Yield Color Pilsner (2 Row) Ger Grain 3.400 kg Yes No 81% 2 L Maris Otter UK Grain 500.000 g Yes No 78% 3 L Cara-Pils/Dextrine Grain 120.000 g Yes No 72% 2 L Total grain: 4.020 kg Hops ================================================================================ Name Alpha Amount Use Time Form IBU Perle 7.0% 30.000 g Boil 60.000 min Leaf 23.8 Saaz (Czech Republic) 4.5% 30.000 g Boil 15.000 min Leaf 7.6 Saaz (Czech Republic) 4.5% 15.000 g Aroma 0.000 s Leaf 0.0 Perle 7.0% 15.000 g Aroma 0.000 s Leaf 0.0 Yeast ================================================================================ Name Type Form Amount Stage Safale S-05 Ale Dry 11.000 mL Primary Mash ================================================================================ Name Type Amount Temp Target Time Conversion Infusion 11.256 L 77.000 C 66.000 C 60.000 min Final Batch Sparge Infusion 15.106 L 82.000 C 75.000 C 15.000 min
The beer turned out pretty clear with a lot of floral notes from the late addition hops. It has an almost tangerine quality and a very gentle maltiness. This beer like most of my beers now was bottled. Although bottling beer can be a chore the beauty is they can be taken out and that as I explained earlier is the purpose of this beer.