Blonde Ale / Premium Lager

Blonde Ale

 

Testimonials

"After just one day in the keg this beer tasted great! I'm really happy with how this batch turned out. The beer is slightly grainy, slightly sweet, and has lots of nice, fresh, almost minty bitterness." - Geosmashing

 

Introduction

This Blonde Ale / Premium Lager is one of our house favourites, one that we've brewed dozens of times over many years. It's a big hit with everyone who tries it as there's enough malt and hop flavour to keep the beer snobs happy (we don't use any flaked corn or rice), but it's still light enough to not scare away the Bud / Miller / Coors drinkers. It's a beer that just about anyone who likes beer can enjoy. The choice of German malt and hops makes this a German style beer.

It's a very simple recipe with one type of malt and one type of hop. Far too many brewers tend to over-complicate recipes. Sometimes simpler is better! The trick is choosing good quality fresh ingredients such as the German Weyermann Pilsner Malt (1.5-2.1L) and German Hallertau noble hops that we use here, and pitching enough yeast. Process is also very important, as is equipment that can actually implement that process.

We offer two versions of beer here where the only difference is the choice of yeast: Ale or Lager. The resulting beers are similar, but brewing with a lager yeast provides a cleaner tasting beer with a touch less fruitiness and yeast derived character. Patience is required however as a lager with its lower fermentation temperature means it can take longer to ferment if you do not pitch adequate amounts of yeast (make sure to follow our suggested pitch rates), and also requires a longer lagering (held near freezing) period after fermentation to allow the beer to mellow and smooth out.

Most people will find the Blonde Ale therefore easier to brew as it does not require special fermentation equipment to maintain a lower temperature and the whole process takes less time. Curious about the differences? Try a split batch and brew both at the same time, using our two recommended yeasts.

Looking for a cleaner / dryer beer? Consider our Cream Ale / Standard Lager recipe.

Brew up a batch and let us know how you like it!

 

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Blonde Ale / Premium Lager

Size: 12 US gallons (post-boil @ 68F)
Mash Efficiency: 95%
Attenuation: 80%
Calories: 160 kcal per 12 fl oz
Original Gravity:
1.048 (style range: 1.046 - 1.056)
Terminal Gravity: 1.010 (style range: 1.008 - 1.012)
Colour: 3.1 SRM (style range: 2 - 6)
Alcohol: 5.1% ABV (style range: 4.6% - 6%)
Bitterness: 19 IBU (style range: 15 - 25)

Mash:
18 lb German Pilsner Malt (1.5-2.1L) (100%)

Boil:
2.7 oz German Hallertau Hops (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min [19 IBU]
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min

Blonde Ale Yeast:
36g Fermentis Safale US-05 dry yeast* (or an appropriate starter)

Premium Lager Yeast:
72g Fermentis Saflager W-34/70 dry yeast** (or an appropriate starter)

*If you prefer to use liquid yeast, Wyeast 1056 American Ale or White Labs WLP001 California Ale are excellent choices as they are the same clean fermenting Chico strain as US-05. You'll need to use 4 packs/vials or make an appropriate starter.

**If you prefer to use liquid yeast, Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager or White Labs WLP830 German Lager are said to be the equivalent Weihenstephan sourced strains. You'll need to use 8 packs/vials or make an appropriate starter.

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Notes / Process

  • Add 500mg potassium metabisulphite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine / chloramine (if required).
  • Water treated with brewing salts to our Balanced flavour profile: Ca=50, Mg=10, Na=16, Cl=70, SO4=70. (Hit minimums on Ca and Mg, keep the Cl:SO4 ratio low and equal. Do not favour flavour / maltiness or bitterness / dryness. For balanced beers.). For complete details on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustment guide.
  • 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness.
  • Single infusion mash at 149F for 120-180 mins. (A very long low temperature mash helps dry out the beer).
  • Raise to 168F mashout temperature and hold for 10 mins.
  • ~90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water (measured at mash temperature). Collect 14.9 gallons.
  • Boil for 90 minutes, adding Whirlfloc and hops per schedule. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
  • Cool the wort quickly to 68F if making the Blonde Ale or 50F if making the Premium Lager (we use a one-pass convoluted counterflow chiller to quickly lock in hop flavour and aroma) and transfer to fermenter.
  • Aerate well. Pure oxygen from a tank may be used at a rate of 1 litre per minute for 60 seconds per 5 gallons if making the Blonde Ale or 1 litre per minute for 120 seconds per 5 gallons if making the Premium Lager.
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 68F if making the Blonde Ale or 50F if making the Premium Lager (wort temperature). We use modified stainless fermenting buckets in wine fridges.
  • Ferment until approximately 5 points from final gravity and then raise the temperature to 70-72F until finished. In our case we simply turn off the fermenting fridges and allow the beer to naturally rise to room temperature. Assume fermentation is done if the gravity does not change over ~3 days.
  • Rack to a brite tank (we use 5 gallon glass carboys) that has been purged with CO2 to avoid oxygen pickup, add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and allow to clear for 2-3 days.
  • Package as you would normally. We rack to kegs that have first been purged with CO2. We chill the kegs to near freezing while carbonating at the same time in a 6-keg conditioning fridge. After ~1-2 weeks at serving pressure the kegs will be carbonated and ready to serve. In a hurry? Feel free to raise the CO2 pressure temporarily to 30-40 PSI to carbonate fast over a 24 period, and then turn back down to serving pressure. 
  • Carbonate this beer to around 2.5 volumes of CO2.
  • The Blonde Ale will improve greatly if conditioned just above freezing for 4 weeks before serving (6-8 weeks is recommended for the Premium Lager). Avoid keeping the beer unrefrigerated for extended periods. It will remain clean and crisp for months if kept near freezing.

For detailed brewing instructions, see our Brew Day Step by Step guide.

Enjoy!

Questions? Visit our Blonde Ale / Premium Lager forum thread

 

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Pictures / Videos

Interested in seeing what we're brewing right now? Follow us on Instagram for pictures and videos of our brewing activities as they happen.

Blonde Ale

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Well that was faster than I expected! Rummaging through the freezer I found some old Saflager W-34/70 dry yeast. It’s the most popular lager strain in the world, originally from Weihenstephan in Germany. Equivalent liquid versions are WLP830 and WY2124. Makes a great lager/Pilsner and is one of the few dry yeasts I bother using. Mine was “best before” Sept 2013! Not a problem, assume most of it is dead and just make a starter. Within a few hours of pitching it was at high krausen and now ~18 hours later it’s pretty much done! Time to throw it in the fridge to let it settle out. Brew day in a day or two. What are starters and why/how to make them? See the guide on my website! (Link in bio) . Step by step guide to building and using your own brewery, with tons of recipes! 👉 TheElectricBrewery.com 👈

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Sparge time! After a long 3 hour step mash (to maximize fermentability) the wort going into the boil kettle is crystal clear. Minimizing grain bits in the boil helps keep astringency as low as possible. I’ll try and remember to shoot a video of the new Hop Stopper 2.0 in action after the boil too. 🍻 . ‪TheElectricBrewery.com ... A step by step guide to building your own brewery‬ . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrewingonly #homebrew #homebrewery #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #controlpanel #brewday #germanlager #germanbeer

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Hop Stopper 2.0 in action! The best hop filter money can buy: Every last drop of 12 gallons filtered in 15 minutes! This is a light tasting German lager that only has a couple of ounces of hops in the boil. Believe it or not, but less hops can actually be harder to filter as the hot break and other fine particulates that settle out can form a thin layer on whatever filter you're using which in turn blocks flow. No concerns with the Hop Stopper 2.0! Takes 30 seconds to spray clean. Available exclusively at TheElectricBrewery.com. Works on gas and electric, any kettle or keggle, 2 sizes available. See: http://theelectricbrewery.com/hop-stopper . ‪TheElectricBrewery.com ... A step by step guide to building your own brewery‬ . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrewingonly #homebrew #homebrewery #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #controlpanel #brewday #germanlager #germanbeer #hopstopper

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Brew day! Just mashed in and added mash salts and a few ml of 88% lactic acid to bring the pH into range. My water’s very soft and not much salts are added to this German Lager for flavour so some extra help from acids is required. Check out the ‘Water Adjustment’ article on my website for a step by step on why and how: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/water-adjustment . TheElectricBrewery.com ... A step by step guide to building your own brewery . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrew #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #brewyourown #brewday #controlpanel #brewingwater #brewingsalts #wateradjustment

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German Lager tucked away in the fermenting fridges. One thing I’ve never mentioned is that because these fridges (like most) do not have on/off switches, I made my own using a commercial grade switch and outlet that’s tucked away under the table. Basically a heavy duty extension cord with switch. This way I don’t have to pull the fridges out to turn them off (they’re only on when fermenting). Complete details on the fridges and fermenters I use in the ‘Ferment and Package’ article on my website: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/ferment-and-package . TheElectricBrewery.com ... A step by step guide to building your own brewery . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrew #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #brewyourown #brewday #controlpanel #germanlager #lager

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While the family’s decorating I’m still thinking beer-y thoughts... time to check on that German Lager in the basement brewery. WY2007 seems like a slow fermenter. Only down 14 points or so since I pitched 6 days ago. Most other lager yeasts I’ve used would have almost chewed through this 1.046 beer by now. Pitched ~700B cells into 11 gallons at 50F. Patience is always the name of the game with lagers of course. They take time. There’ll still be a good month of cold conditioning near freezing once fermentation is done. 🍻 . TheElectricBrewery.com ... A step by step guide to building your own brewery . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrew #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #brewyourown #germanlager #lager #fermentation

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It's a common misconception that lagers will always take a lot longer to ferment than ales given the colder temperatures. Pitch enough healthy yeast and you can be done fast. This 5% ABV American lager fermented at 50F has dropped to within 2-3 points of final gravity in slightly under 6 days since pitching. (My hydrometer reads 4 points high). Time for a few days of D-rest at 60F followed by clarifying, kegging, and the step that takes the longest: Lagering near freezing for a good month or more to develop that clean/crisp flavour that lagers like this are known for. . TheElectricBrewery.com ... A step by step guide to building your own brewery . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrew #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #brewday #americanlager #yeast

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Crisp and refreshing German Lager, after a couple of months of cold conditioning near freezing. 100% Weyermann pils malt to 5.2% ABV, 60 min Hallertau hops to 20 IBU, long 3 hour 149F mash to dry it out, balanced water profile (Ca=50, Mg=10, Na=16, Cl/SO4=70), huge starter of WY2007 Pilsen lager yeast, fermented at 50F. Perfect summer beer!🍻 . ‪TheElectricBrewery.com ... A step by step guide to building your own brewery‬ . #theelectricbrewery #electricbrewery #electricbrewing #homebrewing #homebrewingonly #homebrew #homebrewery #brewing #craftbeer #beer #dohomebrew #homebrewer #nanobrewery #picobrewery #pilotbrewery #homebrewporn #buildingabrewery #brewery #basementbrewery #brewyourown #beerrecipes #germanlager #lager

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