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Your opinion on brewing the best blonde ale

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by atomeyes, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. I'm curious as to what some of you would consider your ultimate blonde ale recipe.
    do you go for simplicity or you try to add a few "touches" here and there to give the flavour a twist.

    Do you stick to using 2-row on its own? do you toss in some malted wheat for mouthfeel?
    How about the addition of Munich malt, CaraHell or another crystal malt?
  2. randal

    randal Savant (335) Texas Apr 21, 2004

    [raises hand] Ooh! Ooh!

    Tweak the malt bill all you like but ferment it with a Scottish Ale yeast. I use Wyeast 1728 and moderate hopping with Fuggle and finish with Tettnanger.
  3. Funny you should bring this up...

    I made a big yeast starter for one of my recent brews that was just 1 gal extra light DME to 1.040 and 1 oz of cascades boiled for 10 min and pitched a smack pack of WY1469. I cold crashed it for the pitch and bottled the rest with no priming sugar (only fermented for 5 days total). I don't know what posessed me to bottle it, but it conditioned up just right and after three weeks on the shelf it has cleaned up into a REMARKABLY awsome Blonde haha! Bready, yeasty with some nice subtle fruitiness, clean, and a great spicy and grapefruity background hop presence.

    So I guess my answer is: Go light on malt and think fruity with the yeast and hop parings. Cascade, 2-row, and WY1469 seem to do the trick.
  4. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (305) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    My blonde is relatively simple. I make it constantly since it is my gals favorite plus it is a good beer. I like to use a hop like Willamette since at low levels it is both slightly citrus and also a little spicy. Hits both without being over bracing like a C-hop. It uses a high quality base malt however. Since to me, that is they key to blonde ales. Simple but highly flavorful without being sweet or overly malty and able to drink a few without fatigue.

    Something like this:

    10 lbs Best Malz Pilsner or some other high quality malt.
    .50 CaraPils.
    60 mins- Willamette to 15 IBU
    0 min- .50 Willamette
    Mash 150F
    I prefer a clean yeast like 1056 or US-05.

    Other malts I've used with success. Golden Promise, Rahr Pale Ale, Fawcett Optic and also a Floor Malted MO. They all bring a different flavor but are nice as well.
  5. This one is a regular in our lineup

    for 6 gallons

    13 lbs pilsen malt
    1 lb caravienne
    .125 lbs special B
    1 lb table sugar
    .83 oz centennial 60 min
    .83 oz styrian goldings 15 min
    .83 oz styrian goldings 1 min

    Wyeast 1214 or wlp 510

    2 drops brett brux each bottle before the cap goes on

    ( orval clone )
  6. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (480) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    Bless you! I think I've just found a reason to try to brew this style.
  7. CASK1

    CASK1 Savant (465) Florida Jan 7, 2010 Verified

    When I hear Blond Ale, I think BELGIAN blonde ale....
  8. so why caravienne and not carapils? won't it turn it into a darker blonde with less "blonde" flavour?
  9. Biffster

    Biffster Savant (375) Michigan Mar 29, 2004

    Straight up - 90% pilsener, 10% wheat. Giant California Ale starter. Soft Water. Williamette hops - bittering mostly and a touch at 20 minutes.
  10. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    So does ventura78 apparently.

    I say a good blonde should be mostly or all base malt (I prefer Franco-Belges pilsner) and just the right touch on the finishing hops (which I believe can be just about anything IMO). I am intrigued by the Scot yeast mentioned above, but have a few months before thinking about blondes again.
  11. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Savant (255) Florida Apr 30, 2010

    90% 2-row
    10% Munich
    English ale yeast
    Hop-bursted to 25ish IBU. My favorite uses Citra.
  12. Ilanko

    Ilanko Savant (255) New York Aug 3, 2012

    What's brett brux ?
  13. It's a friends recipe for Orval that we've been making for a while. I guess we really shouldn't call it a blond. We just wanted to give it another name when we entered it into a recent homebrew competition.
  14. again, curious as to why Munich's the grain of choice.
  15. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (305) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    You just dropper the brett into without priming sugar I assume?
  16. Nope, it's in addition to the sugar.
  17. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (305) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    Do you have carb issues? Do you bottle into thicker bottles or does it not over carb?
  18. we've brewed 132 gallons of this so far and never had a problem. We use regular bottles. No carbonation issues.
  19. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    What character are you getting from the brett added at bottling? Just curious, as I have heard of this before...but wondering what your experience is.

    I want to play more with brett (see my latest thread), and think a 100% brett blonde could also be awesome.
  20. A crisp, dry Brett funk, it takes a while to fully develop. The first time we brewed it, it had that classic Orval mouthfeel.
  21. i have a bottled brett blonde. its quite excellent but it doesn't have the body or depth that my brett saison has (that one can win awards).

    just play away. have your gravity down low, then pitch to secondary.
  22. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Savant (255) Florida Apr 30, 2010

    IMO, it adds a bit of sweet, toasty character that I like in beers like this.
  23. Naugled

    Naugled Advocate (585) New York Sep 25, 2007 Verified

    I like my blonds a little spicy, hop forward, with medium mouth feel. I always make something like a blond as a 2 or 3 gal starter to build up a yeast cake. I made one recently that I really enjoyed, 95% pils, 5% wheat, 5% carapils (this one had tremendous head), used a wit yeast and a mix of Amarillo and Saaz for both bitter and flavor. OG 1.046 and FG 1.010 and 33 IBUs
  24. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Amarillo and Saaz played nice together...good to know. This sounds like my kind of blonde.
  25. mrelizabeth

    mrelizabeth Initiate (0) California Jan 22, 2012

    I like to throw a little corn in my blonde ale.
  26. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Sounds like a cream ale to me.
  27. mrelizabeth

    mrelizabeth Initiate (0) California Jan 22, 2012

    Depends on your definition of cream ale. For a true cream ale, you'd probably go with a lager yeast, or even a blend of two batches- an ale and a lager.

    So I throw a tiny bit of corn into my blonde ale recipe, but keep the ale yeast. Hop it up a bit and you end up with a nice California Cream Blonde Ale.
  28. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    OK, we all get to brew and call it what we want...so I am not trying to be the style police, really :)
    I have yet to find a cream ale I like, so the notion that they can be brewed with ale or lager yeast is new news to me...but I have never reserched long enough. My understanding of blonde ales on the other hand is a dry ale that should be almost all base malt with maybe a touch of carmel for color and body, and a good hop brightness that isn't overpowering. Corn just seems out of place to me, I guess.
  29. mrelizabeth

    mrelizabeth Initiate (0) California Jan 22, 2012

    Being from Wisconsin, I probably got used to eating corn every day as a kid. :) I see what you are saying about a blonde being crisp, and corn can dull that pop you get from really nice dry ales.

    Check out New Glarus Spotted Cow for a solid Cream Ale, brewed with a nice and mild Belgian yeast. Really great, really light, retains a crisp, dry flavor with just a touch of banana from the yeast. And you get a pinch of corn there, too.

    Living on the West Coast now, almost every blonde becomes an APA due to hop presence. Unless a brewery decides to go "traditional" and wants to brew a kolsch.
  30. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    I am fully aware of Spotted Cow, as my wife is from northwestern Wisconsin...and it is a good cream ale. I understand the point of blondes getting into the pale ale territory as well.