Cream Ale - Base Malt Question

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by magoo0903, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. magoo0903

    magoo0903 Initiate (87) Nov 26, 2008 North Carolina

    Hi everybody

    A recipe has a simple grain bill - it mainly calls out for Pale Malt and Pilsen Malt plus some corn flaked. The quantity of pale malt and pilsen is equal.

    Why would the recipe have both? Is it only for the color?

    I only have pilsen now - will there be a huge difference if I double the pilsen quantity and not use any pale malt?

    Thanks

    Matt
     
  2. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (805) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    IMO, your flavor/quality would be better that way.
     
  3. magoo0903

    magoo0903 Initiate (87) Nov 26, 2008 North Carolina

    Better if I only use Pilsen? What make you say that? Thx
     
  4. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (805) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I like the flavor contribution that Pils malt will give to a beer like this versus what Pale malt will. Personal preference, really.
     
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  5. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (241) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Ya id also argue that pils and flaked corn is gonna have a lighter color for a cream ale which I personally look for.
     
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  6. warchez

    warchez Aspirant (201) Oct 19, 2004 Massachusetts

    I use the 50/50 concept in my cream ale. To be clear, I use pale malt that is 1.5L in color. Not a Pale Ale malt that can range from 3-4L. This type of pale malt contributes little in the way of color (and flavor for that matter). I like it because it dilutes out the obvious Pils malt flavor that 100% Pils will give. I don't want the malt base to taste like my 100% Pils malt Pilsner tastes like.
    Its a personal preference. I recommend giving it a try either way and then if you like it try the other way and compare.
     
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  7. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Disciple (365) May 2, 2006 Utah

    Whatever difference there might be, it will be subtle. If you have just pils malt, then go for it. Cheers!
     
  8. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (9,916) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania

    I agree with everything that's been said. I prefer Pils but understand using a second malt to "thin" it - I'd suggest something like Briess' 2-Row brewers malt. And to be honest, based on what's on the market today, cream ale doesn't really display Pilsner malt so you'd be more on track. However, no one even knows where cream ale came from so you can just do what you want so I say go ahead and use 100% Pils.
     
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  9. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (241) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

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  10. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (711) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    6 Row would probably be more traditional than either.
     
  11. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (805) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    More traditional? Sure. The best flavor-wise? Not for me.
     
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  12. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (241) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Personally, fuck 6 row.
     
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  13. magoo0903

    magoo0903 Initiate (87) Nov 26, 2008 North Carolina

    Thanks guys - as usual I guess; brew and improve!
     
  14. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (711) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    If you can find it :grin:
     
  15. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,451) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Whaaa? I think I see 6-row on every online HBS site I buy from.
     
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  16. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (711) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Go for it!
     
  17. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,377) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    6-row? I don't mind it in a CAP. conditioned with a little water so the husks stay in tact, and mashed at 5.2-5.3 pH.

    I toured SN Mills River early in the Summer. The guide said they were using 6-row from aa local farm. The farmer had old heritage varieties of 6-row, and they were said to taste very nice. That was not entirely a surprise.
     
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  18. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (508) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Well, some mice got into my malt storage last week. They ignored the generic American 2 row but ruined a few pounds of German pils malt, even though the pils was in a plastic sack with a liner whereas the 2 row was in thin paper sacks. Maybe the pils tastes better...
     
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  19. Bryan12345

    Bryan12345 Devotee (489) Mar 17, 2016 Texas

    50/50 sounds good to me. A little complexity in an otherwise straightforward beer. FWIW :slight_smile:
     
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  20. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    In my 2 row vs 6 row cream ale experiment I thought I noticed a slightly darker color and husky note to 6 row, but I couldn’t consistently pick it out.

    The reason to use pils would be because you want its flavor. But a hypothesis from my comparison experiment is that as you add higher percentages of adjunct, the distinctive qualities of the base malt blur (a no brainer right). For example, I may have just surpassed the threshold with 23% corn so that I really could not distinguish 6 row from 2 row. By extension ill hypothesize that at some level of adjunct i wouldn’t be able to detect the finer characteristics of pils malt.
     
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  21. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (328) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    My Cream Ale recipe has evolved quite a bit over the years, to the point where I'm disinclined to call it a Cream Ale (though I still do). I've used varying amounts of flaked corn (up to 30%), even popcorn on one occasion (it's almost 100% starch and it converts like a SOB!) and varying quantities of table sugar. I've increased and decreased the bitterness, used noble hops, etc, etc, etc. I've mashed at different temps and times, frequently overnight to dry the hell out of it (sometimes too successfully). The only constant has been the malt. All Pilsner. I need that flavor in my Cream Ale.
     
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  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,636) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    Do you use domestic Pilsner malt or do you use continental Pilsner malt?

    Cheers!
     
  23. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (711) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Cream Ale...or Adjunct Blonde Ale...the yeast and carb levels might be the keys here
     
  24. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (328) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    I usually use Dingemans, though I also get excellent results with Best Maltz German Pilsner. I haven't tried a domestic Pilsner because ...I guess it never came up. I crave a pilsner-ey flavor in my Cream Ale. One of these days, I'll buy the equipment I need to ferment a proper, in-your-face bitter Pilsner, but, in the meantime, this works. And, effort-wise, it doesn't get any easier than a Cream Ale.
     
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  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,636) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    I have never made a Cream Ale but in my homebrewing I have used a number of Pilsner malts:
    • Dingemans (Belgium)
    • Castle (Belgium)
    • BestMalz (Germany)
    • Weyermann (Germany)
    • Briess (US)
    • Rahr (US)
    • Kolsch Malt (available from Northern Brewer)
    • etc.
    I have enjoyed my Belgian beers brewed using both Belgian and US malting companies Pilsner malt (solely from one malting company per batch).

    When brewing a German/Czech style beer I tend to use a German Pilsner malt. I have heard good things about Avengard Pilsner Malt from my LHBS folks; I will have to try that someday.

    Every year I brew a CAP (Classic American PIlsner) and lately I have been doing a 50/50 split of 6-row pale malt and Briess Pilsner malt for the malt along with 20% corn (flaked maize). I have enjoyed those beers but frankly I also like this beer solely with 6-row pale malt as well.

    Cheers!
     
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  26. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    I have liked my 2-row and 6-row cream ales and CAPs, but I also know I would like these with Belgian and German pils malts, as per @mikehartigan. But I am being slow and semi-methodical in my exploration of these styles; it probably will be years before I get there. One thing I keep coming back to is Dingeman's Pils for every Belgian ale I make. If it is not there, I am disappointed. How could it miss in a cream ale? It's been a couple years since brewed a Kolsch, and while I haven't used the Kolsch malt @JackHorzempa mentions, the last one I made used the Weyermann floor-malted in a double decoction and it may very well have been the most satisfying pale beer I've ever made.
     
  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,636) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium

    That malt provides a hay-like aspect which I enjoyed in that batch of Kolsch.

    Last year I purchased a 55 lb. sack of Weyermann Pilsner Malt so I have been using that quite a bit and needless to say I am pleased with the beers I brewed using that malt.

    I am thinking about buying a sack of Avengard Pilsner malt next. Have you used that malt?

    Cheers!
     
  28. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    Jack, I have used Avangard pils 2x. Both times was as a substitute for Dingemans because a shop was out of it. Of course, I was brewing Belgian styles: a Belgian pale ale, that also had a fairly large percentage of Avangard Munich malt, and something like a Belgian IPA/Tank 7 Tribute/Saison, that featured some heavier hopping than I usually use and a fairly substantial portion of Avangard wheat malt. I don't think either of these beers allowed the pils malt to stand out sufficiently for me to be awed, like I might feel if I brewed an all-pils Kolsch or saison. But given the recipes, it may not have been the malt's fault. Also, I have a short memory and I love the saison and the dubbel that I currently have on hand (made, of course, with Dingeman's); what have you done for me lately, Avangard?

    FWIW, I will be brewing an alt hopefully this weekend that will include Heidelberg Pils, but since this alt was really intended to give me a first look at RedX, indicated in a different thread, I am not expecting the pils to really stand out.

    Because I don't buy full sacks of grain, when I try different malts I may not brew with them often enough to develop a full appreciation of their attributes.

    I think I indicated earlier that I have tried a blend of Pilot Malt House 2row and 6row in cream ale and thought it better than my Briess cream ales. Could be confirmation bias because I like the underdog. Limited experience, not triangle testing, etc. Nevertheless, the rise of the small craft maltster in the US means that there are even more malts available. I may never know which is best for every context, but it doesn't look like I'll run out of options very soon.
     
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  29. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,377) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Just an FYI, Pilot Malt is no longer being made.
     
  30. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (793) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Breiss Pilsner malt is so damn pale! Paler than most of the continental stuff, even. It’s got a great flavor and is also my go to in Cream ales. And CAPs and other American lagers.
     
    #30 JohnnyChicago, Oct 12, 2018 at 2:36 PM
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 2:42 PM
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  31. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,737) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Premium

    I wondered about that as it hasn't been available at AIH for several months. Their website doesn't say anything about closing. It was in February 18 that I used their malts for the first and last time, I guess.
     
  32. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,377) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Yes, they stopped malting in the Spring time. As I understand it, they became brokers of Barley
     
  33. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (1,908) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium

    I used 100% Avengard pilsner malt as the grain bill in a Kölsch I made last year. Came out great, very clean with light bready malt flavors. I wouldn't hesitate to use it again.
     
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