Help with brewing my first Blonde Ale....

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by geodonnokepyo, Nov 25, 2014.

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  1. geodonnokepyo

    geodonnokepyo Disciple (388) Oct 31, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Hey everyone,
    Welcome to my first beer advocate post. As you can tell from the thread's title I am in need of some suggestions/advice on how to brew a delicious blonde ale.
    I just recently purchased's personal home brewery kit #4 and as some of you may know, it comes with a blonde ale extract ingredient kit. Now I have taken the majority of the beer community's advice and I started reading How to Brew by John Palmer although I am not all the way through it yet. One thing I have gathered from the book is that following directions on kits will sometimes ruin your beer and also make it less of an adventure. So obviously I am going to stray from the kit directions a bit....
    Here are my questions:

    1) I was thinking of adding in agave or honey to help with the floral aromas and also add a little more ABV to the beer. If anyone has any suggestions on any brands or any particular type of honey/agave to use, or if this is a terrible idea in general please let me know.

    2) I was also hoping to add some flavorings/purees to spice up the beer a bit. My initial thoughts would be to add orange to give the beer more of a sweet and citrusy taste. Is this a good idea? and if so, how would I go about using a syrup/puree properly?

    3) I always enjoy a blonde ale or wheat beer with coriander in it. Would it be a good idea to put coriander in this beer?

    4) The beer kit comes with one kind of malt extract (ultralight) and one kind of hops (williamette). Does anyone have any additional suggestions on whether or not to add one or two different kinds of malts or hops to give the beer any additional/unique flavorings? Perhaps a finishing hops for an even more aromatic beer?

    Please feel free to answer any or all of these questions. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  2. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (434) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    IMO, for a first brew, I would stick with the kit as packaged; don't start adding anything to it. Concentrate on your procedures, get used to the physical acts of making beer than adding to a ready made recipe. There's plenty of time for that later.
    The big things to keep in mind for your first time are sanitation, sanitation, temperature control and sanitation. Getting as much wort to a good book as you can, then making sure the yeast are happy and comfy will get the best beer you can make, and keeping unwelcome buggers out will make it that much better.
  3. redmaw

    redmaw Initiate (187) Jun 30, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Well it sounds like you are off to a decent start. I have made 2 kits from more beer and have been pleased with both of them straight out of the box. I would brew it as is to start with and definitely would not try more than one additional ingredient. That being said it shouldn't be difficult to add coriander and would probably make a more distinctive brew. I know there was a thread not that long ago talking about the type and amounts of coriander people used that you should be able to find by searching. Final note on the honey/agave is that they will not add any sweetness as the sugars are simple and completely ferment out. I understand the flavor you can gain from honey at least is due to volatile compounds which will boil off, so I think many people add honey either after the boil, or in some cases after the first 24 hours of fermentation.
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,948) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    That's a pretty wild interpretation of "How To Brew." Nowhere does Palmer suggest adding anything at all for your first brew. He does talk about using fresh yeast, and perhaps following his process, rather than the often lousy process specified by the kit's recipe sheet.

    My advice: Brew with the ingredients that came with the kit. You can always experiment after you know what you are doing. And read "How to Brew" again.
  5. ssam

    ssam Aspirant (292) Dec 2, 2008 California

    The directions with the kit are not always perfect, that is definitely true. But, the recipe is usually just fine. Brew the beer as is, but follow Palmer's instructions rather than the kit's. Save the experiments for later, when you already have a decent homebrew to drink in case of failure.
  6. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,910) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    The key word is sometimes. It depends on who writes the instructions. More Beer has been making good beer kits for a long time. You can trust these guys. I understand the desire to adventure. I recommend suppressing it and brewing the beer as is because you probably have a much better sense of what a straight blonde should taste like and it will help you trouble shoot. Adding agave , honey, orange, coriander, etc probably makes it more difficult to diagnose problems. If you really want to do this, I recommend tracking down the instructions for a recipe that uses these ingredients and doing your best to emulate its proportions and timing. The hyperlinked recipe might be a good place to start to take care of the coriander and orange.

    I would add 1 # of honey midway through the primary, or 1# agave at the end of the boil. Not both.

    I do not recommend different extract or hops. Honey, coriander, and orange is plenty of ingredient tweaks to this kit already. The ultralight malt and the mild hops are the best bet for actually tasting the other ingredients.
    geodonnokepyo likes this.
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