Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Cream Ale recipe feedback

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by miggy_smalls, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    It's summer and i was trying to come up with a recipe that is equal part summer crusher and unique so Im hoping to brew a strawberry rhubarb crisp/pie cream ale. Something fruity and light with hints of vanilla and brown sugar. Similar to a strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp. I have tons of rhubarb from our garden and its strawberry season here in WI so what better than to take advantage. For the recipe i sort of pulled from other recipes for getting that pie crust flavor as well as that cream ale flavor. Please let me know how this recipe look and if i need to adjust my malt bill, yeast or anything else. I'm still learning and have never doen a cream ale before so all feedback is welcome.


    HOME BREW RECIPE:
    Title: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Cream Ale
    Author: Miguel V

    Brew Method: All Grain
    Style Name: Cream Ale
    Boil Time: 60 min
    Batch Size: 1.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
    Boil Size: 2.6 gallons
    Boil Gravity: 1.031
    Efficiency: 65% (brew house)


    STATS:
    Original Gravity: 1.054
    Final Gravity: 1.012
    ABV (standard): 5.53%
    IBU (tinseth): 17.83
    SRM (morey): 17.55

    FERMENTABLES:
    1.98 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (59.1%)
    0.34 lb - Canadian - Honey Malt (10.1%)
    0.16 lb - Flaked Corn (4.8%)
    0.37 lb - American - Victory (11%)
    0.46 lb - American - Caramel / Crystal 60L (13.7%)
    0.04 lb - Brown Sugar - (late addition) (1.2%)

    HOPS:
    0.075 oz - Belma, Type: Pellet, AA: 9.4, Use: Boil for 50 min, IBU: 10.11
    0.025 oz - Huell Melon, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.2, Use: Boil for 50 min, IBU: 2.58
    0.1 oz - Belma, Type: Pellet, AA: 9.4, Use: Boil for 10 min, IBU: 5.14
    0.05 oz - Belma, Type: Pellet, AA: 9.4, Use: Boil for 0 min
    0.025 oz - Huell Melon, Type: Pellet, AA: 7.2, Use: Boil for 0 min

    MASH GUIDELINES:
    1) Infusion, Temp: 154 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 1.03 gal, heat to 168
    2) Sparge, Temp: 170 F, Time: 10 min, Amount: 2.25 gal
    Starting Mash Thickness: 1.25 qt/lb

    OTHER INGREDIENTS:
    1 lb - Strawberry, Time: 7 days, Type: Flavor, Use: Secondary
    1 lb - Rhubarb, Time: 7 days, Type: Flavor, Use: Secondary
    1 lb - graham crackers, Time: 60 min, Type: Flavor, Use: Mash
    1 each - Vanilla, Time: 7 days, Type: Flavor, Use: Secondary

    YEAST:
    White Labs - Cream Ale Yeast Blend WLP080
    Starter: No
    Form: Liquid
    Attenuation (avg): 77.5%
    Flocculation: Medium
    Optimum Temp: 65 - 70 F
    Fermentation Temp: 64 F
    Pitch Rate: 0.75 (M cells / ml / deg P)

    TARGET WATER PROFILE:
    Profile Name: Cream Ale
    Ca2: 40
    Mg2: 0
    Na: 0
    Cl: 60
    SO4: 50
    HCO3: 0

    Water Notes:
    strike water
    1 g gypsum
    1.4 g CaCl
    ph 5.3


    NOTES:
    Graham Cracker in the mash
    Brown Sugar in the last 15 min of the boil
    Vanilla, Strawberry and rhubarb in the secondary

    Puree and pasteurize the strawberries
    bake rhubarb to soften and then puree and pasteurize.
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    More corn, less specialty malt overall, but I really like where you're going! :)
    You have 30 percent crystal-type malt and you'll struggle to get anything other than soupy, saccharine flavor from that. More corn will add sweetness on its own and you can push the flavors you're looking for with less of the Honey malt, C-60 and Victory. Also consider some Pilsner and or Wheat malt for more bready flavor.
    The contribution of rhubarb to the Strawberry Crisp experience (an experience no one should miss ;) ) is tartness and astringency. Actual Rhubarb may add to much astringent quality (oxalic acid) to the beer that you don't want, but adding Acidulated Malt to the mash or touching up the finished beer with just a few drops of lactic or citric acid will give that part of the flavor profile a lift. And keeping the beer well-attenuated will add a crispness to the finish that will help with the overall impression.
     
  3. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    Awesome advice as always!!! Do you have any percentage ratio for the corn and the pilsner or wheat? I had found some other recipes that people used victory, crystal and honey to get that crackery pie crust flavor so thats what i was going for with those.



    How much acidulated malt do you think? Or should i just add to taste with lactic acid after the beer has finished?
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Interesting concept.... I wouldn't use acidulated unless you need it to adjust mash pH. In fact, the rhubarb should have enough acid in it to balance the mash without any other acid additions (unless you have very alkaline water!). I don't understand the purpose of the corn and brown sugar - both serve to thin the body without adding much flavor. The flavor of brown sugar is molasses - I might recommend using molasses (2-3 ounces) instead of brown sugar and corn - you preserve your beer's body and get the flavor that way. JA is right about the flavors - I fear you will start to get muddy flavors with the different flavor contributors you list. I'd simplify the grain bill to Maris Otter and honey malt, and hope for the crust flavors you're after from the graham crackers (I've never fermented them so I have no idea how they taste in beer). Victory and Crystal are going to contribute flavors you may not want - caramel and some dark fruits. But hey, give it a shot! It's 1.5 gallons, about 12 pints, enough to know if what you want to do works!
     
  5. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    The brown sugar was more for a flavor similar to how its used in the dessert dish. Strawberry Rhubarb crisp has vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon in the oat and flour crumbles so I thought maybe that would give it that flavor. Im ok with leaving it out.

    As for the corn i was under the impression that cream ales had corn in them.

    Like i said I'm still very new to recipe building so I'm pulling from all sorts of other recipes and research ive seen out there.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The first principle of recipe building is to know what an ingredient does in beer. Yes, cream ales can have corn in them, but the corn was used to dilute the protein contribution of cheap American six-row barley so that the beer would clear. Maris Otter does not have this problem. Brown sugar is mostly sucrose - table sugar - with some molasses added back for color and flavor (if you use some unrefined sugar like Turbinado or Poncillo, the molasses is part of the original juice but the majority is still sucrose). Sucrose contributes no flavor, only alcohol and a reduction of body in the beer, again, okay if that's what you want. Molasses by itself concentrates the flavors while providing a lower contribution of sugar. JA mentioned the sweetness all the crystal malts would contribute, I'll add that it will also contribute flavors - caramel mostly, with some stone fruit, neither of which are in my wife's strawberry-rhubarb pie. One of the wisest brewers I know, Bill Eye of Bierstadt Lagerhaus here in Denver, always said four malts, three hops, no more. What he was saying is that if an ingredient doesn't serve a purpose in the recipe, take it out. It's the best guidance on recipe building I can give.
     
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  7. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    Wow very good and helpful information. I definitely dont want to add sugar in there only to have it just become alcohol. In your opinion is molasses better in the secondary or in the boil or should i just work on the flavors from the malt bill? Ive also heard victory can give a biscuit-like or piecrust like flavor. Do you think i should get rid of that too or try some in the mix as well?
    I appreciate all the feedback. This really helps me learn and understand more of this awesome craft
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If it were mine, I'd lose the molasses flavor all together, meaning no brown sugar or molasses. The Victory can work there, as you said, for a pie crust like flavor. As I said, I've never fermented graham crackers so someone else could maybe chime in on how it would work to give you a graham cracker crust flavor. Adding flavors on top of flavors eventually leads to a muddled, kind of non-descript flavor I describe as "brown." Simpler may be better, particularly since you're adding fruit, vegetable and spice flavors on top of the malt and hop bill.
     
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  9. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    Ive only used graham crackers in one other beer and it was a smores stout and i used it in the mash and its smelled great when mashing but i didnt get much graham cracker in the finished beer. But i think i will try to keep it simple and go less malts 2 hops and let the strawberry, rhubarb and vanilla do its work. Its a small bathc and i can always tweak it for future iterations if its good. thank you again for the help and ill let you know how it goes. Hoping to brew this weekend.
     
  10. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    One last question: Any major difference in flavor if i use American 2-row vs Maris Otter? I have lots of 2-row at home but i'd have to go out and buy maris otter.
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    All i know is marris otter is more complex in flavour than 2 row kilned a little higher than pilsner malt.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty subtle and likely to be lost on a beer with this much other flavor going on in it.
     
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  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yes to everything Nosy has to add. As for the Acidulated/Lactic, I only mentioned as a way to mimic the rhubarb contribution if you left it out.
    Sometimes hinting at flavors, especially in beer, can be as effective as adding a lot of the actual thing. If you manage a relatively sweet, bready, toasty, light caramel malt profile and add just a touch of spice to go with the fruit flavor of strawberry and use some tricks to achieve a full mouthfeel, you'll have an interesting concept beer that's nicely drinkable.
    I'll have a go at the recipe and see if there are ways I'd pare it down to get at the heart of it. Like I said, I like the notion...I have a soft spot for the excellent Strawberry/Rhubarb deserts that were part of the summer fun during my years in Minnesota.
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    We put in a new rhubarb plant this year. Hmmmm..... I think what we're trying to tell you is, most of the time, less is more when it comes to recipe formulation.

    Dang it, I really undershot the lemongrass and ginger in my last Thai Wheat....
     
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  15. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Okay... here's a concept recipe:
    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/671226/strawberry-rhubarb-crisp
    The notion is to brew something that retains grainy sweetness, retains body and head, pushes the relatively subtle flavor of the strawberry and allows tweaking with easily controlled additions in the secondary or even at packaging to make a flavor that's reminiscent of pastry.
    Everything in the malt bill does a job. The corn adds a certain rich sweetness that only corn can bring and keeps the malt from getting too heavy, the Vienna adds requisite maltiness, Victory for toast, flaked wheat for body, etc.
    Hops are taking a back seat - Belma is very fine and Amarillo lays down a blanket of dense floral and fruit that always reminds me of strawberry potpourri.
    Strawberry puree can be thrown in at flame out or, better, added in primary after krausen.The Secondary/Bottling additives can be used in very small amounts to tweak the flavor profile, tasting as you go and are chosen to be usable in literally drops at a time if need be, or in the case of lactose, in small amounts, to see how the flavor changes.
     
  16. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    #16 Head First, Jun 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
    These guys have brought out some great points. One thing not mentioned is cream ale is a crisp clean light easy drinking beer style. You can go this way with adding corn or sugar to thin it out or you can lean towards a simple pale ale or even a wheat beer. Following one of these styles will be a big influence on your brew. Also a half pound of honey malt will add noticeable sweetness to a 10gal batch so keep that in mind. If you are trying to keep it clean and crisp as a cream ale, yet counter the sharp tart of the rhubarb you might use some honey malt and lose the crystal with some vienna for the biscuit bready. And cinnamon I would think is a must. Ever have rhubarb supreme? A very thick hard sweet crust,rhubarb filling and topped with merange like a lemon pie.mmmm
     
  17. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    Wow such awesome feedback in this community and a lot to think about. Thats really awesome of you JA to work up a recipe like that. I think Im going to start with your recipe and see how it turns out. Or if the Mrs. wants to brew with me we can do my simplified recipe ive been working on (https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/671141/strawberry-rhubarb-crisp-cream-ale-v2) as well.

    So basically this is not using any of the rhubarb but the lemon juice to achieve that flavor? What am I going to do with my 10lbs of rhubarb? :D lol

    I have not but it sounds fantastic. Also thought about cinnamon at kegging to taste and see how it works with it but then i read JA's recipe and never thought to use cinnamon schnapps
     
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  18. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'm lazy when it comes to flavorings. :) Flavored vodkas or extracts can really work wonders when you just want to add flavor notes. You could make your own cinnamon infusion by soaking a cinnamon stick in a small amount of vodka for a week or two while you're beer is fermenting.
    I've used Swiss Chard stems for fake Rhubarb since it's too hot for Rhubarb to grow around here. Adding lemon was the thing that made it work.
    To help use up your crop, you need to bake a couple of extra Stawberry-Rhubarb pies and ship them to me. :D
     
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  19. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, when I consider it farther, I don't think I'd try to do a cream ale with this level of flavoring. Cream ale as a base is too lightly flavored, too subtle to support the rhubarb flavor. I think I'd go in the direction of a nice, biscuity, low-hop ESB - it's there you'll get your cookie-graham-cracker "crust" flavor. Then layer the strawberry-rhubarb on top of that, a hint of vanilla, maybe some lactose for added sweetness....

    What do y'all (yes, I'm a Southerner in self-imposed exile) think of that idea?
     
  20. miggy_smalls

    miggy_smalls New Member

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    I dont know if theyd make to the post office hahaha:D

    I've never made an ESB and I vaguely recall the last time i had one so I cant speak to how that would taste. Its an interesting idea though.

    Perhaps this is already venturing away from a cream ale and basically is an experimental beer like JA labeled it
     

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