Hoping that the third time is the charm here with this Vienna Cream Ale recipe – this time I decided to change out the entire grain bill, including the base. I wanted to try playing around with 6-row over 2-row malt as the base – I’ve read that this can contribute a little bit more of a grainy flavor, which I’m all in for. This accounted for 50% of my grain bill. From there, I opted to shift to a Caramel Vienne specialty malt from using straight Vienna Goldpils base malt to contribute more character. I used this for 30% of my grain bill, so I’m hoping it doesn’t overpower the whole flavor and still lets the base malt shine through. For the remaining 20%, I used malted Rye – every recipe I make, I always try and contribute some rye to it, I just love the flavor that it adds to just about every recipe I’ve made to date.
I used strike water of about 150 degrees, it was around 155 when I added the malt, and it carried much closer to 145. When moving into the boil and hop additions, as neither Vienna Lager nor Cream Ale are particularly hoppy styles, I used two hops that are lower on the alpha acid scale, Pacific Jade – a more traditionally Lager hop, this was added as the bittering hop at 60 minutes, and Cascade, an American Pale Ale hop, that was added with 15 minutes left.
Pre-Boil, we were sitting at about 21 Brix, which leads to an Original Gravity of 1.0875 – and after boiling it was sitting at 25 Brix, or 1.1057. My mash efficiency was a whole lot higher than I anticipated, I don’t know how to calculate the figures, but I was assuming based on recipes that I’ve made in the past that I’d likely hit between 1.05-1.06. So, I guess this version will be an “Imperial” Vienna Cream Ale – and we’ll be shooting for a Final Gravity of 1.01 to get a dryer flavor, but based on the alcohol tolerance of SafAle US-05, we’ll probably be more in the wheelhouse of 1.022, which will hit right around 10.99% ABV. Not exactly what I had in mind when I started this, but it’ll have to do for this incarnation.
I’ve been fiddling with this to hopefully have a winner for our town brewery’s competition, but I’ve had so many that have been all over the place, I’m not even sure which version I want to submit at this point. We’ll see how this one comes out, but at the moment, the Blood Orange may be the winner – I bottled six and as only four have to be submitted, I’ll crack one next Friday when it hits the two week mark to see if the carbonation and flavor are where they need to be. Unfortunately, since I do not have a way to bottle out of a keg, this will be my last recipe attempt before submission, and I’ll have about two days to choose which one to submit. As I’m out of kegs, this entire batch will have to be bottled, which will at least make sure I have enough to submit and share if it’s good!