Are you looking to try your hand at making some delicious blondies? If so, then stick around, and I’ll give you the scoop on everything you need to know to whip up these delicious treats!
The Blonde Ale has many aliases (ooh, sounds spooky); the most common is “Golden Ale.” It is an easy-going beer with a light body, crisp profile, and dry finish. A Blonde Ale is a refreshing drink to enjoy under the heat of the summer sun.
But before you can grab your shopping cart and scramble for supplies, we need a recipe. For this demonstration, we’re going with Martin Keen’s Blonde Ale recipe, as posted on The Homebrew Challenge YouTube channel.
Why We Like Martin Keen’s Blonde Ale Recipe
On YouTube, few brewers are as consistent as Martin Keen. He has a recipe for each of the 99 different beer styles, an incredible feat for any brewer. I guess Martin has 99 problems, but a Blonde Ale recipe ain’t one.
All jokes aside, Martin has a direct approach to brewing, and his instructions are quite clear. It also helps that we have a video to refer to. So grab your shopping carts; we need some supplies.
What You Will Need
Now let’s talk supplies; what do you need to brew Martin Keen’s Blonde Ale?
As for ingredients, you’ll need the following:
- 7 lbs Pale Malt (79% of the grain bill)
- 1 lb Vienna Malt (11% of the grain bill)
- 8 oz Victory Malt (5% of the grain bill)
- 8 oz White Wheat Malt (5% of the grain bill)
- 1 oz Cascade Hops
- 5 oz Cascade Hops
- 5 oz Cascade Hops
- 1 pkt Whitbread Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1099)
In terms of hardware (brewing equipment), you’ll need the following:
- 1 Clawhammer 240-Volt Brewing System (or equivalent)
- 1 pH Meter
- 1 Hydrometer
- 1 Thermometer
- 1 Fermentor
How to Brew a Blonde Ale
Ingredients, check ✅; brewing equipment, check ✅. What’s next? Uh, the fun part; brewing our golden stew. Well, let’s get into it.
Step 1: Sterilize All Your Brewing Equipment
Like a great chef, a great brewmaster is meticulous in his or her preparations. And it all starts by sterilizing your equipment. How do you do this? By washing them with some sanitizer (or alcohol solution). Or boil your smaller pieces of equipment in water for 10 minutes.
While that is going on, you can measure out your ingredients and fill your sterilized brew kettle with water.
Step 2: Adjust Water pH
Next, we need to adjust our water pH. We want our malt enzymes to be comfortable, don’t we? And it all starts by taking an initial pH reading. So take a sample of water from your brew kettle and measure its pH.
Regular tap water pH ranges between 6 to 7. Now we need to drop that figure to 5.6, 5.7, or 5.8. And you can do this by adding a few drops of lactic acid. Once you get to the pH sweet spot, bring up your strike water temperature to 152°F.
Step 3: Mashing
Mash your grains as you would in any other brewing operation. Add your milled grains to your brew kettle, stir the mash, and let it cook at 152°F for 60 minutes. We need to give our enzymes time to work their magic.
Step 4: Boiling
At the end of the mash, withdraw your grain basket or brew bag to separate your wort from the spent grain. Carefully install your hop basket and bring the wort to a boil. As soon as your wort starts boiling, add 1 oz of Cascade hops and let it boil for 50 minutes. So, set your timer.
When the timer goes off, add 0.5 oz of Cascade hops. Let both additions boil for 10 minutes. Again, set your timer.
When time elapses, add another 0.5 oz of Cascade hops as you kill the heat. Can you smell that aroma of boiling hops? Yummy!
Step 5: Fermentation
Well, there’s no time to soak up the moment because we still need to ferment our wort. So let your wort cool down to 70°F; we don’t want to burn our yeast cells, do we? You can pass your sweet liquid through a wort chiller as you transfer it to a sterilized fermentor.
With the wort cooled, it’s time to pitch our yeat. So tear open the packet and pour in your yeast. Don’t forget to seal the fermentation vessel. We’ll let the beer ferment at 70°F for one week.
And just like that, you have brewed your own Blonde Ale.
Tips and Tricks
The Blonde Ale you just brewed is not the hoppiest of beers. But you can turn the heat up by going the dry hopping route. Dry hopping involves adding hops late in the brewing process (usually in fermentation). It ramps up your beer’s flavor and aroma.
For your blondie, you can dry hop by adding 0.5 oz of Cascade hops in the final 3 days of fermentation. But you have to be careful, don’t go overboard with the hops. Adding too much can turn your Blonde Ale into a session IPA. And that’s a topic for another day.
Frequently asked questions
Now let’s look at common FAQs. Maybe we can quench your curiosity.
How is Blonde Ale Made
A Blonde Ale is a hybrid beer (if we can call it that). It’s made with either lager or ale yeasts. No wonder it has similar characteristics to both styles of beer. So you can either perform a cool fermentation with an ale yeast or a warm fermentation with a lager yeast.
What is a Blonde Ale?
The Blonde Ale or Golden Ale is a pale-colored ale with moderate maltiness and bitterness. Come to think about it; its name actually gives it away. A Blonde Ale is a gold-colored ale. It has a light body and a super drinkable character.
What Makes a Good Blonde Ale?
A top-notch Blonde Ale must be smooth, easy sipping, and delightful. Translation: low body, the right amount of bitterness, and a pretty face (I mean appearance). It isn’t a strong alcohol either. Beer guidlines for this style limit its buzz between 4.1-5.1% ABV.
The Blonde Ale is literally the shining gem of the ale world. And with a name like “Golden Ale,” you can expect nothing short of riches in aroma and flavor. Despite its name, it is not a particularly hoppy beer. But the Blonde Ale is mild sweetness, which then leads to a crisp and clean finish.
What makes this elixir extra special? Let’s break it down in layman’s terms, shall we? At its core, attraction lies its simplicity of both drinkability and brewability (if that’s a word). On a hot summer’s day, there’s no better companion.
Embrace your inner alchemist, and allow the magic of transformation to unfold beneath your fingertips. Brew yourself a Golden Ale today.
5 Easy Steps to Brew Blonde Ale
7 lbs Pale Malt (79% of the grain bill)
1 lb Vienna Malt (11% of the grain bill)
8 oz Victory Malt (5% of the grain bill)
8 oz White Wheat Malt (5% of the grain bill)
1 oz Cascade Hops (60-minute boil)
0.5 oz Cascade Hops (10-minute boil)
0.5 oz Cascade Hops (0-minute boil)
1 pkt Whitbread Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1099)
- Sterilize your brewing equipment
- Fill your brewing kettle with water
- Adjust water pH to 5.6-5.8
- Heat the water to 152°F
- Add your crushed malts
- Stir and let them cook for 60 minutes at 152°F
- Withdraw your grain basket and install your hop basket
- Bring the water to boil
- Add 1 oz of Cascade hops and let it boil for 50 minutes
- Add 0.5 oz of Cascade hops and let it boil for 10 minutes
- Add another 0.5 oz of Cascade hops as you kill the heat
- Withdraw the hops and let the wort cool to 72°F
- Transfer the wort to a sanitized fermentor and pitch your yeast
- Seal the fermentor and let it ferment at 72°F for one week
- Cheers, enjoy your Blonde Ale
Sandra B. King is a wife and mother of two. The marketing genius is also a beer enthusiast. Even though she doesn’t brew beers, she can whip up a mean content marketing strategy.