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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: 1 atm Brewing on September 11, 2011, 07:06:38 pm

Title: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: 1 atm Brewing on September 11, 2011, 07:06:38 pm
What's the difference between the two? Reading the BJCP guidelines, it seems like a blonde ale is a slightly sweeter, slightly hoppier version of a cream ale. Are there any other differences?
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on September 11, 2011, 07:20:09 pm
Cream ale has corn in it.
Blond Ale does not.
Both of then are low IBU beers.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: bluesman on September 11, 2011, 07:27:03 pm
A blonde ale is a little more fruiter and maltier. A cream ale is cleaner and more crisp but they can overlap at extremes. The corn factor (no pun intended) is the biggest difference. Also a blonde typically has more body which can be the deciding factor.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: The Professor on September 11, 2011, 07:39:52 pm
Any difference between them is really splitting hairs...I've had blonde ales that were made with corn, so I'm not sure that its presence or absence makes the "style".    I do know that my own expectation is for the "cream ale" to be smoother and lager-like, but again I'm just basing that observation on a benchmark like Genesee Cream Ale.

I would agree with bluesman that there is some overlap between the two.   In cases like this where the beers can be somewhat similar, it can be a tossup in many cases when deciding which category to put a given sample into.
Bottom line is that it is  always open to individual interpretation.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: dzlater on September 12, 2011, 05:10:18 am
If you are bringing it to a party with craft beer/ home brew drinkers it's a blonde.
If you are bringing it to a party with Light Lager drinkers it's s a cream ale.   ;)
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: james on September 12, 2011, 09:41:51 am
If you are bringing it to a party with craft beer/ home brew drinkers it's a blonde.
If you are bringing it to a party with Light Lager drinkers it's s a cream ale.   ;)

Perfect!

Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: dmtaylor on September 12, 2011, 11:05:32 am
I agree with others that the corniness is the main difference.  If it has corn in the recipe, or tastes like corn, it's cream ale.  If not, it's blonde ale.  To me that also means that even if the recipe does not contain corn, but tastes like DMS, it's a cream ale, and conversely, if it does contain corn but you can't taste corn or DMS, it *could* be considered a blonde ale, but by recipe it's still actually a cream ale!

Splitting hairs indeed.  Now determine definitively the differences between American Stout and Robust Porter, and, if you dare, "Black IPA".  Pretty dang vague differences if you ask me, especially if you bring historical definitions into play.  Try setting a good commercial example of each in front of you, blindfolded, and explain which one is which style definitively and why.  Depending a little on the specific examples chosen, you very likely won't be able to tell which one is considered which style with 100% accuracy.  Why not?  Splitting hairs, indeed.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: wingnut on September 13, 2011, 09:50:24 pm
I disagree on the need for corn on a cream ale.  I have used rice many times and got 38-43s on the scores. I do not disagree that cream ales are thinner than blonds, and often seem to be hoppier because of this.  

my 2 cents :)
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: tomsawyer on September 14, 2011, 07:54:07 am
I just tried a friend's kit beer that was an "Imperial Blond", and it had a nice firm bitterness to it that I thought was not to style.  When I checked BJCP I was surprised to see a blonde could be up to 28 IBU.

His Brewers BEst kit still reminded me more of an ESB or English IPA than what I had in my mind as a blond.  It was good beer.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: brewallday on September 14, 2011, 09:51:52 am
Cream Ales are traditionally fermented at a cooler temperature (low 60s) compared to Blonde Ales
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: davidw on September 14, 2011, 10:33:18 am
Dave, when it comes to an American Stout vs. a Robust Porter, I have always contended that a porter, any style of porter for that matter, should not have black patent in the grist bill. If it does, it's a stout. That's just my opinion, but one I feel is accurate.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: rjharper on September 14, 2011, 12:27:10 pm
Dave, when it comes to an American Stout vs. a Robust Porter, I have always contended that a porter, any style of porter for that matter, should not have black patent in the grist bill. If it does, it's a stout. That's just my opinion, but one I feel is accurate.

As above, but for me its roasted barley, not black patent, that defines stout / porter boundaries
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: Hokerer on September 14, 2011, 02:20:05 pm
As above, but for me its roasted barley, not black patent, that defines stout / porter boundaries

+1, roast barley has always been the discriminator for me too.  Although, I'm pretty sure there's no real hard and fast definition.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: dmtaylor on September 14, 2011, 03:43:35 pm
Here in the 21st century, I would agree with the roasted barley argument.  But historically, keep in mind that stouts were really just strong porters; porters were NOT defined as less coffee-ish stouts!  Hence my sticking point -- we're just making this crap up as we go, aren't we.......
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: weithman5 on September 14, 2011, 04:15:04 pm
if any one would like to deliver (and share) a case of great lakes porter (edmond fitzgerald) and stockyard oatmeal stout i will write an essay on the two.... ;D ;D
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: skyler on September 14, 2011, 10:59:42 pm
IMO, cream ale should be folded into blond ale in the BJCP guidelines. Here on the west coast nothing is ever called a cream ale and people think a cream ale is a bitter with lactose in it.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: johnf on September 15, 2011, 08:39:31 am
IMO, cream ale should be folded into blond ale in the BJCP guidelines. Here on the west coast nothing is ever called a cream ale and people think a cream ale is a bitter with lactose in it.

Hales Cream Ale and Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale are relatively well known West Coast beers carrying that name. I would argue they are both what the BJCP is calling blonde ale (no adjunct), though I have not had the Hales in about 5 years.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 15, 2011, 08:19:13 pm
IMO, cream ale should be folded into blond ale in the BJCP guidelines. Here on the west coast nothing is ever called a cream ale and people think a cream ale is a bitter with lactose in it.

Hales Cream Ale and Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale are relatively well known West Coast beers carrying that name. I would argue they are both what the BJCP is calling blonde ale (no adjunct), though I have not had the Hales in about 5 years.

The adjunct in Pelican Cream Ale is flaked barley, not the expected flaked maize (or grits).  It is listed as an example of the style under Blond Ales, probably due to lack of corn aroma/DMS. 

With some research, you can find the brewer's recommendations for making a homebrewed version.  I think it is a good drinking beer.     
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: johnf on September 15, 2011, 09:21:22 pm
IMO, cream ale should be folded into blond ale in the BJCP guidelines. Here on the west coast nothing is ever called a cream ale and people think a cream ale is a bitter with lactose in it.

Hales Cream Ale and Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale are relatively well known West Coast beers carrying that name. I would argue they are both what the BJCP is calling blonde ale (no adjunct), though I have not had the Hales in about 5 years.

The adjunct in Pelican Cream Ale is flaked barley, not the expected flaked maize (or grits).  It is listed as an example of the style under Blond Ales, probably due to lack of corn aroma/DMS. 

With some research, you can find the brewer's recommendations for making a homebrewed version.  I think it is a good drinking beer.     

Yeah, I've seen that, guess I forgot. In either case, the defining difference in these two beers, as the BJCP describes them, is that cream ale has the adjunct character that an american lager has. The 5% or whatever of flaked barley in KCA is more like the  handful of flaked whatever people through in for head retention than it is then use of corn or rice in american beers. The purpose of the adjunct is not to effect the impression of the grain bill. I imagine you will find that Pelican uses that same small amount of flaked barley in many of its beers.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: gmac on September 15, 2011, 09:38:42 pm
Here on the west coast nothing is ever called a cream ale

I've always been under the impression that a cream ale was brewed at cooler temps (almost lager temps) instead of wamer.  I think I'll stick with that.

Regarding regional names, I can buy a half dozen cream ales, I can't think of any beer that I can get that is intentionally labelled "blond ale".  Yes, there are lighter coloured ales but they aren't labelled blond. 

Regarding the Black IPA thing that Dave brought up, I like the term that the lady on the Brewing Network used during the beer vocabulary episode "Bulls*** Hoppy Porters"
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: The Professor on September 15, 2011, 10:03:13 pm
IMO, cream ale should be folded into blond ale in the BJCP guidelines. Here on the west coast nothing is ever called a cream ale and people think a cream ale is a bitter with lactose in it.

I agree.
Actually, quite a few of the "styles" can be folded in together since historically, distinctions between them are so slim  especially given the degree of variation that just occurs naturally from brewer to brewer (and always has).  I guess the guidelines work  for competition purposes even if they sometimes make things a bit more confusing.    :-\

Thankfully, outside of the competition arena,  all bets are off. 
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: davidw on September 15, 2011, 10:22:26 pm

As above, but for me its roasted barley, not black patent, that defines stout / porter boundaries

Indeed, you are correct, roast barley does produce a flavour any would recognize as being a stout. In fact, I would abstain from using either of these two in my porters.

Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: skyler on September 16, 2011, 12:44:15 am
I was being hyperbolic. Some beers here are called "cream ale," but it is so rare that the term has no meaning to the average west coast consumer - and many beer geeks think it is fortified with lactose like in a "cream stout." From my perspective, a cream ale is just a blond ale and blond ales sometimes have adjuncts.
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: morticaixavier on September 16, 2011, 08:36:04 am
I was being hyperbolic. Some beers here are called "cream ale," but it is so rare that the term has no meaning to the average west coast consumer - and many beer geeks think it is fortified with lactose like in a "cream stout." From my perspective, a cream ale is just a blond ale and blond ales sometimes have adjuncts.

Schuyler, if I have told you once, I have told you a million times, Don't be hyperbolic!!  ;)
Title: Re: Cream Ale vs. Blonde Ale
Post by: The Professor on September 16, 2011, 09:17:31 am
...I was being hyperbolic...

Are they still prescribing Ritalin for that?  :o