Tag Archives: Blonde Ale

Tasting Impressions: Summer Blonde

The Summer Blonde I brewed in the beginning of April had been in a keg for almost a month, so I decided to put it into bottles yesterday. The gravity ended up at 1.011 and I measured an alcohol content of 5.78% ABV. I would have preferred it slightly drier and with slightly less alcohol, so if I ever brew this again, I will aim for an OG of around 1.045. Anyways, time to try it!


The beer pours with a slightly hazy yellow-orange color. The color could be slightly lighter, but it is not something that bothers me. A white head is formed, but it collapses quite quickly. It does leave some drapes of lacing along the glass though. Not much to complain about other than the color. Could maybe be a little clearer as well? The aroma is slightly malty at first (some grainy and bready tones), but it is quickly joined by some fruity yeast esters. This fermented at quite cold temperatures, but the yeast still seemed to have produced lots of esters. In the background you can find just the slightest citrusy and floral hop tones. Not sure if the aroma is typical for a Kölsch (I used WLP029 German Ale), as I’ve never tried a traditional one before. The flavour is quite similar, and begins with some malty and bready tones. They feel slightly tart somehow. The flavour transitions into a slight fruitiness with an underlying citrusy hoppiness. The finish is semi-dry with a moderately light bitterness. Overall, a very easy-to-drink beer, that could perhaps be slightly cleaner. I would also have preferred slightly more hop presence, but that would probably put it out of style.

Kosoolan Panimo Belgiblondi #73

  • Brewery: Kosoolan Panimo
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Belgian Blond
  • ABV: 5 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

Time for another homebrew from Juhani@Kosoolan Panimo. This is another beer I received from him in the end of July, and it has been in my fridge since the end of August. I don’t have much information on it, other than it should be close to 5% ABV and it has been hopped with East Kent and Styrian Goldings. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”Kosoolan Panimo Belgiblondi 73″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a clear golden-yellow color (just a hint of orange) and a massive fluffy white head is formed. The head collapses relatively quickly, but leaves nice patches of lacing along the glass. A really nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is mostly bready and yeasty, with some sweet grainy tones combined with some spicy phenolics and a light fruity esteriness. There are slightly solvent-like, alcoholic and grassy hop tones present as well, but these stay mostly in the background. The aroma profile reminds me a bit of my Belgian Blond and Belgian Dark Strong Ale I brewed around a year ago with Wyeast’s 3787, could this perhaps have used the same yeast? The overall aroma is quite light, but suitable for a beer like this.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins similarly to the aroma with a slightly sweet, grainy and bready maltiness. These are joined by a light grassy hoppiness and some spicy yeast tones. The phenolics leave a slightly astringent impression. The finish is quite dry (despite the initial impression of sweetness) and moderately bitter. There is some warming alcohol in the finish as well. The flavors are quite well balanced, and work nicely in this blond. I like how the spicy phenolics from the yeast work together with the grassy and spicy hop tones. The slight astringency pulls down my points slightly.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is light and the carbonation level is high, giving a very sparkly mouthfeel. Suits the style and flavor profile well.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall a well-made beer, that reminded me a bit of my own Belgian Blond I brewed slightly over a year ago. The style isn’t a favorite of mine, but this beer worked well. The ‘belgian’ tones were quite subtle in this, with the yeast and hops working together nicely. A slight astringency and some solvent-like/alcoholic tones took away a little from the drinkability. Otherwise a really nice beer!”]

Homebrew: Meowing Monk – Belgian Blond Ale

Today I brewed up the Belgian Blond mentioned here. Everything went smoothly, and even managed to get 3 liters more wort than expected (with the intended gravity of 1.050). I added a slight amount of oat flakes to the mash, hoping to get some improved head retention and body, as I was unsure whether the simple malt bill could give rise to a decent head. The starter I pitched on Thursday was showing great signs of activity, so after I poured off 50 ml of the starter into a sterilized vial for later use (beats paying 10€ for a new smack pack), I pitched the whole thing into the wort. Hopefully this takes off soon. The fermentation vessel was placed in a room with an ambient temperature of around 20-22C, so hopefully the wort temperature climbs to around 25C after a few days. The recipe and a couple of pictures from the brewday posted below.

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Hops and cane sugar

The boil with large hop bag. Still haven’t found any permanent brew space, so have been brewing outdoors.

The huge heat exchanger has just been cleaned prior to use. Took 21 litres of boiling wort to 15C in under 5 minutes.

Homebrew: Preparing for a Belgian Blond Brewday

Today I started a 1 liter Wyeast 3787 (Trappist High Gravity = Westmalle Strain) starter on the stir plate, which should hopefully be ready for Saturday’s brewday, when I will be brewing up an 18 liter batch of a Belgian Blond. The malt bill will be simple, with just Pilsner malt (maybe some Pale Ale if I don’t have enough) and some cane sugar. The beer will be moderately hopped (aiming for 30-35 IBU) with Northern Brewer, Hersbrucker and Styrian Goldings. I will be aiming for a light hoppy aroma and flavor combined with Belgian-style yeast phenolics and a light body. I will then use the yeast cake from this beer when I’ll be brewing up a Quadrupel-style beer in 3 weeks. Stay tuned for a brewday post with some pictures and the recipe on Saturday.

A trio of Juhani’s homebrews

Today I will be tasting and reviewing a trio of my homebrewing neighbor Juhani’s homebrews. The beers include his #24 Dubbel (with Orval dregs?), #28 ‘Ryssänpelko’ Imperial Stout and #42 Blonde Ale (brewed with yeast harvested from a bottle of Lente Blond). I’ll be starting with the latest, #42 Blonde Ale, moving on to #24 Dubbel, and finishing off with #28 Imperial Stout. This should be interesting!

  • Brewery: Juhani’s homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Belgian Ale
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Gift
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer


This should be a Belgian-style blonde ale, and it has been brewed with a tin of Coopers Lager extract (1,7 kg), 700 g Brewferm light DME and 300 g sucrose (20 l batch, OG 1,044, FG 1,008, ABV 4.7%). It has been hopped with Styrian Goldings, and the yeast (as I already mentioned) has been harvested from a bottle of Lente Blond. Let’s see what it tastes like!

[easyreview title=”Juhani’s #42 Blonde Ale” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a brilliantly clear golden color, and a large fluffy white head, that collapses quite slowly. Nice appearance! The second pour was hazier, as I poured in some yeast as well.” cat1rating=”4.5″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is spicy, phenolic, yeasty and has slight fruit notes as well. The aroma reminded me quite a bit of the Tripel I brewed last December. No off-aromas, and it would be hard to tell this is a homebrew from the aroma alone. Typical Belgian-like aroma, difficult to give any tips for improvement. As the beer warms up you can pick up some alcohol notes as well despite the low ABV.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a slightly honey-like, almost sweet, maltiness, and also features many of the tones present in the aroma. There are spicy and phenolic yeast tones (reminding me of coriander), together with a slightly citrusy and grassy hoppiness. The finish is quite dry and has a subtle bitterness. The flavors are quite well balanced, but the spicy yeastiness is definitely in the center. With the second pour they become even more evident.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium-light body with a medium-high carbonation level. Quite refreshing and definitely a nice beer for the summer!” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a really nice Belgian-style blonde ale, that is both refreshing and tasty. Can’t find many faults in this, just some slight alcohol notes in the aroma, which are acceptable for the style. This is gonna be a good beer for the summer! Good job!”]

  • Brewery: Juhani’s homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Abbey Dubbel
  • ABV: ?
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Gift
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer


Next up is the Dubbel. I unfortunately have no information about this brew, but if I remember correctly Juhani added some Orval dregs to this batch, so it should contain some Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Should be interesting, since I haven’t had many Brett beers before!

[easyreview title=”Juhani’s #24 Dubbel” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a slightly hazy dark amber color, and a cream-colored head that quickly collapses.” cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is a lot subtler than the last beer, with much less phenolic yeast, and more tones of dark fruits and red berries. There is a strange off-aroma as well that I have noticed in some of Juhani’s beers before, reminding me a bit of plastic.” cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a sweet maltiness, drawing to tones of dark fruits, red berries and raisins, but it is quickly taken over by a plastic-like (maybe even burnt) flavor that could be detected in the aroma as well. Not sure what the origin of this off-flavor is, but have tasted it in some of his earlier beers before, but beers from his latest batches have been free from it.” cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”A medium body and carbonation level, with a slightly acidic/astringent bite.” summary=”Unfortunately it seems as if there was something wrong with this beer, as the plastic-like aroma and flavor made it impossible for me to finish the bottle. If it is from an infection via contaminated gear, Juhani has hopefully been able to get rid of it, as I haven’t tasted it in his recent batches.”]

  • Brewery: Juhani’s homebrewery
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • ABV: 9.5%
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Gift
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer


The last beer of the night is the Imperial Stout. I have limited information on this brew as well, but it has been fermented with Westmalle yeast (harvested from a bottle?), aroma-hopped with Amarillo, and it should have an IBU around 90 and an EBC of around 115. I think it contains malt extracts, but am not fully certain.

[easyreview title=”Juhani’s #28 Ryssänpelko Imperial Stout” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours pitch-black with a compact tan-colored head that collapses quite slowly.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by tones of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, coffee, and caramel. I couldn’t really detect anything from the Belgian yeast in the aroma. There is some alcohol in the aroma as well.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with roasted flavors drawing from roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate and ash. The flavors are then coupled with some caramel and vanilla. The finish is sweet and quite bitter. The bitterness is smooth and I wish it was a bit more pronounced, even though it apparently should be around 90. The flavors are quite balanced, but the roastiness is definitely in the center. Really nice! Only complaints are that the roastiness is just slightly astringent, and it seems just slightly one-dimensional.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a full body and medium carbonation level. This is definitely a slow-sipper. The astringency draws away some points.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall a really nice Imperial Stout, and the flavors are definitely down my alley with the roasty coffee-like tones. Liked this a lot more than the last Imperial Stout I tasted from Juhani, and this was my favorite of the trio. The beer was missing some complexity, and was a little astringent, but otherwise not much I would change. Maybe raise the bitterness just a bit? Otherwise, a great beer!”]

Thanks Juhani for the beer!

Homebrew: South Pacific Blonde (Lovecats) – First Tasting

  • Brewery: –
  • Country: –
  • Style: Blonde Ale
  • ABV: 4.4 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Homebrew
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer


After 7 days in the bottle I decided to try the first bottle of Lovecats. Since this bottle was bottled directly from the fermenting vessel, it will probably taste slightly different to the majority of the batch that is currently kegged with 40 g of Nelson Sauvin. I expect the beer to still taste a bit green (i.e. some yeast tones and harsher bitterness) and have an insufficient carbonation level, but this should still give a general idea of what the batch will taste like. I remember that the batch of Centennial Blonde I brewed up last summer had a light citrusy and floral aroma, a malty and lightly hoppy flavor, a minimal bitter finish, and a light body, making it very refreshing to drink. Hopefully we will have achieved something similar here, but with some tones of tropical fruits as well!

[easyreview title=”South Pacific Blonde (Lovecats)” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”As I open the bottle I hear a reassuring hiss, so there should be some carbonation at least. The beer pours with a hazy orange color (the beer will hopefully clear up a bit with time) and a large fluffy white head, that collapses quite quickly leaving some lacing along the glass. The color was surprisingly dark, and don’t know if this really can be classified as a blonde ale.” cat1rating=”3″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is quite hoppy, featuring tones of citrus and tropical fruits, with a slight maltiness lurking behind. No strange off-aromas, so that is at least promising. A really nice aroma actually.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a bready maltiness, with some tones of biscuits and caramel present. The maltiness is joined by floral, citrusy, and grassy hop tones, that hang on quite long, as the beer finishes with a dry and minimally bitter aftertaste. The beer seems very balanced, as no flavors are dominating. The flavors are quite light, but that was intentional, as this was supposed to be a refreshing summer ale.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a light body, and currently a quite low carbonation level (this should increase with more time in the bottle), making it really refreshing and easy to drink. This is gonna be a perfect beer for those hot summer days.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”I was really positively surprised by this one, as after just a week in bottles this beer is perfectly drinkable and very refreshing. I’m happy that there are no off-flavors, and hopefully these flavors will still come together even more with a couple more weeks in the bottle. The appearance is quite off-putting at the moment, but this should hopefully clear up with time, and gain a bit more long-lasting head as the beer gets more carbonation.”]

Homebrew: South Pacific Blonde

Today, me and my friend Marcus brewed up 25.5 liters of Blonde Ale hopped with hops from New Zealand (Nelson Sauvin) and Australia (Summer). We were aiming for a light and refreshing ale, with subtle bitterness, but still loads of hop flavors. The malt bill was inspired by the Centennial Blonde I brewed up last summer, and contains Pale Ale, Carapils (for head retention and some body), Vienna (for a little maltiness), and Crystal (for some caramel tones and body) malt. We were aiming for an OG of 1.044, but ultimately ended up slightly higher (12.0 brix; 1.046). If this ferments as dry as we hope, the final gravity should be around 1.007-1.008, giving an ABV of 4.7%. We used a small bitterness addition, followed by large amounts of late hops. I added 3.9g MgSO4 and 4.2g CaCl2 to the mash as well. I pitched some Nottingham yeast and placed the beer in the fermentation fridge, where it will ferment for a week at 17 degrees C before I add the dry hops. Really looking forward to this one, as the hops were smelling fantastic!

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Last Thursday (23.6) I had a go at brewing my first two all-grain batches of beer. First a Centennial Blonde, a hopefully light and refreshing summer ale, and then a Fresh Squeezed West Coast IPA, a heavily hopped American IPA.

Here are the slightly modded recipes I used:

Centennial Blonde

3.5kg Pale Ale Malt
0.35kg CaraPils
0.25kg Light Crystal
0.25kg Vienna Malt

10g Centennial 55min
10g Centennial 35min
10g Cascade 20min
10g Cascade 5min

Nottingham Yeast

19 Liters

OG was ~1.043 (10.6 brix)
IBUs should be around 25-30


Fresh Squeezed IPA

5.8kg Pale Ale Malt
0.5kg CaraPils
0.5kg Light Crystal
0.25kg Munich Malt

14g Chinook 90min
14g Simcoe 90min
7g Chinook 60min
7g Simcoe 60min
7g Chinook 30min
7g Simcoe 30min
21g Chinook 15min
21g Simcoe 15min
14g Amarillo 15min
28g Cascade 10min
14g Chinook 0min
21g Simcoe 0min


19 Liters

OG should have been around 1.070, but mine ended up ~1.060 (14.8 brix)
IBUs should be around 100


Here are some pictures from the brewday:

My mashtun, made from a 32L Coolbox from Etola, wrapped in a layer of camping mattress from Clas Ohlson. Have also fitted a tap and a stainless steel braid as a filter.


Here is the interior of the mash tun. You can see the filter.


I brought everything expect the Carapils premilled (as I had some uncrushed Carapils left), so I had to bring out my Corona mill to get the malt crushed. Luckily it wasn’t much that had to be crushed.


Here is a picture of the mash.


I’m draining the wort into my homemade boiler. It is made out of a 35L polypropylene tun, to which I have fitted 3 water boiler elements (900W) and a tap.


Another picture of the boiler. The electric safety isn’t the best, will have to work on that later.


Sparging the mash. Turns out I fly sparged, even though I was planning to batch sparge, which means my efficiency was quite low, meaning I ended up with a little lower OG than expected for my IPA. Next time I will try batch sparging.


Here are the hop additions for the Centennial Blonde.


Here are the hop additions for the Fresh Squeezed IPA. Lots of hops!


Here is the boiler in action. Hot break is forming, no boil yet.


The boil is chilled to fermentation temperature with a 8m copper immersion chiller. Worked great!


Finally the wort ended up in the fermenting vessel together with the yeast. In a couple weeks time I will hopefully get to taste some great beer!