Tasting Notes: Crackerjack Cream Ale

Crackerjack Cream Ale is the only beer I have brewed on an annual bases in my almost three years of homebrewing. I guess that alone makes this a special beer. Year-on-year I have only made subtle tweaks to the recipe.

The beer pours straw colored. The fizzy head is thin and white. Head retention is low which is typical of the style. The beer has almost brilliant clarity. This is the best looking beer I have brewed in a long time.

Cream Ale is a delicate beer and the aroma is no different. There is some sweetness from the malt and corn, almost like a creme liqueur. As the beer warms there are faint notes of white grape. I’m guessing it’s a combination of hop aroma and esters from the yeast. Whatever it is it is low enough to be appropriate for the style.

Boiling a smaller percentage of my wort on my electric stove-top to obtain a more vigorous boil has made a huge difference. The improvement in clarity of this beer compared to Summer Somewhere cannot be understated. I get a hint of DMS from Summer Somewhere which also could have been caused by the use of corn and a weak boil. This beer used four times the amount of corn and has a much cleaner malt flavor.

As I intended, the beer does push the envelope a bit for the style in terms of malt and hop flavor. Like a Cracker Jack, Crackerjack Cream Ale combines caramel flavor and corn. The late hop additions are designed to balance the sweetness from the light caramel malt.  It does do that. The beer looks like an American Lager which makes the relatively bold flavor a bit surprising. Some might feel the beer is on the sweet side from the use of the 10L Caramel malt.

The beer is light bodied with medium high carbonation. It is very crisp and very clean. There are no technical flaws that I can tell. In a beer this light those flaws have nowhere to hide. I was able to ferment the beer at a cool enough of the temperature that the esters from the yeast were restrained. This is a beer that should taste as lager-like as possible, and it does.

This might be the most crushable beer I have ever made. This would be a decent beer to drink while playing Beruit or flip cup. Someday when I purchase my dream house I will have an epic housewarming party. Instead of potluck or BYOB, it will be a “Stock the bar” party where I will ask invitees to bring a bottle of booze as a gift. I’ll provide all the food and brew two or three batches of beer just for the party. This is one of the beers I will have on tap. It’s drinkable and light enough for guests who may not be regular craft beer drinkers. It is also flavorful enough for a beer geek to enjoy.

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