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Brewing the Dreamsicle Cream Ale: Creator Jeremy’s Process

June 5th, 2017 // By // Beer Making // View Comments

Every year at Great Fermentations, we do an event called Big Brew Day on  National Homebrew Day. It is basically a big brewing party in the parking lot, with classes and sessions going on inside. This year (2017) was a big success, with lots of beer brewed and good times had by all!

This year, we had our guy Jeremy, creator of our Dreamsicle Cream Ale kit, brew a 10 gallon batch of the beer.
He won 1st place in the Specialty Ale category in the 2016 Indiana Brewer’s Cup with this beer, which we turned into a beer kit. While the kit version is toned-down, we include some brewer’s notes on how Jeremy brews his award-winning version. During Big Brew Day on May 6th 2017, Jeremy gave a live brewing demonstration of his techniques. We documented his process to show everyone how this delicious orange-cream beer is made!

For this brew, Jeremy did a 10 gallon extract batch (the extract version is actually what won in the Brewer’s Cup!) After having brewed this beer multiple times over the course of a few years, Jeremy has found that a good orange to wort ratio is one orange per gallon of wort. plus the zest of one orange per 5 gallon batch. The extra orange is zested the night before, and the zest frozen to burst the cell walls and release a ton of orange goodness.

Starting at 30 minutes left in the boil, Jeremy begins zesting the orange directly over the boil, in order to fully capture all the oils from the oranges. Once he is finished zesting the first orange, he opens the fruit up with a knife or his thumb and drops it in the boil, proceeding to do this with the remaining oranges until all the fruit is zested and floating in the wort. When the wort is finished boiling, the zest from the night before is added to the boil right at flameout. That’s it!

To make a vanilla tincture that is added at kegging or bottling time, you will use two vanilla beans per five gallons. Jeremy cuts the ends off and then cuts the bean in half, first in the center and then lengthwise down the bean, which should allow the bean to be opened. Using a knife or a spoon, you can scrape out the innards of the vanilla bean. Add this material, as well as the bean pods, into a vessel to soak with vodka. Jeremy, after much trial and error, likes to soak this in 8 oz of vodka for two weeks. He usually makes the tincture on brew day, and allows it to set for two weeks before straining into the bottling bucket or the keg.

There you have it! One last tip from Jeremy: he strongly suggests trying one of the oranges that has been floating in the sweet wort. Cheers and Happy Brewing!

  • Daryl

    Can a high quality vanilla extract be used in place of the homemade vanilla tincture? If so, what amount of vanilla would you use?

    • Wes Martin

      Daryl, Wes here with Great Fermentations. Thank you for your question! I spoke to Jeremy about this, and he says that yes, you could use vanilla extract in place of the homemade vanilla tincture. However, he said to make sure it is a pure vanilla extract as opposed to vanillin. The procedure to add should be the same, but as the store bought extract is probably going to be more potent, you will probably need less. What Jeremy and myself would suggest would be to start with a smaller amount and add to taste. Maybe start with 1 or 2 oz, see how that does, and build up from there. I hope this helps! Cheers, Wes

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