Blonde Ale


Matching Hops Within Style

     Blonde Ale

There are many factors involved in home brewing beer such as the amount and type of malt, hops, water, temperature, fermentation temperatures and of course yeast.  When combined properly, the true characteristics and flavor will be displayed in that special brew.

Previously we worked on recipes for a SMASH (Single Malt Single Hop) beer to identify the flavor profile using one hop variety in the kettle.  Hop listings specify which ones are better suited for lagers while others would work best in ales.  Often tradition dictates their use as seen in old world versions and presently in Craft Beer production.

Since hops add bitterness, flavor and aroma in varying degrees it would seem reasonable to choose the proper ones.  These attributes are derived from compounds found in the hop cone Alpha and Beta acid oils.  Strength and quantity can vary.

Bitterness is achieved by controlled boiling to manipulate the three major contributors Cohumulone ( “unpleasant” )  Myrcene ( floral and citrus and pine Oh My ) and Humulene ( herbal or spicy am I ) levels that add to flavor and aroma.  For individual hops check out recent posts published by the distributor and growers.  Two other hop oils, caryophyllene and farnesene are also present in smaller percentages and could have an influence.


Pride and bragging rights have been formed as expert brewers combined hops of different strains to manage bitterness and style profiles. Huge collaborations produced so many unique blends that offer inspiration to anyone that seeks to brew.


Developing a system that successfully combines carefully chosen hops forming a fine balanced Blonde Ale always comes from experimenting and recording the recipes.  Mix and match hops or do a solo.

So many new hops are becoming available that have experimental numbers and names that need to be checked out.

Choosing hop combinations for any style of beer involves going to the chart and matching percentages value. Since Cohumulone is perceived by many brewers to impart an “unpleasant” bitterness to beer selecting and matching  ones with low levels would work well in a blonde ale.  Keep in mind that the use of high Cohumulone level hops  could bump up your Blonde to the likes of a  Pale Ale or IPA.

Pair up hops that match Cohumulone levels to avoid clashing aspects ruining an otherwise well made beer.



Blonde Ale Hops – values shown as median and generally accepted

Variety                Usage         Avg. %  Cohumulone   Myrcene    Humulene

Cascade               Dual Purpose                36                        53               13

First Gold             Dual Purpose                33                        28               22

Liberty                 Aroma                           27                        30               37

Magnum             Bittering                        26                        33               37

Northdown         Dual Purpose                28                        26               45

Nugget                Dual Purpose                27                        56               17

Santiam               Aroma                           23                        32               25

Sterling                Dual Purpose                25                        46               21

Strisselspalt         Aroma                           23                        26               21

Tettnanger (US)  Dual Purpose                23                        22               21

Ultra                    Aroma                           30                        30               34

Willamette          Aroma                           33                        50               25

Saaz  Cz             Aroma                         26                        23              43

The beer below scored a 37 in a BJCP Sanctioned Competition taking 2nd Place


       Blonde Ale              5 Gallon


10 #   2-Row malt

4 oz.  Caramel malt 30 °L

.5 oz.  German Magnum hops pellets            11.9 % AA

1 oz.  Czech Saaz pellets                               3.0 % AA

Mash    4 G. water at 164 °F in tun add grains to 155°F 60 min.

2 G. water 170 °F stir set 5 min.

Sparge   4 G. 170 °F water

Boil     60 min.

Hops  First addition          .5 oz.      Magnum                  @ 15 min.

Second                   1 oz.      Saaz                         @   end

O.G.  1.050               4 SRM           20  IBU’s         .4  BU:GU

Yeast   WLP008 East Coast Ale

Fermentation   65- 68 °F



Fridge _________________________________________________

Keg_______________________________________FG 1.008 

Notes  ______________________________________________________­­­­­­


5.5 % ABV

­­­­­­­ 79 % Efficiency  29 ppg

Apparent Attenuation   83 %


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