Cheeky Blonde, Anyone?

Work’s been busy recently so I haven’t had much time to blog anything, but here’s a recipe inspired by Belgian Blonde Ales which I brewed up today whilst working from home. Sorry – I meant brewed during a recent unspecified period of free time and certainly not in between odd tasks whilst working from home. That would be cheeky.

I wanted something with quite full mouthfeel with detectable (but not cloying) sweetness, balanced with a relatively high level of bitterness for the style. I also wanted a kick from some additional spices which, along with the hops, would give the beer real character. I didn’t want it too strong for a Belgian-style Blonde, so the plan was that these additions would compensate for the resulting lower levels of esters from the yeast action.

I was really happy with a Tripel Karmeliet clone I adapted and brewed last year, and thought that basically I could play around with the proportions of the ingredients for that and come up with something close to the beer I was imagining. The final recipe is below.

Probably won’t be exactly like this. Might be better!


Cheeky Blonde OG 1054    23l      30 IBU

Grain bill

Lager Malt          4500g  (could substitute with Pale or Pilsner)

Wheat Malt         300g

Rolled Oats         200g

Other fermentables

Dextrose             170g


Use soft water

Bittering hops

Hallertau Hersbrucker 2.8% a      40g

Bouclier 7% a                       26g

You probably won’t be able to get hold of Bouclier so substitute with your favourite Styrian Golding (which will be just as good if not better).

Aroma hops

Saaz 24g

Other ingredients

Licorice root (crushed) 17g

Coriander seeds (crushed) 11g

Sweet orange peel 46g (get the best quality fresh orange you can find)

Peel from one lime


Mash all the grains in a single step infusion mash at perhaps half a degree hotter than you normally do (to ‘up’ the mouthfeel a shade). I didn’t bother with glucan / protein rests for the oats / wheat – at these quantities I didn’t think it would be worth the extra effort.

Sparge as usual but use 60% of the bittering hops for first wort hopping – this should ensure that the higher level of bitterness has a soft rather than harsh quality, more suitable to the style. You can add the dextrose before the boil or half way through, but if you choose the latter option you may wish to lower the bittering hops to compensate for the better utilisation at lower gravity at the start of the boil.


90 mins: remainder of bittering hops

75 mins: crushed licorice root

80 mins: aroma hops and copper finings

0 mins:   orange and lime peels, crushed coriander seeds

Leave for 20 mins then chill to 21 degrees. Run into fv, aerate as needed and pitch a suitable yeast (I used Fermentis T33).

My fridge is tied up lagering at the moment, so I’ve gone old skool and placed the fv in a builder’s bucket with water at 20C providing a warm jacket for the beer. A small immersion heater is clicking on and off to keep the temperature roughly correct.





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