Cream ale

Cream ale is a style of American beer which is light in color and well attenuated,[1][2] meaning drier and with a somewhat higher alcohol content than regular beer. First crafted in the mid-1800s at various breweries in the United States, cream ale remained a very localized form with different styles until the early 20th century. During Prohibition in the United States, a great number of Canadian brewers took up brewing cream ale, refining it to some degree. Following the end of Prohibition, cream ale from Canada became popular in the United States and the style was produced anew in both nations.[3]

Cream ale[1]
Country of originUnited States
Yeast typeTop-fermenting
Alcohol by volume4.2–5.6%
Color (SRM)2.5–5
Bitterness (IBU)8–20
Original gravity1.042–1.055
Final gravity1.006–1.012
Malt percentage60–100%


Cream ale is related to pale lager. They are generally brewed to be light and refreshing with a straw to pale golden color. Hop and malt flavor is usually subdued but like all beer styles it is open to individual interpretation, so some breweries give them a more assertive character. Despite the name, cream ales do not contain any dairy products.

While cream ales are top-fermented ales, they typically undergo an extended period of cold-conditioning or lagering after primary fermentation is complete. This reduces fruity esters and gives the beer a cleaner flavor. Some examples also have a lager yeast added for the cold-conditioning stage or are mixtures of ales and lagers. Adjuncts such as corn and rice are used to lighten the body and flavor, although all-malt examples are available from many craft brewers.


See also


  1. "6A. Cream Ale". 2008 BJCP Style Guidelines. Beer Judge Certification Program. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  2. "Cream Ale". Beeradvocate. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  3. "Cream Ale". HomeBrewTalk. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017.
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