Bluegrass Benchmark Kentucky Common
Once a massively popular regional style centered around Louisville, this uniquely American beer style fell out of favor with the onset of Prohibition. Although a recognized beer style in modern times, its popularity is a mere shadow of its former self. Kentucky Common is brewed with the readily available ingredients of the time and place, and Bluegrass Benchmark is our reflection of this nearly forgotten piece of American beer history. Classic American base malt, corn, and a dash of both caramel and black malts coupled with distinct American and imported hops craft a beer worthy of its vintage forerunner.
Kentucky Common Brewing Notes:
- Style: Historical Beer: Kentucky Common
- Fermentation Range: 65-75°F
- Original Gravity: 1.051
- SRM: 13
- IBU: 18
- ABV: 5.3%
Kentucky Common Tasting Notes:
- Aroma: Low grainy character with low sweet caramel, a touch of roast, and medium-low slightly sweet corn aroma. Low spicy and floral hop presence. No sourness.
- Appearance: Deep amber hue with fair clarity and bright white foam.
- Flavor: Medium-low malt sweetness with underlying notes of caramel and faint roast. Moderate clean corn flavor. Neutral fermentation flavor profile with low esters and medium-low floral and spicy hop flavor characteristics. No sourness.
- Mouthfeel: Medium-light body with moderate creaminess
Our head development brewer, Brad, discusses the history of the Kentucky Common beer style and walks you through both an extract and all-grain brew day.
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Looking for the All-Grain Version?
|Total Time to Make||6 weeks|
|Beer Style||Kentucky Common|
|Beer Recipe Kit Instructions||Click here for recipe kit instructions|
Notes from Brad, Northern Brewer Head Brewer:
“The style now known as Kentucky Common was once an incredibly popular regional beer style and has since been picked up by modern craft brewers in an effort to resurrect the nearly extinct style. From the time period roughly between the end of the Civil War and leading up to Prohibition, this beer was far and away the most popular in the region around Louisville, Kentucky. Since the ingredients for this style were readily available at the time, they were (of course) used to create a beer in a cost-effective and quick manner. The style utilizes a fair amount of corn as an adjunct to boost the fermentable extract, and as a result, the classic American 6-row was used due to its high enzyme content enabling it to convert the non-enzymatic corn adjunct. Added to this grist was a bit of “pizzaz” in the form of caramel malt and black malt, likely because it was what was on hand at the time. Many liken this style to a darker cream ale, probably due to the fact that it is, in fact, very similar to a traditional cream ale, although some extra flavorful malts are added. This style also used American-grown hops, and in the case of this specific recipe, Cluster hops are utilized due to their wild popularity in American hop horticulture of the time period.
This recipe is a rather simple one to brew. For the all-grain brewer, a significant portion of the mash ingredients is (huskless) flaked corn (maize). Because of the lack of husk material when using corn, an extra mash filtering addition such as rice hulls is encouraged while brewing this recipe to ease in lautering to avoid a stuck mash. Other than that, have at it - mash, boil and ferment just as any other recipe and enjoy a refreshing piece of American brewing history once packaged and carbonated. If you are a malt extract brewer, no mashing is necessary of course and all the corn goodness is already prepared in the form of corn syrup. Although rather fermentable and high in simple sugars, pure corn syrup is essentially the malt extract analog to this common adjunct ingredient. Add it as you would any other extract to emulate the mashing of flaked corn in the all-grain version.”