Well, two things to take home from this beer. First, I need to spend more time with crystal malts. This beer is excellent. Second, after having written off Safale US-05 just one day before, while trying a slightly experimental IPA, I think it is the perfect yeast for this beer. The other beer I refer to is an IPA that I brewed with my 5 gallon partner to use up all our hops. It had Belgian Pale malt, a significant amount of Munich Malt and Wheat. That beer tasted “hollow” for lack of a better description. It was all hop bitterness and nothing to hold it up. I think that US-05, being so clean, almost anonymously so needs some crystal-derived sweetness to support the hops. Mitch Steele has strongly discouraged the use of a lot of crystal in IPA, and for our all-Citra beer it worked- the WLP-007 provided a lot of character for the hops to interact with. This Amber had aroma malt, crystal 60 and a little Special B, and I feel like it’s a beer that shares a soul with Sierra Nevada. It has just that classic west coast flavour. If I were to change anything about this beer, it would be to dryhop with Cascade. I specifically avoided dryhopping and thus made a beer that is really exactly what I was hoping for. That feels good. However, this beer would be next level with an extra hit of grapefruit in the nose. I will be making this again.
Update, 15/11/2014 My homebrewing partner with whom I make 5 gallon batches finally got to tatse this over the weekend and declared in the best beer either of us had ever made!