Tag Archives: Amber

Tasting – Just An Amber Ale

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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!

Like Just An Amber Ale

I was discussing beer with another ex-pat colleague last year, he’s in his late 40’s or early 50’s, and a solid Midwestern kind of guy. He had just been back to the States to visit family and asked me “Is it even possible to get like just an ‘amber ale’ anymore?” I asked him if it meant like the one’s he drank in the late 90’s, and he said that’s exactly what he meant. It’s true that the craft beer landscape is pretty unrecognizable compared to the micro-brewery boom and crash of the late 90’s, when I got into beer in college. While I became a hop-head pretty much right from the get-go I think I understood what he was talking about.

This beer is inspired by Mark, my American colleague. I am brewing it to help overcome¬†my fear of crystal malt and because I think it’s cool to brew something I normally wouldn’t even think twice about. I still utilized some newer school techniques like a small hop stand, but I will forgo a dryhop of any kind because I want this to be distinctly an amber, and not just a darker coloured pale ale.¬† Continue reading Like Just An Amber Ale