Beers should lean hoppy… No beers should be malty! Can’t we all just get along? A nice malty beer with about 35-45 IBUs can do wonders as far as drink-ability. Have one, have three! This time I’m brewing an Amber Ale that’s just squeaking by at about 12 SRM, the bottom range for the style.

Brewing an Amber Ale

I aimed for something a little less “caramelly”, but still very malty for this Amber ale. I also am adding in 37 IBUs to balance out the higher FG and maltiness. That said, this is still a malty beer, just with some hops added for balance.

42% – 5 pounds – Pale Malt
42% – 5 Pounds – Vienna Malt
6.3% – 0.75 Pounds – Crystal 15L
4.2% – 0.5 Pounds – Victory Malt
3% – 0.3 Pounds – Carapils
2.5% – 0.25 Pounds – Crystal 120

Mash at 156F for 1 hour. I mashed this a bit higher to get a little bit more body in the finished beer.

0.1 oz / gal – Willamette @ 60 minutes (9 IBUs)
0.1 oz / gal – Hallertau @ 60 minutes (7 IBUs)
0.1 oz / gal – Cascade @ 60 minutes (9 IBUs)

0.2 oz / gal – Willamette @ 10 minutes (6 IBUs)
0.1 oz / gal – Hallertau @ 10 minutes (3 IBUs)
0.1 oz / gal – Cascade @ 10 minutes (3 IBUs)

San Diego Super Yeast – 1L Starter

• Ferment at 66F – 1.5 weeks
• Cold Crash – 1.5 weeks @50F
• Bottle Condition 1 week.

1.053 / 1.014 / 5.1%

Amber Ale Brew Day:

Water Profile:
calcium: 86 ppm
sodium: 10 ppm
sulfate: 125 ppm
chloride: 75 ppm

The mash temp stayed between 156 and 158F. This was a little higher than I had planned initially, but the extra body from the higher FG might play well with this style. Just a happy little accident.

1.5 Weeks

I checked on the amber ale after 10 days of fermentation at 65F. The gravity was down to 1.014, which should be right around final based on the higher mash temperature and how that affects fermentability.

3 Weeks

After another 10 days at 50F (between 47 – 50F), I packaged the beer in bottles for a week or two of conditioning. The cooler second phase of the ferment (still took place in primary), really helped clear the beer out. After another week I’ll check the carbonation and add tasting notes.

8 Weeks

amber ale in glass

After about 4 weeks of bottle conditioning, I’ve reached the conclusion that at least half of the bottles were primed in a solution that didn’t get evenly distributed. Resulting so far in about 12 flat bottles, 2 gushers, and one slightly over-carbed bottle. I split my bottling into to back-to-back rounds (as my bottling bucket is 2.5 gallons). I’m hoping the second half was primed normally and will not have issues.

The flavor of this amber ale is actually very good, and very balanced. Most of the hop presence is aroma and the beer has a light, malty body with a somewhat thin mouthfeel. The bitterness comes in a little bit after you’ve swallowed. It’s reminiscent in that regard to how a Sam Adams Boston Lager presents its bitterness, subtle, but present in the aftertaste.

Amber Ales not your thing, but still looking for balance? Check out the ESB!

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