Monday, February 2, 2015

Amber Ale

This week, I'm presenting the recipe and review for one of my very own beers. If you happen to be into the ancient and wonderful art of zymurgy, then feel free to give the recipe a go. Let me know how it turns out.

Amber Ale

Batch size: 5 gallons

Grain bill:
5 pounds Pale Malt
5 pounds Vienna Malt
2 pounds Victory Malt
2 pounds Malted Wheat

Mash Schedule: 90 minute, single-infusion mash at a temperature of 152°F with a mash ratio of 1 quart of water per pound of grain.

Hop Schedule:
1 oz Cristal Pellet Hops (10% Alpha Acid) 90 minutes.
1/2 oz Falconer's Flight pellets (5% Alpha Acid) 90 minutes
1/2 oz Falconer's Flight pellets (5% Alpha Acid) steeped for 10 minutes at flame-out, before chilling.

1 package US-05 dry American ale yeast combined with 1 package S-04 dry English ale yeast, rehydrated.

Fermented for one week in primary, then transferred to a secondary fermenter and conditioned for two weeks before bottling with 3/4 cup of corn sugar for natural carbonation.

Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.0128
Approximate ABV; 6%
IBU: 51.7

This beer looks like: a nice, somewhat murky (on account of the wheat) amber color. Exhibits a fairly dense, white head with decent retention.

...smells like: pine needles, with a little bit of pineapple and a hint of yeasty funk from the English ale yeast.

...tastes like: a mild hop bitterness with a bit of a grassy character at first, but smooths out into a nice malty character with a crisp mouthfeel. ultimately like: a beer that's good and drinkable, just how I like it.


  1. From someone who has been doing the "easy-mode" Mr. Beer already made hopped malt extract style of beer brewing, how hard would you say it is to get into doing the real thing?

    1. Hmm... I'd say medium easy. Mostly the difficulty is in assembling the equipment. The actual process is not much harder than making a really involved soup--though with a lot of cleanup involved. A good intermediate step is to try designing an extract recipe yourself. This wouldn't have to be too difficult--5-6 lbs of light or amber dry malt extract and a couple ounces of hops and a packet of dry yeast and you're on your way.

      If you haven't read it already, I'd recommend John Palmer's How to Brew:

      The online version is abridged, but completely free. It breaks down all the different difficulty levels, equipment, procedures, and science in a very approachable way. I highly recommend it.

      My other go-to resources are my copies of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and The Homebrewer's Companion by Charlie Papazian. Similar deal, but you'd have to spend money.

      I can also do a more in-depth walk-through of my process next time I brew, if you like.