Originally Posted by YooperBrew
I think you've got it underhopped, and too much caramel and honey malt (I know, I already said that- sorry!).
A good amber is like a malty pale ale. Not sweet, but not overly hoppy either.
Yoop (et al),
Have a look at my HBT Wiki article
on AAA. The salient point I'm trying to make is that Crystal makes it AAA. Not "malty", like Munich or Biscuit or decoction, but Crystal
"Add some 80L crystal to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and you not only have a different beer, but a different style
of beer." (emphasis mine)
Me, I'd advise subbing Light for the Amber extract and adding a half-pound of 80L Crystal to the 40L. 10-15% of the grist should be Crystal malts, depending on the hops schedule; less hops, less Crystal. Use American ingredients, not European, because this is a distinctly American style; Cascades or some other easily-discernible citrusy hops are pretty much required, IMO.
Honey malt, I agree - I don't like it in this style. Best to keep it simple - Pale/Light malt/extract, a couple different degrees of Crystal malt, maybe a touch
of roasted barley for color only, some "C" hops, and S-05 or some other American Ale yeast. Call it a day.