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American Amber recipe advice

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mikfire

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This started out as an Irish Red Ale. I found some recipes and then read up on the BJCP guide lines. I realized "[m]oderate caramel malt flavor and sweetness, occasionally with a buttered toast or toffee-like quality. Finishes with a light taste of roasted grain, which lends a characteristic dryness to the finish. Generally no flavor hops..." just isn't what I wanted.

After some research, I figured out what I really wanted was an American Amber. I checked out a few recipes on line and nothing really caught my eye.

I listened to Jamil's podcast on brewing West Coast style American Ambers. After some thought on what he was brewing and looking at the recipe, I decided it wasn't really what I wanted either. It was too big and I wasn't trying to brew anything near that hoppy.

I want a slightly large beer, so this is about 12 lb of grain for 5.5 gallons. My base malt is US 2-Row. This is an American style and I feel the base malt should reflect that. I am using a combination of Crystal 60 and 80 to get the color. I am specifically attempting to avoid the "bittersweet" flavors of the darker malts. Finally, I use a bit of Victory for chewiness.

I used the hops I have on hand. I am doing a FWH with Magnum to mellow the hop bite out a little bit, because that isn't what I want. I am using some late addition Willamette because .. um .. I have them and I want to. Finally, there is a Centennial addition right near flame out. I like Centennial, and I want as much of the flavor preserved as possible.

This is the recipe I put together, and would deeply appreciate any suggestions, feed back or pointers to better recipes. I would specifically like to make sure I will get the color I want.


Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated Color: 13.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 38.5 IBU
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------

10.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US
1.25 lb Victory Malt
0.75 lb Crystal Malt - 60L
0.50 lb Crystal Malt - 80L
0.50 oz Magnum [14.00 %](First Wort Hop)
0.75 oz Willamette [5.50 %] (15 min)
1.25 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (5 min)
1 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) Yeast

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 12.50 lb
----------------------------
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
60 min Add 15.63 qt of water at 74.4 C 66.8 C
 

Jamo99

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Looks good to me. Right around the high end for the american amber style, but not getting into the west coast version. The wiki for this style is very helpful for building an american amber recipe. Brew it up!
 

Coastarine

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I like it. I'm a fan of non-west coast ambers too. Just to cater to my taste, I'd probably get rid of that high a-acid 5min addition and just hit it with another oz of willamette right there, but then again I already have a recipe like that, but if that's what you want then go for it.
 

rasherb

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I just did a brown with 1# of victory--too much. Tastes like bread crust.

Check out Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster. It's a fabulous (imperial) amber.
Lots of crystal/caramel complexity with sweet malty munich.
Big Hoppy Monster

I like to put honey malt, munich, and at least a couple levels of crystal in my american ambers.
 

rasherb

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Also, Willamette and Magnum might not go well with Centennial. Crossing hop families like that might give you a "muddy" hop flavor.
 

h1tman

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That recipie looks pretty good:

I would drop the Willamette addition and drop the victory to around 3/4 lb.

Also, an ounce of a dark malt would help get that deep red color. I'm thinking 1oz. of chocolate that has been ground really fine. 1oz shouldn't add much in the way of bittersweet flavor.

Let us know how it turns out.
 
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mikfire

mikfire

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Thanks all for the feed back. I need to work the recipe a little bit more. I am going to reduce the Victory a little.

I also need to figure out the hops better. I usually split hops into three different flavors; there is the citrus, the grassy and then the bitter. I am trying to get all three present and balanced in this beer. I may just risk the "muddy" to see if it works.
 

the_bird

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You know what I love in American Ambers?

Munich malt. Lots of it. Like, three pounds. Gives a warmth and smoothness and a great malt background without adding an excess of sweetness. That and some Amarillo hops, either by themselves or blended with Cascade/Centennial. Gravity around 1.05 or so - not too big, not too little - some late additions for flavor, but not an excess - all in balance. I don't know if I ever posted my Temptation Red recipe, if I did that's one of the better beers I've made, and it's very much in that vein.
 

Malticulous

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I'd just put the Magnum in at 60. Magnum doe's not need toned down any, it's almost too mellow. Also a FWH can be treated more as a 20 min flavor addition. Magnum is lacking in flavor. Maybe move some Willamette to FWH.
 
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mikfire

mikfire

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I'd just put the Magnum in at 60. Magnum doe's not need toned down any, it's almost too mellow. Also a FWH can be treated more as a 20 min flavor addition. Magnum is lacking in flavor. Maybe move some Willamette to FWH.
I forgot to mention I had already decided to move the Magnum out of the FWH. An interesting idea to move the Willamette there. Definitely worth considering. Thanks.
 
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mikfire

mikfire

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Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Boil Size: 6.92 gal
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated Color: 13.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 39.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
10.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row)
1.00 lb Crystal Malt - 60L
0.50 lb Crystal Malt - 80L
0.50 lb Victory Malt
0.75 oz Magnum [12.50 %] (60 min)
0.50 oz Willamette [5.50 %] (FWH)
0.75 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (5 min)
1 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001)

60 min mash at 66.8 C

is boiling as I type. I will post pictures and a rating of the final brew.

Thanks again everybody for the advice and input.
 

DinoCow

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Hey guys,

I'm a newcomer here on this forum and a newcomer into the homebrewing world. I have my first-ever homebrew, an American Pale Ale, fermenting away in my closet and I'm rounding up ideas for my next batch. I am interested in brewing an American Amber Ale and the OP's description of this beer sounded like what I'm looking for. I realize an Amber Ale is close to a Pale Ale, but I like the both styles and will gladly drink 10 gallons without complaint (not all at once, though.) Also, I am looking for an amber ale with less hop character than the pale ale...

I'd love to try out the recipe, but unfortunately, I don't have the guts to go all-grain yet. Any recommendations on how to make this into an extract recipe?

Thanks.
 

Southwood

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I'd love to try out the recipe, but unfortunately, I don't have the guts to go all-grain yet. Any recommendations on how to make this into an extract recipe?

This is an easy style to do as a mini-mash. Check out this article for info on that. Just replace the 2-row with 6-7 lbs Dry light extract and keep the specialty grains the same.

I used this technique for Jamil's recipe (before I started AG), and it was one of my best beers yet.
 
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mikfire

mikfire

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I brewed this up three weeks ago and let it sit 3 weeks in the primary. I bottled yesterday and asked SWMBO to take some pictures of the samples. Alas, SWMBO has a very nice camera and all you can see is the crap floating in the glass. But the color is there.


I am thinking it needed a dry hop, but can be hard to tell from the green beer.
 

DinoCow

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Cool! It does have a nice color. Congratulations! I'm waiting to hear how it tastes. I'm going off your recipe and tweaking it a bit into an extract recipe (as well as adding some of my own little twists.) I'll keep you posted when I brew it. :D

And thanks for the link, Southwood. That article has me seriously thinking about jumping into partial mashing soon. (I still want to try another all-extract or two in order to have a firm grasp on my brewing procedures without stressing too much.) If I'm doing 2.5 Gallon batches, can I cut everything in that article in half and get the same results?

Reading that article actually brought something to mind... specialty grains. In mikfire's recipe, he used Crystal and Victory malts. I know the crystal malts can be steeped before adding malt extract. Is it the same with Victory? How about Melanoidin, Chocolate, Special B & Roasted Barley? Are those all specialty grains as well? Can they be steeped or do they have to be added to a mash? (I'm pretty new to homebrewing, by the way. Please tell me if I'm not using some of the terms properly. :D )
 

Bob

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Search the HBT Wiki for "American Amber Ale." I did a pretty comprehansive writeup of the basic style and how to brew it. I did that largely to help prevent reinventing the wheel. ;)

The most important thing to remember is this: If you add some 80L Crystal malt to Sierra Nevada, you not only get a different beer, you get a different style of beer. You go from APA to AAA. Like that. [snaps fingers]

I don't like lots of Munich in my AAA. I like a broad spectrum of darker Crystal malts, like a mix of 40, 80 and 120, on a US 2-row base. I think AAA benefits more from caramelly crystal-malt notes than Munich maltiness, and that the crystal-malt profile helps differentiate AAA from other amber ale styles like Altbier and Irish Red.

Then it's a balancing bitterness and American hops flavor/aroma. I prefer Willamette, mainly because I'm sick to frelling death of orange and tangerine flavors in my beer, but YMMV. Cascades is popular.

Bob (whose second-fave style is AAA)
 

Malticulous

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My last batch of Amber went fast. I could not stop myself from drinking it and I was not alone.

I believe it was Gordon Strong who mentioned that what really separates American Blond, Pale and Amber is body and dryness that comes mostly from the use of crystal malt. If your entering competitions it would be very important to get it right to style.

I think some brew day I will have to dump in a few pounds of Munich, a once extra hops and call it Imperial Mojave. For me it's all about finding out what I like and doing it my way. Not to dog on the BJCP in any way because they are the best we have. Some great beers don't fit style guidelines. Double Ambers seem to be getting very popular.
:mug:
 

the_bird

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Search the HBT Wiki for "American Amber Ale." I did a pretty comprehansive writeup of the basic style and how to brew it. I did that largely to help prevent reinventing the wheel. ;)

The most important thing to remember is this: If you add some 80L Crystal malt to Sierra Nevada, you not only get a different beer, you get a different style of beer. You go from APA to AAA. Like that. [snaps fingers]

I don't like lots of Munich in my AAA. I like a broad spectrum of darker Crystal malts, like a mix of 40, 80 and 120, on a US 2-row base. I think AAA benefits more from caramelly crystal-malt notes than Munich maltiness, and that the crystal-malt profile helps differentiate AAA from other amber ale styles like Altbier and Irish Red.

Then it's a balancing bitterness and American hops flavor/aroma. I prefer Willamette, mainly because I'm sick to frelling death of orange and tangerine flavors in my beer, but YMMV. Cascades is popular.

Bob (whose second-fave style is AAA)
See, I'm not a huge fan of using a lot of crystal malts. I love the munich for the flavor, but also because it doesn't leave the beer lacking in attenuation. I know that amber ales can (maybe should) be on the sweeter side - but that's not how I like 'em!

Drinking Troegs Amber Ale right now; that's a pretty nice example of an AAA that I can get into.
 

elproducto

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I made Tasty McDole's American Amber.. what a FABULOUS beer. So citrusy.
 
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