Tag Archives: amber

KISS Amber extract ale

The name almost says it all.  The malt bill is quite simple:

  • 3 lbs Amber Extract

The hops bill is also very simple:

  • 0.5 oz cascade at 60
  • 2 oz cascade at FO

2 gallon batch. American ale II yeast used.

The primary purpose of this beer is to test straight amber extract and see what it’s like on its own.  This is part of my “not regurgitating standard advice when you haven’t actually tried it yourself” campaign.

I plan to keep brewing stuff with amber and dark and extra-dark extracts too, because I don’t believe that everything extract needs to be done with extra-light + steeping grains.  It’s ok to get some of your color from extracts. However, we’re going to see real soon just how much other than color this particular extract added to the beer.\

I suppose this is a smash beer too. Can’t have too many smashes!

I may dry hop it, we’ll see.


EDIT and update: well first test bottle popped. Great carbonation, great amber color (the amber extract straight up gives the perfect color for an amber ale). Oddly, a strangely wine-like flavor and aroma, not the cascade-bomb amber I expected. Not sure what’s up with it, but hey, it’s still tasty beer!  Definitely confused on the wine-like qualities tho. I’ll have to make another similar brew and see what happens.

Mini-Batch of Weird Saison-ish extract/mini-mash Beer Strangeness

Decided to try a mini-batch of weird beer today in my old Mr Beer keg, approximately 2.4 gallons.  Used the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb 6-row
  • 8 oz maris otter
  • 4 oz caramel 20
  • 4 oz caramel 60
  • 4 oz flaked corn
  • 0.9 oz honey malt
  • 2 lbs Amber Dry Extract (Munton’s)


  • 1 oz willamette mash hop
  • 0.5 oz tettnanger 60 minutes
  • 1.5 oz tettnanger 1 minute


  • campden (to guard against chloramines in water)


  • T-58 saison yeast

I honestly have no idea what the heck I’ve made here.  It did taste, smell, and look like it’ll probably become beer after it’s done fermenting!  But we’ll find out in about a month!

UPDATE: it’s ready, and it’s delicious!!  Very saison-y but not at all dry (which is a little odd, but hey, it works).  Next up for the mini-batches will be something along these lines, but with extra-dark Munton’s extract!

American Amber with Sweet Orange Peel and Fuggles

Well I’ve now moved to TX, and this will be my first batch using my new freezer-chest and Johnson temperature controller, plus outdoor turkey fryer heating setup!   This will be an all-grain batch.  I’m shooting for a pretty tasty but non-bitter, non-threatening 4 gallon batch of American Amber ale, with a touch of sweet orange peel for just a touch of that Grand Marnier flavor.  I think this will make a good Orange Amber, so let’s find out!

UPDATE: Brewed 12-2-12.  Made some slight adjustments to the recipe.

4 gallon batch

7.0 lbs. pale malt (2-row)
6 oz carared
6 oz caraamber
2 oz carafa III
3 oz chocolate

Mash temp 154


1 oz fuggles at 30
1 oz fuggles at 10
1 oz fuggles at 5
1 oz fuggles at 0

1/8 tsp Irish moss fining agent at 15 min
1/8 tsp yeast nutrient at 15 min

1 oz sweet orange peel at 5 minutes**, removed before fermentation

S-04 yeast, rehydrated

6 gallons bottled spring water***

OG 1.052
IBU 26.2
SRM 15.4
ABV 5.0%

*all hops are leaf, and in nylon paint bags (I have plenty of paint bags)
**orange peel also in nylon paint bags
***note: the water at the brewing location has a funky chemical smell to me. I want to brew and I’m not sure about the water yet, so six bucks worth of spring water will be used on this batch until I learn more
NOTE: This is my first batch with my new turkey-fryer outdoor brewing setup, and with my freezer chest w/Johnson controller for temperature control.  Freezer is set up and working at 66F.  Turkey fryer pot must be seasoned first by boiling water in it first, which will be done!  I am looking for a 10+ gallon brewpot, but for now I’m using what I have and thus will continue brewing four gallon batches for now.


  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. reconstitute dry yeast using 95F boiled spring water and allow to cool to room temperature
  4. Add grains to mash tun
  5. bring 3 gallon spring water to 169 F
  6. Add 2 3/4 gallons of 168F spring water to mash tun on top of grains, then stir well
  7. add more water to boil pot, bring to near 172F and hold for sparging
  8. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash.  Once again, this has been pretty spot-on the last few batches, so I don’t anticipate having to boil extra water, but I will be ready just in case
  9. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 154F
  10. mash for 60 minutes at 154F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. slowly drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 1.6 gallons 172F water (adjusted as needed)
  17. stir well, let sit at least 10 minutes
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 1.6 gallons 172F water to mash tun (adjusted as needed)
  22. stir well, let sit at least 10 minutes
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot, filled with hot water
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, boil 30 minutes
  29. at 30 minutes, add 28g Fuggles leaf hops in nylon paint bag
  30. during boiling, skim off hot break as needed
  31. at 25 minutes, add about 1/8 tsp Wyeast nutrient blend to a small amount of spring water and dissolve
  32. add nutrient blend at 20 minute mark
  33. add 1/8 tsp Irish moss powder at 20 minute mark
  34. add 1 oz Fuggles leaf hops in nylon paint bag at 10 minutes
  35. add 1 oz Fuggles leaf hops in nylon paint bag at 5 minutes
  36. add 1 oz sweet orange peel in nylon paint bag at 5 minutes
  37. add 1 oz Fuggles leaf hops in nylon paint bag at 0 minutes
  38. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller and chill to 170 F
  39. let stand about 15 minutes hop rest, then turn wort chiller back on
  40. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  41. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  42. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  43. when wort gets to about 68F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate.  If necessary, clean strainer during process and re-sanitize to remove most of the trub before fermentation
  44. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  45. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  46. ensure wort is 68F or a little less before pitching yeast
  47. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  48. pitch yeast
  49. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  50. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  51. ferment in temperature controlled freezer chest for 14+ days at 66F
  52. take FG sample and bottle
  53. use 3.5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG: 1.050

Actual FG:

Notes: Actual color was a little darker than I had hoped.  We shall see what it looks like when it’s ready.  Overall brew day went well.

Green Flash! Hop Head Red

Well we do get a few great beers from Green Flash Brewery here, and that’s a good thing!  Very good stuff, especially today’s selection, Hop Head Red.  Rating a 100 for style, 98 overall on Ratebeer.com (with nearly a thousand ratings).

I find it a bit odd that Beeradvocate.com rates it just 85, but there are certainly caveats…

First off, BA rates it as an American IPA, not an amber ale.  There are bzillions of really great IPAs, so classifying this as an IPA will certainly give you a lower overall rating, especially given what I feel is a strong bias towards over-rating IPAs and RIS/American Doubles.  If  BA had listed this as an amber ale, it would certainly have done much better, and would likely be one of the top beers in the style.  Oh well, the intricacies of beer website rating nuances and limitations could be a completely different blog.

So…  let’s get to the beer!

Very nice looking. great head and lacing, red colored and clear.  Foamy lightly tan head lasts all the way to the end of the brew.

Smell and body are quite good, lots of hops, piney grapefruit overtaking a strong malty base.   The Amarillo dry hops are quite notable in the aroma.

The flavor is quite amply malty, this beer has a great grain bill and malt base, balanced perfectly with lots of pungent, tangy hop flavors.   To me, this is more of an amber ale than an IPA, but there’s certainly overlap.

Body is smooth and medium, almost chewy with a mellow yet bitter finish. Overall it’s amongst my favorite reds of all time, right up there with Stone Levitation.

Others that we can get around here are their double stout and their West Coast IPA, both delicious!  I’m anxious to try more from Green Flash in the future.

Seriously though, what do you expect from a San Diego brewery?  Excellence!


Deschutes! Let’s try one now… Hop In The Dark CDA

I’ve been loving Deschutes recently!  They’ve had a bunch of them available here locally, and I’ve liked every one I’ve tried so far.  Definitely a brewery you’ll want to try yourself when you get the chance.  From their excellent black butte porter to their lovely inversion IPA, their regular offerings are quite delicious!  I also got to try the organic green lakes amber ale recently, a very darn tasty amber!

Today I’m going to try Hop In The Dark CDA.

Appearance: Good looking. very black with a light brown head, great lacing.

Smell: Really nice, so hoppy I was blasted with hops just when I popped the top! In the glass it’s nicely hoppy too, with plenty of roasty malts too.

Taste: amazing!  Great job on this one. The roasted malts are well accented with grapefruit and floral notes, and a blasting array of perfectly proportioned hop flavors. Seriously, they hit the nail on the head with this CDA.

Body: Rich and thick, feels like a bigger beer than it is.  Roasty aftertaste is perfect for a CDA/Black IPA.

Overall: Amazing. Definitely a must try for hop lovers, CDA lovers, and even IPA lovers.

I’ve also got a Hop Henge IPA in the fridge.  I’ve had that one before, and it’s damn good!  Both Hop Henge and Hop In The Dark are good values too, at under six bucks a bomber.

Truthfully though, the next Deschutes I’m going to buy is another sixer of the green lakes amber ale.  Such a drinkable amber!


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