Tag Archives: amber

Another Rough Amber

Less Awesome Amber aleNose is faintly boozy on this one. A little malt there but not much.

The flavor is sweet and then finishes with the same bite as the last amber. I am holding the yeast responsible for this-two times in a row isn’t coincidence, especially when I’ve brought the malt sugars down.

It’s not undrinkable, though. It’s just not what I wanted and it doesn’t encourage more sips: it’s a One And Done (with this).

Brew Date: 8.12.18

Steeping grains
5 lb toasted pale
.75 lb Caramunich, Encore, Munich, Opal 44

Fermentables: 4 lb Light Malt Extract

Hops:  .72 oz US Fuggle, Loral @60

Yeast: Imperial Barbarian (3rd use)

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.01

Into secondary: 8/29
Bottle: 9/3

ABV: 8.8%

Finally: I’m going to be out of town for two weeks.

But not to worry! A friend has agreed to step in and provide content for me while I am gone. Yay, content!

So thanks to him, and I’ll be stepping back into the  saddle in 14 days!


Fizzy amber aleThe amber challenge continues!

The nose is rather nice: yeast oriented, it’s got a pleasant bread quality but it’s also allowing the malt to come through, too. It’s a very smooth nose too, the velvety quality coming through there: nothing sharp or dissuasive in it.

Flavor is pleasantly sweet; a bit like a fluffy piece of chocolate mousse. Lighter than-it’s not nearly chocolatey enough for that but it’s treading some similar water.

Now if only I could work out the carbonation. It’s not unpleasant but it just doesn’t fit the style. Getting a little further into the beer I might also be picking up a slight buttery quality? The darker malts and the effervesce make this not a problem but if I’d gotten the carbonation right, I might feel differently.

Brew date: 5.26.18

Steeping grains
4 lb Metolius
1 lb C 80, 2 row, Munich
.75 lb Vanora

Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

.75 oz Northern Brewer, Amarillo @60
.25 oz German N Brewer, Amarillo @5

Yeast: Imperial Barbarian

OG: 1.08

FG: 1.016

ABV: 8.7%

Velvet Elvis Amber

Homebrew amber aleI have to say, I think the amber ale project is coming along pretty well.

The malt shows up in the nose-velvety in its smoothness.The scents reside someplace between chocolate and caramel, a little toasty and a little sweet. Under that is a little yeasty quality, not enough to disrupt things but definitely there.

And it’s damn drinkable. Quaffable (which is a word that I love): I set this beer down and I already want to pick it up again. It’s not hop forward at all, which is proper to me and the sweeter flavors aren’t cloying either. The effervescence on the finish helps…and maybe there’s a hint of hop bitterness to keep it all in line.

This one is a winner.

Brew date: 4/22

5 lb pale
.75 lb biscuit, caramunich, and Munich malts
.5 carapils
.25 roasted barley

Fermentables: 5 lb Extra Light Malt Extract

.75 oz Loral, .66 oz US Fuggle @60
.25 oz Loral, .33 oz US Fuggle @5

Extras: 1/2 tsp Irish Moss@ 5

Yeast: Imperial Flagship

OG: 1.074

FG: 1.014

Bottled 5.20

ABV: 8.1%

Second Verse Not The First

2nd amber homebrewFor the second amber of the year, I’d say there’s a notable improvement!

The nose has a yeast scent, like bread dough. I like it-it’s not sour or off putting to me. There’s a sweetness there, perhaps due to the malt? Maybe just healthy yeast coming off where there isn’t a  lot of hops. Either way, it works.

It has some nice flavor, too. Caramel, but lightly so: this beer doesn’t taste or feel very dense. The effervescence pops on the finish, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it clears the palate, it does do a nice job of setting things up for another sip.

This beer is very, very drinkable and I can’t wait to try and replicate it.

Steeping grains
4 lb Metolius
1 bl C80
.75 lb Vanora
.75 lb Munich, 1lb 2 row

Fermentables: 5 lb EXLME

.5 oz Magnum, .25 oz Centennial @60
.5 oz Centennial, .25 oz Magnum @30
.26 oz Centennial, Magnum @ 5

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan (2nd use)

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.01

Bottle 4/15

ABV: 8%

Don’t Get Off The Boat

This amber ale is almost there.

It’s a solid enough beer but it tastes a little thin and that is because I added too much water to the wort after the brew.

See, I always have to add in some water because my brew kettle doesn’t hold five gallons of boiling liquid. It holds closer to four. So, I top the wort off and most of the time, that’s not a problem.

This time, however, I added in a bit too much water and that means that the malty qualities of this beer are muted, instead of prominent. An unfortunate mistake but one that is easy to fix and isn’t all that bad, honestly. Sure, the caramel notes of this amber aren’t as robust as I wish they were, but it’s not a bad beer by any means.

This is especially surprising as my notes remind me that this is a beer where I did have to add in a second yeast in order to get the batch fermenting. Mixing yeasts can have weird results but it looks like I got away with it this time!

Brew date:

2 lb pale wheat
3 lb Maris otter
1 lb 2 row
2 lb C120

Fermentables: 4 lb LME

1 oz Glacier, 1 oz Palisade @ 60
.5 oz Glacier, Palisade @30

Yeast: Wyeast American Ale 2
Had to add Windsor dry yeast after 24 hours

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.014

Secondary on 11.21

Bottled 12/5

Common Ales: Alaskan Amber

I didn’t even have to ask Alaksan brewing what their best selling ale was: they tell me on their web site that the Amber ale is their flagship. Problem solved! Plus, I even get to save some money for once, because the Amber is available in a handy 22oz bottle instead of having to buy a six pack.

But buying a six pack wouldn’t be so bad.

Caramel in the nose! That’s pretty exciting because it’s not hoppy. That this kind of variety exists at a grocery store is kind of remarkable.

The caramel flavor is right there in the middle too; a roasty caramel flavor, sweet but not cloy.

The finish is very bright; the bubbles are adept at sweeping nearly everything away. Nearly. After it’s all done, I’m noticing a biscuit flavor, just a little bit. The label says it’s an alt style and when I look at the style guidelines, it’s suggested that there should be an assertive hop bitterness but I’m not getting that at all.

I’m not complaining by any means. This beer probably a “take” on the style and what the brewers at Alaskan did to this beer I can’t say. But it retains it’s crisp finish (with biscuit) all the way to the end of the glass and I really see this beer as a great staple to the pub. There’s enough going on that I can drink it by itself but also nothing wrong with pairing this up with some nachos.


Common Ales: Full Sail Amber

Nobody at Full Sail got back to me about their best selling ale so it was a dealer’s choice moment. While there may be better known styles, (read: IPAs all day every day) I am a little tired of those styles. Time to have an amber instead!

It’s a malty ale, nose with a bit of a note like a lager, in a way. Almost funky but not exactly, is the best I can do here. The beer itself has a solid malt flavor but it isn’t too thick by any means. So what we have is a drinkable beer that feels like something that I would have with pub grub. I mean this in the best way: it’s got an exceptionally clean finish that should be able to take on any kind of salty, spicy, greasy munchies of your favorite spot.

Which means that this should be easy to find at any pub and worth a pint to wash down your burger.

Ambers can be  tricky to recommend, because they don’t have the same kind of flavor profile or visual familiarity as many other styles. Even so, I think this is a pretty good beer and a nice example of the style. It’s a good pairing for food and it’s a worthy beer that, again, I think should be a great ‘gateway’ ale.

On The Rail: Slingshot

Am I sleeping? Have I slept?

This bit from Fight Club is going through my head right now and should tell you where my brain is at. I’ve just come home from a trip to Seattle (which is why there was no post on Friday, sorry!) and I’m knackered. On the upside, after a road trip I never feel the need to make dinner, so I always take myself out. A tradition I picked up from my parents after camping trips.

I’m at the Slingshot for a beer and a sandwich. I walked here, just to give my legs some action after sitting and driving all morning and I feel dazed. Have I written here for this theme? I can’t remember.

I do recall that I haven’t had anything from Base Camp in awhile, so I get their NWFest Amber. It’s a beer I instantly want to make:  Malty with a crisp finish, there’s something spicy on the periphery of my tongue. I think that’s from the hops and I may have to do some research on the recipe for this one. A good amber isn’t always easy to find and I like this beer.

The rail here is cement, like the 1856, but it’s set at chest height so while it’s not very comfortable to write at (I feel like I have T-Rex arms) it IS pretty easy to lean on and enjoy my pint. The north corner of the rail is crowded and I’m closer to the south end, so I get to people watch a bit (as much as I can) given my ability to focus.

An older fellow comes in, sits at the south end of the bar and the bartender already knows what he wants. I love that, because it means that the Slingshot has become a neighborhood joint. Regulars with connections to the people who work here. That’s always cool.

Where I Want To Go: 13 Virtues

I almost hit a squirrel on my way here. It bolted out into traffic and as I swiftly hit the brakes, it doubled back, deciding that an encounter with my tires was against its best interest. This is a good thing. A little blessing in a year that has decided to emphasize the rough spots.

I’m in 13 Virtue’s tasting room, a cozy little space that is destined to be the start of some grand, open conspiracies; you know the kind, where everybody in the bar is talking about everything all at once. Good natured  shouting coupled with the occasional bleak joke, while all around in the restaurant everyone bellows nonsense.

Although the conspiracies are most likely to happen upstairs….oh yes. Let’s creep up there and trade wicked smiles, out of sight but not ear, so we know what we can get away with. Maybe sometime.

The Mildfire is a smoked amber: a delicate drink, sweet but light and with the smoke gently handled. I appreciate how carefully this beer was put together, the amber qualities enhanced instead of overwhelmed by the smoke. That takes some combination of practice, skill and probably patience that is to be lauded.

Don’t get me wrong; the smoke lingers. It’s the ghost whose presence is felt long after the initial impression is gone, though, easily swept away. But the easy banishment of that flavor is welcome, encouraging the next drink of beer and doesn’t take away from the nice qualities of the amber. I’m pleasantly surprised and definitely pleased.

The beer drinks slow, though. That may have to do with my tastes, however. I got a small glass and it was the correct choice. Not because it’s bad but because I can tell that I want to change the flavor profile soon. There’s a whole host of interesting ales to try and I’d like to see what else is going on.

Red Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair

On the upside; this beer is carbonated.

On the downside, there’s a…twinge of sour at the finish which is so inappropriate for an amber that I don’t even know where to begin.

I blame myself.

This beer is one of the first that I made using Star San as a sanitizer for use in secondary. I am pretty certain that I didn’t use that sanitizer properly and this allowed for a funkiness to get in the beer. Nothing too dramatic, nothing I can’t live with, but not one I’d gleefully share.

Brew Date: 4.19.14

Steeping Grains
2 lb C 80
2 LB Special B

Fermentables: 7 lb Light malt extract

.75 oz Columbus @60
.5 oz US Northern Brewer @60
.5 oz US Northern Brewer@30
.25 oz Ahtanum @30
.25 oz Columbus @ 15
.75 oz Ahtanum@15

Yeast: 3rd Wyeast use, done

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.022

ABV: 6.3%