First Tasting: American Amber Ale (Beer #32)

February 13, 2012 by Jack

My second attempt at brewing the American Amber Ale recipe from Brewing Classic Styles has been in the keg for one week. Time for a taste!

Amber to light red in color. Hazy. Huge, fluffy, buttercream-colored head that lasts forever. Abundant lacing.

Classic american hop aromas are the first thing you smell. Citrus dominates with notable almost-pine-like resin. Floral. Sweet caramel/toffee maltiness backs up the moderate levels of bright, fresh hoppiness. No diacetyl. Very little esters.

Citrusey hop character layered atop a somewhat sweet caramel maltiness. Firm but not overwhelming hop bitterness. Long-lasting hop flavor on the finish. Finish is rather dry. Caramel malt flavor could be more pronounced, but too much would risk exiting the classic style and drifting towards a West Coast Red.

Light-medium body. Should be a little fuller-bodied. Moderate carbonation. No astringency. Alcohol is well masked, but finishes slightly warm. No fusels.

Overall Impression
I am in love with this beer. I was excited to brew it again because the batch I brewed a year ago was very enjoyable. My one niggle last year was that it wasn’t hoppy enough. My personal preference for American ales is that they have firm bitterness – not taste bud killers, just firm enough to give them some backbone – and they should burst with hop aroma and flavor.

Last year’s batch was plenty bitter and the malt & hop flavor were good, but there was no bright hop aroma. I rectified that this time by dry hopping with just a wee bit of the flavor & aroma hops for five days (7g each of Cascade & Centennial pellets). The end result is an example of one of my favorite styles of beer that I look forward to drinking. I tend to be unhappy with my beers more often than not, but this is not one of those cases. I will likely brew this recipe again and again.

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