How to Brew: American Amber Ale

American Amber Ale

What is American Amber Ale? According to the BJCP guidelines (2021), it is “an amber, hoppy, moderate-strength American craft beer with a malty caramel flavor. The balance can vary quite a bit, with some versions being fairly malty and others being aggressively hoppy. Hoppy and bitter versions should not have clashing flavors with the caramel malt profile.”

BJCP Category19A
Original Gravity (OG)1.045–1.060
Final Gravity (FG)1.010–1.015
Color (EBC)19.7–33.5
Snapshot of BJCP vital stats

The first two amber ales I remember having were New Belgium’s Fat Tire and Bell’s Amber Ale. Beers that were easy-drinking and could be enjoyed year-round.

I’ve brewed a few different amber ales that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. For this brew, though, I decided to try a recipe from the one and only David Heath. His style guide and his tried-and-tested recipe can be found here.

One Way to Brew an American Amber Ale

I modified his recipe with ingredients that were available to me, as well as to my homebrewing set-up. The link to the recipe I brewed can be found here.

Learn more about the grain-to-glass process on our YouTube channel:

Batch Vital Stats

Color26.5 EBC (calculated by Brewfather)
Boil Time30 minutes
Batch Volume21 L
Batch vital statistics for the most recent brew of this recipe


Water Profile

Ca2+ (ppm)Mg2+ (ppm)Na+ (ppm)Cl (ppm)SO42- (ppm)HCO3 (ppm)pH

To reach the target water profile, I added half of a Campden tablet, 3.3 g calcium chloride, 1.9 g magnesium sulfate, 3.3 g calcium sulfate, and 2 mL lactic acid to my source water. After 10 minutes into the mash, I took an aliquot and cooled the sample to 16 °C. The pH measured 5.36.


803.8728.536Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter
100.4841.067BestMalz Munich
50.2420.5Great Western Crystal 2-row (148 EBC)
40.1940.428Briess Victory Malt
10.0480.1Briess Roasted Barley

Mash Profile

StepTemperature (°C)Temperature (°F)Time (minutes)
Saccharification Rest6715360


HopAlpha AcidTimeIBU
Magnum14.0%30 minutes15.2
Centennial7.4%15 minutes7.8
Amarillo7.6%15 minutes7.5
Centennial7.4%Hopstand @ 80 °C, 10 minutes2.2
Amarillo7.6%Hopstand @ 80 °C, 10 minutes2.1


For this recipe, I used Voss Kveik from Lallemand. The wort was chilled to 35 °C and transferred to a Kegland Fermzilla All Rounder 30L fermenter.

Fermentation Profile

StepTemperature (°C)Temperature (°F)Time/% of Fermentation
Primary35957 days

Fermentation temperature was maintained between 31 to 35 °C using a seedling heat mat and an insulated jacket over the fermenter. Fermentation was complete after 3 days, however, I left the beer for 7 days before transferring it to a keg.

Final gravity (FG) was 1.015, which gives 5.5% ABV and an attenuation of 73%. The final pH was 4.36 (16 °C).

Fermentation profile as recorded from iSpindel floating hydrometer.

Conditioning and Carbonation

After transferring the beer to a keg, I added gelatin for clarity. The keg was pressurized and kept at 12 psi CO2 at a temperature of 5 °C for 2 weeks.

Conditioning5 °C/41 °F14 days
Carbonation12 psi2.4 volumes of CO2

Recipe Impressions

With initial pouring, there is a small amount of chill haze that disappears once the beer reaches about 8 °C. There is a fluffy white head that persists throughout the entire drinking session, leaving a bit of lacing.

The aroma that comes through is a bit of orange and grapefruit with a touch of freshly baked bread. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth with a medium body. In the flavor, I get a bit of caramel sweetness and toasted bread. The hops leave enough bitterness to cut down some of the sweetness. As for hop flavor, I get orange, grapefruit, and a bit of pine in the background.

Overall, this is a nice, refreshing amber ale that I think would taste great during a tailgate in late summer/early autumn.

Do you enjoy amber ales? If so, let me know in the comments!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *