Assertive, confident, versatile—a well-crafted American amber ale is like a playground for your palate. Creative brewers across the world love them for their flexibility and deep character. The only problem is that with all of the styles to choose from and so many different ways to create a great beer, beginners are paralyzed when they first look for an American amber ale recipe, mostly because they are way too complex. We did some searching (soul searching too) and came up with the best one for beginners.
With this American amber ale recipe, in just a few weeks (or less), you’ll be sipping on a dark, malty, caramel-y work of art.
- 1 What is an American Amber Ale?
- 2 Here’s What You’ll Need To Make American Amber Ale
- 3 American Amber Ale Recipe Phases
- 4 What are You Waiting For?
What is an American Amber Ale?
Not quite an American brown ale and certainly not a bitter pale ale, an American amber ale is a blend of all things we love about beer. That smooth balance of hops, just the right amount of bitterness, fraught with borderline dangerous flavors that attack your senses without mercy— everything is blended into one distinct family of beer that is uniquely American.
In fact, the American amber ale is one of the few uniquely American beers (USA! USA!). At its most basic, it’s an American pale ale with more caramel. But that’s selling it way too short if you ask us.
It’s smooth amber-red hue and delightful flavors make it a favorite year round, which is why it’s perfect for brewing at home and storing in the fridge.
This recipe is based off the most popular homebrewing style (see this page for more beer styles)
- Brewing Gravity: 1.60
- Batch: 5 gallons
- Brewing Method: Extract (you can brew all-grain, but that’s a lot more difficult and not recommended for beginners)
- Time : ~4 weeks
Here’s What You’ll Need To Make American Amber Ale
We wanted to keep this one fairly simple. You won’t need too much to brew. We recommend crystal malts (sometimes called caramel malts).
Helpful Vocab: “L” or “lovibond” refers to the color of the malt. The lower the number the lighter the color, and the lower impact on flavor.
- Crystal 10L: 14 oz.
- Crystal 60L: 7oz.
- Black Patent Malt: 1.75 oz.
- Pale Ale Malt Extract: 7 lbs.
- Brown Cane Sugar: 7 oz.
- The aim for any amber ale is to have a good balance between malt and hops, but we love when there’s a strong hops (American hops!) flavor.
Helpful Vocab : “AA” stands for alpha acids. They’re kind of important seeing as they basically produce the beer.
- Centennial 10.6% AA: 6 oz.
- Cascade 8.6% AA Whole: 1 oz.
- Cascade 8.6% AA Whole (added at flameout): 1 oz.
- Wyeast 1272 American Ale II
If you’re familiar with extract brewing, then this will be pretty easy. Here’s what you’ll need to brew the beer:
- 1x Brew Kettle : For boiling the water. We recommend an 8-gallon kettle.
- 1x Fermentation Bucket : Pretty self explanatory. Make sure this bucket comes with an airlock.
Optional (but recommended) : a wort chiller will make your life way easier. You could just give your wort an ice bath, but a chiller will cool the wort much more quickly and decrease your workload (brewing breaks quite a sweat!).
American Amber Ale Recipe Phases
Phase 1: Boiling and Adding the Steeping Tea, Malt, and Sugar
Start by putting your specialty malts in a mesh bag. Now fill up a kettle with 2 gallons of water, and let’s get to it.
- Heat your water to 170℉ and add the mesh bag
- Let the bag steep for one hour (this will be your “steeping tea”)
- Boil 2 gallons of water and add the steeping tea
- Slowly add the liquid malt extract and sugar
- Fill to 7 gallons and bring to a boil again
Phase one is now complete and we can really start having fun!
Phase 2: Adding the Hops and Chilling the Wort
- Start a timer for 90 minutes
- Add the first ounce of Cascade hops at 20 minutes
- Add the next ounce of Cascade hops at “flameout” or when you turn the burner off
- Remove from the heat and cool the wort (either in an ice bath or wort chiller)
You’re almost there. Now let’s move on to phase 3.
Phase 3: Fermentation and Bottling
- Transfer the wort to a fermentation bucket and cool to 62℉
- Aerate the wort and pitch your yeast once the wort reaches 62℉
- Let the wort reach 66℉ and begin fermentation (completion of fermentation takes about a week)
- Lower the temperature to 38℉
- Keg or bottle the batch
From here, just wait 1 week (keg) or 3 weeks (bottle) depending on which method you choose.
What are You Waiting For?
This amber ale is 100% easy, 100% delicious, and 100% made-in-America (we had to, sorry!). At 52 Brews, we have made this delicious goodness so much that we share it with our friends and family all the time. Now you can invite friends over to philosophize, scream at teams of guys throwing an oblong ball across a field, and drink some delicious, home brewed ale. Trust us, this is WAY easier than you think it is.
Let us know how it turned out.
If you want to get more tips on how to brew the perfect batch of beer, check out this simple guide on home brewing: Beer Brewing Made Easy. You’ll surely find something for you here whether you’re a complete beginner or a beer brewing expert.