Astro Amber Ale

Tonight, I decided to try for an amber ale. My buddy Steve came over to assist (in his first brewing experience ever – wow, is he brave!), and we had a great time. The ingredients I had at home lent themselves well to an amber ale (and I was in the mood for one, too), so I did a little searching on-line to find a good base recipe. Once I had that in hand, time to get creative! Here’s the recipe I concocted:

Basic ingredients
6.6 lbs Briess Sparkling Amber Liquid Malt
1 lb. dry light malt
8 oz. crushed crystal malt, 40°L
4 oz. crushed crystal malt, 80°L
2 oz. carapils malt
1 oz. crushed chocolate malt
1 oz. whole Cascade hops (South Dakota grown)
1 oz. whole Sterling hops (South Dakota grown)
0.5 oz. whole Hallertauer hops (South Dakota grown)
1 packet Muntons Active Brewing Yeast, prepared according to package directions

Here’s what I did:

  1. Steeped crystal malt, carapils malt, and chocolate malt in 2.5 gallons of water at ~155°F for 45 minutes
  2. Sparged malts with 0.5 gallons of water at ~155°F
  3. Heated the tea to a boil, and added the liquid malt extract and then the dry malt extract, and then added the Cascade hops
  4. Boiled for 45 minutes, and then added the Sterling hops
  5. Boiled for 15 minutes, and then added the Hallertauer hops
  6. Removed from heat, removed Cascade and Sterling hops, and then cooled using my cooling coil system (nice!)
  7. Once the wort was cooled down to ~70°F, I decanted it into the primary fermenter and topped up to 5 gallons with chilled distilled water
  8. I added the yeast, sealed up the system, and let it get on to fermenting!

The starting gravity was 1.052, indicating a potential alcohol content of around 6.8 percent. Assuming typical yield, this tasty amber ale will probably end up around 5 percent alcohol by volume. The wort has a nice reddish brown hue right now, and I expect it to lighten up some as the various proteins settle out. Next weekend, I’ll transfer it over to the secondary fermenter and let the whole mess condition over the Christmas holiday.

And of course, here’s the requisite picture of the wort: