Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Brew Day: American Amber Bitter

With the success of my recent batch of amber ale, I thought I would follow it up with a similar recipe. Looking around the web to see what other people were using in their amber ales, I noticed that many of the recipes were virtually the same. .. it almost seems as if Jamil Z's recipe has become de rigueur for the BJCP style. But I want something a little bit different. The malt bill for this beer is nothing that unusual; pale malt (couldn't find any scarlett 2-row), munich, with some medium and dark crystal. And a dose of pale chocolate for color. Hop wise, I really enjoyed the northern brewer and cascade combo in my Cali common and as I have a pound of VERY aromatic Centennial-Type hops that need using, I'll incorporate all three varieties. I've never used Centennial-Type before, but apparently they are a mix of 70% cascade and 30% columbus. Should be interesting. As for the yeast, I have been wanting to try some Bedford Bitter yeast in a hoppy American style beer for a while now, so I'll give it a try. 

2XA Bitter : American Amber Ale

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.60
Anticipated OG: 1.054
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Anticipated SRM: 14
Anticipated IBU: 37
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

81.4% - 7.0 lbs. Pale Malt
8.7%   - 0.75 lbs. Munich
5.8%   - 0.50 lbs. Crystal 60L
2.9%   - 0.25 lbs. Crystal 120L
1.2%   - 0.10 lbs. Pale Chocolate

0.75 oz. Northern Brewer @ 60 min for 22 IBU
0.50 oz. Centennial @ 15 min for 9 IBU
0.50 oz. Cascade @ 15 min for 6 IBU
1.00 oz. Centennial @ flameout
1.00 oz. Centennial-Type @ flameout
0.75 oz. Northern Brewer @ flameout
0.50 Centennial @ dryhop
0.50 Northern Brewer @ dryhop

Yeast: WhiteLabs 006 Bedford Bitter
Brewed on 19 August


  1. Hey Will, I really like your blog, and I just wanted to let you know that I brewed your dark mild from february 2011. I brewed it about two months ago and it tastes awesome. For such a low abv beer, there are so many complexities.

    What would happen if I raised the abv to 5%? What would that do to the flavor of the beer?


    1. Glad to hear it turned out well for you. As for upping the abv, I've done this a bunch of times with my mild recipes and they've turned out well. A few extra lbs of basemalt in the same recipe results in more of a brown ale in terms of color and flavor... and scaling the recipe up makes a nice brown porter. I need to brew this beer again. Been a while!

  2. That is an astonishingly attractive beer.

  3. Will, have you ever had a good pint of cask Bass? It was one of the first real ales I ever had in the UK, and it made an impression on me. This was in a really nice pub near Newcastle upon Tyne. I know a lot of people dismiss it, but I have pretty fond memories of how good it was (maybe 2005 or so). There are a few recipes floating around for it, and the BYO one uses all Northern Brewer hops. What would you think about all Northern Brewer for a Bitter? Have you done it?

    Also I'm trying to find out if White Labs WLP023 and Wyeast WY1275 actually are the same strain as is often reported. I haven't been that impressed with WY1275, but WLP023 'Burton Ale' is the obvious choice for a Bass clone. Do you have any experience with it?

    Sorry if I'm dragging this off topic - the Northern Brewer in this recipe is what prompted my questions.

    Thanks, Sean

  4. Bass ale on cask sounds lovely, actually. Can't say I've had it that way, although I like a pint or two of the regular stuff when I can find it fresh. Goes great with a good burger. As for NB hops, I've not done that before, although I think it would turn out very nice. The flavor of the NB hops is rather unique - woody, minty, earthy - and it is a great counterpoint to the more floral and citrusy hops. I say go for it!

    Apparently, wlp023 and wy1275 are the same yeast as is wlp013 and wy1028. But here's the thing. wlp023 (Burton) is the Brakspear yeast from Henley on Thames in Oxfordshire. On the other hand, wlp013 London ale (wy1028) is the Worthington yeast from Burton upon Trent. From their fermentation characteristics, wlp013/wy1028 are more in line with a Burton yeast (dry, minerally) than wlp023/wy1275, which to my tastes is more similar to something like the Fullers yeast. If I were going to brew a bass clone, I'd go with the wlp013/1028 for sure.

  5. It never occurred to me to use Wy1028/wlp013, I guess the name threw me off (London Ale), but you are right, the Worthington white shield yeast should work really well for a Bass clone. I'll probably brew this one next week. I'm not that familiar with norther brewer myself so it will be interesting to see how it works out.

    Isn't it strange how these yeasts get named? How can something be simultaneously from Burton and Henley on Thames? Also I think White shield has been brewed almost everywhere in England except London, so why would that yeast be called 'London Ale' by Wyeast. I guess we need to brew with them to see what they throw up instead of blindly following the naming system like I was doing.

    Thanks for your help,


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