When I go to my local watering hole and I step up to the bar to order, I always have a momentary adrenaline surge. In the few seconds before I speak the possibilities are limitless: I could have any beer on tap. But I know that as soon as I order a beer every door except one will close. There is tremendous pressure to make the right choice, and I usually find myself thinking, "Do I want a light beer or a dark beer?" Before I even scan the list of beers etched in many colors of chalk on the wall, I've limited my choices to light or dark, leaving out ambers and browns, the Goldilocks beers that are not too light and not too dark.
'all-grain' on Serious Eats
American Amber Ale is darker than a pale ale and lighter than a brown ale or porter. Aim for a nice balance between malt and hops, but don't be afraid to feature a strong hop flavor.
Whether you call it a Cascadian Dark, a Black IPA, or an American Black Ale, this beer is a new and unique American Ale style with forward hops and some dark malt. The style is not yet recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) but it is a popular entry as a "Specialty Beer" in homebrew competitions.
Two weeks ago I made the case for all-grain brewing and introduced the basics of building a mash tun. You may not have realized yet, but now that you have a mash tun (or will soon), you have suddenly become much more interested in malted barley. Today I want to show you how to get the best quality from your base malt.
Hamlet asked whether to be or not—an important question for someone whose uncle murdered his father then married his mother to become king. Homebrewers also have an existential question: to all-grain or to extract? The consequences are arguably less profound, but the choice impacts the entire approach to brewing.