American Amber Ale Recipe

Photo: Peter Reed

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. Here are the vitals:

Original Gravity: 1.045 to 1.060 Final Gravity: 1.010 to 1.015 ABV: 4.5 to 6.2% Bitterness: 25 to 40 IBUs Color: 10 to17 SRM, golden to red to light brown

Note: The recipe below is for extract brewing a 5-gallon batch. For an all-grain alternative, substitute 5.5 pounds 2-row pale lager malt, 2.75 pounds 2-row pale ale malt (such as Golden Promise or Maris Otter), and 14 ounces CaraPils malt for the pale ale LME. You can add the specialty grains to the mash, or steep them as you would for the extract version. Mash in two stages at 131°F for 10 minutes then 154°F for 60 minutes. Sparge and lauter the mash into the kettle on the first wort hops and bring to a boil, add sugar, then proceed to step 3 below.

Recipe Facts

Active: 4 to 6 hrs
Total: 672 hrs
Makes: 5 gallons

Rate & Comment


  • Fermentables
  • 14 ounces Crystal 10°L
  • 7 ounces Crystal 60°L
  • 1.75 ounces Black Patent malt
  • 7 pounds pale ale liquid malt extract (LME)
  • 7 ounces brown cane sugar
  • Hops
  • 0.6 ounce Centennial 10.6% AA whole, 60 minutes for extract version, first wort hopped for all-grain version
  • 1.0 ounce Cascade 8.6% AA whole, 20 minutes
  • 1.0 ounce Cascade 8.6% AA whole, at flame-out
  • Yeast
  • Wyeast 1272 American Ale II


  1. Heat 2 gallons water to 170°F. Remove from heat and add specialty malts to the water, contained in a mesh bag. Cover and let steep for 1 hour, then discard the malt.

  2. Bring 2 gallons water to a boil. Add steeping tea from step 1. Slowly add LME and sugar, stirring. Add enough water to reach a total of 7 gallons. Bring to a boil once more on high heat.

  3. When you reach a boil, start a countdown timer for 90 minutes. Add hops quantities at times indicated above.

  4. At the end of 90 minutes, remove from heat. Cool the wort to below 70°F with an ice bath or a wort chiller. Remember to keep things sanitary for every stage after the boil.

  5. Transfer the wort to a sanitized fermentation bucket or carboy. Add an airlock and cool to 62°F.

  6. Once the wort reaches 62°F, aerate the wort and pitch yeast.

  7. Let the wort temperature rise to 66°F and hold for one week or until fermentation is complete.

  8. Lower the temperature to 38°F then bottle or keg the beer and enjoy in one week (kegged) or three (bottled).

Special equipment

Basic equipment setup