American Amber / Red Ale
This an umbrella term that is often used to described beer that is lighter than a Dark ale, with colors ranging from amber to red tones. These beers have a style that tends to accent malts, with hop character that can be mild to bold.
While ambers and reds are very similar in structure the major difference is the contribution of caramel or crystal malt. Ambers use the crystal malt for both flavor and color. Reds are lighter and drier and have a toned down caramel flavor. Reds get their color from reddish Munich or Vienna malts. Reds also tend to be stronger with 6.1 to 7+ ABV being quite common. In many of the Reds the malt backbone is toned down with just a bit of neutral to sweet flavor with almost all the emphasis on hops. With the big hop flavor and the strong alcohol content Reds are often compared to IPAs.
There is a new trend among some craft brewers where the hop bitterness, aroma and flavors are being pumped up called “doubling” or “imperializing” it into American Double / Imperial Red Ale. These supped up ales can have ABV in the 7.5-10.5 percentage range qualifying them in the Strong Ale category.
An American Amber / Red Ale from the award-winning Oasis Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado was featured in our Craft Beer Club and continues to be one of their most popular ales.
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