What is it?
Amber malt is a kilned speciality malt. It has a strong biscuity, toasted grain flavour and imparts amber and copper hues. Amber malt is traditionally used in medium or dark English ales, especially brown ale, mild ale, and old ale. The dry taste of Amber malt is an excellent complement to bitter hoppiness, making it a nice addition to IPAs
Amber malt is a traditional British malt made from winter or spring barley. It is is one of the most versatile toasted malts available to brewers. Amber malt is suitable for a wide range of beers due to its colour and the biscuity, toasted flavours it imparts. It lends itself to the darkest of beers, right through to amber beers and even lagers. Its principal function is to impart colour and flavour to darker ales, especially to porters and stouts, as well as to old ales, mild ales, brown ales, and bitters, and to impart some viscosity and a brownish head. Amber malt was commonly used in the 1800s especially in porters, where it sometimes made up the bulk of the base malt. For many years amber malt was unavailable, but speciality maltsters have started to produce it again due to demand from craft brewers.
- Mild Ale
- Brown Ale
- Old Ale
Amber malt is made in the same way as English pale malt, but after steeping, germinating, and kiln- drying, it acquires its colour by undergoing an additional, brief, and severe heating step. In the old days of direct-fired kilns, this final step was carried out over an open fire, which also gave the malt a slight smokiness. Nowadays, the final heat is applied either in an air-heated kiln or, for a more homogeneous product, in a revolving roasting drum at approximately 150°C (300°F). When finished, amber malt tends to have a very low moisture content of perhaps 2%–3%, and its colour is a pale buff to copper. Unlike the old amber malts, modern amber malts have little to no enzymatic power. Because of its intense flavour, which is dry, bready, biscuit-like, slightly toasty, and without any residual sweetness, amber malt usually amounts to no more than 1%–2% of a beer’s grist bill. Only in rare cases does it exceed 5%. It is often used in conjunction with such other color malts as brown, crystal, chocolate, or black malt, or roasted barley.
What are the scales used?
"Degrees Lovibond" or "°L" scale is a measure of the colour of beer. The determination of the degrees Lovibond takes place by comparing the colour of the substance to a series of amber to brown glass slides. The scale was devised by Joseph Williams Lovibond. The Standard Reference Method (SRM) and European Brewery Convention (EBC) methods have largely replaced it, with the SRM giving results approximately equal to the °L.
The Standard Reference Method or SRM is a system modern brewers use to measure the colour intensity of a beer or wort. The EBC convention also measures beer and wort colour, as well as quantifying turbidity (also known as haze) in beer. EBC (European Brewing Convention) is used to indicate colour in malts (and beers). The lower the EBC is, the lighter is the malt (thus kilned for a shorter time). EBC and SRM/°L scales and conversions are available online and usually provide colour swatches to indicate the colour depth that you are likely to achieve from specific malts. Most craft brewers measure the colour of the grain using EBC (European Brewing Convention). The higher the EBC the darker the malt. Other countries may prefer Lovibond (L) or the Standard Reference Method (SRM). There are currently two colour scales in common use: SRM in the US, and EBC in Europe. The SRM (Standard Research Method) scale is based on an older degrees Lovibond scale and for all practical purposes, SRM and degree Lovibond are identical. So to convert SRM to EBC simply multiply by 2. e.g. 4 SRM = 8 EBC. The formula for converting Lovibond to EBC is EBC=(2*Lovibond)-1.2
Why Use Dark Rock Malts and Hops?
The Dark Rock Brewing team are passionate about producing the best quality beers. Their mission is to help you to "Master your Craft" and brew the best craft beers possible. There is no reason why home-produced ales cannot be just as good as commercial equivalents. The key to success is having a wide selection of the best quality and freshest ingredients possible. Dark Rock ingredients are not just great value, they are of the highest quality and always supplied fresh. The team strive to source the best malts, and constantly innovate and experiment with new styles and products. Dark Rock also markets top-quality all-grain and partial--mash kits which receive fabulous reviews. They are experienced commercial brewers and supply craft micro-breweries and nano-breweries with equipment and ingredients. They also provide training and business development consultancy to scale-up breweries. This experience is channelled into equipping the home craft brewer with the "tools to compete". Use Dark Rock products and you can't go wrong.