American Amber Ale

Glassware: Shaker pint
  • USA
  • Ale
  • ABV = 4.5 – 6.2% (Normal)^
  • IBU = 25-40
  • SRM = 10-17

An amber-coloured American ale with a caramelly malt flavour and balanced hop character.

Darker, more caramelly, more body, and generally less bitter in the balance than American Pale Ale. Less chocolate and dark caramel than American Brown Ale.


  • Colour^ = Light amber to dark amber
  • Clarity = Generally clear

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Moderate; malty rich, caramelly
  • Hops = Low to moderate; citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon (citrus is most common)
  • Yeast = None to moderate; fruity, if present
  • Malt = Moderate to high; malty sweet, caramelly, with optional toast or biscuit
  • Hops = Moderate to high; citrus, floral, pine, resin, spice, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon
  • Yeast = None to moderate; fruity, if present
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Pronounced
  • Balance = Varies from somewhat malty to somewhat bitter

Medium to full yet dry finish with lingering caramel sweetness, hop flavour and bitterness


  • Body = Medium to medium-full
  • Carbonation = Medium to high
  • Alcohol warmth = Stronger versions may have a slight alcohol warmth

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pale ale malt, plus medium to dark crystal/caramel malt
  • Hops = American or New World hop varietals
  • Yeast = American ale yeast with a clean or lightly fruity profile

Historical Development:

A modern American craft beer style developed as a variation from American Pale Ale.

Mendocino Red Tail Ale was first made in 1983 and was known regionally as a Red Ale.

Commercial Examples:

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale, North Coast Red Seal Ale, Bell’s Amber Ale

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus (Version 5.0)
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines

Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.

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