Hightale Ale – The Result

16 Jan

Hightale ale HomebrewThe Hightale AleI brewed a few weeks back is now ready for a drink. I believe it’s probably the best beer I’ve done to date and I wonder if that’s because of the extra steps in the brew process. No doubt – it has more flavour complexity and depth than some of the straight up coopers can brews I’ve done in the past.

What’s it taste like?

It’s a great example of an Amber Ale which is expected. Very subtle hops, a nice bitterness and a deep malty flavour and colour. I’ve not yet learnt the IBU’s and colour metrics so can’t comment on those specifically.

One thing I wasn’t sure of was the difference between a golden ale and an amber ale. Both are from the Pale Ale family but are slightly different. From what i’ve read and without getting into the ingredients:

  • Golden Ale has a lighter colour (than amber ale) and stronger hop flavours.
  • Amber Ale has a darker colour and a stronger malt flavour.

So if I take colour as the prime differentiator (which is as a result of the ingredients) – what is darker vs lighter?

There’s a colour measurement standard known as “Degrees Lovibond” developed by Joseph Williams Lovibond. Based on this scale a beer can be lighter or darker as shown by this image (not mine).


However – as with most “standards” some people have got their hands on it and adapted it somewhat. That’s where the Standard Reference Method comes in and is explained well by BrewWiki.com in the table below.

1.0 - 3.0 SRM - Pale yellow color
3.0 - 4.5 SRM - Medium yellow
4.5 - 7.5 SRM - Gold
7.5 - 9.0 SRM - Amber
9.0 - 11.0 SRM - Copper
11.0 - 14.0 SRM - Red/Brown
14.0 - 19.0 SRM - Brown
20.0   SRM - Black

SRM beer colour chart

So for our discussion the Golden Ale needs to sit between 4.5 and 7.5 while the Amber is a little darker at 7.5 – 9.0.

All this makes me want to brew a Golden Ale next. However, my next brew will have some specialty grains (Chocolate and Crystal) and some extra Malt so it’ll come out darker such as the Amber. It’ll be an Amber Draught Ale. Will let you know how it goes.


2 Responses to “Hightale Ale – The Result”

  1. Mike January 17, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Excellent article and thanks for little piece of education too. One thing I do just for myself is judge any new beers against one of my own accepted standards. For example, I enjoy Little Creatures with its fruit and lavender. So, when I try a new beer is make a note of how it compares to the Little Creatures. That way, I know if I should buy it again or not 🙂

    What did yours taste like?

  2. lincdk January 17, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Thanks Mike. Having a benchmark is a good idea. Are you saying that Little Creatures (which one? the Pale Ale?) is top of the game as far as you are concerned? Or do you use that as a benchmark because it has the right attributes. The challenge I think would be to compare a hoppy American Pale Ale like the LC with an English Stout for instance – though if you dont like stouts then that comparison becomes that much easier. 🙂

    This brew had very subtle hops and strong malt / honey flavours (true to the Amber Ale style). Quite creamy mouth feel and just a little bit of bitterness.

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