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  • Writer's picturePaige Latham Didora

beer empire: imperial amber

Last week I discussed the general ideas behind imperial beers including their history and significance today. I described two imperial pumpkin beers, one that was good and one that was over-the-top fantastic.

Now I’m taking a look at other “imperial” styles both typical and atypical, starting with an oddity: the imperial amber. Grand Teton’s Bone Warmer, to be specific.

Bone Warmer

I have a sordid relationship with beers that have red or amber in the name, but I was mostly curious about this brew because although it is labeled an imperial amber it is only clocked in at 22 ibus. Ambers that aren’t super hoppy are usually my favorites.

According to the Grand Teton website, “historically, brewers often drew three different runs from the same barley mash. The first, used for strong ale or “best beer,” had the most flavor, color and fermentable sugars, and produced beer with the most alcohol. The second was used for a less strong “table beer,” and the third, a lighter and cheaper “small beer”.” – GT

So rather than using one of their average ABV beer recipes and adding to the grain bill as some imperials are founded, Grand Teton starts with a big recipe in honor of their 25th anniversary.

Bone warmer pour

Oddly enough, I am going to offer one thought that I seldom have – this beer needs more hops.

I’m not saying that as an American hop-ophile who dislikes anything profoundly malty. Trust me. But this beer needs a bit of harmony and contrast, like a little bit of Perle or Nugget in the background. The hops are noticeably absent here.

I tried this beer with some ladies from my brewing club, Bitches Brew Crew. It was a nice mix of experienced brewers, those of us somewhere in a middle, and one complete newbie! It was a perfect crowd for sampling while crowding around the dopplebock wort for warmth.

Bitches tasting brewing

Most of the group really liked the beer, including me, but I would have loved a bit more…hops. That feels so wrong to say for someone like me. We all appreciated the educational label and special feel of this anniversary beer. And in honor of the label, I present to you the Bitches Brew Crew mascot, Oscar.

Oscar Brews


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