Categorized under: Advent, Home brewing

Beer Advent Calendar – Day 31: American Strong Ale presented by Julia Herz

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Beer Advent Calendar – Day 31: American Strong Ale presented by Julia Herz

To celebrate the Holiday Season, and have teamed up with beer bloggers around the country to host the first annual beer bloggers advent calendar. This is the season of sharing and we intend to share our love of beer with you. 31Bloggers Blogging – click here for the running list of beers/bloggers.

To Wrap up the final entry of the Beer Advent Calendar, we are honored to feature Julia Herz. Deviating slightly,  Julia elected to pick her favorite style of beer and share her passion for  homebrewing.

We hope you enjoy this final entry and thank you for sharing 31 Bloggers Blogging with us. L’Chayim!

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Description of American Strong Ale (according to the brewers association): Light amber to mid-range brown in color, strong ales are medium to full bodied with a malty sweetness and may have low levels of roast malt character. Hop aroma should be minimal and flavor can vary from none to medium in character intensity. Fruity-ester flavors and aromas can contribute to the character of this ale. Bitterness should be minimal but evident and balanced with malt and/or caramel-like sweetness. Alcohol types can be varied and complex. A rich, often sweet and complex estery character may be evident. Very low levels of diacetyl are acceptable. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. (This style may often be split into two categories, strong and very strong.)


  • Style: American Strong
  • Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.060-1.125 (15-31.5 ºPlato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.014-1.040 (3.5-10 ºPlato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 5.5-8.9% (7-11%)
  • Bitterness (IBU): 30-65
  • Color SRM (EBC): 8-21 (16-42 EBC)


Julia Herz from the Brewers Association

My recent homebrewing experience:

I just brewed, with some co-workers, a recipe that I’ve been wanting to try for a while. A British clone version of Stone Arrogant Bastard. We’re calling it “Brilliant Bastard”.

I love all that is behind an American Strong Ale, but I also respect the restrained and nuanced flavors of many English style ingredients. So this is a great attempt to nail my idea of a perfect beer. Lots of Maris Otter malt, some crystal 30 and 120 plus terrified wheat for body and head retention. We’re using a Dry English Ale yeast and some crazy fun hops that Charlie offered (Glacier and Vanguard in 3 hop additions). Should be interesting to see how it turns out. OG was 1.080. I might oak ½ of finished batch too. and American Craft Beer Week (May 14-20, 2012) are some of the best we know how to deliver to today’s beer lover on behalf of our member breweries. Our information is about savoring the flavor, grassroots beer appreciation, and enjoyment one tulip or snifter at time.

Also, please check out Julia’s 2011 Year in Review:  Musings On a Year of Craft Beer


Picture from the GABF

About Julia Herz and Craft Beer Muses:
I’m the Craft Beer Program Director at the Brewers Association, Publisher of, homebrewer, BJCP beer judge, beer and food pairing hobbyist, Master Level Cicerone student (haven’t quite passed 3rd level yet!) and a kid in a candy store. I also created our blog (along with other great people at the BA)

I say that I’m an educator and advocate on U.S. craft brewers. I love talking craft beer, conducting tastings and learning more each day.

Ladies of Craft Beer did a great interview that really pulled out my brewing interests and how I got into it all: Click here to listen to the interview.

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About the Brewers Association and
The Brewers Association is the national non-profit trade association on behalf of today’s small breweries. Our members are breweries large and small and basically 99% of the beer made in the U.S. is from our members. Our mission is to promote and protect small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. How cool and worthy is that?

Our founder and President is Charlie Papazian. The main website for the Association is / Beer Lover Website is / Homebrewer website

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