We've had a lot of questions about our version of Gerst Amber - what is it, what ingredients did we use, is it a lager or an ale (lots of questions on that one), etc. Here are the specs:
Yazoo Gerst Amber
50% Pale malt
31% Vienna malt
12% Cara 20 malt
7% Flaked maize
Bittered with Perle, flavor and aroma with Tettnanger
OG: 11 Plato
FG: 2.5 Plato
Fermented on the cool side with our house ale yeast, around 62 F for primary fermentation. The cool temperature restrains our house ale yeast, so that the beer is very clean, with a slight ester that we think pairs up well with the caramel flavors from the Cara 20 malt. So it's an ALE, but with the clean character of a typical lager, and without the slight sulfury notes some lager yeasts give.
So where did we come up with the recipe? The Chandlers did not have any original recipe information, so we relied on descriptions from the time, plus some information on the recipe that Evansville Brewing used when the Chandlers introduced Gerst Amber back into Nashville in the 1990's. Most of the beers that the William Gerst Brewing Company would have made would have been lagers, likely in the German style, but they did produce some ales. As far as ingredients, we used mostly German malts, but with a small portion of flaked maize (corn). I can't be sure, but I would guess that some of these adjunct malts would have been used.
So is it an exact replica? I'm not sure! I never tasted the original. But our MAIN intent was to make a beer to the satisfaction of the Chandler family, who have done the most the past twenty years to keep the Gerst brand alive in Nashville. It was actually a pleasure to go back and forth on the recipe with them over multiple batches, and I realized how much it means to them to get it just right, from the color to the finish to how tight the head on the beer is. So if they are happy, we're happy! And after a couple of fishbowls of Gerst Amber tomorrow at the Gerst Haus, I predict that there will be a lot of happy people!