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Special Amber | Sprecher Brewing Company

174 Reviews
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Special AmberSpecial Amber

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-13-1998

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Reviews: 174 | Ratings: 344
Photo of smcolw
3.49/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, light amber color. Small head that settles to rim bubbles--no lace.

Creamy and lightly toasted malt. Light hop.

The flavor is similar to the smell. Rich bodied with moderate carbonation. The hop is more present but has only a bittering effect. Relatively short aftertaste.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Hazy orange-brown body, crowned with a small, coarse off-white head, which slowly collapses. Coarse and chunky lacing lines the glass walls. The carbonation is slight, with fat bubbles that drift lazily to the surface.

Aroma: Munich malt, and caramel, play off against spicy hops for an inviting aroma.

Taste: Opens with toasted bread and caramel, soon followed by spicy hops. Throughout the taste, the malt and hops compliment each other well, with neither dominating the other. Late in the taste, the hops offer a pronounced earthy and grassy quality, with the malt, while still notable, assuming a supporting role. Finishes with a bit of lingering medicinal and herbal bitterness.

Mouth feel: Smooth and full with a bit of zesty carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A fine example of an uncommon and excellent style that was nearly lost.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce aluminum can, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a beautiful pale amber producing 2+ fingers of beige, frothy, somewhat lasting head that leaves a few motes & thin strings of lace. Aroma is a blend of toast & biscuity malt, notes of honey, fruit jelly/marmalade like notes of pear & maybe a hint of peach, cobbler like with a faint grassy hop hint. Taste is malty-sweet up front with the same fruit jelly/marmalade like notes of pear & maybe a hint of peach, cobbler like with less honey than the nose, then come notes of biscuit, toast, caramel, a hint of butter & grassy/herbal hops. Dry in the finish with an astringent & bitter aftertaste with mineral & metallic hints. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, silky, maybe even a little slick with a nice prickle over the tongue.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Sampled this evening on 11/8/14. Comes in a 16 ounce bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a .5L handled glass stein.

Pours a pretty amber in color with a good 2-finger foamy off-white head that stays around for a while and then settles to a good 3-4mm. A decent amount of lacing is seen when sipped, like a good German brew. The aroma is of malts for the most part. Pretty much the same is for the drink with a slight hoppy and bitter finish. Medium-bodied and good carbonation. Overall, really not a big fan of this type of brew.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

From notes on 1/9/14

Won a free 4 pack at Steve’s on University. Thanks! Lite amber color, two inch head. Has a malty funny sour smell. Nice mellow, smooth flavor. Decent bitterness. The funky sour smell doesn't translate to the taste, which is good. Would without a doubt take another free 4 pack if given one.

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Photo of workingclassbrew
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Nice lager ,1st one went down real quick after working a double shift. Poured nice copper color in a small lager stein. Looks like a Oktober fest, but taste wise , a nice heavy, well hopped brew.

Malt character, my favorite part of why I prefer lagers, in this Sprecher is nice and heavy. Subdued swetness. The hops hit upfront, bitter, in the mouth. They disappear fast, leaving the taste of a quality lager behind.

Almost too heavy to be a session lager, maybe thats why its a " Special Amber ", but then again...I like that Sprecher makes it available in cans, hopefully Black Bavarian will be next.

Sprecher a great German Lager brewery.

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Photo of JayQue
3.59/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy amber color with a medium size frothy white head. Good head retention and thick bands of lacing on the glass.

There is hardly any aroma to speak of.

Tastes like a crisp, malty lager. Very refreshing...malt forward all the way with very little hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, just rich enough. Very refreshing.

An excellent session beer. Simple and tasty.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Can from Miller Park. Brewers vs. Nationals.

The beer has an amber body with a half inch of soft, off-white head. Aromas of toast, mild sweetness, perhaps a touch of fruit (apple). Nice flavor. Easy drinking and smooth on the palate with a simple, well-balanced blend of toasted grains, fruit sweetness, caramel malt. Enjoyable.

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Photo of sommersb
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted On: 06-22-2014
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. can
Glassware: Mug
Purchased: 6-pack from Midtown, Nashville

Pours a clear amber-colored beer with a white head. Lots of lacing is on the glass and it has good head retention.

Smells of rich caramel malts and reminds me of the aromas in the pot when I homebrew. I also smell earthy hops.

The taste starts with the malty caramel flavor and is soon followed by the light bitterness of earthy hops. There's also a toasted grain aspect that lends some woody notes and even a bit of smokiness to it.

Medium in body with a lightly sweet finish, but well balanced between hops and malts.

Overall a delightful beer I'd be happy to have again.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.18/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz twist-off bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic.
5.0% ABV, 22 IBUs

A - Special Amber's beautiful deep golden hue shines with bright clarity while crowned by a dense cap of off-white foam that leaves chunky, mountainous peaks of lace on the glass.

S - The aroma of freshly toasted bread fills the nostrils with a lovely Vienna malt presence that's backed up by trails of richer Munich malt breadiness and a sweet drizzle of caramel for a fully malt forward but even-keeled balance.

T - Initial bready malt sweetness is swept away quickly to reveal a more toasted Vienna malt flavor that brings subtle complexities of nuttiness before the brew finishes with a metallic suggestion.

M - Round in feel, this medium bodied lager drinks pretty well due to its balancing hop bitterness and dry toasted malt finish that keeps the beer from being too sweet.

O - One of the two brews that I would consider to be Sprecher's flagships, Special Amber creates a nice, vivid picture of the amber German brews across the pond; malt forward but balanced and drinkable with subtle complexities coming out with each sip.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle into lager glass, bottled on 6/28/2012. Pours lightly hazy deep golden amber color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, pear, apple, raisin, herbal, floral, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of bready malt and fruity yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, pear, apple, herbal, floral, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, pear, apple, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good balance and solid robustness of bready malts with fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with a good malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish, Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice vienna lager. Good balance of bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Nufced
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Light, clear amber color; Thick foamy head

S-Mild hoppy smell

T-smooth with a hint of caramel

M-smooth, nice drink-ability and flavor, nothing overwhelms

O-I enjoyed this Lager, very smooth, nothing overpowering, rich taste. I would buy this beer.

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Photo of CopperMtnPlowboy
2.28/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Weird - this tastes almost exactly like the previous beer I drank (Big Wood Bad Axe).

Less head (this one almost looks flat when poured) and more yellow than orange. Less hazy.

Smells less pungent - but has same over-ripe nectarine with subtle hints of pineapple but no grapefruit.

Tastes almost identical to Bad Axe. I wonder if recipes were shared?

M - Less syrupy but still somewhat 'thick' for a beer.

O - As with Bad axe, glad I bought only one. Not one of my favorites.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.49/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Special Amber pours a darker golden color with a small head. There is a slightly hoppy aroma. The taste has a noticeable hop flavor, but mostly on a flat malty backbone. Good flavors, and good body, but a bit harsh on the tongue. Overall its a not bad Vienna lager, good full flavors, but a bit boring and harsh.

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Photo of jwc215
3.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. bottle - twist-off cap:

Pours slightly hazed amber with a thick off-white head that decends to a thin cover and stays. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of a floral hop aroma with a toasted caramel backing. Very pleasant.

The taste of toasted malt initially gives a slightly metallic tinge to it, but fortunately that soon fades. Caramel mixes with a floral/lemony citric hop touch. Finishes with a refreshing dryness, with caramel coming back in the aftertaste.

Although it could be smoother for a lager, it is refreshing and easy to drink.

While softly roasted caramel-ish malt is in the spotlight, it does have a noticeable noble hop touch, especially in the aroma. It works well enough to be an enjoyable lager!

By the way, this brewery makes an outstanding root beer!

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Photo of Fcolle2
3.84/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber in color with a half finger head that disappears quickly.

this has a very clean yeast smell. Malt is lightly toasted and has a nice warm bready and grainy charicter. Hops smell slightly spicy.

Taste follows the nose with grainy and bready malt forward. This is followed by a slightly spicey and floral hop precence which balance it out nicely.

Medium to light bodied with high carbonation gives this a nice feel.

Overall really nice lager, great balance and very drinkable.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.59/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sprecher Special Amber has a thick, creamy, spongy, head, a clear, amber, somewhat bubbly appearance, and a lot of heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is subdued, but one can pick up pungent, bready, medium-toasted malt, and the flavor is of sweet, bready, malt, white bread crust, slight toffee, and elevated, punchy hop bitterness. There is a medium mouthfeel, and Sprecher Special Amber finishes crisp, clean, refreshing, and quite drinkable. Overall, this is an almost perfect, flawless lager, and I rate it outstanding!


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Photo of tugdriver7
4.23/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sprecher is only now distributing frequently to our area and I have had this one on my "want" list for some time. And now it's in cans (so it tastes like it was just made). Picked-it up last night (cold) and took it home. Poured deep golden/amber with nice 1/2 inch cream-color foam on top. Ample carbonation brought out a subtle malt smell and hint of bitterness in the nose. Initial taste was biscuity malt with a hint (just enough) of sweetness, followed by a refreshing hops bitterness that immediately tickles the taste buds and makes your mouth water. As it warmed, it just got better, lacing the glass all the way down. Very well balanced, very drinkable (maybe too drinkable) and yet with a craft-brew mouthfeel and only 5% ABV, it was hard to put down. Excellent!

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Photo of MrGraybeard
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured chilled into a 14-ounce tumbler. White head settles into a raft about an eighth of an inch thick. Beer looks rich. Bittering hops are evident in the aroma to balance the malt.

Taste -- wonderful. Lots of malt flavor, true to a Vienna lager, with a welcome bitter hops backdrop that's offers a little variation on the form. Great balance. Restrained carbonation and generous malt create a smooth, substantial mouthfeel.

I've been drinking this beer for 25 years. It's one of my two or three standbys, offering smoothness in a sessionable brew.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - poured a two-fingers thick bubbly, light tan head into a tulip glass that left a thin ring of lace. this had some floaties in it, not sure if the can was old or what. the body was a bright amber color.
s - sweet caramel with some floral hops. hint of lemon.
t - caramel, apples, bready.
m - slick and thin with some crispness.
o - pretty good session lager. i'd drink this again especially if it was fresher.

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Photo of socon67
2.63/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Slight amber color with some carbonation.

S - Scent of malt, vanilla, and a bit of a flowery smell.

T - Just didn't like this. Had a bit of a yeasty feel in the finish that totally put me off.

M - I couldn't fiish this, and passing it off to a buddy didn't help either. A waste of money. Had a grainy, soapy mouthfeel.

O - Maybe having Eliot Ness earlier on this trip set the bar high for a Vienna lager, but this was essentially a drainpour. I'll pass; Wisonsin has many other good choices.

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Photo of dhannes
3.84/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Memorial Union in Madison in a plastic cup (also saw for $19.99/case at Costco earlier today).

A=Rich amber color with off-white foamy head.

S=No noticeable aroma.

T=Richness; hint of cinnamon and vanilla? Malts evident, while hops were present in the background.

M=Very nice...maybe a bit too heavy for the style.

O=A very nice beer...more like a lighter amber. Not quite as robust as Sam Adams' Boston Lager, but a more drinkable version...if you like Boston Lager but are looking for something that is a bit more drinkable in larger quantities, e.g. more of a session beer, and want to save a few pennies, this is a worthy choice.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.32/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber color. The head was quite tall and dense. Good carbonation. But the problem was a good amount of flakey floaters of some unknown origin.
Aroma was weak and mostly malts in the Vienna style. The beer was pretty smooth and even refreshing. It was quite malty and hop bitterness gave a good balance.
Perhaps I got a bad batch. The beer was desent at best.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.03/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - A hazy amber brown with a light pour only got a 1/4 of sticky sweet head in a lace.

S - Very faint if anything I get faint caramel and toffee (very faint) and some biscuit malts.

T - Yuengling lager only slightly sweeter with more biscuit malts. It's not terrible it's just not that great.

M - Light to medium like Yuengling it's easy to finish.

Overall it's been hit or miss with this brewery but I just don't see any reason to revisit this one.

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Photo of mactrail
2.26/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Nice foam-up in the Stella glass, and decently carbonated. However, the perfumey flavor is just plain peculiar. A musty flavor with a sweet base. Candy and Karo syrup flavors. Slight bitterness but no hint of hop flavor. Vanilla ice cream with browned pie crust? Cardboard scent with a whiff of the clothes dryer. Flat and dishwatery aftertaste.

I had been impressed by several Sprecher's beers a few years ago on trips to the Midwest, but I have not had any good ones recently. Maybe the distributor strew some of their beers around the country a couple years ago and left them for the unwary beer adventurer.

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Special Amber from Sprecher Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.