1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Special Amber - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Special AmberSpecial Amber

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

293 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 293
Reviews: 168
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 13.85%
Wants: 12
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Vienna Lager |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-13-1998)
View: Beers (42) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Special Amber Alström Bros
Ratings: 293 | Reviews: 168 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of fatmcb1
fatmcb1

Texas

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, amber pour with less than one finger of head. Quickly dissipates to a ring

Sweet, malty aroma with a decent amount of hop background.

Plenty of roasted malts and caramel flavor are up front. There is a slight hop balance, but definitely more malt forward.

Good carbonation provides a rich mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 02:52:58 | More by fatmcb1
Photo of tvv375ia
tvv375ia

Iowa

3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 16oz bottle into pint glass

A-Amber is in the name so it appropriate that it pours a nice amber color with about a finger of head that fades away quickly leaving not much for lacing

S-Slightly grainy carmel

T-sweet malts and carmel with a little hint of hops

M-good carbonation finishes on the sweet side

O-good easy drinking not to complex

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2011 21:44:27 | More by tvv375ia
Photo of WastingFreetime
WastingFreetime

Wisconsin

3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out translucent golden brown with a short lived two finger fluffy head, mild lacing. Smells mostly of heavy caramel malt, bready yeasty notes, and some very mild earthy and spice hop aspects. Taste is like graham crackers and nut-tinged malts stampeding all over your tongue. The mild hop presence doesn't even appear until the finish, and even than it is an understated kiss goodnight of noble hops on your lips. It could use a small boost to those noble hops. However, the body is the main issue with this brew. To my mouth, this beer comes across as thin and watery, if only it had a slightly chewier texture, or just a bit heavier body, than I would have to search really damn hard to find something else to nitpick.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 18:50:44 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of Lemke10
Lemke10

Wisconsin

3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $1.79 in early 2011.

Pours a golden amber color with a very bubbly head of foam. Scent is strong with grassy wheats, malts, and a slight touch of citrus. Taste is bold and refined. It is a smooth well blended mixture of wheats, hops, and malts. Is rather refreshing with a not too light/not to strong taste that drinks perfectly. Probably one of the best Vienna Lagers I've had to date.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2011 03:35:41 | More by Lemke10
Photo of cooch69
cooch69

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer came in a can and poured into a pilsner glass a bright copper amber color with a two finger soapy white head. Visual presentation on this one was a beauty. Tons of carbonation rise to the top to maintain a fair bit of lacing all the way to the last drop.

Nose on this one is a bit muted. It includes pale grains, some caramel bready notes and a slight spicy hop kick. Smooth, brisk and light on the nose.

This beer does'nt provide much of a chore to drink it fast. Super light and easy to put down. Good on a hot summer day. Some musty notes in here as well as the hops and grains. Very well balanced.

A good German Lager at a really affordable price.

Serving type: can

07-23-2011 14:34:09 | More by cooch69
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Uh oh, I am the first to review this under "Serving Type - [CAN]" so I want to get in front of this before my detractors weigh in. It exists in a CAN, jagovs! A basic tenet of The CANQuest (TM) is NO lying. If it is not CANned or if I simply CANnot get one, I am not going to post a fictitious review for the sake of a Glug (because CANs don't tick, only Glug). Plus, I am VERY relieved to have another CAN. My first one was from the For Trade basket at Bella Vista and it was in a bag with four Sixpoint CANs purchased at Hawthorne's and while at a third (unnamed) establishment during PHL Beer Week, the bag disappeared. It was my fault for putting it down while grabbing a beer, but it did not make me happy, either.

From the CAN: "Milwaukee's Original Microbrewery"; "Established in [MKE] - 1985"; "Fire-Brewed".

The Crack introduced me to a VERY active beer that jumped right out at me like a little kid on the arrival of a favorite relative. I let it settle down, as I always do with little kids, taking a W. C. Fields stance towards them. The Glug resulted in a dense rocky finger of tawny head with modest retention. As to color, this was truth in advertising at its finest - a beautiful, deep amber bordering on copper with NE-quality clarity. When I see women with a natural head of hair this color, I fall instantly in lust. I turn into Lennie from "Of Mice and Men", wanting to touch their hair and jabbering on about freckles and pale skin. Sometimes, it actually works! This beer was equally beautiful. The nose had a caramel malt sweetness to it and while that may not be enticing to me, it was not off-putting, either. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with a grassy light astringency on the tongue. Finish had a mild grassy bitterness overlaying the light sweetness underneath. I am definitely getting some of this for the cooler!

Serving type: can

07-11-2011 15:03:57 | More by woodychandler
Photo of greybeardloon
greybeardloon

Rhode Island

3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled April 21, 2011

A: Dark amber, white head.

S: Caramel. Very mild spicy hops as it warms.

T: Caramel and mealy (somehow the texture seems relevant), overripe apple with just the slightest hint of bitterness. I would much prefer if the hops were there to balance the sweet malt, but as it is, it's sweeter than I like.

M: Medium with good carbonation.

O: A bit like a Brooklyn Lager without hops. I suspect this beer would accompany many dishes well. Without food, I can drink a few, but there are many others I would rather drink.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2011 02:42:30 | More by greybeardloon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Funny how "special" has a few meanings, each with its own level of prestige, so to speak. Let's see where this beer lands within that spectrum: It pours a clear amber (how thoroughly apropos) topped by a half-finger of slightly off-white foam. The nose comprises biscuits, graham crackers, and a touch of caramel. It's like a dry, slightly woody (dammit, I forgot to mention the hint of balsa, didn't I?) malt-bomb of the highest order. The taste brings in some mandarin orange and decidedly mild flowers, but these are in turn enveloped by the caramel and graham-influencing honey. It's a lot more nuanced than the smell, and the balance, though off, isn't altogether lost. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a feel that leans toward watery without ever actually making it all the way there. Overall, an okay Vienna, but way too one-sided and too thin to really produce a wow factor.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2011 00:19:36 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of Thads324
Thads324

Connecticut

3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear and vibrantly bubbly amber color. on the lighter side of amber/copper. good sticky white head that loiters a while. smells musty and sweet, like lager yeast and a hint of corn syrup. Begins with a crisp bread-like flavor, with a sharp but not bitter hop flavor mid profile, before finishing smooth and again crisp. There is a very sweet linger after the finish that I notice halfway through my glass. Very neat package of flavor with no holes, tannins etc. mouthfeel is very crisp and slightly dry, with a good sharp finish that is quite clean.
A well done lager. I could drink this bad boy all day and night. Reminds me somewhat of a lighter colored yuengling, but better flavor. A nice sessionable brew

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 20:09:39 | More by Thads324
Photo of jsprain1
jsprain1

Minnesota

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Solidly orange, with some copper notes to it. Very clear. White head is one and a half fingers thick and long lasting.
S- Smell is caramel, some grainyness, and a bit of earthyness/nutty notes.
T- The flavor can simply be said to be excellent until the finish. Caramel and bready notes at the beginning, a bit of fruityness and earthyness near the finish, but then there is this quite off slightly sour note in the finish that probably dropped the taste score a full point for me.
M- Light-medium body, smooth finish in the carbonation.
O- Other than the flavors in the finish, it was an allaround solid beer. Paired very well with my German food (pork chop and red cabbage).

Serving type: on-tap

06-08-2011 21:29:06 | More by jsprain1
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. single from Abe's.

Golden amber body, good clarity, topped by three-plus fingers of snow white micro-micro-bubbles. Very creamy looking.

Strong clean aroma mixes bits of bakery and hay. Inviting though not overly assertive.

Light semi-sweet beginning in the midde of the tongue. Noble hops bite at the swallow and tingle through a long lingering and enjoyable aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a bit chewier than expected, giving a bit more heft to the beer.

A good solid German inspired lager that you can have a couple of during an evening.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 22:20:20 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of bsp77
bsp77

Minnesota

3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Pint glass. Julian bottling date that starts with 11112, so depending on their system, it is either April 11 or 12, 2011.

Appearance: Clear, golden amber with only a thin head.

Smell: Caramel, bread, cherry and a strong metallic note.

Taste: Initial malt backbone of bread, toast, caramel and cherry before giving way to a moderate bitterness consisting of straw, pepper and some metallic notes.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, light to medium body, pretty dry finish.

Overall: Surprisingly robust Vienna Lager. Great flavor profile that is slightly dampened by a hoppy finish that is a little too metallic and just misses the mark.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 21:43:18 | More by bsp77
Photo of therica
therica

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= orange-tea colored, minor head, slight rimming that nearly after 2 minutes; minor pooling.

S= baked apple at first, then musty starchy sweet malts, can't find any hops traces.

T= not bad, drinkable, slightly watery, a bit dry, hops bitterness appearing after it sets for a few minutes.

M= hay and grassy malts, light bitters. In the first bottle, a slight and annoying sweetness on the tongue that doesn't match. I'd hate to call it a corn sweetness taste. I suppose some call it caramel but.... In the second bottle it didn't seem as obvious and had a nicer finish-- maybe a simple day-to-day change in preferences.

O= not bad, drinkable with meals or at social occasions where the beer isn't the feature ie decent table-beer. Should go well with roasted or grilled chicken, burgers, sandwiches, even salad. Going well with Mexican enchiladas at the moment.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2011 23:27:55 | More by therica
Photo of BigRedN
BigRedN

Nebraska

3.1/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured from the bigger size 16 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer pours a light amber to orangish color. My pour produces a generous white head over an inch in height (perhaps I was a bit too vigorous in pouring). Head fades over time to a decent cover/ring around the glass.

Smell: Light aromas of malt, lightly sweet malt. A hint of caramel, toffee, nothing hoppy here.

Taste: Some slightly sweet caramel malts. Faint bitterness on the finish. If I did not know this was a Vienna Style lager I would have bet on an all malt lager.

Mouthfeel: Smooth on the tongue with a faint prickliness on the throat as it goes down. This beer is light in body, light in carbonation.

Drinkability: Got a 4 pack of this for cheap on closeout for $4. Ok, not great (a stretch to even say good). Better representatvive beers for the style are available IMO.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 05:20:30 | More by BigRedN
Photo of chicagoabbot
chicagoabbot

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap in liter stein at "The Three" in Milwaukee during the Super Bowl, just catching up on the review now from some notes I jotted in my phone...the bar officially know as Y-Not Y-Not Y-Not. Props to the owners on a great Super Bowl Party, the venison stew was tops!

Bright almost neon appearance. This beer is super-bright orange! Very cool in that respect.

Smell is a little lacking. I like the hop and malt profiles, but the yeast funk is not strong enough for a Vienna style lager in my opinion.

Pretty tasty, not a stand out, but well balanced and nothing objectionable. I tend to be a little critical of ambers, but this isn't bad.

Must be highly drinkable, because I drank 4 liters worth of steins as the Packers romped their way to a victory!

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2011 21:35:46 | More by chicagoabbot
Photo of auro0006
auro0006

Minnesota

3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color is a nice copper with a hint of red. The head rises quickly, but also dissipates quickly.

The aromatics are reminiscent of a nice German amber lager. Great toffee, toasted malts and caramel.

The body is crisp and nicely carbonated. Flavors of caramel and toasted malts wash over the tongue. Bready flavors mix with dark fruits in the center of the palate.

The finish brings forward nice hop bitterness for balance and hint of dryness.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2011 01:31:12 | More by auro0006
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear and light amber in color. It poured with just a few bubbles floating on the surface and no signs of visible carbonation.
S: The nose has light to moderate aromas of sweet toasted malts with notes of spicy hops.
T: The overall taste is rather malty and is both buttery and nutty. There is a slight amount of sweetness in the initial taste and some notes of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and a bit watery with a very light amount of carbonation. There is a slight amount of dryness in the finish.
D: Drinking this beer is a breeze; it goes down easily and is rather sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 20:51:37 | More by metter98
Photo of CaptainIPA
CaptainIPA

Wisconsin

3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color with a creamy white head that settles to a beading of foam. Sticky patchwork lacing on side of glass.

Hop bouquet with a sharp metallic note. Medium bodied and crisp with expressive carbonation. Opens with interplay between toasted malt and fresh hops. Suggestions of buttered biscuit and grain. Delicate balance between malt and hops continues with malt sweetness moving to the forefront. Finishes powder dry with a lingering hint of bitterness.

Drinkable sure, but not impressive enough to make it rewardingly sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 16:26:19 | More by CaptainIPA
Photo of GhostMtnAbbey
GhostMtnAbbey

Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best Sprecher beers I've enjoyed.

I'd rate this second (so far) under the Black Bavarian.

It pours great with a big billowy head with an aggressive pour. However like most Sprecher beers leaves very little lacing on the glass.

Smell is a great balance of malt and hops - with multiple hops seemingly present.

Very drinkable. Ambers are not one of my favorites, however this amber is worth buying a case for easy accessible drinking. Not an award winner for uniqueness, but its a great drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2010 03:14:53 | More by GhostMtnAbbey
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz bottle, poured into nonic pint glass. bright amber in color, with white head. the smell is very sweet, butterscotch?
the taste is very sweet and malty. no hops detected, which conflicts with the notes on the label. mabye this is an old bottle, but no dating on the label so no way of knowing.
medium body and carbonation. good drinkability

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2010 03:32:37 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of tapman
tapman

Illinois

2.45/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Head not too big and just off white in color, a lot of carbonation keeps on churning... sediment? Is this beer actually some 'real ale'? No kidding! At least I hope that that is what it is at any rate. Body color is a delicate orange blossom honey color.

Super malty! Smells of malt powder (like milkshake, not malted barley) with hints of light raisin/dark grape. I guess that the big hope nose that the bottle boasts are still pretty subtle, noble type hops. Also toffee.

Metallic and thin. Malt taste is very thin and not close to the nose. Maybe a little victory malt or something, but pretty bland. Hop taste is also thin and is mostly apparent in the bitterness at the end which comes off as sharp and not clean. I almost feel like I can taste the carbonation more than the ingredients.

Thin and super carbonated.

I was ready to enjoy this beer after the nose, but unfortunately it was very disappointing. 1. Flavor is really light, like
'lite' beer . 2. This is such a rare style that to not make it special and use the style for marketing to craft drinkers is just wrong. 3. I would rather have a Dos Equis amber lager. I have a soft place in my heart for the rare vienna lager and this one was a big letdown. They make good rootbeer, though.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2010 03:17:33 | More by tapman
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

2.53/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

16 ounce bottle from Total Wine, on to the beer:

This is a light amber colore dbeer, topped by decent head with a little retention, but no lacing id left in the glass. It's very sweet in the nose, and also husky. Big aroma of raisins, smaller notes of husky grain and sweet malt. A little uneven.

Special Amber does not have a very smooth flavor. There is toasted sweetness, which I like, and there's raisin, which I also like, but the unfermented malt creates a reality check. However, the long lasting, unpleasant bitterness left on the palate makes this beer difficult to drink on. It's rough....please smoothen it out please. Or is the bottle a little old?

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2010 01:51:50 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of hu5om
hu5om

Wisconsin

3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

split 16oz in 2 tasters with newk340
a-golden/bronze, quite clear. white foam ring fairly bubbly

s-light sweet malts, i didn't get too much here

t-nicely balanced. sweet til the hops cut in. almost a caramel after taste with a slight hoppy bitterness.

m-super smooth. too easy to drink! slippery and slick, gentle effervescence.

d-awesome session beer. nothing too spectacular, but it'd be easy to drink 5-6 pints. solid.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2010 23:55:39 | More by hu5om
Photo of newk340
newk340

Wisconsin

3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: golden amber/bronze, no head with little visible carbonation.

S: sweet malts? very difficult to distinguish particular scents.

T: sweet malts are highly evident (as with the smell), faint hops coat the tongue and dissipate as quickly as you figure out what your tastebuds are sensing. there is a slight caramel/nut aftertaste.

MF/D: pretty smooth, rise of bubbles in back of the throat makes for a little excitement in a rather bland beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2010 22:43:25 | More by newk340
Photo of steveh
steveh

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't gone out of my way for one of these in a long time. Got a gift from the local store owner, via a distro giving out samples. This was probably the first micro-brewed beer I ever tried (if you don't count Annchor).

A -- Deep, amber-orange with a thick, light tan head.

S -- Yeasty, bready characters -- even some mild toffee. Not great to style, but I'm not sure who labeled this a Vienna.

T -- More of the same from above -- yeasty and bready with a mild toffee follow through. It's more Amber Ale than Vienna Lager, and I seem to remember that from history with the beer. Some mild bitterness in the finish. While it's not as clean as a lager should be, it's not crammed with esters and aftertaste as you'd expect from an ale.

D -- Trying to refrain from sentimentality, and trying not to stick too close to a Vienna, because this beer isn't, I'd still say it's a good drinker. Nice when you're looking for that in-between from very light to very heavy.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2010 21:54:12 | More by steveh
Special Amber from Sprecher Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 293 ratings.