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Dark Horse Amber Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Dark Horse Amber AleDark Horse Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

307 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 307
Reviews: 185
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 15.85%

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 08-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 307 | Reviews: 185 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Alextricity


3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled a decent while ago -- October 22nd 2013. Poured January 21st 2014. Poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance: Pours a hazy as hell orange/brown sort of color. Only a bit of light gets through. Two finger head or so goes away after a few minutes, with only a bit of wispy foam on top after that. No lacing that I can see. Great color, but that's it.

Smell: Smells like a Wit or something. Has that banana and spice sort of aroma that a Wit or Hefe would offer. Slightly sour. Quite Belgian. Not what I was expecting. Doesn't smell bad, but it's strange coming from an Amber.

Taste/feel: The banana and spice flavor is definitely there in the flavor as well. It drinks like a darker sort of Wit or Hefe. Fairly mild beer overall. Nice body on it with a good amount of carbonation as well. Drinkable. Not at all bitter. Slight tang on the finish from the yeast.

Decent brew, but I can see why people would be disappointed in it, going in and expecting a beer that doesn't taste like, well, spiced bananas. I actually enjoy this beer. I'm not a huge fan of Wits or Hefes, so those flavors blended with some "darker" flavors is nice.

Interesting for the style. Good, not great.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 17:59:45 | More by Alextricity
Photo of andrewjraab


3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - amber hue with a big head - really no head retention or lacing to speak of.

S - Yeast aroma, bread, biscuits, malts.

T - Huge yeasty flavor somewhat balanced by some malts. Medium bodied and really easy to drink.

O - This drinks my like a hefeweizen than an amber and for that reason I will probably not try it again.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2013 01:55:19 | More by andrewjraab
Photo of smakawhat


3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A three finger light tan head is presented, kind of foamy and little retention, but settles to a slow one finger sized puck. Body color is a dull orange amber, hints of peach colored like red but a bit cloudy.

Herbal mild hop scent and a spritzy carbonated orange soda sense seems to come off the nose. Wet. Soda sweet candy orange. Different, a bit unexpected, but not too bad.

Bit of a thin mouthfeel and borderline wet. Not much malt backbone or body to this, and much of an orange soda borederline Tang tasting comes out. Drinkable. If there was more carbonation to this, and there isn't it seems quite flat it would probably be worse coming off with more of a seltzery soda tinge to it.

Overall, it's not offensive but there are much better ambers out there and that I would have over this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2013 00:39:57 | More by smakawhat
Photo of NoLeafClover44


3.33/5  rDev -4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Howler poured into standard tumbler pint glass. Filled this morning.

A - Pours a hazy auburn color. What little head there was, dies almost instantly. No lacing. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the fill, the pour, or the beer but it looks subpar.

S - Smells of caramel and grains. Slightly spicy with a mild pine hop presence. There is also an odd sweetness about it, reminiscent of a Belgian style.

T - Brown sugar and caramel sweetness up front. Dark fruits, pear, and apple contribute the belgian character I picked up in the nose. Hops and bitterness are at a minimum. Nothing off-putting, but not my favorite.

M - Lack of carbonation consistent with the appearance. Medium bodied.

O - I have really enjoyed all of the beers I have tried from Dark Horse thus far, but this was a miss for me. It drinks like a Belgian amber ale, but never fully commits to that style. Lack of carbonation may have to do with the growler pour or the handling, but I am rating to the way I experienced it. This isn't one I will get again, but doesn't really hurt my opinion of Dark Horse.

Serving type: growler

07-15-2013 02:05:26 | More by NoLeafClover44
Photo of KYGunner


3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Silky amber color was topped by a thin wispy head that dissipated quickly but left good lacing.

The scent was thin as well but there was a nice grain, burnt malt aroma that made it worth sniffing for a while.

The taste was so unusual for an amber that it made it interesting at every every sip. I immediately caught licorice and then a little clove. Grain and malt with some Smokey char appeared but then clove took over again. Not a clove fan but it synced well with the light malt flavor. The feel was nice and smooth.

Overall, this was quite an experience, different, unexpected and unique but not quite the amber experience I wanted.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2013 01:42:55 | More by KYGunner
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - orangish amber with a soft, white head that has decent retention

S - apple, fruit, alcohol, light hop aroma

T - apple, pear, all esters

M - medium bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a rather disappointing beer. It's simple and relies heavily on esters and alefruit. The nice side is that this is easily drinkable and unoffensive. In the end this isn't a beer that I'm looking to have again.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 00:38:22 | More by tdm168
Photo of Jimmys


3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. no bottled on date.

A: very hazy looking brew, not sure if this was bottle conditioned or unfiltered. copper in hue. head is on the reddish side of white, but is rather unimpressive. limited retention and lacing.

S: ripe fruit. bananas and toffee. lots of toffee. slightly nutty, bready as well. pumpernickel.

T: rich and malty. caramel is strong. maybe a little bit of butterscotch. crystal malts gives plenty of twang, then dries things out and leaves plenty of fruity yeast flavors.

M: subtle. wouldn't hate a touch more fizz. medium bodied flavor.

D: for a style that I am certainly not very attached too, this is a pretty drinkable amber. decent complexity on the nose and body, worth trying if you are a fan of ambers.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2013 02:31:37 | More by Jimmys
Photo of zeff80


3.76/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Clear, amber color with a very small, off-white head of foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled floral and biscuity.

T - Good hoppy bitterness with some burnt toast maltiness. Nice caramel and toffee backbone.

M - Crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale.

O - This tasted way better than the aroma had me expecting.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 21:30:28 | More by zeff80
Photo of metter98

New York

3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber orange in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin but dense beige head that slowly died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of Belgian yeast in the nose along with notes of bananas and hints of spices.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a little bit of malty sweetness. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This isn't a bad beer, but it smelled and tasted completely different than what I was initially expecting; it is only an "amber ale" in the name and appearance. The aromas and flavors of bananas, sweetness and yeast seem to have more resemblance to a lighter version of a Belgian tripel. Nevertheless, it is definitely a unique beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 01:35:49 | More by metter98
Photo of PhillyStyle


2.83/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

The beer appeared a clear amber color, which produced a two finger off-white head, but quickly dissolved and left no cap. The beer gave off a stronger than expect aroma, toasted malts, biscuit and slight hop. The taste followed the nose, but was perhaps a little lighter than expected, based on the nose. The beer had a light feel to it. It was crisp, clean and a well-balanced beer with good carbonation. Overall, this is one of the more average pale ales that I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 02:39:17 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of mvanaskie13


4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a straight pint glass, color is copper to amber, translucent in appearance, somewhat dense looking; head is thin and presents about 1/4" thick, with an off white color.

Smell is strong from the caramel/toasted/biscuit malts, very pleasant and inviting, maybe some light spice character; bitterness subdued.

Taste follows suit, front character is toasty/caramel and biscuit malts; bitterness is there but subdued, hop flavors as well, mainly noble; light fruitiness and maybe a touch of chocolate is noted.

Mouthfeel is crisp and moderately balanced, maybe too much so in the carbonation/crispness, but there is a lingering sweetness that lightly balanced.

Overall, great tasting and smelling brew, like the characters and types of flavors presented, maybe a touch crisp/carbonated

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2012 23:34:44 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of deadonhisfeet


3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Left Hand tulip. Pours out a light coppery color, slightly hazy, and with a thin head that quickly dissipates. Getting sweet toasted notes on the nose, some bready notes, and some fruit. Faint floral notes come forward as the beer warms a little.

Very light bodied with a rather thin feel. Taste is sweet and mild up front with nice fruity notes of marmalade and apricot. A faint hoppy, lemony spiciness at the back of the palate, but still pretty tame. Easy-drinking.

Overall, an average example of the style. Not really designed to blow anyone away or excite the palate too much, simply something to sip on and enjoy while relaxing and watching a ball game.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2012 18:20:01 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of BEERchitect


3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Horse seems to borrow a few Belgian"esque" elements for their Amber Ale. With the balance that's exepcted from American amber ales, there seems to be a little of Ommegang's Rare Vos, Unibroue Maudite, and De Koninck in this beer.

As the beer opens with a hazy rust color, the red and brown tones project upon a yeast infused cloudiness. A creamy thin head rests atop the beer with a sheet of light tan foam. Solid lace decorates the glass in confident fashion. When considering an American amber ale, the beer may be a little murky, but for Belgian versions it seems alright.

Where the dialogue of malt and hops are expected, instead the aromas of caramel and biscuit coincide with twangy fruit notes and peppery spice from the yeast. Dry toast, nuts, white pepper, and orange peel create the complexities to ride along side of the malts for a very complex but very Belgian-influenced scent. I want to read elements of Belgian dubbel ales into the mix.

Flavors read much the same. The malty-rich taste is more starchy than sweet and ultimately turns creamy sweetness to dry toast and does so in a hurry. Tart with berry-like acidity, apple, figs and dates. Very complex in taste but the beer is effortless to drink because all of these differing tastes ride high but without the associated sweetness of their origins. Instead, the dry taste reels in a balance of fresh cracked peppercorn, celery seed, fenel, and light anise. Light in hop presence, the beer largely relies on these yeast-derived spices to carry the balance against the dry malt taste.

Medium light in body, the beer initially offers higher malt textures, but make a quick procession toward dryness as it crosses the tongue. The mid palate recognized the balance of spice, fruit, and malt and then the finish casts away the sweet malts and much of the fruit and favors alcohol spice, and peppery warmth to close.

Although the beer is admirable as a Belgian-style amber ale, it is largely mischaracterized both on this site and on its lable as an American amber that has a completely different profile. It took me more than a couple sips to come around the flavors in the glass in order to assess it properly.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2012 05:00:32 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of tophers


3.05/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour quite cloudy (looks like my homebrew after first being kegged) with fairly decent head retention. Maybe it's so cloudy b/c of dry-hopping??

Aroma is of Belgian fruity esters - didn't expect that ! Has vanilla and nutmeg aroma too. Quite different for an Amber.

Very pronouced hop flavor with a moderate amount of bitterness. Picking up some of the Belgian yeast characteristics that I smelled in the aroma. Little bit grassy.

Moderately heavy in the mouth with a moderately dry finish.

This beer is definately not your typical American amber. It all blends together well, but not really to style.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 01:32:56 | More by tophers
Photo of RblWthACoz


2.78/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

No. This isn't working for me. This beer tastes like something I really don't want to mention. With that in mind, this beer will never get beyond an "eh" rating. What ya gonna do. Maybe I got too much garlic on my breath or something. Just kidding. I know it's not my breath.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2012 02:55:43 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of rlee1390


3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear amber red, some carbonation and a two finger head.

S-Caramel, honey, darker fruits, some banana even.

T-Caramel that is very unbalanced, very sugary as well. The banana notes are there but off/not balancing well. Not much bitterness.

M-Light and watery, not much carbonation.

O-As the beer warms it grows on me a little but it is still a bland beer, overly sweet and unbalanced.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2012 22:53:33 | More by rlee1390
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.25/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy light gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades very quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of fruit and caramel. Then some breadiness comes in from a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, there are certainly a lot of other choices in the style that I would pick first.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2012 00:44:02 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of stercomm


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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Avery Brewing glass we picked up at the Avery Tap House.

A - Dark honey/amber in color, very hazy. Light white head that quickly recedes leaving just a slight white rim on the top, very little lacing.

S - Somewhat subdued, get some malts, a bit of citrus and a hint of banana.

T - Malty, biscuit taste on the front end, get some weaving in of banana and citrus, finish reveals a slight hoppy character but still getting a biscuity taste.

M - A bit weak for my taste, a bit watery, not a lot of carbonation.

O - Definitely a good session beer, good balance, nothing is really in your face.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 21:54:52 | More by stercomm
Photo of Schneic8


3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a mug.

Appearance: Has a dark amber color with an off white head and mild carbonation.

Smell: Strong smell, I got a good wiff once I opened the bottle. Has a floral hoppy smell.

Taste: Crisp, slightly sweet taste. Has a dry, fruity flavor that I wasn't expecting. Minimal bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Has a somewhat thin feel. It has an initial crispness and finishes smooth.

Overall: Very good beer. The taste was a little different than I was expecting but it was a very refreshing beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2012 22:11:05 | More by Schneic8
Photo of Brenden


3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This amber is a thick and cloudy dark orange color. A very light tan head reaches almost a finger and fades to a thick foam that leaves some lacing around the glass.
There's a good balance in the aroma evidencing a foundation of malts with a good hops presence adding mostly floral notes. Sweetness is on an even keel with a bit of earthiness. Light banana and bubble gum notes of Belgian yeast are also unexpectedly present. The flavor seems not to mesh well as first but melds as it sits, just needing to warm slightly from the fridge to work. Issues here are a touch of graininess and a bit of rubbing alcohol presence fading in and out.
The body is medium, as is the level of carbonation adding a brisk, nipping crispness. Smoothness comes up in the middle without ever losing that crisp bite.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 14:17:54 | More by Brenden
Photo of Infamous7100


3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: a slighty hazy orange to amber(imagine that!) With mimimal head and lacing.
S: a reminiscent of a Belgian. Some spicy notes along with citrus and fruit. Some biscuity notes too.
T: citrus notes at the front along with belgian notes I picked up on the nose. Bready malts give way to a crisp citrus finish.
M: watery, thin and not much body. Crisp finish and an okay aftertaste.
O: absolutely a sessionable beer and much different from other ambers and reds. It just lacks a little in appearance and mouthfeel. Definitely distinct.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2012 20:31:53 | More by Infamous7100
Photo of superspak


3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle date. Pours slightly hazy reddish roange color with a small 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with decent retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Slight lacing on the glass as you drink. Aromas of big orange, banana, biscuit, clove, pear, toasted malt, caramel, apple, and yeast spiciness. Nice and well balanced aromas here; was not expecting this to be a Belgian style amber at all. Taste of banana, orange, caramel, biscuit, clove, pear, pepper, toasted malt, and herbal yeast spices. Light spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, apple, banana, toasted malt, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and body; with a slightly silky mouthfeel. Very easy and smooth to drink. Alcohol is well hidden with hardly any warming after the finish. Overall this is a very nice and enjoyable Belgian amber ale, with good complexity. Plenty of flavor and very smooth drinking. I would get this again.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 01:49:34 | More by superspak
Photo of jimmah120


3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle; no date

Pours a murky amber with a thin white film. Smell is earthy: corn, grains, and a tinge of grassy hop. Taste is sweet grain that evolves into an earthy/citrus hops offering that's reminiscent of Mountain Dew. A slight metallic tinge is the only problem here. Mouthfeel is simultaneously dry and watery (go figure).

My favorite amber to date.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 21:08:50 | More by jimmah120
Photo of KickInTheChalice


3.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Very hazy, Dark Horse Amber Ale pours an amber color with tints of copper, tangerine, and peach at the edges. I had to be careful with the pour, a large ecru head rose quickly from the glass, ultimately forming a frothy cap. It fades slowly but leaves layers of lace down the glass.

Smell: The aroma does not have much bite. Toasted grains and a bit of caramel malt come through with a lazy spicy or earthy note.

Taste: The flavor is soft and fairly uninteresting. There is a toasted grain presence, some woody notes, a bit of earthy spice, and some medicinal phenols on the back end.

Mouthfeel: The body has is quite light. The carbonation is crisp and bubbles on the tongue, but there is only a watery sensation left after. There is a gentle creaminess as well.

Overall: I am learning that Dark Horse is kind of hit or miss. I have had some very nice beers from them, but others do not seem to be executed very well.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 04:15:26 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

amber with a sall white head that quickly faded leaving some soft white clingy lace. There was no real smell to this, maybe the slightest bready smell, but really nothing at all. The taste was about the same, bland. Again slight hints of bready, but no real strong flavor or body, almost thought it was a macro. I was really not impressed with this,

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 03:33:36 | More by mikesgroove
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Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 307 ratings.