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Dark Horse Amber Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Amber AleDark Horse Amber Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

193 Reviews
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Reviews: 193
Hads: 413
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 22.35%
Wants: 9
Gots: 43 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 08-10-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 193 | Hads: 413
Photo of delta490
3.28/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy amber with a thin light tan head that has just a smidge of retention. The aroma is a little yeasty with a bit of malt. The taste is pretty anemic, with just dribs and drabs of malt. Nothing distinct or interesting. The body is also a little too thin.

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Photo of hopphead31415
3.91/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well, it looks like beeradvocate doesn’t have every beer to review and since I can’t figure out how to add one, I’ll just post my Dark Horse Belgian Style Amber Ale review here on the Dark Horse Amber Ale page. This variety is 5.5% ABV and is just like the Belgian Style Amber Ale that I brewed at home a couple years ago, but the carbonation was more sensible in this Dark Horse variety.

Look-This one pours a cloudy copper tinged amber color that is really like mahogany and cedar with an orange tinge. It has no head even after a vigorous pour, but it leaves carbonation dominated fine lacing on the glass.

Smell-It smells of candied cherries, walnut, caramel, and spices.

Taste-This one tastes of chocolate covered cherries, toasted malts, caramel, and an ever so slight orange crème. The hops are minimized and full of fruity flavors that mix ambiguously with the various flavors of the malts.

Mouthfeel-It feels slightly sweet on the tongue and is medium-bodied. There is an oaky, sweet coating on the tongue which is complemented by some renegade fizz from the delayed release of the carbonation. The alcohol is mild and shows up towards the end and is perceived most clearly on the middle palate.

Overall-This is a really pleasant beer. To be honest, I thought it was going to be flat and overly sweet with a repulsive syrupy consistency and taste. But be rest assured that this beer is roasty and flavorful with a variety of malt-based flavors and an ever so delicate hop component. This one can be sipped on any time of the year! Cheers!

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Photo of KevChiTown
3.16/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Since I can't find the Belgian Style variant of this I'll just check into the regular. Belgian-Wit, smell, flavor but with an amber maltiness. All still very underwhelming. Average or less from a solid company. Disappointed.

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Photo of mchegash
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 3.5/5
Pours a nice golden-orange-brown. Minimal head. Very hazy. Nice color, but nothing special

Smell - 3.5/5
Some malts, a heavy breadiness (think saison), maybe some orange and banana. Overall the smell reminded me of New Holland's Monkey King Saison. Not my favorite smell, not exactly what I woudl expecte from an amber ale.

Taste - 3.5/5
A very bready taste, with hints of banana and oranges, along with some sweet malt flavor. Light level of sweetness. Overall, not a giant fan of the flavor, but it's not bad either. My main disappointment is that it doesn't taste like an amber.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Very full-bodied, and very smooth. In between creamy and crisp. The carbonation level is quite light, but I think fits with the beer. Overall, the mouthfeel is quite nice

Overall - 3.8/5
This was a decent beer. I don't really have a lot of major complaints, other than I think the flavor should be stronger (it seems a little watered down). Mainly, it just wasn't what I was looking for in this beer.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.54/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber, with a full head of tan bubbles but no lace. Hmm.

Nose says toasty malty grains. Kinda sweet. Subtle, though. Not bad.

Taste is strong and malty, with plenty of sweet and toasty (even fruity) notes. Certainly not a bad beer, and light enough to session easily, but this one simply doesn’t stand out to make much of an impression.

That said, this would be a wonderful brew to enjoy on a night out with friends. Not too big or heavy, but packed with flavor. Can’t ask for much more than that.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3/5  rDev -14%

Short and sweet. Pours a deep golden hazy orange. Smells very yeasty with a hefe like aroma. Taste has banana and coriander or clove flavors. Not what I was expecting at all. I really like Dark Horse stuff, but this is not an amber ale. If it said Hefeweizen on the label I would rate it much higher. It has no malt or hops. Just a German/Belgian beer in disguise.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Just got back from a late night bike ride home from work. I'm parched. Let's see how well this beer stacks up on my palate.

Appearance - in bottle, standard rating of "3.00".

Smell - Kidney beans, spice, sweet corn, barley. Touch of honey. A little banana. Nice nose.

Taste - This is good. Sour and mildly bitter hops with some caramel notes and more of the chili bean flavor. It's got spice like a Witbier, and that's not a bad thing - just odd for the style. Really good in the flavor department. Full bodied. It's got something I can't put a finger on. Ends with notes of dark toast and a hint more bitterness than I'd like. Overall the taste is still outstanding.

Mouthfeel - Smoooth. Very light carbonation keeps it exciting. Full-bodied. Finishes bitter and syrupy on the tongue. Yeasty zing.

Overall - I would definitely purchase a 6-pack of this beer for a session or cookout with friends. I really like what these guys did here. It's not the best beer I've had, but it's far, far from the worst.

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Photo of T-34-85
3.72/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a glass.

A: Nice deep/dark amber appearance with minimal head.

S: A mild yeasty aroma with no perceptible hops present.

T: A pleasing level of malt sweetness paired with a bready/biscuity presence.

M: An appropriate level of carbonation to pair with the beer

Overall: This is a nice example of an amber ale. It's nothing sensational, but it is a very well balanced and pleasing beer to experience.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.15/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.69/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.72/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
2.83/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.01/5  rDev +14.9%
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

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of tophers
3.01/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
2.74/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.57/5  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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.27/5  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.

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Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 193 ratings.