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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.
BA SCORE
80
good

192 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 192
Hads: 410
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 8
Gots: 40 | 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: 192 | Hads: 410
Photo of proc
4.67/5  rDev +33%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent beer. Pours out to a cloudy amber in the glass with minimal head. Aroma is very light, with a faint yeast smell and malt as well. Taste. Here is where it shines. It has the wonderful malt taste prevelent with most ambers, but with a slight clove and spice taste associated with wheats. It finishes with a slightly sweet/spice to it that begs for another sip. It got better as it warmed up.

I will be buying this again. Yum. (439 characters)

Photo of Phinner
4.55/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a great mild amber flavor - perfect balance of malt and hops. Its a bit sweeter than other ambers, but this is a good thing because it gives the beer a nice overall flavor. Don't expect strong hop aroma or flavor. This is a good alternative to hyper-hopped brews that pay little attention to flavor balance. (321 characters)

Photo of paxtonthegreat
4.5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very unique amber. Had a lot of common carmelly biscuity notes but with the addition of a belgian ale yeast it gives it a nice banana and slight clove finish. This is a great one to have in the summer all night long, or one of the few at dark horse that you can coast along with as one of their few few "session" beers. (321 characters)

Photo of inebrius
4.42/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Dark Horse beer that isn't completely black. This is cause to celebrate.

Amber, just like the bottle says. Quite the interesting mix of aromas mingling around the rim of my pint glass: Sandalwood, tuna fish salad on rye, kiwi fruit, lavender. Mildly sweet in a honeyed grass clipping way with bitter notes of chicory endive in the finish. Tasty and easily consumed!

This brewery is quickly becoming a favorite. (426 characters)

Photo of Sixpack595
4.3/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sweet and fruity aroma with a slight citrice hop note. Copper colored with a thin cap of off white foam. Very fruity, very crisp flavor thats very refreshing. Much lighter than I expected, like a beefed up Wit. Mouthfeel is medium without feeling heavy. Great beer, very drinkable. (281 characters)

Photo of Dalem
4.28/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Think of what a blood orange cream soda would look like. That describes the rusty, hearty color of this. Minimal lid of foam that faded quick and a slight lace that stuck around the edges of the beer. Very toasty malts and a big yeast scent up front. Not jump right out at you type of aromatics but quite earthy with notes of strawberries and spices.
A very full bodied yet fluffy and mellow feeling at first taste but then comes the flavor blasts. Though subdued in it's scent the fruit characteristics really come out in the taste. Nothing overbearing but amidst the amber malts backbone (that actually taste full and rich in this a don't get sorta lost like some other amber's that could be mentioned) is something like strawberries with a graham cracker on the side. A slight peppry, spiciness in the back of the throat going down but a clean finish. Great in it's complexities and balance.
Great for any occasion and easy going enough for a session or two (ice cold in the summer these would surely be a spot hitter). (1,022 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse's Amber Ale pours a hazy light russet brown body with an orange cast. The creamy light-tan head drops shortly, and very little lacing is left behind.

In the nose it offers a compelling combination of fruitiness and malt. It mainly displays slightly tart but sweet red berries, apples, and pear, but there's hint of clove to it that somehow gives the mind the impression of sweetness (as if it was in bubble gum or something). The malt is bready, and a touch caramelish and toasty.

In the mouth it's medium bodied and smooth with a moderate carbonation that gently bristles the tongue.

The flavor delivers what the nose suggests, and it's surprisingly refreshing with so much fruitiness to it. I find apple, pear, and soft red berries upfront and across the middle where the malt begins to rise. It's not particularly bitter, and the malt really gets to shine. The fruitiness remains in the finish for a little bit, and then it steadily fades away leaving just a hint of malt and a soft note of clove behind.

It's unique, to be sure, and that keeps it compelling and interesting. But it's also really well-balanced and remarkably drinkable. It's a wee touch strong as a session ale, but I could easily see having three or four of these in a row when out with the lads. I will now go back to the store to buy more! Nicely done!!! (1,343 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
4.26/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out to a clear dark caramel, with the highly flocculent yeast sticking firmly in the bottom of the bottle, forming a peaking meringue-like whipped head with superior retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate-strong. Aroma is spicy with cloves, the soapiness of coriander, slight bananas, toasty amber husks, and a whopping amount of yeast. Kinda reminds me in aroma of New Belgiums Abbey. Moderate aroma of citrus pith. Mouthfeel is fluffy with a medium body and dry finish. Taste begins with firmly toasty pale malt husks and roasted barley astringency, mild soapiness from the abundant yeast, cloves and more toast...no bananas. Bitterness is moderately-strong, which is pronounced for the style with a herbal hop character not found in traditional Belgium Ambers. Dry woodiness in the aftertaste. No appreciable candi sugar. Alcohol is barely detectable as a peppery flourish in the finish.

Dark Horse is quickly becoming one of the premiere breweries in Michigan next to Dragonmead, Founders, and New Holland. Their bottled lineup is expanding, and I will continue to buy and recommend their stuff. Very good brew...somewhat of a hybrid between New Belgium Fat Tire and Abbey Ale. (1,197 characters)

Photo of bluHatter
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep rich amber color. A bit of foamy head.

S: Apple, red rice wine, some fruitiness.

T: Toasted malts, rice, hops, a little bitterness. Really very delicious.

M: Nice carbonation. Buttery, rich, yet soft.

O: This is a really great, satisfying amber with some interesting flavors I've not found in many other beers. I'd definitely order this again. (356 characters)

Photo of adamette
4.23/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review from notes taken 10 15 09, poured from tap at the brewery.

A Basic amber look except that there is a nice, creamy head. 3.5

S Distant smell, maybe some medium malt. 3.0

T Belgian yeast and malty sweetness that I did not expect. I had to ask if this indeed was the Sapient Trip Ale due to this but our server Gina assured us that it was not. Anyway, I welcomed this very nice sweetness with some medium malt amber tastes as well. 4.5

M Smooth, big feel. Just great. Cannot be improved. 5.0

D Absolutely fabulous. I drank my beer without hesitation. 5.0

Notes: Maybe the best amber that I have ever had (but I am a sucker for Belgian yeast in my beer). (663 characters)

Photo of mynie
4.22/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Man--someone stuck an amber in the six pack of Raspberries. I hate ambers. So bland and pointless, no hops or nothing.

This pours amber with a small head. Whattaya know.

Smells really good, actually. Roasted biscuity malt with very strong, very spicy yeast. Nothing that's especially amber-y, as far as I know.

The amerbryness comes in at the very back of the mouth, where you get the same lightly earthen malt node you get with every other amber. Up front there's no hop complexity (but that's not really Dark Horse's MO). Instead you have a wonderful blend of yeast spice and malt biscuit. Not extreme or anything, but wonderfully balanced.

Wow. I think this is what the style is supposed to be like only I've never come across one this good. (748 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a really cool amber/red color with thick sticky head,u could tell this beer was really well crafted from the pour.Rich malty,fruity smell with some bread like smell in the background,taste was rich and fruity,good malt crachter to it.Real complex beer I wich I had more time to visit here to go right to the brewpub to get this on tap. (342 characters)

Photo of jsh420
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours amber orange with a 1 finger head that leaves spotted lacing

smells like a belgian????

taste - again what type of beer is this - not an amber - its a belgian with carmel malts hints of bubble gum - its good though

mouthfeel is smooth with just the right amount of carbonation that tickles the tongue

drinkability is good as well - low abv and nice full flavored beer that is light /medium body - a good beer to drink in the fall

overall - maybe not a true amber and but hey i like belgians more then ambers so this amber rocks!! (540 characters)

Photo of mnstorm99
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice copper, ruby pour, and a just off white head that sticks around very well.
Nice malty aroma, and there is a touch of citrus hops, this is a very inviting beer.
Taste is a great malt base, nice crystal malt sweetness coming through, with a nice citrus, candy like hop flavor in the background.
Mouthfeel is nice a smooth, well carbonated and just an all around great beer. (376 characters)

Photo of WakeandBake
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rusty,cloudy amber color with a thin soapy white head that fades pretty quickly.Aroma is Belgin yeast,apple,cherries,and a hint of earthy clove. Flavor starts off toasty and sweet then fruity,then a grassy hops and hint of clove.Nice malty flavors,caramel and grain. Thin body and mouthfeel,nice little herbal aftertaste/finish.Quite drinkable. (346 characters)

Photo of Duhast500
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

The color is a dark, cloudy copper with a thin brownish head with no lacing.

The smell is sugary with a caramel flavor. There is a nice hop bittereness hiding in the background but is slightly muted.

The taste is a bit peppery and sweet with a good malty flavor. There is some bitterness there mixed in but this is not the most hoppy of beers. There is a nice clove flavor that spices things up a bit which was really nice.

This beer is medium bodied and has a really nice drinkable feel to it. It goes down easy and was pretty impressive for a relative new brewery to me so I was happy to discover Dark Horse breweery. (669 characters)

Photo of Internatbrewlove
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This American Amber Ale reminds me more of a Belgian ale. It pours a dark orange tinted amber color with a moderate off white head. It smells of peach and yeast. Taste wise it keeps me coming back. There is a taste of pepper, citrus, and banana. There is a light hoppiness and sweetness to this as well. There is a moderate to fine carbonation that lasts.

Overall this is a great beer at a reasonable price. Here is Michigan we can get it straight from the brewery. If you are able to drive to Marshall, Michigan this and several other great beers await you at Dark Horse. (574 characters)

Photo of crossovert
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle with a black cap. This isn't a style I normally enjoy but my first bottle entertained me enough to write this review for the second.

Pours a nice amber color, the head is a bit wear but that is the ony downside to the appearance.

The smell is basic, but clean. Some amber malts, a subtle hint of hops, not so much, but as per the style.

The taste is where this one shines, this could have been your generic run of the mill American amber ale crap but it really reminds me more of a Belgian amber. It has a crisp malt taste, but it has a bit more yeast presence than the average American amber ale. The hops are subtle but key in backing these flavors.

The mouthfeel is probably the best part about this one, it is lightly carbonated, good when chilled, super refreshing.

Normally I don't like my beer ice cold or form a bottle, but this is one i could tolerate in those conditions, though it is also quite nice form my glass, reminds me of if PALM were a microbrew, cheers. (993 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
4.12/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Dark Horse's Amber Ale today for $1.79 at The Lager Mill. I have been meaning to try this beer for a while but I always end up getting sidetracked by their stout series but since I have tried almost all of them I figured it was time to finally get to their Amber Ale and see how it stacks up. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label is good looking, I don't know why I like it, I just do, its got a good flow. It poured a slightly dark amber red color that also has an orange tint to it with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed the rest of the time.

S- If I had to describe the smell of this beer in two words I would say fruits and yeast. The fruit aromas are nice and unexpected and smell mainly of pears with a little bit of red and green apples. The yeast sticks out a good deal and is slightly spicy with a really light amount of cloves. I could smell a slight amount of caramel malts but it was pretty much overpowered by the fruits and yeast.

T- The aroma did a pretty good job at preparing me for the flavor of this beer. The first thing I pick up is a good mix of fruits which has some nice tartness to it, there was some red and green apples, a slight red berry taste, but pear still remained the easiest fruit to pick up out of the bunch. Unlike the aroma the caramel malt base actually shows up and had a nice flavor and the right amount of sweetness. The yeast is much more subdued then it was in the aroma and is barley detectable, there is just a slight amount of clove and other spices in the middle. There's not much hops in this beer but I still get just a slight amount of floral hops with a very slight bitter finish that was more tart then bitter and some of those yeasty spices were present in the aftertaste.

M- Tart, crisp, and on the light side of medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good and very unique Amber Ale. I just can't get over how unique and different this beer is from all the other Amber's, most are either heavy on the caramel malts or heavy on the hops, but this one was neither. It was fruity, tart, yeasty, and pretty damn good. This is a hard beer to grade because it really doesn't fit this style or most any other style for that matter but in the end everything came together nicely and I enjoyed it so I don't really care what style they call it, I just call it good. I would buy this beer again, I liked how different it was, and it had great drinkability, I could see drinking several of these on a warm summer night. I recommend this beer to anyone who likes tart and fruity beers, if you are starting to bore of all the average Amber Ales on the market this would make for a good and interesting change of pace. Dark Horse did a great job with this beer, it was unique and interesting, I was expecting an average Amber and I got something totally different yet still really good. It's good to be different but in this case it's great. (3,077 characters)

Photo of beernut7
4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bright red colored brew has a nice light body and a rich fruit and malt flavor. It is really like a heavier bodied, more malt infused white ale. I liked it. (163 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a slightly hazy copper amber with LOTS of carbonation, leaving a thin white head but no lacing.

S-Sweet caramel malt and a whiff of citrus hops. Good for the style.

T-And so is the taste. Quite sweet throughout, maybe a bit too much so but I am grateful to have lots of taste. A bit of hoppy bitterness in the finish but not much of it.

M-Light bodied and crisp, despite the high carbonation.

D-Darn sessionable. Tasty and delicious. A big, pleasant surprise as this style is not a favorite.

HV (507 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
4.09/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an interesting beer. Not quite sure how much I like it, but interesting nonetheless. Pours to a dark hazy amber color with a thin white head. Recedes to a ring very quickly. Hardly any lacing either.

Smells great, however. Has a great floral, spicy hop aroma along with some rich malts. A tad on the sweet side. The taste doesn't translate well from the nose, though. Very estery up front. Has a bit of a sharp tart sweetness that hits hard at first but fades into a full, rich amber malt, gently roasty. The hops aren't quite as flavorfull as I would expect from the nose.

The palate goes through such an odd transition with this brew that it just seems to fall apart. Could be much better if it tasted like it smelled.

edit: after the beer sat in the glass for a while, I began to realize why this beer is listed under the belgian pale category as opposed to an amber ale. My tongue began to adapt to the flavors and it became much more enjoyable. I have updated my scores. (992 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.07/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A big thanks to HardTarget for the extra.

A: Pours a very dark and murky reddish/brown color. At first a two finger beige head forms, but recedes in a minute. A small ring of foam stays, and leaves some patchy lace.
S: This is really interesting. At first lots of fruit that are slightly sour. Apples and pears jump out at me. As the aroma lingers some toasted caramel malt that balances everything out.
T: Sour fruits of apples and pears again. Even some darker fruits like plums. Sweet caramel, toffee, and toasted malt.
M/D: A medium body, but a little to much prickly carbonation. Easy and smooth to drink though. Something I can session.

This is a great malty treat. Something I really enjoyed, and would recommend. (722 characters)

Photo of minterro
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange

A: murky brown orange colored beer. A weak off-white head that leaves almost no lacing.

S: the nose is fruity and malty. A tad bit of cloves and spice like a hefeweizen. Not very pungent.

T: fruity, citrus orange. Probably great for a hot summer day. a nice undertone of malts through the whole taste. Overall a pretty well balanced beer.

M: medium to full bodied medium carbonation. A bit crisp and also on the chewy side.

O: I'm not the biggest fan of ambers and the only reason I tried this beer was because of my buddy, having said that this might be the best or at least up there with the best ambers I've ever had. I dont see why this beer isnt rated higher. (711 characters)

Photo of putnam
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A leaden, tawny liquid turns up a short, very creamy tan head that slowly displays fat, bubbly suds on the outside of the meniscus. The aromas are of pressed tangerines, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and toast.
On the palate it ventures clear, nutty, crusty flavors on a silky frame of baked crumbs and mild, floral cereal clusters. Dry. Hard to classify this as "Belgian"...more of a zesty Brit style I'd say. (406 characters)

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Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.