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Dark Horse Amber Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Amber AleDark Horse Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

334 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 334
Reviews: 186
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 15.27%
Wants: 6
Gots: 12 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 08-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 334 | Reviews: 186 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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

When something is called amber, I ordinarily would not expect it to be called a pale, rather a hoppy American. And that's closer to my experience, but for the addition of some extra Belgian yeastiness. On-tap at Cole's./ Grapefruit colour, lots of lace. Hoppy aroma and hoppy taste, with fruit. Medium mouthfeel.Drying aftertaste.

Serving type: on-tap

10-15-2007 04:56:22 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

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

Bold, brassy orange peel with a fine yeasty haze. The head is a mixture of pale gold, pale orange and ecru, probably favoring the latter. Since amber and red make orange, the beer looks like a combination of an amber and a red. It's darker than most ambers anyway.

I cheated by looking at the DH website, but it's obvious that something out of the ordinary is going on here. In place of the usual hoppiness, the nose has a phenolic spiciness that has to be coming from an atypical yeast. The brewery says that it's 'ALMOST like a Belgian yeast strain' (whatever that means).

Give me a well-hopped amber or red ale any day of the week... or even a primarily malty one. Amber Ale is definitely different, I'll give it that. The only trouble is, while it's a fusion between the stated style and a Belgian golden ale, it doesn't possess the best aspects of either.

The flavor profile consists of well-toasted whole grain bread on the bottom end, dried fruit (apricot and orange) in the middle and Band-Aid phenols, clove and a certain woodiness on the top end. I don't know that I've ever tasted anything quite like it. Although it's beginning to grow on me as the ounces pass, it isn't going to achieve a final flavor score much above average.

The mouthfeel isn't too shabby for a beer of this style. It might be a fraction too light, but then I'm partial to bigger bodied beer. It only gives up on the finish of the finish and I'm fine with the amount and the quality of the carbonation.

Amber Ale is definitely Dark Horse's oddest brew. Even if it isn't lip smackingly delicious, it is interesting; a quality that too few craft beers possess. I can't really see myself drinking it on a regular basis, but I did enjoy this single once I got into the bottom half of the bottle. I'd suggest that you start with a single as well.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 15:00:57 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98
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 brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a one finger head that retains nicely and leaves dots of lace

Smell: Tart apples and caramel; rather yeasty

Taste: Tart fermenting apple flavor, with hints of caramel underneath; perhaps some apple pie spice (cinnamon and clove) in there as well; not much flavor progression, however

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; a bit chewy

Drinkability: When I first tasted this beer, I thought something had gone wrong; as I realized this was a different take on the style, I started to enjoy it more and more; perhaps a different name would have been a good idea as this certainly doesn't fit one's expectation of an Amber

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2009 22:46:40 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove
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
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.93/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of moejuck: Poured a medium cloudy amber color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of semi-sweet caramel malt with a faint yeasty presence is somewhat bland. Taste is refreshing with some semi-sweet caramel malt with a definite yeasty presence and no discernable hops. This was not a bad beer overall but still not something I would drink often.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2007 16:05:47 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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 ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

2.83/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours up a clear, obliging amber body with a small-sized, bubbly, white head.

Smell: Initial whiff of steeped, steamy grains and tea leaves followed with background notes of banana peels tossed with cloves.

Taste: Lightly sweet pale malts in the fore and already there's a fruity taste of bananas trying to squeeze its way into the taste. Not too terribly much in the way of hops beyond some light floral, herbal traces like a splash of English Breakfast Tea. No more than a small amount of bitterness. Small tinge of cracked clove near the drying, banana-laden finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This is one combination that just didn't work with me. Called the "red headed step child" of the Dark Horse beer line-up, which is fitting, as I was ready to openly beat this one when I was done. A bit disappointing, really, as I'm typically a fan of their work.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 00:35:54 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

06-22-2013 01:35:02 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +21.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2003 11:50:14 | More by oberon
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, nice artwork on the label, resembling a bundle of grain.

Pours a deep reddish orange, some foam remains in the pilsner glass. Smells of banana esters, and hearty, musty grain.

Tastes smooth and buttery, malty, toasted grain, finishing with an herbal note. Fairly simple, but with several flourishes that make it unique. Slight bitterness in the aftertaste, must be hops. Earthiness too, hard to place though.

Very smooth mouthfeel, few flaws here. Easy to drink several at a time, be sure to appreciate the nuances. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 03:38:00 | More by emerge077
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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 NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +23.9%
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!!!

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2011 14:21:42 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of TheManiacalOne
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 RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

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 feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark Horse Amber Ale

Very clouded look on this guy, beyond that a sold amber, big surprise, slim, soon-gone head.

Sweet, creamy aromatics. Notes of vanilla,
toffee.

Taste: some bitter hop presence, and a thinner malt body than I expected. Far too bitter and astringent for an amber ale. Slightly sour. I went in with certain expectations, and while I am always prepared to have those challenged, this one went in quite a different direction.

Not liking this at all.

...actually, I'm disliking this less as it goes down, it becomes somewhat more palatable...but not by enough.

Yeah, I can toss it back, but not with much pleasure. One of the few Dark Horse brews I've disliked. Can't win 'em all.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2010 22:08:14 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a golden amber with 2+ fingers of slightly fizzy looking off-white head. This finally settles down into a 1/4 finger of creamy retention that leaves some spotty lacing behind. The aroma is bready, malty, and citric, with some hints of spice and floral hops behind it.

The taste is bread and caramel malt sweetness with a layer of citrus and spicing underneath and a tingle of hops in the back. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a creamy feeling carbonation that has a bit of a sharp edge to it at times.

Decent enough Amber Ale here I suppose with enough flavor and a decent body to keep me interested. I probably check this out again down the road.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2008 17:35:47 | More by Kegatron
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

2.6/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appears a semi clouded caramel amber hue with a light cream colored head dwindles rather quickly leaving a thin collar of lacing with minimal patches sticking to the sides of my glassware. Aromatics are tame with dominant caramel malts and a touch of lingering metallic natured elements, carbonation prickles the nose but really doesn't give off an actual aroma. Flavors jump out with some cloyingly sweet sensations of apple juice with a touch of unwelcomed acidity. Way too one dimensional and malt driven I can't really even mention hops it tastes sort of like unfermented wort, with pineapple juice and some other tropical nectars adding to the sugar content. Mouthfeel is a touch sticky with residuals, pass me another version definitely a trainwreck on the palate. Carbonation is overly fizzy and seems un natural for me. Drinkability overall wasn't offended it just was way too sweet for me, kick up the hops just a tad and I could see this working. I will try another bottle to make sure it wasn't a carbonation issue.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 04:14:26 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A fizzy almost 1 finger head fades semi quickly over a slightly hazy darker amber reddish brownish orange color.

N: Hmm, it has a strong ale aroma, with some dark malts, a little Belgian malts, little Belgian strong ale spices, slight candi sugar, and surprisingly a slight boozy aroma. With that some light amber malts, red malts, toasty, a little juicy fruit coctail with touch of apple and pare, and apple cider. Not to happy with the nose for being an American Amber ale.

T: Starts with some malts again, Belgian and American amber malts, a slight dark strong ale flavor too. Again more fruit, apple cider, slight pare, more spices as well, and touch of candi sugar. It even has a slight tingly booze taste. I'm starting to wonder if this was mis labelled, REALLY starting to wonder!!! THere are at least a little bit of light amber malts. A slight nutty flavor, and dark fruits a touch of fig.

M: Medium body with a slight warming booze with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes with a sweetness still but dried quite a bit, some candi sugar and syrupy. Slight warming and tingly booze. Lingering light spices and Belgian malts. Not a bad finish, but def not an amber ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2010 01:30:33 | More by jlindros
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

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

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry pale and crystal malt scent that's a bit fruity with a touch of caramel sweetness. The taste is decent as well. It has an overly sweet caramel flavor that goes down easy with a dry, fruity yeast finish. The hop flavor is low. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an above average beer, but nothing I'll buy again. It's too sweet and lacking hop character.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 22:37:40 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an orangish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is malty with some fruit. The flavor is caramel malt with some fruit notes, but something is a little off. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2010 23:03:08 | More by Mora2000
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

2.88/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Extraordinarily cloudy with lots of clumpy yeast beasts floating around. Good start to the head. Sticks around for awhile. Modest lace on the glass.

Caramel malt aroma, but there's also a metalic (iron) smell that is distracting. Mild hoppiness in the background.

Here's a professional homebrew. Less yeast in the taste than I expected given the appearance. Also, the brew is drier than the aroma suggests. Oddly, given the abv, there's a strong alcohol presence. On the positive side, the hop-malt blend is pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2010 00:45:40 | More by smcolw
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Copperish color with a yeasty haze and a cream head that has decent retention before reducing a cap with some webs of lacing. Hmm, doesn't really smell like any other amber I've had, most noticeable elements are some fruitiness and Belgian like yeast, not much malt or hop presence. My first reaction to this beer is fairly unfavorable as this is very distinct from what I was expecting and isn't very enjoyable. Grainy, yeasty, very low malt profile or sweetness and not much hops in the finish. Medium body with high carbonation and a slightly fruity, yeasty aftertaste. As this warms up it becomes a little more enjoyable, but something still seems off. Not quite an amber, not quite a Belgian. Not bad, but I'll pass in the future.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 03:06:13 | More by yourefragile
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

2.3/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a thick orange brown color. Nose is fruity and sweet but soured. Taste is medium bodied, fuity, astringent and sour. Mouthfeel is full but harsh. Nothing about this is drinkable in my eyes.Maybe I got a bad batch or a bad bottle. Who knows. I would try another one.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 04:14:17 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Princeton Liquors in Maple Grove, MN. I was a little worried I'd picked up another boring amber, but Dark Horse has made something different - thank God. The aroma is a little husky and the flavor is a bit dusty, but there's also a big cocoa taste with caramel candy. Looking at the beer, it's a bit darker than a normal amber, a clear light brown. Come to think of it, this beer is a little more like a brown ale, but I'll take it. This beer is worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2009 03:18:10 | More by tempest
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Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 334 ratings.