Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
no score

(Send Samples)
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 193 | Hads: 413
Photo of stercomm
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

 627 characters

Photo of Schneic8
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

 517 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

 797 characters

Photo of Infamous7100
3.42/5  rDev -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.

 532 characters

Photo of superspak
3.94/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 995 characters

Photo of jimmah120
3.77/5  rDev +8%
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.

 363 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

 984 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3/5  rDev -14%
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,

 349 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well this was pouring a beautifully clear deep amber color, but I failed to realize this was bottle conditioned and the last little bit fell into the glass and muddied it up pretty good.Tightly bubbled white head shows moderate retention and lace. Smells a bit fruity with a fair bit of yeasty esters. Caramel and brown sugar round out the nose. Taste is sweet and malty with a Belgian flair to it. Sweet brown sugar and caramel mixed with a bit of tart dark fruit and a decent amount of earthy and yeasty esters. Medium body and level of carbonation with a sweet almost sticky mouthfeel. This is a different amber ale for sure, but quite tasty just the same. Ironically I poured this without knowing the brewers intent and had to look up the description on their website to make sure I wasn't drinking an infected bottle.

 822 characters

Photo of paxtonthegreat
4.5/5  rDev +28.9%
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 bluHatter
4.25/5  rDev +21.8%
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 Holland
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a hazy brownish amber color with a one finger head. Lacing was decent but didn't last long.

S: smelled of fruit (couldn't pick it up), caramel and pale malt

T: tasted the same as the smell, but the tastes blended well. Wasn't thinking it would be this good after smelling.

M: carbonated and medium bodied, this was about right for the style. Not fantastic, but not sure what else you can do here. It allowed a crisp sensation in the middle, and stickiness allowed a lasting aftertaste.

O: solid brew, but I just don't care for the style. Price was about $11 at some bottle shop in Ann Arbor.

 608 characters

Photo of tykees88
3.57/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- it's a nice orange amber color. white frothy head with bubbles and some rockiness.

S- it has a floral hop aroma and some nice toasted malt flavor.

T- The hops finish with a nice bitterness. But the beginning is all about a dry tart fruity flavor very interesting.

M- It's medium bodied with a little too much carbonation.

O- It's nice a better amber ale than many others

 378 characters

Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy amber with moderate bubbles and a two-finger, white fizzy head that diminished in a couple of minutes. Okay lacing.

S: Toasted malt, caramel, and light hoppy aroma. Fruitiness too, and yeast.

T: Moderately sweet and a bit of hop bitterness. Like someone else said, there was a citrus-orange flavor. Overall, fruity, tart, and yeasty. Sort of a bland, slightly bitter taste.

M: Light to medium bodied. Crisp and refreshing without being watery. Soft to moderate carbonation.

O: Descent Amber ale. I didn't feel there was quite enough hops or toasted malt. The appearance was a bit lacking too. Still, above average.

 653 characters

Photo of Internatbrewlove
4.2/5  rDev +20.3%
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 minterro
4.05/5  rDev +16%
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 StoutHunter
4.12/5  rDev +18.1%
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 Phinner
4.55/5  rDev +30.4%
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 MammothBrew
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep amber with a slight orange and caramel tint. No head to speak of, but a nice thin white layer on top. Light lacing is occurring.

S: Citrus is what I'm getting the most from this one. Grapefruit, citrus hops, faint malt scent. I detect floral notes as well.

T: Malt with a pretty mellow citrus zing. A bit of a floral taste. Pretty similar to smell.

M: For the body, it's between light and medium. Carbonation is present, but I think it's mostly the citrus zing I am feeling. No residue or bad aftertaste clinging to mouth.

O: Basically, I'm in the middle with this one. I would never buy it again, but I wouldn't refuse it if someone offered. FYI, goes good with fried food, which isn't saying much.

 746 characters

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Came out of the bottle looking hazy and cider colored. Only a small amount of head leaving a ring around the glass. Interesting it looks like cider and I got apples right at the beginning.Also a lot of fruity yeast and pale/sour malt. The taste has an extremely light malt body with a large amount of carbonation. There is a big bite from the yeast and carbonation at the start. The pale malt then takes over and goes right into a fruity sour apple finish. Semi-dry and tingly.

 477 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this beer out Ohio way. Also found the Boffo brown ale too.

A - Tried my best not to get any sediment... success! Pour is still a very dark tinted amber with an inch of creamy head. Lacing is solid.

S - To me it smelled of a bit of fruit maybe a bit of pear (I love pears) with a nice caramel malt and toffee. Smells a bit yeasty too.

T - Thankfully not full of yeast I get dominant fruit and a sweet caramel base. Kind of relaxing to not have a hop forward amber.

M - Light to medium obviously but it does have a lingering nutty ness.

Overall not as extreme as most of there beers are but still well crafted. Was lucky to find these two beers since they are not around my area. Looking forward to trying all there brews someday.

 740 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +22.3%
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 flyingspatula
3.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tried Dark Horse's Crooked Tree IPA and thought it was really good, so I tried the amber ale. I wasn't disappointed. The smell is OK, not as good as the color which is cloudy, but nice. I poured the last of the bottle in my hand and it had some sediment, which I thought was kind of cool. Not much head, and no laticing. The taste is nice; the flavor has a fair amount of fruitiness. It's probably the darkest amber ale I've tried. Not too malty, or too hoppy. I would buy this again.

 491 characters

Photo of cocogan
3.66/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Visual: Dark tangerine-brown color. Zero head, just a froth border around the ring of the glass. Very hazy beer with lots of floaties inside (yum).

Aroma: floral and oranges.

Taste: Citrus orange-apple taste that is both sweet and sour. Has an earthen background to it. finishes sharp with a crisp hop bite that leaves a bitter-sweet finish. This beer reminds me of an apple juice based punch. I could see myself drinkin this with breakfast or maybe at a junior high dance.

Mouth: Medium body and carbonation

Drunkability: Refreshing drink that would be a nice wake up with some eggs. Could lead to a nice sunday funday.

 624 characters

Photo of rings
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The only thing generic about this beer was the name. Served unfiltered, the draft pours with a traditional deep, cloudy copper color, but opens up immediately with a funky yeast nose that almost hints at a Belgian strain or the essence of a homebrew. The body is full, sweet and rolls back into a spicy, but clean hoppy bite. Nearly every sip brought out something different, a spice here and hint of fruit there.

While it does have a little bit of kick, you don't feel like you're drinking a strong ale as the blend of flavors and aromas balance nicely and the fullness covers up any heat from the alcohol. It's a very satisfying brew and interesting enough to find new layers as you pair it up with an appetizer or meal.

While it's certainly not a "profile" amber ale, the lack of conformity is an asset as this Amber Ale is distinctive and memorable for all the right reasons.

 881 characters

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