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Dark Horse Amber Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Amber AleDark Horse Amber Ale

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379 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 379
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 15.65%
Wants: 7
Gots: 30 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 379 | Reviews: 190 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros
3.38/5  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.

Photo of jampics2
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bell's Amber Ale is made just 40 minutes away from the Dark Horse facilities. I consider that the benchmark Amber ale, one of the beers that got me into craft in the first place, and something that has literally never been touched - many step up and get beat down.

Looks good in my pint glass. Amber color, but a touch lighter. Head is just a bit underwhelming, but looks nice overall.

Smell is caramel, some mild hoppiness, and some yeasty esters. No esters in my ambers dudes! Not a trappist descendant, more of a German thing with cloves and a touch of raisins and under-ripe banana. Weirdness ensues.

Taste is OK but again there are weird tones shining through. As far as I know, this is marketed and intended as a straight amber, probably a shot at Fat Tire. If it's indeed meant to be a more "Belgo-German" beer, let us know and we'll rate as such. In the meantime, this is not good for an amber. Sweet caramel and some weird spice. Bad news, Dark Horse dudes.

Mouth is decent, actually not too bad. But overall, this beer felt, smelled, and tasted average. How about a more American take on the genre, Dark Horse? Bell's can rest safe and sound tonight, their title isn't going down the street anytime soon.

Photo of innersanctum
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Horse calls this one their "red headed step child" right on their web site. Listen guys, I don't mind a red head one bit, but then again I like blondes and an occasional black and tan too; we're talking beer, ok.

But is it an Amber Ale? Amber for sure; the appearance is of the color orange and deep dark yellow, almost copper. Ale no doubt because there is no chance its a lagger and I'll take their word it was brewed at a high temperature. But Amber & Ale, this is getting tricky guys. DHAA has a lot going on inside the bottle; sediment at the bottom, it pours a flatish copper hue, and I taste the faintest bit of dunkelweise too. One thing is certain, DHAA isn't for everyone and neither are red heads.

Red heads are cute, I'll have another please.

Photo of Dodo2step
3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Al's of Hampden

A- a cloudy amber ale that has resemblance to brown sugar. Not much head and no lacing.

S- yeasty matls and not much else. Maybe some clove but very minute if any. molasses and sweet dark candied fruit.

T-peppery malts and sweet. more bready malts and some sour cherry.

M- chewy like a cherry pie but sour. sour malts.

D- A smooth beer and easy to put back. Somewhat tasty but it is very heavy for an american amber ale.

Photo of cbutova
3.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours out a pretty chunky dark red with a very fizzy light pink head that has very little retention. I can tell that lace is gonna be hard to come by here. A decent cloud and ring keep it from looking like fruit juice.

S- The Belgian aspect of this surprised me, I am used to hoppy ambers. Yeast notes up front. Clove filled spice hints, some esters and a mild amount of dark fruit. Overall aroma has decent strength.

T- Fairly laid back and a pretty good blend of flavors. The Belgian spice is pretty relaxed but the clove comes through for sure. Grassy and earthy flavors come through too. The dark fruit is not overpowering and adds a nice balance to the other flavors. Some slight banana esters.

MF- Light body that has a good amount of cream texture to it. The carbonation slightly stings the tongue. Smooth and crisp. Coat of dark fruit and clove.

DB- Definitely a summer beer. I like the use of a more laid back Belgian yeast style. The only thing here is the flavor seems a bit bland after a while, nothing outstanding. I would have to say it is one of the more refreshing Belgian inspired ales I have had in a while, the cloves and yeast notes do not make it a one bottle thing.

Photo of Parrotbeak
3.44/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber-orange with some swirls of cascading yeast running from top to bottom. No head, save for a few white patches and a ring around the perimeter. No lacing.
Smell is bready malts with a Belgian yeast aroma. A hint of sour dough, as well as some dark fruits.
Taste is more bready malts with a definite Belgian yeast flavor. White pepper. More fruits, including cherry, red grape, melon, and fig. Finish has a touch of sour and bitterness to it.
Mouthfeel is smooth and fairly flat. crisp yet slightly sticky on the finish. Light-to-medium body.
Drinkability is decent. Seems a bit muddled and unbalanced. Smacks more of a typical Belgian ale to me.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3/5  rDev -13%
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,

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.

Photo of drpimento
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh. Middle a the road amber ale. Just like their description. Poured with a smallish, off white head and a little lace. Color is a clear medium amber. Aroma is malty and a bit fruity. Flavor is like aroma. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finsih is like flavor. Forgettable.

Photo of bsp77
2.69/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Dark cloudy brownish-orange with no head or lacing. Just looks kind of stagnant. Hopefully, it will get better from here.

Smell: Sweet toasted malty bread, light Belgian aroma with slight banana.

Taste: Heavily toasted malts, with dark fruit and cherry. The Belgian aroma I detected doesn't make itself known in the taste besides for maybe some light clove. Very medicinal and metallic at the end.

Feel: Seems kind of flat and spritzy at the same time. Light body with off-dry finish.

Drinkability: Just a strange beer overall. Not a fan, especially with that atrocious medicinal aftertaste. Seems like I may have gotten a bad bottle, but many others comment on the murky look with no head.

Photo of nrbw23
3.12/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a murky reddish amber color with just a thin layer of bubbles for a head. Pretty much no head here at all and a very odd looking brew. I'm not sure if I got the bottom of the keg or what is going on here.

S- Smells of strong caramel, fruity, and a faint piney bite. Not a terrible lot going on here.

T- Roasted malts, caramel, doughy,bread, and a bit of chocolate. Fruits are cherries, pears, pineapple, and mainly tropical fruits. Again not terrible but I'm not really digging this one.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and rather low in carbonation.

D- Nothing really super awesome going on here. Ok to drink, but I think I'd rather have something else.

Photo of Natural510
2.72/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle, no discernible dating.

Pours a medium-dark, um, amber, with a quick fizz of head and a light wisp of soapy lacing on the edge of the glass which eventually goes completely flat.

Sweet but moreso tangy malt to the nose. Fruit-like yeasty aroma.

Very tart and tangy in flavor as well. Fruit & clove notes meet a heavy yeast presence and hop bite. Far too much yeast...is this a bad batch, or poor attempt to "Belgianize" an amber?

A bit flaccid in the mouth; fairly heavy in body but the lack of carbonation becomes more apparent the longer it is drunken.

I hate to slam a beer but I don't know where they are going with this. It's difficult to create an original amber ale when the market is flooded with them, so points for the attempt, but that doesn't make it any more drinkable.

Photo of DrewHodges
3.24/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 5/10/10 tasting; bottle poured to pint glass.

A--clear amber-reddish, slight bit of froth, but little carbonation or fizzing, almost looked flat;

S--clove, straw, almost vodka-like, some peach..smell was most interesting thing about the beer;

T--decent flavor, but odd and unexpected for an Amber..tasted Belgian yeast, nice sweetness;

M--medium body but low carbonation, almost flat, maybe the bottle is a bit old;

D--not my favorite by far, especially from Dark Horse

Photo of silentjay
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a hazy amberish brown with an average head that doesnt retain or lace too well.

aroma is kind of fruity and malty. not much to talk about here.

taste is definitely fruity and candy-like sweetness. is almost belgian-like in flavor. maybe they used a belgian yeast? some pepper, banana, clove flavors that typically come from belgian yeasts. a bit of malt is toasty and caramelly. some floral hops fight for attention too. makes for a fruit-juice type flavor, some apple, grape or something of that sort.

medium to thin-bodied with a minimal amount of carbonation.

not unpleasing, but not something I'd like to have more than one of. unique, I guess.

Photo of billab914
2.67/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Poured a cloudy amber color with a thin bubbly white head. Very little retention to the head and also didn't leave any lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a lot of spicy and yeasty tones to it. It has a bit of banana to it with some cloves coming through. It almost smells like a Belgian beer. It does have some toasted and caramel malt coming through helping it to fit with the style I was expecting a little.

The taste is like the nose in that the spicy, fruity, yeastiness seems to dominate. I'm getting a lot of cloves coming through in the taste along with some apple cider characteristics. A bit of the malt I expected comes through but it's really hidden behind all the yeasty flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability isn't good, it wasn't anything I expect from an amber ale. It tasted almost like a Belgian cider if such a thing existed. Some of the toasty and caramely malt comes through but not enough in my opinion for the style.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, cloudy, red/brown in color

Smell: cherry and toasted malt

Taste: cherry, toasted malt, Belgian spices

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, sweet

Drinkability: One of my favorite beers by this brewery. I could have several. A different take on the style and one I will get again.

Photo of ZAP
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Muddied copper color..flatish looking

S-Very spicy and yeasty...some candied maltiness

T-Spicy...Big on the Black Pepper...malt is mildy sweet...

M-Medium bodied...not much for carbonation

D-Interesting take on an amber ale...big Belgian influences...almost saison like in some aspects..

Photo of dougofthefuture
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Plain old Amber is a tough style to get excited about, but I do find things to like in this beer.

A - Not much going on here - nice cloudy red color, but the head fades quickly and leaves very little lacing.

S - You have to try hard, but there is a malty body here with a bit of a tart finish.

T&M - The good in here is world class, but the bad makes it average. On first impression, there is a great crisp sweetness that reminds me of Belgian candi sugar. It is really refreshing, and just seems right with the slightly roasted malts. However, the finish is tart, bordering on sour. That flavor has no place, and leaves me disappointed.

D - If only... I always love this at first, and then get a bit sick of it by the end of the bottle. So close! Worth a shot though.

Photo of tpd975
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy amber hue with a tall off white head. Very good retention with some spotty lace.

S: Aromas of sweet candy malts. Lots of caramel with hints of summer fruit.

T: Loads of apple juice... meh, with hints of caramel and brown sugar. A bit grainy with mostly sweet cereal type grains.

M: Medium in body, good carbonation, very sweet from start to finish.

D: Not so much. Considering this is Dark Horse I am a bit let down.

Photo of semibaked
2.41/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a hazy amber color with very little head and carbonation.

S - I get hops, pepper and spices, I don't get much malts at all. Smells very different than any Amber I have had but still smells good.

T - I get some of the spices and hops but tastes very watered down, really disappointing.

M - Straight Water!

D - This is just bad beer, I have been disappointed with most of the Dark Horse beers I've had and this is no exception. This might be the worst of the bunch.

Photo of Mora2000
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of treehugger02010
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I got a bottle of this beer out of a Dark Horse Brewing Company variety case. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: The body is a relatively clear deep amber color. The head is a finger tall, thin, poor retention and poor lacing.
Smell: The aromas are hints of coffee bean, some cinnamon and bits of ginger.
Taste: The flavors are ginger, coffee and toffee.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is crisp, but the body is thin.
Drinkability: This beer isn't that bad.
Don't drink and review.

Photo of mikereaser
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle on 12/2/09

A - Pours a dark rusty orange with 1/4 inch of foam that quickly disappeared

S - sweet malt & hints of citrus, brown sugar

T - malty, brown sugar, lemon and orange, a mix of all kinds of flavors, dark cherries

M - slightly carbonated, smooth, very nice mouthfeel

D - i could drink alot of this, nicely balanced beer

Photo of cpetrone84
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-deep reddish copper color (nice looking) but the rest doesn't do it right. Aggressive pour that left almost none of a white head that dissapears immediately and leaves no lacing on the glass

S-huge nose of clove and a hint of banana (is this a belgian wheat?)

T-again a big taste of clove and hint of banana, however the taste does fight back with a light caramel malt and some bitter hops towards the finish (light though)

M-very smooth and a light to medium body with a decent amount of carbonation which is actually blended nicely with the smooth texture

D-the mouthfeel is the saving grace here, it makes it go down nicely; but not a fan of the taste especially for an amber. I just feel the style was missed here, if it was a wheat beer i would have rated it differently.

Photo of jt31914
1.4/5  rDev -59.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A: 1 finger of head with a dark amber color; the foam clings to the glass and it has good head retention.

S: Smells clovy with a sort of tart cider aroma - reminds me of a draft cider.

T: Cider taste with little to no hops; this beer tastes artificial on the finish and is very mild. Pear-like taste of a witbier is also unfortunately pleasant. This mixture doesn't work well and tastes bad.

M: Semi-smooth, but not great.

D: Hard to drink.

This is the only Dark Horse beer I've had that I didn't like; it is the worst amber ale I've had unfortunately. Just buy Lucky 13 from Lagunitas instead.

Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.