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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.

336 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 336
Reviews: 186
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 15.61%
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: 336 | Reviews: 186 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mnstorm99


4.22/5  rDev +22%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2008 17:04:06 | More by mnstorm99
Photo of GbVDave


4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20 oz imperial pint.

A: Pours a beautiful looking dark and cloudy orange color with a small and bubbly off-white head that leaves a decent amount of lace in the glass.

S: Interesting aromas of belgian ale yeast, clove/cardamom, apple, toasted malt, and caramel.

T: Spicy and fruity (like a mild hefeweizen) with a nice addition of caramel and toasted malt, earthy/floral hops, black pepper, and apple.

M: Smooth and pleasing with and interesting peppery-ness.

D: Excellent summer beer! Very sessionable and enjoyable!

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2008 22:13:04 | More by GbVDave
Photo of Dalem


4.3/5  rDev +24.3%
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).

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2008 23:19:59 | More by Dalem
Photo of 1fastz28


3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a cloudy reddish copper color with a 1 finger head, has a nice color to it. smell is kinda weak, it has some good aroma to it, it is just too weak to get alot out of it. it has a nice biscuit malt aroma to it though. taste is good has a roasted malt flavor overall, sorta watery which is why the mouthfeel is kinda low, slightly above average amber ale

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2008 00:56:34 | More by 1fastz28
Photo of kenco12


3.03/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Wasn't anything too special than a regular Amber Ale. I poured into a frozen glass to enjoy for my final beer of the night, and was severely dissapointed. After having a few different beers, this wasn't one to end on. I will definetely give it a second chance as a first drink of the night, but for right now, it wasn't all too special. Poured a gorgeous color, but that's really all that was fantastic. Tasted like a typical amber ale, except a little more bitter. In the end, my taste buds could have been swayed, and if so, I will change, but for now, it gets this current grade.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2008 21:40:42 | More by kenco12
Photo of Slynger


3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Horse Amber pours an apricot-amber color, with a slim off-white lid. The smell is sweet and fruity, and pretty light. Caramel and apricots mostly. The flavor throws me for a loop though, as it's nothing like I expected. It is toasted and bready with a lightly spicy yeastiness, some grassy earth, and just a hint of the apricots from the nose. Medium bodied with fairly light and unspectacular carbonation. Overall an interesting take on an amber. It's a little bit unlike any other amber that I've ever tried and I'm not sure why the smell and flavor are so different. Not bad though, and definitely something I will check out again.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2008 03:43:11 | More by Slynger
Photo of knight84


3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark reddish amber with a very small taupe head that doesn't last. The nose is earthy malts, and yeasty esters of strawberries, raspberries, and peaches, I get a touch of banana at the back of the nose.

Taste is malty with some yeast, strawberries, old hay and dirt, and slight hop bitterness. It feels crisp but also a touch syrupy in the mouth. For some reason this beer feels more like a Belgian style than an amber, maybe that's why I like it better than most ambers...

Overall I liked this beer, it's very drinkable and has more character than most ambers I've had. Even though ambers aren't my favorite beer style I still like and appreciate the unique take on this style that Dark Horse has come up with.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2008 03:57:22 | More by knight84
Photo of pmcadamis


3.83/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This one pours reddish amber/bronze with a small khaki head that quickly fades to a thin layer of fizz. Swirling produces some spotty lace, but fails to bring up a decent head. I really like the dusky and hazy color though.

S - This has a fruity and vegetable combo aroma, like V8 splash. I'm getting some musty earthy moist soil and also some grassy hop notes. This smells a bit chalky and old world, and I'm all about funky notes like these, but they somehow fail to deliver here.

T - Carrot juice with strawberries and peaches. There is a mushroomy dirty flavor too, a long with a biscuity malt aspect that wasn't present in the aroma. A peppery spicy flavor is very prevalent also, like pepper in a Bloody Mary.

M - Gritty, earthy, dirty, medium in body, and dry on the finish. A really solid mouthfeel for an amber ale!

D - Not too shabby. I like the oddball earthy notes, and the tight mouthfeel aides drinkability. This is a pretty good brew, even though it doesn't look all that great.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2008 17:30:54 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of Bighuge


3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy dark amber body. Thin off white head. Sparse lacing. Subdued nose of sugary carmelized malts. This amber's got some character, but in an odd sort of way. Almost like something you'd expect from Bell's. It's got some sharpness to it. Just a titch of acidity. And maybe a little yeasty sourness?? But, underneath all of those "oddities" (which, by the way, aren't off putting in any way) is a nice solid malt backbone of caramel and slightly toasted malts. A little bit of a sugary topping to it all as well. Very agreeable mouthfeel. Medium bodied or so. Interesting and enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2008 04:47:32 | More by Bighuge
Photo of gmfessen


3.9/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a clear amber color (duh) with a thin, bubbly head. Smell is not overwhelming, but is of malt; caramel and toasted notes with a very slight hop nose. There are some floral hops present in the taste, balances nicely with the sweetness of the beer. Caramel and toasted notes dominate the palate, along with some phenols you might expect from a hefe or a Belgian which seem out of place but interesting. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a minimal carbonation. Easy to drink, a pretty decent beer overall.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2008 21:41:47 | More by gmfessen
Photo of mynie


4.22/5  rDev +22%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2008 03:27:55 | More by mynie
Photo of Pegasus


3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slightly cloudy deep copper in color, with a massivev, persistent white head, and thick glass-coating lace, which leaves striking tide marks on the glass walls.

Aroma: Toasted malts dominate, with a mild herbal hop presence, as well as a slightly dusty note to the aroma.

Taste: Opens with tart malts and tangy hop notes, which verge upon sour. As the taste progresses, the hop and malt presence mellows a bit, but never loses its piquant character. Midway through the taste, hints of toffee appear. Finishes with a mild, lingering herbal hop note.

Mouth feel: Smooth full, quite soft, very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A very drinkable example, which demonstrates more character than the style is typically known for.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2008 03:09:29 | More by Pegasus
Photo of Gehrig


3.45/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber Ale pours a modest, one-finger white cap over a cider orange. The smell is attractive--orange, lemon, bready malt, a dash of cinnamon--but a touch understated. The taste follows suit, with fairly good flavors dragged down a bit by a flat texture, and therefore mouthfeel--not a good sign. Yet a roasted flavor that finished the ale ultimately salvaged the overall taste.

Somewhat as a disclaimer, I have to admit that while I enjoy Ambers, this is not one of my most favorite styles. Not bad on the whole, and pretty decent as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2008 06:28:24 | More by Gehrig
Photo of HardTarget


3.85/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: No info., nice art.

Aroma: Malty, roasted grain with a yeast edge that might go a little sour? Green apples noted.

Appearance: Translucent brown with a ½ finger head of tan that laces with tidemarks.

Flavor: Malty base with a lot of toffee, hints of hop leaf. Flavorful, but straight forward, a very full flavored amber.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, watery feel, low carbonation.

Overall Impression: Easy drink, good rich flavor, not your typical watered down brown.

Thanks to Pegasus for sharing the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2008 01:24:36 | More by HardTarget
Photo of beermanbrian


2.65/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Yeast floaty filled off orange in color. A soda pop head fizzes up and quickly dissapears. I smell some orange peal but mostly belgian yeast notes. This beer is a weird combination of a lot of things and it just dosn't work. Taste is malty but also has belgian spice notes. Mouthfeel is thin. Very high carbonation level. Phenol aftertaste. Not one I will go back too, not even sure I'll finish this one. The other dark horse beers I had were solid offerings so this one was an unpleasant surprise.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2007 01:04:33 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
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 bashiba


3.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice clear copper with a thin white head.

Smell was light and fruity yeast with a bit of toasted malt.

Flavors are very balanced with a nice lightly toasty malt body and a light citrus hop finish with the belgian yeast poking through with some mild citrus and coriander notes.

Mouthfeel is light with a dry finish.

Not to bad the belgian yeast gives this beer a unique flavor for an American amber.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2007 01:59:34 | More by bashiba
Photo of Blakaeris


3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy apricot. Crisp white heads starts off decent but disappears rather quickly.

Aroma is toasted malt and citrus fruit. Yeasty spices - notably corriander and clove.

Taste is candy like sweetness and bready caramel malt up front. Toasty and nutty, along with a dry biscuit quality. Tropical fruit. Sweetness starts to turn sour in the finish as the floral yeasty spices make an impression.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

This is a mild version of a Belgian Pale Ale. Style aside, the flavor is balanced and smooth. Fruity and sweet. Certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 22:25:19 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
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 Chaz


3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red-tinged golden-amber in color, capped with a rocky pale tan head with moderate lacing. Semi-cloudy (I left some of the yeast in the bottle*). Nose is yeasty estery, and a touch perfumey or "soapy" - in a good way of course. Definitely fruit forward, with a blend of light pear and ripe plum. The yeast profile reminds me of a Belgian amber ale - interesting. Semi sweet and with a pleasant biscuity quality on the first sip. A zesty citric hop note backed with very light banana esters comes to the fore at mid-palate, and combined with the medium body and this makes for a bready, chewy mouthfeel. Light notes of clovey-spice along with the banana make me look for wheat malt, but it's minimal if present at all - interesting again. A bit of toasted malt in here too, a sort of peak in the hilly terrain of the malt bill. Domination? Not here, instead all of the distinct elements do a little dance on the palate, with biscuity malt, yeast, and bittering hop being the main players in this troika. Malt sweetness is present here, but it's complemented by a slight astringency in addition to ample bitterness, and then there's the yeast, which adds both to the mouthfeel and to the aromatics. Very drinkable and agreeable overall. Sessionable and much better than average. Although the "amber ale" category is huge, the brewery's nod to a Belgian style does a lot for this one - would make a for a great draught rotation should it ever make it to my favorite pub!

* "Dark Horse is the new Bell's" - you heard it here first ; )

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2007 18:07:50 | More by Chaz
Photo of Monkeyknife


3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a very hazy golden brown with a off-white meringue-like head which reduced down quickly. No real lacing to speak of.

Aroma is sweet, yeast and dried fruits.

Taste is sweet, biscuity, with even a hint of sourness.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a little slickness to the tongue and mildly carbonated.

This beer is easy to drink and better than many amber ales I've had.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2007 22:25:42 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a hazy apricot brown body with a thick light tan head of foam. There is a strong carbonation of micro bubbles that race around in the glass and supports the head for most of the beer.

S- The smell of yeast and dry biscuit malt has an earthy pine note that comes through as it warms. The smell is pretty soft except for the yeasty notes.

T- The taste of biscuit malt and toast are followed by a soft but bright orange fruit flavor. The finish is a light green pine bitterness that hangs on a bit after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture but a pretty clean finish.

D- This beer is simple but good. The flavors are not complex but are pretty distinct, however it would be nice to taste them a bit more. Good session beer and I think if on cask much more subtle notes would really help this beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2007 19:34:23 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of enfield249


3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice amber color, heading towards orange, little to no head.

S - Some smell in here is not so good. Feet? Cheese maybe? Could be my glasses I guess, but not a good smell.

T - I taste none of that off smell in the beer it self. Sweet on the front of my tongue, some good nice flavor of malt that sticks around on the center for a while.

M - Not to much carbon, and not too cloying. But, it is in a way cloying.

D - I'm going to have to give this a lower score because of the smell. If that is standard, then I'm not such a fan. Not awful that aside.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2007 02:09:46 | More by enfield249
Photo of Beaver13


3.5/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a murky tea color with a fizzy off white head that quickly recedes to a thin film.

The aroma is subdued - bready caramel malts, a little grassy hops and some slightly sour fruitiness.

The flavor is caramel malts, maple, a little chocolate, some yeast and a little fruit zing at the end. The mouthfeel is medium with some slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, an enjoyable amber. It's different and more flavorful than most ambers.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2007 03:18:42 | More by Beaver13
Photo of Phatz


3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewery. I was drinking and enjoying this beer until my garbage pie pizza started making my nose run. This refreshing easy drinking beer disappeared quite quickly then.

Appearance: Served a dark hazy apricot brown color with a frothy white head.

Smell: biscuity malts and light suggestions of fruit and bubblegum come from the yeast, apparently.

Taste: This is a strange microbrewery/bar and this seemed to be a popular drink there though is was often mixed with some other beers. This and the IPA and this and the Black were both ordered from beside me while I was eating my pizza. I can understand why, this is a very simple, approachable beer. I hesitate to say bland but that could be another word for it. The flavors are small but there is a pleasant malty sweetness with hints of caramel and a Belgian yeast kick that touches on bubblegum and banana, and to gives it a bit of depth and character; though all the flavors are restrained and in-offensive, in a mainstream fashion.

Mouthfeel: Very light in body and crisp, making it a refreshing summertime ale.

Drinkability: The feature of this beer is it's incredible drinkability.

Hope this is helpful.

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2007 01:24:48 | More by Phatz
Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.