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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.

351 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 351
Reviews: 188
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 16.23%
Wants: 6
Gots: 21 | 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: 351 | Reviews: 188 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mynie
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
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.

mynie, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of Pegasus
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Pegasus, Feb 05, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
3.45/5  rDev 0%
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.

Gehrig, Jan 15, 2008
Photo of HardTarget
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

HardTarget, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of beermanbrian
2.65/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

beermanbrian, Dec 26, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of bashiba
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

bashiba, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of Blakaeris
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Blakaeris, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Sammy, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of Chaz
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
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 ; )

Chaz, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Monkeyknife, Aug 24, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

rhoadsrage, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of enfield249
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

enfield249, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of Beaver13
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Beaver13, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of Phatz
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Phatz, May 08, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.93/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

Phyl21ca, May 03, 2007
Photo of kundabuffer
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not terribly impressive, but not bad either...at any rate, I found it to be overpriced, selling for $8.29 for a six-pack at a local store that sells Bell's Amber for $7.79 (and Bell's is a MUCH better amber in my opinion). This doesn't really taste all that different from Newcastle...relatively low ABV, giving the beer a kind of nondescript watery sweetness. It is easy to drink, I suppose, but I don't think I'll buy it again.

kundabuffer, Apr 21, 2007
Photo of bahumutx
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Poured a dark copper/amber color.

Smell: Sweet Malt and slight hops. Maybe some citrus and a little bit of bread.

Taste: Starts of with a citrus flavor and hop bite and then ends with a sweet malt and bread flavor. The hop flavor does not stay around long and is not overpowering at all.

Mouthfeel: Right amount of carbonation and good Mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. The beer as a great flavor and not much of a lingering after taste. This would be a great session beer.

Nice job Dark Horse Brewing.

bahumutx, Apr 11, 2007
Photo of alexgash
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amberish copper peach with slight haze. Small, off-beige head disappears rather quickly. Spicy, almost-bubblegummy nose with toasted, biscuity malt and light herbal hops. Definitely Belgian-inspired aroma, but a little too much bubblegum. Toasted, lightly bitter taste up front. Followed by bubble gum, fruit, and spice bread. Clove and grains of paradise near the finish. Citrus and herbal bitter finish. Not bad. A better "amber" Belgian-style brew than a certain "wide-wheel" from Colorado...

alexgash, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of BitteBier
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cloudy, brownish-orange pour topped by at best an average amount of reasonably dense, whitish head. Sweet, malty smell with a little citrus tang present as well. Not quite what I expect for an amber, but more appropriate for a Belgian. Taste is similarly fruity, with a malt base that lacks firmness and hops that are more fruity than particularly biting. Mouthfeel is quite smooth but doesn't hold up so well. This wasn't the amber I wanted to have with my fish and chips, but it was worth trying.

BitteBier, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of scruffwhor
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium mahagony and sandpaper sienna with very mild mild carbonation and n even milder head. Quickly disappears to nothing. The aroma hints at more of an American red ale than anything Belgian. Except for mayabe some more yeasty banana notes. The taste seems to be more American than Belgian as well. In fact, I wouldn't know this was a Belgian style beer unless BA and the Drak Horse website told me it was. Very malty with some light hops here and there. Tastes like an American had a one night stand with a Belgian. Pretty smooth and clean on the palate with some odd to place sweetness from the malts. And pretty light in complexity or flavor for that matter. So it could lend itself to be drank in massive quantities.

scruffwhor, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
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!

emerge077, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of xav33
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark Horse Belgian Amber Ale
12 oz bottle
Unknown bottling, raced 11/06
Medium pour in a tulip glass.

Poured a hazy brownish copper with an average frothy mostly diminishing off white head with a fair ring of lacing.

Smelt of strong sweet apples, with light to moderate spices, breadiness, banana and cloves.

Taste was upfront moderate sweet bubble gum and spices, with roasted grain, followed by a strong roasted malt character and caramel and apple fruit tones, on a long bready finish. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied, fizzy, slightly oily, with moderate astringency.

Overall, an interesting belgian amber hybrid, that almost feels like apple cider. A bit rough on the finish, and simple in flavors. Pretty straighforward and interesting.

xav33, Nov 06, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A cidery colored brew with nice cloudiness. Solid, creamy, tight head with just a hint of a greenish tint.

S: Not a lot going on here. Some pear, green apple, very minor tangerine.

T: Green pear sweetness, just a tad under ripe. Some Belgian sugar thoughts with yeasty hints of apricot, banana and clove. Ethereal young wheat adds a gently malt background.

M: Thin body to medium body, could be a bit juicier but might comprimise the drinkability.

D: I like this beer. Subtle flavors mingle very nicely together. Probably nice on tap, with the flavors becoming more pronounced yet staying balanced. Killing a pitcher of this would be easy.

Westsidethreat, Oct 12, 2006
Photo of neonbrown82
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

neonbrown82, Jul 29, 2006
Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 351 ratings.