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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

369 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 369
Reviews: 189
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 15.94%
Wants: 8
Gots: 24 | 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: 369 | Reviews: 189 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Buebie
1.9/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter.

Color is a hazy amber, glowing copper when held to light. 1 finger creamy white head. Leaving a thin layer of retention and spotty bubbles.
Any lace quickly slides back down into the beer.

Aroma is a burnt pine, some grassy hops, sawdust, resiny hops. Bitter in aroma, no sweetness detected at the nose.

Moderate carbonation up front, sweet malty flavors. Orange peel and a large overhwlming amount of ginger. Not a fan of this.
Mouthfeel is thin and watery. The bitter burnt pine wood flavors and more then generous amounts of ginger are enough to turn me off from buying this again.

Will skip in the future.

Buebie, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

had this over dinner this evening. with 75 reviews as of this writing I'll note I had it with a salad with chicken and balsamic dressing. The light hop and malt characteristics made for a complimentary clean dinner beer. Overly hazy, I thought I'd poured a ton of sediment into my glass but I don't tihnk this is a bottle conditioned brew.

Morale of this review - a solid session beer or dinner beer.

barleywinebrewer, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of beerfairy
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice looking orange color. Nice lacing in the glass.

S: Smells like a belgian ale with hints of apple, toasted malt, and caramel.

T: Fruity taste with a nice addition of caramel and toasted malt, earthy/floral hops.

M: Pretty smooth

D: Very enjoyable and goes down very easy.

beerfairy, Sep 21, 2008
Photo of sweethome
2.73/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep amber color - unfiltered and beautiful! Very little head, and what there is leaves quickly.

Nose is virtually non-existant. A little mineral, slight sweetness, and a bit of a lactic funk.

Entry is smooth, starts sweet, a lttle carmel malt, then that lactic flavor dances in the back - is this a belgian yeast? Doesn;t develop in a pleasing manner - I think this is just a little lactic.

sweethome, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

To start, this is way overcarbonated. Even with a very gentle pour my glass was quickly overflowing with foam. Appears a slightly hazy orange-amber color. The head was over four inches tall to start but now it's at about two. Very bubbly and soapy looking. Leaves some lacing.

Aroma is kind of metallic. Some notes of toasted malt and caramel malts, a bit of yeasty aroma. Not much hops to speak of.

The taste is very fruity at first, gradually evolving into some toasty flavors and sweeter caramel notes. Finishes with a bit of hop bitterness that is almost lemony, but it doesn't stick around long.

Mouthfeel is very thin and watery. Carbonation level doesn't come across here as being too high as with the pour, it almost seems undercarbonated...strange.

Well the Horse has really disappointed me this time. Not sure if the bottle was old or what since it has no date on it, but it didn't taste oxidized or anything. Might give this one a shot again in the future if I see it again to confirm.

roadhouse, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- clear amber with a tiny head that clings to the sides of the glass.

S- sweet fruity and yeasty.

T- yeasty and sweet. very well balanced.

M- medium body, great carbonation and very smooth.

D- this one is very easy and enjoyable to drink. i could see myself having a few of these in a sitting pretty often. an interesting take on the style, check it out if you havnt.

jwinship83, Jul 26, 2008
Photo of orangemoustache
3.9/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi transparent amber with a couple fingers of foamy almond head that retains a quarter inch cap that remains the duration,lacing is uniform from top to bottom.The nose is yeasty and sweet with a mix of caramel and honey.The taste is unique and enjoyable,these amber ales can be quite a let down sometimes,this one pleases the tastebud gods.Lightly toasted caramel malts with some spiciness,and fair amount of hops help this amber ale to a level not reached by others,seems to be a style open to much interpretation,I wish more brewers were this creative.I can't help tasting pumpkin pie,maybe some nutmeg?Medium body and nice clean finish makes this one of the most unique,tasty and drinkable versions in recent memory.

orangemoustache, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of Biggness
2.73/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had this beer on tap last night. While visiting Michigan I certainly wanted to try one of Dark Horse's beer and this was the one on tap at the restaurant I ate at last night. At first appearance to color was a nice red/amber, the smell though was tough... almost made me not want to drink the beer, I am not too sure why it smells so bad, it almost smelled like a skunked Milwaukee's Best. The flavor was much better than the smell but still a little lacking in my eyes. I am hoping to make it over to the brewery and try some others.

Biggness, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of mnstorm99
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
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.

mnstorm99, May 28, 2008
Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
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!

GbVDave, May 16, 2008
Photo of Dalem
4.3/5  rDev +24.6%
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).

Dalem, May 03, 2008
Photo of 1fastz28
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
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

1fastz28, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of kenco12
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

kenco12, Apr 16, 2008
Photo of Slynger
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Slynger, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of knight84
3.9/5  rDev +13%
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.

knight84, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
3.83/5  rDev +11%
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.

pmcadamis, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of Bighuge
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Bighuge, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of gmfessen
3.9/5  rDev +13%
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.

gmfessen, Mar 01, 2008
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
Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 369 ratings.