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Certified Organic Amber Ale - Eel River Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Certified Organic Amber AleCertified Organic Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

121 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 121
Reviews: 79
rAvg: 3.2
pDev: 17.5%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  4.75% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-12-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 121 | Reviews: 79 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.15/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Promising creamy foamy head that soon dissipitates. Amber colour. Neutral slightly malty aroma, with just a hint of hops. Taste is malty and a bit of hoppy,Centennial and East Golding, but not all that tasty.Light mouthfeel,even watery.
Poor for its style.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2008 03:10:58 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0


3.25/5  rDev +1.6%

11-19-2012 01:29:17 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a slightly murky copper with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same but slightly watery. There is a very mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer with a better smell than taste in my opinion.

Serving type: on-tap

06-10-2012 05:21:50 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


2.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Charred orange with an infusion of liquid bronze. The upper third of the glass is occupied by a tight-bubbled head that is somewhere between pale orange and toasted tan in color. If the first half inch of deflation is any indication, the glass will be nicely coated with a thin blanket of lace. Amber Ale looks more like an Oktoberfest than an amber ale.

For a beer than supposedly contains a 'liberal dose' of Centennial hops, as well as East Kent Goldings, the nose is a major letdown. The aroma is well-toasted caramel malty, earthy and somewhat diacetyl-like. I hate to say it, but I've smelled plenty of organic beer that had some of those same characteristics. Why that should be so, I have no earthly idea. Do they all get their grain from the same supplier?

While the flavor is a little better, it isn't enough to warrant the next highest score. The beer is dominated by an earthy toasted maltiness that has to be due to some amount of Munich malt. In other words, not only does COAA looks like an Oktoberfest, it smells and tastes like one too.

An underlying malty sweetness is effectively balanced by a bitterness that noses ahead on the finish. I still can't appreciate the grapefruity citrusiness that the Centennial hops should have provided. I don't mind diacetyl in some instances, but I'm having trouble feeling good about it here because there's very little else to get excited about.

The mouthfeel is actually pretty decent. A sufficient amount of malt provides a clean, almost lager-like smoothness and there's nothing at all wrong with the middle-of-the-road amount of carbonation. Other than the appearance, the mouthfeel is the highlight.

Interesting fact: Eel River Brewing Co. was the first Certified Organic brewery in the United States and released the first Certified Organic beer, this one, in 1999. I can appreciate the history, I just wish the beer was more enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2007 13:54:10 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

2.3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a soda pop head that fritters away to nothingness before too long, leaving no lace

Smell: Toasted malt and caramel; the vaguest hint of earthy hop

Taste: Toasted malt and caramel up front, with a developing mineral flavor that arrives by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors fade but leave a mineral after taste

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, rather watery, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Rather unimpressive; for a beer with a picture of hop cones on its label, it sure could stand to make better use of them

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2009 16:42:47 | More by brentk56
Photo of ChainGangGuy


2.65/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours out a clear, dark brownish-amber body with a fine, beige-hued head.

Smell: Fairly weak nose with only minor notes of dusty, grainy pale malts, fruit, and... that's about it.

Taste: Grainy, simple pale maltiness with just a mere hint of caramel sweetness. Indistinct touch of fruit. Not really much in the way of hop flavor or bitterness beyond and a faint touch of herbal, tea-like bitterness that holds you over until the abrupt, weak finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A remarkably dull and altogether bland brew. If getting the organic "gold star" means a pint full of yawns, then bring on the pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers!

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2009 18:17:31 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of nickfl


3.25/5  rDev +1.6%

02-17-2014 05:27:41 | More by nickfl
Photo of russpowell


2.8/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Took a chance on this, not huge on organic beers got this from Mid-town Liqour today. This was on clearance, sooo:

Pours copper/orange with a finger of tan head. A trace of head retention & lacing

S: Fruitty, hints of butterscotch

T: Caramel, slight citric hops, dryness & biscuitty malt up front. More biscuitty malt, dryness & a whisper of citric hops once warm. Powdery dryness, hints of diathechtyl (sic) in the finish

MF: Light bodied, low carbonation, skews way too sweet

Drinks okay, I don't think this as fresh as it could be, first clunker I've had from Eel River, not sure if its the beer or its care & handling, avoid...

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2009 03:45:26 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.4/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thin white lace head that quickly fades; no retention. The aroma is average. It has a musty, stale pale and crystal malt scent. It's grainy and yeast driven from being bottle conditioned. The taste is decent. It has a grainy, sweet malt flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It goes down smooth and finishes slightly bitter. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent amber ale. It's nothing I would buy again, but it's the only beer by these guys I like.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2005 21:39:06 | More by WesWes
Photo of jwc215


2.8/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazed amber with a thin off-white head that lasts, leaving some thin lacing.

The smell is of lightly roasted caramel with a touch of honey. Very mild.

The taste is of caramel. Tinny/slightly metallic notes mix in, though, fitting in with overall character of this brew, they're mild. Mildly sweet, with a touch of tea-like bitterness to give it some balance. A "flat"/blandish aftertaste lingers for a bit.

The body is on the thin side of medium with a bit more than adequate carbonation.

It just has a blandness about it that, unless you are really an organic devotee and can't get anything better, it's hardly even worth checking out. A mediocre brew at best. As for me, I'm glad I only bought a single of it. Wouldn't get it again.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2008 17:44:01 | More by jwc215
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a clear amber color with a 1" head that lingers around a while.

Smell: caramel sweetness is barely detectable and very light on the nose.

Taste: slightly grainy malt profile with some caramel, ripe fruit sweetness, and a very mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Aftertaste is almost clean, just a bit a sweetness lasts in the mouth for a second. Lightly crisp throughout.

Drinkability: a pure session beer here. Flavor is a bit tame so it may bore you after a few, but it is easy to consume.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2008 12:02:01 | More by Gavage
Photo of MarkyMOD


5/5  rDev +56.3%

04-05-2012 21:09:01 | More by MarkyMOD
Photo of oriolesfan4


3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not into the whole organic movement but I do love trying new beers to this fits the bill. Pours a reddish-brown color, small head to it.. moderate amount of lacing. Faint nutty aroma to it.. almost non existent. Medium bodied, smooth mouthfeel.. not much taste to this one. Slight hops, a decent malt backbone.. but lot of blandness. Not a bad beer by any means, but definitely not exciting or tasty in the least bit.. I'd drink one if handed to me, but I would not seek out and buy this one again. Meh.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2010 23:05:49 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of Billolick

New York

3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ouncer, w/o freshness info to be perused. Pours darker honey amber, clear, under a puffy dark oatmeal cap, leaving minor spotty lace. Malt infused nose. Pleasant enough. Mostly malt, minor, yet present hop balance. Smooth enough. Nothing exciting, middle of the road style, middle of the road brew. Would do in a pinch is the best I can say here.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 00:00:56 | More by Billolick
Photo of ejimhof


3/5  rDev -6.3%

09-19-2013 19:37:35 | More by ejimhof
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Rogue Public House, in San Francisco.

Eel River Amber has really good clarity but not much luster; the beer's deep amber colour (with its almost brick-red tinge) is seriously lacking in the highlight department. Likewise, its head is good in size and subsisting, but incapable of leaving lace. In fact, it's a very no-frills beer all around...

I don't have any idea of prices on the wholesale organic agriculture trade; I imagine organic hops are quite a niche and therefore might be considerably more expensive than other commercial varieties. At very least this theory would explain how this amber came to be so dull; there is no aroma what so ever except a faint smell of crystal malt.

Ditto for taste. Bitterness is scarce - the malts aren't even that sweet (especially for an amber) but there's literally nothing to note apart from a generic, somewhat cereal-y graininess. Sure, the use of crystal malts has added a bit of flavour but the caramel notes are far from pronounced and there's not overtly toasty or nutty about it. It's boringly bare.

The beer has a couple of things going for it: it's clean (no fouling adjunct taste); it is well brewed, with no obvious faults; and it's not too uncommon to turn away the average beer drinker. As for that third thing, while it's good for sales, it doesn't make for a very impressionable beer; a little more character would make it a lot more enjoyable.

Organic beer may be better for the planet but in my experience it's not better for the palate. It's unfortunate that there exists a stigma of organic beers as being somehow inferior, but if they continue to be as ordinary and average as Eel River Amber (the first organic beer to be commercially advertised as such) consumers aren't likely to pay the extra money or switch their consumption patterns. At least I, personally, won't be.

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2011 00:58:04 | More by biegaman
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a clear, rusty-orange with a thin, micro-bubbly head that quickly dissipated leaving no lacing. Visible carbonation was light and steady.

S: The nose was spicy and sour tangerines with a light lemony hopping. The nose was rather gentle and light in nature.

T: The initial flavor was sweet-n-sour tangerines and a sour lemony hopping. Light sour oranges are experienced upfront but quickly fade to a thankfully clean finish. Overall the malt sweetness is lacking and the odd, sour lemony hopping distracts from the natural balance and nature of this beer.

M: very light wit sour oranges and lemony hopping. Carbonation was light.

D: Sour lemony hopping distracts from the overall style and affects the enjoyment as well drinkability. Not 6 pack worthy and no incentive to drink again. Save your dime on this one, unimpressed and a bad example per style.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2008 01:16:15 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.21/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Copper pour, tannish to white head, lacing clung well.

Taste, roasted, grainy, minimal hop presence, wood feel, a little heavy on the back end. Not real adventurous, not bland, but just kinda meh. Too expensive to even be a desparation beer, might as well order a SA as its comparable in its non offensiveness.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2010 22:23:59 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of LXIXME

New Mexico

3.75/5  rDev +17.2%

04-01-2014 23:07:56 | More by LXIXME
Photo of beertunes


3.25/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a slightly reddish amber with just a thin cap of off-white head that had low retention and lace. The aroma was the typical malty sweet scent of the style, with a bit of hops at the finish. The flavors were mostly smooth malt with a slight tang of hops on the end. The body was a touch fuller than typical for the style. Drinkability was very good, if I were in the mood, I could drink several of these. Overall, a nice little beer, and easily the equal of (and probably better than) it's counterparts Fat Tire and Alaskan.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2010 22:12:12 | More by beertunes
Photo of Gusler


4.03/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer dispenses from the 12-ounce brown bottle a luminous brown with a substantial creamy light tan head that last and last, the residual lace a clinging sheet to obscure the glass. Nose is sweet malt, earthy and fresh, slight hint of hops, quite appealing, start is sweet with a pleasant grain profile, the top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish has a stern acidity and the hops delightfully spicy, quite dry aftertaste that last a long time, a fine drinking beer from a brewery that is new to me, well done Eel River!

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2005 21:17:07 | More by Gusler
Photo of harpus


3/5  rDev -6.3%

07-16-2013 16:23:24 | More by harpus
Photo of ccrida


3.4/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic, the Organic Amber is a slightly hazed copper with a moderate off-white head that leaves moderate lace.

Smell is bready toasted malt.

Taste is also malt forward, but with a slight astringency that I can't place, not quite metallic, perhaps it's hop spice? The finish is a bit bitter but pretty clean.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with a slight crispness.

Drinkability is maybe a bit above average, as this is fairly smooth and inoffensive. It's also uninspiring and forgettable.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2008 07:15:35 | More by ccrida
Photo of BeerFMAndy


2.83/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. No date or info.

A - The haze in the beer gives the amber color a muddy appearance. A moderate pour puts the light khaki head to a finger tall. Low retention ended up as a creamy ring and a few fingers of lace.

S - Sort of reminiscent of a dubbel for some reason. I get notes of dark fruit and dark candi sugar with a sweet caramel malt nose and light yeast and hops. Not very amber-ish.

T - What it lacks in amber qualities in the nose it slightly makes up for in the flavor. Lightly toasted notes of bread and caramel malts with a yeasty aftertaste and low hop flavor. Rather bland.

M - Fairly smooth and somewhat creamy with a low carbonation finish and a medium body, this is the beer's best quality.

D - Nothing seems to fall into place for this beer. Everything is certified organic though, and it's one of the "better" ones boasting that title. Also, the manner in which I found it was questionable so I gave it a bit of leniency. It could be old but it certainly doesn't taste "bad/off".

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2010 23:47:41 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of DrDemento456


3.15/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Not bad it is amber brown of course with a half inch of head that turns to a lace ring , lacing is pretty sticky.

S - First smell is a strong caramel or butterscotch but I can't seem to detect anything further than this sickeningly sweet smell. No hops or nothing.

T - Wow for such a sweet smelling beer is is rather dull. No distinctive hops or otherwise taste of caramel malts or anything. Just slightly sweet and watery.

M - Again like sweet water there really isn't any body to this beer. They might as well call it a "light" amber

Overall I should have know I would get just another lackluster beer from this brewery. It really makes me want to avoid any future beers I find from them since they are 2 for 2 sucky.

I do find it quite odd that what they lack in beer making, they make up for distribution. Found this beer in at least 3 shops around my one horse town.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 02:01:19 | More by DrDemento456
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Certified Organic Amber Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
74 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.