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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.

124 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 124
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 3.2
pDev: 17.19%
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: 124 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
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.

Sammy, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%

t0rin0, Nov 19, 2012
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%

zestar, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of brentk56
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

brentk56, May 23, 2009
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.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 07, 2007
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!

ChainGangGuy, May 30, 2009
Photo of nickfl
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%

nickfl, Feb 17, 2014
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...

russpowell, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of WesWes
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.

WesWes, Jun 12, 2005
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.

jwc215, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of MarkyMOD
5/5  rDev +56.3%

MarkyMOD, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of Gavage
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.

Gavage, Apr 17, 2008
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.

oriolesfan4, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of Billolick
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.

Billolick, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -6.3%

ejimhof, Sep 19, 2013
Photo of biegaman
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.

biegaman, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +17.2%

LXIXME, Apr 01, 2014
Photo of beerthulhu
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.

beerthulhu, Apr 26, 2008
Photo of chinchill
3.18/5  rDev -0.6%

12 oz bottle consumed in Redwoods Park. 4.8%
Red-amber; clear; decent tan head and lacing.
Aroma: an appealing mix of sweet baked grains with caramel.
Flavor: Follows the aroma; average or low-average intensity. Limited aftertaste.
Feel: Faintly prickly medium carbonation. Medium body.
O: mild; resembles a Mexican Dark.

chinchill, Aug 22, 2014
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of harpus
3/5  rDev -6.3%

harpus, Jul 16, 2013
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.

beertunes, Jul 08, 2010
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!

Gusler, May 06, 2005
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.

ccrida, Feb 01, 2008
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Certified Organic Amber Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
74 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.