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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 ZenAgnostic
3.73/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No stamped date.

Appearance - Medium brown body. Thin offwhite head, even after a vigorous pour. Great lacing and low retention.

Smell - Dark fruit. Lots of alcohol. Yeast. Somewhere between Dog Bite malt liquor and a Belgian quad. Strange.

Taste - Alcohol and malt up front, which quickly dissipates into a dusty dry body and an acidic dusty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Dry. Somewhat solvent and astringent. Strange, unexpected, and admittedly, unwanted; but not necessarily bad.

Overall Drinkability - Wouldn't go out of my way to get this beer again, but it's not bad, especially for being organic.

ZenAgnostic, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of seand
3.68/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear amber with a medium amount of white head. The head mostly dissipates except for a ring around the edge of the glass, and doesn't leave much lacing.

S: Light grainy sweetness. Not bad, though not too exciting either.

T: Medium level sweetness, light grain, finishing with very light hoppy fruit notes.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

This beer won't win any awards or be the standout of your next tasting, but it's pretty decent, drinks easily, and isn't too high in alcohol. Not a bad choice to have 6 or 12 around when you want to have a few beers with a few friends when the beer isn't the focus.

seand, Oct 14, 2011
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.

DrDemento456, Sep 17, 2011
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 PeprSprYoFace
3.35/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint. Cloudy darker amber color. Thin off white head. Little lacing.

Aroma is just kinda malty. Don't know how else to describe it.

Taste is ok. It's just kinda there. It's not bad. Just boring. Ok malt character. Slight bit of hops.

Mouthfeel is ok. Bland.

This beer is ok. Won't buy it again but I ticked it. Wouldn't really reccommend this beer to anyone. But is not like I drain poured it.

PeprSprYoFace, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of secondtooth
3.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Attractive deep amber, with tan head and not a lot of lace on my ale glass.

Awesome nose -- fruity, berries, yeast...unusual and enticing.

Flavor is biscuity, with some subtle spice undertones. Seems rather thick-bodied. Tastes rather dull, with almost no hops presence. Flat and malty, this one's not too impressive. Glad I didn't get a whole 6-pack, and I'll stick to Fat Tire, thanks. I like the organic angle, but this one didn't cut it.

secondtooth, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of Kakaraht
3.38/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a light amber with a Finger of white head that has okay retention.

S: Very faint maltiness and a slight hoppines, very subtle, but it does smell like it is smooth.

T: Has a nice smooth maltiness to it, the hoppines is on the weaker side, but it works well with this beer. There is also a faint copper flavor.

M: Medium body and carbonation, but nice and smooth really easy to drink.

D: Nothing spectacular but still a nice easy drinking beer.

Kakaraht, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of kellyst
2.25/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clear, orangish-bronze. A decent head stays through the beer. The aroma is of sweet grains, toasted, grains, and butter. The flavor is dinged preety bad by very noticeable diacetyl. Some caramel and toast are also going on, but the butteryness ruins what might have been a good beer.

kellyst, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of rembrant
3.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look Deep amber-reddish,i finger cream head

Aroma Grainy and toffee.

flavor A bit of a lager yeast up front with Euro type hops and a rather merged caramel toffee malt bill that never show much sweetness. Sort of a dry British take on an Amber

Mouth About normal for an Amber,a touch of sticky,subtle finish,normal carbo

Drinkability. Ambers are made to be mellow,and this is. It's a bit too mellow though,as nothing is distinctive. It's a pleasant beer but in the category there's a lot of competition. It is organic,and that niche helps it. Price was also good

rembrant, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
2.03/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle, received as a Christmas gift from family (who could have done a lot worse)

A: Pours a slightly hazy reddish amber color with a finger or so of off-white head.

S: Not pronounced at all; there's a light malty sweetness here, a bit of breadiness, and a small, small bitter hop presence.

T: Quite similar to smell but with the unfortunate bonus of an odd metallic flavor in every sip.

M: Thin/medium body, medium carbonation.

D: Inoffensive enough to get down at first but the metallic flavor builds and builds; I'm happy to have finished my glass and will

AwYeh, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of srandycarter
3.98/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Somewhat murky amber, off whit head slow to leave to disk, some spot lace.

S - Malty, bready, caramel. Smells hopeful.

T - Falls short of expectations. Nice, but not as nice as hoped. Matches smell but in a smaller degree.

M - Light, good balance, very easy and well carbed.

D - At this challenge level for the palate and ABV, quite drinkable.

srandycarter, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.33/5  rDev +35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unlike most users on here, I will review this beer as we are supposed to: within the style.

Poured from a bottle into a Fenway pint glass.

A: Dark orangish amber with a tannish hue. Not much head to speak of and minimal lacing.

S: A nice honey character is supported well by a decent crackery malt and light floral hop presence. This beer is not overly fragrant, mostly matly, but nothing offensive going on here at all.

T: This is a great example of an amber ale, pure and simple. A subtle balance of hops and malt with a refreshing honey hint, especially in the finish. Hints of dark fruit are detectable with a raisin flavor somewhere in the middle.

D: I could easily take down a few of these.

Value: A strong point that this beer possesses and one which, unfortunately takes away from its score on here. It is reasonably priced at around 8 bucks a sixer so lots of people apparently think it's sub par. WRONG. If you're not in the mood for a bomb, be it malty or hoppy, and a nice solid amber ale to enjoy, you can't go wrong with this one here.

WeezyBoPeep, Sep 07, 2010
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 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 jneiswender
3.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this beer at Ebeneezers pub on tap. Served in a pint class.

A-clear brown body and a white head

S-floral smell

t-sweet front, cream, nice grain and hop balance


D-okay representation of the style. Not an outstanding beer but a good one if given limited choices. I would drink again under over those circumstances.

jneiswender, Jun 25, 2010
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 16, 2010
Photo of treehugginslug
2.7/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Very nice amber color with slight head

S - Slight smells of caramel and wheat.

T - Would have liked more taste of caramel, yeast, and malt. Too weak.

M - Went down nice, but would have liked more carbonation.

D - Drinkable, but not very "tastey". If this were my first amber ale, I wouldn't be impressed with them.

Whould I buy it again: No
Would I recommend it to a friend: No
Would I drink it if I was offered at a party: Maybe
Overall: Not impressed

treehugginslug, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
2.35/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- light lacing and average head retention, color is a nice amber but a little to hazy.

S- Light bitterness and low malt, nothing really here

T- very light on the malt, would want to have a much more malt forward beer, I can taste a little bitterness which for an amber, is not quite right, if the malt was bumped up it would drastically improve this beer. off flavors as well. :(

M- no cloying but perhaps a bit over carbonated.

D- I really wanted to like this beer since it is usda organic but aparently the non-organic ingredients at this point still make a much better beer. might be ok if you are new to beer outside the big 2.

SeattleBeerBlog, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of KarlHungus
1.18/5  rDev -63.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer pours a hazy amber color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes within seconds into no lacing. The aroma is of sugary malt with a nasty chemically hop presence. This smells awful, and it is magnifies too much by the fact that, unlike most beers that smell bad, its aroma is actually pretty strong. The taste is like that aroma. It is full of malt that doesn't really taste malty, and hops that taste like chemicals instead of hops. Just awful. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, and flat. Overall, this is the first drain pour I've encountered in a very long time. Usually, I am able to find something of value in every beer I drink, but there is simply nothing in this beer that I like.

KarlHungus, Feb 25, 2010
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".

BeerFMAndy, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of yesyouam
3.88/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eel River Certified Organic Amber Ale is a clear red ale with a thin, eggy white head that leaves very good lacing. It smells malty and slightly sweet; fresh and herbal. It's medium bodied and very smooth with a lively finish. It's well balanced and pretty dry. It gets minty toward the finish. It seems like it was made for sessioning. Served in a mason jar at Farmer Brown's in San Francisco.

yesyouam, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of tronester
2.95/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Also took a chance on this beer, got on clearance at Mid-Town in Tulsa.

Pours a clear reddish-copper, with a thin light tan head. Smell is slightly sour and vinegary. Taste has a wierd plastic flavor up front, a tartness that tastes somewhat like a wild ale, but not quite. Thick malt middle, and a slightly earthy, sour, salty finish. Mouthfeel is good, low carbonation. Drinkability is this beers lowest point, it gets cloying and tireing way too fast. The beer tastes fresh, though, so I don't think it's due to being past its prime. This isnt that great of a beer, I'd take it over say a light lager, but its wierd taste gets old fast. Much better examples out there.

tronester, Sep 11, 2009
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 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 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
Certified Organic Amber Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
74 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.