Kirkland Signature Amber Ale - Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation

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Kirkland Signature Amber AleKirkland Signature Amber Ale

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BA SCORE
73
okay

185 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 185
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 3.13
pDev: 15.97%
Wants: 1
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Troyone on 03-19-2009

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 185 | Reviews: 80
Reviews by BEERME528:
Photo of BEERME528
3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was very hesitant to drink this based on the label and my experience with other Kirkland brews. I truly did enjoy this beer though. After being poured into a glass, the head disappeared fairly quickly. The color was nice and dark and there were slight carmel scents emitting. It tasted like a basic sweet Amber Ale and nothing too special. But for the price, this is not a terrible option.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
3.11/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, with "Best Before" dating etched onto the bottle. Pours clear lighter brownish amber, the head is fairly typical, medium knaki, moderate height and retention, then a low collar, some light sheeting and bits of lace. The nose is where things start to go downhill, with a hint of vegatal off flavors beginning to become noticable. Malty brew, with the same mild but still off putting bit of vegitation present. Caramel, bread, light cabbadge...oh my..pass this one by...

Photo of jondeelee
3.5/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kirkland's Amber Ale opens with a yeasty, malty aroma, smelling much like the interior of a breadshop which has just finished baking a load of floury wheat rolls. These grain aromas overlay a layer of fruits, including orange and apricot, and a very light touch of grapefruit spritzer lingers in the distance, along with a slight touch of dark brown sugar. The aromas as a whole are quite light, and the breads outweigh the fruits to a fairly large extent. It is largely the delicate nature of the aromas that results in deductions.

On the tongue, the beer opens with earthy, bready notes, the floury wheat rolls coming through strongly in the opening moments. These are quickly joined by a brown sugar and molasses combo, as well as apricot and black cherry fruit esters. Some cola-like notes linger at the edges. A slight buzz on the tongue notes the presence of hops (25 IBUs), though there are only faint hints of citrus or pine in the flavor profile. The aftertaste is mainly floury breads, with lingering bitterness and touches of apricot, and lasts for a little while, becoming more yeasty near the end. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium to medium-high.

Overall, this is decent fare, but could have used a better variety of malts to further nuance the flavor profile, and the slight touches of cola in the main mouthful are mildly offputting. The fruit flavors in here are nice, as are the floury bread rolls, and there is just enough of a hop presence to help balance the sugars.

Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 12 0z bottle, "best by" dated June 18, 2011. Served in pint glass. Brewed by "New Yorker Brewing Co., Utica, NY". Also from bottle: brewed with "dark-roasted crystal malt ... from England". IBU = 25

Pours a clear reddish mahogany color with medium bubbling and a limited amount of tan head. Head has moderate retention and leaves little lacing.

A - unusual floral malty aroma. Vanilla; toffee? Subtle

T - Resembles brown ale. Rather sweet, especially on initial portion of tasting. Less sweet, hop-tinged toasted malt dominates thereafter. Primary flavor component: a roasted chocolate malt, which lingers into the finish. Much as I love chocolate, I'm not a big fan of 'chocolate' flavor in beer; if you are you'll probably like this one more than I do. More flavor, even if unchanged, would be welcome.

M - medium/light body with medium carbonation; smooth. Carbonation looks higher than it feels.

D - not bad, but particularly appealing either.

At $19 a case, this is a good buy ... I think it is only available in mix packs with 3 other varieties - PA, IPA, Belgian White -- all of which I prefer.

Photo of biboergosum
3.58/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

354ml bottle, one of many, many, (did I say many?) in the Costco mixed pack.

This beer pours a clear, brassy amber hue, with two fingers of tight, puffy pale beige head, which leaves a few instances of broad spectral lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of sweet bready caramel malt, some indistinct orchard fruitiness, a mild oily nuttiness, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is quite upfront with the caramel malt, tinged with toffee and a waning biscuity breadiness, some still indecipherable nuttiness, a slight orange and pear fleshy fruit character, and more soft earthy, musty leaf hops.

The bubbles are pretty laid back, to the point of me wanting to shout a hearty "Get a damned job, ya hippie", but I'll hold back for now, the body a sturdy medium weight, and actually rather smooth, the caramel candy nature having strong pull here. It finishes fairly off-dry, the malt still redolent with caramel and thin toffee notes, and little beyond some weak drupe fruit and earthy hop posturing to form any kind of a counterargument.

While not the strongest offering in this gargantuan value pack, in amongst its own class, this punches well above average, as said mid-range is usually quite lacking - amber ales are as common as water, but normally not much more interesting, and often less so. Therefore the unexpected gravitas of this offering speaks with more oomph that I would have initially expected. Good, I guess.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.15/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pure amber in color with a full-smooth slightly off-white head, good looks overall.

Very nice roastie malts up-front, dark wheat, black licorice, brown sugar...really complex malty aroma. Nice earthy hop scent underneath.

This has a really great malt flavor with goo complexity for this style. dark and slightly roast crystal malts, dark wheat and very crisp effect. Hops add a peppery, dry, earthy tone that is in just the right place. Subtle brown sugar to the malt adds a bit of sweet.

The feels is also really nice, mega-crispy medium bodied that just keeps going.

This one was a really nice surprise with great complexity and easily one of my favorites of this style.

Photo of Snow81
3.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber

Head: Light tan head, nice lace on the sides of my glass

Smell: Carmel with a light toasted malt

Taste: Sweet caramel with some brown sugar and a hint of grassiness

Weight: Medium to light body with a medium
amount of carbonation

Finish: Subtle hops in the cheeks with aroma of toasted sweet malts left on the palate

Photo of HalfFull
2.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Final (of the) Four, and poured into a pint glass. This Kirkland brew from Hopfen Und Malz Brewing Co. pours a somewhat light amber gold in color. Quite clear and bright on the pour whilst topped with a thin nearly white cap which offers a somewhat brief retention.

Aroma is light and along the vein of the brewery. A background hint of hops and a remote sense of caramel malt.

Flavor is right up the same alley with a hint of caramel followed by a rather dry and biscuity finish and with a touch of almond and hazelnut. Feel is quite thin for the style and without a whole lot of character either, more along the lines of a Vienna Lager.

Interestingly the entire set of Kirkland beers offers a very thin approach to ales in general. And while each of the four seem to have the same genes, two bottles of the same style are often quite different from each other. And while none are unpalatable, they are universally mediocre at best.

Photo of Troyone
3.8/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with minimal off white head, moderate action, and didn't see any sediment.

Rich caramel and barley grain aroma with a hint of florals.

Has a grainy taste of toasted barley malt and a hint of caramel with a hint of mild grapefruit and butter.

Medium bodied, resinous and slight butter feel, with lively comfortable carbonation.

Another session type of amber with a craft grainy taste of toasted barley, not too sweet.

Photo of Gmann
3.5/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color, more towards the brown side. The beer has a small tight creamy head that settles into a light ring. The aroma is of brown bread, a bit nutty, and mineral water. A touch of brown sugar as well. The taste is of a solid bready malt with caramel sweetness. Again there is some mineral notes to go along with a lemony tea like bitterness. Almost seems to be more of a brown ale than an amber but whatever. The amber has a moderate body with fizzy carbonation with some light grassy bitterness in the end. A bit dry and astringent. Probably the best out of the 4 CostCo brews, this is solid all around

Photo of Ek0nomik
3.45/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured In: Tulip Glass

Appearance: The pour is an amber and dark copper color. The beer is crystal clear, and quite effervescent as well. I'm sitting here with 3 fingers of foamy head that last for a handful of minutes. There is a good amount of lace is on the side of my glass as well.

Smell: The nose is a mixture of hops and malt, leaning more on the malt side. The malt profile is sweet caramel, walnut and brown sugar. There's just a dash of earthy hops that are in the mix as well to balance the malts out.

Taste: The palate is very similar to the nose. It's a well rounded amber, although the watery aspect takes away from it a bit. I'm sure this beer is probably better for me from a nutritional aspect given it's watery flavor. Probably something Costco is after given their enormous customer base. Anyways, the malt flavors are similar to the ones listed in the aroma. It's a blend of caramel, brown sugar and some nuts. There is also a little bit of hop flavor that lingers during the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: I thought the beer was too highly carbonated from the pour, but the carbonation actually was about right from the start. The beer has a medium body, although a little on the thin side of medium since it seems like it's been watered down.

Drinkability: For a weeknight, I must say this was an enjoyable beer to have. The ABV is low, and it's an easy beer to sip on after a long day at work.

Photo of puboflyons
3.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl. oz. bottle brewed in Utica, N.Y. with an expiration date of Apr 04 2010. Sampled on April 16, 2010. The pour is a decent looking brown with a lingering foamy beige head and lively carbonation. The aroma is well malted and sweet in nature with a kind of light hoppiness in the background. The taste is about the same with a slightly dry hoppy finish. It leaves a slight aftertaste but it is actually fairly drinkable.

Photo of tugdriver7
3.8/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of the four in the (mandatory) mixed case at Costco in VA (our MD stores don't sell beer... go figure). The label says "New Yorker Brewing Co." in Utica, NY; so I'm assuming a Matt (aka Saranac) connection. That's good because if this beer is any indication of quality (and Matt is involved so it can't be bad), being able to get decent craft brew for less than $4.75 a six pack is almost ridiculously cheap.

This one poured dark gold to orange (yes, true "amber" color--like the petrified amber we could find washed up on the beach as a kid), with a slight haze and gorgeous tan head that laced nicely throughout. All malt in the nose--a clean, rich smell that carried into the initial taste as residual sweetness. Then a clean almost Marzen-like flavor that mellowed into a oh very slight bitter aftertaste. Nothing fancy, nothing too complex, but coupled with light to moderate mouthfeel, a very drinkable and refreshing beer with no real negatives except the fact that you have to buy in bulk, in a mixed pack.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. 5.7% ABV, 25 IBUs, Best Before Jun. 15, 2010.

A - A vigorous pour shows that this beer has no problem forming a large head. A full three-fingers tall, the cream-colored, soft head was retained well and left thick lace all the way down and around the glass. The completely clear amber-ish wood brown beer that the head sits on top of is also attractive.

S - Toasted amber malts give off hints of toffee and nuts while grassy hops help in the earthy tone of the nose. Hints of caramel sweetness keep it from falling completely into a dry earthy nose. While the aroma has a bit of depth to it, it's still a little uninspired.

T - The flavor opens with a strong toasted amber malt kick that lasts the duration of the time on the palate. Notes of wood, nuts, caramel, and toffee add depth, but little comes across in the way of hops. The little bit of grassiness in the finish could use some bringing up for balance.

M - This amber ale is certainly malty and smooth to boot. An unusually low carbonation spritz comes out slightly in the finish but its mainly dry and dusty in texture. Some additional hops would help the mouthfeel too.

D - It's really not a bad amber for being slapped under the Kirkland label. It could use some tweaks to better balance the beer but aside from it's good looks, it's a relatively average amber.

Photo of bcm119
3.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Some toasty malt hints in the aroma. Clean, toasty caramel flavors. Barely balanced by some soapy hops. Clean mouthfeel, with just a bit of sticky sweetness in the finish. Really not a terrible beer, although I prefer the Pale Ale from the variety case. A tick more hops and slightly higher attenuation would make this a nice amber ale.

Photo of wingman14
3.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with a small off white head that fades quickly. The smell has a strong malt presence with some sweet notes. The taste was a bit underwhelming for the nice malty smell that this one gives off. The flavor starts malty, moves into a weird flavor, then finishes with a sweet malt that lingers. The mouthfeel is somewhat of a detractor, harsh on the tongue with some bitter notes that probably shouldn't be there. This one is an ok drinker, an average beer with some high and low notes.

Photo of jeffjeff1
3.25/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was pretty good. Picked up a case of 24 Kirkland beers at Costco for $15. Can't beat the deal. Good beer, cheap and a lot of them.

Appearance- amber color, transparent

Smell- caramel, hops

Taste- malty, hoppy

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- pretty good, will be drinking it again, can't beat the price!

Photo of josiahschlender
3.78/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been curious about the KS 24 pack from Costco for a while, so I finally went ahead and bought the case, too tempted by the $17 price tag.

Pours into a pint glass a typical and attractive rich amber color, orange highlights, it seems on the dark side of the style. Pretty good off-white head diminishes rapidly to a thin ring that leaves a little bit of lace.

Smells are not over-abundant, but they're good when I concentrate on inhaling them out of the glass. Nutty, grainy malts and maybe just a bit of chocolate and possibly some dark fruit? I wish the aromas had more intensity, they're enticing, but too scant.

Flavors are a similar story--for the quality they seem to lack some oomph. Solid malty nuttiness, just a bit of sweetness that balanced out by ample bittering for a mainstream amber. Along with bittering hops, I notice just a bit of earth in the hops as well. I'm still intrigued by a bit of yeast flavors going on that somehow isn't surprising, having heard some about Gordon Biersch's head brewer being trained as a brewer in Germany. (hopefully that's true and I'm not mixing up my Southern California breweries)

Medium body and a fairly long finish round out the beer pretty well. Carbonation seems adequate.

This beer seems like it can't make up its mind from being an easy-drinking unmemorable gateway beer to a really quality Amber that stands out from a crowded pack. If the aroma and flavors stayed the same but upped the intensity, it would be up there with some of the best ambers I've had. However, making the flavors a little more mainstream, knocking back the bitterness and ABV some seems like it would fit better with the idea of an inexpensive case of session craft beer. Either way, it's worth a try in my opinion. If the other styles pan out, I'll be getting the case again for sure.

Photo of thebeerdoctor
4/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps there is a difference between the Gordon Biersch version and the F.X. Matt Brewing version? This American amber ale brewed in Utica, NY is a welcome affordable addition to quality beer. The use of imported dark crystal malt from England, combined with Yakima valley hops make this a very well focused ale. The gentle malt showcase ends with a bit of citrus and caramel in the finish. Very drinkable,

Photo of st9647v3
2.02/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

this may have been an old bottle, I don't know.

Photo of dbmcrorie
3.75/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation:
12 oz brown long neck bottle from 24 mix pack. No freshness date on bottle. Poured into regular drinking glass (lack of options).

Visual:
Copper brown body with orange hues, mostly translucent. White creamy head with very sticky lacing around the glass. Quite enjoyable to look at actually.

Aroma:
Plenty of crystal and roasted malts providing hints of chocolate and strong notes of caramel in the nose. Sneaky hints of smokey peat hiding in the corners from - what I can only imagine are - Yakima Valley hops. Slight bready yeast notes here and there. Hints of roasted nuts in the finish.

Taste:
Funky metallic notes around the edges of the tongue. Interesting malt lets the tongue ponder nutty flavors, toasted bread, biscuit, toffee, and faint smoke. Hop bitterness in the finish with a dry aftertaste of almonds and toasted grain. Oily mouthfeel and heavy effervescence.

Overall:
Not amazing, but decent amber and tasty for the price. I'd say this is one of the better of the four Kirkland Signature brews. But in the end, I'd rather pick something else - even if it meant spending a few more bucks.
Would pair well with anything smokey such as fish or barbecue. Would also do nicely with some strong creamy cheeses.

Cheers!

Photo of biggred1
3.45/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Coppery amber with a thin, creamy tan head that leaves scraps of lace on the glass. Caramel malt and mild floral hop aromas. Caramel malty with a bit of metallic bitterness that is slightly too pronounced. Medium light bodied with strong prickly carbonation. A very pedestrian amber ale.

Photo of SmokinSmyth
3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light brown/amber with a small head, although the bottle foamed over upon opening. Head doesn't last long, and no real lacing.

Slight smell of malt, but not a strong sense of anything in particular.

Taste is of a slightly roasted malt, with a slightly nutty finish. A very mild amber.

Feels OK in the mouth, a little weak, especially for an amber. Easy drinking, though. A mild amber beer, good for a warm summer day when you don't want something too light.

Photo of ghebel
3.35/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours amber color, very clear. Head is adequate, but does not last long, leaving only sparse lacing on the glass.

S - Caramel malt, hints of dark fruits. Earthy hops in the background.

T - Moderate, noticeable bitterness. Sweet malt. Mild alcohol.

M - Thin to moderate body. Carbonation sting initially. Finishes tart with warm alcohol sensation to finish off the swallow.

D - For the price, very drinkable. Gets better as it breathes.

Overall - A bit thin, but does have some flavor. Aroma is lacking until the beer is agitated.

Photo of hoppyhound
3.51/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The thing about this beer is that its not brewed in one place. Costco contracts out to breweries around the country and even though they use the same recipe in theory they can have dramatically different results. On the East Coast this beer tends to have an oddly sweet (and not in a pleasant way) taste to it. And the feeling in the mouth is quite heavy and sticky. Once I moved to colorado I found it to be quite good and I noted that a different brewery had made it. In general on the Kirkland beer I would say that consitency is the biggest problem here.

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Kirkland Signature Amber Ale from Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation
73 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.