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Kirkland Signature Amber Ale - Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation

Not Rated.
Kirkland Signature Amber AleKirkland Signature Amber Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

79 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 79
Hads: 187
Avg: 3.21
pDev: 23.99%
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.
View: Beers (8) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 79 | Hads: 187
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.15/5  rDev +29.3%
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.

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Photo of thebeerdoctor
4/5  rDev +24.6%
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,

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Photo of jsprain1
4/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a definite amber, maybe a shade on the dark side of the amber spectrum. Head retention is decent.
S- Smell is of toasted wheat bread. There is a bit of sweetness on the nose too. Almost like a brown sugar/caramel type.
T- Here again toasted bread is the first thing I think of. A bit sweet, it's actually just a little bit honey like in there, but it's just barely noticable. It's relatively straightforward, but it's a pretty tasty beer.
M- Eh, maybe a touch light, but barely so, style considered. Initially crisp carbonation smoothes out in the finish.
O- Probably the best in the Costco box. Simple, but a generally well done amber.

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Photo of jimmybryght
3.93/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When my wife returned from Costco and told me to get my beer out of the car, I knew she got me a case of something. I had no idea what was coming next. Costco-branded beer? I was very disappointed. She knows to get my brew from BevMo and nowhere else!

Needless to say, I was most impressed with the Kirkland Amber Ale. Nice deep bronze with a low head. Thick and rich. The aroma is hoppy with nice malts, some wheat and something else that I can only compare to dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is wonderful - thicker than I expected. A two-tiered finish with a wheaty aftertaste. Try it warm and then cold. It's actually more rich when it is warm. No loss of taste at all. I'm going to get some more this weekend.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.86/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a sampler of Kirkland Signature Beers at Costco, 4 beers 6 bottles of each. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper/amber color, with a lot of bubbles rising in the glass. Creamy off-white head, laces the glass with sticky white rings.

smell is faint, a bit of a sweet bread aroma perhaps.

Taste is quite good. A caramel nut flavor up front, with a sweet bread taste, and a mildly bitter finish. It's not overly sweet like I find a lot of amber ales to be.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly clean. There is a very effervescent feel on the tongue. Seems to be a lot of carbonation for the style.

A very drinkable amber. I like it a lot more than some of the sweeter flatter amber ales I have had. And at the $18 a case price point, this one is hard to beat.

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Photo of Troyone
3.8/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

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Photo of tugdriver7
3.8/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

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Photo of JimKal
3.8/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured int a Shaker pint glass.

A: a nice amber color with a minimal head. Clear with a good amount of carbonation.

S: For me this gave of only faint aroma.

T: This had a nice hoppy, caramel taste to it. It reminded me of Bell's Amber. I think someone who preferred a more hoppy amber would enjoy this one quite a bit.

M: A pretty good overall mouthfell for a beer with a less than 6% ABV. The carbonation, hop presence, and caramel all came together.

O:I tried this as part of the Costco mixed case. This was the second one that I tried. The first, the IPA, didn't measure up, but I think this is a decent Amber. Again, if you only enjoy the high ABV Imperial stouts and IPA, this is not one you will enjoy. But, I think it is a good low cost offering from Costco. If the final two, A German style lager and a Pale Ale are OK, it will make the $19 case price a bargain.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.78/5  rDev +17.8%
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.

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Photo of dbmcrorie
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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.

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.

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.


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Photo of NeutroMan
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a nonic.

A: Robust dark amber color with a one-finger off-white head.

S: Pale malts and citrusy hops. A mild nutty character permeates.

T: Moderate citrus hop flavor. The pale malts are a little stronger and are fairly sweet up front before transitioning to a more moderate caramel flavor on the back-end. Malts and hops are nicely balanced.

M: Medium-full bodied with medium-low carbonation. Smooth finish with less of a bite one might expect. Pleasant.

D: Probably the best of these Kirkland series - I will look forward to drinking another one.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.74/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Kirkland mixed case available only @ Costco!

Pretty quick head and no residual foam. Nice caramel and deep copper colored brew with decent bubbling.

The aroma is a bread crust with a soft bitterness that makes me think of licking a dandelion.

The taste is a nice and malty with a great hop balance that gives this beer a smooth and slight dry palate. Pretty simple taste and palate, but worth drinking again.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.68/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My house on July 13, 2012. Bottle into pint glass. Almost two fingers of head, which stayed for a long time. Copper amber color. Pillowy white lacing on the sides.
Very good retention on the sides. Foamy, white and surprisingly thick for an Amber.

Smelled sugary sweet bread, like a dessert. Also caramel, biscuit and nutty.

Smooth mix of biscuit and caramel to start, giving way to a decent alcohol bite. Roasty nuts late, but smooth.

Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt finish.

This was the third of four Kirkland beers that I tried. Another decent beer. Not sure why the ratings are so low for these Kirkland’s.

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Photo of Justin23060
3.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber approaching brown. Head is off white and despite diminishing, lasted until the end. Smell is malt with some hop that reminds me of Goldings. Taste is a safe malt, again with the same hop from the smell. It is semi sweet but finishes dry with a mild linger. Mouthfeel is somewhat watery but not disappointing. Kinda reminds me of an English Brown light. I'll say it once again... this is about as good as it gets for 79 cents a bottle. I do plan on getting another Costco mixed pack.

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Photo of jwc215
3.63/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before June 15 2010 stamped on neck:

Pours dark amber - towards brown, with some red hues when held up to the light. A thin creamy tan head has pretty good retention. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of roasted caramel, slightly nutty with an earthy touch.

The taste is of roasted caramel with some roasted nuts. Not overly roasty, though. Some sweetness is balanced by the mild roast and an earthy tone in the finish.

It is on the lighter side of medium-bodied with medium to medium high carbonation. Flavor lingers for a reasonable time.

An easy-drinking darker amber - has some "brown ale" characteristics. Easy-drinking and very well-priced. A good value for the dollar!

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Photo of unclejimbay
3.61/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

"dark English caramel malts with domestic Yakima WA hops"
25 ibus @ 5.7% abv

Appearance was decent amber in color, nice clarity with satisfactory head, retention and lacing.
Smell is weak, mild malty and roasted aromas if any at all.
Taste as it smells with more of a roasted character than most ambers. This one leans more towards the roasted elements of a nut/brown ale than a true amber, but it is still very enjoyable.
Mouthfeel is a bit light, medium+ carbonation.
Drinkability is better than expected. Decent brew all around for the price @ $18 for a case of the Kirkland variety.

Best beer ever? Definetly not.

Good beer for the price? Yes for sure. All 4 brews are decent, the Hefe is the only one not true to style.

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Photo of originalsin
3.61/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Kind of drunk now...I don't know why I saved this one for last.

Truth be told, it pours a dull amber color with a little bit of off white head that disappears without to much fuss.

The nose on this one is probably the best out of the pack--some nice caramel and roasted malts mingling with floral hop notes.

The taste is heavy on barley and caramel malt. It's medium bodied and really nothing special. A drinkable brew for a costco bbq, as previously noted in other kirkland reviews. One of the more solid beers in the pack

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Photo of bcm119
3.6/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.58/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
3.55/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, amber color with a one-finger, khaki colored head of foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace.

S - It smelled grassy, floral and somewhat of biscuity notes.

T - It tasted fairly nutty for an amber ale. Good roasted malt flavor with a grassy, spiciness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light to medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is another nice ale from Costco. A little nuttier than most amber ales.

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Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of Japerrault
3.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice looking golden amber with a thick white head, which dissipated quickly.

S: Carmel and some spicey hops.

T: Light sweet caramely malts at first followed by slight hops bitterness in the finish

M: medium body with good carbonation. The feel is right for the style/

D: Easy drinker. Nothing harsh. Overall a good basic amber.

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Photo of Suds
3.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a 12 ounce bottle, this beer is a transparent brownish-amber color. Slight head - just some wisps and a faint foam ring. The aroma is malt forward, with a nutty, slightly woody, roasted character. Some caramel. Decent smell. There is a little hop in the background as well. The taste is well balanced. This is a flavorful, and well rounded beer. Nothing really outstanding, though, and a little light in mouthfeel. Still, much better than I expected.

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Photo of hoppyhound
3.51/5  rDev +9.3%
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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Photo of jondeelee
3.5/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Kirkland Signature Amber Ale from Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation
75 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.