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Spark House Red Ale | Lake of Bays Brewing Company

28 Reviews
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Spark House Red AleSpark House Red Ale

Brewed by:
Lake of Bays Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Crafted without artificial flavouring or colouring agents, Spark House gets its deep mahogany hue and distinctive taste from a unique blend of domestic and European hops and dark-roasted specialty malts.

Added by hopsolutely on 06-09-2011

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 101
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle from a 6 pack.

Poured into a nonic glass. Brilliant red-ruby colour on this; the name "rousse" is certainly appropriate here. The pour generates about an inch of frothy head, which survives very well as a thick ring with some webbed lacing. A very nice looking brew.

The nose is a malty affair, with strong notes of caramel, a bit of earth, baked bread. Also quite pleasant.

A vast improvement over their pale ale, the Rousse has a nice malty profile that is quite bready and sweet. Caramel is quite prominent, but there is a slightly acidic bitterness to the finish. Quite pleasant to drink, has enough depth to make this an enjoyable sipper. Might be a bit sweet for some palates, but for me it's doing the job admirably. Creamy, medium bodied (!), nice mild carbonation.

An enjoyable brew, and certainly reminds me of some fine red ales I encountered from Quebec breweries. A great little Ontario red that is well-worth picking up.

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Photo of MJ63
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of biboergosum
3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Day 8 of the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar. More brewing from up there in cottage country, eh? Critical mass can't be all that far off, then.

This beer pours a clear, dark red-brick amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and broadly bubbly off-white head, which leaves some decent melting iceberg lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of gritty, biscuity, and lightly toasted caramel malt, an oily dry nuttiness, a sweet, almost red berry-like fruitiness, a touch of hard water flintiness, and very subtle earthy, weedy hops. The taste is more of the same, but tighter and more focused - biscuity, bready caramel malt, almost salty bar-top nuts, dry, faintly buttered toast, a hint of bittersweet cocoa, and earthy, moderately bitter leafy hops.

The carbonation is a tad tight, but generally agreeable in its basic support duties, the body just on the lee side of medium weight, and adequately smooth for the style (just a wee twinge of hop play here). It finishes on the sweet side, the caramel malt, nutty breadiness, and lingering understated dark fruitiness calling the shots.

As far as Canuck amber ales go, this is all right - relatively robust in its tastiness, and no off-flavours. Worthy of a try, especially if you're the poor sap sitting in that lookout tower, searching for telltale sparks in the surrounding forest.

 1,367 characters

Photo of bryanzk
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of glass_house
3.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of DaveBar
3.59/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3.00 for a 473ml can. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well. Pours not much head that is gone in no time. Dark brown but clear

S- Pretty good. Malty!

T- Malty! LOL very malty. Bit of hops.

M- Ok but nothing special

O- Pretty good. Won't buy again but good

Food Pairing

This ok beer went well with... BBQ hamburgers


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Photo of droogy
3.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wasn't expecting much of this one but after finishing was very impressed. Obviously going after the Rickards Red market and does a MUCH better job of it.

A - two fingers of head. very dark / amber colouring
S - Malty
T - Caramel, Malts, Not as watery as Richards; likely what that beer SHOULD taste like :)
M - creamy

head retention was awesome; tasted great throughout. a big recommendation for fans of Richards.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a medium brown color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of light dry caramel malt with some light cereal notes. Taste is also a mix between some non-descript cereal notes with some dry caramel malt. Body is average with good carbonation. Middle of the road amber ale.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to Founders Tulip Glass.

A - Poured a very dark amber/ruby colour, almost opaque, with a slight amber glow around some of the edges and two fingers of tan coloured head that receded to one finger with good retention.

S - Very sweet up front with dark caramel, toffee and toasted malt aromas. A slight bitterness is also evident with some floral notes.

T - Sweet caramel and toffee flavours complimented by a good bitter hop bite with floral notes. The finish is dry and bitter.

M - Light to medium body. Slightly creamy with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of MattCampbell
4.01/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of WillAndSarah
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of irishkyle21
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of dipso123
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of CurtisD
3.16/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of DamageCase76
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of patre_tim
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a red tinge when held to the light, little carbonation, no head but a little off-white foam only on edge of the glass.

S: Smells off dark malts like some munich dunkels, fresh malt bread, pumpernickel, some caramel, very bready.

T: Somewhat dark and toasty, munich dunkel type malt, some pumpernickel, toast. Not overly sweet, bitterness seems to be coming from the toasted malts but surely there is some hop bitter aftertaste as well. There is sort of a glassy taste on the front. A bit nutty like brazil nuts.

M: Light body, low carbonation.

O: Good, nice to try, not loving it but a fine tasteful beer that would go well with bbq, breads and sandwiches, cheeses etc. Not up my alley, but if you like dunkels, you might like this beer.

 760 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of CMM
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of spinrsx
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO - part of the winter OCB 6 pack for 13$

Appearance - Dark reddish-brown colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There's an average amount of carbonation and there isn't much lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes.

Smell - Malts, grassy notes, caramel, light hops

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts and a hint of chocolate. There is also a touch of dark fruit flavour, some grassy notes, and some caramel. It ends with a malty aftertaste with a bit of a herbal/hoppy lingering spiciness.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting given it's listed on this site as an american amber. It's kind of like a ESB or a nut brown if anything. It's okay to drink but not something I'd buy again.. there are too many other better beers to choose from.

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Photo of RedAleMan
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of RefillMyglass
2.75/5  rDev -23.6%

Photo of SebD
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice deep amber color to it with some ruby. It has a nice light beige head that dies down moderately fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted malts, caramel, some breadiness, nuts and some earthy hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some caramel with some light coffee notes, roasty malts, some breadiness, light nuts and earthy/grassy hops.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a decent overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341 mL bottle; no best before date. Courtesy of this year's OCB Holiday Sampler.

Pours a reddish-brown colour; deep in hue, but still translucent. At the surface is seated one finger of frothy, soapy, off white-coloured head that recedes over the next few minutes, leaving behind a coat of lace and thin, filmy cap at the surface. Pleasant aroma that definitely leans toward the sweet side, with plenty of caramel and bready malts, alongside notes of milk chocolate, toasted nuts, and a bit of earthiness.

This is a pretty tasty amber. Not exactly intense, but there's certainly a sizable blast of big malty flavour. Caramel and bready malts remain very prominent, some light toastiness, with nutty undertones. Finishes earthy and a little grassy, with everything except the slight earthiness failing to linger into the aftertaste. Normally a clean finish is fine with me, but for something that actually does taste reasonably strong for its alcohol content, it just gives off a watery vibe. On the thin side of medium-bodied, with mild carbonation for an otherwise smooth, enjoyable feel on the palate. Very easy to drink, as an amber should be.

Final Grade: 3.76, a B+. I can honestly say that Spark House Red Ale is indeed a respectable amber, nailing most of what I like about the style - and even if it's probably not the best amber Ontario has to offer, it's still up there on the list somewhere. Something that fans of the Rickard's Reds and Keith's Ambers of the world can use to jump into the shallow end of the Olympic-sized swimming pool that is craft beer. I won't be scrambling out for more of this anytime soon, but I'd certainly consider a repurchase if I were in the mood for a solid, highly drinkable amber ale.

[Updated April 19 2014]

Now available in tallboy cans, so I picked one up. I would consider this amongst the best malt-forward ambers in the province, and probably the highest-quality of all LoB's year-round offerings. Now that it's available in a convenient format, I will probably be grabbing a can or two of this on the regular. Malt fans should consider this one a no-brainer - it's simple, tasty and quaffable; an ideal session option.

 2,176 characters

Photo of Noelan
4.82/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Found this gem of a beer last summer and have had one per week since.

Look>4.75 Red, little head and moderate carbonation
Smell>4.5 Malt, caramel, chocolate and wood
Taste>5 Clean, slightly bitter, medium finish, ending in a caramel and wood flavor
Overall>4.75 One of my all time favorite beers. Always have a 6 pack in the beer fridge.

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Spark House Red Ale from Lake of Bays Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.