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Spark House Red Ale - Lake of Bays Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Spark House Red AleSpark House Red Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

70 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 70
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 11.92%
Wants: 2
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lake of Bays Brewing Company visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.00% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: hopsolutely on 06-09-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -12.8%

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.

Phyl21ca, Apr 04, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%

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.

biboergosum, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
2.25/5  rDev -34.6%

JAHMUR, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
2.5/5  rDev -27.3%

XmnwildX12, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of woodychandler
3.89/5  rDev +13.1%

Another of local, in-person trader tone77's many bottles. I marvel each and every time he comes by to drop off beer.

From the bottle: "In the heart of the forest, the spark house stands alone. Drawing its deep, smooth character from ... and roasted malts, this full-bodied red ale finishes dry and stands high above the rest."; "Brewed & Bottled in Baysville, Ontario Handcrafted in Small Batches".

A toast to the late Sparky Anderson! Spark up, lads! I'll be arcing and Sparking here shortly.

I got just over a finger of dense, mocha-tan head with reasonable retention from my pour. Color was a deep, coppery-red with NE-plus quality clarity and it reminded me of a former girlfriend's hair. Hers had a really coarse feel to it and it was like running my fingers through rusty wire. It even got her the nickname, "Rusty", which may have been why we drifted apart. What a beauty! The woman or the beer? Let's go with both. The nose was prevalently malt with a nutty quality to go with its inherent breadiness. Lots of sticky lacing appeared in the wake of the falling head. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was almonds or pecans and freshly-baked bread. I remember a time when I used to eschew these types of beers in favor of heavily hopped IPAs but I feel like I now have a greater appreciation for this sort of thing. Finish was semi-dry with the yeast having done its job. I saw where they have begun CANning their lager, so if they expand and CAN this one, I would definitely recommend it.

woodychandler, Apr 30, 2013
Photo of biegaman
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%

A bright, clear, beautiful ruby-brown colour, this glass resembles a Christmas tree ornament when held into the light. The tone is dark but, as stated, is flawlessly transparent. Seemingly light carbonation produced little foam atop but thick lacing coats the glass regardless. It looks like a muddy bank right after the tide rolls out.

Lots of nutty crystal malt wafts from this sticky, bittersweet smelling red ale. While it doesn't have the budding hoppiness that American renditions showcase, it is nonetheless equipped with enough sappy, resinous notes to conjure pine. The lightly smoky backdrop is a perfect counterpart to the stinky, ganja-like hops.

Simmered caramel and pine serum pervade from nose to palate, start to finish. The flavour of nutty, toasted grains and a healthy dosage of gritty, herbal hops pretty much sum the beer up. Although delicate floral notes do also arise on certain sips and an almost cedar-like spice can sometimes briefly be experienced on the finish.

That very satisfying flavour, however, leads to a somewhat lackluster aftertaste. Usually a beer with this kind of heavy, toasty malt leaves a long, smooth, sweet finish full of roasted nuts and gooey caramel. But the bottom just completely falls out of this one. Mind you, it's not a problem so long as you keep taking sips!

Lake of Bays Rousse is simple without being basic. It is an uncompromising ale that has enough crystal malt and earthy hops to turn the heads of an unsuspecting public. The big breweries would be crazy to put out a red ale with this much character. Unless you're absolutely used to bold American ambers, this one is definitely worth a pick-up.

biegaman, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of DrJay
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%

Back home in Canada for the 4th of July. I'm enjoying the canned offerings here in Ontario.

Clear coppery red with a short beige cap of fine bubbles. Decent head retention with a little stickage on the glass. Malty, nutty nose, mild citrus/pine nose, perhaps some faint smokiness. Balanced flavour, bittersweet overall with nutty, caramel sweetness up front and a slightly more citrusy back end. Lingering malt and smoke notes with a hint of cocoa. Medium bodied with average carbonation, decent texture. Quite nice overall. Nicely balanced and well crafted.

DrJay, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of Derek
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

Derek, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%

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.

TheSevenDuffs, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

spinrsx, Nov 10, 2012
Photo of andrenaline
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%

A recent addition to the local LCBO selection...

A - Pours a nice ruby red colour, finger of head with some retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Quite mild on the nose, hints of metallic notes, touch of honey and hint of bready malts.

T - Again the taste is mild, but a nice caramel malt intermingled with hints of espresso. Buttered bread and grassy hops come through on the finish.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dryness.

O - A tasty amber that has a decent flavour profile and is easily seasonable. Well worth a try and glad we have solid amber available locally.

andrenaline, Oct 13, 2012
Photo of Molson2000
3.75/5  rDev +9%

Molson2000, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of schopenhauerale
3.25/5  rDev -5.5%

schopenhauerale, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -12.8%

cfalovo97, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of Kmat10
3.75/5  rDev +9%

Kmat10, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of patre_tim
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

patre_tim, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of SebD
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

SebD, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of hopsolutely
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%

Certainly more flavour than the Rickard's Red against which I assume it is competing!

Colour is a dark amber with very red tones. Aroma is heavily malted, with a slight yeasty background. The taste is also very malt focused; with caramelized, roasted & toasted notes highlighted. There is a surprisingly smoky finish with the hint of a bittering hop.

I give Lake of Bays full credit, being a new microbrewery trying a completely new flavour profile - good for them. Personally, this isn't an ale of which I would enjoy more than one or two in a sitting, but would recommend everyone try it and I will certainly try anything else this brewery puts out!

hopsolutely, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of TerryW
3.19/5  rDev -7.3%

Clear chestnut red under a moderate head. Some lace. Looks better than your average brew.

Nose is malty and a little sweet. Noticeable graininess. Similar to taste, sweet up front, but gently bitter and slightly metallic to finish. Grassy to taste. Moderate body. Better than a macro, but nothing special.

TerryW, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%

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.

JohnnyBarman, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of thehyperduck
3.76/5  rDev +9.3%

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.

thehyperduck, Nov 16, 2012
Photo of irishkyle21
3/5  rDev -12.8%

irishkyle21, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of ZachT
4/5  rDev +16.3%

ZachT, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of Erik-P
4/5  rDev +16.3%

Erik-P, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of RedAleMan
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%

RedAleMan, Nov 16, 2012
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Spark House Red Ale from Lake of Bays Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.