Red Oak Amber - Red Oak Brewery

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Red Oak AmberRed Oak Amber

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319 Ratings
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Ratings: 319
Reviews: 114
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 17.96%
Wants: 20
Gots: 66 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Red Oak Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-28-2002

From the brewery: Red Oak Amber is a Munich Urtyp (Old Style) Lager. We begin the brewing process with custom kilned imported Munich Malt. Red Oak is then hopped with Spalt Noble Hops imported from Bavaria, the oldest hop growing region in the world. Before fermentation we add a yeast strain from Weihenstephen, the oldest brewery in the world, founded before 1040 AD. Weeks of aging gives Red Oak the smooth taste it is known for.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 319 | Reviews: 114
Reviews by Loki:
Photo of Loki
1.73/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This is a regional brew that is seems you either hate or you like. The beer pours a good copper color and a fair head that dissipates quickly. The beer has a malty, slightly sour aroma. The beer follows the color and smell fairly close to the style. That?s were all good comparison end. The brewer intentionally introduces bacteria during the brewing process. This gives every batch I?ve tried a metallic, bitter aftertaste that is quite unpleasant to drink. Battlefield black is a much better choice IMHO. I do recommend if you are in the Piedmont Triad area of NC that you try it for yourself. It is served on tap at may local establishments. As for me I?d rather drink the water.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.22/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Living here in Greensboro have had this many times.It is a hit or miss with this sometimes can be fresh and fruity and chocolatey,and others stale and bitter.I think it is an ok beer when fresh it is an amber but I think has dunkle qualities in the palate,many of the people I have met think the world of it.They have some to learn I believe.

Photo of Outchillen
3.32/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My cousin brought a case of this up from NC

A: Light brown to beige head, copper color, nice and clear

S: Smells very malty and a little hops, slight oak

T: Malty a little oak, almost a little nutty, finishes dry

M: a little heavy, chewy, but very smooth

O: A nice solid amber lager, I like the story of how it sticks to lager natural law, was a nice present getting a case

Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this beer on tap at Mellow Mushroom in Winston-Salem, NC. It is extremely smooth with a strong honey scent/taste. It actually reminded me a lot of Dogfish Head's Midas Touch, in the mouthfeel and aroma. The menu at M.M. described it as a "vienna lager," and since that is said to be the best style of beer to have with a pizza, I had to try it with my pie. On here its classified as a red lager, so I dont know... I really enjoyed this beer, even though it differs very much from the other vienna lagers I have had (Samuel Adams, Negra Modelo).

Photo of BenFS4505
3.59/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A neighbor brought a bottle to me in Ohio from North Carolina and kept it cold per bottle warning. Poured into a mid-20th century hollow-stem beer glass. Carbonation was moderate with with small bubbles and light head. Noticed a slight yeast taste but not bad. Beautiful read-brown, clear color and no sediment in the bottle which I expected based on the description on the bottle. Felt a little tingly at first but mellowed to a smoother feel as it warmed and settled. Overall a good, smooth beer but a tad on the bland side for my taste.

Photo of pwoods
3.03/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz. pint enjoyed at the Marriott in Winston-Salem, NC during Sexual Chocolate weekend.

A: Pours a pretty average amber with good clarity. Not much of a head with minimal lacing.

S: Lightly malty aroma with a touch of citrus and herbal notes. Definitely has some metallic aroma.

T/M: Again, light amber malts with some more of the citrus and herbal notes but with a small touch of pine in the back. More of the metallic notes that are pretty distracting but doesn't absolutely destroy the beer. Medium body with a decent smoothness.

D: Easily drinkable but not overly complex. The metallic notes take some away.

Photo of apbarwood
3.2/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No head bud some decent lacing. A warm orange color. Not much of an aroma to speak of but what is there is pleasant, slightly bready. Not much hop character on the flavor and overall a very bready flavor dominates, just like the aroma. That being said, the flavor is mild but still pleasant. It's nice but forgetable. It's extremely popular in NC and I never knew why considering it's fairly expensive in a lot of places. I guess it has a mass-appeal drinkability while still have the appearance of a legit craft beer.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The red oak amber lager is for lack of a better term amber. Think dulled or diluted ruby and crystal clear. Although I love the color the head on this one needs to go back to the drawing board. It fizz and crackles up almost as fast as the tan suds fade.

The nose is a much better situation, with gobs of fresh malts bursting out of the glass. You can smell it as soon as you start to pour. As it warms the nose gives off hints of toasted bread and light caramel sweetness. Very nice.

The taste is like the nose but on steroids. Take all the smells of fresh crushed grain, lightly toasted malts, bread and caramel and double it to get an idea of how the flavor is. This beer is fresh to say the least and should not be wasted by sitting in your fridge or shelf. Bust them out and drink them quick.

Speaking of drinking quick the mouthfeel is conducive to that. Smooth with a hint of creamy and a pop of carbonation. This brew tastes great and goes down as easy as a $5 hooker. Well worth trying and one that I'd buy again and again.

Photo of brewQ
3.13/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hey, stopping in Greensboro I was happy to find a local beer.

Appearance is classic American amber/red ... not much head on the icy cold tap. Just a bit of malty aroma.

The finish just plain disappears but I guess that makes it imminently drinkable. A good call over a macro, maybe.

Photo of dramer
4.75/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very easy drinking Lager. Compares to Yuengling but much more crisp and clean tasting

Photo of Metalmonk
3.3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly hazy reddish-copper or, sure, amber color. The head isn't huge and doesn't stick around all that long, but it's fine I guess.

Big bready malt nose, very much German in vibe; I just smell this and I'm back in that country again. It's simple and well put together, but won't make you jump out of your socks with excitement.

Slight candy-like sweetness, even a little bit of cherry tartness, but otherwise it's just a decent lager that goes down easy, doesn't offend in any way, and pretty much provides simple, easy drinking for those who want it that way. I'm in a rare spot where I can't really find much more to say about it, no fine details to report on. It's that simple of a beer.

Way, way too carbonated, even for a beer of this style (and I'm thinking it should be categorized as a German something-or-other lager than anything American). Has an almost soda-like attack, which detracts from the taste.

A bit on the dull side, but you have to appreciate Red Oak's commitment to the Reinheitsgebot. Other local brewers like Foothills and Natty Greene's don't need or want to stick to strict traditions, so these guys are the ones doing it in the Triad. Room for everybody and all that...

Photo of erikeifert
2.6/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

$2 Wednesday afternoon special @ abbey road in cary, nc. a little too sweet but better than most $2 specials that i have had(i'm looking at you bud). the first time i had this beer was at the red oak brew pub in greensboro nc and the beer tasted like turpentine. it took me years and the aforementioned special to try it again but i am glad to report that the chemical taste must have been in the glassware and not the beer. the beer isnt bad but it isnt great either.

Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lynnwood Grill

Arrived a clear amber with no head. Nose is malty, primarily caramel. I actually detect a few of different flavors here; caramel, creamy butterscotch, apples. Not sure I like the creaminess here. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Not sold on this one. My brother swears by it. I think I would have liked this one more it wasn't so creamy. I would prefer it to be more crisp and clean. Red Oak is a nice little brewery so I'll revisit and give them their fair due.

Photo of WoodBrew
2.44/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Trying the Red Oak Amber Lager at Taste of Carolina located in teh B concourse of Charlotte airport. The beer poured a copper/amber color with weak head and no lacing. The smell was barley/malt. The taste was very grainy with barley. not much to cheer or rave about. When compared to the OMB Copper this doesn't hold a candle. The mouthfeel is light with big carbontation....hoestly this is like Mic Ultra Amber. Overall, not a good beer when compared to others in this family.

Photo of notascoolasyou
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great local brew but unfortunately not suitable for long-distance exporting due to its need for constant refrigeration. Brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot, this local North Carolina unfiltered and unpasteurized amber lager contains no preservatives or additives. A longtime favorite of mine, I still grab a case pretty much every time I visit my folks back in NC. Haven't tried Red Oak's other varieties yet but will next time I'm down that way.

Photo of ordybill
4.39/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap in s 16 oz glass. Nice amber color. Sweet flavor. Real good

Photo of nickd717
3/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Wild Wing in Winston-Salem. In scientific terms, this beer sort of blew.

A - Pours medium amber with a small white head.

S - Grain, caramel, and apple. Maybe the faintest hint of nuttiness.

T - Flavor is more of the same, a little grainy with Munich malt and a hint of Noble hops. Some apple notes. "Munich helles" is a bit of a stretch; this really doesn't fit that style all that well. It's more like a Marzen I'd say, if anything.

M - Palate light and somewhat watery.

D - Well I guess it's drinkable. This beer is really not too exciting overall though.

Photo of russpowell
4.24/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the taste of carolina bar in concourse B of charlotte's airport (nice suprise)

Poured red/copper with a 1" tan head. Good effervesence& retention with excellent lacing

S: Slight fruittyness & not a lot else

T: Fruittyness with slight floral hops up front. Nice malty caramel flavors as it warms. Finshes fruitty & slightly hoppy& crisp

MF: Medium body with good balance & carbonation

Drinks very easy, one I will look for the next I'm back in NC. One of the better bottom fermented beers I've lately

Photo of Backer2004
3.3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Remembered a few years back enjoying the Red Oak on occassion but not finding it as available in the Charlotte area lately. That or I've been trying so many other styles lately, I skipped right passed it. Pours more of an amber looking color with an average head and lacing. Tastes a bit malty and does not do too much on the palate. Paid $2.00 for a pint and find it hard to resist at the price, but not for too many other reasons.

Photo of thagr81us
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into an imperial pint. Poured an amber orange with a one-finger off-white head that subsides slowly. There was no apparent lacing evident. The aroma was comprised of nutmeg and malt. The flavor was earthy and nutty with a big nutty follow-through upon swallowing. It was medium on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this is a very nice brew that is really refreshing. The extremely nutty follow-through is a bit overwhelming at first, but once you palate adjusts, it is quite enjoyable.

Photo of cbleary
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty good amber lager. It's unfiltered and has a nice cloudy amber pour with a small head. It tasted of mild citrus hops, well balanced with mildly sweet, bready malts. It's an enjoyable, everyday brew that has been overshadowed lately by the explosive growth of rival Natty Greene's.

Photo of SFNC
4.06/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with very slight head and mild carbonation. The smell is rich sweet malt with some grass. The taste is full bodied malt, with an ever so faint hops presence. The feel is creamy, but could use it bit more carbonation to fully satisfy. Overall, a very impressive amber lager. If you think Yuengling is good you ain't seen nothing yet.

Photo of jsausley
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Disclaimer: About three of my five years in college revolved around this beer. I tried a lot of other options back then, but this was the go-to beer. It was flavorful, super easy to drink and just lovely on all levels. So I am a little biased to this beer. I still keep some in the fridge all the time.

For this review, enjoyed at the Red Oak brewery in their sample glass.

A: A lovely dark amber with hints of red and brown. A nice frothy head, minimal lacing, some carbonation, wonderfully attractive for an amber lager.

S: Rich malts and barley, very little citrus or alcohol, some hops. Deep, "hot" earthy notes, some pine perhaps. Exactly what you want from a standard amber lager that's not brewed with any flavor additives.

T: Red Oak is smooth, crisp, easy to drink with medium to above average flavors. It is not a heavy flavored beer as compared to a high ABV Belgian or similar, but it is a lovely German-style lager. It's primary flavor is a semi-sweet, slightly hoppy lager that's full of nice heavy malts, some caramel flavors and a good floral and slightly citrus hoppy bite that manifests on the back of your tongue at the finish. In my opinion, bar none the best medium-ABV medium-flavor lager and one the best balanced beers I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. It's a little less hoppy than Fat Tire and Boston Lager with more malts and slightly more sweetness.

M: Smooth and crisp on the finish, perfect for easy drinking.

O: A lovely thing. Again, one of the best balanced beers out there in my opinion and certainly one of the most rewarding amber lagers.

Photo of Treyliff
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a dark amber color with a creamy white head that reduces to a small layer, good lacing all around.

S- pretty simple some sweet malt and just a bit of apple like fruitiness

T- sweet and malty with low bitterness, just a bit nutty with a sweet caramel finish

M- light body, medium carbonation, somewhat slick finish

O- very serviceable amber, good balance and went well with my buffalo chicken

Photo of DeZotte
3.06/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In addition to what has already been said concerning this beer, I'd sum it up as like "drinking frosted flakes."

Overall, it's not a bad beer. But, I'd say that it doesn't really fit into any neat categories. And resultedly, it's polarizing--you either love it or hate it. I would definately tell someone to try the beer when they come across it--pretty much NC only due to it being unpasteurized and unfiltered (according to one of their delivery folks, at least).

I'll opt for a glass, if it's all that's available. But, it's by no means one of my favorites. Likewise, their other main offering "hummingbird" (sic?) is very passable. It's a shame considering that the brewery seems to pride itself on being unfiltered and unpasteurized. Oh well, thankfully there are better NC breweries to choose from...

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Red Oak Amber from Red Oak Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 319 ratings.