1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Drake's Amber Ale - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Drake's Amber AleDrake's Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

99 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 99
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.08%
Wants: 3
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mark on 01-30-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a clear copper/amber color with a beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and slight hop aromas. Taste is the same with a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a better taste than smell.

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ferric oxide orange with a fat slice of juicy tangerine along the bottom edge of the pint glass. The head (which is equal parts pastel orange, beige and ivory) would look right at home on a hopsticky IPA. The foam has a wonderful texture and is laying down loads of lace.

The nose has a great deal of character as well. My first thought was 'Oktoberfest', given the presence of what smells like Munich malt. That earthy, toasted nuttiness is impossible to miss. There's also an ale yeast fruitiness and a helping hand from English hops.

Amber ales are like brown ales for me. Most of them are okay, but are hardly memorable. The good ones stand out, though, usually due to abundant ingredients. Drake's Amber Ale is unquestionably one of the good ones

When it comes to flavor, malt holds a slight edge over hops (as it probably should). I'll say mostly pale, with a modest amount of the more toasted varieties and a dash of something darker; chocolate malt perhaps. Whatever amounts and percentages were used, the malt backbone is sturdy and has a great deal of depth and flavor interest. Well done.

Malt alone does not a good amber ale make. A surprising amount of hoppiness is what puts this brew into overdrive. They're earthy and herbal and ripe fruity (apricots and oranges). East Kent Goldings and... something else? They also provide a balancing bitterness from beginning to middle, and a snappy, tight, drying finish.

The mouthfeel gets the job done with no trouble at all. It's at least medium-full for the style and is as smooth as a summer day is long. An ideal number of bubbles doesn't hurt.

Amber Ale is my second Drake's beer... and is my second impressive Drake's beer. It goes above and beyond the call with respect to malt and hops, as all the good ones do. Seek it out if you're a fan of ambers or if you just like good beer.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

decided to go nuts and open a bunch of new beers tonight. served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 11/03/2010.

the pour was a gusher straight up with a huge foamy head that just soaked up the whole glass that took forever to settle down.

aroma was light piney hops with lots of caramel and bready malts ancing inside the middle as it warmed up and really showing themselves nicely as it warmed. flavor followed through very similar with a deep malt backbone and a light hop bitterness that really just served to balance out the profile. nice medium feel did the job and made it very sessionable.

overall a nice and even amber. nothing to write home about but certainly did its job.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Hazy amber with a small head that disappears a bit too quickly.

Smell: Earthy malts, a bit of chocolate/cocoa and lots of hops.

Taste/mouthfeel: Lightly roasted and bready malts underneath ample hop bitterness. The finish is slightly thin. This is extra hoppy for an amber, but the hop flavor isn't overly impressive. Medium in body and effervescence.

Notes: A decent and fairly solid amber, but not something I'd go out of my way to drink. Drake's has better brews than this.

Photo of mactrail
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber color with a modest swirl of lacing in the snifter. Some bready tastes. Fairly sharp in the mouth with decent carbonation. Faint scent of piney hops. Starts out as a pleasant well-balanced ale but doesn't seem to wear well. Flavor veers off to some earthy malt and that old fruit taste. Fairly bitter. Brewery says hops are East Kent Goldings and Willamette. Metallic aftertaste. The fruity and browned biscuit flavor becomes more pronounced as you drink.

Photo of Gavage
3.34/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: dark amber in color with a short head that breaks down quickly.

Smell: caramel and some fruit sweetness comes through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, bread, ripe fruits, and a bit of earthiness are the main flavors. The bitterness is soft and takes a back seat here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smoother at the finish. Short lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a mild flavored ale that is a bit tame overall, but it is very easy to consume.

Photo of stakem
2.83/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz brown bottle with no indication of bottle date and what I assume is a new label design that boldly displays the name of the brewery and name as Drake's Amber. Description states this as an ESB with 5.9% abv and 28 ibus.

The bottle cap was removed and large bubbles swelled to the surface before I could even get a glass in hand. A careful pour down the side of a pub glass formed 3 fingers worth of large bubbles with only half the bottle poured. The yellowish tan cap quickly dissolves down to a finger of creamy head that is cratered and uneven all over the top of the brew. It hangs in thick patches about the glass. The color of the brew underneath the rich cap is a clear copper amber color with a constant stream of rising bubbles that support more than a finger's worth of solid head.

The aroma of this brew includes a very rich scent of sweet caramel malt. There is a bit of fruity alcohol and citrus/fruit hop character. A light amount of sulfur is also evident mixed with a scent of grass and herbs.

The taste of this brew is grassy and herbal with a bit of a sulfur and mineral note to it. The caramel malt sweetness that was so pronounced in the nose takes on more of a toasted quality in the flavor of this brew. A lingering bitterness hangs in the mouth tasting grassy and herbal with a bit of a medicinal quality. There is a dry almost bitter fruit character in the backend of the taste that mixes with a musty grain flavor that lasts inside the mouth and just doesn't go away. The flavors really clash in this brew and it does not make for an enjoyable experience.

This is a medium bodied brew with an excessive amount of carbonation that just doesn't go away. The smell and the taste of this brew are quite polar, and unlike the qualities you look for in an ESB. All together this brew is quite disjointed and just not doing it for me. Even the alcohol inclusion in this brew is off. It clearly states this brew is 5.9% alcohol but the warming factor and solvent taste it produces in the back of your throat would indicate more.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber with a nice white head. Nose is well opped, caramel. Taste is good, really good. Caramel, spiciness and creamy with perhaps even some cocoa. Mouthfeel is creamy and sticky, goes down very good. Drinkaility on this beer is outstanding. Great taste and nice ABV keeps this as a great amber I could drink any and all of the time.

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of DoubleJ
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Rose & Crown, on to the beer:

Amber as the name suggests, topped off by a small head with okay retnetion and no lacing. Little traces of carbonation bubbles run through the body. Its nose is very English, not American styled as I was expecting. Very earthy aroma with some toffee thrown in.

The taste is very toasty. Some earth runs around in there, light toffee crisp makes its introduction. Even traces of pine are involved. I was guessing one way and got something else. No complaints though, as this makes a good alternative to things that are hoppy.

Photo of Zorro
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear red to really bronze colored ale with a small off-white head.

Sweet and aromatic beer strong malt and a spicy hop aroma. Hops seem to be mostly English type but there is a clear lemon aroma here. Little bit of butter and toffee smell and a little wood. Cookie dough and vanilla aroma, quite an aromatic ale.

The taste starts out sweet and wood with a strong bitterness. Woody ale with quite a lot of oak flavor in it. Not as complex as I had hoped, but it is a good solid ale.

Mouthfeel is good.

Not a bad beer, wish it was more complex though. The scent promises a lot but in the end this is just a good beer and not a great one. If I were at the brewery I would try something new though.

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of illidurit
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy medium brown color with a creamy beige head. Good head retention and lacing. Bready malts with a chocolatey tinge. Also some toast and caramel. Flavor has some cocoa and toast with lighter orange and butter notes. Sort of earthy and maybe a bit vegetal. Nice heft to the body but not a very clean mouthfeel. Reasonably drinkable.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ounce bottle sealed with a very colorful and nicely decorated crown cap. Simple brown glass bottle is covered in one of those plastic shields where the see through parts lend the impression that the bottle has separate front, back and neck labels, when in fact it does not. My bottle looks just like the one pictured here on BA. Standard “Drake’s” 12oz design is differentiated only with the words “Amber Ale” against a blue background. Described as a Flagship Amber Ale and listed at 5.9% Alc/Vol.

Appearance: Deep brown body, polished chestnut hue, clarity is superb and the tan colored head is deep with a satisfying creamy texture that is easy on the eyes and which laces nicely. Fine carbonation is at prevalent levels which assists the overall presentation.

Nose: Malt driven aromas with some soft sweetness and a fruity character. Hints of spices and maybe some herbs too.

Taste: A definitive malty swathe cuts right through this amber ale. The carbonation helps to circulate the flavors I find. Starts with a deep malt entrance, has a fruity middle and ends with a lightly spiced bitter finish. Not your typical Amber, moreover it reminds me of a malty English Premium Bitter, but I like the deviation from the usual bland Ambers experienced. Dependable and damned tasty.

Mouthfeel: The texture from the malts is thick but it is lightened by the soft carbonation which supports throughout. Sturdy stuff!

Drinkability: The whole package works extremely well. Great looks, decent nose, solid taste profile with a beefy Mouthfeel. The combination works well and the quaffability factor completes the synergistic collage.

Overall: I have seen this Drake’s brew for some time but never tried it. Not sure why I waited so long, but this is a fine robust brew, not your typical wimpy Amber but a very malty version that is tasty with a refreshing Drinkability. Another great brew from Drake’s, they continue to impress me.

Photo of hopdog
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf.

Poured a dark and cloudy amber color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of oranges, citrus, and caramel. Caramel malts dominate the tastes with the hops noticeably lurking in the background. Sweet start with a light bitter finish.

Notes from 4/7/05

Photo of shelby415
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of jzlyo
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange gold color. Medium white foamy head. Aroma is fruity, malty and sweet. A medium bodied amber. Malts are fruity and slightly sweet. Hops are grapefruity and spicy. Well balanced. It’s a little hoppy and spicy for an amber, but it does keep it from being the same as every other amber out there. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

Photo of Offa
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty good ale, solid, with lasting character, but not great or complex, a bit lopsided and uninteresting.

Dark red-brown-copper, it has a medium head, tan with orangie hints, slowly shrinking to a thin, permanent sheet of foam and leaving some weak hints of foamy lace.

The smell is malty and dark, toaty bread crust, slightly burnt caramel, hint of stwed plums and scorched dried fruit, plus light earthy-woody hints.

The taste is similar, darkly malty, toasted bread crust, slightly burnt caramel and overly caramelised prunes. It's dryish with a light sweetness, but a light burnt-spicey-peppery bitterness taking over by the finish and lingering a bit. That said, it's enjoyable and has lasting character that holds up well, even if it lacks complexity and the character it has is a bt heavy-handed and one-dimensional.

It's pleasant enough to drink but it's a bit heavy and is more like a brown ale in some ways.

Photo of DogFood11
4.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip it formed a meaty off white head that leaves lots of coat lacing. Brown body with copper outer edge.

Freshly ground coffee beans mixed with a sweet malt bill. The sweetness is really an afterthought and not much more than a balancer and it works rather well. Light hop twinge about 3/4 of the way through. The nuts and bolts of this brew is the earthy malt bill that includes some ground coffee, Woody, fresh bark, and even throw in some bitterness from the deep end of the toasty malts.

Notes: Friggin loved this offering. A top notch amber ale that will see my fridge every time I see it available. I think scores will rise as more folks review this gem.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally reviewing a full bottle because a fellow BA thought I was shortchanging it. Ok...we'll see.
Pours a clear dark amber with a nice single finger head that melts to decent lacing and a full covering the entire drink down the glass.
Aroma is initially nutty malts...sweet but definately with something nutty going on...maybe an earthiness like bark. Pleasant and rich.
Taste is sweet toasted malt followed with a dry earthiness and again, the nuts that seem to add to the dryness and complexity.
Aftertaste is really nicely drying...perfect for style.
Mouthfeel is sort of rich and thick, but not too much so. More like it really should be for an Amber. There is nothing thin, watery, or weak about this.
Yeah....I can drink the sixer...
Yeah....I'll need to get more.
Good call, DogFood.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Drake's Amber Ale from Drake's Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.