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

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

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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
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Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 44 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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 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 ncvbc
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sunset orange with a little haze and a nice frothy head that leaves sticky lacing down the glass. Malts are victorious in the smell. Brown sugar, toffee, hints of chocolate. A light fruit and citrus. Taste is nice and rich for an amber. Full of flavor with the malts again more dominant to me. Good toasted bread and again hints of chocolate malt. Toffee and caramel and a decent dose of hops, mostly of the pine variety. Mouthfeel is a bit too full for me. The bready flavors make it a little dense and dry on the tongue. The bitterness is there but it doesn't have the same affect as my favorite ambers. A decent drinker overall but not one of the best. I'd compare it to Palmetto's Amber, which is pretty local to me. A nice change of pace but not something I'd have often.

Thanks to Zorro for the Brews N Tunes brew!

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 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 bcm119
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep reddish amber color with a tight tan head. Sweetish, estery nose with lots of dark fruit and a touch of alcohol. Starts off with big, roasted malt and lots of dark cherry fruit with some background earthy/leafy flavors. Toasty caramel and sherry cask flavors mid-palate. Round mouthfeel; fine carbonation and deep roasted malts lead into a long, clean finish. For a malt-driven beer it is very dry, which highlights the fruity flavors without being cloying in the least. Hops are subtle and soft, but balance the malt perfectly. A really nice amber-- clean, full flavored, and complex enough to keep you interested through a long session.

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

the beer pours a dark hazy amber with only minimal head that fades fast leaving nothing. it smells very strongly of toffee with hints of apple. the taste is of syrupy sweet tofee/caramel roasted malts with just a tiny hint of the fruitiness of malts at the end. definitely a little on the sweet side. mouthfeel is thick but a little bit on the cloying/syrupy side. overall a decent beer but nothing amazing.

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 Stoneman78
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a very cloudy and hazy dark orange and amber hue, the head is a nice layer of white pillowy froth, big thick lacing on the glass
S- Aroma is roasted and caramel malts, pine hops punch through the malts, some sweet fruits and nuts, nice earthy almost dirt-like scents, some pepper and alcohol
T- Initial taste is mostly caramel and earthy malts which flows to floral and fruit hops and finishes with dry, spicy bitterness that fades quickly
M- Medium-bodied with a thick watery texture and dialed-up, biting carbonation
D- Pretty smooth and easy drinking at 6%abv, I don't have much to say about this beer, nothing horrible but nothing great, overall a solid amber offering.

Photo of badbeer
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber color with an offwhite head that retains very well and leaves good lacing. Smell is fairly hoppy; pine and some caramel notes come through. Taste begins a little grassy from the hops, but then gives you more toasty caramel flavors with some pine sap at the finish. Fairly high carbonation with a medium body, fairly slick on the tongue. I got this in a trade a little while back, so maybe it was a little old, but either way, this was a pretty decent beer.

Photo of Talisker
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Do these guys make a bad beer?

Pours from a 12oz bottle a deep reddish brown. Medium head diminishes quickly, retaining a nice cap and lacing throughout. Nose is malty caramel, although there's a pleasant alcohol edge, the general effect is muted by a general dull mustiness - the only slight flaw in an otherwise superb beer.

Taste - wow - led by chocolatey malt, with hints of toffee followed by toast. Not overly sweet, not overly bitter (clearly European hops wrapping up this one), but assertive for the style with an unmistakably distinct personality. Medium texture that lasts just the right amount of time - positively invites another drink. The entire thing just clicks together.

Not your typically anonymous "amber". Great example of what can be done to create a flavorful beer with balance.

Photo of stephendr
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle- color of light mahogany , with a medium white head - nose of balanced malts and hopps , coco , red fruit , and toasted wood – taste of spruce , red fruit mostly red cherries , earth , that is balanced malts and hopps - body dirty , but crisp – aftertaste of bright red fruit and hops

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

Thanks to IntriqKen for this beer.

Brownish body with an amber hue and creamy off-white head that fell into a thin cap within minutes. The smell of toasted malt and a bit of sweet caramel. The taste is the same as the aroma, but I taste some hints of cocoa and some hops in the finish. Mouthfeel is good - light to medium bodied. A good beer that has potential to be highly 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 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.

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 xoqx
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a real treat on the hand pump at Ben 'n Nick's Bar in Oakland, CA, though I suspect it took less time for Drakes to brew it than for our sever to finally take our order and deliver it. The color was wonderfully mahogany. There were malty, hoppy smells present; more hops than I would expect for an amber. I appreciate a brewery that’s willing to properly hop an amber style, but people who don’t love hops might find this one too bitter for their liking. The taste was wonderfully complex, even though it was slightly overchilled for a hand-pumped beer. This amber beer was very balanced between a smooth malt beginning and a fruity hop finish. The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth and then well rounded by the hop bitterness. Drinkability is good for an amber.

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

Pours a medium root beer color with an amber/copper hue, a frothy off biege head that dissipated within minutes, and some carb action.

Has a bready roasted caramel malt smell with some citrus hops.

Lightly sweet, lightly/moderately acidic, moderately bitter, grainy, roasted caramel malt taste with grapefruit/orange hops flavor.

Medium/full bodied, slightly syrupy texture, soft and lively carb, and a slight metallic/astringent finish.

A decent beer, kind of grainy, can be a session beer.

Photo of Boilermaker88
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a 12oz bottle with a shrink-wrapped label. Poured into an imperial pint glass. Drake's amber had a nice dark auburn color and a firm, long-lasting off-white head. A nice appealing look.
The smell was loaded with sweet - caramel and a bit of dark fruit, a decent amount of sweet grains and maybe a light dusting of molasses. Hops aromas were less pronounced but a mild grapefruit scent was noted.
The taste had a richly sweet malty flavor laden with caramel up front. A lightly nutty taste came across mid-palate along with a more earthy grain flavor. The finish had a pleasant level of citrusy hops to it, producing a lasting bitterness. The feel was medium-bodied, smooth and a touch slick.
This was one of the better ambers I've had. Worth picking up if you see it.

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

Not as impressive as the blonde and the hefeweizen (mainly because those two beers are styles that are usually half-assed and bland but Drake's actualyl did something good with them), but this still isn't a bad beer. Slightly hazy ruby brown. The head is sluggish and fades quickly. The aroma is strongly malty and most of that malt is caramel. Then flavor is also heavily malty and while the hops are evident (mostly as a bitterness in the end, but some faint grapefruit rind), the malt remains dominate with it's caramel. The flavor edges on thick, but isn't. It's not as quaffable as the other two, but Drake's is still impressing me.

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 BeerManDan
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When poured there was a tawny color with very little foam and no head to speak of. The smell was a yeasty aroma with a hint of hops. The taste was of a yeasty nature and with the hops and a slight hint of malty chocolate flavor. The after taste is short and not really bitter.

Photo of Mark
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark amber ale bordering on red. Nice head, scattered lacing decorates the glass. A very toasty caramel and an almost chocolatey character hit the tastebuds. Nice substantial mouthfeel, a decent amber ale, fairly drinkable. Nice bottle with a sailing ship and the slogan, " A Pint A Day Keeps Scurvy Away"

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Drake's Amber Ale from Drake's Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.