1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

James Squire Amber Ale - Malt Shovel Brewery

Not Rated.
James Squire Amber AleJames Squire Amber Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

109 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 109
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 3.48
pDev: 12.64%
Wants: 5
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery visit their website
Australia

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 109 | Reviews: 72
Reviews by OldFrothingSlosh:
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rich and vibrant deep copper color with a rocky cream-colored head that semi-laced the glass (I think my beer glass wasn't 100% clean)

You can really taste the malts in this beer. The malt flavor strongly asserts itself and has a "sweetness" to it. There is the hop influence that hides discreetly in the background...it balances the sweetness to some extent. Full-bodied and creamy mouthfeel that was very easy to drink. One of the best ambers I have tried in a long time.

Unfortunately, it appears that a sample of this from the tap is the way to go. Barring any trips to Australia, I won't be able to fully enjoy what this beer has to offer. Still, I'll keep a bottle or two in the fridge.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Weizenmensch
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

James Squire Original Amber Ale, 345mL brown bottle with "Malt Shovel Brewery" embossed on the neck, best before 19/2/06.

Appearance: Not really amber, much darker than that, more like rusty dark orange/tangerine with some ruby colour. Head dissipates reasonably quickly, leaving a skin of lacing around the glass. Low carbonation.

Smell: Grain, an unusual rusty blood smell, some slightly citric hops. For the style, there could be a whole lot more hop aroma than there is. I like a good fruity hop smell, and this certainly doesn't have it. But the mild scent it gives off isn't bad.

Taste: Satisfying, especially since I've been drinking much sweeter beers recently. Dry and bitter but with a complex, lingering mixture of tastes on the palate. Fairly watery and fizzy on the tongue, so hard to tell what's there, but nice hops, vanilla, maybe stone fruit (apricot) on the palate. Enjoyable, though not that special for the style, particularly since this tastes so watery (probably one reason it's become so popular in Australia, despite its colour).

Mouthfeel: Not so great, watery and bubbly on the tongue. A thin feel also.

Drinkability: Good, especially for a reasonably flavoursome ale in the hot weather. Can be consumed cold without losing too much detail. I'm really glad we've got this as a mainstream beer now, it's infinitely better than the other options - New, VB, Hahn, soapy Old - and it's available in RSL clubs etc now, so it's the same price there as any other tap beer. Good stuff. As a standard (non-premium), it sets a good standard for Aussie beer.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle picked up at a Canberra supermarket.

Poured into a small tumbler glass. A nice amber-copper hue, good colour, about a half inch of white head, survives as a thick ring with some flecks of lacing. Not bad.

Nose is caramel, toffee, light hopping.

Begins with a sweet malt character, a little bit of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, before finishing with a slightly metallic, tart, lemony taste that doesn't quite work. Still, goes down fairly well and has some nice things going for it.

Carbonation is quite aggressive, doesn't really fit. I agree with a previous poster, it reminds me of a red lager in this respect. Slick, thin bodied. The finish is long and a bit metallic.

A decent amber ale, certainly drinkable and worth trying, but nothing fantastic. Needs a bit of work on the hoppage to really finish well.

Photo of rastaman
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer, but perhaps a bit edgy and thin at times, great on tap though, not so good out of the bottle, i can dig this stuff.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a short nonic)

A- This beer pours a crystal clear warm brown body with a swirling of microbubbles racing to the surface. There is a creamy beige head that stick to the glass with each sip.

S- The fresh sweet biscuit malt aroma has a lighter caramel malt aroma underneath and a berry quality to the malt that grows as the beer warms.

T- There is a soft fruity sweet perfume quality to the dry biscuit malt flavor and a dry toasted malt flavor follows that. There finish is a soft green hint that has a hint of hops quality. As the beer warms there is a stronger field corn sulfury note that comes though the malt flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizzy in the finish.

D- This beer has some nice malt flavors but there is some odd characteristics to them like the berry aroma and the perfumy quality in the taste.

Photo of Anonmatel
4.07/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Like all of James Squire beers, it's far far better out of the tap than out of the bottle. Nutty, Citrus, Grassy characters, You can certainly taste the Alcohol in it, but for this beers it's quite refreshing.
A great session beer.

Photo of Brad071
4.53/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the beer that gave me my epiphany about beer. The one that started the whole "there's more to life than Tooheys New and VB"...I love this one as it is so rich and creamy, but goes down soooo smoothly on a hot afternoon.

Photo of cokes
2.78/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ruby-traced amber with a thin heading of bleached tan.
Nose of rusted tin, tart apples, raisins, and dabs of caramel.
Begin with green raisins. There's a slight toastedness that follows. Circles back towards green fruit, this time with apples. Notable cola-like sweetness. Maltiness is pretty minimal. Yeast adds a strange sense of rusty butter. Unique strand, sort of mimicking ringwood, but not nearly as intense. Ends with very little hop related traits, aside from a dryness that seems mostly derived from the carbonation.
Thin bodied with uppity carbonation. This seems like a undistinguishable Sammy Smith brew cut 30/70 with a macro...or just seltzer water.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.01/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

G'day Mate! Let's throw another beer down the gullet!!!! What can be said about James Squire's Amber Ale...well....its a a solid beer, very enjoyable. There is now alot going on with the beer...it's just solid. The color is a darker amber, decent head with lacing present. No much to smell, but the taste is well balanced by malt, caramel, and a wee roast. Not solid beer to enjoy during your next session of chasin the Sheilas!!!

Photo of Beerhunter500
4.35/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My aussie beer of choice lovely toasted caramel feel

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark amber. Half inch of white head fades to a thin covering.
Aroma is mostly sweet dark/toasted malt, with some thin hops in the background.
Very similar malty flavour, with some grassy hops kicking in later followed by a short-lived bitterness. Yalnikim is right about the slight coca-cola similarity.
Good carbonation and body.
A bit thin for my liking, but very easy drinking all the same.

Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber bedecked with a thick tan head with lots of haphazard lace on the side of the glass.
Aroma is sweet caramel, hint of grass and a sort of cinnamon hop note, very odd to my nose.
Flavor is sweet malt with a citrus fruit hint in the background. This transitions into hoppy finish that is bitter but not overpowering.
Mouthfeel is smooth to start and then dries out into a medium-bitter finish, overall fairly soft on the palate.
Drinkability is very high, good have had definitely had another.

Photo of BeerSingh
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was briefly available on the shelves here, but I guess was taken off as soon as the batch expired. I had bought a mixed case of the Amber and Golden, plus 6 each of Hahn and James Boag lager. The amber was poured into a Stella glass with enough aggression to create an inch of off white, sudsy head that settled into a fine collar within a minute. The beer itself was a deep copper - amber hued, with plenty carbonation. Decent so far. The nose was pretty muted - faint malt, a little caramel with slight graininess. The beer may have been a tad cold, but the nose was definitely stunted and shortlived.
The taste was far better than the nose, with the malt and caramel - toffee character making their presence felt. It definitely tasted like a sweet lager, like a bock. There was slight hop bitterness and a fruitiness to finish with. The palate was left moist, and the above average carbonation made the mouthfeel a little livelier than chewy, although it could have been more than required. Overall, a decent beer and can be had all year round with ease, but no need to go looking out for it.

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber-copper with a nice, off-white, 1" head. Aroma is a nicely balanced malty, roasy, slightly sweet (brown sugar) with a light hop profile. Flavor is sweet candy sugar, with a light sense of dates and figs. Not bad, but sweetness is too strong- overpowers everything else. Mouthfeel is creamy, not heavy, not exciting. Overall a nice brew with good drinkability, but nothing to get too excited over.

Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours from the 12 ounce brown bottle a somewhat hazy burnished copper color with the head modest in size, semi-creamy in texture and the color a winsome light tan, as it slowly sinks into the sunset the lace forms a sealing curtain upon the glass. Nose is sweet malt with hints of caramel, slightly hint of yeast, quite crisp and clean to the senses. Start is sweet and nicely malted, the top is middling in its feel to the palate, finish has a brisk acidity and the hops personable in their spiciness, a nice drinking beer and one I’ve not had for 3 or 4 years, wish I had better access to it.

Photo of foles
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty solid ale - it has the characteristics of an english ale, but scaled right down to suit the average aussie drinker who may not be familiar with the style. Subtle english noble hop presence, with a possibly excessive caramel backbone. Somewhat watery and lacking body, but this doesnt detract too much from the overall product.

Was well served with a decent head and looked impressive with the coppery transparent hue.

Not too bad. Seems better on draught than in the bottle in my opinion.

Photo of eric5bellies
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank on tap at the Palace, Kalgoorlie.

A - Nice dark amber colour with an off white head that dies pretty quickly.

S - Not much by the way of aromas.

T - Slighly sweet citrus notes and some caramel.

M - Medium body an low carbonation.

D - MAkes a decent winter session beer.

Photo of rec
3.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When I can't get my hands on a Belgian beer, this is what I'm drinking. You're right, it's not a lot like a Belgian ale, but has a strikingly strong and full flavour which I've really grown to appreciate.

It reeks of malt and hops; you can almost taste it before taking a sip. Like the Golden Ale, it screams boutique, and is perfect for changing things up but definately not a session beer as the taste can become tiresome after a few.

It's quite complex but well-rounded. You'll taste nuts, fruit and florals. Served cold it's quite refreshing, but for the best flavour having it served a bit warmer than most pubs have it on tabe would be recommended.

I'd almost say it's my favourite Australian beer, if only I didn't get sick of the taste after so few at a time.

Photo of joecast
4.3/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours with a thick creamy head, looked great in the glass but it didnt last long. nice copper/amber color.

sweet malty flavour. a smooth and easy drinking beer. i have been waiting to review a good "session" beer and i think this is it. very easy to get through two or three before you even know it.

the more i drink it, the more i like it. very nice, full malt flavour that doesnt whack you over the head

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown red ale. WAY darker than Amber.

Smells very malty and fruity, has a nice perfume for the nose.

Taste is mild; there is lots of malt and flowery tastes. Reminds me of Young’s Dirty Dick Ale. There is a mild hops bite in the finish. Well Balanced, I like harsher stuff but this is indeed tasty.

Mouthfeel is very good, boosted by the carbonation.

Very drinkable, If I had to pick a beer I like and something that Budweiser drinkers could tolerate this would be a good choice.

Photo of drtth
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review based upon notes taken during a recent trip to Sydney.

Poured into a wine glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a clear bright reddish copper color with a 1" white head that recedes slowly. Sipping leaves some modest lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is dominated by the biscuity toasted malts and has some earthy herbal hops in the background. The malts also contribute a touch of caramel and the hops seem to add a lightly floral character as well.

Taste: The flavors include the sweet malt backbone with its hints of caramel. The hops well in the background here but definitely show some earthy, floral and herbal notes.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to light bodied with unimpressive carbonation. The finish is medium to short in length and does have a touch of spicy dryness from the hops as it tapers off.

Drinkability: This was easy enough to drink, but did not stand out in any obvious way. I could drink a second but probably won't.

Photo of davidfoley
2.88/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Copper, Amber colour. Light carbonation. Zero head retention. Great clarity

Smell - Light hop, dark fruits, cherry and plumb

Taste - Light hop & malt, dark fruit, woody, flavour with slight dryness. Bitter finish

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation, medium body

Drinkability - Light beer properly carbonated, drinkable

Overall - Better that the other James Squire beers, however still not one I would return to. Generic beer with little character

Printed on the side of the bottle :
Hand-crafted with Pale & Crystal malts & distinctive hops for a long, slightly nutty finish, this Ale writes another page in the glorious & enigmatic life of James Squire

Photo of DaveFL1976
3.03/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is not a great beer, but it's a lot better than many of the beers you will find in pubs. It pours, not suprisingly, an amber colour with a decent enough head. Faint hop smells are grassy, but something in the malts just tastes a little off to me. My wife likes it well enough, but this is a bit so-so for my tastes and I'd rather have just about any other James Squire beer.

Photo of Stavage
3.73/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a finger of head. Average retention but above average lacing. When I finished I noticed rings of lacing going down the length of my glass which is a pleasant sight. Nice clear but deep copper colouring.

Smell was on the bready side. Tiny bit of of a caramel note and hops smell. Nothing out of the ordinary but pleasant all the same.

Taste was again on the bready/malty side of things. Not much in the way of fruitiness here. There is a bitter sweetness in this beer which I love very much, sweetness I'm guessing from the crystal malt that was used and bitterness from the hops. I wish the malt flavours came out stronger as they are just what I am after. Bit of a nutty aftertaste. Despite the wish for the taste to be so much stronger upfront, this is one of those beers that lingers pleasantly in your mouth a long time after drinking.

Nicely carbonated, fairly smooth, wish it was a little more full bodied. Drinking it feels like its leaving a thin film of beery goodness on your tongue and throat on the way down. I think it's quite drinkable. Seeing that it's more about the malt than the hops this is one ale I think that you would want to be careful not to drink too chilled.

Overall this was nothing special to me, but at the same time it exhibited everything I want out of an English style ale. This ale was all about the malt backbone, and it was a gorgeous backbone I just wish it was a bit stronger. As far as Australian beers are concerned this is definitely one I'd put on a fairly consistent rotation. Would make a great tag team with Little Creatures Pale Ale for the dinner time bout.

Photo of Macca
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours clear with a deep amber colour and a solid slightly off white head.

The nose is nutty, earthy hops, some sweetness.

Malts really come through on the palate as you would hope. The hops are there but restrained. Maybe finishes a touch too sweet for me but that's something I find in a lot of malt driven beers.

Reasonably full bodied.

Always a safe bet when you want something with a bit of body that you can have a couple of.

to view more.
James Squire Amber Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 109 ratings.