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James Squire Amber Ale - Malt Shovel Brewery

Not Rated.
James Squire Amber AleJames Squire Amber Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

69 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 69
Hads: 110
Avg: 3.5
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 5
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery visit their website

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 (15) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 69 | Hads: 110
Photo of Brad071
4.53/5  rDev +29.4%
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.

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Photo of Act25
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Just off the plane in Sydney, after walking the city and buying gifts for the family, I'm ready to check in my hotel and while I wait, after many excellent macchiatos around town, a brown amber ale.

A: Poured a dark cloudy amber. A tad thin, short lived copper head, but unlike other reviewers, not much of a head or lacing.

S: Classic English Brown Ale profile, with malt, a bit medicinal, caramel. Too faint.

T: Best part of the beer, more sweet than bitter. A bit thin, but only a little hop. Pleasant but watery, and this is not my style. Never had one I liked.

F: Not a bad finish, good with pub food, and still too malty for me, modest carbonation and a nice crispness in the finish.

O: Better than fosters, this James Squire is the patriot, original convict brewer of AUS. One must try 1, but then move on.

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Photo of SmashPants
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Format: a good solid 345mL brown bottle with a reasonable boutique label. Personally I preferred the old labels, but hey - as long as the beer tastes the same!

Appearance: pours out a deep copper bronze with a light cloud. A half-finger of off-white head lasts for a good time. decent lace.

Aroma: moderate aromas of earthy hops, nuts and toasted bread malts. Smells good.

Taste: quite a dry earth quality with some grass hops. The bitterness builds with time. There is a warming alcohol behind. Nice.

Aftertaste: a lovely secondary warmth from the alcohol, bringing the flavours back full-strength.

Mouth feel: moderate in body with a smooth feel. A moderate amount of carbonation brings the flavours forward well.

Overall: at $55 a case, this one is well and truly worth-while. Tasty, sessional and well-rounded. One of my favourites to be had in a session, a great Australian beer.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

one of my staple aussie beers. one of my first loves as far as craft beer goes, and one of the only sweet beers I actually like. it pours a clear coppery red color, with a robust lace head just off white. aromatics of rich red malt, sweet caramel, and of all things roasted corn. its got that starchy sweetness and late summer vibe. the taste is malty of course, but its layered, with various sweets from honey to toffee to molasses each appearing and receding. not a whole lot of hops here, just some English bittering stuff towards the finish. the feel is great too, its clean for a sweeter beer, not a big long drying aftertaste but a short burst of fresh grains followed by basically nothing. unique in the beer world, especially in this style. good enough bubbles, hyper refreshing when ice cold, and one of the better james squire offerings. I cant tell you how many liters of this I consumed from 2007-2010! wish we could get this in the united states through commercial rather than subversive avenues.

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Photo of wl0307
2.86/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Coming in a 345ml bottle; BB 31/10/13, served cool in a short-stemmed goblet.

Appearance: it pours a bright reddish copper colour, rather than amber, coming with a thin layer of light-beige foamy head and rather lively carbonation.
Smell: syrupy-chestnutty and lubricating caramely on the nose, on top of sour-sweet prunes and lots of overripe fruit esters; given a good swirl, the ripe melon aroma comes to the fore, along with more estery elements, grassy hoppiness, and full-bodied honey-ish malts. Altogether the nose is a touch too sweet and estery at the expense of a balance.
Taste: quite fizzy on the entry, the thin-bodied foretaste is lubricating and caramely, featuring random flavours of brown prunes, licorice, and random nutty malts, then a rough mouthfeel of semi-acidic fruit esters and spicy bitterness catches up, rendering a rather rough, chewy and then sugary-slick finish with quite restrained bitterness.
Mouthfeel & Overall: the mouthfeel, as described above, is indeed not smooth and even rough, which is not helped by the sharp-ish carbonation which comes simply too much to pair with the boring flavour. At times, this medium-bodied beer tastes a bit green-ish to me, that the conditioning perhaps was shortened for unknown reasons.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at local in Berowra.

Interesting to review this as this was my first staple craft entry beer a few years ago. Didn't even know what it was style-wise then, but I did know I liked the taste.

Pours a deep copper rather than amber. One finger head stays and good sheet lace.

Smells of nothing really, even as it warms.

Taste is a 100% caramel malt bomb. Big, Big, mid palate balanced by moderate hop presence, not too earthy, not too lifted. Hint of honey sweetness. Quite big for an English Brown Ale.

Mouthfeel moderately carbonated, smooth, and medium to light weight.Pub-style in a word.

So, was it as good as I remembered? Well, yes except I had two and did not want a third, as a slight astringent note crept in. I also got a headache from hell after this and two Chancers.

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Photo of soju6
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the Portland Brewhouse.

A: Served a dark copper color with a decent head that fades to good lacing.

S: Aroma of mild citrus with a bit of malt sweetness.

T: Taste similar to aroma with a bit of citrus with an easy malt sweetness. Mild bitterness and a clean finish.

F: Fairly light body and quite smooth.

O: Decent drinker, seems to go best with food as it is a bit bland.

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Photo of machalel
3.04/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A nice and deep red-amber colour. Reasonable amount of white head (2 cm) which disappears a little too fast. Small amount of lacing down the glass.

Aroma: Subdued caramel, toffee, and malt. Not a lot here to write about, as each time I have tried this beer it has had a literal lack of smell.

Taste: Malt and toffee, a little bit of zest and fruit. Enough bitters to balance the malt, but still on the mild side.

Mouthfeel: A bit too carbonated, as it detracts a bit from the flavours, but otherwise acceptable.

Drinkability: Quite easy to drink, and one that I could (and do) have regularly. That being said, it's not a beer to savour or to think too much about. It's a nice BBQ lunch beer, where your mind is on other things.

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Photo of jjkatter
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle poured into a goblet... This beer differs from the one pictured in that it is branded "Nine Tales" and illustrating a top hat with a card with the number 9 on it.

A- deep amber in color. No head to review.

S- tried and tried and just couldn't smell much.

T- much better than anticipated. Nice floral malt front to it with a bit of a salty finish. Still, not half bad.

MF- nice effervescence and good balance.

O- yea, I'd drink another of these.

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Photo of BeerSingh
3.5/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of davidfoley
2.88/5  rDev -17.7%
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

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Photo of aBeeraWeek
3.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up from Safeways in Melbourne.
Chilled, then poured into a Spiegelau beer glass.

Appearance – dark amber with some dark red coming out when held to the light.

Smell – an enticing combination of fresh sweet bread and caramel

Taste – is well matched to the smell. The same sweet caramels come through early but are not overstated, with a light bitterness coming through from the hops. A sweet fruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – Agree with previous postings that this is slightly over carbonated. A little less carbonation would be more fitting with the taste and smell of this beer. It takes some of the focus away from the sweeter flavourings.

Overall – a pleasant tasting beer that has enough flavourings to keep the drink interesting throughout.

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Photo of Stew41
2.4/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Attractive toffee - caramel hues. Slightly stale malts on the nose and a little pongy - not unpleasant. A bit staid in the mouth like the most of the range. Malts are a bit metallic and hollow, and the staleness pops up again. Finishes a touch bland.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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Photo of dgilks
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear amber colour with a small, off-white head. Poor head retention.

Dark, toffee and yeasty aroma. Slightly oxidised.

Bready caramel and toffee flavour with lots of residual sweetness. This could be a little drier and the fruit flavours are very raisiny.

Medium body with moderately-low carbonation. Fair but not great.

An okay but not entirely satisfactory beer. It lacks finesse and seems overly simplified.

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Photo of Macca
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.01/5  rDev -14%
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!!!

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Photo of doktorhops
3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

The James Squire bottle tells a story of a man that received a hundred lashes from a cat-o-nine tail because of his insubordinate and wanton lust to brew beer. This to me sums up Australian's well - so great is our thirst for the amber drop that we will gladly suffer punishment to brew the ultimate beverage.

Today's serving vessel is my trusty old clay chalice/tulip 450ml cup (from the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Pilsen). The amber ale itself was poured from a 345ml bottle.

A: Oh dear, I poured the beer before realised that I cannot see through lacquered clay... err, I'm sure the body would appear amber as advertised (actually it's more of a "caramel brown" - I've had this beer before). 2cm tan head that dissipates to a thin layer that leaves lacing in the chalice.

S: Nutty malts, followed by a woody fragrance with a hint of puke (not a good thing to have a hint of mind you).

T: This "ale" has a mild, slightly nutty flavour balanced with some sweet malts. The hop bitterness is slight, and doesn't spoil the aftertaste which is earthy followed by a sour note. I'm glad there's no taste of the 'puke' I noticed from the smell.

M: Here's my bugbear with this "ale" (and I'm using inverted commas for a reason) - this is no more an "ale" than my grandmother is a scuba diver, and it comes down to the carbonation for me - this "ale" is carbonated like a lager (which really p****s me off!). Unfortunately this is where Aussie brewers drop the ball over our English brethren. Points have been deducted.

D: So we've got an "Amber Ale" that isn't really "Amber" or an "Ale", but how does it stand on the drinkability front? Quite well actually. I could easily go through a 6er of these - there's very little confronting me. And that is the only thing holding this brew back - lack of complexity... apart from that - this is one drinkable beverage, worth a hundred lashes? Perhaps not, but otherwise enjoyable.

Food match: Roast chicken, leg of Lamb, Lyonnaise potatoes and light barbeque fare.

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Photo of drtth
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of Parrotshake
3.51/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have had this beer dozens of times but not for quite a while. Grabbed a few bottles to have with lunch. Pours into a Guinness pint glass a clear rusty amber with 2 fingers of tight head.

Sweetish malty nose; toast, nuts and kinda stale biscuit. Lightly sour fruity smell. Taste is not dissimilar - sourish grainy flavor backed with nutty, toasty malt and herbal/slightly metallic hops. Dry and nutty finish without much lingering bitterness.

Prickly carbonation, thin mouthfeel. Smooth and easily drinkable. A pretty satisfying brown ale which is going down a treat with the roast beef sandwich I'm eating. Not 'great', but I could certainly polish off quite a few.

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Photo of leastsquares
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A crystal clear, dark honey colour. Two fingers of pale beige head which slowly collapses into a long-lasting film a few millimetres thick. Many small bubbles rising in columns at rapid speed from the base of the glass.

S: Malts, mixed with warm porridge and floral aromas.

T: Most of the taste is at the back of the mouth. Quite sour. Not a complex taste, but not insipid either.

M: A Goldilocks body - not too heavy, not too light. Fairly creamy. Not as much carbonation on the tongue as there was in the glass.

D: Very easy to drink, despite the sourness - ideal for casual drinkers who want something different but don't want to go too far out of their comfort zone.

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Photo of ADZA
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one beer that ive had many times before but not for a while and a mate popped around with a sixer so thought id give a review,it pours a see through light amber hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a creamy two finger head and some nice lacing,im not impressed by this aroma of sweet malts and grains with the feinest of hints of herbal hops,the mouthfeel is very average and definately lacks the body that i like in a good old fashioned EBA and the taste is only just above average with hints of brown sugar,very i mean very light herbal hops and it finishes with a nutty,caramel finish,overall this brew is not how i remember it i mean i dont know if they have changed the recipie or my palette has changed but its definately not a beer that i would go out and buy but in saying that id prefer this on tap then the other macrobrews on offer at most non-micro pubs as usually the james squire range is sometimes the only other option and i do thank them for that.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of maddux91
3.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this from a bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Rich, dark mahogany colour. Quite appealing. Thick white head with sufficient lacing. Decent carbonation at the beginning, but this dies quickly

S - Smells alright, fairly average. Not much complexity.

T - Taste is quite strange. Notes of citrus, but also of some sort of purfumy type flavour, slightly metallic. Altogether though, not overpowering.

M - Smooth and just the right amount of bitterness.

D - Could easily have a few of these, although a 6 pack might be pushing it a little bit too far.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

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James Squire Amber Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
80 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.