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James Squire Amber Ale - Malt Shovel Brewery

Not Rated.
James Squire Amber AleJames Squire Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

103 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 103
Reviews: 68
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 5
Gots: 1 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 103 | Reviews: 68 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of doktorhops
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

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.

doktorhops, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of drtth
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

drtth, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of Parrotshake
3.53/5  rDev +2%

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.

Parrotshake, Oct 17, 2010
Photo of leastsquares
3.53/5  rDev +2%

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.

leastsquares, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of ADZA
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

ADZA, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of eric5bellies
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

eric5bellies, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of maddux91
3.48/5  rDev +0.6%

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.

maddux91, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +12.7%

(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.

rhoadsrage, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.68/5  rDev +6.4%

(Another glaring omission from my reviewing history).

Pours a burnished deep copper amber colour, with a good head of yellowish-white film. Lacing is excellent around the edges, and there's lots of tiny streaming carbonation, but it's not helping the head retention. Overall, it's a pretty decent looking beer. Quite tasty.

A bit of sour grain mash on the nose, plenty of malt, with a little tingle of seltzer water. Quite round and full, coppery, malty, certainly not much in the way of hops. A decent nose. Not astounding, but decent.

Smooth on the palate, initial copper bitterness forward, followed by a light roasted nutty character entering part way through. Some yeastiness on the back but this is minor compared to the pleasant grain and nut characters. Overall, pretty tasty, and pretty drinkable.

A very drinkable Amber ale, with a very decent amount of character. Certainly good when you want a malty sessioner.

lacqueredmouse, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of Stavage
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

Stavage, May 23, 2009
Photo of juju7
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Deep amber/copper/mahogany looking fella with a tidy one finger head. Had this so many times before. One of those beers I come back to when I want something of substance when I'm on a budget.
Sweet caramel malt notes on the nose with a touch of strawberry in the background. Strawberry comes out a bit on the palate with those malty notes. Good long finish, very smooth and approachable. A little light in body for the style but still good beer.

juju7, May 10, 2009
Photo of TubaManJack
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%

Appearance- Deep Amber color- Wow I know big surprise. The head was moderate and produced some limited lacing.
Smell- Somewhat like a brown ale. There was a substacial nut and almost carmel malt nose. Of course there are herbal hops present in the background.
Taste- Moderatly Hopped with a substancial malt backbone. Its quite unique and worth the experience on tap. Its very easy to find on tap in SYD. The carmel malt transitioned to more of a bitter one towards the end of the class and as the carbonation levels dropped.
Mouthfeel- Rather light but the taste progressions are interesting and memorable.
Mixed Drinkability

TubaManJack, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of CrazyDavros
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

CrazyDavros, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of WHROO
3.75/5  rDev +8.4%

A: Dark Amber, 2 finger creamy head...great lacing, average head retention, leaves an ice-creamy film on surface.

S: Honey Malts, little bready. Not too strong in this department, but thankfully the taste stepped up a notch

T: Full honey, carmale sweet malts up front, little floral hops, a delicious hint of roasted malts, finishing with only a touch of bitterness (if any).

M: Medium, maybe feels a tad watery at finish, but full flavour, sweet & good carbonation.

D: easy peezy...no worries drinking more of this...very comparable to your true English Pale Ales, just not as sweet!!!

Enjoyed.

WHROO, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of foles
3.53/5  rDev +2%

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.

foles, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of laituegonflable
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a nice redwood colour with a creamy dense head of white tinged with ochre. Leaves a very thick film of lacing around the glass.

Nose is very nice. Spiced fruit mixed with brown sugar. Not very complex, it's basically an odour in a straight line but the characters are very pleasant.

Taste is unusual, in that it doesn't really taste like it smells. The fruit which was spicy and vibrant on the news here tastes sour and off. Lots of hops flourish throughout the palate but there's far more of a sour than bitter character to this. The palate is long, but there isn't that much complexity. I'm not that much of a fan of sour beers and although this is nowhere near as sour as your average lambic, I'd say this is no exception. Mouthfeel is nice, smooth and creamy.

Overall, a respectable drinking beer with an acquired flavour.

laituegonflable, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of Cs1987
4.08/5  rDev +17.9%

Appearance - Darkish amber, 3 fingers of head with good retention and great lacing.

Smell - Strong malt stands out, not much else to comment on.

Taste - Quite different to what I expect from an Pale Ale - less fruity but far more malt. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, with excellent aftertaste and carbonation.

Drinkability - Above average for the style.

Overall - This certainly deserves its place as my second favourite Malt Shovel beer (after the Porter). Great beer, great value.

Cs1987, Feb 28, 2008
Photo of madvoice
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%

Mid amber in colour. Not very frothy with the head and it is almost non existant in seconds. It has a rather light fruity smell with citrus overtones. Is a rather sweet beer with a mild texture and a bit of tang on the aftertaste. Not very fizzy which I find is nice. Very very easy to drink.

madvoice, Sep 29, 2007
Photo of LittleCreature
3.68/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance - 4.0
Poured a tight finger of pale beige head that slowly reduced to a thin, bubbly layer. The colour is a deep amber-bronze, which is very clear and looks entirely still.

Smell - 3.5
Some banana smell was apparent upon opening, although this was greatly reduced within seconds. There are soft, but nice aromas of caramel, toffee and butter. Not a particularly strong smell for a pale ale of any type, and for this it loses marks.

Taste - 4.0
This is classic English pale ale to me, and a nice change from the aggressively hoppy American pale ales that I love. Smooth and sweet upfront, plenty of malt and roasted grain flavours with a hint of fruitiness. Moderate hoppy bitterness in the finish, and a dry but pleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - 4.0
While is seems quite flat at first, there is a tingly carbonation in the finish that matches well with the relatively heavy weight and almost syruppy feel in the mouth.

Drinkability - 4.0
Definitely sessionable, it goes down easily, and is tasty enough that it will not get boring. Available on-tap in many locations where unknowing drinkers will pay the same money to guzzle Heineken and Beck's.

OVERALL - 3.9
I once tried this beer before I was really "into" craft beer, and found that it was too strong and sweet for my taste. A couple of years later, and this is really quite delicious! Possibly the best beer I have tried from James Squire, and that is saying something. Quality is high, price is very good, definitely getting this again.

Edit: Still a good beer, but there are much better amber ales out there.

LittleCreature, Sep 13, 2007
Photo of brendan13
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

A - Orange/amber colour with very little head.
S - Toasted malts & some faint fruity esters.
T - Biscuity maltiness up front followed up with some fruity & grassy flavours.
M - A little bit on the thin side but still passable. Quite high carbonation.
D - A drinkable beer from MS.
Theres other true micros I'd rather give my money to for an equal or better beer but when times are tough or you can't be arsed going somewhere out of your way this is a good standby beer.

brendan13, May 26, 2007
Photo of July2Nov
3.83/5  rDev +10.7%

Bought bottle in a "Beers of the World" pack from BevMo and poured into a pint glass.

A: A slightly darker amber color. The head was about 1 finger width, that left a little lace around the rim.
S: Very subtle...maybe if I plug my ear up like the character in "Sideways" I'll be able to list the ingredients.
T&M: Yeah...I'm suprised by the flavor. Very refreshing at first. The middle part tastes of a buttery biscuit w/ a some citrus flavor going on. The end has a nutty quality that leaves you with that "cotten-mouth" quality.
D: I was really suprised by this brew. It delivered more than I expected. This definetly could be a session beer.

July2Nov, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of rec
3.55/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

rec, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of vancurly
3.45/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours a dark amber, head fades to a surface slick, leaving some nice lacing.

Smells of malt powder, English hops, hint of metallic note. Some yeast extract (Marmite/Vegemite) hint also.

Taste of amber malts, hint of banana, some honeycomb, aftertastes of floral, soapy hop that I think is Goldings. Mild bitterness.

Medium body, crisp-ish finish. Probably better from the bottle, where one has better control over serving temperature. The average Sydney tap-temperature is too low for amber ales, I think.

vancurly, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev +0.6%

Coppery burnt orange with lemon-tangerine edges. The head is the color of mandarin orange mousse, has a rumpled-bumpy surface and is tacky enough to leave an impressive amount of lace all over the glass. This one is a looker, mate!

The aroma is a little less impressive. It's moderately toasted malty (officially: pale, crystal and carapils) with an offsetting amount of earthy, herbal, fruity hops. Bruised apples spinked with some sort of earthy spice is as close as I can come to a description. More power would be good.

James Squire Amber Ale is definitely an English pale ale. Campfire toasted malt runs the show from start to finish. What hops are present provide much more flavor than bitterness. Again, I'm reminded of lightly spiced, baked apples, with a hint of sour apple tang buried down deep.

This MSB offering is an easy drinking, balanced, less than exciting pale ale that needs more hop character to amount to anything special. It tastes a little like those 'pub can' English ales like Tetley's, Boddington's, etc. In the end... competent, but boring.

The body/mouthfeel is no more exciting than the flavor profile. The beer just lays there and waits to be swallowed. It's light-medium in heft and is pretty damn close to thin. It's also undercarbonated.

I'm surprised that I haven't at least heard of Malt Shovel Brewery prior to this bottle of James Squire Amber Ale. The presentation is very nice (the bottles look like New Belgium's, with the same raised, embossed neck rings), but the beer itself borders on lackluster. I'll try a few more Shovelfuls before making up my mind on the brewery as a whole.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 07, 2006
Photo of warmstorage
2.5/5  rDev -27.7%

AU$5.50 schooner (~425ml, I believe?) had both on tap at several Sydney pubs, a couple of Victoria pubs, and a pub in the Sydney airport (when they were out of the James Squire Porter.) That my various tastings of this beer included my last Australian beer, after a month of drinking in the country, seems fitting: it's one of the better things on offer, and it's pretty lame.

Notes below were an amalgam of two separate tastings and ratings, though all five or six times I drank this beer my impressions were the same: I disliked it quite a bit, though not as much as whatever else was available in each (next) place along the way.

Bright copper to orange color, visible rising bubbles and average to slightly vigorous tight white head. Schooners, incidentally, are a pretty ridiculous glass for aroma, head, and taste, for most beer.

Nose is fruity and sweet, and a good head is held, with the beer consistently served WAY TOO DAMN COLD. Jesus: it's an airport, it's temperature controlled, and they still serve the beer around 42-44*F. After one taste, I read my book while it sat for about 10 minutes to warm. It was just a little below cellar temp when I rated and made notes.

Taste is significantly sweet, fruity, with hints of apricot (reminded me of Magic Hat #9 or Dogfish Head Aprihop.) Oddly sweet, and totally inappropriately so for the style (whether that's Amber or EPA), bordering on sickly sweet.

The taste lingers briefly, with slightly harsh malt flavors and more sickly sweet fruitiness.

Pretty poor: and that it's one of the better offerings in the country says a lot.

warmstorage, Apr 14, 2006
James Squire Amber Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 103 ratings.