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Alley Kat Amber | Alley Kat Brewing Company

very good
33 Reviews
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Alley Kat AmberAlley Kat Amber

Brewed by:
Alley Kat Brewing Company
Alberta, Canada | website

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Alley Kat Amber, is our version of the original London-style Brown Ale. Amber pours a nice reddish hue and accompanied with a nose of caramel malts and floral hops. Golding hops are used in this brown ale to give it that light floral hoppiness and slight bitterness.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-29-2003

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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 56
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A very bland and boring amber. No discernible hopping and a very bland caramel/sugary sweetness that becomes unpleasant half was through the bottle. Obviously not aimed at the beer geek crowd but could still improve a lot.

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Photo of armock
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a mahogany color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is mostly of caramel malt faint hops

T - Is just like it smells caramel malt at first then some slight bitter hops

M - This beer has a medium body wth medium carbonation to it

D - Overall is not a bad beer easy to drink with a decent taste I could have a few of these in a sitting without thinking too much about it

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Photo of bsp77
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Received in August shipment of my BOTM club.

First of all this is a Brown Ale, a London-Style or Southern English Brown Ale to be precise. It says so on the label and on the website, plus it tastes like one. Yes, it is called Alley Kat Amber, but is that enough to fool most people here who talk about how well it fits the American Amber style? C'mon, we are supposed to have discerning palates. Anyway...

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Brownish-amber with thin white head and slight lacing.

Smell: Caramel, fruit, molasses and earthy English hops.

Taste: Somewhat sweet caramel, slight fruitiness, with a nice touch of English hops. Very mild overall, but it does have nice balance.

Feel: Low carbonation, somewhat thin body.

Drinkability: This seems to be relatively true to style for a London-Style (or Southern) English Brown Ale, although 5% is slightly higher than typical. Unfortunately, it is not the most exciting style that is often trumped by Northern English Brown Ales (or American Brown Ales for that matter). That said, it is still nice, albeit mild, and quite sessionable.

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Photo of papat444
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to stagger for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle, best before Dec. 12, 2009.

Appearance: Pours a ruby colored body with a thick & fluffy off-white head.

Smell: Nuts, malt, some caramel but not sweet. Creamy with slight hint of fruit but this is all on the low spectrum of aroma. It's very but it's brief.

Taste: Starts out malty with a discreet caramel presence. Ends at first with a low bitterness. There's a metallic feel to it, subtle, like licking the shell of a nut. As it warms, it has a weird spoiled finish to it. I almost downgraded the score to a 2.5 but it's really only at the end and doesn't terribly affect the taste though it is weird.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a bit high but otherwise the smooth feel on the palate is pleasant though more of a low body than medium as the label states.

Drinkability: It was ok but just had a weird aftertaste. I'd have another once in a while.

Overall: So-so. Not bad but not great either. Middle of the road with nothing particularly memorable.

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Photo of sAws
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a Light to medium Brown color with small white head and slight lacing. Smell is delicious with sweet malt, caramel and cloves. Mouth feel is thinner than I expect with a brown ale. Taste is very mild with less malt taste and more hop taste than I come to expect with a Brown Ale. Half way through the taste pretty much disappears except for the slight hop flavours. Overall this beer was disappointing I was expecting a nice malty Brown Ale rather than a slightly hoppy flavour.

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Had this one up in the sleepy little town of Sylva, NC.

A - It pours into a pint glass a clear but deep red amber with moderate carbonation. Head quickly fades into a fairy ring. A bit of lacing.

S - The nose is malty, sweet, with perhaps a few floral hops.

T - It has a very good amber ale flavor. The flavor is a bit more richer and complex than the typical amber ale and that is very welcome. It's flavor is a winter spice sort of maltyness with a splash of floral/citrus from the hops. The finish is a bit off but compared to the overall experience isn't a big deal. This is a really good red ale.

M - A medium mouthfeel and a bit biting.

D - I will be having more of this beer when I can get it. Very drinkable.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alley Kat comes through with a solid amber!

A - Deep golden brown, almost no carbonation present after the pour. Poured a 1/2 cm head which dissipated, with small islands and some fine lacing, which held more than halfway down the pilsner glass.

S - A sweet malty scent. Nothing overpowering, typical amber ale.

T - Definitely a caramel flavour off the top. Finishes with a slight malty flavour.

M - Not too carbonated, pretty decent balance, though slightly reminiscent of a porter. The feel is quite fitting for this amber.

D - I quite enjoyed this amber, and would definitely enjoy a couple at a time. By no means a mind blowing offering, but it still delivers a solid flavour and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a delicious amber!

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Photo of bobsy
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquire in a trade with voonder - thanks Alex!

The pleasant amber pour is true to style, and it kicks up a small off-white head that only leaves a little lace as it drops to a fine film. I like my ambers to have nice clarity, and this one fits the bill, but does not go the extra distance to secure a higher grade. The same can be said of the aroma. There is some floral hopping which pleases me, but its overwhelmed by a large sweet malt bill and lacks the complexity and depth to kick things up a level.

So it continues... Good balance in the flavor between a very solid malt body and a combination of floral and citrus hops, although the bitterness is quite light. Again, the combination is pleasing, but without depth. The medium-light body and medium carbonation is fairly true to style, and actually fairly refreshing, which makes this beer quite drinkable despite its faults. Overall, though I'd say this is a middling amber which is pleasant but instantly forgettable.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed a pint on tap at Beer Revolution in Calgary. A reddish bronze brew with an aroma of light caramel, nuts, and toast, with a whiff of candied apple fruitiness and tangy Goldings hops. Nothing overly aggressive but everything is in its right place. Same with the palate ... Semi-dry, quite bitter, faintly floral, and quite nutty, with bar nuts and perhaps peanut brittle, brown sugar, and raisin providing both the appetizer and the main course, with the leafy hops do exert themselves during the finish, dried grass and an echo of forest floor wildflower. On the low end of moderate in terms of mouthfeel, just a little chewy. I generally prefer my English browns a tad sweeter than this but I laud the hopping regime and the malt flavors do develop nicely over the course of a session.

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Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at Smokeless Joe's, the only Ontario place with Alley Kats. A brown colour and tradition to it. Reminded me of Hebrew, with a roasted taste. A bit of bitterness, and grass hops with some malt and molasses. Mixed reception by my mates. More experienced drinkers thought it was better than average, and similarly for less experienced drinkers.

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Photo of david_wolf
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Really solid offering from Alley Kat. First had this at a local pub when I was fairly new to craft beer, and it convinced me to eschew my macro ways.
Took a couple of notes on the brew, but I've had it so much since it's highlights are ingrained in me. Has a really nice nose, and a lovely malty flavor that isn't overpowering.
This is consistently my favorite Amber, as its simplistic but incredibly difficult to match. Incrredibly difficult to find now that I'm in B.C.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a very serviceable brown ale. The malt profile has the requisite caramel toastiness, it looks nice in the glass, and it finishes off-dry due to the hops. I would never turn down a pint of AK Amber.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, as much as it pains me as a Calgarian to give props to anything from Edmonton, I have to say this is a nice beer.

It poured dark with a ruby-red hue from the bottle and the head was a slightly disappointing one-finger even with an aggressive pour. This beer made up for its shortcomings in the looks department with a nice complex aroma: mostly roasted malts with a nice backing of fruit and hops mixed in.

The taste didn't quite live up to the complex smell, though it delivered better than other ambers I've had (Fort Garry Dark comes to mind). The toasted malt tastes are subtle, and yield to a light hoppy finish that's clean on the palate.

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Photo of Shadman
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised to see this in the Land of Coors Lite & Clam

Decent looking ale. Medium maghogany brown, clear, with an impressive tan head that receeded to a cap/ring that stayed the entire time. Some lacing. Heavy roasted malt aroma with some floral hop in the background. Nice balance between the roasted malt and the slight oily citrus hop. Only knock I have against it is a period of bland wateriness that shows up just before the dry, hop aftertaste. Smooth drinking ale and certainly worth trying again.

Sampling this one again after Medicine Hat's first beerfest...Moving the aroma and mouthfeel aspects up a notch... Aroma seems to have a more balanced aspect to it and the watery taste in my inital review is more towards the inital swig...if beer taste could be discribed as white noise then that's how I would describe the first sensation after I take a swig....

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear deep ruby, one finger of head retained fairly well with random lacing
S - strong toffee with some roasted nuts, light leafy aroma on the back end
T - very similar to the nose along with light fruitiness, not really getting the hint of chocolate mentioned on the label
M - medium body with a smooth feel that finishes refreshing
O - a damn good beer from one of my fave brewers, an easy sessioner

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have heard good things about Alley Kat, so I figured I would start off with their Amber; brown ales being a style I am fond of in general.

It pours a deep coppery-brown colour, producing a thin, tan head. The head dissipates to lacing fairly quickly, but what remains lasts until the end of the drink. The carbonation level appears to be quite low. After a quick whiff of the brew, my nose is immediately overwhelmed with roasted caramel malts. Very enticing...

...and not at all misleading, as the first sip reveals this to be a very tasty ale. Again the roasted malts are the most dominant feature, with a faint hint of cocoa. The finish leaves a very subdued, bitter hop aftertaste. Medium bodied; with a creamy mouthfeel and not very much carbonation.

I am very pleased with this purchase. It's a solid example of the style and I highly recommend giving it a try if you happen to see it. I am definitely going to try some more of this brewer's concoctions in the future.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.89/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - copper in color with a persistent beige head
S - rich aroma of toasted grain, caramel, bread crust, yeast
T - earthy hops compliment sweet toasty grain and caramel malt, toffee, bread, yeast, and floral hops are also present
F - higher carbonation gives it a fuller but medium feel, finishes dry and semi-bitter, fairly clean as well
O - nice English brown with plenty of balanced flavor. Thanks to some Canadian friends for bringing this down for me to try!

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Photo of Cwrw
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally available outside of Edmonton! This is a rich-looking amber ale. Deep hues of red mix with a rosewood brown, and more cola-brown near the edges. The tiniest glance of dark-orange. The head was more than ample, 6-7 cm, lightish brown on the edge and more bone-white in the centre. In my glass, the head went down rather quickly to a bare minimum, but my glass was a little wet with water, which could explain its short life. Lacing that leaves rings of foam, moves slowly, and leaves clinging patches, or even screens of light head. With the cap twisted off, the first aroma I detected was a faint herbal spiciness, which I was not really expecting. In the glass I get extremely strong pumpkin smells; a definite spice that lingered throughout the whole drink. Roasted malt behind that, a difficult-to-define creaminess akin to Alley Kat's Aprikat Ale. With the beer freshly poured, and the head full, the creamy, almost buttery, candied malt is much more detectable.
Never a brewery to disappoint on hops, the Amber does have some oily grassy aroma up front, no doubt the cause of the pumpkin I can smell so much in this beer. I taste at first the smooth chocolate-like malt, reminding me of Wild Rose's Brown Ale. The taste was not quite what I expected for an Amber ale; instead of a good sweet malt hit, I get more of this herbal/pumpkin hop taste, sharing some characteristics with the Full Moon Pale Ale. The malt is in the background. This is a very tasty beer, I just think it is a misfit for the style; and personally for me, a malthead, this is far too hoppy, to the exclusion of some underdefined malt which this beer could have had. That being said, the finish is actually not half as dry as I was expecting, but more lactose and bread. The beer is a little watery in the mouth; again, some more malt might give this beer more body. Apart from the hops, for me, this is a very drinkable amber ale, leaving little aftertaste and being light in body. The carbonation is medium. With the hops toned down a little, this would be an extremely good amber ale, and one which I would purchase frequently.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish amber, full frothy head

S - malts, not much else going on

T - Oncae again, its pretty much all malts. nice, lightly toasted malt falvor. clean tasting, slight hoppy finnish.

M - medium bodied, full carbonation, clean, slightly crisp and dry.

D - Your slightly better than average amber ale

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Photo of Garin
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a lovely clear caramel brown with red highlights. Very little head sits on top, and what little there is disappears almost immediately.

Caramel, grassy hops, and.... celery? Yes, celery. Interesting aromas rise up from the glass. Malty rich flavour with toasty highlights with a sweetness cut short by a decent bitter finish. Smooth and oily in the finish, with an herbal hops finish.

Honestly, it's a really odd beer. However, I'm an Alley Kat fanboy, and this reinforces my fanboydom. Try it if you can get it.

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Photo of Orrshow
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This beer is very deep amber. It almost appears brown. There is a small ring of head on time but nothing much.

Smell – Predominantly smells of sweet malt. There is a slight hop aroma which arises as well. Not bad.

Taste – This is a nicely balanced beer with caramel malt and citrus hop being the dominant players. There is the slightest hint of roasted malt and chocolate as well. It pleasant to sip.

Mouthfeel – Quite average carbonation and enough body to make it interesting.

Drinkability – Great. This was an extremely easy beer to drink and enjoy.

I could session this one like there’s tomorrow. It could also serve as a nice sipping beer as it possesses some nice malty qualities which I like to savor.

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Photo of DoctorStrangiato
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 341-ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - dark copper colour with a thin but persevering surface head. Looks fairly carbonated.

Smell - prominent creamy caramel aromas and a little roasted barley. Not a lot of hoppiness to detect.

Taste - nutty, flavourful but clean malt. Good roasted, husky taste. A little sweet on the end.

Mouthfeel - fairly smooth, decent balance.

Drinkability - another one that I could partake of extensively. Very tasty and full of flavour, not at all boring.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle. A common enough find on tap in yer finer ale joints around town of late, which is a good thing.

This beer pours a clear, very deep orange brick amber hue, with a few fingers of puffy, lightly frothy, and soapy beige head, which dissipates slowly and evenly, leaving some bleeding cloud lace around the glass.

It smells of lightly-roasted caramel malt, oily nuts, dry chalky cocoa, a hint of muddled dark fruit, earthy cola notes, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is more softly roasted caramel malt, a touch of hard toffee, milk chocolate, ethereal black fruit, pasty nuts, and decently drying floral and earthy hops.

The carbonation is a tad peppy, but just enough to help bridle the inherent sweetness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and generally quite smooth. It finishes still sweet, but with an evolving dry offset, and some pleasant chocolate essence lazily lingering.

A genuinely enjoyable, and balanced malty ale, the yin in Alley Kat's arsenal to Full Moon's zippy yang. Drinkable, especially with Indian food, as for some reason those sorts of restaurants stock this around here, and yet not anything hoppier. Oh well, how will we get by?

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Photo of scoobybrew
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - clear ruby amber color with a thick head that settles into a fine collar

S - toasted amber malt aroma, faint hops in background

T - toasted malts are dominant, as expected from aroma, hops are subdued but noted on the mild bitter hop finish

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is a very nice American amber. It delivers all that is generally expected of the style and is well done.

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Photo of elricorico
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy caramel colour with a centimeter of creamy tan head. Smell is a battle of malt and hops, with definite roasted malt edging out the citrus hop aroma. A very smellable beer.

The first mouthfull is smooth and flavourful. The roasted malt isn't as prevalent as it was in the aroma, but it is there in the finish. A bit of burnt toffee type flavour for sweetness, then a hit of lemon lime and a bitter, roasted finish. Not a strong bitterness, but enough to make a well balanced beer.

This is an easy drinking, smooth feeling beer. Highly recommended, and a favorite session beer of mine. Goes great after a golf game in the hot sun.

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Alley Kat Amber from Alley Kat Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.