River Horse Special Ale - River Horse Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
River Horse Special AleRiver Horse Special Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

183 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 183
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 12.61%
Wants: 1
Gots: 25 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co. visit their website
New Jersey, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: rfgetz on 09-22-2010

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 183 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by forcedlaughter:
Photo of forcedlaughter
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color. Small head sticks around and has a creamy texture.

I get caramel, and a sweetness like apple juice on the nose.

The taste follows. A really easy to drink, nice tasting, sweet beer. I get the malt up front, followed by apple juice and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel is nice. It coats my mouth and doesn't have any off flavors so the drinkability is high as well. For 4.5%, I could easily drink a few, and I would not get tired of the taste.

There are far better ambers out there, but this is a great value around me.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: minimal head, hazy, dark amber in color, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt and some pine hops

Taste: caramel, toasted malt and some pine hops

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweet with a slightly bitter backbone

Drinkability: A decent amber that could use a bit more hops. Not bad, but nothing that really jumps out and makes me want another either.

Photo of KTCamm
3.79/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

River Horse variety pack. Twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours medium dark brown, some red hints. Some white foam. Strong caramel smell. Toffee. Taste is alight sweet caramel with a modest bite. Hints of butterscotch. Light mouthfeel from the modest carbonation. Good amber.

Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep auburn hue with dark ruby highlights and a big off white head. Good lacing. Lots of roasted malts on the nose along with some burnt caramel. Hop presence is faint but perfumey. On the lighter side of medium in body which thins very slightly on the swallow. Sweet caramel laces the side of the tongue while lightly roasted malts shine through from beginning to end. Subtle amount of fruit with a faint hop presence giving the beer it's crisp feel and smooth finish.

Pretty Decent flavor with great drink-ability. Not anything amazing but good for what it is. A session brew I could come back to.

Photo of Sharkophile
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a River Horse variety pack, which I was very happy with.

A: Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark red with a very large off white head with good retention.

S: Smells sweet, with caramel, brown sugar and roasted malts with a bit of hoppiness.

T: Caramel and brown sugar with some roasted coffee-like flavors as well. Light and clean hoppiness leads into a pretty dry finish.

M: Pretty light bodied and highly carbonated. Prickly. Nice.

O: A very good, flavorful and balanced amber ale, I wish I could find it in six packs, I could have a bunch of these at a time.

Photo of tone77
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty dark amber color with a small head. Smell is of malts, some hops. Taste is the same, some malts up front with hops kicking in at the end, a touch of caramel is present. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall makes for a solid offering.

Photo of Samp01
3.32/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy brownish amber with a medium beige lasting head, some light lacing. Aroma of toasted caramel malt, barley, light fruity notes. Taste of toasted caramel malt, yeast, light fruity with some mild earthy hops. Palate isa medium body, slightly sticky mouth feel, mild carbonation. Finish is sweet toasted caramel malt, yeast with some mild earthy hops bitterness for balance with a bit of caramel nutty aftertaste. Overall a good enjoyable brew.

Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.91/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear dark copper with a thin head and lace. The aroma is sweet malt and bread. The flavor is the three Rs, raisins, root beer, and rum. A bit of cough medicine in the finish but not bad. It's mouthfeel is medium. River Horse Special Ale Amber is a good beer. Recommended.

Photo of jsanford
3.62/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extra received from THECPJ. Thanks! Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a slightly hazy amber with a thin white head that quickly recedes to a ring.
S - Strong caramel malt with a bit of pine and citrus.
T - More sweet caramel malt with a faint nuttiness. Earthy hops provide some balance, but the malt dominates.
M - Medium-light bodied with crisp carbonation.
D - Pretty quaffable. Tasty, if a bit bland.

Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had off the tap at Wicked Monks in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Nice deep red/brown color. Thick foamy, off-white head which leaves a good deal of lacing. Very slight malty scent.

This has a very pleasant nutty taste. A slight bit of chocolate. Some bitter hops, but slight. There's a soapy aftertaste in there. A slight sweetness. It's a dry taste, almost like a cask.

Nicely complex with nothing overbearing.

Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is slightly hazy and a dark shade of amber in color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige colored head that has very good retention properties and left a short head covering the surface and lots of lacy rings of bubbles down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of toasted malts and earthy yeast are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of caramel and toasted malts along with earthy yeast. A light amount of bitterness is present. The earthiness lingers through the finish.
M: It feels a bit shy of being medium-bodied on the palate with a little smoothness and a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I liked the malty nature of this beer because there were just enough hops to help balance this off and keep things drinkable. It's pretty tasty for a beer with a low abv.

Photo of jman42
3.69/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A = Very nice looking red color with a nice light brown head. Lacing was pretty apparent

S = Nice malt aroma, barely noticeable hops

T = Nice malty taste. Again, hops were not overly apparent. Bit of a bitter after taste

M = Average

D = A nice red ale (unless you're looking for a hoppy one). Seems to look better than it drinks though. Still, I'd recommend to friends who aren't hopheads.

Photo of claspada
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep red with a very large off white head with good retention.

Aromas begin with sweet pale malt and some light caramel. As it warms you get some slight brown sugar, roasted malt with a bit of earthy hoppiness.

The tastes follow the nose with light caramel, toasted bready maltiness with some light toffee flavors as well. Light and clean earthy hoppiness emerges more as it warms.

The mouthfeel is light bodied with medium to high carbonation. Finish is lightly dry and earthy but mainly clean and crisp.

Overall this is a decent, flavorful and balanced amber ale. Nothing to mind-blowing but quite satifying considering the ABV, nice daytime outdoors beer.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Actually quite clear since most of their beers are "unfiltered" with a 1/4 inch of opaque colored head. A touch darker than I expected for the ABV.

S - Slightly dirty malts clash with mild hops and mild caramel malts. Smell is less than expected.

T - Well it's not a bad amber it's just not that great. Hops are mildly herbal almost citrus like with a caramel base. Basic and boring.

M - Light to medium it's on par for the ABV.

Overall I am becoming more disappointed with this brewery every beer. Don't buy this if you can avoid it.

Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of a mix/match 6pk from The Beer Store in Southampton, PA. Price averaged out to $2.50/bottle.

Enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass.

A - Pours a rather dark amber color with a one finger head that dissipates rather quickly. A very slight amount of lacing is left after drinking.

S - A very light sweet smell (malts). No hop smell at all. Not an overwhelming impression can be drawn from the aroma.

T - A very malty, slightly tangy taste. The presence of hops is no where to be found. Not a bad taste at all.

M - More on the thin, watery side. As mentioned, a tangy after taste lingers after drinking.

D - Not a bad beer. For an ale, I actually like it. You could easily drink a few of these since it is not a very heavy beer.

Overall: A decent beer that was worth a try. Would I purchase again? Probably not since I'm more of a hop head. Would I have a problem drinking it again? Not at all...it'is a nice departure from my normal beers. Give it a try.

Cheers!

Photo of rfgetz
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with minimal cap of white head. Scent is of weak carmel malts with a decent fresh pine and citrus hop note. Taste is a little better than scent dictates, decent light carmel matls combine with piney and citrus hops to form a decent, uncomplicated beer. Lighter side of medium bodied, moderately high carbonation. A decent beer, unspectacular yet drinkable.

Photo of woodychandler
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My thanks to tone 77 for coming by with a buncha bottles for me to try. It is nice to have someone local with whom to trade.

From the bottle: "Many of us here in the U.S. of A. consider ourselves to be "Special". We think this American Amber is pretty Special as well. Hope you enjoy it!"

I enjoyed pouring it into my glass and watching a dense finger of light-tan head being produced and experiencing decent retention at the outset of yet another sweltering afternoon. I also enjoyed gazing at its reddish-amber color with NE-quality clarity. I further enjoyed the pleasant admixture of grass hops and caramel malts on the nose. I gained enjoyment from its medium-to-full mouthfeel (not quite creamy, but close) and its taste with a seeming emphasis on hops. Finally, I enjoyed the extreme finish, which is when the malt really came into play. I had not tasted it much until then, but it lingered well after the swallow. Overall, an enjoyable beer.

Photo of snegopady
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I'm not going to claim that the Special Ale is world-class or anything silly like that. But what other reviewers see as a defect, I see as this beer's best feature. Sometimes--often--daily--I crave a malty beer that isn't hopped to the gills. And that's what this beer is all about--loads and loads of tasty, tasty malt. Not for everyone, apparently, but if you're a weirdo like me who likes his malt and wants it now, you could do whole a lot worse.

Photo of TheBigBoy
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Solid Brew...Have had several River Horse's over the years with mixed results. By far this is the best beer that I've had from this brewery.

Good Amber/Red beer flavor that's slightly crafty but not overpowering at all. COuld not drink these all night but definitley 2-3 not a problem.

Do give this one a try, if tasty amber/red beers are your thing. You will be happy with this one.

Photo of JayQue
3.56/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly Average Amber Ale. Looks great and has a low abv. WOuld be a worthy session beer.

Pours a dark amber color with a huge antique white head. Excellent retention and thick lacing. Looks good.

Ok aroma....roasted and sweet malts. A little floral hops.

Mostly a malty beer but there is some balancing hoppiness and a floral aspect.A little on the sweet side but tastes ok.

A little light, but this is expected from a 4.5% beer.

This isn't one to savor, but a few pitchers t a session would be welcome.

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a medium dark and cloudy mahogany brown with lots of suspended particles and a 3/8 inch head that rapidly fades to a thin layer.
S - Slightly malty hints of caramel
T - A nice balance of bitterness fading to a sweet finish
M - Medium to full bodied
0 - That's Special .... although I can not tell if it's Dana Carvey's or George Carlin's voice that I hear this beer in.

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into fluted pint glass, nice tan head, pretty thick at first, dissipates to nice froth on the top, a little clinging. Color is a dark, deep amber, somewhat dense.

Smell is mild, sweet malt comes through hints at some moderate bitterness.

Taste is a nice mix of roasted and caramel malts, with a very nice citrus/pine bitterness that cleans it up.

Mouthfeel is mostly on the tongue, flavors cling to the top but sweet and bitter balance well with mild carbonation.

Overall, a very nicely done brew, solid malt flavors and hop bitterness.

Photo of CochonKing
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark amber with little to no head and a large amount of disproportionation. Smell is malt forward with notes of caramel in the back ground, as well as notes of lemon and orange rind, with coffee notes on the back end of the bite. The taste is ok, with forward dark roasted malt and some mild chocolate notes, but nothing really pops beyond that. Some acidity is present on the rear palate. Mouthfeel is light bodied with small crisp bubbles.

Photo of ARoman
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 1.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a shaker. The aroma is distinctly raisin cinnamon bread with a toffee undertone and peanut butter coming in late. It's a murky, unfiltered raisin brown color with a khaki head that has okay retain and only a light lace. It's a medium high sweet and light bitter blend. The texture is a a light syrup with a fuzzy carbonation and medium full body. Roasted flavors are picked up with tones of toffee, toasted bread, grains, and nuts. The finish is roasty and grainy with a driness and a light astringent quality. The aftertaste is grains, and lightly toffee.

Photo of Slatetank
3.67/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is the last bottle I picked up as part of a sampler pack from the brewery in Lambertville -poured from the chilled 12oz into a double walled tumber.

The amber has good deep ruby color which borders on bronze with a translucent clarity and 3 fingers of rocky ecru which settle to a 1/4 inch. The lace collection on the glass is good with a fine bead. The smell is good, which is a mix of hops that have a herbal and pine blend of scents and some light sweetness from the malt with a mellow ester of yeast fruitiness in the nose with a subtle toasted toffee-like aroma. The feel is very moderately bitter within style and standard carbonation with mild sweet entry and balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness is good with some subtle diacetyl and semi-dry finish with light cream and toasted accent.

This amber tastes malty up front with subtle toasted tinges and slight caramel notes which fade into a slight sweet relaxed taste and the hops come secondary with some light herbal/pine flavors which accent the yeast and malt well. The hops keep things balanced but don't move into the flavor realm much more than bitter with slight diacetyl in the background which is countered by slight pepper and mild fruit elements from the yeast. This is a good amber over all, not one I would revisit but nothing seriously flawed about it either. It might be good for a cookout to have on hand - a little on the sweet side as it finishes and could use a little more complexity in the malt and yeast but in general I liked it and it is better than average.

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River Horse Special Ale from River Horse Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 183 ratings.