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The Unforgiven Amber Ale - Rush River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The Unforgiven Amber AleThe Unforgiven Amber Ale

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157 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 157
Reviews: 75
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 13.55%
Wants: 4
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rush River Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: feloniousmonk on 07-14-2004

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 157 | Reviews: 75
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer begins with a steady and classic Amber pour. Medium amber to strong copper in color, the beer has near perfect clarity. A medium head fills the rim of the chalice and then reduces to a comfortable layer and holding serve. No real lacing on the glass.

A balanced aroma of sweet, caramely malts and orange-zest hops fill the nose. Light esters and phenols come in late along with a yeasty breadiness.

Malt flavors take the lead with a strong, sweet caramel taste. English malts give a firm bready, biscuity taste and in a rather bold manner. The hops (still in orange-zest mode) makes a valliant attempt to balance the sweetness but falls just slight. Herbal and citrusy hop flavor take a back seat here. Light fruitiness rides in the peripheries along with a light plastic phenolic taste.

Body is medium with the sweetness taking its toll in the end. Bitterness is there but never really balances the superior malt sweetness. Not sticky or heavy, the sweet taste isn't necessarity indicative of the mouthfeel.

Finishes with a deep caramel linger along with an herbal, orange flavored bitterness. Quite a nice beer. It reminds me of Lexington's local Kentucky Ale except with better hop balance and boldness.

Thanks Arvjunk!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruddy pumpkin with an impressive amount of fine yeast in suspended animation. The pale caramel cap is one of the first clues that this is a quality brew. A good bit of lace puts the finishing touches on an appearance that is much heartier than the average amber ale.

The aroma is definitely different. It's incredibly estery, with a ripe fruit and fruit blossom scent that is intriguing. It might be the hops, but it's probably the 'custom created' yeast strain that the brewers hoped would make this beer unique. Mission accomplished.

The Unforgiven is no wilting violet of an American amber, that's for sure. It's so packed with flavor that one wonders why others brewers can't create something similar, rather than cranking out an unending stream of nondescript, forgettable versions of the style. Using ample quantities of quality ingredients isn't exactly rocket science, now is it?

Because of what tastes like a generous amount of Munich malt, the beer has a toasted and caramel (almost Oktoberfestish) vibe that I'm not gaga over. The flavor score still deserves its place, though, because this ale is as bold as it is well-crafted. As for hops, it's probably something with German bloodlines. The finish tightens beautifully as the alpha acids begin to assert themselves in cumulative fashion.

What a unique concept. The Rush River brewers decided to create their own yeast strain, with the help of a lab in Oregon. The end result is a beer that tastes tremendously bready, like the liquid version of very lightly buttered, perfectly toasted French bread crust. Given the moderate tanginess, let's throw sourdough into the bread box as well.

The mouthfeel easily keeps pace with the other attributes. It's medium-full for the style, with a solidity that too few amber ales possess. A hefty amount of malt and a perfect amount of carbonation are the keys.

The Unforgiven Amber Ale is the flagship offering of one of Wisconsin's newest breweries. Some may scoff at the notion of an amber ale being a flagship, but this one is more than worthy of that honor. Here's hoping that the rest of Rush River's lineup is at least this good. Thanks feloniousmonk.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an orange-amber body with a thin, wispy off-white head.

Smell: Bready caramel maltiness with the fruity, sweet-smelling scent of juicy clementines. Slight note of butter.

Taste: Caramel maltiness with a nice, gentle sweetness. Hints of dough and even fresh grains. A couple pats of butter, which works for me. Bright, juicy citrus hop flavor with a bit of spice. Mild bitterness. A bit more of the bread and spice on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It was good, so I forgave it. Won't you do the same?

Photo of zeff80
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, amber color with hints on ruby. It had a small, khaki-colored head that left little to no lace.

S - It smelled of biscuity caramel malts with some mild floral notes.

T - It tasted much like the aroma - sweet caramel, bready/biscuity malt and a touch of hop bitterness.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a dry finish. A light to medium-bodied ale.

D - This is an okay amber. It works fine if you are looking for an easy drinking brew.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a foggy orange hued amber with a thin creme head. Nose is a bit of pineapple juice and a leafy hop thing. Flavor is nice and sweet (possibly a bit too much, but I'm not bothered.) Mellows out and you get a nice hoppy tone with that standard red ale characteristic. It's true to style. Seems a bit creamy on the liquid feel, but the carbonation is really biting at my tongue long after I am done sipping, and it kind of bugs me. Overall a nice brew. Tone down the high level of carbonation and I'd have a regular line-up beer (if only it were available in NYC.)

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bunkrock (Reddit) for this, another Rush River for me to try.

Pours a larger fizzy 2 finger head that fades fairly quickly with almost no lacing over hazy almost murky orange slight honey colored beer.

Nose light amber reddish malts, slight sweet toasty malts, light honey malt and fruity amber like aroma, with a bit of a grassy slight earthy hop character. it also has a light sweet extract amber syrup like addition.

Taste starts with more sweetness, light sweet malts, hint toasty and amber reddish malts, hint syrupy like malts, but a nice tasty malt base, fairly toasty maybe a hint of Munich malt and crystal malt. Then fades to a light fruity floral hop, hint of bitterness with a nice hoppy base. Finish is drier, light syrupy like malt lingering taste with hint of caramel and toffee, light amber reddish toasty malt, and some lingering light spicy bitter hop.

Mouth is med bodied, good carb.

Overall pretty good. Malts are quite nice, despite a bit syrupy, nice hop character that is on the lighter side, and quite drinkable. By far the best Rush River I've had so far.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My third sample of this very new brew from a very new brewery. First was a thimble-ful at the Bulldog in Uptown, Minneapolis, next a sample bottle provided by the brewers, and this review is based on a pint had with lunch today, again, at the Bulldog.
Pours out a murky, rustic, deep amber hue, that somehow unclouds over time, to be more traditionally amber in appearance. Nose is mild, with a discreet whiff of hops, pleasant enough.
Smoothness reigns on the palate, nothing troubles one, nothing leaps out and grabs, and that is fully the intent of the brew, and help this enterprise to be successful. They told me personally that they weren't out to do anything too agressive right away, and that is an imprtant niche to be filled.
Light to medium-bodied, (I almost thought "thin", but I don't choose ambers that often, and that's pretty much what you want for the style), with a soft, lingering finish. A nice malty tang rides through the flavor. This was dry-hopped, but ever-so delicately.
As I don't often follow one beer with the same, (just one of those quirks), I decided to have a pint of Bell's Amber Ale, which I enjoy, to compare. Big difference is, of course, Bell's unique yeast, but also their citric hoppiness, which may put some off...definitely stood out in comparison to The Unforgiven. But they set out to create a smooth, easily accepted amber, and they did it. A beer I'd return to again, if I wasn't feeling the need to feed a hop fix!
Currently on tap in eight Minnesota and five Wisconsin locations, sure to spread!

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

June 2007 bottle date; Sampled January 2008
A somewhat vigorous pour produces a one-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head that sits on top of a lightly hazed, amber colored brew. The aroma is a mix of citrus hops (dominant note) and softer malt aromas. This smells of orange blossoms, tangerines, a hint of pine, crystal malts, touch of caramel and a fair amount of toasty grain in the finish.

Lightly sweet with ample hop character that provides a sharp tickle of the taste-buds from the get go. A biting bitterness up front seems to disappear for the most part by the finish. Sharp, citrus oil notes provide notes reminiscent of oranges and grapefruit. There is also a substantial malt character here, though it plays a secondary role to the hop notes. This has a toasted malt / biscuit like note in the finish as well as a caramelized malt note that contributes a touch of fruitiness and accents the citrus-like hop notes. A hint of diacetyl seems to contribute a touch of fullness and an ever-so light dusting of butterscotch (this really is quite minimal though). The yeast also seems to contribute a soft fruitiness here that becomes more noticeable as the brew warms up a bit.

A nice example of an Amber ale, it is clearly hop focused (similar to a Pale Ale), but has just enough malt character to be just worthy of the Amber moniker. Clean malt and hop notes shine at first in this beer, but in a surprising move the yeast notes actually show up as the brew warms up a touch; this is surprising as I was expecting the standard, ultra-clean, almost signature, American ale yeast here, but the yeast used here actually contributes a touch of character. A tasty brew that I could easily quaff a few pints of at the local pub.

Photo of woodychandler
3.76/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This showed up with a creamy, foamy, off-white head with excellent retention. There was very good clarity in this deep-amber/light-copper colored beer. The nose was lightly malty. The mouthfeel was thin to medium with a sweetish, honey-like taste on the palate. I got a yeasty spiciness on the finish, which was completely unexpected. This was a pretty good amber.

Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Blue Nile.

I'd always ignored this beer when I visited the Nile. I mean, next to Furious and Bender, who needed it? Well it turns out this beer kind of kicks ass. It's a hoppy amber, like Troeg's Hopback Amber for anyone that's tried it.

It looks like a typical amber with a dark orange body and white head. The aroma is big on citrus hops and the taste matches. All the while, there's a nice balancing, biscuity malt presence that separates this beer from a pale ale.

Overall, there's a lot of nice hop and malt flavors going on in what makes for a very drinkable and tasty beer. Worth a try.

Photo of ejimhof
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -Nice red brown color to this beer

S - Hops and floral notes are present.

T - Hops and malts define this beer very good taste one of the better reds available.

M - Smooth and not overly bitter.

D - Easily a beer you could drink more than one of.

Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass) bottled 2wk June
A- This beer has a slightly hazy slightly dense apricot brown body with a snow globe of little bits swirling around with tiny bubbles. There is a sticky antique white head that last for most of the beer.
S- The soft sweet but very aromatic caramel malt and honey malt gives way to a soft green pine aroma that grows with each sip.
T- This beer has a slightly sweet caramel malt with some dry honey malt notes underneath. There is a soft slightly sweet biscuit note then a soft pine hint in the finish.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture.
D- This beer has a nice full rich caramel flavor but its not sweet or sugary with a nice support of green hops underneath. If there were light classes of beers I would say this is a great light barleywine.

Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one falls on the light and orangey side of amber; there is scantly any tones of red and inspection to the light reveals only a more radiant and more concentrated shade of orange. Its head is elephant tusks white and appears strong and sturdy like them too. A slurry of bubbles and sediment are tossed about as if caught in the updraft of a tornado.

There's no doubt in my mind after smelling this: The Unforgiven is a beer I want to drink. It exudes a rather delightful, highly ambrosial bouquet of fresh baked bread, pumpkin pie spices, withering flowers, caramel-coated pastries and just an ounce of citrus fruit. It is like a busy bakery meets a confectioners' cupboard meets a springtime countryside.

The flavour makes for a beer that isn't quite as trite as its style would have you expect. What sets this amber ale apart from most others I've had is the distinctly perceptible taste of sourdough bread. It may hail from the Mid West but I swear I'm in San Fransisco drinking this! That sourdough flavour is best described as being, well, doughy and bready.

There is also a sweeping wave of buttery caramel that washes the palate in a sticky-sweet coating. A generous hint of diacetyl seems to be the ribbon that ties the caramel and bread together to make one tasty present for the tongue. An appetizing but unexpected note of pumpkin-pie spicing keeps recurring. I like it a lot.

All the pleasantries described so far are likely the result of a couple things: this beer was A) dry-hopped, which explains that underlying earthy tone and those harbored notes of citrus; and B) fermented with a specially cultured strain of yeast, which likely is responsible for the unique sourdough bread character and that pumpkin pie-like spiciness.

Of course, we can't discredit the work of the brewmaster; this malt bill is as hefty as it is delicious and both bitterness and carbonation are bang on the nose for a beer designed to be easily quaffed. Any offering that features both this quality and quantity of both malts and hops is a winner in my books. I'd drink this any day of the week, any time of the year.

Photo of Bighuge
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky looking deep orange tone. Yeasites are evident and hang in suspension. The head is thin and white. Lace is quite full. Sweet aroma. Like sweet as in candy caramel and candy corn. Also breadiness. And some hops are noticed and maybe some fusel alcohols?? The fusels aren't very noticeable on the palate, but there is some light alcohol tones apparant. The taste isn't real thick and rich, but it is quite distinctive and it does appeal to me. It's kind of bready and doughy. Reminds me of a Bell's amber in a way. Just a titch of yeasty sourness (like sourdough bread) and some caramel maltiness. The carbonation is very mellow. Body is about medium-full. Solid overall.

Photo of Duff27
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, filler in a mixed six pack

appearance: poured into an imperial pint glass, a rather copper body with a fluffy beige cap and decent retention...nice

smell: i was rather surprised to find out that this beer has quite a nice hop profile, sharp citrus and bubblegum combined with a nice grassy malt core...i like what i smell

taste: this is a nice amber ale, i'd definitely drink it on tap if that were an option. I love the hop profile - juicy citrus and bubblegum, tangerine, peach....grassy caramel malts...lovely

mouthfeel: smooth and crisp

drinkability: high

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
Mar. Wk3 notched on the label, no info.

A - More golden orange than amber, it's lighter in hue than I expected it to be. A low off-white head leaves good lace clinging to the glass in coiled rings.

S - A mellow hop combination of dirty earth and citrus lies in wait, waiting to strike. Yeasty undertones and caramel malt provide the base.

T - I expected the hops to strike like a snake and inject their bitter venom into my throat. Instead what I get is a good combination of citrus and earth that's balanced heavily by caramel malt.

M - Hardly biting bitter, this timid serpent of an amber is medium-bodied and balanced with a smooth mouthfeel.

O - Where they land around average with an amber ale, well-balanced nonetheless, they gain serious points for having a coiled snake on the label of "The Unforgiven" Whether or not they intended to allude to the Metallica song from the "Black Album" featuring the same coiled snake matters not to me as I listened to it with the beer regardless.

Photo of tavernjef
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at MacKenzie's: Dark cloudy golden amber with more gold at the bottom. Small bubbly cap of creamy colored foam sits atop. Maintains a good skim and collar and when swirled the head flows back up to a respectable level so it seemingly has good carbonation. Lacing in adequate amounts of webby strings.

Aroma is firm, steady, crispened, and present of sour dough bagels and roasty nuttyness. Very bready on the nose.

Taste is also pretty bready; and thickly so. Nice sour dough bagel creamy breadyness with some nice evenly handeled roasted nuttyness towards the finish and some buttery notes mixed with warm whole grain toast spread with an orange/apricot marmalade. Solid taster for an amber, more so then most I've encountered with a Vienna style twist of heavy breads. Nice.

Fantastic full bodied finish, creamy, full, and eager with incredibly fine breadyness thats very well rounded and creamy with just the right amount of give in the carbonation.

This is one of the better Ambers I've had in quite awhile. I actually stay away from this style on most occasions due to its basic flavor profile and character that's seemingly copied at every brewpub or wannabe brewery. A good change of pace for the style; and I for sure as hell was glad to have tried it. Very good on-tap.

Photo of drpimento
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Geez, I like this beer a lot! Hard to fault it. Poured with a huge foamy frothy pale tan to off white head and plenty o lace. Big hoppy nose. Hazy amber with orange tones looked so appealing in the glass. Mouth filling and pleasing. A little soft. Nice play between the hops and some residual sweetness. Good finish. Great session beer.

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The Unforgiven Amber Ale from Rush River Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 157 ratings.