Amber Ale | Dry Dock Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Amber AleAmber Ale
Amber AleAmber Ale

Brewed by:
Dry Dock Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 83
Photo of woodychandler
4.6/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Today is my New CANorado Beer Sunday and this one was part of an in-person trade with Blargimus whom I have traded with before, but never in person. He is a Bar Trivia master and so The Old Lady and I trekked down to play and then swapped beers afterwards. Slainte!

From the CAN: "No captain [CAN] do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy. - Admiral Horatio Nelson, H.M.S. Victory"; "This deep copper ESB [!] is the definition of balance. With each sip, rich malt opens up, revealing an earthy hop flavor and just enough bitterness to round it all out."; "Small Brewing Company of the Year, 2009 Great AmeriCAN Beer Festival".

As a retired sailor, this whole lineup really speaks to me. From the logo of the sailing ship to the nautical references to the sly humor, I CAN really dig it all.

This beer is currently listed as an "Ameri[CAN] Amber/Red Ale", but given the CAN's verbiage, I am going to submit a change request and review it as though it were an ESB, since that is what the brewers intended it to be.

Following the Crack and inverted Glug, I had two fingers of rocky, tawny head with good retention. Color was more copper than amber and I would put SRM at ~ 27. Nose had a malt presence, but more like a malting room than its finished product. It was not at all sweet, but more like the raw smell that one CAN sense in a brewery's mill room. Very grainy, but not sugary. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was like eating Grape-Nuts. It was very much of the malted barley and almost in a raw state. Going back to being in a brewery, if you have ever been on a tour where the host will offer the guests some malted barley to chew on, then you will understand my analogy. Finish was semi-sweet, with the malt flavor lingering, but not in a cloying way. Even the site's style description mentions "toasty". Spot on, lads! I really liked this as an ESB and I am unsure how I would have felt about it simply as a Red/Amber Ale.

 1,962 characters

Photo of alexipa
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark hazy red with a thick bright white head that sticks heavily. It's really a great looking beer, even my wife (who doesn't like beer as much) mentioned how pretty it is.

S: Bready malts with slight piney hops. Really subtle.

T: Thick bready malts with a caramel taste up front. Slight pine hops come through late to round it off.

M: Very thick and creamy smooth, full bodied for sure. Really nice carbonation and the alcohol is very subdued.

O: An excellent everyday beer. This will likely be my new go-to and I plan to always have a 6er in my fridge. Great price for an excellent brew.

 596 characters

Photo of beergoot
4.17/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Excellent copper-colored body with a thick, sticky head. Deep roasted grain aroma, slightly sweetened whole grain cereal. Taste follows the aroma and adds a subtle hop bitterness to balance out the grain sweetness. Medium-bodied, smooth, semi-dry finish.

Most definitely a malt-forward beer, emphasizing a rich, toasted grain character with a hint of sugary sweetness. Although a strong hop aroma isn't there, the hops do a good job of taking the sweet edge off the beer's main feature. Good balance with an excellent malt complexity. Very tasty...

 549 characters

Photo of MisterNic
4.16/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance-Deep amber, 1 finger head that sticks around

Smell-Biscuity, toasted caramel, earthy, hint of chocolate and fruitiness

Taste-Up front biscuity, toasted caramel, middle earthy, hint of chocolate, earthy, sweet hoppy bitter finish

Mouthfeel-Very balanced, full-bodied, very balanced and smooth

Overall-Delicious beer, malt forward, but balanced. Would buy again

 384 characters

Photo of Foyle
4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz can into schooner glass

Appearance: pours a thin off white head that drops quickly with moderate lacing. Color is hazy amber with some streaming carbonation.
Aroma: caramel and sweet barley malt dominate but noticeable earthy hops and a bit of citrus.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, slick and buttery with a balanced finished.
Flavor: caramel, toffee, pleasant malt sweetness with a nice earthy hop balance.
Overall: very enjoyable and well done in the ESB style.

 477 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.77/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. Can

Poured into a DFH glass a pretty nice clean/clear golden amber color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy one-finger light tan head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, slight hop note, with some spice. The taste is malty, slightly hoppy, kinda spicy. Medium body, ABV hidden very nicely, with a slight dry/bitter finish. Overall, a pretty tasty brew.

 407 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. can
Glass: Clear 14.75-oz. porter/stout tulip
From: Jason B.
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received Sept. 23, 2017
Consumed: Sept. 28, 2017
Reviewed as: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Misc.: Best by Nov. 17, 2017

Thanks, Jason!

Got this from Jason on a recent work trip to Colorado Springs. He wasn’t going to take it back with him, so he asked if I wanted to. Was already taking 12 beers back, but what is one more? Didn’t know much about it, although looking it up Dry Dock called it an ESB. Still new to this style, but was looking forward to it.

Poured a medium amber murky color with two fingers of khaki-white frothy head. Good deal of bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass at different speeds. Good foamy lacing. Outstanding retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled toffee, roasted caramel, butterscotch, earthy dark fruit, sweet barley malt, nutty malts and toasted grain. (Smell - 3.75)

Taste followed the nose for the most part. Chewy caramel, toasted toffee, earthy dark fruit, butterscotch, nutty malts, sweet barley malts and toasted grain. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, roasty finish. (Feel - 3.75)

Still new to this style, but this was perfectly fine. (Overall - 3.75)

3.75 | 85 | B+

 1,277 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Dark thick amber color, cream colored head recedes to a light film. Light lacing.

Aroma: Totally amber with caramel sweetness and malts.

Taste: Malty but with a tootsie roll chocolate note instead of caramel. Faint hops somewhere in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Overall: I like it. The taste is different from the aroma but both are good.

 391 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

better than average amber, although weirdly named because this is after all an esb, very english in nature, with a lot of dry and semisweet caramel malt and even a hint of smoke character. looks the part, maybe a little less red than some, but heady for a minute and clean looking. grain driven for sure, summery though and fresher, but also retaining plenty of residual sugar. a little more than i care for personally, but not enough to detract from the overall drinkability of this beer. its also mouthwatering. you want another sip as soon as you take one, and it gets increasingly complex with temperature in a good way, new layers open up. i get some cedar closet must and some creme brulee sweetness, a very rich and decadent brew. enough carbonation, it could stand a little more of a bittering hop, but this beer is a success without question.

 851 characters

Photo of hopsputin
3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pretty nice ESB. Flavor could use a little more malt depth and richness, but there is nothing offensive in here and there is a nice caramel backbone

 150 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz can. Served in a teku glass.

Pours a clear medium amber-reddish body, one finger white head, short retention, no lacing. Smells of toffee, caramel, grassy and floral noble hops, touch of spice. Flavour is similarly toffee-forward with a nice noble hop bite, grassy and floral, not particularly bitter. Finish is slightly toffee sweet. Mouthfeel is medium-lighter bodied, fine depth, good malt sweetness that is balanced out by the hops on the backend, a bit of allspice. Overall, a more than decent amber ale.

 515 characters

Photo of dcscientist
3.69/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure how this is in the ESB category on here, it's pretty much an amber through and through. Not their best offering but certainly still good, and I was happy to have this included in their sampler pack.

 208 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got this one from SteveO, it says it's an ESB on the can, lets see what it really is... ABV listed at 5.8%

Pours an effervescent amber with a thumb of cream colored head. Good lacing & average head retention

S: Pears & toastyness

T: Toasty, dry, with a smattering of figs & caramel. More toastyness as this warms, caramel & woody hops as this warms plus pears & jammy notes. Finishes dry, toasty & fruity

MF: Medium bodied, slight carbonation with good balance

This seems more like an ESB, not bad,easy enough to drink

 524 characters

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was poured into a becher pint glass. The appearance was a copper color with a finger’s worth of white foamy head that dissipated at a moderate pace. Subtle sliding lace. The aroma had a nice strong caramel malt backbone with some toast and then some light grassy hops, somewhat bitter but more just for the balance. The flavor leads with the sweet malt and then adds in a slight nuttiness. Toast comes back slightly. Nicely blended aftertaste. Moderate semi-dry sort of finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a fair sessionability about it. Good strength in the smoothness across my tongue. Carbonation felt fine. ABV felt appropriate. Overall, pretty good amber ale or is this supposed to be an ESB? Not sure, but I'd drink again.

 776 characters

Photo of spoony
3.64/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz can into a globe glass.

A-The can opens without much fanfare. A normal pour produces virtually no head; just a thin ring of foam. The brew is murky and apricot colored with very little visible carbonation.

S-The beer smells sweet with caramel and toffee scents dominating. I also get a little whiff of light, sweet fruit like apple or pear. Definitely malt dominant here.

T-Taste tracks the smell closely with sweet caramel, honey, and toffee malts being most prevalent. There is a little bit of earthiness in there, but no real hop bite or citrus twang to balance the sweetness from the malts.

M-This brew is on the heavy side for the style with very (very) little carbonation.

O-This is my first canned offering from Dry Dock and I am pretty non-plussed about it. The flavors here are a touch on the sweet and heavy side and the flat mouthfeel only compounds the sweetness. A little bit of hop sharpness would go a long way to balance things out. On the other hand, if you're into toffee flavors but want something a little lighter in ABV than a barleywine, this would be a good choice.

 1,107 characters

Photo of Tone
3.61/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Poor retention and slight lacing. Smells of strong caramel malt, sweet malt, hint of earthy malt, hint of alcohol, hint of hops, and a hint of roasted malt. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Fits the style of an ESB, but also an American Amber / Red Ale. Tastes of caramel malt, sweet malt, slight earthy malt, slight hops, and a hint of pale malt. Overall, decent blend, good malt body, but little lacking in other flavor and aroma profiles.

 547 characters

Photo of denver10
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep dark amber with an off white head. Aroma is thick and doughy, caramel, a touch nutty, and toffee. Flavor is thick and malty; doughy toast, toffee, caramel, and a slight hint of some hops in the finish, no bitterness from them just a little crispness. A fuller, creamy mouthfeel, not much activity. Overall, a solid amber.

 332 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.54/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A smallish light tan head settles into a decent lacing above a clear caramel copper colored beer.

Roasted to burnt caramel malt aroma seems to bury anything else in the aroma of the amber.

Dark roasted leaning on a burnt caramel malts taste that's not as overbearing as it might sound, but it's pretty much all you taste drinking this Dry Dock offering.

A medium bodied beer with a light dryish aftertaste that brings with it a bit of the overly roasted malt tastes.

Seem to have a bit much of the overly roasted malts in the taste but strangely enough that seemed to hit the spot tonight.

 593 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.42/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A brief head in the tall glass on the handsome amber brew. Malty, with a nose of Mexican sugar cane candy. Less carbonated on the tongue than many brews.

Very tasty roasted malt flavor is quite distinctive, but it gets a little murky before long. Caramel stands out and lasts through to the aftertaste. Rather sweet but a scratch of hops adds some bitter balance. Quite drinkable, but after the initial nutty surprise it's just average.

This is not crisp, it's more mellow but with just a little leafy, stewed hop flavor. Grainy at the finish. From the 12 oz can purchased at Wilbur's Total Beverage in Fort Collins.

 618 characters

Photo of iSip
3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dry Dock Amber Ale: For under $16 I picked up a 12 pack of mixed Dry Dock brews. I knew the Hefe and the IPA were good, so the risk lay in the Amber and the Apricot fruit beer. I am not a big amber ale or fruit beer fan, but every now and then you need to skirt away from the tried and true. Was my gamble worth it?

The Dry Dock Amber has a very dark burnt copper color, it is almost a dark beer by appearance. The off-white head fades, the aroma is faint and narry any carbonation present. Looks more like a home brew than a craft brew. So not ashamed of the looks on a table, the taste will win or spoil the day. The flavor is thick in the malt, but not sickly sweet, there is a smoky depth to it. Despite not being a favorite style of mine, the Dry Dock Amber Ale went down pretty quick and I look forward to another. Worth a try.

 834 characters

Photo of SkiBeerRepeat
3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Lightly creamy amber color with a slight carmel color head, very little lacing.

S- crisp and light on the malt overall not many aromas that really stick out.

T- Like the smell it has a light malt flavor with a refreshing crispness with a slight earthy note on the finish

M- effervescent, crisp and clean.

O- This a very session-able amber with no over powering flavors and crisp refreshing bite that would be perfect for early spring or fall. It has just enough malt notes to make it an enjoyable craft beer but still be good for more than one at a cookout or camping. The ABv is 5.8%

 592 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.27/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

With the stalwart recipe at hand, Dry Dock Brewing Company holds true to form with a malt-centric but well-balanced ale that's easy on the sweet tooth and formulated not to overwhelm the palate of the most novice drinkers.

The beer decants with a hazy deep honey-amber hue. As it builds a frothy off-white head, the foam column soon reduces to an even sheet but intricately laces the glass with patterns of dotted specks

Sweetly scented, the ale leads with caramel, butterscotch and biscuit. A slight yougurt-like starchy twang lurks close behind, just before a muted citrus and grass note rises to balance the malts. Light marmalade scents add to the sweetness in a somewhat English-like character.

Starchy to taste, the beer's firm malty flavor rests on caramel and butterscotch but approaches toffee and cream in the middle. Lightly grassy at mid palate, the secondary tastes of citrus peels, pecans and sun-toasted barley offers a slight bitter offset to the sweetness.

Medium bodied to start, the beer's lingering sweetness is slow to fade. As the carbonation lessens, it leaves behind semi-dry malt pillars of toast, grain, and dextrine. Light warmth and grain sweetness defines the beer's lasting impressions with even-keel balance.

Dry Dock's ESB-type beer is a common rendition of American-made English-style ale. It's sweet, malty, and timidly balanced. It strives to appease those who have a taste for malt. But even with that, the depth of malt character and its dryness can be further explored without introducing any added hop influences. But it's just too simplified as it is.

 1,596 characters

Photo of Dikfour
3.17/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Look: Maybe half a finger of white head dissipated quickly. Mild lacing. Hazy dark amber, almost brown, in color. No carbonation.

Smell: Sweet roasted toffee.

Taste: Sweet roasted toffee up front, but also there is a sweet fruit. Apricot but not quite... Can't quite place it. Mid palate the toffee and caramel take over and I start to get a sense of the coming bitterness. Finish is a mild lingering bitterness.

Feel: Medium to medium light body. Just a little bit buttery.

Overall: Better than no beer. I've had better ESBs. This one falls to pretty average, for me.

 572 characters

Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
3.05/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer pours an appealing amber ale color and is clear. Very poor head retention though. Maybe since it was intended to be consumed out of a can I should let that one pass.

Aroma is fairly subdued. Caramel and some sweetness.

Beer is sweet to start and has a balanced finish. Notes of toast and caramel.

Body is ok.

Beer is ok. Balanced. But nothing spectacular. Easy drinker.

 378 characters

Photo of Beaver13
2.08/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz can. Pours hazy reddish amber with a small off white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is toasty caramel malts and sweet toffee and nuts.

The flavor is sweet toasted biscuity caramel malts with some bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and a little watery.

Overall, lots of sweet biscuity caramel malts which I really don't like.

 396 characters

Amber Ale from Dry Dock Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 83 ratings