Sap Vampire Maple Lager
Amber's Brewing Co.

Sap Vampire Maple LagerSap Vampire Maple Lager
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Lager - European Dark
3.5 | pDev: 26%
Amber's Brewing Co.
Alberta, Canada
Retired (no longer brewed)
Sap Vampire Maple LagerSap Vampire Maple Lager
Notes: This is a simple, wonderful lager. Brewed with very distinctive specialty Canadian malts. Flavoured with all natural maple for a subtle yet distinctive flavour. Triple filtered, cold fermented and our longest conditioning phase. And, Yes, we just liked the name Sap Vampire; it is about the maple.
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 24 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of chugalug06
chugalug06 from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +7.1%

Pour is deep red with lots of browns. Small one finger head. No lacing.

Aroma is very cherry and lots of maple.

Not sure if this one has soured or not. But, it's still nice and delightful. Flavors are light and crisp. Red apple, yeasty, maple, cherry, peach, light, airy, crisp. Perfect for fall. High carbonation detracts, IMO. Sweetness is fluid and forward. Very little bitterness.

Not sure I love it, but it unique and different. Definitely one of the better Canadian brews I've had. Nothing overly remarkable, but worth a try.

Aug 15, 2014
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r from Minnesota

3.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sap Vampire Maple Lager pours a dark amber color, with a small lacing head. The smell is rather sweet, and as the name suggests full of maple. The taste is full of maple flavors; very strong. Overall this beer is different, and the maple is very strong, worth a try, might not be for a lot of people.

Jun 03, 2012
Photo of Maxrelax

3.82/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very tasty beer. I liked it warm or cold, it always tasted good to me. I'm not much for the vampire theme but you can't go wrong with a beer like this. Also, the bit of an afteraste is a good one, with seemingly a hint of molasses, even though the bottle states maple lager.

Mar 26, 2012
Photo of Converge
Converge from Canada

4.5/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Pours with a finger-and-a-half of fizzy tan head. The hue is an amber, maple brown. The head settles down to a nice cap on-top.

S - Really strong malty backbone, with a generous maple aroma upfront. Buttery, toffee malt and light nuttiness round out the scent.

T - Full maple flavor upfront, with a nice sweetness to it. Feels natural and delicious. A simple flavor with notes and smokiness and caramel malt. Really, really enjoyable.

M - It has a pretty thick bodied feel. Carbonation is on the lower side, but it fits the brew well.

D - A personal favorite of mine. It tastes fantastic and goes down smooth, and the sweet malt here is just irresistible.

Jul 12, 2011
Photo of maclean25
maclean25 from Canada

3.66/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I bought this 6-pack while visiting Edmonton. Maples are not native to this area but I selected it because it seemed creative.

It pours with a light creamy beige head which dissipates within a few minutes with not much lacing. The colour is really close to real maple syrup, perhaps a little darker but that could be because the mug holds a thicker amount of liquid than the syrup bottle.

The smell has a small amount of maple but not the sharp maple smell of real maple syrup (comparing it to Canada No. 1 Medium maple syrup). Otherwise not much else to the smell, maybe some butter and bit of citrus.

The taste is definitively maple syrup. But more like pancakes with maple syrup, than just syrup by itself or, say, french toast or that tree taste that some maple syrup has. Not much on the hop side (only in aftertaste), and some tastey malt. It kind of tastes like carbonated maple syrup but this beer seems to lose carbonation a little quick. Light-medium body, not overly sweet though.

Overall, I like it, but only when cold. I could drink a few of these but wouldn't make a the only beer of the night. A good mix of maple flavour and beer, balanced and integrated well.

May 04, 2011
Photo of andrenaline
andrenaline from Canada

3.89/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark amber red, finger of head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Burnt sugar and maple syrop off the top. Quite sweet on the nose, finishing with some toffee and caramel.

T - Bitter caramel malts off the top, but the true flavours emerge on the finish. Reminiscent of buttered pancakes with maple syrop lingering on the tongue. A tamed down version of a maple ale, but the syrop comes through strong enough to remind you of its presence.

M - Medium bodied ale, goes down smooth but is a tad dry on the finish.

D - Easily drinkable with unique flavours, though a sweetness that does not overwhelm the palette. Quite impressed with this one and I would recommend it to any fan of sweeter ales.

Feb 09, 2011
Photo of levifunk
levifunk from Wisconsin

3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up on a whim. Gotta try a maple beer while in Canada right?

A- haven't had a beer from a twist cap in quite some time. Pour is dark red with little head that dissipates quickly.

S- its a maple lager, and rightfully so it smells like maple syrup.

T- not as sweet as the nose leads on. Big maple taste. Very clean and natural flavor. Its actually got a surprising amount of hops on the finish

M- medium to light body. Good carbonation.

Overall- Didn't have high hopes but was pleasantly surprised. I don't know how many I could drink in a sitting.

Jan 08, 2011
Photo of joemcgrath27
joemcgrath27 from Canada

3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - actually looks like maple syrup with a thumb of head and decent lacing
S - sweet maple, nutty with light fresh grass
T - wow talk about sweet, maple syrup and nutty roast malt with a woody note
M - a little sticky like syrup and generally sweet, coats the mouth
D - a delicious Canadian desert, compared to most maple infused beers Amber's REALLY went after it, very tasty but probably wouldn't want to drink more than a few in a sitting

Dec 20, 2010
Photo of ChrisCage
ChrisCage from Canada

2.17/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Is a rusty color and there are lots of floating bits suspended, therefore making this somewhat hazy...could this be crystalized maple syrup or sugar? The head starts out nice and foamy, eventually settling to a frothy layer over the brew. What looks like very modest lacing initially is actually decent clingy foam on the side of the glass. Not bad looking at all, except for the suspended particles.

S- Very sweet aromas of maple taffy and/or syrup some moderate grainy malt and yeasty bread like creaminess dominate the smells here. On the finish, it becomes much drier and leaf like, but not bitter by any means.

T- Ugh...this tastes absolutely terrible. There is absolutely no maple flavor, but rather a woodsy sourness that resembles red cooking wine. There isn't really anything else to describe the flavor going on here!

M- Is actually fairly thin bodied for such a powerful smelling and the dominant flavors provided. The carbonation isn't overly palate scrubbing which helps this to be a clean, yet creamy brew.

D- This is one of the least drinkable beers that I've had or probably ever will have. If this tasted as well as the aromas let on, I'd be in heaven, but rather I ended up in Hell. I couldn't finish my bottle and the sewer system thanked me for the gift. I don't know how anyone can really drink this?!

Oct 07, 2010
Photo of biegaman
biegaman from Canada

3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I get the whole vampire thing now - this is a rustic, shadowy tone of amber that, not to worry vampires, allows no sunlight to penetrate through it. It looks like a species of the night. Its head is ample only enough to make a crescent, rather than full, moon which is perhaps better for our safety (oh wait, that's werewolves. Nevermind that thought.)

The scores (and appeal) from here on in depend entirely on the size of your sweet-tooth. The aroma strikes me as pure maple syrup or something of the like (maple fudge, maple brittle, maple sugar). It reminds me of going through the tourist gift shop of just about any and every Canadian town, or the duty free shop at the airport for that matter.

Finally a taste... and now the name is really making sense; Environment Canada should investigate this 'sap vampire' creature, it must be sucking the forests dry! Maple shacks around the country will be forced to declare bankruptcy and foreclose! Actually, the maple pairs well with the natural caramelly sweetness and kilned toastiness of the amber malts.

All that sweetness, however, adds up. And it becomes overwhelming pretty fast. The maple and its sweetness can, at times, resemble a concentrated distillate. I can't imagine ever getting through a six pack of the stuff (unless I started eating pancakes for breakfast every day for a month). Even a full bottle is a little much; a 5 ounce snifter seems perfect.

It's like Amber Brewing got its order mixed up with the IHOP down the street but instead of making a fuss they just decided to go with it. The use of maple syrup - such generous use of it anyhow - leads to mixed results: the beer is appreciably rich and flavourful, assuming you like maple, but, by the same token, is not something you could drink much of.

Sap Vampire Maple Lager sounds like something out of the X-Files and, indeed, it could have easily turned out that way with less capable brewers. The beer is decadently, impressively rich for something of it's kind - who'd of thought a lager would make the ideal digestif with dessert? That being said, the maple really need be scaled back for it to be anything else.

Aug 24, 2010
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg from Canada

3.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into pint glass may26 2010

A clear dark amber with a fair amount of carbonation feeding a small fast falling head that left no lace

S candied fruit, maple and just a little smoke

T a little cotton candy to go along with what I smell, rather sweet but nothing crazy

M a little sticky and not as thick as I expected but decent

D I just can't see myself drinking these back to back so from that point of view just average here

nothing offensive here but nothing that impressed my either, with so many great beers out there it may be a while until I get back to this one

May 25, 2010
Photo of elricorico
elricorico from Canada

3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy dull orange with a finger of beige head. Head falls almost immediately to a thin cap.

Buttery maple and something a little strange, almost egg like. I don't necessarily think the beer is off, but the mix of sweetness and lager seem to present an off aroma. The buttery maple does bring waffles to mind, so it is a bit of a trade off.

Sweet maple, with a very natural tree-bark like flavour to balance the sweetness. Clean lager crispness cuts through most of the mouth. At once sweet, crisp and natural tasting, mission accomplished in my mind.

Not quite lager light, but not syrupy heavy in body, it lands somewhere in the middle. There is a certain mouth drying stickiness that leads to the next sip.

An intresting beer for sure, worth checking out if you like maple at all. I could see myself having a couple. If it wasn't for the slight strangeness to the aroma I could see myself having many.

Jul 06, 2009
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre from Canada

3.96/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A gem from Edmonton.

Cloudy orange appearance with traces of sediment on the head. Looks like traces of yeast - I think this is an unfiltered lager.

Rather sour, skunky smell. Smells almost like a sugary lager gone off. In a blind taste test, I'd be reluctant because the smell is so bitter.

Very smooth maple flavour, with decent hops and hits of butter, caramel and toffee. The taste is far superior to the scent - you can really feel the maple syrup presence. I could probably drink this for breakfast.

Nice carbonation, and smell aside this is a good session ale - especially with breakfast.

Jun 28, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada

3.12/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a medium copper color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention and not much lacing. Aroma of maple is more dominant then I had expected and more enticing then I would have hoped for. Taste is dominated by the maple with some very small amount of residual sweetness which is surprising when you think of the amount of sugar in maple syrup. Very surprising and at least tasting of maple instead of so many other maple beer tasting nothing like maple - but then again I am still wondering if maple should be mixed with beer.

May 18, 2009
Photo of prosper
prosper from Canada

3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

a - looks good. There's a finger width light beige head that disappears relatively soon. No lacing; and a few co2 'streamers.'

s - smells fantastic! Lots of diacetyl butter & vegetal tree notes, as well as some roasted grains. Reminds me of waffles :)

t - lots and lots of maple flavours and an odd chemical-y sweetness that makes me wonder if this stuff has been sweetened with Sucralose or Aspartame. There IS a cloying sweetness to it, so if it's not an artificial sweetner, then perhaps it was pasturized and microfiltered before the syrup was added, or at some point before full attenuation was reached. There's a barely detectable floral hops taste there too, I think. Better marks if not for that odd chemical note and cloying sweetness. Perhaps these will fade if I chill it more before drinking (I poured this one at 15*C or thereabouts)

m - low to moderate carbonation, and very little carbonic acidity. An oddly thin body considering how full the maple flavour is, and the cloying sweetness I noted earlier.

d - there's a chemical flavour that pervades and persists in the aftertaste that reminds me of preservatives or artificial sweetners that would prevent me from downing many of these in a single session

Oct 19, 2008
Photo of IronDjinn
IronDjinn from Canada

4.04/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Curious name on this one, but it seems to work. A rich golden maple amber in appearance, with a finger's width splash of head that doesn't retain very long.

Given that this is a lager without much getting in the way of the extra adjunct of the maple, the aroma is gorgeous, intense buttery maple, reminds me of Belgian waffles. I rate it high as I tend to enjoy maple, and have brewed with it before, but never with these results.

It even tastes like buttery maple, with the slightest hint of crisp malt pushed far into the background. I'm licking my lips with a maple coating as well. Somewhat one dimensional, but it still has it where it counts. Crisp grains on the finish to balance out the sweetness a bit.

The mouthfeel is brisk with carbonation, a more rounded texture probably would have suited the flavour profile a bit better, but it's on par with the lager style, crisp.

In the back of my mind I'm thinking I like this beer for all the wrong reasons, but simply put it was an experiment with a fussy style and a hit-and-miss adjunct, and Amber's totally pulled it off, and with wonderful results. I never would have conceived the marriage of the two, but they work well together.

Sep 21, 2008
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum from Canada

4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first saw this at the Edmonton Festival of Beer back in June, and it seemed to be a big hit there, big crowds around Amber Brewing's booth whenever I passed by it. When we sampled it, everyone that I was with seemed impressed with it, beer geeks and the women who love them, alike. Maple beer, eh? How very Canadian, not to take away from that other massive FoB booth peddling T&A to go with their insipid and ubiquitous lager. I now have a single bottle left in the fridge, after a summer of indulgence.

This beer, poured into a standard pint glass, appears rusty-orange, with a few fingers of foamy white head that disappears quite rapidly. There is also a fine silky swirly haze floating through the glass as I hold it to the light right after the pour, that falls away quickly too. The smell, if it wasn't apparent right from popping the cap off the bottle, is sweet, sweet maple, giving those Maple Mini-Wheats a run for their money. The flavour is right on the money, maple candy intense, like those maple-sugar diabetes treats from Quebec, sold at a tourist trap near you. It's hard to discern much behind the overwhelming maple flavour at first, but after a few sips to get acclimated, I could sense a better balance, with a bit of hop dryness coming through before the finish. The mouthfeel is quite nice, full (of what, it's not hard to guess), the carbonation moderate, it goes down smoothly. The finish is better than I had anticipated, not as much maple, nor cloying, but you are left with a lot residual maple perception, due to its presence throughout this beer.

I would imagine this is a love it or hate it beer, depending on your affinity for the main non-beer ingredient, and whether you would accept it in beer at all. I have to say that I am a big fan of this beer, for being what it says it is, delivering the goods, as it were. I have on occasion consumed a number of these in one sitting, so I can't proffer the usual "it's really good, intense, but only good for one at a time - not a session beer". This is something different, and well-made. Also, wasn't there a recent forum thread about what would constitute a unique "Canadian" style of beer? Well, Exhibit A, ladies and germs...

Sep 14, 2008
Photo of markaberrant
markaberrant from Canada

2.43/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - orange (maple-y?), clear, agressive pour yields a small white cap with soapy bubbles, and quickly dissipates. No lacing.

S - non-descript sweetness and corn. I suppose you could say there is some maple in the sweetness, but in a blind tasting, I don't think I would pick it out.

T - maple, maple, maple. Tastes like maple syrup diluted with a tasteless lager (aside from the corn). It is not overly sweet, so I'm assuming they used maple extract flavouring instead of pasteurizing and adding real maple syrup. Aftertaste is... are you ready?... more MAPLE!

M - thankfully, it is not syrupy, one of the few times I'm actually glad that a beer is watery. Low carbonation, light body. A few sips in, and I can already feel the alcohol burning down my throat... not good for a 5.3% beer.

D - I doesn't taste "bad" per se... but would you really want to sit down and session 3-4 maple lagers?

Take a generic lager, and add maple extract. Sorry, but I was always taught that two wrongs don't make a right.

I bought a 6-pack of these for my wife as a novelty based on the name and packaging. She tried drinking them, and said, "it's ok, but I'd rather drink good beer." I think her review pretty much sums it up.

I'm not trying to pick on Amber's (Alley Kat is just as guilty, if not worse), but I am tiring of these Edmonton breweries putting out "gimmick" beer, instead of getting the whole "good" beer thing down pat first.


Aug 17, 2008
Sap Vampire Maple Lager from Amber's Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 24 ratings