Special Amber | Sprecher Brewing Company

178 Reviews
Special AmberSpecial Amber

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-13-1998

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Reviews: 178 | Ratings: 353
Photo of Sammy
2.83/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Fresh bottle from the brewery. A little cheesy aroma. Much head that resulted in a small retained head, on light yellow body. Not very drinkable,grassy, herbal, light caramel, medium body. A Vienna, just not so tasty.A little sweet, no significant bitterness.

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Photo of metter98
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear and light amber in color. It poured with just a few bubbles floating on the surface and no signs of visible carbonation.
S: The nose has light to moderate aromas of sweet toasted malts with notes of spicy hops.
T: The overall taste is rather malty and is both buttery and nutty. There is a slight amount of sweetness in the initial taste and some notes of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and a bit watery with a very light amount of carbonation. There is a slight amount of dryness in the finish.
D: Drinking this beer is a breeze; it goes down easily and is rather sessionable.

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Photo of zeff80
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly orange color with hints of ruby. It had a thick, foamy, off-white head. It left some soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled fruity and malty with a slightly floral nose.

T - It tasted smooth a malty, nice caramel taste with just enough hop presence.

M - This was smooth and crisp. A light to medium-bodied lager.

D - This is a really nice vienna lager. It is easy drinking and tasty.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce bottle into lager glass, bottled on 6/28/2012. Pours lightly hazy deep golden amber color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, pear, apple, raisin, herbal, floral, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of bready malt and fruity yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, pear, apple, herbal, floral, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, biscuit, toast, brown sugar, pear, apple, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good balance and solid robustness of bready malts with fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with a good malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish, Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice vienna lager. Good balance of bready malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I love all the sprecher products I have tried,this is just a great malty,fruity beer!Poured great! great color,nice rich tasting lager but very drinkable!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'd never had any of the Sprecher beers before, and I wasn't really expecting much of a "Special Amber", but it turned out to be much better than I thought. It actually is amber in color, with a nice cream colored head that subsides to a light rim around the glass. The aroma is of malt and hops with little fermentation characteristic. The mouthfeel is fairly creamy and fuller than I'd expected. Taste is very well balanced between a firm malt and hops which are bright and crisp. Leaves a clean, refreshing hop aftertaste. A good beer, well worth trying, but not overly impressive.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle into a pint glass.

An aggressive pours yields a clear golden amber with 2+ fingers of creamy off-white head. A thin creamy layer of retention just skims the surface, leaving some decent looking swathes of lace behind. The aroma is not overly assertive at all but I can still pick up some notes of caramel, bread, some citrus, and a touch of floral hops on the back.

The taste is toasted bready malts, caramel, a splash of citrus, and a twinge of hops in the back add some balance. The mouthfeel has a light medium feel with good carbonation that goes down easy.

I didn't find anything too special from this Amber Ale but it offered just enough to keep me interested and the drinkibility was good for the style.

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Photo of mactrail
2.26/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Nice foam-up in the Stella glass, and decently carbonated. However, the perfumey flavor is just plain peculiar. A musty flavor with a sweet base. Candy and Karo syrup flavors. Slight bitterness but no hint of hop flavor. Vanilla ice cream with browned pie crust? Cardboard scent with a whiff of the clothes dryer. Flat and dishwatery aftertaste.

I had been impressed by several Sprecher's beers a few years ago on trips to the Midwest, but I have not had any good ones recently. Maybe the distributor strew some of their beers around the country a couple years ago and left them for the unwary beer adventurer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glassy clementine orange with butterscotch borders. A good looking cap of pale golden ecru fills the glass from the nonick bulge upwards. As the foam begins to melt, the upper reaches of the glass are covered with... not much. A few dribs and drabs of watery lace is the extent of things. What's in the glass looks fine. What's on it, not so fine.

Although Munich malt is the most noticeable grain (caramel and pale are the others), it isn't very forthcoming. Nothing much is. The nose is somewhat diacetyl buttery with no hop presence to speak of. Not a bad sniffer I guess, but I'm hoping that something more exciting happens once beer hits buds...

... and it kinda, sorta does. For some reason, Special Amber, despite its non-German hops, tastes German to me. Lightly toasted, surprisingly sweet malt is still the focal point. It's nice to see a little malt-derived complexity in such a (relatively) pale lager. The hops do what hops do, but there's no way that I would have guessed Cascade and Mt. Hood.

Special Amber's best feature is its delicate balancing act among sweet, bitter and sour. It's fun to turn one's attention to each of those flavor sensations in turn and to see how they interact with the other two strands of the flavor rope. There's a great deal of enjoyment to be had in this lager and more than a few facets if one has the patience to look for them.

The body/mouthfeel is light-medium and is as lagery smooth as the day is long. A near perfect amount of fine carbonation helps an already good mouthfeel. Drinkability finds no obstacles here.

I don't normally think of Sprecher when it comes time to name the best breweries in the Midwest. Maybe I should start giving them a little more credit because I'm almost always pleased by their beer. Although Special Amber can't be considered one of my very favorite Vienna lagers, it's a solid enough offering to deserve the first half of its name.

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Photo of smcolw
3.49/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, light amber color. Small head that settles to rim bubbles--no lace.

Creamy and lightly toasted malt. Light hop.

The flavor is similar to the smell. Rich bodied with moderate carbonation. The hop is more present but has only a bittering effect. Relatively short aftertaste.

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Photo of Jason
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Slightly hazed amber, awesome head

SMELL: Freshly toasted bread, hint of caramel, spicy hop, herbal, yeast, clean, lemony

TASTE: Sweet, very bready, balanced, somewhat clean, herbal, peppery hop, Portuguese sweet bread, hop oil, semi-dry finish.

Not as refined as I anticipated but that did not throw me back at all, fresh flavors and a bit of rawness really worked here for me.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Funny how "special" has a few meanings, each with its own level of prestige, so to speak. Let's see where this beer lands within that spectrum: It pours a clear amber (how thoroughly apropos) topped by a half-finger of slightly off-white foam. The nose comprises biscuits, graham crackers, and a touch of caramel. It's like a dry, slightly woody (dammit, I forgot to mention the hint of balsa, didn't I?) malt-bomb of the highest order. The taste brings in some mandarin orange and decidedly mild flowers, but these are in turn enveloped by the caramel and graham-influencing honey. It's a lot more nuanced than the smell, and the balance, though off, isn't altogether lost. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a feel that leans toward watery without ever actually making it all the way there. Overall, an okay Vienna, but way too one-sided and too thin to really produce a wow factor.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Uh oh, I am the first to review this under "Serving Type - [CAN]" so I want to get in front of this before my detractors weigh in. It exists in a CAN, jagovs! A basic tenet of The CANQuest (TM) is NO lying. If it is not CANned or if I simply CANnot get one, I am not going to post a fictitious review for the sake of a Glug (because CANs don't tick, only Glug). Plus, I am VERY relieved to have another CAN. My first one was from the For Trade basket at Bella Vista and it was in a bag with four Sixpoint CANs purchased at Hawthorne's and while at a third (unnamed) establishment during PHL Beer Week, the bag disappeared. It was my fault for putting it down while grabbing a beer, but it did not make me happy, either.

From the CAN: "Milwaukee's Original Microbrewery"; "Established in [MKE] - 1985"; "Fire-Brewed".

The Crack introduced me to a VERY active beer that jumped right out at me like a little kid on the arrival of a favorite relative. I let it settle down, as I always do with little kids, taking a W. C. Fields stance towards them. The Glug resulted in a dense rocky finger of tawny head with modest retention. As to color, this was truth in advertising at its finest - a beautiful, deep amber bordering on copper with NE-quality clarity. When I see women with a natural head of hair this color, I fall instantly in lust. I turn into Lennie from "Of Mice and Men", wanting to touch their hair and jabbering on about freckles and pale skin. Sometimes, it actually works! This beer was equally beautiful. The nose had a caramel malt sweetness to it and while that may not be enticing to me, it was not off-putting, either. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with a grassy light astringency on the tongue. Finish had a mild grassy bitterness overlaying the light sweetness underneath. I am definitely getting some of this for the cooler!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Can from Miller Park. Brewers vs. Nationals.

The beer has an amber body with a half inch of soft, off-white head. Aromas of toast, mild sweetness, perhaps a touch of fruit (apple). Nice flavor. Easy drinking and smooth on the palate with a simple, well-balanced blend of toasted grains, fruit sweetness, caramel malt. Enjoyable.

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Photo of jwc215
3.64/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. bottle - twist-off cap:

Pours slightly hazed amber with a thick off-white head that decends to a thin cover and stays. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of a floral hop aroma with a toasted caramel backing. Very pleasant.

The taste of toasted malt initially gives a slightly metallic tinge to it, but fortunately that soon fades. Caramel mixes with a floral/lemony citric hop touch. Finishes with a refreshing dryness, with caramel coming back in the aftertaste.

Although it could be smoother for a lager, it is refreshing and easy to drink.

While softly roasted caramel-ish malt is in the spotlight, it does have a noticeable noble hop touch, especially in the aroma. It works well enough to be an enjoyable lager!

By the way, this brewery makes an outstanding root beer!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear, pure amber color, with a thick, creamy off-white head.
Aroma: soft, but a little spicy, nicely hopped, tingling and lively, fresh.
Taste: hops continue to display their charms on the palate, staking out a perfect claim on the tastebuds. Just right. Malt is abundantly tasty, too, a bit toasty and warm, very friendly. Rich and, yes, complex, with a long, satisfying finish. Hops return with each sip, malt never lags, flavor continues to roll around in the mouth and spread delight. A near perfect session ale.
Bright delicious fruity flavors playfully interject in the middle...I can happily down this with gusto.

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Photo of Gavage
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear orange in color with a one finger head that fell pretty quick. A spot or two of lace was all that developed.

Smell: malt and fruit sweetness are very mild an tough to pull out of the glass.

Taste: at least the flavor is bolder than the aroma as nice bready malt profile is balanced with ripe fruit sweetness and mild bitterness. Solid lager here.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smoother towards the finish. Aftertaste is soft and short-lived. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: pleasant and enjoyable is the best way to describe it. It won't blow you away, but this is a nice beer.

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Photo of tempest
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Stub and Herb's

Comes off like a nice, but simply standard Vienna Lager. The malts are smooth and bready with a hint of DMS in. There's a mellow caramel flavor and just a slight hint of hops. For those unfamiliar with Vienna Lagers, this is much more like Negra Modelo than Sam Adams. If you're looking for a safe and tasty lager to sip on a hot summer day or wash down bar food with, this is an ideal beer.

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Photo of WesWes
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a mild malt scent that boasts of pale and Vienna malts along with some light crystal as well. It has a light hop aroma that balances well with a slightly toasted malt complexity. The taste is average. It has a very bitter hop flavor that goes down slow and finishes dry with some residual malt sweetness. It has a metallic aftertaste that seems to be due to overwhelming amount of hop character. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking beer despite the above average review. The flavor must be an aquired taste. Either way, it's one and done for me.

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Photo of DoubleJ
2.55/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

16 ounce bottle from Total Wine, on to the beer:

This is a light amber colore dbeer, topped by decent head with a little retention, but no lacing id left in the glass. It's very sweet in the nose, and also husky. Big aroma of raisins, smaller notes of husky grain and sweet malt. A little uneven.

Special Amber does not have a very smooth flavor. There is toasted sweetness, which I like, and there's raisin, which I also like, but the unfermented malt creates a reality check. However, the long lasting, unpleasant bitterness left on the palate makes this beer difficult to drink on. It's rough....please smoothen it out please. Or is the bottle a little old?

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Photo of plaid75
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger creamy white head. There was good retention and decent lacing.

The smell featured sweet caramel malt with a bold graininess.

The taste was upfront light sweetness with a complex grainbill. The sweetness seemed a bit bittersweet at times, along the lines of nutrasweet.

The mouthfeel was of average fulness with a bizarre coating sweetness.

Overall a decent amber. However, there are better to be had.

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

Pours a bright, clear copper-amber color and is topped by a light tan to cream colored head. The aroma has notes of bread, caramel, lightly toasted malts, crackers, and perhaps a faint grassy suggestion of hops. The taste is clean, dry up front, yet off dry in the middle and finish. There is a lightly spicy hop component and a corresponding clean hop bit in the finish which perfectly balances the residual malty sweetness that is left in this beer. The malts manifest themselves with flavors of biscuits, toast, and a nice caramel note. The hop character of this beer is quite nice, and really starts to open up as this beer warms in my glass. This is a really nice Vienna Lager, it is pretty much spot on for the style. For those who appreciate the subtlety that is this style, this is definitely well worth seeking out.

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Photo of Zorro
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear gold to light copper colored beer with an OK white head. This is on the light side color wise for a Vienna Lager. The head never dies; the carbonation level is perfect to keep it replenished.

Smell is grains and fruity yeast scents. Malt is sweet and a bit honey like. There is a slight aroma of toasted wheat.

Taste is noble hops and woody at the start. Neutral flavors and a good noble hop flavor. Malt doesn't contribute much here; this is all good and subtle hops.

Mouthfeel is good.

Not half bad. Way better than super sweet Vienna Lagers.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Clear, medium amber color with creamy off white head that quickly dissipates to a film leaving thick rings of lacing. Aroma is of biscuity malt and light hops. Sweet biscuit and caramel malt body, relatively light with moderate carbonation finishes with a light hop bite. Very crisp and refreshing, almost pilsner like. Nothing extraordinary, just remarkably drinkable and refreshing with a nice hop presence.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a four-finger head that goes quickly and leaves only traces of lace. Medium carbonation. Clear amber color. Nose is bready. Starts and finishes with a balance of hops and malts. Slightly hoppy aftertaste. Does not work with spicey foods. $1.95 for a 16oz bottle.

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Special Amber from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.6 out of 5 based on 353 ratings.
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