Dark Horse Amber Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Amber AleDark Horse Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mitchster on 08-10-2002

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Reviews: 200 | Ratings: 439
Photo of Ickythump
1/5  rDev -71.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

One of the worst ambers I've ever had maybe it was just served improperly but it tasted like a Belgian triple that had been left out in the sun for about a month and than scuttled back into a keg so I could suffer. Even for a Belgian this beer is lacking the fact that it stradles between both Belgian and ambers and is astonishingly underwhelming on both fronts is even more dissapointing. I'm ashamed for Dark Horse that they even claim this awful bag of dicks.

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Photo of jt31914
1.4/5  rDev -59.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A: 1 finger of head with a dark amber color; the foam clings to the glass and it has good head retention.

S: Smells clovy with a sort of tart cider aroma - reminds me of a draft cider.

T: Cider taste with little to no hops; this beer tastes artificial on the finish and is very mild. Pear-like taste of a witbier is also unfortunately pleasant. This mixture doesn't work well and tastes bad.

M: Semi-smooth, but not great.

D: Hard to drink.

This is the only Dark Horse beer I've had that I didn't like; it is the worst amber ale I've had unfortunately. Just buy Lucky 13 from Lagunitas instead.

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Photo of Buebie
1.99/5  rDev -43%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter.

Color is a hazy amber, glowing copper when held to light. 1 finger creamy white head. Leaving a thin layer of retention and spotty bubbles.
Any lace quickly slides back down into the beer.

Aroma is a burnt pine, some grassy hops, sawdust, resiny hops. Bitter in aroma, no sweetness detected at the nose.

Moderate carbonation up front, sweet malty flavors. Orange peel and a large overhwlming amount of ginger. Not a fan of this.
Mouthfeel is thin and watery. The bitter burnt pine wood flavors and more then generous amounts of ginger are enough to turn me off from buying this again.

Will skip in the future.

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Photo of sopor
2.02/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I very much did not like this beer. It was a hazy reddish copper with next to no head. Sweet smell with notes of bubblegum (yech!)

First tangy esthery note with a bit of yeast coming in along with some crystal sweetness and more bubblegum. Hops ride along the top of this beer popping their head in before the yeast and after the bubblegum. Not what I exected, but now I know that this is brewed with a belgian yeast strain. Doesn't help knowing that, this didn't taste good to me, the combination of the tangy esthers and bubblegum did not work well IMO!

Moderate to light body with almost no carbonation. Yuck.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.36/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a thick orange brown color. Nose is fruity and sweet but soured. Taste is medium bodied, fuity, astringent and sour. Mouthfeel is full but harsh. Nothing about this is drinkable in my eyes.Maybe I got a bad batch or a bad bottle. Who knows. I would try another one.

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Photo of semibaked
2.41/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a hazy amber color with very little head and carbonation.

S - I get hops, pepper and spices, I don't get much malts at all. Smells very different than any Amber I have had but still smells good.

T - I get some of the spices and hops but tastes very watered down, really disappointing.

M - Straight Water!

D - This is just bad beer, I have been disappointed with most of the Dark Horse beers I've had and this is no exception. This might be the worst of the bunch.

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Photo of beachbum1975
2.46/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 ounce brown bottle with no freshness date on label.

Poured cold from the fridge a cloudy amber with small chunks on the bottom. Uh oh, I'm afraid this one sat too long on the shelf. Having not seen comparable reviews on BA, I am going to review it like I see it. Head rentenion is brief and the small head that appeared shortly was chunky and tan with mixed bubble sizes.

Smell is a bit musty and almost sour, like grapes or other vined fruits. I do get faint hints of sweet malts in the mix, as well.

Amber? This almost tastes like a sour-style beer to me. I get a wide range of odd flavors with a strange, belgium candied sweets essence on the forefront. I get a mix of sweet malts and lightly sour grapes, as well.

The mouthfeel is of low carbonation and slick. The beer is medium bodied with medium flavor.

I didn't care for this one.

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Photo of SupaCelt
2.58/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer comes out an amber orange flow with not much head. Just some spit in the center of the pond and a partial ring are left in the aftermath. A few drunken carbon dioxide bubbles make their way up. Not much fiz.

The smell is fruity. I smell white grape and apple. Mostly vinous characters with a mild bready malt quality. Not much strength from the nose.

The taste is utterly bland. I am unsure there is even a flavour up front. All I get is an abnormally dense water impression followed by a slightly sweet and sour finish. When I say slightly, I mean nearly nonexistant. First of all if this is a Belgian, so am I. This is a tasteless amber ale all the way. We need an update on this brew.

The mouthfeel is round and medium despite the fact that it has minimal flavour. This is a strange duck all around.

Drinkability, not much satisfaction here. I cannot see a reason to drink another one of these sour water beverages.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.63/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appears a semi clouded caramel amber hue with a light cream colored head dwindles rather quickly leaving a thin collar of lacing with minimal patches sticking to the sides of my glassware. Aromatics are tame with dominant caramel malts and a touch of lingering metallic natured elements, carbonation prickles the nose but really doesn't give off an actual aroma. Flavors jump out with some cloyingly sweet sensations of apple juice with a touch of unwelcomed acidity. Way too one dimensional and malt driven I can't really even mention hops it tastes sort of like unfermented wort, with pineapple juice and some other tropical nectars adding to the sugar content. Mouthfeel is a touch sticky with residuals, pass me another version definitely a trainwreck on the palate. Carbonation is overly fizzy and seems un natural for me. Drinkability overall wasn't offended it just was way too sweet for me, kick up the hops just a tad and I could see this working. I will try another bottle to make sure it wasn't a carbonation issue.

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Photo of beermanbrian
2.67/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Yeast floaty filled off orange in color. A soda pop head fizzes up and quickly dissapears. I smell some orange peal but mostly belgian yeast notes. This beer is a weird combination of a lot of things and it just dosn't work. Taste is malty but also has belgian spice notes. Mouthfeel is thin. Very high carbonation level. Phenol aftertaste. Not one I will go back too, not even sure I'll finish this one. The other dark horse beers I had were solid offerings so this one was an unpleasant surprise.

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Photo of billab914
2.67/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Poured a cloudy amber color with a thin bubbly white head. Very little retention to the head and also didn't leave any lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a lot of spicy and yeasty tones to it. It has a bit of banana to it with some cloves coming through. It almost smells like a Belgian beer. It does have some toasted and caramel malt coming through helping it to fit with the style I was expecting a little.

The taste is like the nose in that the spicy, fruity, yeastiness seems to dominate. I'm getting a lot of cloves coming through in the taste along with some apple cider characteristics. A bit of the malt I expected comes through but it's really hidden behind all the yeasty flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability isn't good, it wasn't anything I expect from an amber ale. It tasted almost like a Belgian cider if such a thing existed. Some of the toasty and caramely malt comes through but not enough in my opinion for the style.

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Photo of bsp77
2.69/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Dark cloudy brownish-orange with no head or lacing. Just looks kind of stagnant. Hopefully, it will get better from here.

Smell: Sweet toasted malty bread, light Belgian aroma with slight banana.

Taste: Heavily toasted malts, with dark fruit and cherry. The Belgian aroma I detected doesn't make itself known in the taste besides for maybe some light clove. Very medicinal and metallic at the end.

Feel: Seems kind of flat and spritzy at the same time. Light body with off-dry finish.

Drinkability: Just a strange beer overall. Not a fan, especially with that atrocious medicinal aftertaste. Seems like I may have gotten a bad bottle, but many others comment on the murky look with no head.

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Photo of Biggness
2.69/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had this beer on tap last night. While visiting Michigan I certainly wanted to try one of Dark Horse's beer and this was the one on tap at the restaurant I ate at last night. At first appearance to color was a nice red/amber, the smell though was tough... almost made me not want to drink the beer, I am not too sure why it smells so bad, it almost smelled like a skunked Milwaukee's Best. The flavor was much better than the smell but still a little lacking in my eyes. I am hoping to make it over to the brewery and try some others.

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Photo of malty
2.7/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Slightly cloudy copper color with a barely existent off-white head. Couldn't build a head even by forcing the beer into the glass.

Fresh sweet roasted malts in the nose. Faint spice mingled with a touch of sourness.

Flavors are mildly roasted and gristy with (again) some faint dry sourness, and that's about it. Flavors are there and gone right after the swallow.

Mouthfeel is light and watery. Carbonation is minimal. Very short lived finish.

Drinkability is OK. Very non intrusive, but very unexciting also.

Overall this is the limpest of all the Dark Horse beers I've tried to date. This beer tasted flat. Has potential, but I won't be buying another to find out if it's get better. Not at all reflective of the great work Dark Horse is currently doing - weird.

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Photo of Natural510
2.72/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle, no discernible dating.

Pours a medium-dark, um, amber, with a quick fizz of head and a light wisp of soapy lacing on the edge of the glass which eventually goes completely flat.

Sweet but moreso tangy malt to the nose. Fruit-like yeasty aroma.

Very tart and tangy in flavor as well. Fruit & clove notes meet a heavy yeast presence and hop bite. Far too much yeast...is this a bad batch, or poor attempt to "Belgianize" an amber?

A bit flaccid in the mouth; fairly heavy in body but the lack of carbonation becomes more apparent the longer it is drunken.

I hate to slam a beer but I don't know where they are going with this. It's difficult to create an original amber ale when the market is flooded with them, so points for the attempt, but that doesn't make it any more drinkable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
2.74/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

No. This isn't working for me. This beer tastes like something I really don't want to mention. With that in mind, this beer will never get beyond an "eh" rating. What ya gonna do. Maybe I got too much garlic on my breath or something. Just kidding. I know it's not my breath.

 275 characters

Photo of sweethome
2.76/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep amber color - unfiltered and beautiful! Very little head, and what there is leaves quickly.

Nose is virtually non-existant. A little mineral, slight sweetness, and a bit of a lactic funk.

Entry is smooth, starts sweet, a lttle carmel malt, then that lactic flavor dances in the back - is this a belgian yeast? Doesn;t develop in a pleasing manner - I think this is just a little lactic.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
2.83/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

The beer appeared a clear amber color, which produced a two finger off-white head, but quickly dissolved and left no cap. The beer gave off a stronger than expect aroma, toasted malts, biscuit and slight hop. The taste followed the nose, but was perhaps a little lighter than expected, based on the nose. The beer had a light feel to it. It was crisp, clean and a well-balanced beer with good carbonation. Overall, this is one of the more average pale ales that I have tried.

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Photo of rfgetz
2.83/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an amber brown color with minimal white head, retention and lacing. Scent is very mild with a damp and musty quality covering up a very light carmel presence, hints of earthy hops on the tail. Taste again is very mild, musty, wet paper, stale brown sugar, damp earth. Lighter side of medium bodied, alightly under carbonated, musty aftertaste. A true disapointment, not much going on, and when there is, its not too good.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.86/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours up a clear, obliging amber body with a small-sized, bubbly, white head.

Smell: Initial whiff of steeped, steamy grains and tea leaves followed with background notes of banana peels tossed with cloves.

Taste: Lightly sweet pale malts in the fore and already there's a fruity taste of bananas trying to squeeze its way into the taste. Not too terribly much in the way of hops beyond some light floral, herbal traces like a splash of English Breakfast Tea. No more than a small amount of bitterness. Small tinge of cracked clove near the drying, banana-laden finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This is one combination that just didn't work with me. Called the "red headed step child" of the Dark Horse beer line-up, which is fitting, as I was ready to openly beat this one when I was done. A bit disappointing, really, as I'm typically a fan of their work.

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Photo of smcolw
2.9/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Extraordinarily cloudy with lots of clumpy yeast beasts floating around. Good start to the head. Sticks around for awhile. Modest lace on the glass.

Caramel malt aroma, but there's also a metalic (iron) smell that is distracting. Mild hoppiness in the background.

Here's a professional homebrew. Less yeast in the taste than I expected given the appearance. Also, the brew is drier than the aroma suggests. Oddly, given the abv, there's a strong alcohol presence. On the positive side, the hop-malt blend is pleasant.

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Photo of bruachan
2.91/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(hmmm...how free of soap residue was that glass?)

copper in color, with a weak head that fizzled fairly quickly (see soap ponderance above. i'll judge according to lacing). ringlets at the surface

very sweet and fruity aroma. i suspect the fermentation temperature was on the higher side, and this lends a nearly belgian inclination to the drink. almost no sign of hop (a touch of floral) and the malt lends little roasty or bready elements. one dimensional, actually

warm on the tongue, and thick. very fruity and not so well hopped. i get a touch of cough syrup in here that could well be a function of alcohol mixed with a dried cherry element. there's a bitterness that rounds out the whole experience, but it is quite alienated from the rest of the beer. despite the initial sense of viscosity the beer comes off as a bit anemic at the finish...not watery, just lame

honestly, this tastes quite belgian. the same grain bill would make a nice belgian amber drink

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.92/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of moejuck: Poured a medium cloudy amber color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of semi-sweet caramel malt with a faint yeasty presence is somewhat bland. Taste is refreshing with some semi-sweet caramel malt with a definite yeasty presence and no discernable hops. This was not a bad beer overall but still not something I would drink often.

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Photo of silenius
2.94/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The word "Belgian" is missing from the label, but the artwork on the label is the same as the one in the picture to the right.

Pours a murky brownish orange with very little head. Sort of looks like home made iced tea by the way it is colored and the lack of head.

Smell is slightly fruity - something vague and baked with a nice bright grassy note as well.

Taste is pretty pedestrian for this style and contains some of the fruit flavor from the smell with some additional sweetness and a slightly acidic kick at the end. Flavors are a bit thin.

Mouthfeel is watery and thin.

Not a very enjoyable beer to drink. I'll probably try other styles from this brewery.

 678 characters

Photo of CPeterson
2.95/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A -- A deep amber copper color with almost no head that completely vanished after about ten seconds.

S -- Smells more like a Belgian than an amber, faint fruity aromas cling in my nostrils. A slight sourness is present.

T -- Definitely tastes more of a Belgian than a traditional amber. I can't really define the flavor affinity to the fruit I want to attribute it to, but there is something there, possibly from the yeast? Sweet and mild and not overpowering.

M -- Rather thin and fleeting, saying there was almost no carbonation would be gracious. There and gone with hardly a trace.

D -- I would drink this beer again, but I wouldn't pick it up if I was shopping for an Amber Ale. Good for a random purchase, but it didn't blow me away. Easily sessionable.

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Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.49 out of 5 based on 439 ratings.
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