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: 199 | Ratings: 438
Photo of Ickythump
1/5  rDev -71.4%
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 mlockman
3.91/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All right, I think the important thing to note about this beer is that it is a BELGIAN-STYLE amber ale, and will thus taste differently than perhaps most folks are expecting. The low score here makes sense if it's being rated as a straight, run-of-the-mill American amber ale, as the flavor would be necessarily off. As a BELGIAN-STYLE amber ale, however, it's flavor is spot on; aside from the darker maltiness of the brew, the flavor is all banana-y Belgian yeast. Personally, I LOVE Dark Horse's Belgian-style beers and think that both this and Sapient Trip should be held in much higher regard as delicious examples of their respective styles.

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Photo of avalon07
3.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy texture. There was a huge, fizzy / creamy, long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A kind of underwhelming aroma of hops, caramel, malt, and some fruity elements.

T: Tasted of light malt notes, caramel, a hint of yeast, grassy hops, a biscuit-like quality, some fruit (banana), and spices. The flavor is a bit thin all around, with the biscuit element and grassy hops taking center stage. Not overly appealing on the whole.

F: A hugely carbonated beer with a lively, prickly finish. Medium-bodied.

O: While this beer has its good qualities (the look and feel), its flavor fails for the most part. Could have been better.

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Photo of Slowjamcdub
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Great beer, a lot going on here. Amazing head, with nice lacing. Bread notes, great hop notes dark roast note and even a small splash reminder of IPA. What a great over looked beer. Should have a better score. Maybe most people don't understand it.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.47/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

BOD 10/30/15. Pours a cloudy amber. Normal head volume, below average retention and no lacing.

Good nose of light toasted bready malt with hints of slightly sweet fruit (banana, pear).

Light medium body that has a touch of creaminess to its otherwise smooth texture. Normal carbonation with a touch of effervescence in the middle and a stronger finish.

The flavor profile is tasty and very good, though atypical for even a Belgian amber. Intensity is reasonable, balance is outstanding and complexity quite good. Flavor arrives in a blend then separates in the middle. Initially there is a wave of fruit, a touch of spice and a toasted/nutty aspect. The middle has just enough bitterness to notice and has a subtle sweetness. As this bitterness trails off, separation occurs and banana, pear and a touch of clove emerge over a bready slightly nutty base. The finish is a slow fade of the previous flavors that becomes slightly phenolic.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a copper color with a medium body.

Overall: This beer has a sweet malt and slight fruit aroma. The flavor is decent. It has a sweet taste with hints roasted malts and bread. Good amber ale with a Belgian touch.

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Photo of delta490
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy amber with a thin light tan head that has just a smidge of retention. The aroma is a little yeasty with a bit of malt. The taste is pretty anemic, with just dribs and drabs of malt. Nothing distinct or interesting. The body is also a little too thin.

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Photo of hopphead31415
3.91/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well, it looks like beeradvocate doesn’t have every beer to review and since I can’t figure out how to add one, I’ll just post my Dark Horse Belgian Style Amber Ale review here on the Dark Horse Amber Ale page. This variety is 5.5% ABV and is just like the Belgian Style Amber Ale that I brewed at home a couple years ago, but the carbonation was more sensible in this Dark Horse variety.

Look-This one pours a cloudy copper tinged amber color that is really like mahogany and cedar with an orange tinge. It has no head even after a vigorous pour, but it leaves carbonation dominated fine lacing on the glass.

Smell-It smells of candied cherries, walnut, caramel, and spices.

Taste-This one tastes of chocolate covered cherries, toasted malts, caramel, and an ever so slight orange crème. The hops are minimized and full of fruity flavors that mix ambiguously with the various flavors of the malts.

Mouthfeel-It feels slightly sweet on the tongue and is medium-bodied. There is an oaky, sweet coating on the tongue which is complemented by some renegade fizz from the delayed release of the carbonation. The alcohol is mild and shows up towards the end and is perceived most clearly on the middle palate.

Overall-This is a really pleasant beer. To be honest, I thought it was going to be flat and overly sweet with a repulsive syrupy consistency and taste. But be rest assured that this beer is roasty and flavorful with a variety of malt-based flavors and an ever so delicate hop component. This one can be sipped on any time of the year! Cheers!

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Photo of KevChiTown
3.16/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Since I can't find the Belgian Style variant of this I'll just check into the regular. Belgian-Wit, smell, flavor but with an amber maltiness. All still very underwhelming. Average or less from a solid company. Disappointed.

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Photo of mchegash
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 3.5/5
Pours a nice golden-orange-brown. Minimal head. Very hazy. Nice color, but nothing special

Smell - 3.5/5
Some malts, a heavy breadiness (think saison), maybe some orange and banana. Overall the smell reminded me of New Holland's Monkey King Saison. Not my favorite smell, not exactly what I woudl expecte from an amber ale.

Taste - 3.5/5
A very bready taste, with hints of banana and oranges, along with some sweet malt flavor. Light level of sweetness. Overall, not a giant fan of the flavor, but it's not bad either. My main disappointment is that it doesn't taste like an amber.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Very full-bodied, and very smooth. In between creamy and crisp. The carbonation level is quite light, but I think fits with the beer. Overall, the mouthfeel is quite nice

Overall - 3.8/5
This was a decent beer. I don't really have a lot of major complaints, other than I think the flavor should be stronger (it seems a little watered down). Mainly, it just wasn't what I was looking for in this beer.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber, with a full head of tan bubbles but no lace. Hmm.

Nose says toasty malty grains. Kinda sweet. Subtle, though. Not bad.

Taste is strong and malty, with plenty of sweet and toasty (even fruity) notes. Certainly not a bad beer, and light enough to session easily, but this one simply doesn’t stand out to make much of an impression.

That said, this would be a wonderful brew to enjoy on a night out with friends. Not too big or heavy, but packed with flavor. Can’t ask for much more than that.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Short and sweet. Pours a deep golden hazy orange. Smells very yeasty with a hefe like aroma. Taste has banana and coriander or clove flavors. Not what I was expecting at all. I really like Dark Horse stuff, but this is not an amber ale. If it said Hefeweizen on the label I would rate it much higher. It has no malt or hops. Just a German/Belgian beer in disguise.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Just got back from a late night bike ride home from work. I'm parched. Let's see how well this beer stacks up on my palate.

Appearance - in bottle, standard rating of "3.00".

Smell - Kidney beans, spice, sweet corn, barley. Touch of honey. A little banana. Nice nose.

Taste - This is good. Sour and mildly bitter hops with some caramel notes and more of the chili bean flavor. It's got spice like a Witbier, and that's not a bad thing - just odd for the style. Really good in the flavor department. Full bodied. It's got something I can't put a finger on. Ends with notes of dark toast and a hint more bitterness than I'd like. Overall the taste is still outstanding.

Mouthfeel - Smoooth. Very light carbonation keeps it exciting. Full-bodied. Finishes bitter and syrupy on the tongue. Yeasty zing.

Overall - I would definitely purchase a 6-pack of this beer for a session or cookout with friends. I really like what these guys did here. It's not the best beer I've had, but it's far, far from the worst.

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Photo of T-34-85
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a glass.

A: Nice deep/dark amber appearance with minimal head.

S: A mild yeasty aroma with no perceptible hops present.

T: A pleasing level of malt sweetness paired with a bready/biscuity presence.

M: An appropriate level of carbonation to pair with the beer

Overall: This is a nice example of an amber ale. It's nothing sensational, but it is a very well balanced and pleasing beer to experience.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled a decent while ago -- October 22nd 2013. Poured January 21st 2014. Poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance: Pours a hazy as hell orange/brown sort of color. Only a bit of light gets through. Two finger head or so goes away after a few minutes, with only a bit of wispy foam on top after that. No lacing that I can see. Great color, but that's it.

Smell: Smells like a Wit or something. Has that banana and spice sort of aroma that a Wit or Hefe would offer. Slightly sour. Quite Belgian. Not what I was expecting. Doesn't smell bad, but it's strange coming from an Amber.

Taste/feel: The banana and spice flavor is definitely there in the flavor as well. It drinks like a darker sort of Wit or Hefe. Fairly mild beer overall. Nice body on it with a good amount of carbonation as well. Drinkable. Not at all bitter. Slight tang on the finish from the yeast.

Decent brew, but I can see why people would be disappointed in it, going in and expecting a beer that doesn't taste like, well, spiced bananas. I actually enjoy this beer. I'm not a huge fan of Wits or Hefes, so those flavors blended with some "darker" flavors is nice.

Interesting for the style. Good, not great.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - amber hue with a big head - really no head retention or lacing to speak of.

S - Yeast aroma, bread, biscuits, malts.

T - Huge yeasty flavor somewhat balanced by some malts. Medium bodied and really easy to drink.

O - This drinks my like a hefeweizen than an amber and for that reason I will probably not try it again.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A three finger light tan head is presented, kind of foamy and little retention, but settles to a slow one finger sized puck. Body color is a dull orange amber, hints of peach colored like red but a bit cloudy.

Herbal mild hop scent and a spritzy carbonated orange soda sense seems to come off the nose. Wet. Soda sweet candy orange. Different, a bit unexpected, but not too bad.

Bit of a thin mouthfeel and borderline wet. Not much malt backbone or body to this, and much of an orange soda borederline Tang tasting comes out. Drinkable. If there was more carbonation to this, and there isn't it seems quite flat it would probably be worse coming off with more of a seltzery soda tinge to it.

Overall, it's not offensive but there are much better ambers out there and that I would have over this one.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Howler poured into standard tumbler pint glass. Filled this morning.

A - Pours a hazy auburn color. What little head there was, dies almost instantly. No lacing. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the fill, the pour, or the beer but it looks subpar.

S - Smells of caramel and grains. Slightly spicy with a mild pine hop presence. There is also an odd sweetness about it, reminiscent of a Belgian style.

T - Brown sugar and caramel sweetness up front. Dark fruits, pear, and apple contribute the belgian character I picked up in the nose. Hops and bitterness are at a minimum. Nothing off-putting, but not my favorite.

M - Lack of carbonation consistent with the appearance. Medium bodied.

O - I have really enjoyed all of the beers I have tried from Dark Horse thus far, but this was a miss for me. It drinks like a Belgian amber ale, but never fully commits to that style. Lack of carbonation may have to do with the growler pour or the handling, but I am rating to the way I experienced it. This isn't one I will get again, but doesn't really hurt my opinion of Dark Horse.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Silky amber color was topped by a thin wispy head that dissipated quickly but left good lacing.

The scent was thin as well but there was a nice grain, burnt malt aroma that made it worth sniffing for a while.

The taste was so unusual for an amber that it made it interesting at every every sip. I immediately caught licorice and then a little clove. Grain and malt with some Smokey char appeared but then clove took over again. Not a clove fan but it synced well with the light malt flavor. The feel was nice and smooth.

Overall, this was quite an experience, different, unexpected and unique but not quite the amber experience I wanted.

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Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - orangish amber with a soft, white head that has decent retention

S - apple, fruit, alcohol, light hop aroma

T - apple, pear, all esters

M - medium bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a rather disappointing beer. It's simple and relies heavily on esters and alefruit. The nice side is that this is easily drinkable and unoffensive. In the end this isn't a beer that I'm looking to have again.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. no bottled on date.

A: very hazy looking brew, not sure if this was bottle conditioned or unfiltered. copper in hue. head is on the reddish side of white, but is rather unimpressive. limited retention and lacing.

S: ripe fruit. bananas and toffee. lots of toffee. slightly nutty, bready as well. pumpernickel.

T: rich and malty. caramel is strong. maybe a little bit of butterscotch. crystal malts gives plenty of twang, then dries things out and leaves plenty of fruity yeast flavors.

M: subtle. wouldn't hate a touch more fizz. medium bodied flavor.

D: for a style that I am certainly not very attached too, this is a pretty drinkable amber. decent complexity on the nose and body, worth trying if you are a fan of ambers.

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Photo of zeff80
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Clear, amber color with a very small, off-white head of foam. It left minimal lacing.

S - It smelled floral and biscuity.

T - Good hoppy bitterness with some burnt toast maltiness. Nice caramel and toffee backbone.

M - Crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale.

O - This tasted way better than the aroma had me expecting.

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Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber orange in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin but dense beige head that slowly died down but left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of Belgian yeast in the nose along with notes of bananas and hints of spices.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a little bit of malty sweetness. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This isn't a bad beer, but it smelled and tasted completely different than what I was initially expecting; it is only an "amber ale" in the name and appearance. The aromas and flavors of bananas, sweetness and yeast seem to have more resemblance to a lighter version of a Belgian tripel. Nevertheless, it is definitely a unique beer.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
2.83/5  rDev -19.1%
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 mvanaskie13
4.01/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a straight pint glass, color is copper to amber, translucent in appearance, somewhat dense looking; head is thin and presents about 1/4" thick, with an off white color.

Smell is strong from the caramel/toasted/biscuit malts, very pleasant and inviting, maybe some light spice character; bitterness subdued.

Taste follows suit, front character is toasty/caramel and biscuit malts; bitterness is there but subdued, hop flavors as well, mainly noble; light fruitiness and maybe a touch of chocolate is noted.

Mouthfeel is crisp and moderately balanced, maybe too much so in the carbonation/crispness, but there is a lingering sweetness that lightly balanced.

Overall, great tasting and smelling brew, like the characters and types of flavors presented, maybe a touch crisp/carbonated

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Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 438 ratings.
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