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Belgian Style Amber Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Belgian Style Amber AleBelgian Style Amber Ale
BA SCORE
3.47/5
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464 Ratings
Belgian Style Amber AleBelgian Style Amber Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
darkhorsebrewery.com

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly known as Dark Horse Amber Ale

While the malt and hops give this beer an amazing copper color, medium body, and a smooth mouth feel; it’s the yeast that sets this one apart from other amber ales. Inspired by Belgium's beer, women and mussels we thought it would be cool to give our Amber a little Belgian touch. We accomplish this by using an "almost Belgian" yeast strain producing similar esters and flavors commonly found in more traditional Belgian beers.

Added by Mitchster on 08-10-2002

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#41,645
Reviews:
209
Ratings:
464
pDev:
15.27%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
62
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 464 |  Reviews: 209
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When something is called amber, I ordinarily would not expect it to be called a pale, rather a hoppy American. And that's closer to my experience, but for the addition of some extra Belgian yeastiness. On-tap at Cole's./ Grapefruit colour, lots of lace. Hoppy aroma and hoppy taste, with fruit. Medium mouthfeel.Drying aftertaste.

 330 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
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 BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Horse seems to borrow a few Belgian"esque" elements for their Amber Ale. With the balance that's exepcted from American amber ales, there seems to be a little of Ommegang's Rare Vos, Unibroue Maudite, and De Koninck in this beer.

As the beer opens with a hazy rust color, the red and brown tones project upon a yeast infused cloudiness. A creamy thin head rests atop the beer with a sheet of light tan foam. Solid lace decorates the glass in confident fashion. When considering an American amber ale, the beer may be a little murky, but for Belgian versions it seems alright.

Where the dialogue of malt and hops are expected, instead the aromas of caramel and biscuit coincide with twangy fruit notes and peppery spice from the yeast. Dry toast, nuts, white pepper, and orange peel create the complexities to ride along side of the malts for a very complex but very Belgian-influenced scent. I want to read elements of Belgian dubbel ales into the mix.

Flavors read much the same. The malty-rich taste is more starchy than sweet and ultimately turns creamy sweetness to dry toast and does so in a hurry. Tart with berry-like acidity, apple, figs and dates. Very complex in taste but the beer is effortless to drink because all of these differing tastes ride high but without the associated sweetness of their origins. Instead, the dry taste reels in a balance of fresh cracked peppercorn, celery seed, fenel, and light anise. Light in hop presence, the beer largely relies on these yeast-derived spices to carry the balance against the dry malt taste.

Medium light in body, the beer initially offers higher malt textures, but make a quick procession toward dryness as it crosses the tongue. The mid palate recognized the balance of spice, fruit, and malt and then the finish casts away the sweet malts and much of the fruit and favors alcohol spice, and peppery warmth to close.

Although the beer is admirable as a Belgian-style amber ale, it is largely mischaracterized both on this site and on its lable as an American amber that has a completely different profile. It took me more than a couple sips to come around the flavors in the glass in order to assess it properly.

 2,184 characters

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of emerge077
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, nice artwork on the label, resembling a bundle of grain.

Pours a deep reddish orange, some foam remains in the pilsner glass. Smells of banana esters, and hearty, musty grain.

Tastes smooth and buttery, malty, toasted grain, finishing with an herbal note. Fairly simple, but with several flourishes that make it unique. Slight bitterness in the aftertaste, must be hops. Earthiness too, hard to place though.

Very smooth mouthfeel, few flaws here. Easy to drink several at a time, be sure to appreciate the nuances. Cheers!

 550 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a one finger head that retains nicely and leaves dots of lace

Smell: Tart apples and caramel; rather yeasty

Taste: Tart fermenting apple flavor, with hints of caramel underneath; perhaps some apple pie spice (cinnamon and clove) in there as well; not much flavor progression, however

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; a bit chewy

Drinkability: When I first tasted this beer, I thought something had gone wrong; as I realized this was a different take on the style, I started to enjoy it more and more; perhaps a different name would have been a good idea as this certainly doesn't fit one's expectation of an Amber

 686 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.92/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

 383 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

 332 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.27/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of superspak
3.97/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle date. Pours slightly hazy reddish orange color with a small 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with decent retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Slight lacing on the glass as you drink. Aromas of big orange, banana, biscuit, clove, pear, toasted malt, caramel, apple, and yeast spiciness. Nice and well balanced aromas here; was not expecting this to be a Belgian style amber at all. Taste of banana, orange, caramel, biscuit, clove, pear, pepper, toasted malt, and herbal yeast spices. Light spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, apple, banana, toasted malt, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and body; with a slightly silky mouthfeel. Very easy and smooth to drink. Alcohol is well hidden with hardly any warming after the finish. Overall this is a very nice and enjoyable Belgian amber ale, with good complexity. Plenty of flavor and very smooth drinking. I would get this again.

 995 characters

Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Horse's Amber Ale pours a hazy light russet brown body with an orange cast. The creamy light-tan head drops shortly, and very little lacing is left behind.

In the nose it offers a compelling combination of fruitiness and malt. It mainly displays slightly tart but sweet red berries, apples, and pear, but there's hint of clove to it that somehow gives the mind the impression of sweetness (as if it was in bubble gum or something). The malt is bready, and a touch caramelish and toasty.

In the mouth it's medium bodied and smooth with a moderate carbonation that gently bristles the tongue.

The flavor delivers what the nose suggests, and it's surprisingly refreshing with so much fruitiness to it. I find apple, pear, and soft red berries upfront and across the middle where the malt begins to rise. It's not particularly bitter, and the malt really gets to shine. The fruitiness remains in the finish for a little bit, and then it steadily fades away leaving just a hint of malt and a soft note of clove behind.

It's unique, to be sure, and that keeps it compelling and interesting. But it's also really well-balanced and remarkably drinkable. It's a wee touch strong as a session ale, but I could easily see having three or four of these in a row when out with the lads. I will now go back to the store to buy more! Nicely done!!!

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Photo of chinchill
3.54/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle that’s still coated with sediment at the bottom after a full pour. Although the label uses a small font size for "Belgian Style", this has a clear and authentic Belgian aroma and flavor profile. High complexity and a dynamic series of flavors. Excellent mouthfeel with soft, medium+ carbonation in a near medium body. Fruity and lightly funky aroma. The slightly hazy amber body is topped with a durable and semi-creamy, bone-colored head.

 454 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A fizzy almost 1 finger head fades semi quickly over a slightly hazy darker amber reddish brownish orange color.

N: Hmm, it has a strong ale aroma, with some dark malts, a little Belgian malts, little Belgian strong ale spices, slight candi sugar, and surprisingly a slight boozy aroma. With that some light amber malts, red malts, toasty, a little juicy fruit coctail with touch of apple and pare, and apple cider. Not to happy with the nose for being an American Amber ale.

T: Starts with some malts again, Belgian and American amber malts, a slight dark strong ale flavor too. Again more fruit, apple cider, slight pare, more spices as well, and touch of candi sugar. It even has a slight tingly booze taste. I'm starting to wonder if this was mis labelled, REALLY starting to wonder!!! THere are at least a little bit of light amber malts. A slight nutty flavor, and dark fruits a touch of fig.

M: Medium body with a slight warming booze with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes with a sweetness still but dried quite a bit, some candi sugar and syrupy. Slight warming and tingly booze. Lingering light spices and Belgian malts. Not a bad finish, but def not an amber ale.

 1,179 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.27/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy light gold color, with a thin off-white head that fades very quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of fruit and caramel. Then some breadiness comes in from a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, there are certainly a lot of other choices in the style that I would pick first.

 745 characters

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a really cool amber/red color with thick sticky head,u could tell this beer was really well crafted from the pour.Rich malty,fruity smell with some bread like smell in the background,taste was rich and fruity,good malt crachter to it.Real complex beer I wich I had more time to visit here to go right to the brewpub to get this on tap.

 342 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy dark orange color with a bit of light beige foam. Aroma has toasted/nutty malt, brown sugar and some orange rind. Taste follows with the nutty malt and slightly astringent orange zest. Medium body with medium minus carbonation. Not bad but it's quite one-noted and dull.

 275 characters

Photo of billab914
2.67/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

 1,054 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a golden amber with 2+ fingers of slightly fizzy looking off-white head. This finally settles down into a 1/4 finger of creamy retention that leaves some spotty lacing behind. The aroma is bready, malty, and citric, with some hints of spice and floral hops behind it.

The taste is bread and caramel malt sweetness with a layer of citrus and spicing underneath and a tingle of hops in the back. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a creamy feeling carbonation that has a bit of a sharp edge to it at times.

Decent enough Amber Ale here I suppose with enough flavor and a decent body to keep me interested. I probably check this out again down the road.

 701 characters

Photo of paulish
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of smcolw
2.9/5  rDev -16.4%
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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Belgian Style Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 464 ratings
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