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Dark Horse Amber Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
80
good
198 Reviews
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Dark Horse Amber AleDark Horse Amber Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
198
Ratings:
435
Avg:
3.5
pDev:
22.29%
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
52
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 198 | Ratings: 435
Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev 0%
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 tophers
3.01/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour quite cloudy (looks like my homebrew after first being kegged) with fairly decent head retention. Maybe it's so cloudy b/c of dry-hopping??

Aroma is of Belgian fruity esters - didn't expect that ! Has vanilla and nutmeg aroma too. Quite different for an Amber.

Very pronouced hop flavor with a moderate amount of bitterness. Picking up some of the Belgian yeast characteristics that I smelled in the aroma. Little bit grassy.

Moderately heavy in the mouth with a moderately dry finish.

This beer is definately not your typical American amber. It all blends together well, but not really to style.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
2.74/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear amber red, some carbonation and a two finger head.

S-Caramel, honey, darker fruits, some banana even.

T-Caramel that is very unbalanced, very sugary as well. The banana notes are there but off/not balancing well. Not much bitterness.

M-Light and watery, not much carbonation.

O-As the beer warms it grows on me a little but it is still a bland beer, overly sweet and unbalanced.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.27/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of stercomm
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Avery Brewing glass we picked up at the Avery Tap House.

A - Dark honey/amber in color, very hazy. Light white head that quickly recedes leaving just a slight white rim on the top, very little lacing.

S - Somewhat subdued, get some malts, a bit of citrus and a hint of banana.

T - Malty, biscuit taste on the front end, get some weaving in of banana and citrus, finish reveals a slight hoppy character but still getting a biscuity taste.

M - A bit weak for my taste, a bit watery, not a lot of carbonation.

O - Definitely a good session beer, good balance, nothing is really in your face.

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Photo of Schneic8
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a mug.

Appearance: Has a dark amber color with an off white head and mild carbonation.

Smell: Strong smell, I got a good wiff once I opened the bottle. Has a floral hoppy smell.

Taste: Crisp, slightly sweet taste. Has a dry, fruity flavor that I wasn't expecting. Minimal bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Has a somewhat thin feel. It has an initial crispness and finishes smooth.

Overall: Very good beer. The taste was a little different than I was expecting but it was a very refreshing beer.

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Photo of Brenden
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This amber is a thick and cloudy dark orange color. A very light tan head reaches almost a finger and fades to a thick foam that leaves some lacing around the glass.
There's a good balance in the aroma evidencing a foundation of malts with a good hops presence adding mostly floral notes. Sweetness is on an even keel with a bit of earthiness. Light banana and bubble gum notes of Belgian yeast are also unexpectedly present. The flavor seems not to mesh well as first but melds as it sits, just needing to warm slightly from the fridge to work. Issues here are a touch of graininess and a bit of rubbing alcohol presence fading in and out.
The body is medium, as is the level of carbonation adding a brisk, nipping crispness. Smoothness comes up in the middle without ever losing that crisp bite.

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Photo of Infamous7100
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: a slighty hazy orange to amber(imagine that!) With mimimal head and lacing.
S: a reminiscent of a Belgian. Some spicy notes along with citrus and fruit. Some biscuity notes too.
T: citrus notes at the front along with belgian notes I picked up on the nose. Bready malts give way to a crisp citrus finish.
M: watery, thin and not much body. Crisp finish and an okay aftertaste.
O: absolutely a sessionable beer and much different from other ambers and reds. It just lacks a little in appearance and mouthfeel. Definitely distinct.

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Photo of superspak
3.94/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle date. Pours slightly hazy reddish roange 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.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle; no date

Pours a murky amber with a thin white film. Smell is earthy: corn, grains, and a tinge of grassy hop. Taste is sweet grain that evolves into an earthy/citrus hops offering that's reminiscent of Mountain Dew. A slight metallic tinge is the only problem here. Mouthfeel is simultaneously dry and watery (go figure).

My favorite amber to date.

 363 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

Appearance: Very hazy, Dark Horse Amber Ale pours an amber color with tints of copper, tangerine, and peach at the edges. I had to be careful with the pour, a large ecru head rose quickly from the glass, ultimately forming a frothy cap. It fades slowly but leaves layers of lace down the glass.

Smell: The aroma does not have much bite. Toasted grains and a bit of caramel malt come through with a lazy spicy or earthy note.

Taste: The flavor is soft and fairly uninteresting. There is a toasted grain presence, some woody notes, a bit of earthy spice, and some medicinal phenols on the back end.

Mouthfeel: The body has is quite light. The carbonation is crisp and bubbles on the tongue, but there is only a watery sensation left after. There is a gentle creaminess as well.

Overall: I am learning that Dark Horse is kind of hit or miss. I have had some very nice beers from them, but others do not seem to be executed very well.

 984 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

amber with a sall white head that quickly faded leaving some soft white clingy lace. There was no real smell to this, maybe the slightest bready smell, but really nothing at all. The taste was about the same, bland. Again slight hints of bready, but no real strong flavor or body, almost thought it was a macro. I was really not impressed with this,

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well this was pouring a beautifully clear deep amber color, but I failed to realize this was bottle conditioned and the last little bit fell into the glass and muddied it up pretty good.Tightly bubbled white head shows moderate retention and lace. Smells a bit fruity with a fair bit of yeasty esters. Caramel and brown sugar round out the nose. Taste is sweet and malty with a Belgian flair to it. Sweet brown sugar and caramel mixed with a bit of tart dark fruit and a decent amount of earthy and yeasty esters. Medium body and level of carbonation with a sweet almost sticky mouthfeel. This is a different amber ale for sure, but quite tasty just the same. Ironically I poured this without knowing the brewers intent and had to look up the description on their website to make sure I wasn't drinking an infected bottle.

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Photo of paxtonthegreat
4.5/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very unique amber. Had a lot of common carmelly biscuity notes but with the addition of a belgian ale yeast it gives it a nice banana and slight clove finish. This is a great one to have in the summer all night long, or one of the few at dark horse that you can coast along with as one of their few few "session" beers.

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Photo of bluHatter
4.25/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep rich amber color. A bit of foamy head.

S: Apple, red rice wine, some fruitiness.

T: Toasted malts, rice, hops, a little bitterness. Really very delicious.

M: Nice carbonation. Buttery, rich, yet soft.

O: This is a really great, satisfying amber with some interesting flavors I've not found in many other beers. I'd definitely order this again.

 356 characters

Photo of Holland
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a hazy brownish amber color with a one finger head. Lacing was decent but didn't last long.

S: smelled of fruit (couldn't pick it up), caramel and pale malt

T: tasted the same as the smell, but the tastes blended well. Wasn't thinking it would be this good after smelling.

M: carbonated and medium bodied, this was about right for the style. Not fantastic, but not sure what else you can do here. It allowed a crisp sensation in the middle, and stickiness allowed a lasting aftertaste.

O: solid brew, but I just don't care for the style. Price was about $11 at some bottle shop in Ann Arbor.

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Photo of tykees88
3.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- it's a nice orange amber color. white frothy head with bubbles and some rockiness.

S- it has a floral hop aroma and some nice toasted malt flavor.

T- The hops finish with a nice bitterness. But the beginning is all about a dry tart fruity flavor very interesting.

M- It's medium bodied with a little too much carbonation.

O- It's nice a better amber ale than many others

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy amber with moderate bubbles and a two-finger, white fizzy head that diminished in a couple of minutes. Okay lacing.

S: Toasted malt, caramel, and light hoppy aroma. Fruitiness too, and yeast.

T: Moderately sweet and a bit of hop bitterness. Like someone else said, there was a citrus-orange flavor. Overall, fruity, tart, and yeasty. Sort of a bland, slightly bitter taste.

M: Light to medium bodied. Crisp and refreshing without being watery. Soft to moderate carbonation.

O: Descent Amber ale. I didn't feel there was quite enough hops or toasted malt. The appearance was a bit lacking too. Still, above average.

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Photo of Internatbrewlove
4.2/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This American Amber Ale reminds me more of a Belgian ale. It pours a dark orange tinted amber color with a moderate off white head. It smells of peach and yeast. Taste wise it keeps me coming back. There is a taste of pepper, citrus, and banana. There is a light hoppiness and sweetness to this as well. There is a moderate to fine carbonation that lasts.

Overall this is a great beer at a reasonable price. Here is Michigan we can get it straight from the brewery. If you are able to drive to Marshall, Michigan this and several other great beers await you at Dark Horse.

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Photo of minterro
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange

A: murky brown orange colored beer. A weak off-white head that leaves almost no lacing.

S: the nose is fruity and malty. A tad bit of cloves and spice like a hefeweizen. Not very pungent.

T: fruity, citrus orange. Probably great for a hot summer day. a nice undertone of malts through the whole taste. Overall a pretty well balanced beer.

M: medium to full bodied medium carbonation. A bit crisp and also on the chewy side.

O: I'm not the biggest fan of ambers and the only reason I tried this beer was because of my buddy, having said that this might be the best or at least up there with the best ambers I've ever had. I dont see why this beer isnt rated higher.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.12/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of Dark Horse's Amber Ale today for $1.79 at The Lager Mill. I have been meaning to try this beer for a while but I always end up getting sidetracked by their stout series but since I have tried almost all of them I figured it was time to finally get to their Amber Ale and see how it stacks up. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label is good looking, I don't know why I like it, I just do, its got a good flow. It poured a slightly dark amber red color that also has an orange tint to it with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed the rest of the time.

S- If I had to describe the smell of this beer in two words I would say fruits and yeast. The fruit aromas are nice and unexpected and smell mainly of pears with a little bit of red and green apples. The yeast sticks out a good deal and is slightly spicy with a really light amount of cloves. I could smell a slight amount of caramel malts but it was pretty much overpowered by the fruits and yeast.

T- The aroma did a pretty good job at preparing me for the flavor of this beer. The first thing I pick up is a good mix of fruits which has some nice tartness to it, there was some red and green apples, a slight red berry taste, but pear still remained the easiest fruit to pick up out of the bunch. Unlike the aroma the caramel malt base actually shows up and had a nice flavor and the right amount of sweetness. The yeast is much more subdued then it was in the aroma and is barley detectable, there is just a slight amount of clove and other spices in the middle. There's not much hops in this beer but I still get just a slight amount of floral hops with a very slight bitter finish that was more tart then bitter and some of those yeasty spices were present in the aftertaste.

M- Tart, crisp, and on the light side of medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good and very unique Amber Ale. I just can't get over how unique and different this beer is from all the other Amber's, most are either heavy on the caramel malts or heavy on the hops, but this one was neither. It was fruity, tart, yeasty, and pretty damn good. This is a hard beer to grade because it really doesn't fit this style or most any other style for that matter but in the end everything came together nicely and I enjoyed it so I don't really care what style they call it, I just call it good. I would buy this beer again, I liked how different it was, and it had great drinkability, I could see drinking several of these on a warm summer night. I recommend this beer to anyone who likes tart and fruity beers, if you are starting to bore of all the average Amber Ales on the market this would make for a good and interesting change of pace. Dark Horse did a great job with this beer, it was unique and interesting, I was expecting an average Amber and I got something totally different yet still really good. It's good to be different but in this case it's great.

 3,077 characters

Photo of Phinner
4.55/5  rDev +30%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a great mild amber flavor - perfect balance of malt and hops. Its a bit sweeter than other ambers, but this is a good thing because it gives the beer a nice overall flavor. Don't expect strong hop aroma or flavor. This is a good alternative to hyper-hopped brews that pay little attention to flavor balance.

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Photo of MammothBrew
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep amber with a slight orange and caramel tint. No head to speak of, but a nice thin white layer on top. Light lacing is occurring.

S: Citrus is what I'm getting the most from this one. Grapefruit, citrus hops, faint malt scent. I detect floral notes as well.

T: Malt with a pretty mellow citrus zing. A bit of a floral taste. Pretty similar to smell.

M: For the body, it's between light and medium. Carbonation is present, but I think it's mostly the citrus zing I am feeling. No residue or bad aftertaste clinging to mouth.

O: Basically, I'm in the middle with this one. I would never buy it again, but I wouldn't refuse it if someone offered. FYI, goes good with fried food, which isn't saying much.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Came out of the bottle looking hazy and cider colored. Only a small amount of head leaving a ring around the glass. Interesting it looks like cider and I got apples right at the beginning.Also a lot of fruity yeast and pale/sour malt. The taste has an extremely light malt body with a large amount of carbonation. There is a big bite from the yeast and carbonation at the start. The pale malt then takes over and goes right into a fruity sour apple finish. Semi-dry and tingly.

 477 characters

Dark Horse Amber Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.
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