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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Ratings: 439 |  Reviews: 200
Photo of beveragesampler
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep amber hue. two fingers off white head that dissipates quickly. no lacing. some yeast in the bottom of glass. smell is basic, light hint of citrus and carmelized orange. tastes like 35 IBU ish. effervessience attacks the toung. very tiny carbination bubbles. smell comes straight through in the taste. it is a good brew but i feel it is over carbinated. 5.5% ABV. easy to have several and enjoy them.

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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 rembrant
3.1/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Basically...I've discovered and loved 10 different Dark Horse beers this summer...could say they are my favorite brewer.

i don't much like Belgian. Unnibroue "Raftman" was tolerable..as they made a point of leaving out some of the more strange and funky sour things to sort of "hint" at Belgian.

Amber? I've had a lot of Full Sail Amber...so...

Looks, lovely red amber color,not much head,a bit hazy,some film on the glass but no lacing.

Aroma Interesting...and not typical Amber. Rather fruity,yeasty...is that peach?...omg...I think my Amber turned Belgian on me ! It's DARK HORSE...so it's apt to taste a bit like stout with a grapefruit and cherry zing

Flavor...It's BELGIAN...I'm baffled. I'd thought an Amber would be TOO safe. Here Dark Horse throws me a knuckleball.

I get that odd musky-fruity yeast thing of a Belgian type....thank god not that gym locker or dirty pennies thing,but still a thing that does not work for me. There's a hint of caramel,a fruity mix of hops,and that Belgian yeasty sour thing...

I'd think some folks...who LIKE Belgian will like this...but may be upset that it is somewhat a tweener. I remember a crock of Delirium Tremens a few years ago...it wrecked my beer budget for the week so I had to finish it. Unpleasent.

This? not THAT bad but...

Mouth...it's a decent mouth for a middleweight,not happy with the aftertaste.

Drinkable...I'd like to cut it more slack and not downgrade for Belian tendencies. I guess it's creative and such...but I don't want another. Unusual beer.

Today I had a DH Black Bier at lunch and what a joy.

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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 jmerloni
3.19/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A nice ruby, hazy ginger orange color. Head is minimal and does not lace very well.

S - Almost nothing there. Smells like swampy hops, lemon rind, citrus.

T - Follows the nose pretty surprisingly. Hops are swampy tasting and there is lemon rind flavor present. There are also a handful of Belgian dubbel-type flavors: pear, raisins, some pineapple. Malt is only detected near the end of the sip.

M - Disjointed. Pretty lively when you hold it in your mouth, but the hops and malt are two different beasts in this brew and don't interact hardly at all. Hops are upfront and malt is all on the swallow. It also leaves your mouth feeling cottonmouthed.

D - Moderately drinkable but not very appealing overall. Not a bad beer, but there is no part of it that is good or great and I don't think I'd get it again.

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Photo of brewdoc75
3.17/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a copper amber color. Absolutely no head. It tries initially but goes away immediately. A little cloudy too, despite my careful pour. Doesn't look like a solid amber ale.

S: Some caramel mixed with apple and pear notes. Some spiciness as well. Smells a bit more like a Belgian beer than an American Amber. From reading about it, I guess this is brewed with a pseudo-Belgian yeast. The aromas aren't solid for either style. Very muted.

T: Tastes better than it looks and smells. Some caramel flavors from the malts with a light, grainy sweetness. The yeast adds some apple, pear and even a hint of raisin. There is a little spiciness too. The hops really are just there for bitterness. Maybe a hint of spiciness from the hops but thats about it.

M: Light bodied. Slightly undercarbonated. A bit watery. Finishes dry.

D: A really, meh beer in my book. The flavors and aroma were lacking. On top of that the beer was undercarbonated, watery, and looked relatively unappealing. Not going to pick this up again any time soon. Definitely not an American Amber. Definitely not a Belgian Pale. I'm not sure what this is.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass
Color of a worn penny, with a short-to-moderate head of foam
Aroma-Sweet malt, faint citrus hop note
Taste-Nutty,crisp apple, caramel, cinnamon, subtle hop backbone seems to confuse the issue.
Overall, interesting and flavorful, but can't seem to make up its mind on style.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.2/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

The color is a dark, cloudy copper with a thin brownish head with no lacing.

The smell is sugary with a caramel flavor. There is a nice hop bittereness hiding in the background but is slightly muted.

The taste is a bit peppery and sweet with a good malty flavor. There is some bitterness there mixed in but this is not the most hoppy of beers. There is a nice clove flavor that spices things up a bit which was really nice.

This beer is medium bodied and has a really nice drinkable feel to it. It goes down easy and was pretty impressive for a relative new brewery to me so I was happy to discover Dark Horse breweery.

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Photo of stewart124
3.47/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours on the red side of amber. Little head to speak of.

At first sniff I am antcipating some American Hops but no...something funky is going on here and I get the nose of a Belgian ale.

The taste is malty sweet with plenty of caramel to speak of. Although this is Belgian in the nose it is almost leaning towards Scottish in the malt profile. The hops are barely noticable and carbonation is lower than expected.

Although this isn't what I expected or anticipated, it is a tasty beer nonetheless. I wonder if this was meant to be in the American amber ale category.

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Photo of crossovert
4.15/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle with a black cap. This isn't a style I normally enjoy but my first bottle entertained me enough to write this review for the second.

Pours a nice amber color, the head is a bit wear but that is the ony downside to the appearance.

The smell is basic, but clean. Some amber malts, a subtle hint of hops, not so much, but as per the style.

The taste is where this one shines, this could have been your generic run of the mill American amber ale crap but it really reminds me more of a Belgian amber. It has a crisp malt taste, but it has a bit more yeast presence than the average American amber ale. The hops are subtle but key in backing these flavors.

The mouthfeel is probably the best part about this one, it is lightly carbonated, good when chilled, super refreshing.

Normally I don't like my beer ice cold or form a bottle, but this is one i could tolerate in those conditions, though it is also quite nice form my glass, reminds me of if PALM were a microbrew, cheers.

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Photo of jlindros
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of jampics2
3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bell's Amber Ale is made just 40 minutes away from the Dark Horse facilities. I consider that the benchmark Amber ale, one of the beers that got me into craft in the first place, and something that has literally never been touched - many step up and get beat down.

Looks good in my pint glass. Amber color, but a touch lighter. Head is just a bit underwhelming, but looks nice overall.

Smell is caramel, some mild hoppiness, and some yeasty esters. No esters in my ambers dudes! Not a trappist descendant, more of a German thing with cloves and a touch of raisins and under-ripe banana. Weirdness ensues.

Taste is OK but again there are weird tones shining through. As far as I know, this is marketed and intended as a straight amber, probably a shot at Fat Tire. If it's indeed meant to be a more "Belgo-German" beer, let us know and we'll rate as such. In the meantime, this is not good for an amber. Sweet caramel and some weird spice. Bad news, Dark Horse dudes.

Mouth is decent, actually not too bad. But overall, this beer felt, smelled, and tasted average. How about a more American take on the genre, Dark Horse? Bell's can rest safe and sound tonight, their title isn't going down the street anytime soon.

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Photo of innersanctum
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Horse calls this one their "red headed step child" right on their web site. Listen guys, I don't mind a red head one bit, but then again I like blondes and an occasional black and tan too; we're talking beer, ok.

But is it an Amber Ale? Amber for sure; the appearance is of the color orange and deep dark yellow, almost copper. Ale no doubt because there is no chance its a lagger and I'll take their word it was brewed at a high temperature. But Amber & Ale, this is getting tricky guys. DHAA has a lot going on inside the bottle; sediment at the bottom, it pours a flatish copper hue, and I taste the faintest bit of dunkelweise too. One thing is certain, DHAA isn't for everyone and neither are red heads.

Red heads are cute, I'll have another please.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.82/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Al's of Hampden

A- a cloudy amber ale that has resemblance to brown sugar. Not much head and no lacing.

S- yeasty matls and not much else. Maybe some clove but very minute if any. molasses and sweet dark candied fruit.

T-peppery malts and sweet. more bready malts and some sour cherry.

M- chewy like a cherry pie but sour. sour malts.

D- A smooth beer and easy to put back. Somewhat tasty but it is very heavy for an american amber ale.

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Photo of cbutova
3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours out a pretty chunky dark red with a very fizzy light pink head that has very little retention. I can tell that lace is gonna be hard to come by here. A decent cloud and ring keep it from looking like fruit juice.

S- The Belgian aspect of this surprised me, I am used to hoppy ambers. Yeast notes up front. Clove filled spice hints, some esters and a mild amount of dark fruit. Overall aroma has decent strength.

T- Fairly laid back and a pretty good blend of flavors. The Belgian spice is pretty relaxed but the clove comes through for sure. Grassy and earthy flavors come through too. The dark fruit is not overpowering and adds a nice balance to the other flavors. Some slight banana esters.

MF- Light body that has a good amount of cream texture to it. The carbonation slightly stings the tongue. Smooth and crisp. Coat of dark fruit and clove.

DB- Definitely a summer beer. I like the use of a more laid back Belgian yeast style. The only thing here is the flavor seems a bit bland after a while, nothing outstanding. I would have to say it is one of the more refreshing Belgian inspired ales I have had in a while, the cloves and yeast notes do not make it a one bottle thing.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber-orange with some swirls of cascading yeast running from top to bottom. No head, save for a few white patches and a ring around the perimeter. No lacing.
Smell is bready malts with a Belgian yeast aroma. A hint of sour dough, as well as some dark fruits.
Taste is more bready malts with a definite Belgian yeast flavor. White pepper. More fruits, including cherry, red grape, melon, and fig. Finish has a touch of sour and bitterness to it.
Mouthfeel is smooth and fairly flat. crisp yet slightly sticky on the finish. Light-to-medium body.
Drinkability is decent. Seems a bit muddled and unbalanced. Smacks more of a typical Belgian ale to me.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark Horse Amber Ale

Very clouded look on this guy, beyond that a sold amber, big surprise, slim, soon-gone head.

Sweet, creamy aromatics. Notes of vanilla,

Taste: some bitter hop presence, and a thinner malt body than I expected. Far too bitter and astringent for an amber ale. Slightly sour. I went in with certain expectations, and while I am always prepared to have those challenged, this one went in quite a different direction.

Not liking this at all.

...actually, I'm disliking this less as it goes down, it becomes somewhat more palatable...but not by enough.

Yeah, I can toss it back, but not with much pleasure. One of the few Dark Horse brews I've disliked. Can't win 'em all.

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Photo of drpimento
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh. Middle a the road amber ale. Just like their description. Poured with a smallish, off white head and a little lace. Color is a clear medium amber. Aroma is malty and a bit fruity. Flavor is like aroma. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finsih is like flavor. Forgettable.

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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 nrbw23
3.12/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a murky reddish amber color with just a thin layer of bubbles for a head. Pretty much no head here at all and a very odd looking brew. I'm not sure if I got the bottom of the keg or what is going on here.

S- Smells of strong caramel, fruity, and a faint piney bite. Not a terrible lot going on here.

T- Roasted malts, caramel, doughy,bread, and a bit of chocolate. Fruits are cherries, pears, pineapple, and mainly tropical fruits. Again not terrible but I'm not really digging this one.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and rather low in carbonation.

D- Nothing really super awesome going on here. Ok to drink, but I think I'd rather have something else.

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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 DrewHodges
3.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 5/10/10 tasting; bottle poured to pint glass.

A--clear amber-reddish, slight bit of froth, but little carbonation or fizzing, almost looked flat;

S--clove, straw, almost vodka-like, some peach..smell was most interesting thing about the beer;

T--decent flavor, but odd and unexpected for an Amber..tasted Belgian yeast, nice sweetness;

M--medium body but low carbonation, almost flat, maybe the bottle is a bit old;

D--not my favorite by far, especially from Dark Horse

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Photo of silentjay
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a hazy amberish brown with an average head that doesnt retain or lace too well.

aroma is kind of fruity and malty. not much to talk about here.

taste is definitely fruity and candy-like sweetness. is almost belgian-like in flavor. maybe they used a belgian yeast? some pepper, banana, clove flavors that typically come from belgian yeasts. a bit of malt is toasty and caramelly. some floral hops fight for attention too. makes for a fruit-juice type flavor, some apple, grape or something of that sort.

medium to thin-bodied with a minimal amount of carbonation.

not unpleasing, but not something I'd like to have more than one of. unique, I guess.

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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 tigg924
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, cloudy, red/brown in color

Smell: cherry and toasted malt

Taste: cherry, toasted malt, Belgian spices

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, sweet

Drinkability: One of my favorite beers by this brewery. I could have several. A different take on the style and one I will get again.

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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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