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 MammothBrew
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
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 +4.6%
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.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this beer out Ohio way. Also found the Boffo brown ale too.

A - Tried my best not to get any sediment... success! Pour is still a very dark tinted amber with an inch of creamy head. Lacing is solid.

S - To me it smelled of a bit of fruit maybe a bit of pear (I love pears) with a nice caramel malt and toffee. Smells a bit yeasty too.

T - Thankfully not full of yeast I get dominant fruit and a sweet caramel base. Kind of relaxing to not have a hop forward amber.

M - Light to medium obviously but it does have a lingering nutty ness.

Overall not as extreme as most of there beers are but still well crafted. Was lucky to find these two beers since they are not around my area. Looking forward to trying all there brews someday.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +22.3%
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 flyingspatula
3.76/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tried Dark Horse's Crooked Tree IPA and thought it was really good, so I tried the amber ale. I wasn't disappointed. The smell is OK, not as good as the color which is cloudy, but nice. I poured the last of the bottle in my hand and it had some sediment, which I thought was kind of cool. Not much head, and no laticing. The taste is nice; the flavor has a fair amount of fruitiness. It's probably the darkest amber ale I've tried. Not too malty, or too hoppy. I would buy this again.

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Photo of cocogan
3.66/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Visual: Dark tangerine-brown color. Zero head, just a froth border around the ring of the glass. Very hazy beer with lots of floaties inside (yum).

Aroma: floral and oranges.

Taste: Citrus orange-apple taste that is both sweet and sour. Has an earthen background to it. finishes sharp with a crisp hop bite that leaves a bitter-sweet finish. This beer reminds me of an apple juice based punch. I could see myself drinkin this with breakfast or maybe at a junior high dance.

Mouth: Medium body and carbonation

Drunkability: Refreshing drink that would be a nice wake up with some eggs. Could lead to a nice sunday funday.

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

The only thing generic about this beer was the name. Served unfiltered, the draft pours with a traditional deep, cloudy copper color, but opens up immediately with a funky yeast nose that almost hints at a Belgian strain or the essence of a homebrew. The body is full, sweet and rolls back into a spicy, but clean hoppy bite. Nearly every sip brought out something different, a spice here and hint of fruit there.

While it does have a little bit of kick, you don't feel like you're drinking a strong ale as the blend of flavors and aromas balance nicely and the fullness covers up any heat from the alcohol. It's a very satisfying brew and interesting enough to find new layers as you pair it up with an appetizer or meal.

While it's certainly not a "profile" amber ale, the lack of conformity is an asset as this Amber Ale is distinctive and memorable for all the right reasons.

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Photo of n2185
3.3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice dark red color, but very little head even with a rough pour and it quickly vanishes into a small white ring.

S: Some sweet caramel malt characteristics up front with some wheat and banana aromas. There is a slight smell of hops as well.

T: Sweet caramel malt up front with some bread and wheat-like characteristics in the middle. The hops kick in towards the end, providing a bit of pine flavor and some bitterness at the end.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. Nothing too exciting either way.

D: Goes down pretty smooth with a nice mix of sweet and hoppy. Not the best beer, but not bad.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the brew pub, drank from a pint glass...The beer looks like a dark apple cider, only a whisp of white head. Not much to look at...The aroma is very malty, caramel with toffee. Then this beer turns into a Belgian wheat with tons of cloves, spice and Belgian yeast...The taste starts out with some light rye, then more of the cloves and yeast. This actually tastes pretty good, and is easy to drink. However, its not remotely close to being an amber ale. If you want a Belgian yeast beer grab this at the pub, otherwise you can skip this. The feel is a big let down, not carbonated at all, almost totally flat on the palate.

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Photo of prdstmnky
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger of off white head that fades quickly to a few bubbles on the surface. The nose is interesting for the style, consisting of some interesting fruit aromas (peach / banana), some yeast notes, as well as sweet and toasted malts. Definitely has a Belgian flavor to it - I keep looking at the bottle to make sure Im drinking / reviewing the right beer. Clove, yeast, banana, some floral hops, and a spiciness are all found in the flavor profile. Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation.

Nothing at all like I was expecting. It wasn't a bad beer, kinda tasty actually...I just dont think it fit the style very well.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep amber color. Half finger white head shows poor retention. Very light spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Light caramel hops with a musty aroma. There is some light citrus hops in the ending but nothing in this is very upfront. All the aroma is muted which is a little sad as this brewery has some amazing aroma profiles for their beers.

T- Light caramel malts linger throughout the entire beer itself. A daker fruit lingers with a belgian yeast which I didn't expect. Musty hops in the ending which brings this all around. This is an interesting take of an amber.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Light caramel hops and belgian yeast left on the palate. Aftertaste is great with the musty hops, light alcohol, and hints of caramel malts. Flavors were on par with the style. Alcohol drying on the palate is light. No off flavors at all with the beer itself.

D- This is a good tasting amber ale from Dark Horse. The ABV is low and helps with the drinkability of this beer. Dark Horse has put out another very good beer in their yearly line-up. Good job guys!

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