Amber Ale
Eel River Brewing Co.

Amber AleAmber Ale
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #1,148
Ranked #49,012
3.27 | pDev: 16.51%
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States
Amber AleAmber Ale
Notes: Our first-born organic brew, this medium-bodied Amber Ale is malty with a touch of sewet caramel and balanced by the smooth, fruity character of domestically grown noble-style hops.
Reviews: 86 | Ratings: 151 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

4.15/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Eel River Amber Ale has a thick, bone-colored head, a hazy tan appearance, with amber specs, throughout, and minimal lacing. The aroma is of musty malt and fruit (figs, dates, raisin, etc.). The flavor is similar, with no bitterness. Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy, and Eel River Amber Ale finishes slightly sweet.


May 28, 2020
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TinFang from California

4.25/5  rDev +30%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip. No BB date visible.
Appearance - clear dark amber with a light tan head
Smell - bready malt, hops
Taste - well defined hops flavor with a distinct herbal aspect. Some persistance. Bready toasted malt.
Feel - slightly heavy but easy to drink.

Malt and hops are well balanced, and easy to appreciate both as separate flavors and in interaction. Found this to be delicious and would buy it again. Recipie may have changed since i notice earlier reviews cite a 4.75 ABV and this bottle is labled 5.0.

Nov 10, 2019
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neenerzig from Ohio

4.14/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

My very good friend Jon Passow sent this a botle of this to me in a birthday beer package, as I had my birthday about 6 weeks ago now. Poured out of a 12 oz. bottle into one of my pint glasses, this beer pours a clear, medium, deep amber color with an off-white, tan head that's about an inch thick when first poured. Head settles to a very nice thick, fluffy surface coating of foam along with a thick ring lining the inside of the glass and pretty good lacing. Aromas of toasted, biscuit caramel malt sweetness along with bits of toffee and molasses. The taste is pretty much the same, with an excellent, somewhat toasted, caramel, grainy malt sweetness with the aforementioned hints of toffee and molasses that's rounded out with a bit of earthy hops that give a nice bit of bitterness. Has a crisp, yet smooth, and somewhat frothy, medium bodied mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. Has a clean finish and somewhat dry aftertaste. A very nice beer all around and a pretty solid representation of the style. Glad I got the chance to drink this.


Jan 22, 2018
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gandres from Philippines

3.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle to wine glass
A: dark amber, minimal tan head lacing
A: very good aroma, grains, sweet aroma
Taste: lightly bitter,
Palate:creamy, lively carbonation, abrupt finish
Overall: good beer, ok to repeat, not to look for
Drank: April 23, 2016

Apr 24, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Amber beer, amber color. 1/2" off white head, impressive retention and lacing. Red malts, caramel toasting in the aroma.

Taste was a roasted malt presence, minimal hop flavor, heavy soggy malt notes. Pretty mild stuff. Would only be valued for the tick or if you're somehow massively into red/amber ales. Don't get me wrong, this beer doesn't do anything wrong.

Apr 06, 2016
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.42/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Organic, Toasty, Grainy, Basic

Dark amber or copper hues with a slight haze and a thin white lace. Aromas of toasty, wet grain and light caramel in the nose. Crisp carbonation and a light citric bitterness upfront. More toasty malts and caramel on the palate, with a hint of butteriness, fruitiness, some grape suggestions, cereal grains and husky tannins in the finish. An okay, no frills, ale.

STYLE: American Amber Ale | ABV: 4.8% | AVAILABILITY: Year-round

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine issue #99 (APR 2015)

Aug 25, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a better than normal amber ale, but its a pretty basic beer, one we have all tasted before. copper colored but much more rich in grain flavor. its got caramel and toffee and molasses and sticky bread all there, and its a little sweeter than i like, especially for sessioning it, but i think its well made and i like the layers. not much hops in flavor, but it does have a little bitterness to it which is needed for balance, and it appears particularly fresh to me here in a style where this sort of thing rarely stands out. frothy feeling and palate coating, autumnal or even wintery in texture, carbonated well enough and somewhat decadent overall. feels like dessert to me, lots of body and that left over sugar, almost maple syrupy as it goes down. a beer to enjoy one of, maybe two, let it warm, and appreciate its bigness. thats not what i usually get in an amber, but i really did enjoy sipping it like a barleywine. the sugar content required it. i think its rad this is organic, something that really hast caught on in beer the way it has with other things, i admire these guys for doing that. a nice beer with artisan pizza too, and one i like a little more each time i have one.

Sep 20, 2014
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.18/5  rDev -2.8%

12 oz bottle consumed in Redwoods Park. 4.8%
Red-amber; clear; decent tan head and lacing.
Aroma: an appealing mix of sweet baked grains with caramel.
Flavor: Follows the aroma; average or low-average intensity. Limited aftertaste.
Feel: Faintly prickly medium carbonation. Medium body.
O: mild; resembles a Mexican Dark.

Aug 22, 2014
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TheRealBigC from Nevada

3.28/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color. Bubbles clung in masses to the glass initially. The head settled quickly, but it's easy to see plenty of little bubbles coming up from below. Smell is of malt, caramel and a hint of ripe fruit. Taste is a little more bland with a slight hop bitterness. A little watered down though. Feel is nice a carbonated. Definitely an average brew, but at the $1 price that I bought the bottle, I'm content.

Sep 18, 2012
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.25/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a slightly murky copper with a tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same but slightly watery. There is a very mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer with a better smell than taste in my opinion.

Jun 10, 2012
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mrfrancis from Kentucky

2.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy amber with a tight whitish head.

S: Aromas of caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, and molasses dominate the nose. There are no hop aromas of which to speak.

T: This ale is almost completely dominated by malty notes of heavy cream, toffee, caramel, milk chocolate, molasses, raisin, and prune. A trace of grassy, herbal hop bitterness develops just before the finish, which presents a mixture of grass, caramel, and cream flavors.

M: Medium-bodied and somewhat dry, but with weak carbonation. This ale feels watery and insubstantial in the mouth.

O: This is a very mediocre amber ale. Much like Eel River's California Blonde Ale, there really isn't much to this beer. I would probably pass on this ale if it were offered to me again.

Feb 18, 2012
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williamjbauer from Colorado

2.78/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Clear amber with half finger of white head. Moderate lacing on glass.

S: Very light wheat scent, pretty underwhelming

T: Light grain, light sweetness with a molasses and slight citrus hoppy finish

M: Medium body, medium carbonation

O: Really underwhelming beer, was hoping for something stronger with the organic ingredients.

Jan 19, 2012
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After a day of drinking at "The Bank" in Wheaton, I come home to find a beautiful Amber in my the form of Eel River Amber. The beer pours a very nice cleart amber with virtually no head and no lacing. The smell includes a malt with slight molassis balance. The taste follows the smell and there is a very nice sweet malt base. the Mouthfeel is a medium to light boddy with average carbonation. Overall the beer is taste, but I would not go searching for it.

Dec 30, 2011
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ZenAgnostic from Texas

3.74/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. No stamped date.

Appearance - Medium brown body. Thin offwhite head, even after a vigorous pour. Great lacing and low retention.

Smell - Dark fruit. Lots of alcohol. Yeast. Somewhere between Dog Bite malt liquor and a Belgian quad. Strange.

Taste - Alcohol and malt up front, which quickly dissipates into a dusty dry body and an acidic dusty aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Dry. Somewhat solvent and astringent. Strange, unexpected, and admittedly, unwanted; but not necessarily bad.

Overall Drinkability - Wouldn't go out of my way to get this beer again, but it's not bad, especially for being organic.

Nov 08, 2011
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seand from California

3.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear amber with a medium amount of white head. The head mostly dissipates except for a ring around the edge of the glass, and doesn't leave much lacing.

S: Light grainy sweetness. Not bad, though not too exciting either.

T: Medium level sweetness, light grain, finishing with very light hoppy fruit notes.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

This beer won't win any awards or be the standout of your next tasting, but it's pretty decent, drinks easily, and isn't too high in alcohol. Not a bad choice to have 6 or 12 around when you want to have a few beers with a few friends when the beer isn't the focus.

Oct 14, 2011
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

3.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Not bad it is amber brown of course with a half inch of head that turns to a lace ring , lacing is pretty sticky.

S - First smell is a strong caramel or butterscotch but I can't seem to detect anything further than this sickeningly sweet smell. No hops or nothing.

T - Wow for such a sweet smelling beer is is rather dull. No distinctive hops or otherwise taste of caramel malts or anything. Just slightly sweet and watery.

M - Again like sweet water there really isn't any body to this beer. They might as well call it a "light" amber

Overall I should have know I would get just another lackluster beer from this brewery. It really makes me want to avoid any future beers I find from them since they are 2 for 2 sucky.

I do find it quite odd that what they lack in beer making, they make up for distribution. Found this beer in at least 3 shops around my one horse town.

Sep 17, 2011
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

3.28/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Rogue Public House, in San Francisco.

Eel River Amber has really good clarity but not much luster; the beer's deep amber colour (with its almost brick-red tinge) is seriously lacking in the highlight department. Likewise, its head is good in size and subsisting, but incapable of leaving lace. In fact, it's a very no-frills beer all around...

I don't have any idea of prices on the wholesale organic agriculture trade; I imagine organic hops are quite a niche and therefore might be considerably more expensive than other commercial varieties. At very least this theory would explain how this amber came to be so dull; there is no aroma what so ever except a faint smell of crystal malt.

Ditto for taste. Bitterness is scarce - the malts aren't even that sweet (especially for an amber) but there's literally nothing to note apart from a generic, somewhat cereal-y graininess. Sure, the use of crystal malts has added a bit of flavour but the caramel notes are far from pronounced and there's not overtly toasty or nutty about it. It's boringly bare.

The beer has a couple of things going for it: it's clean (no fouling adjunct taste); it is well brewed, with no obvious faults; and it's not too uncommon to turn away the average beer drinker. As for that third thing, while it's good for sales, it doesn't make for a very impressionable beer; a little more character would make it a lot more enjoyable.

Organic beer may be better for the planet but in my experience it's not better for the palate. It's unfortunate that there exists a stigma of organic beers as being somehow inferior, but if they continue to be as ordinary and average as Eel River Amber (the first organic beer to be commercially advertised as such) consumers aren't likely to pay the extra money or switch their consumption patterns. At least I, personally, won't be.

Aug 01, 2011
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PeprSprYoFace from California

3.33/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint. Cloudy darker amber color. Thin off white head. Little lacing.

Aroma is just kinda malty. Don't know how else to describe it.

Taste is ok. It's just kinda there. It's not bad. Just boring. Ok malt character. Slight bit of hops.

Mouthfeel is ok. Bland.

This beer is ok. Won't buy it again but I ticked it. Wouldn't really reccommend this beer to anyone. But is not like I drain poured it.

Apr 25, 2011
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secondtooth from Indiana

3.17/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Attractive deep amber, with tan head and not a lot of lace on my ale glass.

Awesome nose -- fruity, berries, yeast...unusual and enticing.

Flavor is biscuity, with some subtle spice undertones. Seems rather thick-bodied. Tastes rather dull, with almost no hops presence. Flat and malty, this one's not too impressive. Glad I didn't get a whole 6-pack, and I'll stick to Fat Tire, thanks. I like the organic angle, but this one didn't cut it.

Feb 28, 2011
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Kakaraht from Canada (BC)

3.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a light amber with a Finger of white head that has okay retention.

S: Very faint maltiness and a slight hoppines, very subtle, but it does smell like it is smooth.

T: Has a nice smooth maltiness to it, the hoppines is on the weaker side, but it works well with this beer. There is also a faint copper flavor.

M: Medium body and carbonation, but nice and smooth really easy to drink.

D: Nothing spectacular but still a nice easy drinking beer.

Feb 18, 2011
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scottakelly from Ohio

2.29/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clear, orangish-bronze. A decent head stays through the beer. The aroma is of sweet grains, toasted, grains, and butter. The flavor is dinged preety bad by very noticeable diacetyl. Some caramel and toast are also going on, but the butteryness ruins what might have been a good beer.

Jan 20, 2011
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rembrant from Ohio

3.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look Deep amber-reddish,i finger cream head

Aroma Grainy and toffee.

flavor A bit of a lager yeast up front with Euro type hops and a rather merged caramel toffee malt bill that never show much sweetness. Sort of a dry British take on an Amber

Mouth About normal for an Amber,a touch of sticky,subtle finish,normal carbo

Drinkability. Ambers are made to be mellow,and this is. It's a bit too mellow though,as nothing is distinctive. It's a pleasant beer but in the category there's a lot of competition. It is organic,and that niche helps it. Price was also good

Jan 09, 2011
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srandycarter from California

4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Somewhat murky amber, off whit head slow to leave to disk, some spot lace.

S - Malty, bready, caramel. Smells hopeful.

T - Falls short of expectations. Nice, but not as nice as hoped. Matches smell but in a smaller degree.

M - Light, good balance, very easy and well carbed.

D - At this challenge level for the palate and ABV, quite drinkable.

Sep 29, 2010
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WeezyBoPeep from Florida

4.29/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unlike most users on here, I will review this beer as we are supposed to: within the style.

Poured from a bottle into a Fenway pint glass.

A: Dark orangish amber with a tannish hue. Not much head to speak of and minimal lacing.

S: A nice honey character is supported well by a decent crackery malt and light floral hop presence. This beer is not overly fragrant, mostly matly, but nothing offensive going on here at all.

T: This is a great example of an amber ale, pure and simple. A subtle balance of hops and malt with a refreshing honey hint, especially in the finish. Hints of dark fruit are detectable with a raisin flavor somewhere in the middle.

D: I could easily take down a few of these.

Value: A strong point that this beer possesses and one which, unfortunately takes away from its score on here. It is reasonably priced at around 8 bucks a sixer so lots of people apparently think it's sub par. WRONG. If you're not in the mood for a bomb, be it malty or hoppy, and a nice solid amber ale to enjoy, you can't go wrong with this one here.

Sep 07, 2010
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.21/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Copper pour, tannish to white head, lacing clung well.

Taste, roasted, grainy, minimal hop presence, wood feel, a little heavy on the back end. Not real adventurous, not bland, but just kinda meh. Too expensive to even be a desparation beer, might as well order a SA as its comparable in its non offensiveness.

Jul 08, 2010
Amber Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 76 out of 100 with 151 ratings