Amber Ale | Eel River Brewing Co.

Liked This Beer
3.23 w/ 142 Ratings

Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.75%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Certified Organic

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-12-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 |  Reviews: 83
Photo of KarlHungus
1.19/5  rDev -63.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer pours a hazy amber color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes within seconds into no lacing. The aroma is of sugary malt with a nasty chemically hop presence. This smells awful, and it is magnifies too much by the fact that, unlike most beers that smell bad, its aroma is actually pretty strong. The taste is like that aroma. It is full of malt that doesn't really taste malty, and hops that taste like chemicals instead of hops. Just awful. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, and flat. Overall, this is the first drain pour I've encountered in a very long time. Usually, I am able to find something of value in every beer I drink, but there is simply nothing in this beer that I like.

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Photo of Zonian1
2/5  rDev -38.1%

Photo of masikon
2.01/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Got this for christmas in a sampler pack. Poured a dirty brown, more brown really than amber with a nice creamy head. Smell was dull and malty with some caramel notes but nothing to exciting. Taste was very odd, Extremely dull with a thin mouthfeel. Maltiness was present but in a very unappetizing way, flavors were all very washed out and dominated by the disturbing flat, watery mouthfeel. Finish was something like when I played baseball in college...after a head first slide....lots of dirt in the mouth. Very odd beer, not well done in my opinion but there is certainly a chance I got a bad batch. If I see this at a store I might pick up a bottle just to make sure but if this was a good bottle I'd avoid this one.

Note: after reading some other reviews it appears a few other BA's have possibly gotten bad bottles as well, I'll definitely give this another shot and hopfully Eel River will have the problem worked out.

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Photo of rastaman
2.06/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle. Funny tasting. Nutty and mild, sweet, with a very mild bitterness. Some cola and lactic flavours. Really thin mouthfeel aswell, flat and sweet, accidentally bought 2 bottles of this and was so dissapointed i chucked the other one out, really not good. Dull, flat.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
2.18/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Amber body with about two fingers of off-white head that disappears quickly leaving no lacing.

Smells a little malty and lemony, not what I expected at all.

Taste is not what I expected either. A strange sour taste up front and then some citrusy hoppiness inthe middle. Mild, light malt finish rounds out the beer. Unique, decent. Mouthfeel is thin and a little oily, nothing wrong there.

Not very drinkable, I wouldn't reach for another after the first. Not sure if I will even finish the first actually.

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Photo of scottakelly
2.29/5  rDev -29.1%
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.

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Photo of InandOutBeerGuys
2.3/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Overall I'm not impressed with THIS one, could have been a bad bottle, perhaps? I don't want to slam it too bad because to be honest all of the "organic" beers that I've drank have had a certain dry, earthy raw grain taste to them. More of the same here, not terrible but not on my list of repeats either. I will be trying the other offerings from eel river so I'm not ready to condemn them yet, as I've heard nothing but good from others, but this one just didn't do it for me. Not too hoppy, no acidity, no caramel sweetness, little carbonization or lacing of my glass, no floral aromas just wet hay or grain husk, and that's pretty much all I tasted too.

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Photo of brentk56
2.33/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a soda pop head that fritters away to nothingness before too long, leaving no lace

Smell: Toasted malt and caramel; the vaguest hint of earthy hop

Taste: Toasted malt and caramel up front, with a developing mineral flavor that arrives by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors fade but leave a mineral after taste

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, rather watery, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Rather unimpressive; for a beer with a picture of hop cones on its label, it sure could stand to make better use of them

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Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
2.38/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- light lacing and average head retention, color is a nice amber but a little to hazy.

S- Light bitterness and low malt, nothing really here

T- very light on the malt, would want to have a much more malt forward beer, I can taste a little bitterness which for an amber, is not quite right, if the malt was bumped up it would drastically improve this beer. off flavors as well. :(

M- no cloying but perhaps a bit over carbonated.

D- I really wanted to like this beer since it is usda organic but aparently the non-organic ingredients at this point still make a much better beer. might be ok if you are new to beer outside the big 2.

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Photo of seanbhudson
2.38/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

APPEARANCE: Pours a clear amber color with a large off white dissipates slowly. There is a moderate amount of lacing.
Mild aroma of toasted malts and corn syrup like sweetness.
Not a lot going on here. Lightly toasted malts with a light caramel sweetness. I am also picking up tastes of minerals and soap. A touch of earthy hops.
Light to medium body with a relatively dry texture. Light fizzy carbonation.
Easy drinking beer but needs a little more flavor to make it interesting. Also I don't like the hint of minerals and soap at all.
NOTES: BBCSD-0901-Patrick

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Photo of Lob
2.5/5  rDev -22.6%

Photo of MasterRigger
2.5/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of brewmudgeon
2.53/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

was keenly looking forward to this one,hoping it could become a staple organic beverage for the ole fridge.
the color is mainly amber, plus some reddish tones. a little lacing after the thin head goes away.
smell is way too sweet, with something offputting. like it's trying too hard to impress with its toasted sweetness.
taste doesn't work for me at all. sweetness in the foregrounds. hops are there but in an oddly disconnected way. lack of harmony. the lead singer is in our face screaming and the rest of the band is belting riffs across the street.

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Photo of acrawf6
2.61/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a somewhat hazy orangish brown amber with a tan head.

Smell. Certainly on the malty side with a touch of buscuit and a little yeast. It's not so high of an aroma in my book.

Taste. more of the malts that have a little bit of a toasted bit in it. I also get a small nutty flavor as well. Other than that it seems quite bland and subpar. aftertaste has a little bitterness, but not much.

Mouthfeel. Body is on the lighter side of medium with a little slickness to it. Carbonation seems ok, though perhaps a little undercarbonated, i like the softness of it.

Overall, not a horrible beer, but not one i will ever pick out again. Just nothing really positive about it. i can get other better beers for cheaper.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.66/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours out a clear, dark brownish-amber body with a fine, beige-hued head.

Smell: Fairly weak nose with only minor notes of dusty, grainy pale malts, fruit, and... that's about it.

Taste: Grainy, simple pale maltiness with just a mere hint of caramel sweetness. Indistinct touch of fruit. Not really much in the way of hop flavor or bitterness beyond and a faint touch of herbal, tea-like bitterness that holds you over until the abrupt, weak finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A remarkably dull and altogether bland brew. If getting the organic "gold star" means a pint full of yawns, then bring on the pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers!

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Photo of cvfish
2.73/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - the beer poured a nice amber color that produced a foamy white head that disappeared quickly and left no lacing

S - some malts, some hops. was nothing special

T - not as much taste as i expected, kind of like the smell, almost there, but not quite

M - light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation

D - average beer, better than a marco, but only just

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Photo of spycow
2.75/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of OPBrewCrew
2.75/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of RoryOMoore
2.75/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of petermethot
2.75/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of williamjbauer
2.78/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of treehugginslug
2.78/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Very nice amber color with slight head

S - Slight smells of caramel and wheat.

T - Would have liked more taste of caramel, yeast, and malt. Too weak.

M - Went down nice, but would have liked more carbonation.

D - Drinkable, but not very "tastey". If this were my first amber ale, I wouldn't be impressed with them.

Whould I buy it again: No
Would I recommend it to a friend: No
Would I drink it if I was offered at a party: Maybe
Overall: Not impressed

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.79/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Charred orange with an infusion of liquid bronze. The upper third of the glass is occupied by a tight-bubbled head that is somewhere between pale orange and toasted tan in color. If the first half inch of deflation is any indication, the glass will be nicely coated with a thin blanket of lace. Amber Ale looks more like an Oktoberfest than an amber ale.

For a beer than supposedly contains a 'liberal dose' of Centennial hops, as well as East Kent Goldings, the nose is a major letdown. The aroma is well-toasted caramel malty, earthy and somewhat diacetyl-like. I hate to say it, but I've smelled plenty of organic beer that had some of those same characteristics. Why that should be so, I have no earthly idea. Do they all get their grain from the same supplier?

While the flavor is a little better, it isn't enough to warrant the next highest score. The beer is dominated by an earthy toasted maltiness that has to be due to some amount of Munich malt. In other words, not only does COAA looks like an Oktoberfest, it smells and tastes like one too.

An underlying malty sweetness is effectively balanced by a bitterness that noses ahead on the finish. I still can't appreciate the grapefruity citrusiness that the Centennial hops should have provided. I don't mind diacetyl in some instances, but I'm having trouble feeling good about it here because there's very little else to get excited about.

The mouthfeel is actually pretty decent. A sufficient amount of malt provides a clean, almost lager-like smoothness and there's nothing at all wrong with the middle-of-the-road amount of carbonation. Other than the appearance, the mouthfeel is the highlight.

Interesting fact: Eel River Brewing Co. was the first Certified Organic brewery in the United States and released the first Certified Organic beer, this one, in 1999. I can appreciate the history, I just wish the beer was more enjoyable.

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Photo of charlesw
2.82/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured, well, amber. Crazy, huh? Anyway, maybe it was my bottle or something, but there was NO HEAD at all. Weird. Smells a little bready - earthy. Not a whole lot going on in flavors or mouth - like it's been slightly watered down? Very light malt with just a touch of bitter at the end... Anyway, I'd drink it again if you offered me one, sure, but I wouldn't pick it out of a selection of ambers, you know? Still, it's nice that they're doing the organic deal.

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Photo of jwc215
2.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazed amber with a thin off-white head that lasts, leaving some thin lacing.

The smell is of lightly roasted caramel with a touch of honey. Very mild.

The taste is of caramel. Tinny/slightly metallic notes mix in, though, fitting in with overall character of this brew, they're mild. Mildly sweet, with a touch of tea-like bitterness to give it some balance. A "flat"/blandish aftertaste lingers for a bit.

The body is on the thin side of medium with a bit more than adequate carbonation.

It just has a blandness about it that, unless you are really an organic devotee and can't get anything better, it's hardly even worth checking out. A mediocre brew at best. As for me, I'm glad I only bought a single of it. Wouldn't get it again.

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Amber Ale from Eel River Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 14.8% out of 100 with 142 ratings
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