Kirkland Signature Amber Ale | Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation

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Kirkland Signature Amber AleKirkland Signature Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation
Washington, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Troyone on 03-19-2009

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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 190
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. 5.7% ABV, 25 IBUs, Best Before Jun. 15, 2010.

A - A vigorous pour shows that this beer has no problem forming a large head. A full three-fingers tall, the cream-colored, soft head was retained well and left thick lace all the way down and around the glass. The completely clear amber-ish wood brown beer that the head sits on top of is also attractive.

S - Toasted amber malts give off hints of toffee and nuts while grassy hops help in the earthy tone of the nose. Hints of caramel sweetness keep it from falling completely into a dry earthy nose. While the aroma has a bit of depth to it, it's still a little uninspired.

T - The flavor opens with a strong toasted amber malt kick that lasts the duration of the time on the palate. Notes of wood, nuts, caramel, and toffee add depth, but little comes across in the way of hops. The little bit of grassiness in the finish could use some bringing up for balance.

M - This amber ale is certainly malty and smooth to boot. An unusually low carbonation spritz comes out slightly in the finish but its mainly dry and dusty in texture. Some additional hops would help the mouthfeel too.

D - It's really not a bad amber for being slapped under the Kirkland label. It could use some tweaks to better balance the beer but aside from it's good looks, it's a relatively average amber.

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Photo of bcm119
3.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Some toasty malt hints in the aroma. Clean, toasty caramel flavors. Barely balanced by some soapy hops. Clean mouthfeel, with just a bit of sticky sweetness in the finish. Really not a terrible beer, although I prefer the Pale Ale from the variety case. A tick more hops and slightly higher attenuation would make this a nice amber ale.

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Photo of NeutroMan
3.75/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a nonic.

A: Robust dark amber color with a one-finger off-white head.

S: Pale malts and citrusy hops. A mild nutty character permeates.

T: Moderate citrus hop flavor. The pale malts are a little stronger and are fairly sweet up front before transitioning to a more moderate caramel flavor on the back-end. Malts and hops are nicely balanced.

M: Medium-full bodied with medium-low carbonation. Smooth finish with less of a bite one might expect. Pleasant.

D: Probably the best of these Kirkland series - I will look forward to drinking another one.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.47/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl. oz. bottle brewed in Utica, N.Y. with an expiration date of Apr 04 2010. Sampled on April 16, 2010. The pour is a decent looking brown with a lingering foamy beige head and lively carbonation. The aroma is well malted and sweet in nature with a kind of light hoppiness in the background. The taste is about the same with a slightly dry hoppy finish. It leaves a slight aftertaste but it is actually fairly drinkable.

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Photo of colts9016
2.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass at 37 Degrees.

Appearance: A healthy 2 finger foamy, creamy, white head, that has some retention to it. The color of the beer is solid amber with orange, copper orange highlights. The clarity of the beer is clear to brilliant and there is some carbonation.

Nose: Is a mild toasted malt with some caramel, floral, and pine notes.

Taste: Is a moderate hoppy flavor with grapefruit, floral, and pine flavors. The malt is light toasty and slightly yeasty.

Mouth feel: Is crisp and clean.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium light and the finish is medium. This is an ok amber ale except for the malt and the hoppiness are out of balance. It is easy to drink.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.83/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Best before June 15th, 2010. Thanks to BeerFMAndy for the bottle.

(A)- Pours a chestnut brown color that produced a fluffy eggshell colored head. Has some decent retention.

(S)- An almond nuttiness with sweet corn meal.

(T)- Same as the smell, only has a touch of vanilla in there.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. A decent maltiness & creaminess. A tad overly sweet though; almost sugary.

(D)- A decent amber with good malts. Its more like a brown ale in most respects, but not bad.

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Photo of jwc215
3.63/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best before June 15 2010 stamped on neck:

Pours dark amber - towards brown, with some red hues when held up to the light. A thin creamy tan head has pretty good retention. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of roasted caramel, slightly nutty with an earthy touch.

The taste is of roasted caramel with some roasted nuts. Not overly roasty, though. Some sweetness is balanced by the mild roast and an earthy tone in the finish.

It is on the lighter side of medium-bodied with medium to medium high carbonation. Flavor lingers for a reasonable time.

An easy-drinking darker amber - has some "brown ale" characteristics. Easy-drinking and very well-priced. A good value for the dollar!

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Photo of unclejimbay
3.61/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

"dark English caramel malts with domestic Yakima WA hops"
25 ibus @ 5.7% abv

Appearance was decent amber in color, nice clarity with satisfactory head, retention and lacing.
Smell is weak, mild malty and roasted aromas if any at all.
Taste as it smells with more of a roasted character than most ambers. This one leans more towards the roasted elements of a nut/brown ale than a true amber, but it is still very enjoyable.
Mouthfeel is a bit light, medium+ carbonation.
Drinkability is better than expected. Decent brew all around for the price @ $18 for a case of the Kirkland variety.

Best beer ever? Definetly not.

Good beer for the price? Yes for sure. All 4 brews are decent, the Hefe is the only one not true to style.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.86/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a sampler of Kirkland Signature Beers at Costco, 4 beers 6 bottles of each. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper/amber color, with a lot of bubbles rising in the glass. Creamy off-white head, laces the glass with sticky white rings.

smell is faint, a bit of a sweet bread aroma perhaps.

Taste is quite good. A caramel nut flavor up front, with a sweet bread taste, and a mildly bitter finish. It's not overly sweet like I find a lot of amber ales to be.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly clean. There is a very effervescent feel on the tongue. Seems to be a lot of carbonation for the style.

A very drinkable amber. I like it a lot more than some of the sweeter flatter amber ales I have had. And at the $18 a case price point, this one is hard to beat.

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Photo of Billolick
3.11/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle, with "Best Before" dating etched onto the bottle. Pours clear lighter brownish amber, the head is fairly typical, medium knaki, moderate height and retention, then a low collar, some light sheeting and bits of lace. The nose is where things start to go downhill, with a hint of vegatal off flavors beginning to become noticable. Malty brew, with the same mild but still off putting bit of vegitation present. Caramel, bread, light cabbadge...oh my..pass this one by...

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Photo of ghebel
3.35/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours amber color, very clear. Head is adequate, but does not last long, leaving only sparse lacing on the glass.

S - Caramel malt, hints of dark fruits. Earthy hops in the background.

T - Moderate, noticeable bitterness. Sweet malt. Mild alcohol.

M - Thin to moderate body. Carbonation sting initially. Finishes tart with warm alcohol sensation to finish off the swallow.

D - For the price, very drinkable. Gets better as it breathes.

Overall - A bit thin, but does have some flavor. Aroma is lacking until the beer is agitated.

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Photo of Ek0nomik
3.45/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured In: Tulip Glass

Appearance: The pour is an amber and dark copper color. The beer is crystal clear, and quite effervescent as well. I'm sitting here with 3 fingers of foamy head that last for a handful of minutes. There is a good amount of lace is on the side of my glass as well.

Smell: The nose is a mixture of hops and malt, leaning more on the malt side. The malt profile is sweet caramel, walnut and brown sugar. There's just a dash of earthy hops that are in the mix as well to balance the malts out.

Taste: The palate is very similar to the nose. It's a well rounded amber, although the watery aspect takes away from it a bit. I'm sure this beer is probably better for me from a nutritional aspect given it's watery flavor. Probably something Costco is after given their enormous customer base. Anyways, the malt flavors are similar to the ones listed in the aroma. It's a blend of caramel, brown sugar and some nuts. There is also a little bit of hop flavor that lingers during the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: I thought the beer was too highly carbonated from the pour, but the carbonation actually was about right from the start. The beer has a medium body, although a little on the thin side of medium since it seems like it's been watered down.

Drinkability: For a weeknight, I must say this was an enjoyable beer to have. The ABV is low, and it's an easy beer to sip on after a long day at work.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of the Kirkland assortment apparently brewed at New York Brewing in Utica. Smells of caramel and a bit of brown sugar. Pours to a golden amber color. Three finger multi-sized bubble head that stands up for a while then starts receding. Taste is nice and malty up front mildly bitter in the middle and funky sour twang at the end that is quite interesting. The aftertaste is flatly bitter. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth, no watery sensation at all. Head still holding up. A tasty brew but for the funky finishing twang. For the price this is hard to beat.

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Photo of GRPunk
3.13/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle (best by April 04, 2010) poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- 1-finger, off-white head that drops to about 1/2-finger and leaves really good, sticky rings. The body is a clean, copper color with medium carbonation.

S- Initial caramel malts and soft, floral hops. Not bad, not overly remarkable either. Aroma becomes more pronounced and iviting as the beer warms slightly.

T- Well balanced flavor. More of the caramel malts mentioned in the aroma, with citrus-like hops. It has a bit of a "bite" that seems out of place. I expected things to be a bit more on the "mellow" side.

M- A little too fizzy for my tastes. Carbonation and hopping provide a bit of a bite to an otherwise clean feel.

D- Slightly harsh flavor and mouthfeel make it less enjoyable than I'd expect, especially for a style I consider very drinkable. All in all, not a bad beer. It's something I might pick up in a party situation, but not something I'd seek out or fit into my regular rotation.

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Photo of thebeerdoctor
4/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps there is a difference between the Gordon Biersch version and the F.X. Matt Brewing version? This American amber ale brewed in Utica, NY is a welcome affordable addition to quality beer. The use of imported dark crystal malt from England, combined with Yakima valley hops make this a very well focused ale. The gentle malt showcase ends with a bit of citrus and caramel in the finish. Very drinkable,

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love all things Kirkland and am also a big fan of Costco, but I was a little letdown by their Kirkland branded beers. These beers are being made for Costco by Gordon Biersch, and sadly that lineage is clear from the way these beers taste (ZZZZzzz). I thought the amber was the best of the ones I tried, and is a pretty nice but very middle of the road beer. Aroma is discernible, and is lightly malty and pleasant. Color is a copper color with decent head. Flavor is again lightly biscuity with a barely detectable hop note. Mouthfeel is pretty much akin to a full-calorie macro-lager.

Not bad, but I think so highly of other Kirkland products (their ham is terrific!) that I was a little let down by this line of beers. However, I felt this one was the top of the stack.

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Photo of tugdriver7
3.8/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of the four in the (mandatory) mixed case at Costco in VA (our MD stores don't sell beer... go figure). The label says "New Yorker Brewing Co." in Utica, NY; so I'm assuming a Matt (aka Saranac) connection. That's good because if this beer is any indication of quality (and Matt is involved so it can't be bad), being able to get decent craft brew for less than $4.75 a six pack is almost ridiculously cheap.

This one poured dark gold to orange (yes, true "amber" color--like the petrified amber we could find washed up on the beach as a kid), with a slight haze and gorgeous tan head that laced nicely throughout. All malt in the nose--a clean, rich smell that carried into the initial taste as residual sweetness. Then a clean almost Marzen-like flavor that mellowed into a oh very slight bitter aftertaste. Nothing fancy, nothing too complex, but coupled with light to moderate mouthfeel, a very drinkable and refreshing beer with no real negatives except the fact that you have to buy in bulk, in a mixed pack.

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Photo of spencerw
3.04/5  rDev -5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer poured a copper red brew with a 1 inch head that disappeared very quickly. Little to no lacing was present.

S: Not a whole lot going on here. Subtle smell of ester hops, piney and perhaps again- a subtle hint of perhaps some toasty malt.

T: Not a bad brew. Nutty, toasty and a little hop finish. Nothing to get real excited about. Clean and crisp.

M: Thin body. Not much going on here at all.

D: You could get down with these as a good session beer. It's very clean, crisp and does carry a good balance.

Overall- $17.00 for a case; what more could you ask for. Not to bad.

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.42/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a darker amber with a fair head and lace. Smell of sweet malts with dark fruit notes. Taste has the sweetness of the malts that taste lightly burned, prunes with mild hops. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Not to bad of a brew overall although it could use a little smoothing out.

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Photo of dudecandle
3.22/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark near-brown body, thin cap on pour, disappeared very quickly, tiny wisps left around the top.

S: Very uneventful. Not much happening at all, but a slightly nutty foreshadowing of the taste.

T: Considerably nutty, toasted with a good bready character. Slightly smokey. Nonetheless, all these features are rather weak. Hops are near absent, but out of a Costco Amber, I wasn't expecting much hop character as it was. A bit metallic, like the rest of the Costco brews.

M: Thin, really lacking in the body category.

D: It lacks complexity, it lacks the looks, but it's miles ahead of the other Kirkland products, nonetheless. Unlike their others, it doesn't have a horrible skunkiness to itself. Drinkable, yes. Ideal, not in the least.

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Photo of Suds
3.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a 12 ounce bottle, this beer is a transparent brownish-amber color. Slight head - just some wisps and a faint foam ring. The aroma is malt forward, with a nutty, slightly woody, roasted character. Some caramel. Decent smell. There is a little hop in the background as well. The taste is well balanced. This is a flavorful, and well rounded beer. Nothing really outstanding, though, and a little light in mouthfeel. Still, much better than I expected.

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Photo of bonkers
3.45/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. The brew pours a light, clear amber with a thin white head. The aroma is nutty, bready. The flavor follows, slightly sweet grainy flavors. IMO the beer is a bit too thin, but it is an easy drinker. This is more of a gateway beer than any thing else and a decent value for the price, but not something to seek out.

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Photo of dbmcrorie
3.75/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown long neck bottle from 24 mix pack. No freshness date on bottle. Poured into regular drinking glass (lack of options).

Copper brown body with orange hues, mostly translucent. White creamy head with very sticky lacing around the glass. Quite enjoyable to look at actually.

Plenty of crystal and roasted malts providing hints of chocolate and strong notes of caramel in the nose. Sneaky hints of smokey peat hiding in the corners from - what I can only imagine are - Yakima Valley hops. Slight bready yeast notes here and there. Hints of roasted nuts in the finish.

Funky metallic notes around the edges of the tongue. Interesting malt lets the tongue ponder nutty flavors, toasted bread, biscuit, toffee, and faint smoke. Hop bitterness in the finish with a dry aftertaste of almonds and toasted grain. Oily mouthfeel and heavy effervescence.

Not amazing, but decent amber and tasty for the price. I'd say this is one of the better of the four Kirkland Signature brews. But in the end, I'd rather pick something else - even if it meant spending a few more bucks.
Would pair well with anything smokey such as fish or barbecue. Would also do nicely with some strong creamy cheeses.


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Photo of Arbitrator
2.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. Part of my friend's curiosity over what I thought about the Kirkland Series.

A: Pours a clear, deep amber color with orange highlights in the glass. Develops a nice head that retains for barely 30 seconds, receding into a ring on the glass with flecks of lacing here and there.

S: Not pungent. Requires some agitation to bring it out, but I get nuts, grain, caramel, some chocolate. Shaping up to be a decent amber so far. Just needs more aromaticity.

T: A fairly watery flavor that lacks punch. I taste what I smell: caramel is strongest, along with nuts, grains, and possibly chocolate somewhere underneath it all. There appear to be hops in here too, manifesting as an earthy undercurrent.

M: Thin-medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. The flavor is trying to go places, but fizzles in many of the swigs.

D: One of the better bottles in the series, but I'd rather spring for something else.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.78/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been curious about the KS 24 pack from Costco for a while, so I finally went ahead and bought the case, too tempted by the $17 price tag.

Pours into a pint glass a typical and attractive rich amber color, orange highlights, it seems on the dark side of the style. Pretty good off-white head diminishes rapidly to a thin ring that leaves a little bit of lace.

Smells are not over-abundant, but they're good when I concentrate on inhaling them out of the glass. Nutty, grainy malts and maybe just a bit of chocolate and possibly some dark fruit? I wish the aromas had more intensity, they're enticing, but too scant.

Flavors are a similar story--for the quality they seem to lack some oomph. Solid malty nuttiness, just a bit of sweetness that balanced out by ample bittering for a mainstream amber. Along with bittering hops, I notice just a bit of earth in the hops as well. I'm still intrigued by a bit of yeast flavors going on that somehow isn't surprising, having heard some about Gordon Biersch's head brewer being trained as a brewer in Germany. (hopefully that's true and I'm not mixing up my Southern California breweries)

Medium body and a fairly long finish round out the beer pretty well. Carbonation seems adequate.

This beer seems like it can't make up its mind from being an easy-drinking unmemorable gateway beer to a really quality Amber that stands out from a crowded pack. If the aroma and flavors stayed the same but upped the intensity, it would be up there with some of the best ambers I've had. However, making the flavors a little more mainstream, knocking back the bitterness and ABV some seems like it would fit better with the idea of an inexpensive case of session craft beer. Either way, it's worth a try in my opinion. If the other styles pan out, I'll be getting the case again for sure.

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Kirkland Signature Amber Ale from Kirkland Signature / Costco Wholesale Corporation
3.2 out of 5 based on 190 ratings.
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