Sundog Amber Ale | New Holland Brewing Company

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Sundog Amber AleSundog Amber Ale

Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.25%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2002

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Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 465
Photo of sullysbeer
1.86/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Aroma: Malty Sweet with a gentle piney hop aroma. Has a phenolic aroma

Appearance: Deep golden with a reddish hue-ruby like. White head retention that falls.

Flavor: Malty flavor. Has a "band-aid-like" or medicinal flavor. Just like, literally, chewing on a band aid, nasty! Piney bitterness and is hard to pick up on any other flavors because the band aid flavor is masking them.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied Ale

Overall Impression: This beer is obviously infected some how, however, these guys are EXCELLENT BREWERS and would continue to purchase their beers.

Phenolics are more prominent as an off-aroma, but also are imparted in the flavor of beer. It is described as medicinal, band-aid-like, smoky, clove-like, and plastic-like. Except in certain styles where small amounts are appropriate, phenols are hugely unacceptable. There are many sources of contamination:

* Chlorophenols exist in municipal water supplies and residue from chlorine-based sanitizers. They can affect beer in parts-per-billion (ppb)! Avoidance of both should be given; find a substitute water supply and avoid chlorine-based sanitizers altogether.

* Phenols extracted from malt during the mash and sparge are polyphenols, also called tannins. They interact with proteins to form chill or permanent haze. If oxidized through hot-side aeration, they create oxidized fusel alcohols. Proper sparging, and avoidance of excessive sparging can reduce the phenolic production. Also, sparge water should be low in alkalinity, and not in excess of 167°F. Likewise, extract brewers should avoid boiling grains.

* Phenols are also derived from certain yeast strains that produce aromatic alcohols. Bavarian wheat beers produce acceptable levels of phenols by creating 4-vinyl guaiacol that results in a pleasing clovelike phenolic tone under the correct conditions. Careful selection of yeast can eliminate undesired affects.

* Wild yeast contamination can harbor within plastic-based equipment, such as polyethylene fermenters and plastic hoses. These materials as soft and permeable, hence difficult to clean. Wild yeasts such as S. diatatius produce minor wort phenols that impart medicinal off-flavors. Migration to glass and stainless replacements are the best solution. Also check for defective bottle caps.

* Smoky phenols are a byproduct of smoked malts, such as in Rauchbier, and Scotch ales. Low amounts are appropriate, but excess use of malt can be overbearing.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
2.05/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into my beer mug, pours a really dark brown, not what I expected from something labeled an "Amber Ale" Very thin foam head.
Smell like a fruity IPA.
Tastes strong bitter of hops, like an IPA would. Not too familiar with Amber Ales but this doesn't taste like ones I've had.
Despite the strong bitter flavor mild carbonation makes it smooth.
Overall: Like most "craft" beers I keep trying it's too strong with the hops, and I'm not an IPA person.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.16/5  rDev -39%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Pours a clearish amber body with a foamy white head.

Smell: Light aroma of toasted malts and equally light hops.

Taste: Caramel malts and, ugh, unfortunately what I suspect to be a little DMS (and a little DMS goes a long way).

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Its no wonder that Sundog looks so forlorn and inconsolable.

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Photo of ibashmuck
2.18/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Poured a nice amber/orange with medium head. The smell is very light, and the taste is more or less the same. Some bitterness, but otherwise, nothing really to write about. The mouth feel was the same, nothing left over in there at all. Not bad, per se, just boring.

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Photo of mhowell
2.53/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice amber color. Came out with a thick beige head and held it. Carbonated as hell. Decent body, but had a dry, metallic, bitter aftertaste that killed it for me. As it warms up from 55°, the aftertaste is diminishing, a little. I am having a hard time finishing this one. My first beer of '05. Hope the year gets better.

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Photo of MillRat
2.53/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours with a nice coppery color, similar to a Marzen. A thin just off-white head fades fast. The aroma is pretty powerfully hoppy, mainly citrusy american hops, and good biscuity malts, too. The flavor lives up to the aroma's promise, but then throws a lot of cloying sweetness in that the toastier malt flavors and hop bitterness fail to balance. This creates a heavy mouthfeel that loiters, rather than just lingers. I was done with this beer flavor-wise before I was done with the bottle. A significant reduction in the heavy. sweet body would go long way to making this a more enjoyable brew.

Even though the BJCP style guidlines are merely guidelines, they do manage to define some palatable beers. I have doubts that this beer comes near the 1.010 to 1.015 FG that BJCP recommends for American Amber Ale, and it is the worse off for it.

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Photo of cabsandking
2.61/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice orange color with quite a bit of floaties and a very thin white lace. Aromas are scant; bitter hops, mild fruity malt, and some florals. Flavor is on the hoppier side with notes that are bitter, dry and some lemon, grass towards the end. Roasted grains, bisquity notes for balance but really lacking in depth. Medium body, descent mouthfeel with a good creamy carbonation. Dry, sugary, light graininess, and a touch of pine in the finish.

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Photo of jackndan
2.63/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sundog Amber: Brownish colored beer with a very nice head and nice lacing. My notes indicate that this was, of all things, a tea flavored beer. Think liptons iced tea, and you’re getting warmer. This “beer” had a flat uninspiring taste, not much going on here. Not so good.

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Photo of Jpatrix
2.64/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled at brewery.
A = A nice looking amber but light in color. Small head with quick disapperaing head.
S = A light smokey flavor but not overly impressive.
T = Not bad but a bit thin.
MF = Thin on flavor and a bit "bitey"
OA = Not overly impressed but not that bad.

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Photo of SierraFlight
2.66/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours orange-amber with thin head. Chocolate and citrus notes on the nose. Those flavors carry over, plus lots of sweet maltiness. Appealing mouthfeel, but mediocre overall.

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Photo of salvo
2.8/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sundog is a lighter fizzy red beer. Off-white head quickly vanishes with little trace; red-brown liquid. Roasty and malty as well as mildly sour. Not much in the way of hops. Or other flavors. Or complexity. Ends with roasty malt. A little disappointing.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.84/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Copper colored body, much like a PA, maybe a little darker. Creamy white head.

Smell: Lightly metallic, with some malty sweetness. A little grassy, too.

Taste: Big biscuit malt flavors, fruity and full. Does need a bigger hop punch, and the sweetness gets a little obnoxious after a while. Not a bad tasting beer, just not up to par with the style.

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Photo of TLove
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a hefeweizen glass. 12 oz bottle from mix pack I bought at Pauls in DC. Should not really be in a FALL mix pack (think pumpkin ale, porter, brown ale, oktoberfest, dunkel), but then again, neither should the kolsch.

Decent, amber-mahogony color with a 1/2 finger head and a dissipative head. Reddish molasses scent with a bit of rye and under-ripened cranberries. Slight citrus taste, with some brown sugar and honey. Very dry to the mouth. Its a little sweet on the front end, but pulls back pretty hard as the carbonation falls back. Slight maltiness, but doesnt dominate. Nice, crisp finish, but nothing remarkable here.

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Photo of tectactoe
2.9/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pretty clear and clean amber/light copper color with a small white head that left nice lacing on the glass. This one smells like a fairly generic amber ale, with lots of malt, caramel, and a toasted biscuit backbone. Along the way, you may pick up very, very slight floral notes and hops, but it is very faint. Unfortunately, I'm picking up a kind of weird, off-putting smell; metallic, and even a little "sweaty". Not sure what the deal is there, but it really came through during the last half of the beer. However, it has a pretty nice flavor: caramel, biscuits, malts, maybe even a bit of toasted barley. Near the end, some ever-so-slight fruity hints popped out, but remained fairly sheltered. Just a tad of sweetness and an average amount of carbonation give a little itty-bitty bite on the back of the tongue as this one washes down. Fairly thin body all around.

Not bad, but not very good either. One of my least favorite brews from New Holland, I would most likely pass this beer up next time, only because there are probably better options available where this can be had.

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Photo of psinderson
2.97/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Light brown, almost burnt orange color...clear. Very thin, tan head that disappeared quickly. A little bittle of lacing down the glass.

Smell: Very light aroma. Mostly caramel malt with some apple-like fruitiness. Slight toasted grain background.

Taste: Lacks any kind of complexity up front. Towards the end, a mild toastiness and sweetness is evident. This has a nice roasted hop finish, though. The aftertaste sticks around a while and eventually turns to a corn-like astringency.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Could use slightly more carbonation. Slightly astringent on the tongue.

Drinkability. Unfortunately, the atringent, corn-like aftertaste builds up and hurts the drinkability. This beer is otherwise clean.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a somewhat hazy orange to amber color.Little head that quickly fades.Very little aroma.Nice full malt flavor upfront.Slight hop bitterness in the finish.Some slight notes of caramel.Very nice full body.A decent amber-would make a good session beer.

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Photo of scott
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark amber with nice frothy head that lingers and sheets nicely.
Nice sweet floral and bready nose.
Taste is rather unspectacular, but I'm not the biggest amber fan.
Creamy-to-dry (if that's possible) finish after a spritsy pull.
Easy to drink, but not what I would consider thirst quenching, nor does it have any complexity that draws you in to want more than a bottle if different bottles were available.
Edit-Drinking another one today, and I just don't like it. Taste is too strong with a pine/grasscuttings character.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one says theres biscuit in there. I hope its not too much, as I can only handle so much. The beer pours a hazy golden color (where's the amber?) with a finger of head that falls to ring the beer. The nose is not bad...there is definately biscuit malt in there, but a sweet orange and caramel tone running behind it to bring in some sweetness. The flavor is dominated with the biscuit, but there is a good orange sweetness and earthy hop splashed in there to give it a little balance. The feel is moderate to thick. A little more body would be good, but just a little. Drinkability suffers from the dominant biscuit character in my mind. Overall a good beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at New Holland last week. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate amber color with a thin off-white head and some good lacing. The nose carries a bit of bready malt without too much else. Slight bit of earthy hops. Flavor has an amber-malt base and a slight biscuity chewiness. Other than that, not much going on. Pretty plain. Light-medium body.

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Photo of paperbackfoster
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a ruddy amber. Somewhat lively body carbonation, but head doesn't come up past a half finger and recedes quickly.

Smells faintly of caramel and toffee with a bit of a grassy or rye note. Emphasis on faintly. Taste is similar, a little biscuity, an almost cherry sweetness rounding out the malt. This one feels a little dry, a little chewy.

Overall, a short review does it justice. A little earthy, a little sweet, but mostly just an average amber. Not bad, but I think there are better beers to sate an amber craving.

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Photo of russpowell
3.09/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an effervescent amber with 3+ fingers of cream colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Bready & malty notes, plus a touch of pear

T Woody & herbal hopa, faint musty grain, dryness, pears up front. leafy hops, apricots & woody hops as this warms. Finishes with a lot of dryness from woody hops, plus a touch of fruittyness

MF: Medium bodied with firm carbonation, starts thinning out as this warms, okay balance

A very run of the mill amber, glad I got this as part of mixed sixer

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Photo of nickfl
3.09/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours with one finger of white foam on top of a clear, amber brown body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lacing on the glass.

S - Rich toffee malt with a touch of herbal hops and toasted grain.

T - Toasty malt up front with some spicy hops. Soft malt with a touch of wheat like character in the middle and a finish of toast and light bitterness,

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry but flabby finish.

D - There is something off about the malt character of this beer. Too much dry toast and an oddly bready thing in the finish, not something I would drink again.

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Photo of Grundle20
3.1/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It looks amber and that's about the long and the short of it. There in no head, no sediment, and no lacing. Just amber.

The scent is an odd malt smell of spent markers and boot leather. It's not bad, and it's not good, but it's certainly odd.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
This is a first, this beer actually tastes like leather smells. I'm not hating it too much but I'm having a hard time adjusting to this truly unusual flavor. It's like a bitter chocolate malt taste with a slight yeast funk character thrown in. All taste abnormalities aside the beer drinks pretty smooth. Upon finish, my mouth is left polluted with a heavy malt deposit which carries long in to the finish.

I have a feeling if I could get past how this beer tastes I would probably rate it higher here, but it's just hard to get around how weird it is.

Bottom Line:
Maybe it's old, but the bottle I'm currently reviewing is straight up odd tasting. Not necessarily bad and I see it's potential but I can only judge the beer I'm drinking.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.1/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a copper color. Thin white head doesn't stick around long. Not much lacing.

Not much going on in the nose. Kind of sweet. Malty with no detectable hop presence.

Flavor follows suit. The initial taste makes me think there might be some kind of citrusy hop note, but nope. Just a light sweetness, followed by toasted grain/malt. Dries out at the end.

Body is on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation seems appropriate. All in all, a pretty boring beer. The only thing I've had from New Holland so far that hasn't been very good.

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Photo of EmGM
3.12/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: deep amber color
Smell: a little nutty, deeper smell, a tad hoppy (not expected)
Taste: a tad hoppy (not what I expected), malty, nutty, deeper flavors that i didn't really expect the richer flavors based on the color
Aftertaste: deeper flavors linger for a while
Overall: not what I was expecting, was a tad disappointed but overall an ok tasting beer. not my favorite.

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Sundog Amber Ale from New Holland Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 465 ratings.
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