Saint Arnold Amber Ale | Saint Arnold Brewing Company

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Saint Arnold Amber AleSaint Arnold Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Saint Arnold Amber Ale is the brewery's flagship product and first official brew. A well balanced, full flavored, amber ale, it has a rich, malty body with a pleasant caramel character derived from a specialty Caravienne malt. A complex hop aroma, with a hint of floral and citrus comes from a combination of Cascades and Liberty hops. It has a rich, creamy head with a fine lace. The light fruitiness, characteristic of ales, is derived from a proprietary yeast strain.

Added by kbub6f on 12-11-2001

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Reviews: 186 | Ratings: 505
Photo of brentk56
3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden color (which was a surprise for an amber), with a modest head that disappears fairly quickly without much of a trace

Smell: Surprisingly hoppy, with pineapple and lemon esters

Taste: While the pineapple and lemon flavors parade themselves from the outset, the malt base here is very sweet, almost sugary; after the swallow, the sweetness tends to overwhelm the bitter flavors

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink, but ultimately a bit disappointing after the anticipation generated from the smell; a nice crossover beer

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Photo of kojevergas
2.5/5  rDev -30%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

02.02.15: Brief impressions below. Full review to follow.

Screw-top, eh? Interesting...

I bought this 6 pack for $8.00 USD at a Target. In hindsight, I find that vaguely depressing.

Healthy white head. Foamy and frothy and that.

Body is clear as hell. Pale copper.

Aroma is shockingly buttery to the point it evokes diacetyl. Equally shocking is the absence of any amber malt whatsoever, let alone toastiness or caramel. How is this an amber? It reeks of ESB-meets-pale lager. Ugh. Weird notes of peanut butter and starch do it no favours.

Buttery and pale-centric, with no amber malts at all and frankly no amber ale characteristics whatsoever. Oddly grainy and light-bodied, with strange English leanings. If I tried this blind, I'd swear English yeast was used. A faint hint of Nutter Butter throws me. Not sure what they're after with this one, but frankly it's rather crappy for an ostensible amber.

Not undrinkable. Certainly below average. An across-the-board failure at its intended style.

High D+ (2.5)


Colour is anything but amber. A clear yellow-copper at best, with an above average head.

Aroma is flat, with helles malts and diacetyl. Below average strength.

Taste is simple and generic. Helles malts, starch, diacetyl, cream, flaked barley. There's nothing going on here. Shallow as a beer can be. Below average duration and intensity of flavour. Has no amber malts or hop character. Lacks balance. Not a gestalt build, nor an intricate one. Why brew this?

Texture is smooth, wet, unrefreshing, and light-bodied. Okay overall presence on the palate. Adequately carbonated. This mouthfeel fails to elevate the beer, and doesn't accentuate any notes in the flavour profile at all.

It's a downable brew, I guess. I won't be buying it again. Even for Saint Arnold, this is shockingly forgettable. And if they're actually going for an amber, this is flat-out pathetic. Is the whole "amber ale" label just a marketing gimmick? A new low in terms of market presence from one of Texas' most whorishly business-focused breweries.


.3.16.15: Upon reconsideration, this beer doesn't warrant a full review. Brief notes from a third bottle listed below:

A: 4 inches wide. White colour. Average thickness, fullness, etc.

Body is a clear copper of average vibrance. No yeast or hop sediment is visible.

Sm: Not an amber at all. Light starchy malts provide the only note, insipid as they are.

T: Shallow and insipid, with a subtle starchy Belgian edge.


D+ (2.5)

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Photo of mothman
2.81/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewery into a pint glass.

Pours ½ finger of white head. Color is a clear straw yellow. Decent retention leaving some lace. Not very amber in color.

Aroma: Straw, grains, corn, earthy hops. Very boring.
Taste: More flavors here. Fresh floral hops with some hop bite. Has a bit of citrus as well. Bready malts and some biscuit. Grain and corn. Kind of macro like.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and dry. Lighter bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very bland and it lingers on and on.

Overall, the nose was very weak, but at least it had a little taste. Drank kind of like a pale ale. Not bad, but I would have never guessed it to be an amber.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This flagship ale from Houston, Texas' first microbrewery is a winner to be sure. Its crystal-clear, deep-golden/amber body rests gently beneath a short head of off-white foam as tiny bubbles slide steadily upwards. The retention in the head is fair, and it leaves minor lacing about the glass. In the aroma, lush, caramel-splashed malts combine with bright notes of floral and citrus-kissed hops. The body is decidedly medium; and it's crisp on the tongue with a fine-bubbled, median-level carbonation from bottle-conditioning. A touch of huskiness, a solid bitterness, and some prominent floral/spicy/piney/citrusy hops balance its rich malt in the flavor, leaving it to finish dry with a lingering bitterness and some swirling hop flavors. Saint Arnold's Amber is a well made, uncompromising, deftly-balanced, richly malty and boldly hopped ale that's sure to please. Certainly worth trying for fans of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and New Belgium's Fat Tire.

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

Acquired via trade from breity, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, nuts, some citrus and some pale hops.

T: The taste starts with a light caramel sweetness and a touch of citrus. Then a mild and pale hops bitterness comes in and provides a little bit of balance. The malt character is a little on the thin side but it brings some substance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, it's not the first beer that I would choose, but it's still a pretty decent beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.29/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy (as is the wont with Saint Arnold brews), copper body with a smallish, white head.

Smell: Pleasant mix of bready, sweet-smelling malts and floral, citrusy hops. It sounds simple, sure, but it's quite nice.

Taste: Malts tasting of sugar and caramel sweetened bread crusts. A nice, bright burst of fresh hops add flavors of citrus, flowers, and dried herbs (yielding a light spiciness). They also impart a medium, balancing bitterness. Finishes dry and with a final touch of hop bitterness, but it doesn't hang around too terribly long.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A nice, well-balanced juxtaposition of sweetish, bready malts and flavorful hops make for a rather fine amber ale. Good job, Saint Arnold and thanks again, MiguelMandingo (if that even IS his real name).

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber Ale is more tangerine than amber. After a high-altitude pour and a quick slurp of foam, a pretty snazzy looking eggshell colored crown is seen. Fine, filagreed lace sticks with tenacity... at least prior to drinking. Solid.

The nose is a good one due to one word: hops. The citrusiness of the Cascade and the herbal spiciness of the Liberty are still going strong and give this beer a leg up on most ambers. Let's hope the aroma translates, somewhat intact, to the palate.

Close, but no stogie. The toasted earthiness of the Belgian caravienne malt plays too big a role. In addition, there's more hop bitterness than hop flavor. Not that it isn't there, it just isn't as prominent as it could be. In the end, the ingredients seem to (mildly) clash rather than cooperate.

The flavor profile includes toasted bread crusts, steely caramel, bitter grapefruit pith and a peppery spiciness that could stand to be toned down. I can't believe too many non-BAs buy this stuff on a regular basis. Then again, it could be Saint Arnold's biggest seller. If you like aggressive amber ales, belly up to the bar.

The mouthfeel is very nice. It's more full than the style average and has absolutely no rough edges. It can't be easy to produce a creamy amber ale (or more breweries would do it), but these guys have managed to pull it off. Kudos.

SABC Amber Ale is a pretty good effort that, for some reason, doesn't hit me exactly right. It's a few changes away from being ready for prime time. I'm still glad I had the opportunity to give it a go. Thanks mhewes.

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Photo of smcolw
3.89/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear light amber in color (for an amber, this is lighter than most). Clear with a quick dying head and very little lace.

Solid malt aromas. Very good malty tasting ale. There are trace amounts of hop which balance the flavor. The hop flavors become stronger as I approach the swallow. The aftertaste is mostly hop. Mouthfeel: rich and round with appropriate carbonation.

This is very quaffable. The label says it isn't pasteurized, but still the beer was quite clear. Compared to the other choices readily available in Texas (at least around Houston), this may be the best offering.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received a lovely package from a new friend in Texas, which just happened to have most of the St. Arnold lineup in it. These are my favorite type of trades, as I just love being able to sample a whole lineup at once, it just makes it soo much more fun. But anyway, I just decided to start with this one and see where it goes. Poured out a very nice and somewhat hazy pale orange with a nice deep color to it. Lots of carbonation on this one was evident from the very start. Huge chains of bubbles just cascading from the bottom of the glass up towards the top, continually reinforcing the foam layer on top. There were a nice three fingers or so high layer of white foam that formed on the top almost immediately upon the pour, which was very nice to see. This settled after a few moments, but not before depositing copious amounts of side glass lace. Now, for an amber ale, I have to say this looked more like an IPA, which would suit me just fine.

The aroma was loaded down with rich hop notes. Lots of floral tones here coming off almost immediately, which again was very good to see. Rich orange and tangerine, were interlaced with a good amount of malted grain that gave it a little more depth in the overall scheme of things. Very nice blend of aromas, but still leaning heavily on the hops here for support. The flavor was spot on for an IPA, so I am not sure why it is called an amber. To be honest, I liked this one a good bit more then the IPA, as it had a nice balance to it. Some hints of cereal grains and a touch of what almost tasted like corn was floating around, but by far the most predominant flavors were that of the citrus hops. Light flavors of orange were quite sweet and light, not bending your taste buds, but definitely showing their strength here. Lots of complexity here, especially for an amber, and honestly one the easiest drinking ales I have had in quite some time. The feel was light with lots of carbonation and a very nice dry bitter finish. I have to admit I am impressed. As it warmed some light, caramel notes started poking through and this is probably where the amber ale was coming into play here.

Overall, this was a n excellent beer and really surprised me at how good it was. There is no doubt I would not turn this one down again, in fact I would make this a staple in the fridge if I could. Really a rock solid beer for sure and something I will most certainly turn to again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for the tick, Bobby.

A: The pour is a clear light amber color with a finger of off-white head that dissipates quickly.

S: Smells like a handful of gummy bears. There's a strong aroma of yeast and peaches as well, but I just can't the thought of gummy bears out of my head.

T: Sweet bready malts with a definite peach flavor. A bit of a citrus peel thing going on, floral hops, and a mild bitterness. I seem to pick up some hints of corn on the back end as well.

M: The body is medium with a high level of carbonation and a dry finish.

D: A really weird arrangement of flavors. I didn't mind it, necessarily, but I don't think I'd go for this one again.

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

Ths was the second best Saint Arnold's brew I tried on my brewery tour today. Pretty much every aspect of this beer was above average, but never ventured into being extraordinary. I could drink quite a few of these, but I wish they had served it at a slighly colder temperature considering iit is summer time. I'll probably try it in the bottle to compare.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade with texindy, thanks for the opportunity to try this beer again.

This beer turned me on to craft brewing 15 years ago when I lived in Houston, so I hold a special place in my heart for this beer.

Pours a slightly cloudy golden amber color with a fluffy white head that sticks itself to the glass all the way down the pour. Aroma is a caramel maltiness with some citrusy hops thrown in for good measure. Taste is malty with a citrusy hop bite. Carbonation is crisp, body is medium to full. Still a great brew! If I lived in Texas I would have this in my fridge always.

I remember trying this beer for the first time 15 years ago and thinking how bitter it was. Now I can barely taste the hops at all.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.69/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: rustic amber hue, with a succint, perfunctory head.
Aroma: sweetness itself, rich, malty, with precious, but lovable, fruitiness, hints of cherries, peach, melon.
Taste: light, happy hoppiness at first, then that rich maltiness continues through the flavor. Body is light to medium, medium-length finish, accompanied by continuing, delightful flavor.
Not a bad amber you've got there, Houston.
Thanks to morris729 for the bottle.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to BeerZack for this brew.

Pours a very nice clean/clear dark golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger fizzy/creamy head, which some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, very slight hop. The taste is sweet, malty, slight spice. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice amber ale.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the brewery.

The beer pours a dark yellow color, not the amber color that I was expecting. The aroma is toffee with some lemon and orange notes. The flavor has quite a bit of citrus hop character with some toffee malt as well. Low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Shows a lightly hazy, full copper color when held up to the light, otherwise it is a deep reddish copper color. The head is thin and a light tan color. The aroma is lightly spiced with hops and has hints of malt in it with notes of toasted biscuits and some caramel. The taste is dry at first but then picks up light sweetness as a solid toffee like maltiness kicks in. The is a low level of spicy hop notes here, as well as a lightly bitter finish. The hops give it flavor hints of lemon, and an herbal woody character. The malt in this seems a bit tired, perhaps some notes of stale caramel. This is actually not a bad beer, it is quite a bit more flavorful and complex than I was expecting, though it is still just an American Amber Ale.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.66/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from twiggamortis420. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1 1/2" beige head above the clear golden amber brew. Head recedes slowly, with ample chunky lace. Aroma is lightly sweet, a touch soapy. Taste medium maltiness to start, balancing bitter in the middle, tapers out to the close. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice brew.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

ballewblake was exceedingly generous, and this is yet another awesome extra he sent me. Thanks, man!

A: Not really amber, this is more of PA/IPA territory with a slightly hazy orange body capped by a thin, off-white disk. Retention is OK, and there is a little lacework too

S: Mild citrus hops with juicy tangerine and a little peach.

T: Opens up with a rather weak hop character that's mildly citrus in nature with some lemon and orange. The rest of the beer is poor, with a very watery body, not much of malt character apart from a light sweetness. The finish is acceptable, dry and mildly juicy and bitter. However, this beer is far from where it needs to be

M: Apart from the watery body, the carbonation and finish as where they need to be

D: I'm not really a fan. Not just this, but most other SA beers I've tried, too.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with JDV (thanks Deniz). No freshness dating on bottle. Underside of cap read - Twist off.

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured a translucent pale amber. Fluffy one-inch white head with good retention that eventually settled into a thin consistent layer of foam; concentric rings of lacing adhered to the side of the glass during the tasting. Lots of effervescence evident in the glass. Pleasant hoppy smell, reminiscent of Roxy Rolles (but that's pretty much where the comparison ends). Flavor was a little bland for the style - some citrus as well as hops, but very subdued. Mouthfeel was a little on the watery side, but the carbonation helped balance things out. Clean finish; not much lingers at the end with the exception of a little bit of hops bitterness. Fairly good drinkability due to the mellow nature of the brew. All and all, not a bad offering.

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Photo of maximum12
2.66/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to mhewes for sending a box with a bunch of St. Arnold goodness north during the reluctant Minnesota spring of '09.

Beer is very pretty in my New Belgium snifter, a coppery, golden amber. Very nice. Smell is slight but sweet.

Taste is a bit disjointed. The oily hops upfront are at active war with the malty sweetness that comes rushing behind it, leading to something that doesn't really taste...right. Malt is good. Hops are good. Combo is good. But there's something about these that isn't working for me. I dunno.

Straightforward enough, but the oddness lowers the drinkability for me significantly. Decent beer, but not one of the better ambers I've had.

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Photo of champ103
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a golden/orange color. A one finger white head forms and recedes in an instant to a ring. Light lace is left behind.
S: A malty aroma. Caramel and brown sugar. Some citrus hops to balance out the sweetness.
T: Manly caramel malt and some brown sugar. Again very well balanced between the citrus hops and malty flavors.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Crisp and refreshing. A great session beer. I quaff many of these at bars around Houston.

This is a very nice easy drinking session. A great local beer, and something I would recommend.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at PF Changs while the girls did their shopping. Not an unpleasant way to spend a couple hours.
In a pilsner glass the beer was a light amber color with a medium-sized white head. There was a bit of lace.
Sweet, bready aroma. Somewhat floral.
Average taste. Caramel, a hint of fruit, and just the least little hint of hops.
Nice enough beer, easy drinker.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass. No visible best before date (or, for that matter, listed ABV) but I figure the beer is about six months old. It's been in the fridge for a while.

A: Light head, very white, sticks around for a long while. Some visible bubbles. Colour is a light, golden yellow. Quite clear. Great lacing.

S: Malty-sweet with vegetal hops. Bready.

T: I suspect I waited too long to drink this one. It's goodish, but faded. Sweetness is tempered by a sourish fruit, with a touch of dryness on the end. Toasty. Hops balance things out.

M: Bready and robust, while also being vaguely watery and, not thin, but...wet. Good carbonation.

O: Good amber ale. Next time, I'll make an effort to drink it fresher. Tentatively recommended.

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Photo of ccrida
3.29/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draught at the Richmond Arms, St. Arnold's Amber is clear dark gold with a small, off-white head leaving light, scattered lace. Awfully pale for an amber, I had to double-check they brought me the right one!

Smell is soft, a little malt and herbal hops, fuggles or EKGs probably.

Taste is pretty good, balanced beer, just enough malt and hop presence to provide subtle complexity, but it's basically a english pale or even getting in to blonde territory due to the lack of malt. Amber light.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, a sessionable, well made, balanced amber. I could use more umph, it's definitely geared for the regional palate (and weather!), but there is a little more to it if you search.

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Photo of FLima
3.16/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Drank it straight from the brewery taps.
Amber color with a thin head with short retention.
Very light aroma with hints of papaya and bread malt. Maybe some cinnamon.
Flavor is bolder with predominant notes of caramels, mild spices, papaya, grains and herbal and floral hops. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Light body with good carbonation.
An amber ale that gets increasingly herbal hoppy, relatively to traditional low profilers of the style off course. Pleasant Amber Ale that is very well balanced and doesn't want to show off.
Ap.2,75 Ar.3 Sab.3,25 Sen.3,25 Cj.3,25

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Saint Arnold Amber Ale from Saint Arnold Brewing Company
3.57 out of 5 based on 505 ratings.
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