Live Oak Big Bark Amber Lager | Live Oak Brewing Company

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Live Oak Big Bark Amber LagerLive Oak Big Bark Amber Lager

Brewed by:
Live Oak Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Pegasus on 04-30-2003

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Reviews: 49 | Ratings: 214
Photo of kojevergas
2.75/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Served on-draught into a pilsner glass at Stubbs BBQ here in Austin, Texas. Reviewed from notes taken a few weeks back. This was my first Live Oak beer. Reviewed as an amber lager because it identifies as such.

A: No bubble show.

Pours no head whatsoever. Body colour is a clear pilsner yellow/straw yellow. No yeast particles are visible. Not at all amber in colour, and frankly it's not much to look at. Vibrance is average.

Sm: Pilsner malts and clean barley are the only notes my broken nose detects. All apologies, lads. No yeast or alcohol is detectable. Bland and boring. A light aroma.

T/Mf: Crisp as hell. Spring water, clean barley, pilsner malts, straw. Any hopping is purely preservative. Painfully simple, and in no way an amber (whether ale or lager). It doesn't even resemble a Vienna lager. Boring and bland, but approachable I guess. No yeast or alcohol comes through. No complexity or subtlety here.

Smooth, wet, sharp, and a biteen biting. Too heavy on the palate for the style. Has a decent body. Doesn't complement the flavour profile well.

Dr: Downable but disappointing, especially for my first Live Oak beer. I wouldn't get it again. I'm hoping this is just a fluke; I was really looking forward to trying Live Oak beers while living in Austin. Boring and bland, but kind of refreshing. Enjoyable but generic. Lacks real character; uninspired.

High C-

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.03/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried on tap @ Dancing Bear on Bastille Day 2009.

Poured in a Fireman 4 glass. Small light tan head. Lightly carbonated. Clear orange brown color. Faint caramel malt smell. Starts with some caramel nuttiness, turning slightly astringent. A little vegetal. Med body. Finish gives the slightest bit of hops on the back of your tongue. Med alcohol.

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Photo of jamescain
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass at the Draught house.

Appearance: Red-orange with a white head around a finger thick that fades into a thin lacing.

Aroma: Malty sweetness, with a burnt grain aroma in the background.

Taste: Sweet from the malts and slightly roasted. Nothing spectacular, but not bad by any means, just kind of bland like most beers of the style.

Mouthfeel: Light body with medium carbonation and a relatively dry finish.

Overall: Honestly I’m not that big a fan of brown ales or amber ales and this one was no exception. It didn’t do much to separate itself from the pack. I always enjoy Live Oak’s beers so I was slightly disappointed by this offering.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.07/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Flying Saucer here in Houston...

Appearance: The beer pours completely still. Since there is so little going on, you can tell that it is slightly cloudy. The beer is a light amber color.

Aroma: There is some sweet caramel with a mild hop presence. There is an acidic roast-like presence here that is unusual for such a light beer. The caramel gets more noticeable as the beer warms up some. As it warms further, there are more esters from fermentation coming out.

Taste: Malt leads the flavor, but there is an unavoidable metallic note to the beer. The caramel is there along with a mild toasty presence. There are hops present in this beer, but they come across to me as being primarily British varieties. There is malt in the finish that is only challenged by the bitterness, but the malt stays in charge. The beer finishes pretty wet and medium bodied.

Opinion: This was an OK beer, but there were a couple off flavors to add to the lack of carbonation that was disappointing. Perhaps I had a dirty glass as I saw latter pours that had more head retention. I would like to try this beer again at the brewery to make sure that I was getting what they intended to be poured.

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Photo of kindestcut
3.19/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Addison, TX Flying Saucer.

A pretty beer with a dark amber hue, the Live Oak Big Bark Amber looks like everything I would want in an amber lager. However, it turns out that this is a mediocre beer in a good beer's clothing.

OK, that may be a little dramatic but lets look at my tasting. The beer looked nice. The head was nearly gone by the time my bar wench brought the glass.

The aroma was dominated by sweet malt, although the nose was not very noticable at all. The flavor continued the sweet aroma from nose to mouth. This is a very sweet beer. I found that the sweetness you'd expect from an amber is not balanced by the distant hops that seemed to be swallowed by the malt.

This beer could have been so much better if the hops were more discernable. Otherwise, this is a sweet lager that seems more like an Oktoberfest to me.

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Photo of beerdiablo
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

“Don’t look for Live Oak at 7-11 anytime soon” remarked brewer Chip McElroy when asked if his draught only offerings were going to be bottled.

Focus is a good thing.

Live Oak’s Big Bark Amber Lager is a bolder Amber lager with some combat going on between the malt and hops as noted by other reviewers. This beer won’t please everyone but still holds up with Live Oak’s quality standards.

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Photo of zac16125
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass

This one was sent to me as an extra in a trade. Apparently this was hand bottled by a Live Oak Brewery employee, who was a friend of the trader. Must be something thats done fairly commonly as they have labeled caps. Thanks to Zadavis for sending over this bottle from a brewery that doesn't bottle!

A: Pours a crystal clear light amber with 1.5 fingers width of ivory colored head. Leaves no appreciable lacing.

S: Some caramel malt, citrus, tart apple. Not much going on here but whats there smells nice.

T: Caramel malts, some estery banana flavors, mild tart note, some bready yeast.

M/D: A rather light body but with a somewhat sticky/syrupy mouthfeel. Drinkability is fair.

O: Overall, rather unremarkable. I dont think Id drink this one again. Not that it was bad, but it certainly nothing special. Glad I was able to try a beer that is usually not available to me though.

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Photo of tronester
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber in color. Smells of toffee, and a hint of cinnamon. Taste is light grainup front followed by caramel and finishes with oaky smoke. Mouthfeel is smooth low carbonation. A pretty good beer, somewhat bland though. I like their Hefei much more than I like this beer personally.

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Photo of ElCommodoro
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very pretty amber with no head. Flavour profile is well balanced, fresh-tasting and all around decent, but nothing particularly interesting. Tastes like lots of other local ambers. The fresh hops are not really something I'm particular fond of, but it adds a nice fresh, fruity, bitterness a lot of people might like. It's just not something I'm personally a fan of.

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Photo of Redrover
3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was able to sample this one at the Elephant Room in Austin. Cool subterranean bar on Congress & 6th.

It was served in a standard pint. The beer is a translucent brownish amber with a tan head. Great lacing.

Malts and something sweet (brown sugar?) on the nose. It could be amped up a bit.

The taste is pleasant with slightly toasted grains, a bit of sweetness and a finish of weak plums.

The mouth is smooth, could be a session beer, but I would want something a bit more bold.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

nothing particularly interesting from a good local brewery. pour is amber and expected. head wasn't particularly rich... a tad off in color from white. not particularly hoppy nose and something that come out to be something dry and peppery. palate has the bitter and a very thin malt character. seemed like a thinned out pale ale. no fruit. no broadness in palate just a tad bitter and carbonated.

with that said... don't go to cane and abel's in austin. it a waste of time. had it again in much better quality but still nothing equal to their other beers.

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Photo of
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear, copper colored beer, with a medium, off-white head.

Malt won out over hops in the aroma and came through as a caramel scent. Hop presence was grassy and floral.

Taste was again tilted towards the malt, nutty, sweet and honey like in character. Hops pick up a bit and balance with just a bit of bitterness. Trying to leave my hop-head bias aside, I still felt that this beer could have used a bit more for balance.

Light in body, with medium to high carbonation. Very refreshing.

Very sessionable and pretty tasty. If you like a beer with a fairly low hop profile, and a nice flavor, this should do the trick for you.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Quite clear medium copper color with a small off-white head, which quickly collapses to a small collar. A few fat bubbles rise lazily to the surface throughout.

Aroma: Robust toasted malt with assertive bitter grapefruit notes.

Taste: Begins with toasted malts, which turn mildly sweet midway through the taste, mild alcohol notes also appear. Finishes with sharply bitter grapefruit hops that linger on well past the end of the taste.

Mouth feel: Not exceptional, but smooth and pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: A bit off-trail with respect to the hoppiness to judge by the amber ales that I have sampled, but nonetheless tasty and quite drinkable. Reviewed on tap at Waterloo Icehouse in Austin, Texas.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at The Holy Grail Pub in Plano, TX.

A: Pours a crystal clear amber with light amounts of visible carbonation. There is a thin off white head that has very little retention and moderate amounts of lacing.

S: Slight aromas of bready malts with hints of spices and caramel.

T: Beautiful malty sweetness with a pleasant lingering bitterness in the finish. Hints of toffee and caramel.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp.

O: Very enjoyable and a decent example for the style. The lingering bitterness (it lingers for quite a while) makes the beer not very sessionable. But I would enjoy this beer at another opportunity, just not many of them in a sitting.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A thin, off-white head that had begun to dissipate even as it was being served to me. Color was a medium-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was fairly sweet for a lager-style beer. Mouthfeel was medium with a good bit of sweetness on the tongue. Finish remained sweet. Decent, but not compelling.

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Photo of fjordhook
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a dark amber color, minimal head, with a transparent body. Smells were abundant with malts, low in hops. Compared to other amber lagers I've tasted, the malts weren't overpowering. The taste was bitter with malts, but it wasn't an uncomfortable bitterness. Was a smooth drink overall. This is not a style I'm very particular of, but this was definitely one of the better ones I've had.

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Photo of drunkboxer1
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smells of citrusy (grapefruit?) American hops and maybe a little caramel from the malt. Taste is dominated by big hop flavor with a little caramel adding some balance. The mouthfeel is thin, making it good for washing down a meal. An alright beer but a little one dimensional.

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Photo of champ103
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a translucent amber/reddish color. A small one finger white head forms, and recedes in an instant. Light lace is left behind.
S: At first a large whiff of brewers yeast. Some sweet caramel malt and piny, citrus, and grassy hops.
T: Sweet caramel malt. Some grassy and piny hops. Fairly standard.
M/D: A medium body that is a little over carbonated for my tastes. I did not have any problems drinking this. Something I can session.

There is just not a lot here. I can't see reaching for this over the Hefe. Though, worth at least one try.

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Photo of BrotherDarryl
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After drinking the belgian ale, this is one is a refreshing light beer. The beertender reminds me this is not a light beer. The color is amber. There was a good head on it after the pour that is gone now. It has a decent finish. Easy to drink with an ale-like bitter taste I like. I could drink quite a few of these, me thinks!

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Photo of TheMistler
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at the Ginger Man, Austin. Poured a clear, nutty brown. Copper. Creamy, latte foam of a head. Nice cap after middling retention. Lacing leaves behind interspersed walls and spider webs.

Caramel and chocolate malts. Nougat, maybe. Fairly sweet, but with hints of grass and grapefruit tang.

Crisp, finishing fairly bitter - hoppier than I expected from the nose. Subdued caramel, with the slightest hint of chocolate. The malts are the predominant flavors up front but are quickly supplanted (though not _completely_ overrun) by floral and citrus hops. Sweetness makes a a decent stab at reasserting itself, but the aftertaste is almost all hops, with a bitter resin presence.

Creamy feel with lots of restrained CO2 prickliness throughout. Pretty easy drinking.

A nice amber lager, with a tasty hop assertiveness that - while welcome - might give this beer a just slightly unbalanced quality.

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Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Gingerman in Dallas. Served in a pint glass, clear amber with a short white head.

The aroma is full of smooth caramel malts. The flavor matches with the same caramel and bread, but with a dry, almost burnt toffee note. The beer finishes with grassy bitterness, its not big, but its the most prominent taste.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Buffalo Billiard's in downtown Austin. Not a great lineup, but at least this was something I hadn't had before.

A: Poured a translucent dark amber body. The head was a finger of off-white foam that receded quickly into a donut, and left a few drabs of lacing down the sides of the glass. For a beer of this style, kind of average.

S: Toasted caramel malt, grain, and nuts. Not all that pungent.

T: Much breadier than the nose implied, and this dominated the taste along with grain and nuts. Caramel came near the end of the taste. It had a malty, but clean finish with a distinctly nutty aftertaste. I got a very light hop bitterness, but I couldn't place the flavor -- earthy, I suppose.

M: Light-bodied, medium carbonation. It went down smoothly.

D: I liked it, didn't love it.

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Photo of dill
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served on tap in a pint glass.

A - a deep amber color with a cream head.

S - a bit of sweetness, perhaps caramel.

T - a little bit of sweetness in the taste as well with the malt coming through as well.

M - medium bodied.

D - this is a really nice amber from a great brewery, but i was hoping they would do even better with this style.

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Photo of armock
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured an amber color with an off white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of sweet malt some caramel scents

T - Follows the nose with the sweet caramel malt

M - This beer has a lighter body with lighter carbonation to it

D - Overall this is a good sessionable beer it has a good taste thats easy to drink not the first Live Oak beer I'd pick but a good one thats worth a try sometime

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.65/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a shiny amber with an average-sized, light brown head. The aroma is of lightly toasted malt, pretty good, but not quite rich enough. Taste is more of the same, the strength of the malts seems to be just a little weak for the style. A little graininess does give the flavor another facet. Looking at the other reviews it seems to have been hoppier in the past or I got a weird batch. Anyway, this beer seems taylored for session drinking, but cannot compete in taste with some of the maltier ambers.

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Live Oak Big Bark Amber Lager from Live Oak Brewing Company
3.71 out of 5 based on 214 ratings.
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