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: 50 | Ratings: 225
Photo of BayouBengal1537
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Scholz Beer Garden in Austin, Texas. Took notes on my phone
A - orangey amber color, big fluffy head that remained pretty much through whole beer
S - sweetness, caramel malts
T - Matches the caramel malts aroma, breadiness, slight bitter hops in the end
M - medium mouth feel
D - very drinkable, I enjoyed 1 but would have liked to have a couple more.
I'm glad I got to try a local Austin brewery beer, I'll look forward to trying more when i'm in the area.

 468 characters

Photo of DeathbySexyBT
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber-ish gold with fluffy white head that laces the glass marvelously.

S: A little light on the aroma here. Sweet caramel malts with a splash of apricots and a hint of wet grass.

T: Much like the smell, the taste is a bit restrained. I liked the apricot influence, but this beer comes across with a minor amount of bittering hops, mint, and caramel malt. The issue I take with this is that no ingredient or flavor sufficiently leads the charge. Just a bit boring, but not nasty. Too middle-of-the-road of a beer to follow something as delicious as their Hef.

M: Decent carbonation and body.

D: No problem with hammering this one over and over if you so desire. Smooth and not syrupy.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
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 drunkboxer1
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
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 mizzourah
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had it on tap at Cain and Abel's in Austin.

Appearance- Dark caramel color with a nice head that left decent lacing. Slight carbonation evident.

Smell- Caramel, perhaps a hint of chocolate and somewhat fruity.

Taste- Caramel malts at first and then fruity hops afterward. Good fruity aftertaste that wasn't too strong and quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel- It wasn't too watery and danced around nicely on the tongue.

Drinkability- Excellent drinkability. I could drink this all night and be happy. None of the flavors are too overwhelming, I found it nicely balanced, and I kept wanting more. I always find myself ordering this when I'm in Austin.

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Photo of TheMistler
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
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 SFRider
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear. Light amber in color. Slightly more orange/red. Great head.
Smell: Musky. Kinda sweet. Actually smells kinda woody...but I wonder if that's from the name suggestion. does...
Taste: This was a little sweeter than I prefer for an amber - but not bad at all. Pretty good. Mildly malted. A little bitter on my breath at the end.
Drinkability: This beer was very drinkable. Medium carbonation.

This was a good beer - very drinkable. Definitely worth trying if you find yourself in Texas. I was told Live Oak is a good brewery out there - this was my first of their line. I'd have it again, but wasn't my favorite. Not bad at all though...

 664 characters

Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
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 dill
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
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 Redrover
3.34/5  rDev -9.7%
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 JDV
3.72/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft at Billy’s in Austin. Light Amber in color, with light to medium carbonation and small to medium white head. Smell is of caramel sweetness, intense juicy dried apricots, slight maltiness. Taste is similar with a mild bitterness as well. Medium finish and a good beer overall. A nice vienna-style lager.

 309 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I had this on draft at Shozols [sic] Garden in Austin, and I thought this was a very nice but not over the top malty lager. It was hot in TX, and this beer was quite refreshing while not insubstantial.

It came in a big 20 oz glass, without a lot of head on it. It was a sparkling amber color. Aroma was a good amount of malt without any cerealness, and with a bit of hop. Flavor was more of the same; a nice amount of malt without any loss of refreshingness. Very good.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great head and retention.

Smell is of nice caramel malts and hops. Apple phenol comes out on the nose.

Very typical and basic amber. Caramel malts are decent with a low hop bitterness. Nothing bad about this beer, but nothing special.

This beer is pretty decent and clings to the palate well. Makes for a decent session.

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Photo of redstripe
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft at the Ginger Man in Fort Worth

This beer looks (and tastes) like the archetypal amber. It is a clear, light, amber color, with a relatively thin white head that stuck nicely to the side of the glass. There is sufficient, though not exuberant, carbonation--enough that a swirl of the glass resurrected the head.

The smell is faint and sweet.

The taste, like I said, is dead-on amber. It is well-balanced, sweet in the beginning with a light bitter hop flavor at the finish. Ambers are perfect introductions to craft beers for beginners, and this would be a good place to start. It is not a challenging beer to drink, and would make for a good session.

The mouthfeel is very light.

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Photo of
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
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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3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 1" off-white head that falls to a cap over the course of a minute. The beer is a copper penny color. Clear and bright. Nice lace left behind.

S - Sweet malt - some caramel. Faint whiff of some hops in the rear. Touch metallic.

T - Malty, sweet beginning, a sour flash in the middle and enough hops in the finish to dry it out. Mineral quality in there, maybe from the water used?

M - Medium body and medium carbonation. Nice, crisp finish. I like the fact that this is way less sweet than a lot of amber lagers.

D - Good drinkability. High sessionability. Went great with some pizza.

 599 characters

Photo of Morris729
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber color with a creamy light tan head that settles into a nice lace. Nose is grassy and citrusy hops. Taste begins with fruity caramel malt and a toasted nuttiness followed by a somewhat spicy hop bitterness with a bit of grapefruit rind. Finish is crisp. Would make a good session beer.

 303 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.07/5  rDev -17%
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 GCBrewingCo
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the table amber golden and crystal clear with a white head which lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was caramel malt and a light fruity character. Some slight grassy hop presence was notable.

The flavor was light caramel maltiness with a nice but somewhat low bittering level that was slightly grassy and slightly menthol.

The finish was dry with just lasting caramel. The body was medium. A fairly straighforward, but uninspired brew with little complexity.

Draft at Flying Saucer in San Antonio.

 535 characters

Photo of beerdiablo
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
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 Gagnonsux
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 511 characters

Photo of kindestcut
3.19/5  rDev -13.8%
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 HardTarget
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Gingerman, Austin.
Aroma: The slightest hint of hops, and a touch of spice
Appearance: A clear reddish amber that produced an off white head that maintained a thin coat deep into the beer
Flavor: Balance is toward a honey like sweetness but not cloying. Mild hops notes are hard to come by, but present. There is a slight spice taste that I had trouble naming (something like nutmeg, but not exactly, may have been the grapefruit other reviewers caught).
Mouthfeel: Light body and a firm carbonation
Overall Impression: A very thirst quenching beer. I enjoyed it. It reminded me of Abita Amber or St. Arnold’s Amber, so I think it is fairly close to style. It would make a decent session, but I was happy after one beer. Next time I’ll try another Live Oak.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Scholz Garten, Austin.

The beer arrives with just a thin film + ring of fine white head on top of clear, brown/amber liquid. The nose is faint, but has some grapefruit and grains. The front is quite fruity, with a full malty middle that's almost dark. Finish is very hoppy, with lots of grapefruit bitterness and a nice roasted nuttiness.

This is a delicious, balanced, malty-hoppy-nutty amber lager. Fantastic!

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Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
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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Live Oak Big Bark Amber Lager from Live Oak Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 225 ratings.
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