James Squire Amber Ale | Malt Shovel Brewery

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James Squire Amber AleJames Squire Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-18-2002

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Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 110
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

one of my staple aussie beers. one of my first loves as far as craft beer goes, and one of the only sweet beers I actually like. it pours a clear coppery red color, with a robust lace head just off white. aromatics of rich red malt, sweet caramel, and of all things roasted corn. its got that starchy sweetness and late summer vibe. the taste is malty of course, but its layered, with various sweets from honey to toffee to molasses each appearing and receding. not a whole lot of hops here, just some English bittering stuff towards the finish. the feel is great too, its clean for a sweeter beer, not a big long drying aftertaste but a short burst of fresh grains followed by basically nothing. unique in the beer world, especially in this style. good enough bubbles, hyper refreshing when ice cold, and one of the better james squire offerings. I cant tell you how many liters of this I consumed from 2007-2010! wish we could get this in the united states through commercial rather than subversive avenues.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Coppery burnt orange with lemon-tangerine edges. The head is the color of mandarin orange mousse, has a rumpled-bumpy surface and is tacky enough to leave an impressive amount of lace all over the glass. This one is a looker, mate!

The aroma is a little less impressive. It's moderately toasted malty (officially: pale, crystal and carapils) with an offsetting amount of earthy, herbal, fruity hops. Bruised apples spinked with some sort of earthy spice is as close as I can come to a description. More power would be good.

James Squire Amber Ale is definitely an English pale ale. Campfire toasted malt runs the show from start to finish. What hops are present provide much more flavor than bitterness. Again, I'm reminded of lightly spiced, baked apples, with a hint of sour apple tang buried down deep.

This MSB offering is an easy drinking, balanced, less than exciting pale ale that needs more hop character to amount to anything special. It tastes a little like those 'pub can' English ales like Tetley's, Boddington's, etc. In the end... competent, but boring.

The body/mouthfeel is no more exciting than the flavor profile. The beer just lays there and waits to be swallowed. It's light-medium in heft and is pretty damn close to thin. It's also undercarbonated.

I'm surprised that I haven't at least heard of Malt Shovel Brewery prior to this bottle of James Squire Amber Ale. The presentation is very nice (the bottles look like New Belgium's, with the same raised, embossed neck rings), but the beer itself borders on lackluster. I'll try a few more Shovelfuls before making up my mind on the brewery as a whole.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.01/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

G'day Mate! Let's throw another beer down the gullet!!!! What can be said about James Squire's Amber Ale...well....its a a solid beer, very enjoyable. There is now alot going on with the beer...it's just solid. The color is a darker amber, decent head with lacing present. No much to smell, but the taste is well balanced by malt, caramel, and a wee roast. Not solid beer to enjoy during your next session of chasin the Sheilas!!!

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Photo of GClarkage
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11/01/04-Purchased at Trader Joes San Mateo

Apperance: Poured a dark amber color. A tad cloudy, but a nice billowy creamy head. Very nice lacing

Smell: Smelled a bit medicinal. Other than that, a bit of caramel, a bit malt. Not too much scent.

Taste: A bit thin, but the hop flavor is there along with the sweetness of caramel. A bit dry on the finish. A good taste.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation and a nice crispness

Drinkablity: Overall a pretty decent beer. A good flavor that goes down pretty easy. Not one of my favorites, but not bad. I think this is my first beer from down under. Well, besides Fosters.

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Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown red ale. WAY darker than Amber.

Smells very malty and fruity, has a nice perfume for the nose.

Taste is mild; there is lots of malt and flowery tastes. Reminds me of Young’s Dirty Dick Ale. There is a mild hops bite in the finish. Well Balanced, I like harsher stuff but this is indeed tasty.

Mouthfeel is very good, boosted by the carbonation.

Very drinkable, If I had to pick a beer I like and something that Budweiser drinkers could tolerate this would be a good choice.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Another glaring omission from my reviewing history).

Pours a burnished deep copper amber colour, with a good head of yellowish-white film. Lacing is excellent around the edges, and there's lots of tiny streaming carbonation, but it's not helping the head retention. Overall, it's a pretty decent looking beer. Quite tasty.

A bit of sour grain mash on the nose, plenty of malt, with a little tingle of seltzer water. Quite round and full, coppery, malty, certainly not much in the way of hops. A decent nose. Not astounding, but decent.

Smooth on the palate, initial copper bitterness forward, followed by a light roasted nutty character entering part way through. Some yeastiness on the back but this is minor compared to the pleasant grain and nut characters. Overall, pretty tasty, and pretty drinkable.

A very drinkable Amber ale, with a very decent amount of character. Certainly good when you want a malty sessioner.

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Photo of wl0307
2.86/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Coming in a 345ml bottle; BB 31/10/13, served cool in a short-stemmed goblet.

Appearance: it pours a bright reddish copper colour, rather than amber, coming with a thin layer of light-beige foamy head and rather lively carbonation.
Smell: syrupy-chestnutty and lubricating caramely on the nose, on top of sour-sweet prunes and lots of overripe fruit esters; given a good swirl, the ripe melon aroma comes to the fore, along with more estery elements, grassy hoppiness, and full-bodied honey-ish malts. Altogether the nose is a touch too sweet and estery at the expense of a balance.
Taste: quite fizzy on the entry, the thin-bodied foretaste is lubricating and caramely, featuring random flavours of brown prunes, licorice, and random nutty malts, then a rough mouthfeel of semi-acidic fruit esters and spicy bitterness catches up, rendering a rather rough, chewy and then sugary-slick finish with quite restrained bitterness.
Mouthfeel & Overall: the mouthfeel, as described above, is indeed not smooth and even rough, which is not helped by the sharp-ish carbonation which comes simply too much to pair with the boring flavour. At times, this medium-bodied beer tastes a bit green-ish to me, that the conditioning perhaps was shortened for unknown reasons.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle(room temp) a hazy amber with a large head of foam that dissipated fairly quickly leaving 1 large clump and a fine layer.

The smell is quite nice with a mix of malt and hops

The taste was very smooth with nice balance between the hop bitterness and the sweetness from the malt. I also sensed nutty and vanilla tones and they helped make this beer quite drinkable.

Bottom line: This is a good amber ale. One I'd buy again.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a short nonic)

A- This beer pours a crystal clear warm brown body with a swirling of microbubbles racing to the surface. There is a creamy beige head that stick to the glass with each sip.

S- The fresh sweet biscuit malt aroma has a lighter caramel malt aroma underneath and a berry quality to the malt that grows as the beer warms.

T- There is a soft fruity sweet perfume quality to the dry biscuit malt flavor and a dry toasted malt flavor follows that. There finish is a soft green hint that has a hint of hops quality. As the beer warms there is a stronger field corn sulfury note that comes though the malt flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizzy in the finish.

D- This beer has some nice malt flavors but there is some odd characteristics to them like the berry aroma and the perfumy quality in the taste.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Copper with a light amber hue and a huge pillowy creamy tan head. Also leaves good lace. Spicy malt aroma and flavor (more cinnamon like when it is fresh). Little to no hop character. Medium bodied, rich and creamy.

Something about this beer just did not add up right for me.

[5% abv per bottle]

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Photo of dgilks
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear amber colour with a small, off-white head. Poor head retention.

Dark, toffee and yeasty aroma. Slightly oxidised.

Bready caramel and toffee flavour with lots of residual sweetness. This could be a little drier and the fruit flavours are very raisiny.

Medium body with moderately-low carbonation. Fair but not great.

An okay but not entirely satisfactory beer. It lacks finesse and seems overly simplified.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours from the 12 ounce brown bottle a somewhat hazy burnished copper color with the head modest in size, semi-creamy in texture and the color a winsome light tan, as it slowly sinks into the sunset the lace forms a sealing curtain upon the glass. Nose is sweet malt with hints of caramel, slightly hint of yeast, quite crisp and clean to the senses. Start is sweet and nicely malted, the top is middling in its feel to the palate, finish has a brisk acidity and the hops personable in their spiciness, a nice drinking beer and one I’ve not had for 3 or 4 years, wish I had better access to it.

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Photo of mynie
3.31/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours really pretty. Ruby red with a nice little head.

Weak odor of caramel malt and over ripe fruit. I thought this might be old, but the guy at the store said it just came in last week. Maybe it was a long trip up here?

Nice malt upfront, fruit in the middle, and a spoilt, rotty malt finish. Ups and downs, right here.

This is definetely old, but I don't think it should be exempt from a review because of it since "Old" is the only way us Americans get to sample this beer. Despite its advanced age it's still okay tasting and quite drinkable, but the folks at Malt Shovel should really work on getting their beer to the states faster.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark amber. Half inch of white head fades to a thin covering.
Aroma is mostly sweet dark/toasted malt, with some thin hops in the background.
Very similar malty flavour, with some grassy hops kicking in later followed by a short-lived bitterness. Yalnikim is right about the slight coca-cola similarity.
Good carbonation and body.
A bit thin for my liking, but very easy drinking all the same.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice redwood colour with a creamy dense head of white tinged with ochre. Leaves a very thick film of lacing around the glass.

Nose is very nice. Spiced fruit mixed with brown sugar. Not very complex, it's basically an odour in a straight line but the characters are very pleasant.

Taste is unusual, in that it doesn't really taste like it smells. The fruit which was spicy and vibrant on the news here tastes sour and off. Lots of hops flourish throughout the palate but there's far more of a sour than bitter character to this. The palate is long, but there isn't that much complexity. I'm not that much of a fan of sour beers and although this is nowhere near as sour as your average lambic, I'd say this is no exception. Mouthfeel is nice, smooth and creamy.

Overall, a respectable drinking beer with an acquired flavour.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes in a 345ml, 11.65 fl.oz brown glass bottle and listed as 5.0%ABV. It has quite the essay about the Brewery, started by a thieving highwayman that my Limey predecessors posted down under as penance for his crimes. It seems like he got quite the deal in the end. Labeled as ‘James Squire Original Amber Ale’.

Appearance: Clear Amber that has a gorgeous russet copper sunset body. Massive cream colored head when first poured that settles to a more manageable collar like head after a short time. Excellent inherent carbonation when swirled.

Nose: Not bad actually, after the disappointing JS Pilsener, it was a nice surprise. Malty and with some slight toffee and caramel hints. Just above average.

Taste: Malts lead the way here, mixed with toffee, caramel and some light grain. A really nice, malt-dominant, drinking beer, although I do detect hops, at least there in the background.

Mouthfeel: Very good, solid “bouncy” type of beer with plenty of dissolved CO2 to add vitality. Immensely creamy at times, with a really nice soothing effect when swallowed. I really enjoyed this beer as you can tell.

Drinkability: It’s a good ‘un. I am not sure if it is the fact that it has been hot today in Los Angeles, but 3 of these were dispatched in quick succession tonight.

Overall: Well above average, made with quality ingredients that show themselves, and a damn good session beer. Some drinkers who prefer a “fuller” flavor, well they may find this a little ‘thin’ - but I see the positive in this, after all its only 5%, so for me, this lends the beer a high degree of Drinkability, which is just enough to make it a real Quaffer.

I easily drank 3 bottles of this for the Review! This one is definitely worth the investment in a 6-Pack, a really nice surprise. I love English Malt-dominant Cask Bitters, and this has all the qualities required for an excellent draft beer. From previous reviews it appears this is when the beer gets to reveal all of its nuances. If I ever get to the land of the ‘Criminals’ – I will definitely seek this one out on Tap for sure (…well at least after sharing a few traditional lambics with my good BA buddy Rastaman anyways).

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Photo of cokes
2.78/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ruby-traced amber with a thin heading of bleached tan.
Nose of rusted tin, tart apples, raisins, and dabs of caramel.
Begin with green raisins. There's a slight toastedness that follows. Circles back towards green fruit, this time with apples. Notable cola-like sweetness. Maltiness is pretty minimal. Yeast adds a strange sense of rusty butter. Unique strand, sort of mimicking ringwood, but not nearly as intense. Ends with very little hop related traits, aside from a dryness that seems mostly derived from the carbonation.
Thin bodied with uppity carbonation. This seems like a undistinguishable Sammy Smith brew cut 30/70 with a macro...or just seltzer water.

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Photo of ADZA
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is one beer that ive had many times before but not for a while and a mate popped around with a sixer so thought id give a review,it pours a see through light amber hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a creamy two finger head and some nice lacing,im not impressed by this aroma of sweet malts and grains with the feinest of hints of herbal hops,the mouthfeel is very average and definately lacks the body that i like in a good old fashioned EBA and the taste is only just above average with hints of brown sugar,very i mean very light herbal hops and it finishes with a nutty,caramel finish,overall this brew is not how i remember it i mean i dont know if they have changed the recipie or my palette has changed but its definately not a beer that i would go out and buy but in saying that id prefer this on tap then the other macrobrews on offer at most non-micro pubs as usually the james squire range is sometimes the only other option and i do thank them for that.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber bedecked with a thick tan head with lots of haphazard lace on the side of the glass.
Aroma is sweet caramel, hint of grass and a sort of cinnamon hop note, very odd to my nose.
Flavor is sweet malt with a citrus fruit hint in the background. This transitions into hoppy finish that is bitter but not overpowering.
Mouthfeel is smooth to start and then dries out into a medium-bitter finish, overall fairly soft on the palate.
Drinkability is very high, good have had definitely had another.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.32/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium amber color, small head. A medium bodied amber ale. Nicely malty and slightly hoppy. A mild yet full flavored ale. Rich, smooth taste. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is malty and slightly bitter. Nice beer. Flavorful, light and refreshing.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.81/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bristol farms had this in their limited stock of beer. Comes in a brown bottle with alot of extra small writing on the label, very vintage or old ale looking bottle. Sticky head leaves a massive blanket covering. Highly filtered and ultra carb'd.

Caramel, some grassy hop background. Mellow and subtle.

I would say overall the mix is pleasant. Malt profile, while light, has enough to keep it somewhat interesting. Hops almost come through with less bitter and more of a flash of dry zip in the middle of each pull. Tends to be a bit more watered than I would like. Its a decent beer but its run of the mill to below average.

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Photo of soju6
3.23/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the Portland Brewhouse.

A: Served a dark copper color with a decent head that fades to good lacing.

S: Aroma of mild citrus with a bit of malt sweetness.

T: Taste similar to aroma with a bit of citrus with an easy malt sweetness. Mild bitterness and a clean finish.

F: Fairly light body and quite smooth.

O: Decent drinker, seems to go best with food as it is a bit bland.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.37/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at local in Berowra.

Interesting to review this as this was my first staple craft entry beer a few years ago. Didn't even know what it was style-wise then, but I did know I liked the taste.

Pours a deep copper rather than amber. One finger head stays and good sheet lace.

Smells of nothing really, even as it warms.

Taste is a 100% caramel malt bomb. Big, Big, mid palate balanced by moderate hop presence, not too earthy, not too lifted. Hint of honey sweetness. Quite big for an English Brown Ale.

Mouthfeel moderately carbonated, smooth, and medium to light weight.Pub-style in a word.

So, was it as good as I remembered? Well, yes except I had two and did not want a third, as a slight astringent note crept in. I also got a headache from hell after this and two Chancers.

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Photo of drtth
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review based upon notes taken during a recent trip to Sydney.

Poured into a wine glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a clear bright reddish copper color with a 1" white head that recedes slowly. Sipping leaves some modest lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is dominated by the biscuity toasted malts and has some earthy herbal hops in the background. The malts also contribute a touch of caramel and the hops seem to add a lightly floral character as well.

Taste: The flavors include the sweet malt backbone with its hints of caramel. The hops well in the background here but definitely show some earthy, floral and herbal notes.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to light bodied with unimpressive carbonation. The finish is medium to short in length and does have a touch of spicy dryness from the hops as it tapers off.

Drinkability: This was easy enough to drink, but did not stand out in any obvious way. I could drink a second but probably won't.

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Photo of Act25
3.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Just off the plane in Sydney, after walking the city and buying gifts for the family, I'm ready to check in my hotel and while I wait, after many excellent macchiatos around town, a brown amber ale.

A: Poured a dark cloudy amber. A tad thin, short lived copper head, but unlike other reviewers, not much of a head or lacing.

S: Classic English Brown Ale profile, with malt, a bit medicinal, caramel. Too faint.

T: Best part of the beer, more sweet than bitter. A bit thin, but only a little hop. Pleasant but watery, and this is not my style. Never had one I liked.

F: Not a bad finish, good with pub food, and still too malty for me, modest carbonation and a nice crispness in the finish.

O: Better than fosters, this James Squire is the patriot, original convict brewer of AUS. One must try 1, but then move on.

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James Squire Amber Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
3.49 out of 5 based on 110 ratings.
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