James Squire Amber Ale | Malt Shovel Brewery

110 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 110 |  Reviews: 70
Photo of davidfoley
2.88/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Copper, Amber colour. Light carbonation. Zero head retention. Great clarity

Smell - Light hop, dark fruits, cherry and plumb

Taste - Light hop & malt, dark fruit, woody, flavour with slight dryness. Bitter finish

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation, medium body

Drinkability - Light beer properly carbonated, drinkable

Overall - Better that the other James Squire beers, however still not one I would return to. Generic beer with little character

Printed on the side of the bottle :
Hand-crafted with Pale & Crystal malts & distinctive hops for a long, slightly nutty finish, this Ale writes another page in the glorious & enigmatic life of James Squire

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Photo of aBeeraWeek
3.77/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up from Safeways in Melbourne.
Chilled, then poured into a Spiegelau beer glass.

Appearance – dark amber with some dark red coming out when held to the light.

Smell – an enticing combination of fresh sweet bread and caramel

Taste – is well matched to the smell. The same sweet caramels come through early but are not overstated, with a light bitterness coming through from the hops. A sweet fruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – Agree with previous postings that this is slightly over carbonated. A little less carbonation would be more fitting with the taste and smell of this beer. It takes some of the focus away from the sweeter flavourings.

Overall – a pleasant tasting beer that has enough flavourings to keep the drink interesting throughout.

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Photo of Stew41
2.4/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Attractive toffee - caramel hues. Slightly stale malts on the nose and a little pongy - not unpleasant. A bit staid in the mouth like the most of the range. Malts are a bit metallic and hollow, and the staleness pops up again. Finishes a touch bland.

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

Single bottle picked up at a Canberra supermarket.

Poured into a small tumbler glass. A nice amber-copper hue, good colour, about a half inch of white head, survives as a thick ring with some flecks of lacing. Not bad.

Nose is caramel, toffee, light hopping.

Begins with a sweet malt character, a little bit of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, before finishing with a slightly metallic, tart, lemony taste that doesn't quite work. Still, goes down fairly well and has some nice things going for it.

Carbonation is quite aggressive, doesn't really fit. I agree with a previous poster, it reminds me of a red lager in this respect. Slick, thin bodied. The finish is long and a bit metallic.

A decent amber ale, certainly drinkable and worth trying, but nothing fantastic. Needs a bit of work on the hoppage to really finish well.

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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 Macca
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours clear with a deep amber colour and a solid slightly off white head.

The nose is nutty, earthy hops, some sweetness.

Malts really come through on the palate as you would hope. The hops are there but restrained. Maybe finishes a touch too sweet for me but that's something I find in a lot of malt driven beers.

Reasonably full bodied.

Always a safe bet when you want something with a bit of body that you can have a couple of.

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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 doktorhops
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

The James Squire bottle tells a story of a man that received a hundred lashes from a cat-o-nine tail because of his insubordinate and wanton lust to brew beer. This to me sums up Australian's well - so great is our thirst for the amber drop that we will gladly suffer punishment to brew the ultimate beverage.

Today's serving vessel is my trusty old clay chalice/tulip 450ml cup (from the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Pilsen). The amber ale itself was poured from a 345ml bottle.

A: Oh dear, I poured the beer before realised that I cannot see through lacquered clay... err, I'm sure the body would appear amber as advertised (actually it's more of a "caramel brown" - I've had this beer before). 2cm tan head that dissipates to a thin layer that leaves lacing in the chalice.

S: Nutty malts, followed by a woody fragrance with a hint of puke (not a good thing to have a hint of mind you).

T: This "ale" has a mild, slightly nutty flavour balanced with some sweet malts. The hop bitterness is slight, and doesn't spoil the aftertaste which is earthy followed by a sour note. I'm glad there's no taste of the 'puke' I noticed from the smell.

M: Here's my bugbear with this "ale" (and I'm using inverted commas for a reason) - this is no more an "ale" than my grandmother is a scuba diver, and it comes down to the carbonation for me - this "ale" is carbonated like a lager (which really p****s me off!). Unfortunately this is where Aussie brewers drop the ball over our English brethren. Points have been deducted.

D: So we've got an "Amber Ale" that isn't really "Amber" or an "Ale", but how does it stand on the drinkability front? Quite well actually. I could easily go through a 6er of these - there's very little confronting me. And that is the only thing holding this brew back - lack of complexity... apart from that - this is one drinkable beverage, worth a hundred lashes? Perhaps not, but otherwise enjoyable.

Food match: Roast chicken, leg of Lamb, Lyonnaise potatoes and light barbeque fare.

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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 Parrotshake
3.51/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have had this beer dozens of times but not for quite a while. Grabbed a few bottles to have with lunch. Pours into a Guinness pint glass a clear rusty amber with 2 fingers of tight head.

Sweetish malty nose; toast, nuts and kinda stale biscuit. Lightly sour fruity smell. Taste is not dissimilar - sourish grainy flavor backed with nutty, toasty malt and herbal/slightly metallic hops. Dry and nutty finish without much lingering bitterness.

Prickly carbonation, thin mouthfeel. Smooth and easily drinkable. A pretty satisfying brown ale which is going down a treat with the roast beef sandwich I'm eating. Not 'great', but I could certainly polish off quite a few.

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Photo of leastsquares
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A crystal clear, dark honey colour. Two fingers of pale beige head which slowly collapses into a long-lasting film a few millimetres thick. Many small bubbles rising in columns at rapid speed from the base of the glass.

S: Malts, mixed with warm porridge and floral aromas.

T: Most of the taste is at the back of the mouth. Quite sour. Not a complex taste, but not insipid either.

M: A Goldilocks body - not too heavy, not too light. Fairly creamy. Not as much carbonation on the tongue as there was in the glass.

D: Very easy to drink, despite the sourness - ideal for casual drinkers who want something different but don't want to go too far out of their comfort zone.

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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 eric5bellies
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank on tap at the Palace, Kalgoorlie.

A - Nice dark amber colour with an off white head that dies pretty quickly.

S - Not much by the way of aromas.

T - Slighly sweet citrus notes and some caramel.

M - Medium body an low carbonation.

D - MAkes a decent winter session beer.

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Photo of maddux91
3.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this from a bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Rich, dark mahogany colour. Quite appealing. Thick white head with sufficient lacing. Decent carbonation at the beginning, but this dies quickly

S - Smells alright, fairly average. Not much complexity.

T - Taste is quite strange. Notes of citrus, but also of some sort of purfumy type flavour, slightly metallic. Altogether though, not overpowering.

M - Smooth and just the right amount of bitterness.

D - Could easily have a few of these, although a 6 pack might be pushing it a little bit too far.

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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 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 Stavage
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a finger of head. Average retention but above average lacing. When I finished I noticed rings of lacing going down the length of my glass which is a pleasant sight. Nice clear but deep copper colouring.

Smell was on the bready side. Tiny bit of of a caramel note and hops smell. Nothing out of the ordinary but pleasant all the same.

Taste was again on the bready/malty side of things. Not much in the way of fruitiness here. There is a bitter sweetness in this beer which I love very much, sweetness I'm guessing from the crystal malt that was used and bitterness from the hops. I wish the malt flavours came out stronger as they are just what I am after. Bit of a nutty aftertaste. Despite the wish for the taste to be so much stronger upfront, this is one of those beers that lingers pleasantly in your mouth a long time after drinking.

Nicely carbonated, fairly smooth, wish it was a little more full bodied. Drinking it feels like its leaving a thin film of beery goodness on your tongue and throat on the way down. I think it's quite drinkable. Seeing that it's more about the malt than the hops this is one ale I think that you would want to be careful not to drink too chilled.

Overall this was nothing special to me, but at the same time it exhibited everything I want out of an English style ale. This ale was all about the malt backbone, and it was a gorgeous backbone I just wish it was a bit stronger. As far as Australian beers are concerned this is definitely one I'd put on a fairly consistent rotation. Would make a great tag team with Little Creatures Pale Ale for the dinner time bout.

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Photo of juju7
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber/copper/mahogany looking fella with a tidy one finger head. Had this so many times before. One of those beers I come back to when I want something of substance when I'm on a budget.
Sweet caramel malt notes on the nose with a touch of strawberry in the background. Strawberry comes out a bit on the palate with those malty notes. Good long finish, very smooth and approachable. A little light in body for the style but still good beer.

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Photo of TubaManJack
3.62/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance- Deep Amber color- Wow I know big surprise. The head was moderate and produced some limited lacing.
Smell- Somewhat like a brown ale. There was a substacial nut and almost carmel malt nose. Of course there are herbal hops present in the background.
Taste- Moderatly Hopped with a substancial malt backbone. Its quite unique and worth the experience on tap. Its very easy to find on tap in SYD. The carmel malt transitioned to more of a bitter one towards the end of the class and as the carbonation levels dropped.
Mouthfeel- Rather light but the taste progressions are interesting and memorable.
Mixed Drinkability

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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 WHROO
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark Amber, 2 finger creamy head...great lacing, average head retention, leaves an ice-creamy film on surface.

S: Honey Malts, little bready. Not too strong in this department, but thankfully the taste stepped up a notch

T: Full honey, carmale sweet malts up front, little floral hops, a delicious hint of roasted malts, finishing with only a touch of bitterness (if any).

M: Medium, maybe feels a tad watery at finish, but full flavour, sweet & good carbonation.

D: easy peezy...no worries drinking more of this...very comparable to your true English Pale Ales, just not as sweet!!!


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Photo of foles
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty solid ale - it has the characteristics of an english ale, but scaled right down to suit the average aussie drinker who may not be familiar with the style. Subtle english noble hop presence, with a possibly excessive caramel backbone. Somewhat watery and lacking body, but this doesnt detract too much from the overall product.

Was well served with a decent head and looked impressive with the coppery transparent hue.

Not too bad. Seems better on draught than in the bottle in my opinion.

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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 Cs1987
4.08/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Darkish amber, 3 fingers of head with good retention and great lacing.

Smell - Strong malt stands out, not much else to comment on.

Taste - Quite different to what I expect from an Pale Ale - less fruity but far more malt. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, with excellent aftertaste and carbonation.

Drinkability - Above average for the style.

Overall - This certainly deserves its place as my second favourite Malt Shovel beer (after the Porter). Great beer, great value.

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Photo of madvoice
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mid amber in colour. Not very frothy with the head and it is almost non existant in seconds. It has a rather light fruity smell with citrus overtones. Is a rather sweet beer with a mild texture and a bit of tang on the aftertaste. Not very fizzy which I find is nice. Very very easy to drink.

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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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