Hopback Amber Ale | Tröegs Brewing Company

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Hopback Amber AleHopback Amber Ale
Very Good
3,133 Ratings
Hopback Amber AleHopback Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Standing 12 ft. tall at the center of the brew deck is our HopBack vessel; here, whole flower hops swirl in hot wort coaxing hop oil into aromas of grapefruit pith and pinesap. This bright hop nose is counterbalanced with malt tones of toffee and Caramel.

Hops: Cascade, Willamette, Nugget, Crystal

55 IBU

Added by Maestro on 09-29-2002

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,133 |  Reviews: 1,177
Photo of beernut7
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber under a huge creamy head. The aroma is bold and spicy with a floral character. The first sip is well-rounded with an up-front floral spice and a building flush of sweet caramel malt. A moderate bitterness sneaks out between the balanced flavors and levels off at a crisp finish. Easy drinking and tasty.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear dark amber color topped by a good sized whitish head. It eventually forms a nice crown after the head settles. Great lacing as the glass empties.

Smell: Wondrous balance atwixt hops and malt. The malt is obviously toasted caramel and the hops are an exquisite blend of bitter and aromatic florals.

Taste: Vaguely sweet and spicy. Nice toasted malt taste with a wee bit of bittering and a slightly salty taste on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with some astringency.

Drinkability: This is purty good.. one could drink a few of these with no complaint. Might make a nice session beer.

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Photo of soilguy
4.29/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this beer while taking a tour of the Troegs brewery in Harrisburg, PA. I found it so delicious, I kept going back to the taps to refill my glass. It has a perfect amber color topped by a substantial white head. A strongly floral hop aroma wafts from the glass without any prompting. The flavor is slightly of toasted malt at first, then the hops make a full frontal assault. It is a good clean bitterness. A slightly fruity note is detectable in the background. It has a nice mouthfeel, not too full for the style. I wish this beer was more available in my area.

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Photo of nomad
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an amber color with a highly brown hue but lightly orange edges; also transparent yet still dark. Had a white foam head that was solid all the way through, like a tightly packed kitchen sponge, nice slow recede, too. Nice lacing as well as fair carbonation that was so miniscule it was hard to see in this very dark amber ale.

Smelled of beautiful hops and resplendent fruit with a citric and vinegar edge, but nice nonetheless. Grapefruit scent slowly arises with warmth, but it did all seem a bit thin-bodied and simple but undoubtedly solid. Where’s the roasty and/or malty presence of most amber ales?

Taste was very juicy, as the watery mouthfeel helped the light and fruity first flavor. Bitterness built up at a moderate pace to the finish. Also had some flavors that seemed like a rough vinegar, a product of the hops I’ve tasted before in other brews with raw hops. Some fruitiness underneath the strong roasty bitterness that predominated the palette - a nice balancing act. A light oiliness partway through reminds me of the true hop and care put in this brew. The thinner consistency of mouthfeel also kept the earthy, barky bitterness from overpowering my tongue; thus, it had a wonderful long finish in that it very much had a strong present bitter without destroying your tastebuds, though this has much less malt presence than other ambers.

Wow, this beer should be better known. Like most good American ambers this is yet another unique turn on a widely varying style, leaning to what a pale ale or IPA might be but undeniably still an amber.

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Photo of bmills1608
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color was a deep rich copper, rather dark, with excellent clarity. Huge fluffy white head rides high in the glass. Aroma was hoppy, and that basically sums it up. Very very explosive hoppy aroma, extremely fresh, ripe and lively. Perhaps a small whiff of caramel on the nose, but hops dominate.

Taste was very full flavored with a surprisingly strong malt profile. Thick caramel malts offer a sturdy foundation with some mild flavor of toasted grains and even a touch of alcohol. I was surprised at the malt characteristic of this beer, a rather sweet foundation I thought. Then along came the hops. Explosive hop flavors and tons of them. Again, very fresh, very oily and extremely abundant. Citrusy, juicy and floral all at the same time. A hop head's dream. Surprisingly however, a did not find the beer all that bitter. Hop FLAVOR was off the charts, very true, but overall, I actually thought the beer a bit on the malt-sweet side of the spectrum, not really bitter. To me, there is a definite difference between hop flavors and the actual bitterness hops provide. Thrown in for good measure was some smooth fruitiness. In terms of hop flavor and aroma, one of the most forward ales I have ever tasted. Finished very smooth and a little malty.

Yet another kick ass brew from one of my favorite brewers. I have heard comparisons to Hop Devil. I can see it to a point. The Devil, to me is more bitter overall, while the Hopback is more hop-flavor explosive. It would be interesting to do a head to head comparison.

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Photo of avylover
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well, I heard a few comparisons to Hop Devil. So I picked this one up. Pours a deep amber, almost ruby color with a fairly thin white head. Aroma is mainly of strong floral hops with a malty background. Theres some apricots in there somewhere. Taste is dominated by bitter hops, mainly floral. This is no doubt a "hop head" beer. The finish is also pretty much straight bitter hops, with a slight taste of malt. This is plain old hoppy, with some good citrous notes but mainly floral. There is a malty body but it's not really represented in the taste, perhaps only in the finish, This is a steal at 6.99 a sixer. Mouthfeel is dry & bitter. Not all that drinkable for an IPA (this is no red ale), but still pretty drinkable.

Thanks BA forum for pointing out this as mega hoppy beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 ounce (355ml) bottle with a yellowy-orange colored label that has a picture of a large green hop behind the words, Tröegs Independent Craft Brewery – HopBack Amber Ale. No strength or freshness date. There is an invitation to visit the Brewery on Saturdays at 2:00pm on the neck label; as there were on the 3 other Tröeg beers that I tried tonight – Damn! I thought was special.

Appearance: A gorgeous looking amber-copper color that really does look quite marvelous. The head suffers any staying power, as with the other Tröegs beers that I have had so far, so this is now no surprise at all and to be expected – it is still however a disappointment. Some lacing however, that is off-white in color, and rather thick in nature. Good levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, aid the beers carbonation.

Nose: Hops, hops, hops & hops mixed with a light malt and caramel. Not overpowering but confidently strong in nature. But the hops definitely take the Gold Medal in the nose stakes, oh and the Silver too, and wait, they get the Bronze as well. And the Runners Up medal goes to “Ho…….

Taste: Well I can honestly say that I have never had a Hoppy Amber Ale before, or even any Amber Ale that is this refreshing or bitter. I don’t really give a shit about style definitions, so I am not sure why I mentioned that. But this beer tastes so damn good, I could forgive any style detour, regardless of how bad it was or even whatever style it is supposed to emulate. It gets almost perfect marks from me. A great mix of fresh hops and smooth malts – nearly perfect.

Mouthfeel: Solid, the carbonation, hops and smooth malts give a lively dimension to this beer – most certainly a Vertebrate Beer!

Drinkability: I just love the fresh aspect of each and every mouthfeel; the pungent, yet balanced hop bitterness, often partially balanced by a smooth malt dimension. A marvelous spritzy mouthfeel and floral aromas. Wow! This is a Very *Seriously* Drinkable Ale.

Overall: Just right- a very tasty example of a......erm, well, whatever it’s supposed to be!?

Top Marks for this choice Francisweizen - Nice One!!!
BTW, does this come in Bombers?

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.19/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber color, decent, off-white head: all is in order...

But the olfactory senses are most pleased by what pours out of this bottle...hops stand up, bright and tall, citric, spicy, warm, but refreshing, a beautiful hop bouquet, a pleasure to enter the nose.

Great, big, buzzing hops are the first order, but they fade fast, and mellow out.
Body is light, finish is fast, but each subsequent sip returns the hoppy, fruity sensation anew.

A great candidate for a session brew, easily consumed, but a reminder is always around the corner of how good a beer can taste. Well done, Troegs!

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Photo of Morris729
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish dark amber color with a tall creamy light tan colored head that slowly fades into a solid patch of lace. Nose is sweet caramel malts blended with some floral and grassy hops. Medium in body with a slightly buttery texture. Taste is sweet malts up front perfectly balanced by the following bitter hops with notes of acidic citrus. A dry bitterness remains on the tongue in a lasting aftertaste. This is a very nice amber ale and would make a great session beer. Thanks to francisweizen for the sample!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears amber with a copper tint and a huge billowing head with trickled lace surrounding my pint. This is one balanced brew in my opinion the aroma is balanced between sweet caramel malt and floral eathy pine scented hops, so balanced it's just about the perfect beer. This is one reason why Troegs has done what it has, and with it's oatmeal stout truly one PA's finest micros out there I must say. The taste is also truly balanced with a trace of the hops adding a bittering quality with the malt waves following blending perfectly to form a hopback amber ale. Medium to light bodied very good beer with no off tones to it everything here is like butter, what can I say. The drinkability level is unlike any other amber ale out there it's perfect, I love this beer.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served as a sample at the Penn Festival. The color was amber, with fair head retention. The smell was mostly malty, with a bit of hops to it. The taste was fairly mellow, with the hops present but not overwhelming. The mouthfeel was smooth, with good carbonation. This was also a nicely drinkable ale.

People have recommended Troegs to me in the past, and I can now see why. The amber ale is a quality brew, and Troegs may well be the best kept beer secret of all the Pennsylvania breweries.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear ambery brownish hue, glowing strong, thin yellowish white creamy foamed head, faded fast, some spotty lace. Soft, faint aroma of caramel, citrusy-orange, light hoppy pineness, tight but light. Taste of smooth caramel, sweet roasty malts start then leading into a light piney, citrusy floral fresh mild hop bite and bitterness. Reminds me more of a pale then an amber, but dulled with much more malts. Feel is medium bodied, creamy, and partially thin. I don't know what to think of this one, I thought for a second, cuz of the name, it was an IPA, but nope, whatever it is, its pretty damn drinkable stuff, quite enjoyably smooth.

Thanks to Francisweizen for the bottle.

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Photo of ZAP
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No ordinary Amber here...what a great beer!!....tastes like an ESB to me...clean looking amber color with a white lace that rims the glass nicely..excellent nose...fresh, leafy, floral hops basking in the sun on top of a bed of caramel...the body is surprisingly balanced as the hops do not overwhelm your buds....they are definitely there though and very nice...but the caramel mixes in and creates a tremendously drinkable beer..mouthfeel is medium and perfect..One of the better ESB's I've had....as a Red it rates #1 for me over Bell's Amber Ale but I consider this more of an ESB and an excellent one at that....

(Two Troegs beers now for me and two outstanding beers....As I work my way through some East Coast Breweries this one is starting to shine brighter than some of the others although I still have some work....ummmm...tasting to do with many more brands and beers...)

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one class beer! This beer from Troegs poured a dark amber colour with a nice-sized, white head. The aromas were of hops, with some faint malts in the background. This was similar to their pale ale but it was much hoppier, less fruity and less malty. The mouthfeel was chewy and great and the drinkability was great too.

Troegs seems to be a very good brewery!

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Photo of Suds
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color, but is very clear and initially has a thick tan head. There's no hunting for the aroma; it's instant and intense hop flowers. Very herbal and very fresh american hops. The beer is certainly on- sided, but there is a notable attempt to balance the hoppiness with a malt backbone. Finish is hoppy, but not necessarily bitter. Medium fullness, and quite satisfying. No question in my mind that this is an IPA...and not a bad one either.

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Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow a really nice beer,smell was great-grassy hop with some balancing caramel sweetness,poured a nice amber color with a nice medium head left a good lacing.Taste was of herbal hop to begin with the nutty maltness came thru in the end to really balance this one out nicely.Very well made brew will be looking for more from Troegs after this one!

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the aroma and appearance of this tasty brew, one would definitely assume it is an India Pale Ale. It's a deep copper with a reddish glow to it, and a fresh, oily, hop aroma is a delight to the senses.

However, the hop flavor is not dominant at all. It starts off with citrusy hops and a bitter middle, then has a bready malt finish. I prefer their Pale Ale to this (I'm a hophead and I can't help it), but this beer is extremely well balanced. Not very complex, but still enough to keep things interesting. Would make a great session brew.

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Photo of dmarch
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It says amber ale, but I say it's an ipa. Possibly at the level of hopdevil in my mind. Pours clear amber in color with a well retained head. Hops are spicy and citrusy and the malts do well in adding balance to this brew. I'm glad I live in the Philly area or else I may have never heard of troegs.

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Photo of Riggo
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, golden orange/copper color with a gorgeous, sturdy, creamy beige head, the texture of sea-foam. Nice lacing on the glass. The nose is full of caramel, cedary hops, apple, and orange zest. At palate entry, sweet, earthy caramel malt, followed by spicy, cedary hops. Some fruit notes--apples, apricots? A hint of alcohol on the tongue. Finish is dry with a slight nuttiness and a late tartness. A zesty, spicy hop bite dominates this brew, though its very well-balanced. This hoppy character makes the use of "amber" in the name and the characterization here as in the amber style questionable; it seems more like an APA, ESB, or IPA.

Disappointingly, the HopBack Amber is replacing the ESB at Troegs, according to the brewers. The ESB was one of the finest American ales I've tasted and, though the HopBack Amber is a good beer, it's certainly not on the level of the ESB. The HopBack Amber is much less interesting and overall the just doesn't have the character and the uniqueness of the ESB.

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.72/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is copper with some amber notes. A nice aroma of spicy hops and citrus come out to meet your nose at first. Malts are a little in the backround adding a touch of sweetness.

A nice crisp brew with an excellent hop character. Malts are light and sweet to balance, but the hops really provide the flavor here. The spiciness gets together with a ruby red grapefruit flavor and then dries leaving you with another kick of spice. A nice drinker any time of the year. This is one you can keep around with you for a while.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright orange-copper body, with slow, fine carbonation, topped by big huge bubbly off-white head. Excellent lacing. The Troeg gapefruit grove turns up once again in the aroma. Malt backbone hits the tongue in the middle, while the hops crash the boards on the sides. It is balanced while showing strong characteristics of both. Drinkability? This is my third so far this evening, and I could easily keep going.

In my review of Troegs ESB, I said it needed a little something to make it special. I understand that Hopback is to replace the ESB, and it easily fulfills my request. This is an excellent beer and a confused one. It is an amber ale, but also ventures into IPA and ESB territory. I would say that Troegs is sailing a new flagship. Heartily recommended.

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Photo of jreitman
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy amber in color with a thich persistent white head that was quite easy on the eyes. Cleany hop aromas of citrus and spice come through and eventually yeild to a caramel malt sweetness. Flavor is largely hop dominated and a little to hoppy for the style. The malt does come through and make it's presence known in such a way to discount being able to call this an IPA. Bitterness leaves a dry bite on the back of the tongue. Overall a very good beer, but wary of the hops if you are expecting a good amber.

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Photo of aaronh
4.36/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a medium copper color with amber highlights. A thick, creamy head that fades ever so slowly into a thin layer of foam tops the rather clear body. It is easily roused by a simple swirl of the glass. The aroma has a strong citrus note, but it is very clean. The first taste is all citrus hops, but the next taste reveals some buttery malt notes, mixed with a touch of caramel and some brown sugar. There is ample bittering on the finish as well. This tastes more like an IPA than a traditional amber ale. The mouthfeel is full and very enjoyable, with just the right amount of carbonation. The drinkability is excellent. This is a very enjoyable brew. Time to seek out a case of this one. My friends may get to know the Trogner Brothers soon, as this may be a staple of the summer beer supply.

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Photo of beerluvr
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out with a cream colored head over very clear amber liquid. Lots of citrusy hops in the nose...Cascades could they be?? Also some malt thrown in there as well. Taste is medium bodied maltiness, some fruitiness. Both step aside for a crashing wave of hop bitterness, crisp and bracing 'til some malty sugar sweetness reappears then both come together in harmony to form a nice balanced finish.

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Photo of yen157
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Steady streams of fine bubbles reinforce their bursting buddies in the off-white and slightly sticky head. Perfectly clear and amber in the wider parts of the glass and more golden around the edges. Some pink grapefruit coving up more sinister hop resin notes in the nose. Refined hop flavor perfectly compliments the cautious contributions of the malt. Malt sweetness was minimal. Instead, there was some tea-like toastiness. Finishes quite dry with some lingering bitterness and hop astringency. Very smooth drinking beer. Thin in the mouth, but not unsubstantial. It was a lot more refreshing than it is hearty.

This beer was pretty straightforward. From the name it was easy to tell what the major hop contributions would be. A nicely put together beer. I have a feeling that once the weather stays consistently warm there will be room for this in my fridge.

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Hopback Amber Ale from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 3,133 ratings