Laughing Skull Amber Ale
Atlanta Brewing Company

Laughing Skull Amber AleLaughing Skull Amber Ale
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #1,046
ABV:
5.3%
Score:
79
Ranked #47,107
Avg:
3.45 | pDev: 16.23%
Reviews:
115
Ratings:
462
From:
Atlanta Brewing Company
 
Georgia, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  13
Gots
  125
SCORE
79
Okay
Laughing Skull Amber AleLaughing Skull Amber Ale
Notes:
Reviews: 115 | Ratings: 462 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.91/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I am CANtinuing my Hallowe'en theme with The CANQuest (tm) until the site's clock strikes November in about three hours since they go by Zulu time (+0 UTC), making 1900h. (Local, EDT) my cutoff. This is CANother from my local, in-person trader, @tone77 .

From the CAN: "Brought to you by Atlanta’s original craft brewery, this unique amber ale is sweet, mild, and extremely well balanced. It goes down easy and won’t leave you feeling like a bloated tick, making it the perfect choice for tailgating, barbecuing, or just kicking back on the couch. Crack open a Skull and taste the difference quality brewing makes."; "EverCAN [-] Certified Recycled Aluminum".

I happily Crack!ed this Skull open & emptied its CANtents in the most ghoulish way possible. It responded in kind, roaring up to form just under two fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with great retention, leaving loads of sticky lacing in its wake. EEEK! Color was a beautiful Deep-Amber/Light-Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity, resembling the dried blood pooled in the corner. Nose had a bready maltiness, but I did not find it overly sweet or even caramel-like as some have mentioned. Hmm. Mouthfeel was medium with a good bit of carbonation. The taste actually struck a pleasant balance between breadiness & crackery-ness with a mild hop presence intertwined. This was more of a nu-skool type of AA/RA as CANpared to the late-'80s when this style ruled the nascent brewpubs & sweetness was the norm. Here, the sweetness of the malt is dialed back so as not to be a sugar bomb, but at the same time, it is not so hoppy and bitter as to get CANfused with an AIPA. Finish was in that twilight realm between semi-sweet & semi-dry, but I was beginning to itch for a lupulin fix. Next! YMMV.

Oct 31, 2019
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ArchimedesSox from Georgia

3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Copper color, 1 inch khaki colored head, good lacing
S: Cereal, caramel
T: Sweetness up front, caramel comes in with nice breadyness at end, slight bitterness
M: Medium
O: Really quality beer. I could drink a lot of these.

Mar 07, 2019
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

2.4/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a bland tasting amber ale. I have had amber ales that were too hoppy & I have had ones that were too bland. I think I am pretty much done with this beer style. I think Irish Red Ales are decent but the American Amber Ales are trying to be too much like an IPA. Cheers! C-

Nov 12, 2018
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown and cloudy like apple cider, little carbonation and 2 fingers of beige head.

Smells of apple cider, and caramel. Toasted malts as well as a hint of fruitiness.

Slightly fruity, apple cider, and caramel.

Medium, almost pulpy body, with moderately low carbonation.

Got in Kunming, China, drinking in Chiang Mai, April 13th, 2017. Good, standard, amber ale.

Apr 13, 2017
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the can, it pours a coppery amber with a large vibrant head, which lasts. A touch of malt in the nose, and the same in the mouth. A touch of pepper in the mouth, I am not sure why. Hits the spot!

Jan 28, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.77/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Don't get me wrong, Red Brick's amber ale has that quintessential American hop kick, but the real star of the show here is what's going on with that tasty, savory, peppery malt balance.

Laughing Skull Amber Ale fills the nose with a savory grilled grain fragrance. Bread crust, medium toast, roasted peanut, peppery pumpernickel, lightly scorched caramel and an almost meaty scent preludes its dark bronze and amber hues and leads to a savory-sweet taste that's transcendent of its scent.

As the beer opens up, the middle palate shows a release of sweetness but those toasty, savory, seared flavors remain. Along side, the hops finally share their taste of white grapefruit, orange peel, grassy and piney flavor. As the ale trails into the finish, its hop balance is moderate but the ale remains malt-centric at its core.

Medium-bodied and with a crisp and snappy bitterness, the taste trends malty-dry but with a drying resinous quality of hops. The beer's bold toasty and peppery edges also facilitates dryness; enough to take and edge off of the lingering sweetness and bring the deep finish into proper "American" balance. A trailing aftertaste of peanut skins, rye and grapefruit peel extends deep into the gullet.

Oct 13, 2016
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Midlifejacoby from Florida

4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a good amber beer, kind of strong and malty, beautiful copper color. Good smell to it. But over powerful in taste for my liking. Sells fantastic

Jun 05, 2016
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TX-Badger from Texas

3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy coppery/reddish color with off-white/ivory colored head. Caramel malt, some bread, and light grass on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with malt and bread.

Mar 26, 2016
Photo of Extol
Extol from Georgia

3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - dark copper in color. Smell - traditional smell, cookie cutter. Taste follows the nose with a hip bite. Overall - good, not great. But not bad. Girlfriend cringed and said it was horrible. Says it gets worse over time.

Mar 05, 2016
Photo of ordybill
ordybill from Georgia

4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a golden color, with a small white head. The aroma is malt with some citrus. The taste is mostly malt with a little fruit in the back end. A good ale.

Jan 19, 2016
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

On tap at an Atlanta hotel bar on September 21, 2015.

It pours medium amber with a decent off white head that fades.

Aroma of sweet caramel, toasted bread, and crackers. Resiny hops.

Light to medium body.

The taste begins sweet followed by an evolving earthy bitterness. It gets quite bitter toward the end.

Sep 22, 2015
Photo of Lahoi
Lahoi from Kentucky

3.84/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this amber ale, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. I liked it because it was more like an APA than an amber ale. It was darker, bolder, maltier, more bitter than most Amber ales. If you're looking for a solid APA, then this is a good one, but if you're not accustomed to those smells and tastes, then steer clear. I would definitely drink this beer again, and enjoy doing so.

Aug 09, 2015
Photo of JimKal
JimKal from North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a NB globe.
Look: amber brown with a nice tan head. Nice lacing on the drink down.
Smell: mild malt aroma.
Taste: really quite nice malty taste with a hint of bitter.
Feel: medium mouthfeel but really quite good for this style as so many other ambers just seem too light for me.
Overall: I"ll be looking for this one again as it is getting hard to find an amber as good as this one.

May 29, 2015
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thehoppylady from Florida

3.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Heavier nutty taste than expected out of an ale. Laughing Skull is a full bodied amber ale. This beer pours a brilliant amber color, with an off-white head. Willamette hops provides an earthy and mild bitterness, which balances the bready, malt character.

May 28, 2015
Photo of jkrich
jkrich from Florida

3.54/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an undated bottle: almost ruby red and slightly hazy with a sustained off-white, foamy head that receded slowly leaving some nice lacing.

Faintly fruity aroma with some sweet malt accents.

The flavor profile was much better than I expected given the reviews. Roast flavor with hints of caramel with a refreshing fruity aftertaste. There is a nice hop presence that keeps the ale interesting and nuanced.

Not the best amber I have experienced but worth seeking out.

Feb 08, 2015
Photo of tone77
tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a brown/amber color with a 1/2inch head. Smell is of caramel malts. Taste has hops up front, caramel malts at the finish, balanced and smooth. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

Jan 24, 2015
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The Laughing Skull looks more like the hypnotic skull to me. But it's what's inside that matters. Coming out of a 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

The beer is dark amber colored with a somewhat, albeit short white head. A thin creamy layer rests on top the beer, which leaves its mark around the glass. It's earthy, fruity smelling beer, with a raw bite of toffee crisp. Pleasant overall.

Laughing Skull goes down the maltier side of the amber ale scale. Sips of caramel enter first. A modest hoppy aspect The beer also has raw malt tones, husk, earth, and a zap of grassiness. The beer finishes clean with a lingering caramel aftertaste. It's medium bodied, gently carbonated, and easy to drink.

Fat Tire of the South? That's not a bad thing to be.

Dec 15, 2014
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DarkerTheBetter from Minnesota

3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beth and Kime for hauling this back from Atlanta!

This one pours a crystal clear copper color that glows a little red when held to the light. The head is an off white that sank to a thin film of head.

Smells of bread dough and apple juice with a distant hop dryness that blends this together into something acceptable.

Karen thinks this tastes like black tea... and she's totally right! There's a touch of grainy dryness, a thin astringent hop, and a zest of grapefruit to round this off. But yeah, she's right, it's totally black tea. I'm kinda diggin' this just for that.

Feels a little dense and sticks in my mouth just a bit. The carbonation is quite thin considering.

Not so bad, but strange for the style. Dig black tea? Go for it.

Nov 27, 2014
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Kopps from Wisconsin

2.5/5  rDev -27.5%

12 oz bottle; no date.
Beer of the month offering; a birthday gift.

A: Poured almost not head flattening very quickly; clear darker red color.

S: Weak malt aroma with no hops notes.

T: Malt flavors that linger; a bit sweet; typical middle of the road American Red Ale.

M: Lite body and lower carbonation.

Overall: An OK beer that will fill in, in a pinch.

Nov 17, 2014
Photo of Dave1999
Dave1999 from North Carolina

3.69/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark read with a small white head.

The smell is biscuit, malt, slightly sour, more biscuits.

The taste is big on the biscuit, slightly sweet, a little bitterness.

The feel is light with medium carbonation, easy drinking.

Overall an easy drinking beer, a fairly low abv, could drink a couple of these no problem.

Oct 19, 2014
Photo of gentlystewed
gentlystewed from Georgia

3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a pint glass and the modest creamy beige head tops the flat amber body.
The aroma is woodsy, biscuity, and malty all around and balanced out just right. I'm not picking up any hop whiff at all with this.
The flavor is all about toasted grains, butter cookies and sweet malt, all topped with a mild hop kiss that just about screams comfortability.
The mouthfeel is medium to light. Smoooth.
Overall, a great brew. You could drink this all night long and not grow tired with it at all.

Aug 10, 2014
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Red Brick Laughing Skull Amber Ale
12 oz. brown bottle, code date is illegible
$2 @ Whole Foods, Tampa, FL

Appearance: Very deep amber/caramel colored body. Hazy. The frothy off-white head holds quite well, and leaves walls of rolling craggy lace surrounding the glass.

Smell: Distinctly caramelish and toasty. Bready sweet. Some hops come through behind the malt.

Taste: Richly malty backed by a good smear of spicy, floral, and grassy hops. The malt is caramelish, toasty, bready, and slightly chocolatey. It's almost like a candy bar. Surprisingly, although it does falls towards the sweeter end of things, it's balanced by just enough hop bitterness and flavor that it never really becomes 'sweet'. Drying, lightly malty lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a dextrinous edge. Creamy and smooth with a moderate, fine-bubbled carbonation.

Overall: A surprisingly well-balanced amber ale in what is now a sea of over-hopped ambers from the U.S.. Very pleasant. Really enjoyable. Easily accessible to the uninitiated, yet satisfying for even the biggest beer geek.

Jul 05, 2014
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a0lbudman from Alabama

3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Light brown color with a slight haze and an off white head that faded and leave a spotted lace
S-roasted malt with a bready aroma that has a citrus like aroma also
T-light roast and light hop taste that stays with you the whole way
M-medium carbonation and medium body
O-this was better than I expected. The look and the smell had my worried but the taste was very refreshing, smooth and crisp

Mar 10, 2014
Photo of Mojo
Mojo from Alabama

3.62/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle -&gt; Highlands Brewing snifter

A - pours a deep red amber with a foamy one finger off white head, no real retention and minimal lacing.

S - weak nose, kind of floral

T - sweet caramel malt up front with a dry clean finish that has a roasted bite to it.

M - thin with a small aftertaste

O - decent if unspectacular.

Oct 17, 2013
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mattcrill from Ohio

3.27/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Mild caramel and wheat bread aromatics. Mild earthy hop notes. Clean fermentation character. Low fruity esters reminiscent of blackberries.

Appearance: Deep brick red pour. Glass appears still. A wispy off-white head that retains well. Lacing noted on the glass.

Flavor: Rich caramel and bread crust notes up front. Caramel malt is toward the raisin bread spectrum and quickly balanced by firm earthy hop bitterness. Balance is nearly even. Aftertaste is lingering and slightly sweet on the back of the palate. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium high carbonation. A slight carbonic bite. No heat or astringency noted.

Overall impression: A very approachable, somewhat "safe" amber. I'd give this to anyone new to craft beer. Full of flavor and complex enough to keep it interesting but probably not something "extreme" beer lovers will covet. I'd try it again.

Aug 19, 2013
Laughing Skull Amber Ale from Atlanta Brewing Company
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 462 ratings