The Unforgiven Amber Ale | Rush River Brewing Company

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The Unforgiven Amber AleThe Unforgiven Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Rush River Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by feloniousmonk on 07-14-2004

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Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 175
Photo of tjfontaine
5/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I first tried this beer on tap a few years ago in a small restaurant near Ellsworth wisconsin. This beer WAS brewed in Maiden Rock near the rush river but as they have grown they moved to River Falls.

This is a great beer for my tastes - unfiltered, full body, just the right amount of hops ... tastes a lot like Mac and Jacks African Amber which I think this beer was modeled after. It is now my regular beer when I choose not to experiment with something new.

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Photo of mjryan
5/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The colour of this beer is, well, amber. Slightly hazy, I decanted carefully as this is unfiltered. Nice white head with ok lacing. Smells strongly of toasty malts, with a slight sourdough breadiness to it. A light citrus, earthy hop aroma makes a cameo as well. The flavour mirrors the aroma with perhaps a tad more hop presence. There is also a slight, almost Belgian like yeast twang in there. Bitterness is there for balance and helps to leave a nice dryness in the finish. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. This is an easy drinkin and well made beer. An intersting variation on what can at times be a rather boring style. I like this beer an awfull lot!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass) bottled 2wk June
A- This beer has a slightly hazy slightly dense apricot brown body with a snow globe of little bits swirling around with tiny bubbles. There is a sticky antique white head that last for most of the beer.
S- The soft sweet but very aromatic caramel malt and honey malt gives way to a soft green pine aroma that grows with each sip.
T- This beer has a slightly sweet caramel malt with some dry honey malt notes underneath. There is a soft slightly sweet biscuit note then a soft pine hint in the finish.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture.
D- This beer has a nice full rich caramel flavor but its not sweet or sugary with a nice support of green hops underneath. If there were light classes of beers I would say this is a great light barleywine.

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Photo of Larrytown
4.39/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have nothing against ambers, but they usually end up as decent beers, and nothing worth celebrating. As such, I wasn't expecting much when I cracked this bottle.

A nice puffy one-finger head starts us off, but it fades pretty quickly. The beer has a ruddy orangish-red color. Really nice aroma of fruit on top of a bready base. Maybe this will be better than I thought.

The first sip hits immediately. Lots of immediate flavors and a touch of sweetness before it all fades to the hops on the back of the tongue. There's more going on here than in a typical amber. True to the nose, we've got some citrus flavors mixed with a biscuity base. I'm really digging the taste and it's got a nice medium weight to it in the mouth.

This beer is much better than I expected coming in. It's an amber certainly, but without any of the boringness I associate with that style. Unique and delicious. I'll definitely be picking up more of this.

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Photo of Greggy
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- Many yeast particles dance amongst the beautiful amber color below the 1 finger head, that slowly recedes into some lacing.

S- The first thing that hits the nose is a nice hopiness which I would be willing to bet is cascades. Amongst the hopiness is some caramel malt and just a touch of honey.

T- Intially I get some dryness/bitterness due to the hops and then some really great caramel/maltiness, but it is definitely leaning more towards hoppy. The finish of the beer is dry hops with just a touch of residual brown sugar/malt.

M- Initially, the beer seems to have a bit of a cloying carbonation but lessens as the beer disappears in the glass. Overall no major issues, however.

D- As one who typically dislikes amber beers, the rush river really changes my perspective on ambers. This beer is great because it has more of a hop bite making it more than just the caramel notes that I have tasted a thousand times. Given the %, I could session this no problem and could easily drink this one everyday.

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Photo of NODAK
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smell is a bit understated, but has a pleasant caramel sweetness to it...some toastiness...whiff of hops.

Pours a light red color in the pint glass....head minimal but present. Looks appropriate.

Taste is a very pleasant one. A good caramel sweetness comes first, with a great note of biscuit pairing with it. Tasty. Hops are present on the present in an herbal way....just enough to wrap the swallow up right without lingering.

All in all, an outstanding amber ale. Happy to have had it.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, filler in a mixed six pack

appearance: poured into an imperial pint glass, a rather copper body with a fluffy beige cap and decent retention...nice

smell: i was rather surprised to find out that this beer has quite a nice hop profile, sharp citrus and bubblegum combined with a nice grassy malt core...i like what i smell

taste: this is a nice amber ale, i'd definitely drink it on tap if that were an option. I love the hop profile - juicy citrus and bubblegum, tangerine, peach....grassy caramel malts...lovely

mouthfeel: smooth and crisp

drinkability: high

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Photo of dfried
4.28/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Toffee-ish amber in color, 1cm off white head. The aroma is of malty toasted grains, sweet and sugary caramel, light citrusy hops, and something I couldn't quite put my finger on that was a bit soapy. I though it may have been from a poor glass washing job at the bar I originally sampled it, but I had a bottle of it the other night and it was there too. Not necessarily off putting, but definitely odd.

The taste is outstanding, and there was no hint of that soapiness from the aroma. Sweet and fruity apples and pears, toasted bread, a bit biscuity, caramelly. Medium carbonation, medium light body, and a slight creaminess to it. The hops are lightly tangy, but mainly leave some citrusy and floral notes. More fruity notes as it warms, raisins, dates, and some almost berry like flavors. Some yeasty chunks near the bottom.

Overall: one of my favorite ambers I have ever had. I really haven't tried all that many ambers given my affinity for hops and/or darker maltier beers, but I was really impressed with this one. The fruitiness is what stood out about it to me, where as a lot of ambers the flavor consists more of toasted grain that turns to a bit more of a cardboard flavor as it gets old. Maybe this one is just a bit fresher than most I have tried given its produced so close. Enough complexity for a relatively simple style, great flavors, and outstanding drinkability.

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Photo of mnstorm99
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a revise from my review about a year ago, not sure if my palate has just changed this much or if they have changed the beer.

Apperance, good cloudy amber color, White foamy head that leaves pretty quickly and leaves a little lacing.
Smell, good carmel malt smell, rounded out with floral hop aroma.
Taste, great sweet malt flavor rounded out almost perfectly with some candy floral hops.
Mouthfeel, Nice and thick but not overly thick, this one is very smooth and very well carbonated (my main issue last time I had it.
Drinkability, this was a good beer I would definatly drink again, the hop touch was nice and I like the sweet malts, very nice beer.

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Photo of dsgraham1
4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great unfiltered and unpasteurized ale. It has great flavor with a good balance of malt and hops, mild spice and floral notes, and a clean finish. This is the first time I have posted a review. I chose to post it about this beer because I think it is one of the best beers I have had in a while. I have had it on tap and in a bottle. I like it best on tap but the bottle does not disappoint. I highly recommend it!

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Famous Dave's of all places. Pours a cloudy bright amber color with a small white head. The aroma is mild and malty. The tatse is similar to the aroma, but more pronounced. Malty overall with hops peaking through. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, and very smooth. Overall, this is a very drinkable brew. It is one of the best amber ales that I have had.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Orange-honey with a good bit of suspended particulate. Head retention is so-so.
S- Bread dough, slightly citrusy, with a bit of floral aromas.
T- Up front there is a good bit of citrus. The finish brings in a doughy, freshly sweet flavor. There is just a touch of toffee and butterscotch Well balanced and flavorful.
M- Clean mouthfeel. Medium-light body. Medium carb.
O- Among my favorite amber ales. Easy drinking and quite tasty.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at MacKenzie's: Dark cloudy golden amber with more gold at the bottom. Small bubbly cap of creamy colored foam sits atop. Maintains a good skim and collar and when swirled the head flows back up to a respectable level so it seemingly has good carbonation. Lacing in adequate amounts of webby strings.

Aroma is firm, steady, crispened, and present of sour dough bagels and roasty nuttyness. Very bready on the nose.

Taste is also pretty bready; and thickly so. Nice sour dough bagel creamy breadyness with some nice evenly handeled roasted nuttyness towards the finish and some buttery notes mixed with warm whole grain toast spread with an orange/apricot marmalade. Solid taster for an amber, more so then most I've encountered with a Vienna style twist of heavy breads. Nice.

Fantastic full bodied finish, creamy, full, and eager with incredibly fine breadyness thats very well rounded and creamy with just the right amount of give in the carbonation.

This is one of the better Ambers I've had in quite awhile. I actually stay away from this style on most occasions due to its basic flavor profile and character that's seemingly copied at every brewpub or wannabe brewery. A good change of pace for the style; and I for sure as hell was glad to have tried it. Very good on-tap.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Extremely Hazy Dark Orange color; They do not get much more unfiltered than this. Despite that, you can make out the carbonation along the very edges.

Smell - Buttery Biscuits, Yeasts, Piney Hops, Malty Sweetness and some Toffee Notes.

Taste - Cloves, Bubblegum, Toffee, Yeasts, Malts and Floral Hops. Pretty tasty for an Amber Ale and nicely balanced, considering all the flavors.

Mouthfeel - Body is quite heavy and the carbonation is pretty strong, which is the weakest aspect of this beer. The body itself makes this beer more of a sipper rather than something you can just slam instantly, which both in favor of and against the beer.

Overall - An excellent Amber Ale despite some problems with it's palate. I've always had solid beers from Rush River and this proves to be another quality beer from that brewery.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from tasting notes.

A. Pours out an orange-amber color with some small amount of hazing, a two finger foam head that settles in about a minute with medium levels of lacing left behind.

S. Peppery spice and earthy noble hops in generous amounts on top of a warm biscuity malt.

T. Biscuit dough appears first, joined by light amounts of floral and faint citrics, but the long sustained finish is almost entirely spice and herbal hopping.

M. Crisp and spicy dry finish, medium body and lightly carbonated. Could have used a slight boost to carbonation levels.

Notable mostly for having a somewhat longer duration of spicy noble hopped finish than your typical amber ale.

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Photo of ejimhof
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -Nice red brown color to this beer

S - Hops and floral notes are present.

T - Hops and malts define this beer very good taste one of the better reds available.

M - Smooth and not overly bitter.

D - Easily a beer you could drink more than one of.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky looking deep orange tone. Yeasites are evident and hang in suspension. The head is thin and white. Lace is quite full. Sweet aroma. Like sweet as in candy caramel and candy corn. Also breadiness. And some hops are noticed and maybe some fusel alcohols?? The fusels aren't very noticeable on the palate, but there is some light alcohol tones apparant. The taste isn't real thick and rich, but it is quite distinctive and it does appeal to me. It's kind of bready and doughy. Reminds me of a Bell's amber in a way. Just a titch of yeasty sourness (like sourdough bread) and some caramel maltiness. The carbonation is very mellow. Body is about medium-full. Solid overall.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one falls on the light and orangey side of amber; there is scantly any tones of red and inspection to the light reveals only a more radiant and more concentrated shade of orange. Its head is elephant tusks white and appears strong and sturdy like them too. A slurry of bubbles and sediment are tossed about as if caught in the updraft of a tornado.

There's no doubt in my mind after smelling this: The Unforgiven is a beer I want to drink. It exudes a rather delightful, highly ambrosial bouquet of fresh baked bread, pumpkin pie spices, withering flowers, caramel-coated pastries and just an ounce of citrus fruit. It is like a busy bakery meets a confectioners' cupboard meets a springtime countryside.

The flavour makes for a beer that isn't quite as trite as its style would have you expect. What sets this amber ale apart from most others I've had is the distinctly perceptible taste of sourdough bread. It may hail from the Mid West but I swear I'm in San Fransisco drinking this! That sourdough flavour is best described as being, well, doughy and bready.

There is also a sweeping wave of buttery caramel that washes the palate in a sticky-sweet coating. A generous hint of diacetyl seems to be the ribbon that ties the caramel and bread together to make one tasty present for the tongue. An appetizing but unexpected note of pumpkin-pie spicing keeps recurring. I like it a lot.

All the pleasantries described so far are likely the result of a couple things: this beer was A) dry-hopped, which explains that underlying earthy tone and those harbored notes of citrus; and B) fermented with a specially cultured strain of yeast, which likely is responsible for the unique sourdough bread character and that pumpkin pie-like spiciness.

Of course, we can't discredit the work of the brewmaster; this malt bill is as hefty as it is delicious and both bitterness and carbonation are bang on the nose for a beer designed to be easily quaffed. Any offering that features both this quality and quantity of both malts and hops is a winner in my books. I'd drink this any day of the week, any time of the year.

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Photo of drpimento
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Geez, I like this beer a lot! Hard to fault it. Poured with a huge foamy frothy pale tan to off white head and plenty o lace. Big hoppy nose. Hazy amber with orange tones looked so appealing in the glass. Mouth filling and pleasing. A little soft. Nice play between the hops and some residual sweetness. Good finish. Great session beer.

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Photo of brow1901
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours and amber yellow color with a thin white head on top. The head disappears to nothing quickly, and leaves no lacing as it goes.

S- The smell that stands out to me is the lager yeast character. Less fruity esters it seems, though it does say ale on the label. The hops smell spicy and citrus.

T- Real light, mostly just hops that stand out. Tastes like typical bitter hops that are found in a lager, (maybe it is ale yeast with saaz or hallerteu hops).

M- Real light, which is apporiate. The carbonation levels are a bit low and the finish is too slick for me.

D- Pretty drinkable for the style, I like the hops in this beer. Not the most complex but this style never is.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to supercolter for this great brew!

12oz bottle into a snifter glass

A- Pours a dark orange with a nice thin white head that leaves little lacing.

S- Fruity hops with a crazy yeast nose

T- Fruity citrus hops hit you up front and dominate with a nice smooth yeast flavor and some delicious pale malts.

M- Medium light body with moderate carbonation and a little bitter dryness in the finish.


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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruddy pumpkin with an impressive amount of fine yeast in suspended animation. The pale caramel cap is one of the first clues that this is a quality brew. A good bit of lace puts the finishing touches on an appearance that is much heartier than the average amber ale.

The aroma is definitely different. It's incredibly estery, with a ripe fruit and fruit blossom scent that is intriguing. It might be the hops, but it's probably the 'custom created' yeast strain that the brewers hoped would make this beer unique. Mission accomplished.

The Unforgiven is no wilting violet of an American amber, that's for sure. It's so packed with flavor that one wonders why others brewers can't create something similar, rather than cranking out an unending stream of nondescript, forgettable versions of the style. Using ample quantities of quality ingredients isn't exactly rocket science, now is it?

Because of what tastes like a generous amount of Munich malt, the beer has a toasted and caramel (almost Oktoberfestish) vibe that I'm not gaga over. The flavor score still deserves its place, though, because this ale is as bold as it is well-crafted. As for hops, it's probably something with German bloodlines. The finish tightens beautifully as the alpha acids begin to assert themselves in cumulative fashion.

What a unique concept. The Rush River brewers decided to create their own yeast strain, with the help of a lab in Oregon. The end result is a beer that tastes tremendously bready, like the liquid version of very lightly buttered, perfectly toasted French bread crust. Given the moderate tanginess, let's throw sourdough into the bread box as well.

The mouthfeel easily keeps pace with the other attributes. It's medium-full for the style, with a solidity that too few amber ales possess. A hefty amount of malt and a perfect amount of carbonation are the keys.

The Unforgiven Amber Ale is the flagship offering of one of Wisconsin's newest breweries. Some may scoff at the notion of an amber ale being a flagship, but this one is more than worthy of that honor. Here's hoping that the rest of Rush River's lineup is at least this good. Thanks feloniousmonk.

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Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Blue Nile.

I'd always ignored this beer when I visited the Nile. I mean, next to Furious and Bender, who needed it? Well it turns out this beer kind of kicks ass. It's a hoppy amber, like Troeg's Hopback Amber for anyone that's tried it.

It looks like a typical amber with a dark orange body and white head. The aroma is big on citrus hops and the taste matches. All the while, there's a nice balancing, biscuity malt presence that separates this beer from a pale ale.

Overall, there's a lot of nice hop and malt flavors going on in what makes for a very drinkable and tasty beer. Worth a try.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass the beer is orange brown in color. It looks alot like fresh apple cider actually. Fairly cloudy with a half inch a thick beige head. Nice amount of sticky lace is left around the rim.

The aroma is rich caramel malt. Some spiciness with chocolate and fresh baked bread. This is a great smelling beer for sure. I hope the flavor follows.

The flavor does not dissapoint. Smooth malt and breadiness with a dose of hops to balance it out. Very rich.

Smooth medium body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall a solid beer. This is my first from rush river and I will be seeking some of there other offerings for sure.

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Photo of deebo
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured into a pint glass, this beer gives about 2 fingers of large bubbled slightly off white head. The head hangs around for about half the drink with some lacing noted. A very slight haze. A light amber/orange color.

S-A hoppier aroma (clean citrus and grassy) than most amber ales. Also has a nice malty (sweet and slightly grainy) aroma.

T-Similar to the aroma. Malt and hops upfront and in the middle, ends a bit astringent and mouth drying but definitely not overpowering.

M-Crisp carbonation, balances the hops and malt very nicely. Medium bodied-quite nice for an amber, a touch creamy.

O-A bit heavy on the hops but quite nice complexity and an easy to drink brew. I can't ask for much more than that. A nicely crafted brew. First beer in about a week, so anything might taste great right now!

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The Unforgiven Amber Ale from Rush River Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 175 ratings.
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