The Unforgiven Amber Ale | Rush River Brewing Company

very good
75 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 175
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well made like all of the rush river stuff has been, but really, at the end of the day, it's just another amber ale. This one has a little more body than most, fluffy and sturdy, and smooth going down, substantial enough to be four season beer, even up here. It also has a nice concentrated flavor, that while more or less traditional, is more robust that we are used to in the style. Nutty and sweet, hints of maple syrup there, a richer crystal type malt and nothing more than necessary buttering hops that provide some grassy balance later on. Sturdy and autumnal, this is definitely the best time of year for it, sort of a nice alternative to the samey octoberfest types out there right now. These guys make good beer, and while this is a far cry from their most inventive, it's very tasty and probably one of the better straight up Amber types I have had in awhile. Longer caramel finish, almost English for a second, mellow all the way. An easy six pack to get into any time of day, good food beer too.

 1,008 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer begins with a steady and classic Amber pour. Medium amber to strong copper in color, the beer has near perfect clarity. A medium head fills the rim of the chalice and then reduces to a comfortable layer and holding serve. No real lacing on the glass.

A balanced aroma of sweet, caramely malts and orange-zest hops fill the nose. Light esters and phenols come in late along with a yeasty breadiness.

Malt flavors take the lead with a strong, sweet caramel taste. English malts give a firm bready, biscuity taste and in a rather bold manner. The hops (still in orange-zest mode) makes a valliant attempt to balance the sweetness but falls just slight. Herbal and citrusy hop flavor take a back seat here. Light fruitiness rides in the peripheries along with a light plastic phenolic taste.

Body is medium with the sweetness taking its toll in the end. Bitterness is there but never really balances the superior malt sweetness. Not sticky or heavy, the sweet taste isn't necessarity indicative of the mouthfeel.

Finishes with a deep caramel linger along with an herbal, orange flavored bitterness. Quite a nice beer. It reminds me of Lexington's local Kentucky Ale except with better hop balance and boldness.

Thanks Arvjunk!

 1,236 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, amber color with hints on ruby. It had a small, khaki-colored head that left little to no lace.

S - It smelled of biscuity caramel malts with some mild floral notes.

T - It tasted much like the aroma - sweet caramel, bready/biscuity malt and a touch of hop bitterness.

M - It was crisp and smooth with a dry finish. A light to medium-bodied ale.

D - This is an okay amber. It works fine if you are looking for an easy drinking brew.

 460 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bunkrock (Reddit) for this, another Rush River for me to try.

Pours a larger fizzy 2 finger head that fades fairly quickly with almost no lacing over hazy almost murky orange slight honey colored beer.

Nose light amber reddish malts, slight sweet toasty malts, light honey malt and fruity amber like aroma, with a bit of a grassy slight earthy hop character. it also has a light sweet extract amber syrup like addition.

Taste starts with more sweetness, light sweet malts, hint toasty and amber reddish malts, hint syrupy like malts, but a nice tasty malt base, fairly toasty maybe a hint of Munich malt and crystal malt. Then fades to a light fruity floral hop, hint of bitterness with a nice hoppy base. Finish is drier, light syrupy like malt lingering taste with hint of caramel and toffee, light amber reddish toasty malt, and some lingering light spicy bitter hop.

Mouth is med bodied, good carb.

Overall pretty good. Malts are quite nice, despite a bit syrupy, nice hop character that is on the lighter side, and quite drinkable. By far the best Rush River I've had so far.

 1,095 characters

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

Appearance: Pours an orange-amber body with a thin, wispy off-white head.

Smell: Bready caramel maltiness with the fruity, sweet-smelling scent of juicy clementines. Slight note of butter.

Taste: Caramel maltiness with a nice, gentle sweetness. Hints of dough and even fresh grains. A couple pats of butter, which works for me. Bright, juicy citrus hop flavor with a bit of spice. Mild bitterness. A bit more of the bread and spice on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It was good, so I forgave it. Won't you do the same?

 566 characters

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.

 2,165 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This showed up with a creamy, foamy, off-white head with excellent retention. There was very good clarity in this deep-amber/light-copper colored beer. The nose was lightly malty. The mouthfeel was thin to medium with a sweetish, honey-like taste on the palate. I got a yeasty spiciness on the finish, which was completely unexpected. This was a pretty good amber.

 364 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a foggy orange hued amber with a thin creme head. Nose is a bit of pineapple juice and a leafy hop thing. Flavor is nice and sweet (possibly a bit too much, but I'm not bothered.) Mellows out and you get a nice hoppy tone with that standard red ale characteristic. It's true to style. Seems a bit creamy on the liquid feel, but the carbonation is really biting at my tongue long after I am done sipping, and it kind of bugs me. Overall a nice brew. Tone down the high level of carbonation and I'd have a regular line-up beer (if only it were available in NYC.)

 566 characters

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.

 254 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My third sample of this very new brew from a very new brewery. First was a thimble-ful at the Bulldog in Uptown, Minneapolis, next a sample bottle provided by the brewers, and this review is based on a pint had with lunch today, again, at the Bulldog.
Pours out a murky, rustic, deep amber hue, that somehow unclouds over time, to be more traditionally amber in appearance. Nose is mild, with a discreet whiff of hops, pleasant enough.
Smoothness reigns on the palate, nothing troubles one, nothing leaps out and grabs, and that is fully the intent of the brew, and help this enterprise to be successful. They told me personally that they weren't out to do anything too agressive right away, and that is an imprtant niche to be filled.
Light to medium-bodied, (I almost thought "thin", but I don't choose ambers that often, and that's pretty much what you want for the style), with a soft, lingering finish. A nice malty tang rides through the flavor. This was dry-hopped, but ever-so delicately.
As I don't often follow one beer with the same, (just one of those quirks), I decided to have a pint of Bell's Amber Ale, which I enjoy, to compare. Big difference is, of course, Bell's unique yeast, but also their citric hoppiness, which may put some off...definitely stood out in comparison to The Unforgiven. But they set out to create a smooth, easily accepted amber, and they did it. A beer I'd return to again, if I wasn't feeling the need to feed a hop fix!
Currently on tap in eight Minnesota and five Wisconsin locations, sure to spread!

 1,548 characters

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.

 611 characters

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.

 2,122 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

June 2007 bottle date; Sampled January 2008
A somewhat vigorous pour produces a one-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head that sits on top of a lightly hazed, amber colored brew. The aroma is a mix of citrus hops (dominant note) and softer malt aromas. This smells of orange blossoms, tangerines, a hint of pine, crystal malts, touch of caramel and a fair amount of toasty grain in the finish.

Lightly sweet with ample hop character that provides a sharp tickle of the taste-buds from the get go. A biting bitterness up front seems to disappear for the most part by the finish. Sharp, citrus oil notes provide notes reminiscent of oranges and grapefruit. There is also a substantial malt character here, though it plays a secondary role to the hop notes. This has a toasted malt / biscuit like note in the finish as well as a caramelized malt note that contributes a touch of fruitiness and accents the citrus-like hop notes. A hint of diacetyl seems to contribute a touch of fullness and an ever-so light dusting of butterscotch (this really is quite minimal though). The yeast also seems to contribute a soft fruitiness here that becomes more noticeable as the brew warms up a bit.

A nice example of an Amber ale, it is clearly hop focused (similar to a Pale Ale), but has just enough malt character to be just worthy of the Amber moniker. Clean malt and hop notes shine at first in this beer, but in a surprising move the yeast notes actually show up as the brew warms up a touch; this is surprising as I was expecting the standard, ultra-clean, almost signature, American ale yeast here, but the yeast used here actually contributes a touch of character. A tasty brew that I could easily quaff a few pints of at the local pub.

 1,739 characters

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.

 823 characters

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.

 675 characters

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.

 336 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap in the back room of my house...hell yeah! Thanks to scoobydank for hooking me up with this 1/6 keg for our annual summer shindig. I'm certain it won't survive the night.

Lighter than a classic amber, more an IPA color, very little reddish slopping around the glass. Smell is distinct, bready, hoppy, & a bit of handsoap, though not in a bad way.

Tastes like Fat Tire without the nasty rubber aftertaste. Crusty twelve-grain bread (ha! it always cracks me up when people describe stuff so specifically, like they're striving for Napa Valley-esque cool), malty, with a paper clip of hops fading into the background. The nice twang in the aftertaste makes me want to screw up my face & gaze quizzically at the glass for a while, to try to figure out exactly what it's telling me. I'm not sure. Easy to drink, really bready.

Good brew. I'd love to have this hot off the production line, I think the hops would be brighter & give this a whole 'nuther level of interest.

 977 characters

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

 577 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
Mar. Wk3 notched on the label, no info.

A - More golden orange than amber, it's lighter in hue than I expected it to be. A low off-white head leaves good lace clinging to the glass in coiled rings.

S - A mellow hop combination of dirty earth and citrus lies in wait, waiting to strike. Yeasty undertones and caramel malt provide the base.

T - I expected the hops to strike like a snake and inject their bitter venom into my throat. Instead what I get is a good combination of citrus and earth that's balanced heavily by caramel malt.

M - Hardly biting bitter, this timid serpent of an amber is medium-bodied and balanced with a smooth mouthfeel.

O - Where they land around average with an amber ale, well-balanced nonetheless, they gain serious points for having a coiled snake on the label of "The Unforgiven" Whether or not they intended to allude to the Metallica song from the "Black Album" featuring the same coiled snake matters not to me as I listened to it with the beer regardless.

 1,051 characters

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.

 362 characters

Photo of morimech
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy orange color with a thin head that quickly disappears. It is an unfiltered beer so some particulate matter is floating about the beer. Just a little lacing left on the glass surface.

Has a nice citrus hop aroma. Not much else to comment on.

This beer comes alive where it counts most, the taste. Starts off with a citric bite but quickly the malt mellows the flavor out.

Has a lighte body with a bit of a harsh carbonation that bites the tongue.

Highly drinkable with a lighter body and low ABV. A very good Amber Ale.

 538 characters

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.

 1,298 characters

Photo of cokes
2.65/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Silty, sediment-laden pumpkin amber with a tight sticky pale khaki head.
The nose exudes plenty of wrought iron metallics and buttered dinner rolls, with a backing of hop-driven tropical fruit punch.
Into the mouth, it's all buttered bread, microwave popcorn, and heavy duty diacetyl. It's a shame, because under this oppressive curtain and burnt butter is a seemingly lovely, lightly nutty and toasty amber ale with a solid, if slightly metallic and astringent, citric and tropical hoppiness.
The mouthfeel is medium full and notably pasty with low CO2.
I've had similar problems with diacetyl in their Small Axe (and to a far lesser extent, Bubblejack IPA). Either they are wildly inconsistant, or I am particularly sensitive about their yeast. Regardless, I think I'm done with them.

 787 characters

Photo of blackie
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: bottle filled to the top, into a tyranena pint, pours a dirty amber color with a khaki head, low retention

s: pale grains and a healthy dose of lightly toasted/caramelized malts, barley husk and chaff, good hop presence of sweet citrus and stonefruit

m: low-medium carbonation, medium body

t: pale and lightly toasted barley flavors, full in flavor as if intact and straight from the fields, earthy hops with a moderate bitterness, more of the citrus and stonefruit from the aroma, rustic

d: enjoyable, a bit homebrew-ish in an unrefined way, but that's a large part of the appeal for me

single purchased in and carried back from Madison

 645 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 3rd week of August 2007.

Mostly clear, dark orange-amber body. Small, wispy, off-white head doesn't last long. Toasted malts, caramel, butterscotch, and marshmallows are balanced by light pine and tangerine hops. Toasted grains up front give way to doughy caramel and butterscotch malts. Juicy citrus (tangerine and grapefruit) hop bitterness takes over in the finish. Moderate body with a nicely carbonated feel.

 422 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Unforgiven Amber Ale from Rush River Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 175 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.