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 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 nrbw23
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy light golden orange color. Very small white head that goes away quickly and and leaves no lacing.

S- Could pick up something sweet in here but can't figure out what it is. Also some yeast and just a hint of hops.

T- Fairly sweet. Sweet malts and floral hops and that's about it. Not a whole lot going on here and pretty mild.

M- Medium in body with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- Fairly easy to drink. Not a whole lot going on in this brew. Not terrible but also probably won't go out searching for this.

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Photo of rkinsella
3.17/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Cloudy orange/brown color, minimal head that went to nothing in a few minutes, no lacing. Actually, pretty weird looking. After the head was gone it looked like I was drinking some pineapple mango juice.

Smell - Grassy, a bit sour, and some floral notes.

Taste - Sweet/sour, earthy, followed by an almost smokey medium hop bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium weight, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - The earthiness kinda got to me by the end of the glass. Seems well crafted with a lot of interesting (new) flavors in balance. Not a typical amber ale. However, not really something I would want to try again.

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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 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.

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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 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 umustdrink
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy dark orange color. Dark white head fades to an eighth inch. Lacing sticks mostly around the head.

S - Sweet cereal malts with faint brown sugar, some light hoppy bitterness.

T - Taste starts with a light bitterness and quickly into light brown sugary cereal malts. Malts intensify along with some bitterness. Finish leaves a light sugary bitterness.

M - Medium consistency with medium carbonation.

D - A good amber, but I would have liked more intense flavors.

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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 Tilley4
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Lordsloth for including this one in the Virgin BIF haul! Thanks, Chad!

Hazy, anber pour with a 1 inch head that reminds me of a barleywine in appearance... Very murky with some very small floaties..

Aroma is of sweet malts, a little hoppiness, and caramel. Reminds me of a brown ale..

Very interesting taste sensation here... It seems a little watery at first but immediately I get a rush of sweet malts, hops, and almost a breadiness there that is quite pleasant..

Nice little brew. Thanks again to Chad for sharing!

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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.

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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?

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Photo of shadow1961
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rush River's The Unforgiven Amber Ale pours a finger of stiff foam over
a cloudy deep amber brew. Considerable tiny particles are in evidence
and carbonation is active and steady. The nose is malt and vegetal hops.
The flavor is nutty, fruity malt and that boiled vegetable- like hop again, finishing
a bit grassy. Mouthfeel is full yet crisp, slightly astringent in fact. Rush River's
website indicates they are using some kind of a proprietary yeast in this
brew, and indeed it does produce an unusual effect, sort of a mash-up between
English and American styles. Interesting.

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Photo of Chaz
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat hazy golden-copper in color, toped with a two-fingered pale tan head. Nose is a combination of biscuity malts and a fairly assertive Pacific Northwest hop profile and styling. Hops are lightly citric, and strike me as much more assertive when decanted from a bottle than have my previous pints served on draught. Mildly biting hops on the profile blend well with the aforementioned biscuity malts, and there's a sweeter pale and crystal malt backbone amply backing this up. A lightly spicy and bitter hop profile lingers after the mild sweetness subsides. Very smooth in this incarnation, and with very good drinkability. Notes of red and golden apples are evident, as well as some toffee and a light sugary feel. This seems lighter than the stated 5.8%, but from experience I know that after a few of these at happy hour it really comes into its own. I've always found this to be a great accompaniment to a pretty wide range of food and it's a go-to beer in a few of the local bars I frequent. Still, I see this better-than-average beer get passed over regularly for the bigger, bitterer beasts and hope it doesn't end up getting lost in the shuffle and written off as another 'pedestrian' Amber. I'm happy to see that Rush River got the bottles out there and think this will do a lot for the brewery.

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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.

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

A- Pours a hazy amber color that clears after time.1" of a creamy head that fades away leaving nice lacing.

S- Smells of citrus/floral hops with a sweet malt lingering in the background.

T-Citrus right upfront then a huge malt aftertaste with a hint of caramel.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation and smooth feel over the palate.

D-This is a very drinkable beer.It has a hoppy smell that might scare some but its aromatic more than anything.Nice sweet malt finish,great balance.This makes a good session brew.

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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 supercolter
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer on tap at The Lazy River in River Falls, WI.
Appearance- nothing to bark about, good coloration but serve in a frosted (i hate that) mug.
Smell is above average, some fair malts, kind of sweet smelling, thought it would by drier.
Taste is good, starts out sweet but then that quickly fades, not to bitter just a more mild flavor.
Mouthfeel is a bit to thin but not bad.
Drinkability is good.

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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 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.

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Photo of ADR
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at The Happy Gnome, St. Paul, MN...

Sort of dark peach-colored brown color, translucent. Flat head dies fairly quickly, in less than 30 seconds or so. Laces in incomplete dripping rings. Aroma of lemon peel, slightly soapy in overall impression. Mouthfeel is lighter, the carbonation on this one was less than medium as well. Not a bad caramelized flavor, especially to start, almost like cinnamon rolls, with a decent bittering that makes this beer a drinkable entry and gives it good neutral balance. Some hops linger into the aftertaste. Flattish presentation, something that happens from time to time with Rush River kegs detracts a bit here.

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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 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 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!

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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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