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The Red MacGregor - Orkney Brewery

The Red MacGregorThe Red MacGregor

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

175 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 126
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13%

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-09-2002)
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Ratings: 175 | Reviews: 126 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MightyMonk

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep dark red with a nice 2 finger head that laces all the way till empty, with lacing still on the glass.
Not a strong aroma, traces of fruit and malt.
Creamy complex malty taste, very nice.
Carbonated nicely, feels creamy and full bodied.
This is a great Scottish session ale. @ 4 ABV I coud drink a few...well, quite a few!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 22:23:59 | More by MightyMonk
Photo of tillmac62

South Carolina

3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby, almost brown, with a massive head and tremendous lacing. On the second pour from the bottle, flocculants were predominate and totally hazed what was a perfect appearance making it opaque. Light nose of caramel malt over a slight floral component. The body is almost medium with normal carbonation. The flavor is a mixed bag of citrus, biscuit, cherry and earthy hops. Finishes with a bit of tartness.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 21:08:55 | More by tillmac62
Photo of DaveBlack


3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer certainly is red, a beautiful ruby colored beer. A good finger's width of creamy head.

S: Malty and fruity. A smell almost like candied orange peel.

T: After the look and the aroma, the taste is a bit of a let-down. Toasted malts, quite bready and yeast. The finish is bitter and dry.

M: Moderate carbonation and body.

O: A good beer, not a great one. Seems a little overpriced at $6 a pint. Very drinkable and pleasant, just nothing stellar.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 21:54:44 | More by DaveBlack
Photo of ryan1788a5


4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Red-brown in color, and hovering farther into the darker side of the spectrum. Great clarity. A massive rocky head towers atop the beer for the duration of the session. It creates persistent, sticky lacing that clings everywhere. A very good-looking beer.

S: Very hoppy and floral. Sort of a rose petal and lilac sort of aroma comes out of the glass with force. Backing malt scents are bready with hints of grain, caramel, and toast. Earthy too.

T: Toffee, bread crust, woody and nutty tastes, hints of chewing tobacco and brown molasses. Floral and pithy hops balance nicely. Mildly spicy, lavender, and even hints of marmalade and orange peel. Caramel and grain on the finish with lingering spicy hop oils.

M: Medium bodied with a fat and chewy texture. Coating. Low carbonation scrubs a little. A little gripping on the tooth enamel due to the hefty hop dose.

O: Truthfully I was not expecting much when I cracked this beer, but it's a very pleasant surprise. There's loads of hop character that you just don't typically see in these sorts of beers and in this part of the world. Floral, bold, and even aggressive in nature, the hops play the foil perfectly to the expectantly fat and rich malt body. A wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 21:35:49 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of FLima


4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

First Scottish beer to win the BIIA world cask beer gold medal.
Dark copper reddish color with a two finger head with short retention but leaving a curtain of laces.
What a superb aroma, explosion of red fruits, I could swear they were added to the recipe. Then followed by some nice lychees and grapefruit citrusy with English earthy hops notes and caramels.
Fruity flavor with a Cascade hop citrusy. Notes of grapefruits, plums, floral and earthy hops, guaraná, lychees, nuts, caramel and toasted malts. Dry aftertaste with an elegant bitterness.
Body of a Session beer with good carbonation.
A light Scottish Ale. Very good beer, refreshing, tasty and still complex. I would love to see a version with higher alcohol and body (don’t recall well how this compares to their robust Skull Splitter).

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2013 18:14:19 | More by FLima
Photo of pkalix


4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I swear it smelled like spearmint gum from the bottle before I poured it....
little head, dissipated to nothing quickly, save for a thin layer. rusty copper color (does copper rust?), kind of like the color of the amber the prehistoric mosquitos got caught in. not brown. not amber, more like a 'gold-brown'...
from the glass I get a candy-malty-toffee with a hint of pine and fruit.
taste is a tad bitter, tastes kind of old. definitely british(?). a little sweet. I want to say it tastes like a burnt wire or a bad residue from some jib... decent malts, but I question the freshness.
overall, it's okay. 4% abv, obviously they are trying to make their 'trademark'. it also may actually be older than expected for drinking due to the place I purchased it.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2013 01:14:58 | More by pkalix
Photo of mick303

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On cask at Torridon Inn, from notes.
A - a deep red ruby brown, full tan head that sticks around with great lacing. 4
S - hops come through with fragrant grapefruit, delicate roasty malt, hints of rye sour tartness. Very full, interesting and tasty. 4
T - fruity citrus and apples over a strong malty base, nutty and slight sour citrus. Awesome taste, slight caramel coming through and good depth. 4.
M - a full caramel maltiness and light hoppy esters, light session body, smooth carbonation, refreshing. 4.
O - a very tasty and complex beer, very enjoyable. Will have again. 4.25

Serving type: cask

06-17-2013 21:27:28 | More by mick303
Photo of CookstLiquor

British Columbia (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle. Pours a burnt reddish brown with a decent tan head. There are lots of noble hops in the nose along with a little caramel malt. The palate offers ripe dark fruits: plum/prune. There's a good finish of earthy bitterness along with citrus rind.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 20:16:02 | More by CookstLiquor
Photo of ckollias


3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed this bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a cloudy ruby reddish brown hue with a thin white head that quickly dissipates into a wispy lace.

S: Interesting aroma – hard to say exactly what it smells like – but it really doesn’t smell all that great. It has a musty sort of spicy fruity aroma with hints of toasted malts.

T: Similar to the smell the beer tastes of toasted malts, caramel, spices, and fruits (mostly cherries).

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Not my favorite beer by Orkney Brewery. The flavor and aroma were a little different and slightly off.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 00:57:14 | More by ckollias
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle.

This beer pours a clear, very dark ruby amber hue, with two fingers of bubbly, foamy dirty white head, which leaves some semi-consistent honeycombed lace around the glass as it duly abates.

It smells of mild, thin caramel and toffee malt notes, a soft pitted fruitiness, and bitter, musty noble hops. The taste is somewhat biscuity caramel malt, mild toffee undertones, acidic dark fruit - black cherries, mostly - a subtle metallic flintiness, and soft earthy, floral hops.

The bubbles are here, there, but not quite everywhere in their weak edginess, the body an adequate medium weight, and grudgingly smooth. It finishes just a wee bit off-dry, the biscuit malt holding fast, with the hops taking on a heretofore unnoticed tame spiciness, which goes a long way towards the encouragement of further indulgence.

A decent enough UK ale, but I can't forgive the stony edginess, as inoffensive as it is - taste-wise - at least, it still affects the whole mouthfeel, and general perception of the whole offering - a sour, kind of unappealing 'fruitiness', where I'm expecting big (sort of) treacly malt sweetness. Sorry to say, an Orkney concern has finally failed me, in the general, keeping up with the Joneses sense.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 04:22:37 | More by biboergosum
Photo of colts9016


3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A two finger head that is frothy and creamy, it has great retention. The head left lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is medium brown with dark brown hues. The clarity of the beer is near opaque with some cloudiness. Some carbonation bubbles are visible on the side of the glass.

Nose: A medium malty sweet aroma that is bready, caramel, and roasted cook notes. A fruitiness, with alcoholic aroma, and low hops. A subtle peaty aroma with a smoky earthiness.

Taste: This is a light Scottish ale. A medium light malt that is bready, kettle cooked, caramel, and roasted notes. A fruitiness, with alcoholic and low hop aroma. The hop aroma has citrus and wood. Other notes is peaty, smoky, and earthiness.

The mouth feel of the beer is warm, carbonated, and coating.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium too. This beer is good with lots of flavor packed into this beer. I would have like to seen more complex flavor in this beer to give it a better body. It is a good beer, but Orkney makes a better Scottish Ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 01:51:19 | More by colts9016
Photo of LiquidAmber


3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a deep reddish orange with a thin off-white head and lacing. Light sweet and toasted malt aroma. Flavor follows, with light sweet and toasted malts and caramel. Fairly subdued. Slightly sour and crisp finish. Hops kick in a little late to be well integrated. Pleasant, but not exceptional, probably largely due to the low ABV.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2012 18:52:27 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Plonk in Canberra.

Pours a very pleasant ruby-brown colour, perfectly clear and pleasantly still. Head is a firm but minimal froth of off-white, giving a yellow tinge to the crown of the beer. Decent mild English-style lacing. Body looks pretty solid. Good looking beer.

Mmm. Nose is a pleasant mix of smooth, sweet malt, and mild roasted characters—it has a firm roundness like sweet coffee, mingled with some dark fruity overtones like overripe raspberries. Refined and extremely pleasant.

Taste is a lot lighter, although there are some pleasant toffee overtones, and a rich fruit loaf character towards the back, giving some buttery notes. The feel and depth are what let it down a little—although this comes at the quite considerable advantage of being quite fully flavoured while remaining at only 4% ABV. In fact, although the depth and fullness isn't enough to linger on the palate with a residing sweetness, the fruit and bread notes do stick around, giving a sort of faux-length to the beer as a whole.

Overall, this is impressive stuff. It's not really that remarkable on its own, and I wouldn't be so compelled by it if I was served it blind, perhaps—but I don't recall having a richer, more flavoursome beer at below 5% ABV before. This does a really good job for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2012 05:27:41 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Pencible


3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a clear dark mahogany with moderate off-white head.
S: It smelled like sweet honey and fresh hay, with some roasted barley and dried cherries.
T: It tasted like sweet wild honey and earthy roasted barley and bitter metallic hops, with a little bit of dried cherries. It had a clean and metallic aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Light body.
D: This was a decent light red ale. Very traditional, but nothing special otherwise. The scent and taste weren't my preference, and the body was kind of weak. The finish had a lingering flavor I didn't much care for either. Not worth trying more than once.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2012 19:17:47 | More by Pencible


3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Pint glass. Enjoyed on agt´11. Brigth medium ruby. Off-white froth. Creamy crown & spooty lacing. Floral fragancy, mildy toasted malts ,hops & subtle toffee to the nose. Malty flavor, sweet touch, smooth hoppiness & spices. Slightly watery in the middle. Medium body, soft carbonation. Gentle resiny hops on the aftertaste. Refreshing. Very nice drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2012 09:00:40 | More by GONZALOYANNA
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My local Wetherspoons (like most) was having a ‘Scottish Week’ around the ‘Burns Night’ date and on 26th Jan 2012 I popped in and had a couple of pints: the second one being this fine beer.

First had Red MacGregor at a CAMRA festival (GBBF) many years ago: not had one since becoming a BA though, hence no review before.

Hand-pulled pint into a UK sleeve, the beer is a clear ruby red colour: on top a full head of foam, cream-coloured. Good lacing hung to the glass side as the beer level sank, the beer was in a good condition and you could tell.

The nose is a real mixed bag: malts and hops vying for attention, each coming to the fore and reducing again as the beer goes through the warming process in the glass.

The taste is also a fine blend of flavours: sweet malts and fruit/citric hop notes joined at the hip by a mini yeast presence that gives the beer that fresh and natural feel to it.

Easy drinking beer, the alcohol just about apparent although the mouth feel and body carry it nicely.

Serving type: cask

03-21-2012 11:08:19 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of Kinsman


3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Makes a nice looking pint in the glass with a bright and clear ruby color capped by a creamy tan head. Initial aroma greets you with welcoming notes of fruit and caramel. Just hint of hops on the nose with a nice floral character to them.

Tastefully well-balanced on the palate with a fine malt presence giving you plenty of slightly sweet biscuity goodness. Some toffee/caramel notes mix in as well before the kick of the hops comes in with some earthy spicy notes. Finishes with a bit of a fruity flavor that rounds it out well.

Mouthfeel is light and thin but goes down smooth. Would love to see how this beer is served on cask, but I'll just have to dream for now.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2012 02:11:38 | More by Kinsman
Photo of Flounder57


3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a one finger cream colored head that has reduced and left some nice lacing on the glass. A nice ruby red and crimson color with clear clarity and signs of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Lots of citrus characters on the nose. Tangerine and grapefruit are up front with some tart cherries and sweet malts in the background.

Taste: Pretty weak taste from what the aroma gave me. The only thing lingering is the citrus. Still, all flavors blended well together.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied, medium carbonation, smooth, but a bit watery. Still tasty and easy to drink.

Overall: This beer was a decent beer and very sessionable. Was expecting more, but at 4% one should not complain with all the flavor.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2012 18:54:10 | More by Flounder57
Photo of output01x


3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500 mL. capped bottle (no date) into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a 1-finger tan-colored head that slowly fades after a few minutes to a thin coating and moderate foam ring. The body is a clear mahogany red with a small number of rising carbonation bubbles and some small floaties. Some decent lacing can be seen throughout consumption.

Dark, sweet malts blend well with spicy hops in the nose. Notes of caramel, toffee, and cherry meet a slightly medicinal alcohol aroma. This is rather odd as the beer is only 4% ABV.

Sweet and toasty malts hit the palate first along with dark fruit flavors of cherry and raisin. Upon swallowing, the dark fruit flavors become muted and grainy malt flavors come out. This quickly fades to a rather unsatisfying watery finish. A floral hops bitterness then fades in and persists on the tongue between sips.

Medium bodied with good carbonation, the mouthfeel of this beer is just what one would expect from the style. The body is just dense enough to coat the mouth and allow the flavors to pop while never becoming sticky. The carbonation is a little fizzy and seems just right with the body.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 21:26:11 | More by output01x
Photo of rangerred


3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a nonic.

Appearance is a clear medium red with a thin off white head.

Smells very floral with hops being quite noticeable which was surprising. A nice caramel maltiness comes through as well along with some fruit.

Taste is quite caramely up front with some citrus but this is quickly taken over by a sharp bitterness that is almost tannic in nature. It is a dry oily bitterness that coasts the back of your throat. A little bit overwhelming. Finish is quite dry.

I am torn on this beer. I want to like it a lot but it seems out of balance. A little more malt and a little less hops I feel would be perfect.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 01:00:17 | More by rangerred
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby amber colour with inch tall foamy tan head. Good retention with a thick lacing remaining.

Spicy hops upfront along with a blend of toffee and sweet malts. I can also detect a fruity aroma that compliments the beers overall sweetness although the aroma is not quite as strong as I would have liked.

Strong hop flavour upfront, more so than the nose indicated and quite a pine like taste to it that almost makes it seem like your drinking an IPA. Some good floral and fruit notes along with some biscuit and malts.

Medium in body and with a smooth feel to it, the carbonation levels are good and the balance is just about right.

Lighter and more hoppy than I would have imagined but this makes the beer all the better for it. It has a great session beer character to it and is incredibly drinkable.

1 of the 1001 Beers to Try Before you Die:

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2011 15:08:20 | More by flyingpig
Photo of flagmantho


3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 500mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, enticing amber hue with a crystal-clear body. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam. Very, very nice.

Smell: big crystal malt aroma with a good hop component which is both a little spicy and a little citrusy; not unlike Cascade hops, really. It's not bad, although the combination of crystal and Cascade makes me think homebrew in the back of my skull.

Taste: mildish crystal malt flavor with mildish, bright hop flavor. Certainly brighter than other Scottish ales I've had. Not bad but not really to my taste.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good, well-integrated carbonation. Good mouthfeel for something with this low of an ABV.

Overall: not a bad session beer, although as I said not precisely to my taste. I wonder how this stuff is on cask?

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 03:16:01 | More by flagmantho
Photo of n00tz


3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear ruby body, tight cream-colored head, with sparse lacing. Carbonation is a bit slow, but steady.

S - Fruity malts and florals are easily detectable, not much beyond that.

T - Light breadiness imparted by the yeast. Very typical scotch creaminess is quickly gone to the bitterness that follows. Alcohol flavors almost cover the bitter fruit of black cherries, blackberries, and other tart or unripened fruit. Slight hop spiciness. I felt a bit disappointed in the hop balance the rest of the ale. If the initial creamy smoothness and yeasty breadiness had more presence, or if the fruity bitterness at the end wasn't quite so drowned by the alcoholic character, I think this would be in the starting lineup for Scottish Ales.

M - A bitter fruit aftertaste and slight stickiness is no doubt their "intensely hoppy" impart. The ale is a medium body that delivers its flavors well to the palate.

D - Overall, it just leaves some room for improvement on the balance of the character it has. It's a great profile for a Scottish Ale.

AFTERWARDS - Wow, the burp is a wonderful malty cream... Did I drink it too cold (~45F)?

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2011 03:28:49 | More by n00tz
Photo of palma

New York

3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ruby red body. very long lasting tan smooth creamy head. almost nitro pour looking. great appearance out of the bottle.

nose is big maltiness with fruity notes and floral whiffs. cherries, plums, raisins. Roses.

Flavor profile is very malty as expected. bready, toastiness. slight astringency toward the end. More hops than expected. more of a spicy hoppiness rather than citrus or piney.

Mouthfeel is juicy, mild, smooth. Wonderful.

A good session beer. Spicy hops brings the overall complexity of the beer to a decent level however, for a scottish session ale like this I would have liked to see a little more complexity of the malt flavors.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2011 01:46:21 | More by palma
Photo of jjboesen


4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"The Authentic Orcadian Ale," reads the label. Never having ventured to the Orkney Islands - but having ventured to quaff their deliscious Dark Island and splendid Skullspliter - I thought, "Why not? If it's not Scottish, it's crap!" It pours a consistent froth and settles quickly atop a foreboding ruby red body. There is an abundance of gummy lacing circumventing the glass.

There are floral notes that hide minute wafts of cherry; the palate ascertains the crystal malt blanket and detects a subtle hoppiness that exits to leave a grassy finish.

This is a pleasant sessional, one that encompasses drinkability and mouthfeel criteria all the while offering enough chewiness to set it apart from the pack.

And since it provides a minimal alcohol - it being 4% abv - the Red MacGregor portends numerous quaffs to anyone who finds themselves among the craggy coast of Orkney.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2011 00:59:45 | More by jjboesen
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The Red MacGregor from Orkney Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.