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The Red MacGregor - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
The Red MacGregorThe Red MacGregor

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

139 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 139
Hads: 220
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 15.83%
Wants: 14
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-09-2002

Red Macgregor is a unique beer: delicate and sophisticated yet the robust cask conditioned version of this beer was the first Scottish beer to win the BIIA World Cask Beer Gold Medal.

On the nose, this ruby-red beer is delicate, floral and fruity, with notes of violets, cherries, toffee and caramel.

On the palate, the fruits combine with a juicy malt character and hints of toasted malt, with a biscuit malt and spicy hop finish.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 139 | Hads: 220
Photo of drmeto
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

-pours a clear ruby-copper with a big,creamy,offwhite head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-Follows the nose
-high bitterniss for the style
-medium to high carbonation
-light,watery body
Lacks a bit of Body otherwise a really nice Red Ale.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

coppery Amber pour, Aromas of bitter notes, floral, caramel and toffee. Tastes of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, biscuit, toasty notes. Medium-light body with a dry finish.

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Photo of The_Mad_Capper
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appears a deep, tea-like, coppery amber with an off-white head. In the aroma is lots of toffee, a little cocoa, grape, and a touch of butter. The flavor is dominated by crisp, herbal hop bitterness; also reminiscent of Dutch cocoa with a little pale graininess. The feel is quite crisp but medium bodied.

Tastes as though it was made with hard water, contributing to the crispness of the bitterness and flavor. The aroma is very appetizing but a little buttery. The hops are most apparent in the flavor, with some rounding from the very backgrounded malt. Satisfyingly crisp and flavorful.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Not sure of the availability of this in the US, but my father-in-law brought me back a 4pk from his trip to Scotland. This is pretty much an average Scottish ale, but with the distinction of possibly being the real deal: theonly one I've had that's actually from Scotland. I mean, I see Innis & Gunn on the shelves all the time, but it looks disgusting, so I've never tried a bottle.

Dark mahogany pour, looking nice, with a medium cap of off-white head. Toasty aroma, bready with a touch of smoke. In the taste, toasted grains, mild peaty smokiness, hints of candied fruit, dry grassy hop appearance in the finish. Body was about medium, with a pretty good drinkability for the style. An interesting beer to try.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.42/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, almost completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, speckled with reddish highlights and a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt, caramel and brown sugar, and some floral, grassy, piney hops. Very nice.

Taste: Pretty good. Malty and bready and slightly sweet with flavors of caramel and a touch of toffee. There are also flavors of black pepper and coriander. Finally, the beer finishes with a touch of floral, grassy, piney hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and subtly carbonated. With an ABV of 4.0%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a decent beer, but nothing to write home about. Nice flavors and enjoyable as you drink it, but once drunk, its easily forgotten. In sum, its pleasant but forgettable.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. pours dark red with fading head. rich malty aroma and flavor - no detectable hop flavor. medium body, higher carbonation. a nice solid Scottish ale.

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Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500 ml brow bottle purchased and consumed near St. Andrews, Scotland.
BB date stamp of May 2016 -- 1 year from now.

Clear red-brown body with a fine bone-colored head.
As hoppy as an Amer. Pale ale, but with a darker malt mix. Excellent hop/malt and bitter/sweet balance.

O: another solid and recommended offering from Orkney.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours brilliant mahogany with a persistent, clingy 1” rocky fwhite oam collar – beautiful, very creamy, smooth and fluffy. Drinks clean and smooth with kettle sugars aromas and flavors.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an almost opaque super dark orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, cardboard, chemical and spicy herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with watery cardboard, chemical, and spicy herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer with an mix of chemical and spicy herbal hop characteristics that make this one a bit difficult to drink much of.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Jmamay22
3.6/5  rDev -5%

Pours a nice clear ruby red with a tan colored head. Smells fruity and malty. Some caramel and toasted bread notes. Very clean scent.

Taste is similar. Initially bland, but turns to the caramel and toasted flavor. Finishes with a mild bitterness and lingers with a general fruitiness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly lingering sweetness. Nicely done if not spectacular. Enjoyable.

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Photo of Phocion
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Live review. 500 ml bottle poured into an imperial nonic. Dark thick copper color with a finger of very resilient beige/light-brown head. Excellent retention and thick splotches of lacing.

Aroma is definitely malt forward. Caramel, biscuit, and toffee are dominant along with roasted malts. Floral hops and dark fruits are also noticable. Slight earthy hoppiness. Overall, fairly heavily hopped for a Scottish ale.

Flavor is sweet toffee and biscuit along with floral hops. Black cherry and toast. Slightly musty, earthy yeastiness. Slight spicy hoppy finish.

Light-medium bodied, but relatively substantial for a 4% beer. Low carbonation and a very soft mouthfeel. Perfect for the style.

Fairly highly hopped for a Scottish ale, though most American palates would find this quite boring. This is a perfect example of what good British beer is. Smooth mouthfeel, low and sessionable ABV, perfectly balanced, and complex but subtle flavors. This one is a definite winner.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm looking forward to this - Orkney are the brewers of the divine and tasty Skull Splitter (one of the Doktor Hops all-time favourites), and even though I am decidedly not a big fan of lower than full-strength beers I have a feeling this one might win me over with its wily Scottish charms.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Red and beautifully flowing like the hair of a wee Scots maiden, with bits of yeast sediment (which Dok finds yummy) floating around and a beige half centimetre head.

S: An aroma of sweet toffee malt mixes well with bread yeast and currant. Hints of earthy hops provide a solid backing as well. There is perhaps a bit more of a slant towards the sweet but the nose can sometimes be misleading.

T: Nope - the balance between sweet and bitter is spot on. Palate starts with a broad toffee malt and bread yeast base with currant (and even a sour cherry hint), then finishes with earthy hops. A good clean tasting ale here. Noted is a tiny metallic tang, it's a minor distraction though and no cause for alarm.

M: Mid to light bodied, borderline watery, with a nice light Scottish pub carbonation.

D: Overall a decent effort, but pricey (cost me $8 for one 500ml bottle!). The flavour is a little more diluted than I would like it to be - then again I am trending towards heavier beers as my palate changes - so it likely would have fared better with the me of 4 years ago. Other than that I think Orkney did well, not as good as Skull Splitter but I never expected it to be.

Food match: The label suggested casseroles but I would imagine a casserole overpowering this brew somewhat. I think it would better suit a soup like a Vichyssoise, pea & ham or a potato leek kinda deal... with a decent artisan crusty bread (it's all about the bread baby!).

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 4/1/2012. Pours fairly cloudy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, and earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Slight earthy/peppery bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and robustness fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/yeast/hop balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy, and slightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4%. Overall this is a very nice Scottish ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of MightyMonk
3.94/5  rDev +4%
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!

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Photo of tillmac62
3.44/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of FLima
4.19/5  rDev +10.6%
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).

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Photo of pkalix
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of mick303
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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

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Photo of CookstLiquor
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of ckollias
3/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
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 - as 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.

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Photo of colts9016
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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The Red MacGregor from Orkney Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.