1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

The Red MacGregor - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
The Red MacGregorThe Red MacGregor

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

204 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 204
Reviews: 131
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 12.7%
Wants: 13
Gots: 12 | 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

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 204 | Reviews: 131 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep red with a thin cream-colored head that settles to a thin film on the surface. Although there is carbonation present, it's very subtle.

S: Aromas are very floral, with hints of violet and grass. There are some fruity notes in the backround.

T: Flavors are fruity, with hints of cherry, followed by bready undertones. Hops come about and leave a crisp, floral finish that only lasts a few seconds.

M: A bit thin for what I expected, but still has enough to make it's presence known.

D: Red MacGregor is a decent beer. Orkney has never really dissapointed me, but this one is not amongst my favorites. It's still worth trying, however.

Photo of melitameister
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Rich ruby with a thick full head that retreats quickly to leave fine lace.

S- Modest aroma of leechee, bread and maybe olives; not very much there

T- Some dry malt breadniness, gentle tartness, ash and solid spicy hop balancing it out nicely.

M- Light texture and smooth.

D- This is not watery, but rather a mild brew resulting in a highly drinkable brew with plenty going on. The Scots are getting nicely into the micro revolution.

Photo of ralree
3.27/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark, but very clear red. White fluffy head, small bubbles, great retention and lacing.

S: Brown sugar, some hops, not much else. Pretty plain.

T: Very smokey and very bitter. Weird and watered down - doesn't really taste like beer in many ways. Alcohol undetectable, not sweet whatsoever, lots of hops, a little sour. It's like someone smoked an IPA and never added any fruit. Weird taste at first, but kinda grows on you. Literally almost no aftertaste at all.

M: Watery. Light bodied, a little oily, rather
astringent. Carbonation a little low. This area needs work to make the beer more pallatable, but it seems they're making a traditional brew.

D: Goes down alright, but I'm not chugging it. It's average.

Photo of cswhitehorse
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Red MacGregor poured a nice ruby red with a single finger foam head and some tight bubble lacing. The smell was awesome and you could tell a nice dry hopping had occurred.

The taste was sweet up front then dry with a toasty malt body. It was creamy and left a slight hop bitterness on the finish. Overall I found it to be a delicious Scottish.

Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Comes in a shaped, brown, pint bottle.

Poured a dark red with a finger of light tan head. Retention is solid, and lacing is minimal.

Smells of strong bitter hops and strong malt. Alot of spice. The bottle says "violets, cherries, toffee and caramel on the nose" but honestly the hop and malt are so overpowering that I couldn't smell it, even if it was there.

Taste is very rich in hop and malt. Spicy hop dominates with malt leading a close second. A few earthy notes and clove.

Mouthfeel is very dry and crisp, medium to heavy bodied.

Drinkability here is average. This is unlike any other scottish ale I've had and its definately unique on its own. I'd drink it again in the right situation but I couldn't do this one frequently.

Photo of Infamous7100
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

-Poured a copper to dark red into my pint glass. A nice two finger head as well.
-Sweet malts on the nose right away. You can smell the slight bitterness of the hops too, giving off a bit of a floral/citrusy aroma.
-Very sweet and malty up front. The hops come through a little toward the back. There is a tad of a bitter aftertaste which sours the finish a bit. Other than that, outstanding.
-Nothing too exciting here. Rather light bodied and mild carbonation.
-Considering the ABV and the taste, you could have a couple of these and come back for more. If you can get over the mild bitterness, you are good to go.

Considering the rather cheap price, $4.50 for the bomber, this was a great buy and a pleasant surprise.

Photo of 1000Bottles
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear copper ruby hue with a medium tan to ivory head. Aromas of caramel, toffee and floral & spicy hops. Flavor is lightly sweet, some earthy/grainy notes, light caramel, slightly fruity. Finish is light, creamy, delicious and leaves you longing for another taste! A really well made beer, especially at 4.0% ABV (that's what it says on the bottle)...

Photo of champ103
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish/brown color. A perfect two finger beige head forms. Nice lace clings to the glass.
S: What a wonderful aroma. At first peaty malt and toffee. Dark fruits (plums and cherries). Some floral hops that are subtle and in the background balance out the nose. I can't ask for much more.
T: The peaty malt flavor is a little more subtle, but comes out as it warms. Some toffee flavors and fruit that follow the nose. An interesting spiciness, and some hop bitterness.
M/D: A light to medium body, and over carbonated for me. Though this is exceptionally smooth and easy to drink.

A great beer. This is a good example of on of my favorite style. An easy drinking Scottish Ale, and one of the most flavorful beers I have had at only 4%. One I wish I had more of.

Photo of albern
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a fairly modest wee heavy scotch ale, but it is well recommended. It pours a fairly thick, cloudy brown color with a good deal of carbonation. The head is creamy and thick and the lacing is very good as is head retention. The nose on the beer is a good indication of what's to come. The aroma is slightly roasted and charred smoky malts, brown sugar slighly burnt, and a slighty boozy caramel smell.

This is a fairly full bodied beer, nice and smoked up, not overly sweet although with lots of caramel and brown sugar hints. There is a slight hop bitterness a touch drying, but overall just lots of thick malts. The beer is quite light in ABV, there isn't lots of booziness to the beer as is sometimes characteristic of the style. The smoky somewhat oaken flavors are quite nice. This is a nice beer worth seeking out for the style. L'Chaim.

Photo of TonyVic
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer. The beer had a nice thick head to it when poured,great body,and a very floral aroma.

I ate it with fish & chips which went really well. The malty flavor reminded me a little bit of the flavor that you get when you have malt vinegar on the meal. Highly recommended.

Photo of ccrida
4.64/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500ml bottle poured into my Samuel Smith imperial pint, The Red MacGregor is a bronzed chestnut with a tight, creamy eggshell head that leaves nice lace.

Smell is fantastic, and more eloquently summarized on the label better then I could muster, lavender, cherries, caramel. I also get some grassy, herbal hops and a hint of diacetyl.

Taste is also great, this is a really tasty ale, especially for only weighing in at 4%, much maltier then the nose, there's a spicy dryness, touch of roast, bittersweet, but with a lighter finish. There's also a nice earthy, slightly smoking ester to distinguish it from it's brethren elsewhere on the isle. A fantastic Scottish ale, especially for the often overlooked lighter end of the spectrum.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth save for the spiciness mid-palate and lingering prickly tongue. Light-bodied.

Drinkability is fantastically high. I really love this beer, and am super impressed with how much flavor they got out of such a small, simple beer. The only chink in the armor is the cost, which is about $6.50-7 each! If it were a $40-60 case it would be great to stock up on.

Photo of McClungbrew2
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Medium amber color. Creamy near white head. Light oak highlights, lacing to the bottom of the glass.

Smell - Sweet malt and slight floral hop nose. Faint toffee/caramel accents.

Taste - Sweet malt, slight woodiness balanced by hop bitterness. No pronounced hop flavor. Very faint pear/apple notes. Faint peat smoke in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and creamy with a slight tingle on the tip of the tongue. Good body with no lingering aftertaste.

Overall - Very good. Well balanced yet complex beer.

Photo of BMoney575
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 1-13-09

Pours a very slightly hazy amber/brown color, with a fizzy white head that settles to a fine layers of bubbles. Rings of white lacing line the sides of the glass.

Smell is lots of malt, followed by a sharp, fruity hops that adds a great earthy quality. Very good.

Taste is a light, very thin malt, with a ton of peaty earth flavor. The hops kick in second, huge, earthy, and bitter. The finish has a coffee/smoke edge, but is otherwise clean.

Mouthfeel is full but thin, about right for the style.

Drinkability is also good, surprisingly bitter with low abv.

Overall, a good red ale. Too much hops to bee considered a scotch ale.

Photo of Redwood21
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: the beer has a dark mahogany color with a hint of rusted amber the head is dirty tan and foamy. the head does remain and starts out sticking to the glass, but eventually relents and just is not as robust as others, a borderline 4.5 but i had to give it a 4.

S: the bottle says the aroma is delicate, and i would agree, though i am not sure that is a good thing. the malt is pleasant and there is a faint caramel smell, but its all too faint and at most just doesnt detract from the experience instead of adding. this was a borderline 3.5 but since i docked the A i boosted this...call it law of avgs

T: this beer is complex in the various things it manages to pull off. nothing is overwhelming, but it starts out with a sweet malty beginning there is almost a dried fruit taste. the middle is a more balanced toasted malt that is familiar to the style but finishes with a tart semi harsh bitter hop finish. this is an enjoyable palate change and is very welcome

i would recommend this, its very good and easy to enjoy

Photo of Traquairlover
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into tulip.

A = Beautiful clear redwood or stained cherry liquid with a medium sized foamy head, good retention, slowly subsides into a thin covering of small bubbles on the surface.

S = Good balance of hoppy bitterness and sweet underlying malts, the citrus rind smell of the hops really remind me more of an American amber or red ale more than a Scottish Ale, the malty biscuit and somewhat earthy tones of wet freshly turned soil are more reminiscent of what I expect from where this was brewed.

T = The taste is a very logical extension of the smell. I get intense bitterness at the front of the tongue and mid-palate, but the hops flavors are much more subdued, and this has a huge dose of malty, smokey character which more than balances out the hoppy bitterness leaving an overall sweet beer with a bitter edge.

M = Medium to medium-heavy body, good mouthcoating, carbaontion is at a pleasing level providing body and foaming on swishing, but not overpowerful.

D = This is an easy drinking beer and I could suggest it, but overall probably just a little above average.

Photo of nickynick
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red MacGregor poured a Brownish Amber color with an excellent tan head. The smell was of hops, fruit, and slightly floral. The taste was a mix of malt and hops. More hops then malt for sure. Hints of fruit. Also hints of toasted malt. Mouthfeel was ok. It felt a bit syrupy to me. Drinkability was good. Went down pretty well. Overall I found this to be an interesting beer. The flavor was unique. I am not sure what this beer is, but I did enjoy it.

Photo of JamesS
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very nice dark amber/copper color with very little head and almost no lacing. It has a very light malty scent, almost nothing there. Excellent taste, very malty, nice little touch of smoky peat, a good deep flavor, with little hints of butter/vanilla. It goes down a little sharp, but not bad. It's a bit between a strong scotch ale (this one is a bit weak for a wee heavy) and a higher scottish ale.

Photo of Brad007
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darkish-red color with a decent head of foam that leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Hop aroma and smokiness of the malt greet the nose. A bit of sweetness to the malt as well.

Taste is mainly sweet and the smokiness of the malt shows through in the middle. Subtle, not overpowering. Distinctive. Hop bitterness towards the back of the throat keeps this from being too sweet.

Mouthfeel is a mixture of smokiness and bitterness. Smooth and even a bit chewy.

Very drinkable. At 5%, it could make a great session ale. I'm pretty satisfied with the quality of the offerings from the Orkney Brewery.

Photo of wl0307
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Revisiting the bottle version of Red MacGregor. This bottle comes at just 4%abv. - maybe due to a change of recipe? BB JAN 10, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: clear copperish hue, topped with a well-lasting dark beige froth that leaves tight lacing behind, on top of mild/moderate carbonation.
S: sweet orange, cherry+longan-fruits, creamy toffee-ish and brown-sugary malts, a touch of raisins, and lots of floral scent of hops... somehow, very sweet and dense in terms of the aromatic mixture of hoppiness and malts.
T: the sour-sweet juicy swallow of autumn-fruits is fast ensued by an utterly dry, roast tea-leafy bitterness on top of caramely+smoked-nutty malts... turning really chewy and bitter in the aftertaste with a dry-ish malty palate (as of well-toasted malts) as well as a touch of sweet coffee, while the fruity undertone reminiscent of dried longan-fruits, raisins, dried plums, and more dark tea-leaves lingers beautifully, consistently underlined by a mild sour edge. Brilliant aftertaste.
M&D: the mouthfeel could've been smoother if given a little less fizziness, while all in all the body retains pretty well throughout the drink. Despite being slightly too sweet on the aroma, the flavour presents a rather balanced performance and makes it really really quaffable as a well-hopped and very bitter fruity ale.

* Tasting Date: 16/02/06

500ml brown bottle, BB JUL 06. Served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.
4 A: dark reddish brown hue; effervescent, rocky and frothy off-white head slowly settling to a 0.5-1cm thick cap with very good retention; constantly fizzy body.
4 S: slightly apple-ish fragrant fruitiness upfront, on top of a more settled and rounded scent mixed of coffee-syrup, hazelnut, creme-caramel's caramelised sugary top and its creamy note.
3.5 T: lightly dryish smoked nutty+malty palate upfront, followed by a touch of lovely sour-sweet edge of a cup of herbal tea infused with a wedge of lemon; lightly tangy/tannic fruity and herbal flavour gradually prevails along with a lingering, dryish aftertaste of caramel maltiness and an interestingly crisp clean finish.
3.5 M&3.5 D: a ve...ry dry and mildly bitter-fruity ale it is, backed by the microscopic fizzy mouthfeel; the dryish edge makes this beer definitely a thirst quencher, while the residual nutty aftertaste provides a kick-back of maltiness in the very end. Pretty solid, albeit not as much exciting~~

Photo of dnichols
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was served from a 500 ml bottle.

A: It poured a rich, dark, and red body with a white head. The head was slender and receded quickly and supported a leggy thin lacing.

S: It had aromas of floral hops, as well as smokey and earthy peat. There were notes of caramel and sweet malts.

T: It had a nice sweet and nutty flavor with floral hops and a creamy peaty undercurrent.

M: It was a light to medium bodied beer with modest carbonation and a lingering sweet malty aftertaste.

D: It is an interesting and tasteful brew that may be to sweet for a session beer. However, it is a fine ale that deserves serious consideration.

Photo of pinotboy007
2.95/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Auburn with a decent cap that descends quickly and leaves some spotty lace. No visible carbonation.

S - Peat, tea, leather.

T/M - Peat, leather, raw honey, a touch of bitter hops. Very light carbonation but it comes across as diluted.

D - Nothing worth seeking out - perhaps it's better from the cask in the UK but I think it suffers on the trip across the drink.

Photo of TheMistler
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A pretty bubbly beer with a slightly off-white head. Lasts a little while but doesn't particularly cling, and isn't lacy. The ale itself is an attractive dark amber.

A crisper beer than - I think - the fruity-toffee quality of the nose would indicate. Nevertheless, the taste has clear malt qualities. Good balance. It finishes pretty clean, but with slight amount of floral hops left on the palate.

Certainly not knock-your-socks off good, but an eminently drinkable red, scotch ale that I have grown pretty darn fond of.

Photo of poetaster
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby red--very nice color. Solid quarter-inch head lasted a few minutes. Wonderful floral fragrance, but the taste, at first, seemed a little thin. I think it was too cold--my bad. The bottle says "the cask conditioned version of this beer was the first Scottish beer to win the BHA world Cask Beer Gold Medal." As it warmed, I could see it would be an excellent cask ale, with refreshing spicy-bitter hoppiness that complements the dry malt flavors very well. A great session beer with real body and definite Scottish character.

Photo of Yesac
3.44/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A -I'm not to iimpressed with the appearance. Poured brown/deep copper. No head.

S - The smell is excellent. Dark roasted hops with yeast presence.

T - woody/earthy, sweet malts. Some type of underlying fruits add sweetness. Great balance.

M - The mouthfeel is excellent, the carbonation doesn't seem present to the eye, but the what it does to the palate is amazing. Very clean feeling that leaves the hops clinging with taste provoking another sip. Quality brew here.

D - Low ABV, and palate feel makes this a great sessional with a red ale type taste.

Photo of charlzm
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed on 3/28/08.

Pours dark amber/brown with a remarkable creamy head that lasted to the bottom of the glass. For me, this was over thirty minutes!

Aroma is crisp, beery. (Think of the beer smeel that greets you when you walk into a bar where it has gotten into the carpet and woodwork through years of spillage).

Mouthfeel is as creamy as the head. Green apple Bass Ale thing going on at first blush on the palate. Malt becomes apparent in aftertaste. In fact, I'd say that a maltier Bass is an apt description. No bitterness at all and a tad watery. Some spice (black pepper) appears eventually at the end.

A surprisingly light Scotch Ale.

The Red MacGregor from Orkney Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.