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The Red MacGregor - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
The Red MacGregorThe Red MacGregor

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

191 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 191
Reviews: 130
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 12.96%
Wants: 13
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-09-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 191 | Reviews: 130 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kimcgolf
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%

Poured from the bottle to an amber red with medium off-white head that stuck around through mid-glass and left good lacing. Aroma was roasted nuts, though not real dominant, and flavor was more of the same. Finish was dry and slightly sweet, although not real long. A decent beer, but not Orkney’s best., as I failed to find the "bitter" in this ESB.

kimcgolf, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of jettjon
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%

Presented in a 500ml bottle, no freshness date noted. Decanted into the wine goblet, it pours a brownish ruby red with tiny bubbles beneath a one-finger brown-tan head. Nice slow fade down to a craggy cap with lots of sticky lacing. Nose is nice, heavy, sweet malt, a bit perfumy. Tastes warm in the mouth with mild malt character and slight bitterness. Nicely balanced. Slightly spicy/peppery. A pleasingly complex brew. Finishes on a dry, peat/dirt finish which I enjoyed but might take some getting used to. Mouth is viscous and semi-creamy with light carbonation; smooth overall. Drinkability is excellent; this is a mellow and quite tasty beer, suitable for enjoyment with some good red meat.

Overall: A great ale, very well balanced and enjoyable. Recommended.

jettjon, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%

As far as English Pale Ales are concerned, I really liked this beer. It has the maltiness of an amber (caramel, toffee), with the hopping rate of a Bitter, and the cleanliness of an ESB. With that, I'm surprised this beer doesn't rate higher. The look is a rusty, sly-of-clear, densly headed appearence with nice low-key carbonation. Aromas of solid malts (barley malt, caramel, and sweet breads). Fruitiness is less than the malty sweetness, but shows in the forms of red apples, figs, and dates. The flavors closely reinforce what is experienced in the nose; with emphasis on the malts and earthy hop flavor. A mild nutty flavor increases as the beer progresses. The feel is a rich and full malt feel with creaminess (carbonation) and an unwavering firmness. Finishes quite clean without any abrupt vaporation, graininess, or bite. Overall, this was a very good beer. No flavors that knocked my socks off, but a solid Scottish brew that offers the best characters of that region. I will certainly have more of these in the future.

BEERchitect, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of dstc
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%

A: Dark ruby color with tan head that seemed to last through most of the beer with a fair amount of lacing left behind.

S: Smells like it should be fairly strong with earthy hoppy characteristics.

T: Pretty good. I like this beer but it has a strong bitter aftertaste.

M: Light, a little watery and good carbonation.

D: This is a fairly decent beer. While I enjoy drinking it the bitterness is something I have a hard time with, that's just my taste.

dstc, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of aleyeast
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%

Red amber in color with a thin light tan head that holds

Malty Fruity and slight hop edge on the nose, but everything is slight, very clean though and if I had to pick one, it would be light malt

Malt, caramel flavors, very slight smoke perception, may just be roast, hops just to balance, but this is definitely smooth. Would probably be very good on tap.

Very balanced.

aleyeast, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of claytri
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%

The beer poured a dark amber with a tan head. The aroma was simply extra malty. The taste was so malty you might feel like you were eating it, and it has a nicely bitter finish. The feel is medium and dry. This is quite a fine example of what I'm looking for and generally find with Scottish ales. It has plenty of malt and that's fine with me. This is one I will buy when available.

claytri, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of KFaulkner
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

A 1 pint bottle from Scotland featuring a badass Scotsman. That's about as badass as it gets though.

The beer isn't bad, don't get me wrong. But it seemed thin and a bit tasteless to me. Surprisingly bland... but not in a bitter, Anheuser-Busch sort of way. I think was surprised me the most was that it has absolutely no aftertaste. None. Nada. Zippo. The beer is nice and it a pleasant, viscous mouthfeel, but something was just missing and I think it was taste.

MacGregor was a descendant of Rob Roy... who was no Braveheart mind you. (Delgado just hit his second home run of the night to put the Mets ahead of the Cards in game 2 of the 2006 NLCS... Woo hoo!). Not that anyone cares about Braveheart anymore, the drunken anti-semite.

Anyway, the beer is probably worth skipping more than it is worth drinking, but it is unique and a nice find from Scotland; as far as Scotch beers go though, give the Heather Ales a try if you can find them.

KFaulkner, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%

Poured an aorage-copper color with massive slightly off-white puffy head. Very attractive lacing. Smell is firm and malty with strong tones of dark fruit. Taste is truly enjoyable with a strong sweet fruitiness balanced by a nice hop bitterness. The balance is almost perfect. Nice and creamy texture. Ending shows more of the dry bitternss, and is the perfect way to finish off this beer. So easy to drink that I was finished before I could get done writing this review. Excellent beer.

tgbljb, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of PCaravan
4.53/5  rDev +19.8%

Has a deep copper color and pours a thin but dense cream colored head.

Aroma is of deep malty notes of caramel and nuts with nice earthy English hops in the background. A bit of apply esters there as well.

Taste is more of the same deep malty notes of carmel, nuts, and earthy hops with maybe a touch of roastiness that adds to a smooth bitterness that only slightly lingers. Very complex and nicely balanced. Nice graininess too... everytime a take a sip I notice something else.

It has a nice level of carbonation and nice chewy mouthfeel I like in beers with good malt presence.

I have to rate the drinkability pretty high here. It's a substantially rich beer that's not so heavy to keep you from drinking more.

PCaravan, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of DaveFL1976
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%

Nice, cherrywood/mahogany colour with a foamy off-white head that settles down to a thin skim, and sticks to the side of the glass.
Aroma is sweet, caramel, and crystal malt.
Taste is much the same. You can really taste the crystal in this. Has a nice mouthfeel and it's hard to fault this beer. It doesn't stand out in any regard, either, and is good -but not great- in every regard.

DaveFL1976, May 27, 2006
Photo of SigEp
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%

Beer pours a deep, well, red. Thin 1 finger head dissapates quickly. Slightly malty, good deal of hop bitterness in there but not a lot of hop aroma. Slightly smokey scent and flavor; I think they use a small amount of peated malt? Anyways, this beer is good, if you like any of those "irish" reds (killians etc.) this is a superior version of them; a good, solid, dark amber, scottish ale. I prefer some of the other offerings of the Orkney brewery and if you don't like this one don't give up on the entire line. Lists as "enlgish pale ale" here, but as I've said I believe there is some peated malt in this, making it not taste much like a traditional pale.

SigEp, May 02, 2006
Photo of Shovelbum
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%

Pours a thin quickly dissipating white head over a red-hued copper body. Aromas of straight up caramel malt. More of the same in the flavor department with a notable yet mild earthy hop presence. Apart from the flavor contribution, the hops are not major players with little bitterness. Lean to medium body with moderate carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

The scales are definitely tipped to the malty side with little balance-- in true Scottish fashion. A tasty malt lover’s delight.

Shovelbum, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of wcdoyle
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%

Pours a dark caramel leaning toward red. The head is rich and then settles to about ½ inch. Smells of caramel, too. First taste is sweet, but not overly so. It’s mild with a slight bit of hops after the sweetness. The mild sweet, then hoppy aftertaste fades quickly. Not a bad beer, but the price ($3.99 at my retailer) will likely keep me away.

wcdoyle, Jan 04, 2006
Photo of wcudwight
3.78/5  rDev 0%

Dark red, amber in color. Decent head that forms a creamy foam on top. Great lacing with good carbonation. Has a bittersweet smell with a hint of spiciness. My first thought on my first taste is smooooth and balanced. Just a bit of hop bitterness. No aftertaste. This beer bubbles in your mouth in a good way and tingles the tongue. Very drinkable. Great session beer if you're willing to fork out the $.

wcudwight, Oct 16, 2005
Photo of Enola
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

I had this beer last night for the first time. I was suprised a little by it. It was a nice amber color. It was a fairly smooth beer. A slight aftertaste. Had a decent head on it which lingered for a while. I think you could drink more than one of these at a time if not for the price. I will probably try this one agin sometime.

Enola, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +5.8%

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice sweet, malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a mild bitterness. The taste is good. It has a dry, yet sweet malty flavor with a bitter hop finish. It has a nice roasted taste that balances well with the hops. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good English pale/red ale. It has excellent malt character as well as hop bitterness; a fine sessions ale.

WesWes, Aug 25, 2005
Photo of PorterLambic
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%

Pours a nice reddish brown with a fluffy head. Leaves good lace.
Smell is where it breaks down. Took forever to find any smell at all and then only some malt and light hops. Even after drinking 1/2 the glass I couldn't get more than that.
Taste was decent with hops, a fruity malt taste and a little winey character to it.
Mouthfeel was smooth with light carbonation, a medium body and a light finish.
Drinkability: drinks easily but not much aftertaste (or flavor or smell). This brew looks good but doesn't really deliver on its promise.

PorterLambic, Jun 10, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%

Huge taunt head cap while crystal clear amber red and zero lace bubbles.

Aroma: Hopped candied malty scents.

First swigs: Powdery cocoa slightly hopped mixed up flavors. Some blended hops with a wood like finish.

Light body. Easy carbonation. Grainy chalky feel.

Last swigs: Crazy mixed up flavors with a dry finish. No smoky flavors.

blitheringidiot, Mar 28, 2005
Photo of bark
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%

The colour is clear, deep red-brown; the two finger thick foam is semi-compact, beige and quite firm.

The smell is sweet, with a balanced blend of hops and burned malt. There are some totes of paperhanger's paste and bitter almonds.

The carbonation is medium strong (stronger than the average ale) with big bubbles.

The taste is quite complex with lots of burned malt and an almost chemical flavour of almonds (both sweet and bitter). I found it hard to describe this taste in full, but words like “glue stick” and “artificially flavoured cherry candies” came to my mind.

I suspected that they had put candy sugar in the brew making it ferment a second time (like many of the Belgian ales), but the label said “brewed from malted barley, hops and water”.

Anyway, the aftertaste is long with a soft bitterness and a taste of almonds and burned, sweet malt.

I found the beer surprisingly easy to drink, considering the odd almost chemical flavour. Not one of my favourites.

bark, Jan 23, 2005
Photo of shapudding
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%

Dark amber with a nice, creamy, egg-shell/khaki head that is sooo nice and milkshakey thick and stayed as a good heavy layer. Nice, sharp, tart, dark fruit scents. Good amount of carbination in here. Very smooth flavor. Decent basic red, with a bit more carbination than usual. Smells much better than the taste, much more going on in the aroma than in the flavors. It does develop a bit more flavor as it warms.

shapudding, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%

The Red MacGregor... isn't. It's more a dark orange-brown, tawny some would say. The dark cream colored head is firm with a furiously pitting surface and a stickiness that is proven by thick, broken sheets of pocked lace. The persistent, two finger cap of foam is keeping me from assessing the nose properly, but I'm a patient man.

This beer has an odd aroma and not an especially pleasant one. There's a sort of musty earthiness that reminds me of some sort of vegetable in freshly dug soil. I'm not sure which of the ingredients is responsible (probably the malt), but in the end it isn't powerful enough to be off-putting and is easily ignored. I'm done smelling it anyway.

The flavor contains the same mild unpleasantness, although, again, it doesn't completely ruin the experience. Red Mac is lightly malted and lightly hopped. What's left is a modestly sweet and sour flavor (unripe raspberries?) that I'm having trouble describing adequately.

The bottle is emptying quickly, not because I'm enjoying the beer, but because I'm trying in vain to get a handle on the way it tastes. I give up, let's just say that there's no way that this beer is a pale ale. A red ale comes closer to the mark. (Hell of a review ain't it? I bet you can practically taste the beer as you read the vivid, precise description of each nuance of the flavor profile).

The Red MacGregor is not a beer that I can recommend. Orkney brews some good ones, but this is definitely not one of them. Cool label though.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 11, 2004
Photo of cypressbob
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%

Cask, locally

Pours with a dark amber body, almost ruby, thin creamy head almost nitro like, good retention

Smell, hints of dried bark, woody, some malt sweetness and a slight hoppy aroma, slight hint of sulphur though

Taste, fairly heavy body, thick and malty, some nice hop bitterness near the middle, roasted malt on the finish

A pretty good effort, tasty scottish ale

cypressbob, Nov 05, 2004
Photo of Guinness4me
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%

Not as impressive as I expected from my beloved Orkney brewery, but a good beer. It poured a near crimson-orange with a slight head that left a minimal ring of lace.

The nose denotes the hoppiness of a pale ale with slight haunts of fruit and malt.

The taste was neither spectacular nor awful, but a pleasant brew that went from mildly hoppy, to a tart fruit to bitterness on the back of my tongue. I would have like to have tasted a little more malt. The aftertaste was sweet and minimal.

The mouthfeel was pleasant as well with quick, mild carbonation at the tip of my tongue.

While not spectacular, it's quite easy to drink.

Guinness4me, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%

Pours a nice rich amber color with a creamy looking head that settles nicely leaving some nice lace behind,aromas of caramel and dried fruit (cherries) and a nice subtle nuttiness.Taste is right on in my opinion nutty and deeply fruity with some caramel tones even a little vanilla flavor in the finish.A tad watery but that adds to the drinkability,a very well done Scottish ale wich it should be coming from Scotland,nice job.

oberon, Aug 29, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%

Clear, crimson hue, solid, fizzy head of beigish foam, that surely disappears.
Aroma is fruity, spicy, but not very forward, suggesting malt, cherries, cinnamon.
Sweet and spicy on the palate, but, again, mild, ...almost lifeless, really...there's a flavor and a feeling, but it lies so lightly and speaks up so seldom, it's pretty forgettable. Easy to drink, yeah,...but, so what?
reminds me of Irish Red Ales, but not as full-bodied or malty...a bit too thin. sorry, I ain't feelin' it.

feloniousmonk, Aug 19, 2004
The Red MacGregor from Orkney Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.