The Red MacGregor - Orkney Brewery

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The Red MacGregorThe Red MacGregor

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very good

139 Reviews
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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 mralphabet
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Dark reddish brown with about a fingers worth of off white head. Settles to a thick ring with wonder lacing all the way to the bottom of the glass.

S: I'm getting sweet malt with some floral/piny hops and maybe a little caramel.

T: Quick hit of sweet malt, then the floral hops really takes over... there is a hint of caramel and some nuttiness, but the bitter hops really takes over. Aftertaste is a little on the bitter side.

M: Light to medium bodied, crisp with a modest amount of carbonation.

D: Pretty interesting beer, a little more hoppy than I was expecting. It is a beautiful and interesting brew with a pretty low ABV. One was enough for me.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with ruby highlights and a small head.
Nose shows sweet, spicy fruitcake with extra helpings of all manner of dry fruit. And some added cognac and marmalade for good measure. Intensely fruity. Also some toasted sweet malt pokes it's head out later. Damn that's good.
Similar flavours but with more caramel and dough malt, along with a decent helping of earthy, resinous hops. Finishes slightly watery though.
Body is a little thing, I'd like something more syrup to go with those rich flavours.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruby with an orange hue, and a thin white head that fades quickly, becoming patchy. Little bit of lacing.
Smell is slightly roasted, musty malts and barley, with some cinnamon and toffee notes. Malts become slightly buttery towards the end.
Taste is roasty, slightly buttery malts. Light ntoes of fat free caramel, as well as some toffee. Bready, faintly crackery malts at the finish. Little bit of bitterness as the finish as well.
Mouthfeel is fairly crisp and dry at the finish. Medium-light body.
Drinkability is good. Nothing too exciting about this one, but easy enough to drink.

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Photo of lou50rp
4.63/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Deep red color with an off-white head which lasted for awhile.
S - A strong malty smell with a touch of sweetness, maybe caramel?
T - Taste was very malty, much like the smell.
M - A strong feel. No watery wimpiness here.
D - An exceptional drinkability.

The folks in the Orkneys have a winner.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear red color with rocky off-white head. Excellent retention and good lacing.

Smell: Has a somewhat earthy malt aroma with a hint of sweetness.

Taste: Tasty with a nice balance of malts and hops. Slightly sweet malts with a bit of butter, paired against some mild hops.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, yet with a bit of butteryness following it. Medium-bodied with mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable with a strong (yet not overwhelming) flavor and low ABV.

Not exactly what I'd consider a Scottish Ale, but definitely an enjoyable one. I first had the pleasure of enjoying this on Orkney, and was glad to get a bottle here in the states!

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Photo of seanyfo
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50cl bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

A- Ruby red body with a creamy 2.5 finger tan head that reduces to 1 finger/crown after some time, lacing is good.

S- Caramel toasted malts, hop bitterness (neither floral or citrussy, but hoppy ;))

T- Toasted malts come through first with a sweetness of toffee, finishing in a not overly bittter hop bite but still overly noticeable for the style

M- Medium body with low carbonation

D- Certainly tasty and balanced well, hops are more noticeable than expected for the style. Nevertheless tasty enough for a session, a solid ale without complexity.

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

Pours with a red like amber color that's clear with the appearance of a few bubbles here and there.

The head is a nice froth with various sized bubbles and sculpture.
Moderate lacing of my glass.

Produces a slight nose of caramel and toasted malt.

The flavor is lighter than I expect from a Scottish ale-- it's lighter in both body and flavor-- that could be in part because of the low ABV.

The flavor is still quite enjoyable. It's a clean bitter start with a background of toasted malt.

It's not an overly complex flavor-- being mostly the two elements- bitter and toasted malt with bitter up front and center.

The flavor has a nice long finish- mainly a long reverberation of it's start-- that bitter hops note.

The mouthfeel is very cordial-- although subdued with mostly the bitter hops making itself known.

The drinkability- is superior.. this is in my opinion because of the 4% ABV. I like beers where I can enjoy several w/o being welded to my chair.

It's not an overly complex beer-- and after one bottle I wouldn't expect to find new points in the flavor with successive bottles but the low ABV and not overly strong flavor makes for an enjoyable brew.

Yes, I did enjoy this one.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out mildly sweet flavors of caramel, dark fruit and molasses. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and there's a very mild hops presence providing a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, it's a fairly good beer overall but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Single bottle poured into a nonic glass. No date on bottle that I could decipher.

Appearance: Orange-copper colored beer with a tan foam head. The head starts off really thick (about 1/2") and then slowly dies down to form a film across the top of the liquid. Lacing (mostly big foam islands) seen as the head died down.

Smell: Definitely a beer to let warm up and let all the smells out. Mild coffee, hops, fruit (I hesitate to say cherries...but that may be what it is) and something floral, but the floral starts to go away as the beer warms up. Really very nice and complex.

Taste: Bitter up front, followed by mild malts and then a crisp finish. I do get some biscuit-like aftertaste in the mouth after drinking.

Mouthfeel: Very little carbonation on the tongue, a little bit watery but it quenches the thirst just fine.

Drinkability: Good with a meal and I think it would be good by itself too. Complex enough to make you remember it, and pleasantly satisfying on the way down. I could reach for another if I had one.

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Photo of gfreed
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Generates a root-beer-float-colored head with moderate effort; the head lasts forever and leaves behind plenty of stuff on the glass. As it fades slowly, it gathers into a stiff peak. Nice. Light, spicy citrus in the nose; oranges and lemons with a touch of cocoa. Luminous ruby coloring; light carbonation; moderately dense body and... wowie taste. This is one of the best bitters I've ever had. The malt is lightly toasty, there are apples and rains up front and there's a nice hint of chocolate that lasts even after the not-overly spicy hops hit at the end. What a treat. My only regret is that I bought the last one on the shelf. Definitely one to keep in stock at home.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of melitameister
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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Photo of ralree
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
3.26/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of Infamous7100
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of 1000Bottles
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
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)...

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Photo of champ103
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

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Photo of albern
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of TonyVic
4.62/5  rDev +21.9%
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.

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Photo of ccrida
4.64/5  rDev +22.4%
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.

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Photo of McClungbrew2
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of Redwood21
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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 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

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Photo of Traquairlover
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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