Red Tail Ale - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Tail AleRed Tail Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

475 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 475
Hads: 923
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 15.27%
Wants: 9
Gots: 50 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2000

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 475 | Hads: 923
Photo of da_beers
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very nice orangish copper with two fingers of white head. Great carbonation coming up. Appearance was its strong suit.

S - Smells a classic lager, nothing jumps out besides the yeast.

T - Quite flat on the palate. Nothing comes out at me. Slightly bitter at end with faintest grassy/hoppyness.

M - Drinkable for sure, good carbonation, smooth on palate.

O - Good, I would drink again, but not seek out. (418 characters)

Photo of silverking
3.96/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- It pours a deep amber with a fluffy off white head. Retention is very nice, But the lacing is a little lacking.

S- Malty, bready, caramel, citrusy.

T- Toasty, bready. There is a nice hop presence, but it isn't overpowering. The finish is Dry, with some light notes of citrusy hops. There is only a very light bitterness detectable.

M- Light bodied, crisp, refreshing. Carbonation is light, but it's a bit prickly.

O- Very nice Interpretation of the style, very balanced. (477 characters)

Photo of TheMarkE
3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Attractive amber with a generous head of foam and excellent lacing.

Smell: Caramel and citrus, apple and spice.

Taste: Caramel malts with plenty of spicy hops. Good balance between sweet and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slight bitter aftertaste that fades quickly.

The Verdict: Not bad. A solid amber/red ale with good balance and near-perfect appearance. I wouldn’t have any problem picking up a six pack on the way home. (445 characters)

Photo of kneeland
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is what beer tastes like, or at least what it's supposed to taste like. A good hearty ale with no filler. It's not watered down, it's not artificial tasting, it just does what an ale is supposed to do.

I don't want to oversell it, because I'm not in love with it. It just has a classic taste. The smell is lacking, and there's an aftertaste that I'm not enjoying. The head started out nice and foamy, but fades away to just a thin lace, but with good carbonation. (469 characters)

Photo of AAG
2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a cold bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - Looks absolutely beautiful; nice, golden-brown in color; poured about 3 fingers worth of head; dissipated pretty quickly but still clustered nicely on the rim; great looking amber/red ale.

Smell - Sweet, refreshing, fruity, orange-peel.

Taste - Underwhelming; after such a beautiful pour and a refreshing, fruity smell, I was underwhelmed by this dry american amber / red ale; very dry, uninteresting; not much to write home about.

Mouthfeel - Average; slightly carbonated; not the best aftertaste.

Overall - After such a tremendous start (the appearance of the golden-brown ale and the wonderful smell), I was unimpressed when I tasted it. It's dry, simple, and underwhelming. Personally, I wouldn't seek this beer out. (783 characters)

Photo of horshack7
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: With a light foamy white head around a finger thick underneath that is a clear amber.

Aroma: Faint spice, caramel malts, apple, floral and citrus hop with a light dryness.

Taste: A little bit of a crisp mouthfeel but it does smooth out. Caramel malts, floral hop dryness, small amounts of spice and apple. Biscuity notes in the tail end

Notes: Nicely drinkable with a good malt backbone and finish. Cheers. (421 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I remember drinking this beer on a trip to California in the mid 80s. I also remember thinking at the time that it was a really good beer. This present version I'm not so sure of.

In a snifter the beer was a light amber color with a tiny white head.

It had a grassy, flowery hop profile, with some caramel.

I liked the taste more than I thought I would, based on the aroma. A sweet caramel taste gave way to the grassy hops.

A nice enough beer. I just thought I would like it more than I actually did. (505 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Slightly hazy, light amber color with over one finger of parchment-tinted foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Caramel and yeast esters are potent, while earthy hops are weak to nuanced at best.

T: Begins dry, with refined and slightly nutty crystal malt that takes on a metallic edge as carbonic acidity rises into the middle. Some chile fruit emerges mid-profile, tasting green but not spicy. Flavors are underwhelming in the finish; mildly bitter, earthy, and retaining some of the metal.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and slightly slippery on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer is an icon of American craft brewing, a holdover from a time when amber ales were considered progressive. It embraces its English heritage with some acuity, demonstrated mainly in the hearty smell. It is no Ballast Point Calico amber--the beer that exemplifies this underwhelming style better than practically any other--but it retains some enduring appeal in its traditional qualities. (1,061 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
3.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from a mixed case poured into a pint glass. Pours a medium copper though surely not amber in color with a touch of haze. Half inch cap offers standard retention and lace.

Aroma is light with a touch of caramel and some lightly citric hops. Flavor is similar to the pour with some pale malts and a light dose of caramel. Surprisingly light in color and sweetness than I recall on tap though it's been a few years. Still this comes across as a different animal all together and closer now to a pale ale than an amber.

Feel and finish toe the line as well with a biscuity feel and a lingering though subtle caramel presence. Overall more enjoyable than the cloyingly sweet beverage I seem to recall, yet a bit of a stretch for an Amber and simply called an 'Ale' on the label.. (790 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a snifter.
Murky and dark for style; plenty red for a amber/red ale but not as red as I expected in a "Red Tail". This amber ale is slightly more rich, earthy and flavorful than the average amber. It has good sweet/bitter balance and a fine medium+ body. Carbonation is a tad low.

O = 3.75 (314 characters)

Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is a clear amber, with a half a finger of white bubbly head. It dissipates fast leaving good lacing.
The smell is of malt, bread, caramel , some hop.
Tasting the beer, there is a good fruity hop flavor up front. The middle is dominated by bread and malt flavors. The finish is a balanced hop.
Nice drinkable medium bodied beer. (337 characters)

Photo of tkelley
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a SA Perfect Pint. Bottle is from a mixed pack bought at the brewery in Saratoga.

A - nice orange lightly hazy body. Good carbonation visible. Thin white head.

N - hops and a good strong caramel scent upfront. Biscuity malt after that.

T - hops first, then caramel malt, then hops again on the finish. Has a fruity, apply taste as well.

M - good mouthfeel. Not too bubbly but a little chewy.

O - solid effort. Very drinkable beer with good balance. Cheers. (486 characters)

Photo of jkrich
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an undated 12 oz. bottle: clear and bright amber-brown with golden highlights.

Very strong sweet, perfumy and syrupy aromas with faint hints of fruit.

This is a largely malt-accented amber with nice touch of hops to keep it refreshing. The malt is rather thick in mouth with hints of molasses and butterscotch. There is a pleasant aftertaste of hops that keeps this one from becoming cloying.

The moderate carbonation gives the ale some needed zest. The body is fuller than I expected with a somewhat thick mouthfeel.

I am surprised by some of the low rating here. Yes, this is one of the old microbrews, but it remains a very solid amber ale. (659 characters)

Photo of spicelab
2.81/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle thanks to Beermasons.

Stained glass orange with a respectable cream-coloured head that slowly collapses in on itself while leaving a sticky lace curtain. Slow looking bead.

Nose is toffee and bready malts blending with sweet citrus, yielding some nice candied notes, especially mandarin. Pretty light and orthodox but nothing to fault.

Surprisingly, the malts don't hold up particularly well, and it all falls largely into a metallic stale hop bitterness that quickly becomes annoying with so little to give it purpose.

Pretty insipid mouthfeel for a 6.1% Red Ale really. Have had other examples with twice as much heft at the same ABV.

Okay and reasonably drinkable, but totally unremarkable, which in an increasingly crowded and competitive market looks negligent. Can't help thinking these guys were one of the first kids on the US craft block and are now being left in the dust. (899 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours a clear, light amber-golden color with a light ring of foam atop it.

There’s a mild, mellow aroma, with a little bit of orange chutney hanging around the edges.

The flavor has a mild bitterness with a sharp, rough end around the finish. I get some bitter orangey hop flavors as well as an off-putting taste that I can’t quite place. It’s off… but not in the ‘bad batch’ sense. Perhaps it’s an old bottle? This beer failed to excite. (460 characters)

Photo of TheRealBigC
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a decent, if run-of-the-mill amber ale. For a time it was one of the better drafts at a local pub which isn't saying much but I've had it a few times as a result. There is a notable hop presence, nothing too pungent, and a fair balance overall, but afterward you won't remember too much of it. (301 characters)

Photo of Brewmaster_Rick
4.22/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nostalgic beer for many people. Thinner body, excellent caramel malt character with a mild front-of-the-tongue hop spice to balance it out. Very floral. Would compliment a hearty steak or a day at the beach. A classic, and a staple in the American craft brewing renaissance. (281 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.19/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Little to no head, a cloudy copper color.

Smells of orange, lemon zest, and a little barley.

A good bitterness, moves to a sweeter malt but not SWEET. Ends with a grapefruit flavor that holds on.

Crisp and medium body with moderate carbonation.

A nice drinking and enjoyable beer. (310 characters)

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Pours out a slightly hazed amber color with about a finger and a half of foamy head that lasts for about a minute, leaving mediocre lacing behind on the glass. Smells like a lemon / orange peel hopping laying over a lightly toasted malt with just a hint of raisins, a really nice aroma profile. However, the flavor is a *lot* less pronounced than the nose had led me to expect, but contained exactly the same elements. A little bit on the heavier side of medium body but has adequate carbonation to move it around in the mouth. Still, it could stand to be a hair thinner in consistency. (616 characters)

Photo of dmourati
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Second or third time trying this brew from Mendocino. Available in these parts at Whole Foods and the like.

Nice initial taste followed by a zing. Aftertaste is where I have to take away marks. A bit too spicy.

I'd like to see a smoother finish. Otherwise, pretty good. (271 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.11/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mendocino Red Tail Ale has a medium-to-thick, cream-colored head and a hazy, brick-red appearance, with some ragged lacing left behind and little brown specks floating about. The aroma is harsh, with grain husk, turned fruit, and sourness, but this is alleviated once the head withers away, leaving a more pleasant fruit aspect. Taste is sweet & sour, with rugged brown bread notes and a straightforward bitterness across the sip. The mouthfeel is medium to full, and Red Tail Ale finishes wet and sloppy. This a rather unapproachable beer, but those who enjoy unrefined and somewhat striking flavors, may like it.

RJT (620 characters)

Photo of soju6
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours an amber color with a moderate head that fades to moderate lacing.

S: Aroma of sweet malt, hint of dark fruit with a bit of citrus.

T: Taste consists of a mild sweetness with some fruit mixed in. A mild bitterness in the background with a clean finish.

F: Medium body, very smooth with just a bit of lingering stickiness.

O: Very drinkable. Pretty middle-of-the-road for the style. (394 characters)

Photo of duderus123
4.72/5  rDev +36%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mendo Brew's flagship Ale. My favorite Amber Ale of all time.
appearance = an Amber hue that is slighty tinged. The head poured out creamy and settled fairly quick. No fizzing No lacing to speak of.

smell = Caramelly malt scent. Piney hops scent.

taste = Malt tastes caramelly. A slightly yeasty flavor. The hops are pronouced, but not overpowering. Piney and citrusy flavor going on. True to the style.

mouthfeel = its got a medium heavy body. A tad bit sticky.

overall = 10 years ago, this was the first Amber Ale I'd ever tried, and its the best Amber Ale I've ever had to date. The industry standard. TRY IT! (616 characters)

Photo of GossageBrewery
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, poured a slightly hazy amber color. Produced a white head, very nice retention and lacing left on the glass. The aroma of this amber ale consists of pale malted grain, and citrus. It reminds me of an APA. Medium in body, this beer has a toasted malt profile, caramel, and a nice citric hop flavor- semi dry finish. Excellent session beer, well balanced- Prost! (404 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a golden orange with some reddish hue. The off-white head builds impressively, but dies away quickly and leaves behind an average lace.

Smell - Light Caramel malts, a bit of citrus and grass or wheat. Not much else.

Taste - More light caramel in the taste, some citrus bitterness and a bit of spice. A not too unpleasant copper-like metallic note comes in toward the finish and stays with through the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - A slight malty body which suits this red well. The carbonation is right on the money, leaving a nice tingle on the lips and tongue. Goes down smooth.

Overall - This is a solid red ale from Mendocino. It's not the most complex or interesting beer, but it's got character. Anyone just getting into craft brews shouldn't have any trouble cutting their teeth on this one. Great session beer. (835 characters)

Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 475 ratings.