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Red Tail Ale - Mendocino Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Tail AleRed Tail Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

890 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 890
Reviews: 472
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 9
Gots: 42 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 890 | Reviews: 472 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of diamondc
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've seen Red Tail Ale at the local supermarket for so long, but always went to try the more obscure & more 'micro' beers on the shelf. Luckily I took a plunge and bought a couple of bottles for a $1.50 each.

Amber colored, just barely bordering on red. Cloudiness from the yeast (bottle-conditioned). Already some lacing on the glass. Just a thin cap of foam remains a minute after the pour.

The smell is very bready. Some hints of cinnamon and citrus.

The taste was bready also. Some tangerine flavor from the hops. A little bit of caramel & pepper in the mix. A tasty bitter aftertaste.

This beer goes down very smoothly while eating a meal. I paired up this beer with some hickory flavored chicken and also a plate of fajitas and I was very satisfied. Definetly buying a six pack soon.

Photo of enfield249
3.22/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Orange amber in color, pours with a decent off white head, 3 fingers. Leaves some lacing around the glass.

S - Bready smelling.

T - None of the bread taste, but bitterness that is not present in the smell. Note quite, but almost to pale ale levels.

M - Sharp and light. Lots of carbonation.

D - I could suck these down, but they are fairly plain. A good drinking beer, wish the alcohol was a little lower, 4.5% would be good.

Photo of BMan1113VR
3.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had not heard of this before I had it at my girlfriend's. Decent brew. Pretty amber color with a nice off-white head with decent retention and some lacing. Aroma was faint and pretty non-descript. Watery-thin texture. Nothing special. Went well with dinner.

Photo of Ricochet
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice pour with good head and a small amount of lace, murky amber lives up to it's name. Smells malty with a little hops, average. Mouth was thicker, with a bitter malt aftertaste, here's the hops but no fruit. Taste, this is as standard as a good amber would be. Rich malt flavor not overtaken by a good hops balance with a solid, not overpowering toasty barley overtone.

This is a good , standard, solid amber with no adjuncts. I'd buy again.

Photo of AshevilleSippin
2.68/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Short Version:
Weak and uninispired. A bit seltzery and dry on the finish.

Aaaaah! Super Bowl time. Figured I could either chug down 10 Bush Lights per hour and do keg stands... or sit back and savor three new beers over the course of 4 hours. And take careful notes.

Started the evening with a cold Red Tail Ale served in a clean rinsed pint. Poured a well-filtered medium amber color with a crisp 1" grayish white head that appeared a bit mechanical. Tight high-pressure individual bubbles with a decidedly non-creamy appearance. In less than 90 sec it was reduced to a white film on top.

First whiff was all malt. Caramel, caramel, caramel. Not a strong smell. Absentee on the hops.

First palate pass was light-bodied and a bit seltzery on the carbonation. Didn't taste as sweet as it smelled. But still sweet. Low on the malt it seems (even lower on the hops). Feels a bit dead mid-palate with a dry watery finish.

Picking up a little chemical bitterness now. Doesn't seem like hops though. Picking up some astringency on back of the tongue on the outside edges.

Lace was acting cocky at first but turned coward after the first couple sips. Left a ring around the top where it sat during the initial whiffs and visual analysis. Edges of the glass were crystal clear the rest of the way down though.

Not very complex or inspiring. Asahi Super Dry meets some caramel flavoring. Finish is a bit abrupt and unnoteworthy.

Even though I'm pretty critical of this beer it's not all that bad. Just a bit bland and mired in mediocrity. I don't think I would buy it again.

Ingredients: Bottle calls out Pale and Caramel malted barley.

Photo of ccrida
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker, Red Tail is a pale copper with an ivory head that leaves scattered lace.

Smell is pretty light, sweet brown sugar and cereals, with a dash of spicy hops.

Taste is nice, sweet caramel malt, floral hops and some fruity esters clean, dry finish. Very well balanced and smooth, this is very nicly done.

Mouthfeel is crisp, with a medium-light, yet satisfing body.

Drinkability is very good, nicly balanced, crisp and on the sweeter side, a true classic for the style.

Photo of shertz
4.47/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from fellow BA HombreWing who gave this 2 thumbs up. Supposedly the ABV is around 6% and sells for $20/case which already has me salavating. Poured into a Pint Glass.

A- Maybe a one-finger head. Not really red, but an orange/lemon mixture. Lots of small bubbles running upward.

S- Fruity/plums/floral hops. Some caramel malts also are hanging around. Very typical red ale smell, nice.

T- Nice fruity/floral hops. Wow, I really enjoy this. Nothing is overpowering, however, I feel a little heat at the end. The word I'm thinkin' is enjoyable and refreshing.

M- Well carbonated with the bottle conditioning they tout on their website(which btw scared the hell out of me when the eagle screeched, volume was up too loud). Goes down smooth.

D- Very good. I have to believe the 6% I was told because I can feel a little of the heat. But really this beer is well-balanced and enjoyable. I'm a little shocked by the B- grade because it is much better than that. And the price? I will definitely seek this out.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazed amber with a light tan head. If the haze weren't there, I'd probably go up .5 more on the appearance. Very mild nose. Very slight touches of hops and citrus, but not really much to speak of (and this was off a somewhat aggressive pour). Flavor is strong with a metallic edge off the start. Almost makes me go: "Eck." Once you get past that there are sweet tones with hop influence. But overall...way too much metallic edge. After a while, I feel like I left a penny in my mouth too long. Feel is actually pretty decent. It might be the highlight of the whole experience. Strong carbonation and a thicker feel on the fluid. But overall it doesn't do much to save the drinkability. Not really worth trying, or in my case, trying again.

Photo of kimcgolf
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy, pale red with hints of gold, and an off-white head that lingers to mid-glass and leaves little lacing. Aroma is muted, but what is there is hoppy and fruity, mostly apples and grapes. Mouthfeel is farily bland, but the flavor picks up the hoppy fruit theme and adds a touvh of malty sweetness, all leading to a well rounded finish.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz from the Coop for about $1.30.. poured into my New Belgium snifter.

Good 2 finger head drops leaving spotty lacing atop a chill-hazed golden amber brew.

Pale/lite toasted malts with subtle citrus hops.. nothing special but nothing is wrong.

Flavor is a good balance between the toasted malts and the adequate bitterness... little caramel .. more hoppy than malty... very drinkable with a light/medium body.. a little yeasty fruitiness at the finish combines with a god shot of citrus hops.

I never pick this one up, but have many times in the past... I will buy again but more when I want an APA. Doesn't strike me as an amber.. more as a APA... pretty good across the board.

Photo of mattster
2.23/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into pint glass from 12oz bottle.

Pours a hazy reddish-brown color, no head - a little lacy on top.

Smells of malts, taste similar. No recongnizable aromas or flavors. A little bitter on the palate and finish isn't overly pleasant.

I had this as a single, don't think I would recommend or try again. It wasn't horrible, I guess I expect more out of a "craft beer."

Photo of bboven
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big head that fades into a patchy, peaks-and valleys terrain. Super-clear and just on the darker side of perfectly amber. I'd show someone this glass if I was looking for an example of this style.

Very, very balanced, but it's a bit strong for a traditional amber both in hops and malt. Like I said, neither steals the show, but they're both a bit too bold for the style.

The malt certainly shows up in the flavor with enough hop action to keep it interesting, most noticeably in the bitter end note.

I like the mellow carbonation in this one and the thinner mouthfeel is right-on for the style. Seems odd getting so much flavor out of such a thin body.

Pretty drinkable. A little too bitter for the style, but it's forgivable as it's a tasty beer on its own. There are some other kinds I'd rather have in this style, but I'd get it in a pinch for sure. Worth noting: The 5.99 sixer is real easy on the wallet, as the other examples I mentioned usually run about 8.99 or so.

Photo of BasementBrewerSF
3.54/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The color is beautiful, rich and complex, but that is probably due to the fairly opaque nature of this brew. This rich color is negated by the haze left in the beer. I cannot tell if this is a protein haze or just sediment that has yet to fall. Either way the appearance is unimpressive and makes the brewers seem like amateurs.

The taste is sharp, mildly hoppy, crisp with little malty sweetness. I really enjoy the taste of this brew. It is a very balanced beer. Some brewers pride themselves on aggressively hopped beer (Speakeasy) and others on a nice malty quality(insert malty brew of choice) but Red Tale Ale has a nice balanced character.

The mouthfeel is nothing spectacular, but it is not bad by any means. It is just average, but with a nice balanced brew, the mouthfeel can be average, and it works. There is no category for "Head" or "Foam". This aspect of beer is vital! How could "the greatest beer site in the world" leave out the head of a beer. The overlooked foam is responsible for the billowing cloud of joy rising over the top of the glass, cascading down the side of the glass like an avalanche of yeast, beer, and CO2 creating a picturesque image of "The Perfect Glass of Brew". The head on Red Tail Ale is terrible. Gone before I am even 1/4 finished.

This is an average brew, balanced and all around good. It would be a nice brew with dinner, a great football beer, and a perfectly good choice to order on a date (you know when you want to impress the ladies with a cunning knowledge of American brewmanship).

Photo of williamherbert
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears as hazy orange. Finger of rocky head. Lots of carbonation. Nice amber light comes through. Some spotty lace.

The aroma is a weak amber malt. Not much there, although not bad or anything like that. It's just a bit underwhelming. Has a slight sweetness with a deep inhale.

Taste is a dry biscuity malt in a bitter amber/red way. Has a wet flowery flavor. The hops are sweet and mild. It's a nice balance.

Feels wet and creamy. Thick like an English ale. Smoothens out as it warms up. Overall, not bad. Bitter but with a flowery sweet base. A very mild red ale.

Photo of Guardian
3.37/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Lots of foam, lightish color.

S- Very flowery smell. Reminds me of Springtime.

T- Nothing great, but nothing terrible either. My one critique here is that it tastes "generic". Not sure what "extra" I was looking for, but it wasn't present.

M- Tingly to the tongue. Decent carbonation.

D- I could drink a few of these in a session. But honestly, I probably wouldn't. I bought this beer in a put it together 6-pack and I like it just fine, but will not seek it out.

Photo of HombreWing
4.43/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Love the price !

Eyes: Bright...clear...effervescent....off white head that stays and laces.

Nose: Sweet caramel malt and just a hint of citrus hop. A hint

Tongue: The balance on this beer can't be beat. Has the balance of English bitter. Sweet caramel ...slight nuttiness and some hop spice. Not the typical West Coast Red/Amber and I'm ok with that.

Texture: Thin to medium bodied.

Mouth happiness: More than happy to except a lifetime supply

Photo of praufs01
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance –Hazy tea like color with a frothy off-white head and light lacing.

Aroma – Light hop and caramel smell.

Palate – Smooth with moderate carbonation.

Flavor –Light citrus hop taste.

Final thoughts – Very smooth, clean and refreshing. Great session beer.

Photo of Natural510
3.74/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I hadn't had Red Tail in awhile, so I decided to try it on tap as my second selection while eating calzone at a Berkeley pizza-pub.
It was disappointing on the carbonation front, and poured no head to speak of...luckily the taste made up for it.
It's a very smooth red ale, distinctly (but not sickly) sweet, with what tasted (to me) like toffee. It can immediately be followed up with another, as the hops nor the sweetness overpower the brew and make it a fairly good 'session beer'. Perhaps it was an older keg, because I remember Red Tail in a bottle to be fairly-well carbonated.
Solid choice for those wanting a NorCal beer that isn't overly hoppy yet dark & flavorful enough for those with a discerning beer palate.

Photo of PhageLab
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Cloudy dark chestnut coloration which fades out to a light brown. Produced a little more than a fingertip of head and left some decent lacing.

S - Sweet yet malty profile shines through, like a mix between cherries and almonds. Near the end you can detect some alcohol, but it's not overly potent.

T - Much more complex than I had anticipated! Robust malt flavor with some mild spiciness. Had a rather toasty feel to it that ended with a slight hop presence.

M - Medium bodied, shows a great balance in the carbonation and finishes dry.

D - Pretty good, I wish I had more than just the single bottle. Overall a pretty impressive brew and one of the better amber ales I've tried. Recommended.

Photo of malcontent
4.04/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an uncharacteristically cloudy, burnt orange with a generous portion of long-lived head.

Getting a fair amount of caramel malt punctuated by a fig-like fruitiness. Hops seem more floral than spicy or citrus.

Hops are more pronounced here with good finishing spice. Biscuit-y flavors are rounded out by a much softer fruit (vaguely like apricots) taste than the nose would indicate.

Strong mouthfeel owes much to crisp, but not overdone, carbonation. The American amber has come to be a style that I have little to no interest in but this is an above average entrant in said category. If you need an amber fix, this seems like it would do the trick.

Photo of drew37
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A decent, however somewhat forgettable red ale. I may be biased because I am a bigger fan of amber ales, but I had a bit higher hopes for this one. A solid brew and well worth the try, but this will not be high on the list in the future. Color poured a red/orangeish color. Decent drinkability but could not see myself making a session out of this one. Trader Joes may be a good spot to pick this up, defnitley cheaper than I have seen other places. Would drink again, however, would not go out of my way to get ahold of this one.

Photo of armock
3.82/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a hazy orange color white head

S - Sweet malt stands out

T - Some fruit taste and hops finishes a little bitter

M - Good bit of Carbonation in here

D - Tastes good could drink a couple of these while watching football on a Sunday afternoon.

Photo of BucBasil
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish orange color with a 2 and a half finger off white head. Slight haze. Very nice looking, and great presentation too... loved the bottle.

Smell: Clean hop with a hint of citrus and a faint touch of caramelly malt? coming through in there somewhere.

Taste: Nicely hopped - floral and slightly citric, with a surprising touch of honey flavor coming in from somewhere. Malts are in the background and are bready to slightly sweet, but balance nicely.

Mouthfeel: A bit of a disappointment. A bit to biting for my taste, but not overpowering enough to detract heavily.

Drinkability: Quality drink. I would get this again.

Photo of Overlord
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pleasant. Very drinkable.

Pours a startlingly deep red with a nice white head (hey, that rhymes!)

Taste is pure malt, some roasted barley, a nice sweet undertone that isn't overwhelming. Goes great with pizza ... and Cal victories over Oregon. Will look for in the future.

Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours orangeish amber with a thick, fluffy white head.

The smell is of caramel with some graininess and a subtle spicy, citric background.

The taste is of a dominating caramel sweetness. Grainy in the back. Some citric notes, along with a slight metallic tinge, come through in the balanced finish. Not bad, but caramel dominates too long.

It is crisp and pretty clean. Smooth. A decent choice for an easy "session" ale.

Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 890 ratings.