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Jamaica Red Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale

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

391 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 391
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.99%

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
IBU: 45.3
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Crystal 70/80, Wheat, Black Patent
Hops: Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, Willamette, Summit

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 391 | Reviews: 244 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a semi-clear reddish copper with an off-white finger width head. Fair retention leads to a broken layer of suds across the surface. What little lacing there is, it's spotty with almost no stick.

Smell - Strong caramel aroma on this one. Hops play second fiddle, hitting on distant citrus notes.

Taste - As in the nose, caramel dominates the flavor profile, leaving everything else to play complimentary roles. Hops hit on a light citrus twang before giving way to a distant orange pith bitterness. Hints of fruity esters. Finishes with more malt caramel, but the hops do well to keep it from becoming cloyingly sweet.

Mouthfeel - A heftier than normal medium body with fair carbonation. Very smooth from start to finish; almost silky. An easy drinker for sure.

Overall - A good, solid red from Mad River. Once one of the stand-out ambers in the American market, time has pushed this to near garden-variety status as both similar and more distinguishable reds have hit the scene over the years. This isn't a bad beer at all, in fact it's a damn good example of your classic American Amber, but I don't see myself buying it all that often. One of those "too many beers, too little time" things.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2013 05:11:49 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of Lemke10


3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This pours a dark amber color with a slight beige head. The aroma is mild with hints of malts. The taste is decently malty with a slightly bitter after taste. The texture is decent but the taste is still lacking some deeper characteristics. Still ok for a red ale, but to the average consumer the Jamaican label on an American beer will throw people off.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2013 04:41:15 | More by Lemke10
Photo of clayrock81


3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Quick summation of my review: a good hoppy and slightly sweet red ale that is enjoyable down to the last gulp but nothing that will blow your mind. Reddish gold body, good head, decent lace, an aroma of mostly citric hops with some sweet malt (touch of bread). Beer is medium bodied, smooth, gives off a good chunk of citric hops and has a nice balance with mild sweet malts. Crisp, clean finish is enjoyable and can't say that this the hoppiest, sweetest, or best red ale I've had but it hits the spot.

Serving type: on-tap

09-01-2013 13:23:48 | More by clayrock81
Photo of BB1313


3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy dark auburn; khaki head that fades but leaves nice retention and lacing. The aromas are dominated by caramel malts. Tons of caramel, butterscotch, and cocoa. There are hints pine and citrus. The flavors are dominated by malts as well, but not in a bad way. There's definitely still a hop bite to this one and has a solid bitterness to it. More hints of pine needles. Mouthfeel is good; it's on the lighter side of medium-bodied and carbonation is moderate. Alcohol goes unnoticed and it's relatively easy to drink.

This is a solid red ale. Malt forward like alot of red ales, but it still has a hop bite. Not bad, it's enjoyable, but nothing earth shattering.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2013 19:00:09 | More by BB1313
Photo of Uncle_Jimmy


3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- a ruddy brown not so much red a tan finger of foam on top doesn't linger or lace

Aroma- lavender florals some fruit

Taste- the very point of the spear has a Sweet Tart taste (no joke) that gives way to a dry roasted wheat bread (think ezekiel) and a piney earthy finish. Not bad a well rounded red.

Mouthfeel- medium light body a little hi in the fizz, but there doesnt seem to be a bad after taste or much lingering at all. Alcohol is well concealed

Over all not the best red I have had , but its tasty and i think knowing about the region this beer comes from makes you appreciate it that much more. I think that it is a very well rounded red in that the hops and booze aren't over powering for some reason i equate high hop character with a slight metallic flavor. This beer doesn't have that.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2013 23:30:06 | More by Uncle_Jimmy
Photo of micromaniac129


3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber with sediment. A beige head sits on top but isn't long lasting. Some lacing on the glass. Looks inviting to drink.
In the aroma the first thing I noticed was a sour smell then sticking my nose deep into the glass and drawing in deeply I smelled a sutle roastiness.
Taste was good, tart and tight with the roasted malts I smell in the nose becoming more apparent in the taste. At the end low levels of diaceyl.
I like this beer, it's easy drinking pretty smooth has fairly decent flavor. A good all purpose brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 16:01:52 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of ElSid


3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Beers of California


Freshness Date: None

A: Off white head with a copper body. Classic red ale appearance with appropriate lace cling as the beer settles down after an aggressive pour into a pint glass.

S: Brown sugar, strawberry syrup and bread highlighted with citrus and grass.

T: Starts off with a caramel, bready, and even berry sweetness which fades to an herbal, grassy bitterness with notes of citrus and peppery spice.

M: Smooth and somewhat syrupy, medium bodied and with moderate carbonation.

O: A staple for attendees of the Reggae on the River music festival. Balanced, smooth, and even: this well crafted ale is reggae music in a bottle. Best enjoyed with a spliff and Marley in the headphones.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 07:29:54 | More by ElSid
Photo of Murrhey


3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap at part of a flight at Haven Gastropub in Orange, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger off-white head with a long retention. Red-brown color.

S- Nutty and mid-roasted barley smell.

T- Malty and tasty.

M- Smooth and pretty wet.

O- Easy drinking beer. Not blowing me away.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2012 00:14:19 | More by Murrhey
Photo of metter98

New York

3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy amber-yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation along with lots of particles floating in suspension. It poured with a thin beige colored head that died down and left a large patch of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge of the glass and some lacing down the sides.
S: Aromas of sweet caramel malts are present in the nose along with some hints of spicy hops.
T: Like the smell, the taste is very malty and has lots of caramel flavors along with some hints of spicy hops towards the finish. A very light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little thick (but not sticky) on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a nice beer if you like something that is rather malty, but I couldn't see myself having more than one of these in one sitting.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 04:34:02 | More by metter98
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a slightly murky reddish-brown with a foamy orange head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild herbal hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the smell is quite mild.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2012 03:25:47 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of dmatsui


2.63/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip. 2-finger off-white head with good, sticky retention. Looks more like a brown ale.

roasty sweetness in the nose but a distinct hint of tropical fruit, although it's very subtle.

Clean, full-bodied maltiness with a good hop profile. not particularly astonishing, drinks more like a brown ale.

It's good, but it doesn't stand out. I feel like I've had this beer a million times.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 02:23:14 | More by dmatsui
Photo of 360logic


4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rich red with a small white head that fizzles out after about a minute. Not very impressive looking.

S: Malts, Pine trees, citrus, hops and a hint of corn

T: Very well balanced. Bigger malt character than other reds with medium hops.

M: Retains a surprising amount of carbonation. Manages to be fizzy with a medium body, balances a satisfying medium.

O: Very drinkable, one of the better red ales I've yet had.

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2012 06:44:18 | More by 360logic
Photo of Brenden


4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is clouded, something atypical to an amber. Unfiltered? Nothing wrong with that. Some bubbling sticks to the sides of the glass while the tan head grows to about a finger in height. Retention is okay, but the head drops off somewhat quickly. A bit of spotty lacing is left behind.
Bread and caramel come out of the nose with a hops presence showing good balance. Some interesting sweetness is just hinted at underneath. A little bit of toast and citrus mingle in a way that doesn't seem like it would be great but works in this beer.
The balance is further laid out in the flavor. This is a malty beer, with a strong foundation, resulting in toast, caramel, a bit of toffee, some crust, and a bit of fruit, but the hops don't back down. At first I'm actually afraid the raw piney hops are going to overtake the malts, but a minute or two of warming shows these elements to be very well managed, and they all come together to make for a tasty, balanced and flavorful brew. Citrus and earthy notes also pull through. Very few ambers have this kind of flavor.
Crsipness is up front lightly, and there's a fair bit of smoothness as well. The body is medium. It's mostly semi-dry, but goes drier in the finish without quite going fully dry.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2012 18:36:16 | More by Brenden
Photo of flagmantho


4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: good amber hue with a light haze and a very good effervescence. Head is a thick finger of frothy ivory foam.

Smell: a bit of sweet caramel malt with a good contribution of citrusy and earthy hops. Well-done.

Taste: nice flavor with just the right amount of caramel malt, so it is not too sweet but has a definite red ale character. Hops are pretty forward with an earthy/citrus character and a relatively strong bitterness. I like it quite a lot.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a big carbonation. Not precisely creamy, but tingly and very refreshing.

Overall: a very good and drinkable red ale. This is not usually my favorite style, but Mad River have done a great job here.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2012 19:46:41 | More by flagmantho
Photo of tony223366


3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Huge frothy head after a vigorous pour. Head is a tan color with both small and large bubbles. Color is a darker amber, almost mahogany. In other words a brown bear brown with ruby red highlights. Nice lacing on the glass as well. I do notice a little fogginess in the glass though.

S: Mostly citrus up front from the hops. There's some light fruitiness as well from the malts. They mostly come off as a rich caramel but finish on the bready end. Not too big of a nose, but not bad either.

T: Very drinkable! This is why I love reds. The hops are definitely the front runner on the palate, coming off in a big citrus way. But then you get a lot of malt depth with some rich caramels and even some fruitiness. The finish is lightly bitter, but there's some definite sweetness in this beer too.

M: Medium to heavy carbonation with a nice medium body. Slick from hops.

O: Very tasty red that's worth the acclaim it receives. This is one of my favorite styles and this is a good showing. It actually has a fairly clean finish too.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2012 06:44:00 | More by tony223366
Photo of hopwave


3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass...

deep ruby red colour, 2 finger off white head.

mouthfeel is very full/nice for the style.

Smell/Taste is sweet hops/malt. sharp hop bitterness followed by a nice liite sweetness at the end.

Very nice Red... will be picking this up again.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 03:34:06 | More by hopwave
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with a quarter of an inch of brownish, soft, dense head that has great retention. Big, malty, bready, barley malt dominates the nose. There are also hints of a sugary sweetness. The flavor is also dominated by malt is far subdued from what the nose would have you believe. The malt character is bready with a slight sugary sweetness in the finish. There are faint notes of dark fruit as the beer warms. The hop character is very mild and offers only balance and very faint astringency in the finish. The mouthfeel is lighter than expected, smooth, and well carbonated.

This is a sessionable beer, but disappointing. The nose was big and robust leading me to believe the flavor would be intensely malt forward and medium to full bodied. In my opinion it fell short of the mark. I would have it again though if offered.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 21:46:25 | More by tdm168
Photo of OleJohnnieAle


4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber could with nice creamy head that settles into a nice thin collar. Left thin lacing behind.

S: Some nice malts on the front side with a very mild hint carmel and floral hops.

T: A lot hoppier than I thought it would be, there is a sweetness from the carmel but moreso there is a piney hop flavor coming through. Nice bitterness that is not overpowering. NIce flavor and very well balanced.

M: Well carbonated with a medium bodied. slight bitterness from the hops that left a little resin feel.

O: Suprised by this one. I personally like the hops in this one. Will search this one out again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2012 19:52:30 | More by OleJohnnieAle
Photo of B967ierhunter177


3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear, bold copper with 3/4" head and lasting lace. It's aroma is of nuts, roasted malt, and fruity citrus. Tha flavor is a mix of roasted nuts, grapefruit, and caramel with a hint of spice. Interesting but it works well. The mouthfeel is medium. Mad River Red Ale is a pretty good beer, balanced and refreshing. Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 12:28:25 | More by B967ierhunter177
Photo of TheDeuce

New York

3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mad River Jamaica Red Ale…..in a bottle….at Perilla in NYC

Nice to see more and more restaurants putting more craft beers on the menu.

Appearance-a mostly clear red with a tan head that rises about three fingers, but this head breaks away quickly and dissipates.

Smell-light fragrance of caramel malt and some pined hops. A little bit of bread as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel-light to medium mouthfeel, starts off with a bit of hop and then a medium breadyness throughout the whole sip. It’s smooth and the carbonation feels good, the taste leaves quickly and finishes clean. Hard not to wish for a little more backbone in the flavor, though what is here does work and is inoffensive.

Overall-a smooth beer that is fine for sessioning and went well with my meal, that said on its own it pales in comparison to much better beers of the same style.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 22:28:31 | More by TheDeuce
Photo of wafers

New York

4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy, ruby colored upon the pour... some sediment seen floating near the bottom of the glass
S: Noticeable smell of sticky hops, not overpowering at all
T: Very unique...you get a hit of hops initially but the majority of the flavor is something that reminds me of exotic fruits, but not overly sweet...the end is characterized by some more hoppy bitterness
M: Smooth, crisp, very easy drinking
O: Pleasantly surprised with this one as I have never had an amber/red ale tasting anything quite like this one...taste is an interesting mix somewhere between a hoppy pale ale, floral white ale, and a fruit beer...all in all awesome beer and would gladly drink again

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 03:30:23 | More by wafers
Photo of AgentMunky


4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a BrewDog cervoise glass. Received in a mysterious "beer of the month" package with no sender information...lucky me!

A: A touch more than a finger of loose head, replenished for a while by the copious amounts of bubbles. The beer is, in fact, red (well, reddish brown) and barely translucent. Scattered lacing. Looks good!

S: I can smell fruit from feet away. Up close, it's hoppier, with crisp bready malts. I'm impressed by the balance and strength of the nose.

T: It *is* fruity, almost tropically so. Mango? Peach? Hops offer a citrus edge and light bittering effect that cuts all sweetness from the latter part of the taste. It finishes dry, toasty, and pleasant. Perhaps a modicum of wheat is responsible for the pleasing sweet-softness that accompanies the initial burst of fruit.

M: Caramelised malt in the middle is chewy and gives excellent body to the beer. Unobtrusive carbonation allows the hop/malt interplay to shine.

O: Perhaps the best amber ale I've had to date. Unexpectedly delicious. More sweet than not, in the final tally, but it was fun to figure that out. Recommended. I would drink again.

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 45.3
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Crystal 70/80, Wheat, Black Patent
Hops: Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, Willamette, Summit

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 00:40:17 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of greybeardloon

Rhode Island

3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

no obvious freshness date

A: Decent head and retention, some lacing.

S: A burst of hops when I opened the bottle, but not much after that.

T: Sweetish, thick malt with some caramel and a faint touch of roast. Banana, oddly enough, and a reminder of golden raisins. Bitter, piney hops on the finish. For some reason, I had expected more hop character.

M: Reasonably full with good carbonation.

O: Decent enough beer, but nothing outstanding. I would gladly drink it again, but I won't seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 00:51:05 | More by greybeardloon
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-This beer struts an opaque dark, dark amber color. Color has brown undertones. Very subdued head. Patchy and disconnected from itself. Head still manages to leave serpentine strips of lace periodically.

S-Nose is soft but attractive. Ruby red grapefruit via the hops. Hops are predominantly citrus. Pine intermingles with the citrus. Caramel and sweet-bread malt. I honestly really enjoy the nose but I wish it had more intensity to it. Same aroma, just turn up the dial from a 5 to a 9.

T-Flavor is very balanced. Citrusy and piney initially. The caramel and bread/toast balances out the hop flavors valiantly. Finishes grassy but does not leave much bitterness. Tasty. Sessionable Amber.

M-Medium body. Lightly sticky. Carbonation is very bristly. Slick feel.

O/D-Super deal ($4.99 a sixer). I absolutely love the Amber/Red style, both for its breadth and tendency to e very hop-forward. This is a sessionable, reasonably hoppy version of the style. This beer has no faults, but I would love to see an Imperial/Double version of this beer by Mad River.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 06:54:09 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of coldriver


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass. Sufficient head and lacing, pours a cloudy (unfiltered) deep amber. Aroma of caramel and bready malts with some citrus. Taste has the same notes, balance is more toward the malt side but hops are definitely noticeable. Medium carbonation with dry finish. This is a very good amber (but not exceptional) amber that I would be happy to have again.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 00:10:42 | More by coldriver
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Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 391 ratings.