Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Jamaica Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

very good
253 Reviews
For Trade:
Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale

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

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our legendary red ale. This mahogany hued ale brings an intense spectrum of spicy aromatic hop character balanced by a full-bodied caramel richness. 2011 Silver Medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in the American Style Amber/Red Ale category.

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-23-2001

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 253 | Ratings: 486
Photo of hopwave
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 279 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

 837 characters

Photo of OleJohnnieAle
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

 607 characters

Photo of B967ierhunter177
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
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!

 343 characters

Photo of TheDeuce
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.

 850 characters

Photo of wafers
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
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

 667 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
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

 1,289 characters

Photo of greybeardloon
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

 502 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 1,060 characters

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.

 389 characters

Photo of bsp77
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Unfiltered reddish-amber with moderate off-white head and a hint of lacing.

Smell: Toasted and caramel malts, sweet brown sugar, citrusy hops.

Taste: Semi-sweet malts with caramel, toast, molasses, dark fruit and a hint of roastiness. Turns spicy, citrusy and somewhat bitter on the finish.

Feel: Medium-full body with moderate carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: Fairly good, fairly big American Red Ale that has a lot going on. However, the sweet malts and bitter hops don't balance quite as well as the best examples of the style.

 618 characters

Photo of JustinAniello
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy red-brown with a foamy three finger head. Dissipates slowly to a nice lacing that sticks to the sides and a decent cap.

S - Heavy caramel with piney hop aromas.

T - Lightly sweet caramel and citrus at first. Turns from heavy breadiness in the swallow to a nice mild bitterness.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Perfect for the style.

O - A very good american ale. Various flavors meld well together with a simple yet enjoyable aroma, great body tops it off. A very good all around beer to have with dinner or to relax, would definitely have again.

 577 characters

Photo of horshack7
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: From a twelve ounce bottle is a very dark garnet underneath a frothy one finger worth of head.

Aroma: A fair amount of citrus and tropical fruit notes in the nose. Dark brown bread sweetness aroma with a touch of caramel. There is a twinge of dryness.

Taste: Caramel malt sweetness with a dam smooth mouthfeel. In the middle is a little bit of buttery toffee. For the finish are hints of citrus with a subtle dryness.

Notes: Very drinkable with a really good malt backbone dam tasty. Cheers.

 507 characters

Photo of hiku7
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cloudy rust red with a beige head. Decent lacing.

Smell is piney and grassy hops and big doses of caramel malt. Taste is similar, with dominant caramel malt. Moderate bitterness throughout, slightly sharp in the finish, though overall decently balanced. Clean yeast, no noticeable esters.

This beer is fairly full bodied and somewhat sweet, which makes it feel a bit big and heavy for an American amber ale. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is decently balanced, but is malt forward. Simple but fairly well done amber ale.

 541 characters

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

Thanks to Cory for this brew!

A: Pours a dark ruby/amber color with a small tan colored head on top. Not much retention, but some nice rings of lacing formed around the edge.

S: A little closed, but there is some sweet malt and caramel. There is a little bit of pine and a touch of grapefruit.

T: Less hoppy than the aroma (which wasn't overly hoppy to begin with), with some caramel, sweet malt - almost candy sweet, and some bready malt.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Drinks smooth with no lingering bitterness.

O: Decent little amber/red ale. Would have liked it a bit hoppier, but thats more preference than a knock on this beer.

 653 characters

Photo of BeerNutz324
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- pours a dark copper color w/ a brown hue. cloudy. nice foamy head about an inch, good retention too and some lacing.

Ar- sweet malts and piney hops.

T- same as nose, sweet malts, piney hops with a bit of citrus hit you at the end.

M- medium bodied good carbonation

O- I like this red a lot. it has a good balance of malts and is just hoppy enough to appeal to my inner hop head.

 420 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: brown and red. Murky. two finger head.

S: mostly caramel malt and some pine.

T: caramel malt with apple and pine/light hop notes.

M: smooth. Moderate carbonation and medium body.

Overall: This one isn't too bad. Its very drinkable and has a fairly complex taste for a red.

 279 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a draft at KnB Wine Cellar’s in San Diego, Calif. Color was dark copper, light brownish. About an inch of head. Lots of lacing and lots of film.

Smelled toffee, amber, chocolate and caramel.

First taste was cough syrup. Pretty hoppy. Also some hints of caramel and toffee.

Mild carbonation. A consistent smooth taste.

Not too bad of a red overall. I’d probably give it another try.

 421 characters

Photo of mralphabet
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Dark amber color little cloudy with a nice creamy colored head, about a finger and a half worth of head. Settles to a wonder layer and lacing from top to the bottom.... Fantastic looking beer.

S: Malt right up front... then mild hops and a touch of grass.

T: I'm getting the grass maybe a little pine and hops up front then finishes with a light malt.. The hoppy bitterness shows up in the aftertaste. Really my hops than I was expecting.

M: Medium bodied good carbonation.. leaves the mouth a little sticky

D: Not a bad little brew.. little more hoppy than I like my Reds, but the ABV is very well hidden. Worth looking for if you are looking for a little different red..

 717 characters

Photo of cdizinno
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle, different than pictured. No dating information provided on bottle

A: Cloudy, rusty reddish-brown, with a nice off-white head and moderate lacing.

S: Very mild malty, grainy scents. Some background hop aroma present.

T&M: Strong flavored and full-bodied. Nice hop level. Caramel malty sweetness up front. Hop bitterness throughout with a nice tangy fade to a mild sweetness. This stuff has a nice chewy texture and it is well-balanced.

I might not search this one out specifically but it is defintely a decent drinker. Especially if you enjoy the style.

 616 characters

Photo of AwYeh
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into shaker pint. No dating information provided on bottle

A: Cloudy, rusty reddish-brown, with a skin of off-white head to top off the glass. Decent lacing.

S: Sweet, malty, bready; caramel and brown sugar dominate in true red ale fashion with a piny, resiny hop aroma.

T: Strong and full for the style; really nice hop level here. More pine, resin, and toasted caramel.

M: Sticky, medium-bodied with heavy carbonation. Doesn't necessarily lend itself to hasty drinking but the body really brings out the flavor.

O: Solid but not exceptional; I might not search this one out specifically but I just bought a six-pack after trying it once a year or so ago... try it if you get a chance.

 710 characters

Photo of jibbyvonjibb
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber color. Ivory thin head leaves little lace.
S: Caramel. Sweet. Raspberry. Apples.
T: Sweet caramel malt prominent. Some earthy hoppiness takes background role. Clean, slightly sweet finish.
M: Medium carbonation, medium body.
O: Too malty for me, especially because it's not especially complex.

 307 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from The Village Pump.

A mildly hazy reddish copper with a dense, light brown head with great retention and thick, dense lacing, this is a great-looking beer. The nose opens with a blend of juicy pine hops and a caramelized brown sugar malt character that's pleasing. There's also a faint cocoa and toast as well. The hops are moderate, there's not much bitterness here.

The palate opens with a great blend of dark caramel, and pine hops. Definitely spicy as well, it does taste like some rye was used, or a hop that imparts some of those flavor characteristics. Bitterness is moderate, but there's nice pine and grapefruit present. Mildly sweet on the finish, this beer is medium-light in body with moderate, creamy carbonation. Spicy and juicy on the finish with a little sweetness, this beer is much better than I was expecting

 840 characters

Photo of meeekyh
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have finally found this fine ale after about six years during which I didn't see it available for purchase. My first impression is that the original label was more appealing. The new one is too busy.

I choose a Hennepin chalice for the review receptacle.

I note this is a very hoppy beer. This is the first beer I tried in my craft-beer-newbie stage that was akin to an IPA and the dark malts back up the hops so well that I was just infatuated with the beer, though I always drank it out of a bottle, he this was 1995 and I never even considered a glass for beer, though I almost always drank craft beer. Anyway, this is a great beer and I will get back to the actual review.

The beer is a deep amber with moderate turbidity and a deep tan head. Lacing is small but I have been having issues with my barware so I believe the receptacle is to blame for that.

Smells are deep with malts that smell toasted and hops that are more pine than citrus.

Taste is bitter and tart and rounded without sweetness.

Mouthfeel is much lighter than many of these very hoppy reds and the finish is shorter and dryer.

Drinkability is very high and I would say 'overall' it is a very, very good beer that has few equals and will scare many drinkers of 'American Amber' beer like Fat Tire, but please hop-heads far and wide.


 1,325 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Back in the olden days of craft beer, there wasn't the overwhelming number of unique and original beers on the shelves we enjoy today. Therefore, I had the time to sample quite a few of the pedestrian offerings from Mad River (getting better these days). This one has always been one of their better beers. Pours a nice reddish color with a good tan head. Aromas of hops, biscuit and caramel. On the palate, medium bodied with hops, biscuit and caramel.

 453 characters

Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 253 ratings.