1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Jamaica Red Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale

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

406 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 406
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 18
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Jamaica Red Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 406 | Reviews: 247 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thur123


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mad River Brewing Jamaica Brand Red Ale

This beer pours a deep brown with a reddish tint. Healthy head, about two fingers in height retreat slowly leaving a nice layer across the top. Great lacing as I drink on. The smell is restrained caramel malt with an understated hop edge. The hops smell herbal with a bit of citrus.

Glug glug glug

The flavor is bigger than the smell would let on. Bitter resinous hops come in on top of, thankfully, not too sweet caramel malts. The malt flavor has toffee and hard bread crust. The hops are bittersweet; they taste herbal with a refreshing orange citrus flavor backing the whole thing up. The mouth feel on this is fine, not too thin but perhaps a bit more body would help. The drinkability is excellent as this is flavorful and balanced red ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2010 23:31:16 | More by Thur123
Photo of Soonami


2.98/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I despise twist top bottle and would not have bought this if I had realized it was a twisty.

The beer was a deep red with very little beige foam. The aroma is crackery with a hint of butter and a little citrus. The beer tastes very sweet with not much bitterness or hop flavor but a bit of butterscotch and definitely alcohol. The mouth feel is fine, but this is not a drinkable beer with the sweet aftertaste and lack of hop bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2010 03:24:06 | More by Soonami
Photo of Blitzen15


3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark amber in low light, red when put in front of a lamp. yellow head that dissipates in seconds

S - Similar to a flavored coffee without the coffe, think hazelnut but with a considerable amount of IPA mixed in.

T - The nutty flavor is the same as the smell however it is more distinctly a red and there is no sense of a pale ale left. Sweet not bitter.

M - Very creamy. It is thick enough to linger in the mouth and has almost no fizz but still not flat.

D - Not an instant favorite but an enjoyable alternative to your favorite red.

Purchased at: Ladd's & Co.

served on: 6JUL2010

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2010 07:17:43 | More by Blitzen15
Photo of PicoDeGallos


3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Mad River Jamaican Red is on tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA. The beer has a nice look and aroma but has a taste that does not finish well. Overall it is an okay beer and worth a try. mad River is a fine brewery, so I will definitely give another try another day to make sure it was not me.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2010 00:14:10 | More by PicoDeGallos
Photo of Parrotbeak


4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy amber with a golden hue, and a thin, off-white head that fades fairly quickly, becoming patchy. Little bit of lacing.
Smell is bready, slightly roasted malts with some faint buttery notes, and some subtle, grassy hops. Faint notes of caramel and brown sugar.
Taste is heavy, roasted, spicey malts, with some subtle hops coming from underneith. Quick, bitter wave from the hops comes after the front. Great malt backbone on this one. Malts carry to the finish, along with some notes of faint caramel and brown sugar. Malts become just a bit bready and crackery towards the finish.
Mouthfeel is slightly crisp, becoming smooth towards the finish. Touch of stickiness at the finish. Light-to-medium body. Just the right level of carbonation for this beer, being a bit on the low side.
Drinkability is very good. One tasty, well-rounded beer that goes down easily.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2010 03:27:16 | More by Parrotbeak
Photo of TheQuietMan22


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

Appearance: Poured a syrup-like amber/brown. Looks very thick. Two fingers of thick, slightly tanned head developed from the straight pour into my pint glass and dissipated slowly to leave a foamy lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: At first it actually reminds me of Scottish ale -- Belhaven to be exact. Sweet and slightly toasted caramel malts stand out most and are followed by bread, honey, and dark fruits. There's a nice hint of citrus hops and pine spice, too.

Taste: The first sip was not as sweet as the taste. Much more bitter and hoppy than the aroma led on. Nonetheless, the sweet and slightly toasted caramel malts are prominent, as well as the dark fruit (it tastes a lot like cherry). The hops provide a nice citrus bite, and also offer pine notes. The honey from the scent is also noticeable, as well as a little molasses and vanilla.

Drinkability: Smooth and tasty. In my book that makes it very drinkable. A very enjoyable and toothsome cure for cottonmouth in Humboldt County.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2010 07:06:27 | More by TheQuietMan22
Photo of Wasatch


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

Thanks goes out to RedHaze for this one.

Pours a nice cloudy amber color, nice carbonation, very nice two-finger foamy off-white head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice little hop notes, and lots of caramel. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, with lots of caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a pretty tasty brew, glad to have finally gotten a chance to try it.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2010 01:33:35 | More by Wasatch
Photo of dwilson01


4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass, perfect head comes right to the rim of the glass with off-white tan coloration and nice lacing upon dissipation. The body color is thick amber-brown, reminds me of a barleywine.

The nose is great, I get a very hopped up and malted brew, pine and spices give the scent a kick while the malt seems to me to be mainly straight up barley with some caramel and toastiness to it.

The flavor definitely delivers, very spiced up with cinnamon and nutmeg, lots of hop flavors present too which give me a wood flavor which is pine in particular. Great balance between what I would take to be a double ipa and an amber ale in this one, I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel is solid, feel is basically like it looks, thick and very dense which is a necessary characteristic for a beer with this much hop and spice flavor. The balance is well maintained, reminds me somewhat of the hop head red from green flash but a little bit less on the pine hop flavor. Great beer overall I don't know what the hell I've been doing with my life to have not tried it!

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2010 07:30:09 | More by dwilson01
Photo of twelvsies


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

Already a fan of some of the other Mad River offerings (Steelhead IPA, Scotch Porter) I picked up a sixer of this the other day. Finally getting a chance to sit and jot down some beer thoughts. Pours a real pretty ruddy red color, smallish head but good retention. Not a big nose, but a nice showing of bready, caramel maltiness and a backdrop of spicy hops. Much more complex once you actually taste it. Really delicious malt character here - sweet and fruity, yeasty, pastries, almost reminiscent of something Belgian, yet distinctly American. Perfectly rounded out by a spicy, herbal hop profile. Not particularly bitter - a bit hoppy, yes - but this beer is all about the excellent malt balance. Definitely very tasty and true to the style, rather than a West Coast Red Ale with a lot of hops thrown at it. Very smooth with a nice prickly carbonation and very sessionable. A solid beer from Mad River.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2010 00:25:09 | More by twelvsies
Photo of PintOHops


3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glass - Pint

A - Clouded amber/coppery color with a 2-finger head, retention is good, sticks around just a tad. A nice ring of foam held throughout consumption but left no lacing.

S - Different fruity aroma's upfront, I got big big fresh mango & apricot, a bit of tangerine. Beneath is bready & toast like notes, a bit of biscuit but nothing jumps out as much as the mango/apricot fruity combo.

T - I got a bit of that bright fruitiness upfront, some apricot & mango upfront running right into a rich bready/toast flavor. Finishes with mild mild toffee & bread, more fruity mango hop flavors and a touch of bitterness. Nothing lingers.

M - Almost moderate crispness, and around medium bodied but on the lighter side to me.

D - Around average drinkability, I could have a couple pints at most. I liked the bright mango flavors/aromas, but I kept searching for a deeper malt profile, something with richer biscuit like flavors, but I didn't pick it up. Worth a try but I think Id pass for something else.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2010 23:52:05 | More by PintOHops
Photo of ZimZamZoom

West Virginia

3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the dregs from this bottle before I realized there was any. No biggie though, I can handle the haze.

Nice amber color, nice tan head. Noticeable viscosity when swirled. Aroma is really a nice balance of spicy hops and caramel sweet malt. Not a lot going on, but very pleasant. Taste is more sweet than not, some hop spice and a earthy malt background. Quite a burn from carbonation as it finishes with a fading bitterness. A tasty red ale for sure.

Thick feel, but not a heavy beer. Pretty drinkable I would say. All said, it's an above average American Red Ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 18:50:59 | More by ZimZamZoom
Photo of RedBrewer83


3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass...

A: Very nice dark amber red appearance slightly opaque. Head is a big three fingers and very creamy, thick sticky webbed lacing.

S: Pretty muted, a little malt, some faint hop and a little toasty bread.

T: Big caramel malt, some crisp pine resin hop, and very toasty. Very smooth.

M: Crisp medium light body, very nice carbonation.

D: Smooth and easy drinking with some nice malt.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 23:39:11 | More by RedBrewer83
Photo of Bfarr


4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick foamy umber head that dissipates quickly on top of a cloudy dark brown ale with a faint red tint. Not exactly what you might expect for a red. It has a nice malted barley aroma. Tastes of a robust earthy malt and hops are certainly present though overshadowed by the malts. It has a great bite signature of a red ale. Overall a nice drinking red ale to sit on the beach with.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2010 02:21:03 | More by Bfarr
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Passable red ale, more malty than hoppy. Drinkable, but not very drinkable. Dark amber appearance was pleasant. Malts in the nose. More or less, not that interesting, a tad of citrus after a tad of spiciness.Average mouthfeel though carbonation a bit aggressive. WOuld like more hops.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2010 01:02:46 | More by Sammy
Photo of WeezyBoPeep


3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Iced tea brown with sediment. Unfiltered. Frothy head like seafoam. Great retention.

S: Clean tea leaves, hops and caramel.

T: Super creamy, lightly carbonated mouthfeel with bitter hops, caramel, molasses, toasted brown sugar, black cherries and spicy alcohol presence. Distinct "candy" taste in the finish.

D: An interesting beer for sure, but can't see having more than two or three in a sitting. It's not carbonated enough for me and a little strangely sweet.

Value: I got it for 25% off because my place is discontinuing it. So for $7.50 it was steal.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 04:23:29 | More by WeezyBoPeep
Photo of rtratzlaff

North Carolina

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

Mad River Jamaica Red pours a deep dark brownish red which looks to be unfiltered. The aroma is sweet caramel malt and tons of it along with citrus hops in the background. The taste is sweet caramel and bread. Not a bad tasting beer at all. For an American amber this thing beats the pants off of most all in the style. Quite balanced but with all this malt, it requires plenty of hop flavor as well. The mouthfeel is rather chewy and full. This is a filling amber ale if there ever was one. This is truly great an unexpectedly so.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 23:22:40 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of augustgarage


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Library Ale House in Santa Monica. Served in a generic pint glass.

Rusty sangria body with scarlet and pinkish highlights. Dense solid beige head with excellent retention; when swirled it sways all at once, like a raft (which for a second, reminded me a bit of the fat you skim off the top of consommé). Some sedimentary material floats around, and it lacks the brilliant clarity many other examples of the style exhibit.

Very mild aroma, faint biscuit, tea, and malt. Hints of grain (oats?) as well, and a light grassy note from the hops. No off notes, but everything seems insubstantial.

After the milquetoast nose, I was unprepared for the rich flavors hiding within. Rich malt, caramel, and a zippy bitterness suggesting British hops more than those usually used in California beers. There are some subtle flavors intermingling (hemp? cereal?) - but the finish remains bitter on balance. Interesting and fairly unique profile.

Effervescent and soft mouthfeel, medium-bodied yet still crisp. Dialing down the carbonation, hops, and alcohol just a touch would make this more sessionable, but this would compromise the brewer's intent.

Ignoring the fact that this was created for the Humboldt Reggae festival (*shudder*), it is one of the better ambers I've tried from NorCal...

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2009 05:16:51 | More by augustgarage
Photo of nerow


4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass, lush amber color with gorgeous carbonation rising up from the depths of my glass to form a frothy, one finger head with superior retention. This beer smells of Candied apples and faint hints of cinnamon. Sweet tasting, fruity, bready, malts contrasted with a floral, earthy hop presence balance the flavor of this beer quite well. A very slight, carmel aftertaste. Mouthfeel is richer then most Amber's I've had, satisfyingly creamy. Drinkability is good, with the only downside being a great deal of carbonation. A nice beer, very satisfying to drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2009 20:46:26 | More by nerow
Photo of albern


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

This is a nice, substantial Red Ale. It pours a hazy deep amber brown color with a creamy off white head, retention is decent, no lacing. The nose is bready malts and leafy hops. There is a touch of caramel candy aromas in the nose too.

The taste is a tad syrupy, medium bodied or more, there is a very nice balance going on here. There are some very nice candied bready malts, some fruit flavors, perhaps a bit of booze soaked pineapple. The leafy hop is very present and tightens the beer up a bit so that it isn't so sweet. There are some caramels underneath, maybe a slightly burnt brown sugar sense to the beer as well. The charred flavors carry into the finish and aftertaste. The hop profile is also lingering into the aftertaste. There is some noticeable ABV in this beer as well.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 20:56:44 | More by albern
Photo of stephens101


3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown which turns to light brown with reddish hues when hit by the light. Two fingers of tan head drop into a nice thick covering on top of the brew. Some broken, curly lines of lace are left behind. Smells of deep caramel malts and a little spice. Tastes is about the same, with the spice being a bit more prevalent on the palate. A little hops come into play in the end. Mouth-feel is medium. This one is tastier, and better balanced than a lot of ambers out there.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 18:26:45 | More by stephens101
Photo of WYVYRN527


4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Brad for bringing this one to the state of Minnesota!

A: Pours a deep crimson with a finger thick off-white head that settles to a film a few millimeters thick. The beer is slightly hazy with some fine particulates. Lacing and carbonation are phenomenal.

S: Smell is sweet and a bit spicy, with some notes of caramel and cinnamon, and hops give the brew a citrusy, floral backround.

T: Resinous hops strike first with hints of pine and fruit. Bready malt characters inter-mingled with spice dance on the palate, then is finished with more spicy, floral, and fruity hop flavors. The most balanced Red I have ever tasted.

M: Medium-bodied and has a very long finish.

D: I could drink this brew all night if I had enough. It's very sessionable, and very easy to drink. Hands down, this is my new favorite Red.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2009 04:55:18 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of Reagan1984


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

Big bubbled foamy light tan head. Slightly hazy reddish/amber No visible carbonation.

Aroma is slight citrus, a touch of cinnamon. Slight yeast.

Fairly sharp initial hop bite. Some black pepper and again some cinnamon. Light fruit in the background and some nutty toasted malt notes. Some hop oil on the tongue. Pretty well balanced.

Medium bodied a little slick from hop oil. Light carbonation.

Nice little beer. Not sure I would chase it, but it's not a bad option when in the mood for a hoppy red.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2009 23:06:54 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of kaseydad


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

Pint pour with a caramal color and creamy, lacy foam head. Nice thin layer of foam is present throughout the consumption process.

Roasted/toasted malts is the major aroma. Some dark fruits and a presence of toast is also noticeable.

Smokey and slightly spicy taste. I was waiting for sweetness to kick in, but it never did which is somewhat odd for an Amber. If you like a more bitter Amber, this is the one for you.

Very easy to drink for a 6.5% and though I don't care for the style that much, this was a pretty good beer and recommended for Amber Ale lovers.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2009 17:00:30 | More by kaseydad
Photo of bump8628


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard 16oz pint glass. Color is somewhere between a dark amber and light brown. It sports a 1/2 inch slightly off-white head that sticks around for the whole drinking experience.

Not much aroma but what is there is a mix of spicy hops and some sweet caramel malt with a touch of toffee and a light fruity character.

Tastes of predominately of medium-dark caramel malts with some nutty notes. There's also a hint smoke and fruity esters. The malts are well balanced by a hop bitterness that lingers some into the finish. Spicy, citrus, and earthy hop flavors are also quite noticeable.

Jamaica Red has a nice full, creamy body that really smooths the whole beer out.

A nice American Amber that you could easily drink a few of but not get bored.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2009 01:33:09 | More by bump8628
Photo of scottyshades


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

A: pours a slightly transparent scarlet color, which produces a frothy, tightly knit eggshell color head that dissipates quickly, but leaves a thin layer of foam throughout. The lacing along the glass is pretty good, thin and abundant.

S: Huuuge malt presence, dark fruit; raisin, fig, date, and artificial cherry. As this brew warms, the alcohol becomes a little more outgoing. Very faint floral hop aroma at the very end of the nose.

T: Similar to the nose, however the hops make a more significant contribution than I would have guessed. Hops give this a nice floral note as well as a slightly twangy citrus twist. But the dominant flavor is malts. Sweet and amber malts, figs, raisins, dates, cherries, artificial cherries, and prunes.

MF/D: Low carbonation (just like I like this style), medium thick body, long malty taste that turns into a nice long floral hoppy finish. Sticky as well.

Highly recommended session beer. I'm working on number three right now, might polish off 6. Very smooth and easy to like.

*If you like this brew, check out other Mad River brews (Steelhead Extra Stout) and you won't be disappointed

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2009 01:53:36 | More by scottyshades
Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 406 ratings.