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Jamaica Red Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale

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

414 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 414
Reviews: 247
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.02%
Wants: 18
Gots: 5 | 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
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Ratings: 414 | Reviews: 247 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NorCalYeti


4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

taste- lingering hop bitterness, caramel richness

color- mahogany

clarity- clear

smell- spicy, floral, sweet hop character

body- well balanced, full body, medium-long finish

appearance- nice clear beer with a rich head and good carbonation

overall impression- malty red bitter ale. a solid well balanced complex drinkable beer. very solid and go-to...can adapt well in any situation.

notes and comments- pair with pasta with white sauce, crepes, and chicken. like the new label

glassware: pint glass

11-06-2010 05:23:14 | More by NorCalYeti
Photo of skeeordye11

North Carolina

3.45/5  rDev -10.2%

A: Dark ruby with a thin tan head that sticks
around on top nicely with minimal lacing.
S: Caramel, malty sweetness, woody/piney hop aroma.
T: Similar to the aroma, sweet maltiness with strong (not bad) caramel overtones. Fair amount of bitterness with some piney hop flavor as well.
M: Surprisingly thin for the amount of perceived caramel sweetness.
D: Better than expected. I would buy this beer. Nice mix of maltiness with a fair amount of woody hop presence. Nicely done.

10-11-2010 01:51:39 | More by skeeordye11
Photo of JackieTH


4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Appearance: Amber-red and cloudy with an off-white head.

Smell: Caramel and piney hops. Pungent.

Taste: Caramel and malt out front along with subtle hints of chocolate, roasted malt with a nice punch of citus/grapefruit and piney hops throughout. Clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium and smooth.

Drinkability: Creamy, smooth, flavorful and easy to drink.

10-07-2010 15:25:32 | More by JackieTH
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.03/5  rDev +4.9%

12 ounce twist-off cap bottle - $1.99 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clouded, dark amber-brown body with a lofty, lasting, lightly beige-hued head.

Smell: Aroma smelling of generously toasted bread, sweet-scented caramel candy, pine bark, dehydrated lemon peel, and even a pinch of Lawry's seasoning salt.

Taste: Deeply toasty opening with an added hint of burnt bread crusts and sweet touches of dark caramel. Modestly fruity ester accents. Fairly robust hop character brings zesty, dried citrus rinds and earthy pine with some slight woodsy tones to it. Though drying and remaining slightly bitter, the finish still has a good dose of maltiness to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A good balance between the malts and hops here, making for a pleasant, enjoyable red ale. Nice job, Mad River.

09-27-2010 00:46:15 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.06/5  rDev +5.7%

This is a red ale? It looks darker than red, is hoppier than red etc. . . chunky head, unfiltered for sure, great retention.

Aroma is very pungent hop and caramel. Again, smells nothing like a red ale, and its all good, because I'm not really a fan of traditional red ales. This is a hoppier west coast version I guess, and its for the better.

Taste, good, lots of hops, a heavy dark and chocolate malt feel interplays with the caramel. Carbonation keeps this one feeling fresh all the way through. Really didn't think the hops would come through. This beer is a little bit of everything, kinda like a precursor to black ipas, this one is dark, but hoppy, substantial, but not massive on the palate weight wise. All in all, its nothing like 99% of the red ales you see out there, which is why it scored high.

09-14-2010 19:31:11 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of felipe2toes


4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Pours a deep reddish brown with a creamy head that quickly dissipates into a thin layer. Some good lacing on the glass as well.

Smells of bready malt, and a little sweet caramel, and some faint butter scents as well.

Malty, bready, roasty, and slightly sweet on the palate. There are some hop flavors in there as well, but the malt dominates, which I don't mind in this beer.

Mouthfeel is clean and crisp, even with the sweetness from the malt.

I can drink many of these, goes down easy and refreshing.

09-14-2010 19:22:31 | More by felipe2toes
Photo of Brent


3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

For some reason it always strikes me as funny that the beer is named "Jamaica" and the brewery feels compelled to note in large letters on the label that it is made in the USA. Afraid people will confuse this with Red Stripe, perhaps?

Certainly no comparison in taste (thank goodness). Big malt, with a strong streak of caramel sweetness that is a bit overbearing and takes too much control of the flavor profile. Hops struggle valiantly, but, in the end, must take solice in at least hanging in there. Pleasant enough, but not the best example of the style.

09-14-2010 16:31:01 | More by Brent
Photo of jneiswender


2.73/5  rDev -28.9%

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Served cool.

A-amber red body, clear and a beige head, thick

S-doughy and floral

T-sweet front, some fruit stone, bitter yet stale hop flavor

M-medium to full body, very rich on the palate

D-okay representation of the style but the hop flavor was a bit stale. I think I would go for other representations of this style.

08-21-2010 03:45:55 | More by jneiswender
Photo of Thur123


4.05/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

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


2.98/5  rDev -22.4%

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.

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


3.2/5  rDev -16.7%

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

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


3.43/5  rDev -10.7%

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.

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


4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

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.

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


4/5  rDev +4.2%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

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


4.2/5  rDev +9.4%

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!

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


3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

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


3.8/5  rDev -1%

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.

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

West Virginia

3.88/5  rDev +1%

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.

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


3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

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


4.05/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

3.2/5  rDev -16.7%

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.

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


3.68/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

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

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +14.1%

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.

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


3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

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...

11-18-2009 05:16:51 | More by augustgarage
Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 414 ratings.