African Amber - Mac and Jack's Brewery

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African Amber
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very good

120 Reviews
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Reviews: 120
Hads: 363
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 24.35%
Wants: 16
Gots: 59 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mac and Jack's Brewery visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-04-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 120 | Hads: 363
Photo of WAbeerfiend
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Poured from a growler filled fresh from the tap into a tumbler on 06.14.14.

A: 3 finger fluffy head. Nearly opaque brown body. It's unfiltered, so it's cloudy.

S: Sweet, bready malt. Flower too.

T: Bready sweetness dominates. It's like drinking a cinnamon roll. Flower, sweet yeast, and spices are subtle.

M: Creamy smooth. Chewy, but still easy to drink.

O: The bready sweetness hits first, then the flower takes over. It all blends very nicely. This is nothing like other amber ales that are out there.

Rating: A+, 100/100.

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Photo of jamesl425
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love alot of beers but After having this beer i wont drink anything else. I really love mac and jacks alaskan amber. I drive from south renton to redmond just to get a growler. I wish they had it for sale in bottles so i could buy more often! Over all best beer ive had!

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Photo of TAREUA
4.97/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer rates just above above Mount Ranier as far as natural wonders of Washington State. It is almost physically painfull to stop drinking this at one pint. It gets worse at two. To me it has one of the most pleasant, distinctive, and honest aromas of any beer. The flavor has the strong presence of bitterness with the balance of sweetness and richness that can make you stop in the middle of a bar story to just suck on the last mouthfull.

I wouldn't wouldn't even want to live in a state with good sports teams if it meant giving up this beer being easily found when I go out.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.82/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed on 9/28/08. Growler courtesy of scrizz. Pours a dark orange/brown with a thick off-white head that leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of caramel, sweet malt, brown sugar, molasses, sweet fruit, and maybe a hint of citrus. Flavor is quite sweet and malty with sweet tropical fruits and bitter floral hops in the finish. Uber drinkable and quite a tasty amber ale. Awesome maltiness with just a hint of hops and fruits. Yum! I keep upping my rating of this because I was just amazed by this beer and it's probably one of my favorites ever.
9/4/10/5/19 (4.7/5)

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Photo of BeerManDanNYC
4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is worth the trip to the pacific northwest...because it's not found anywhere else! A rich, easy-drinking amber beer that never disappointing. A rich brown color and a perfect balance of flavors, this is easily one of my favorite domestic beers!

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Photo of drinknrun
4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this beer a few months ago when I was out near Fort Lewis Washington. I can't remember the taste enough to give it a great review but out of all the beers I've ever had I recommend this one the most from a keg. It was amazing. It tastes like nothing else and I'm so sad I can't get this in Pennsylvania. All i can say is try a frosty glass and you'll know what I'm talking about.

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Photo of DKRowden
4.74/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap poured into a 22oz mug. Has a nice thick fluffy tan head about 2 cm tall with good lacing. Has a sweet citrus nose. Incredible taste. A combination of citrus, rich maltly flavors, and a spice note. Mouth feels is thick and smooth with a medium dry finish. Overall very enjoyable as I have came to expect from mac and jacks offerings.

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Photo of evoljetta
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First tried this beer on a trip to Seattle by chance. Looks cloudy like a good wheat beer. Good mouthfeel with a wonderful taste..Every time I go to Seattle, a trip to the Mac and Jack brewery is now a staple...The only bad thing about this beer that I can say is they don't sell it in Chicago :(

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Photo of yupitsmeadam
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

i drink lots of beers and always come back to this one....had this beer at dinner tonight at the cheesecake factory in bellevue, wa.

beer is a lot darker than most beers in the style. like the beautiful skin of a south american woman. there is not much head to speak of.

smell is deceiving. you don't expect the flavor rush that you are about to be hit with by smelling it. smell is a little muted.

the taste is pure candy to the mouth. sweet nectar of the gods. heavy malt flavors with honey and hops. taste a little fruit here as well. apples, peaches?

almost creamy and wheat-like while being well rounded.

can i have another?

when in seattle, you can't miss this!

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Photo of Wackyfoot
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber colored beer with the heavy smell and taste of the serengeti. Grass is the pre-dominant flavor, but there are serious citrus undertones as well. Easily the best amber ale I've ever tasted and it's a dear wish of mine that the brewery will start bottling it.

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Photo of jreitman
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(draft) Good amber color with nice head. Taste is very clean and crisp with a nice, but not overwhelming hoppiness. Nice maltiness and good body in the mouth. Overall a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of ggroller
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Given to me by cvschaller in GIF 6.0.

Well packaged growler with electrical tape around the cap. Upon opening, I noticed that the beer was filled all the way to the very top.

The beer smells sweet. I don't get a lot of hops in the nose, though, from the dry hopping.

Pours a nice amber color. Ample head with plenty of sticky lacing.

Tastes superbly balanced. Hops, malty sweetness, and bready yeast from this unfiltered brew. Plenty of carbonation with a semi sweet coating mouthfeel.

A great session beer all the way from Redmond Washington to my home in Slatington Pennsylvania.

A heart felt thanks to cvschaller for this wonderful Sunday night treat. Cheers brother.

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Photo of KBomb
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A nice looking reddish orange, some cloudiness, and a full foam head. The first smell is of generous hops, some pine, and grassyness. The taste is an excellent blend of caramel malts and spice, a great balance of sweetness and rich hoppiness. The body is nice and dry. It goes down very smooth. Will I have another? I'll have two! Delicious.

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Photo of Wattman4
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Smooth and creamy african amber. Not too heavy, but not too light. Beautiful color with reddish brown coloring. Nice Bitter start with a smooth and sweet after taste. One of my favorite beers whenever I head into the Seattle area.

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Photo of bondjedi
4.49/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This luxurious and chocolatey brew meters out as a "5" on the mouthfeel, one of the few top marks this reviewer has ever handed out. Lots of lacing, all the way to the bottom of the glass. The only thing that keeps this pop away from the Chimay-level is its appearance, which is reminiscent of the Cuyahoga River circa 1978. Bravo to you Mac, bravo to you Jack.

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Photo of russpowell
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap in Twin Falls, Idaho

Poured caramel with 1" of white head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Earthy & piney hop with just a hint of biscuitty malt

T: Piney hops, breadyness & citric hops up front. Finishes with loads of hops & good malty presence

MF: Medium bodied with slighlty too much carbonation, but superb balance

Super drinkable, one of the better ambers I've encountered as of late

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.46/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Tawny brown and wonderfully cloudy due to being unfiltered. This is the sort of beer which makes you understand the whole 'liquid bread' thing.

S - Sweet malt pairs nicely with the minor spiking of hops.

T - Unlike so many amber and brown ales this beer does not short change you on flavour. This beer has a wonderful rich, malty flavour and then a little hops pops up to keep things interesting on the back end.

M - Fabulously thick and full-bodied for the style and abv. Boosts the beer's character, taking it further and further away from the mass of humdrum and watery red and brown ales.

O - A real Pacific Northwest classic. I drank this at Ixtapa. Coming from Britain I would not have expected to have such a good beer at a place like Ixtapa. God bless the Pacific Northwest and Ixtapa.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inspired by the proud feline on the label, I have opted to employ my lovely Lion tulip glass from the Ceylon Brewing Company of Sri Lanka. That will be all the pointless, self-involved trivia for this review. You're welcome.

Unfiltered, for sure, as it pours opaquely, a rich russet, far darker than I'd expect of an amber, light orange at the foot and along the sides. The head is puffy, bone-white, a solid half inch and holds well. Very attractive glass of brew!

Nose is lightly laced with hops and amped up with sweet malt. Slightly candyish, and aplomb with fruit, soft citrus, grapefruit and tangerine, orange rind and lemon zest. Exceptionally inviting!

Clean entry on the palate, but loaded with flavor, urging the lips to meet the cup again, for a deeper examination. Hangs full in the mouth, then floods the gates with deliciousness, same flavors found in the aroma spilling out.

Body is medium, mouthfeel is smooth, while tangy and tasty. Finish is lighter than I normally prefer, but seems just right for the style. I understand why ambers are favorites among many people and the one that hits the right medium can became "the best beer in the world!" to those folks. There's a lot of them, and I can see why this one can easily be Washington's answer to New Belgium's Fat Tire, Anderson Valley Boont Amber, and so many others. I would drink it up like crazy, if there were no IPAs or Stouts vying for my attention.

Only halfway into the glass as I finish these notes, and yet I can assure one and all that this growler will be gone in no time flat. Well-crafted, unfiltered amber of exceptional quality will always have a home in my stomach. (Actually, it's starting to remind me of other favorite unfiltered ambers, such as Bell's Amber, and also Rush River's The Unforgiven, not surprising that the RR brewers once worked for Mac & Jack's.)

much thanks to Corey for the chance to try it out, at last, after reading of it's cult status for so long!

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Photo of shark262
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers and a great example of American Amber Ale. Distribution is limited to the Northwest, but definitely a brew worth seeking out.

Unfiltered orange/amber color with a nice long-lasting head.

Smell is very inviting, apricots with floral hops. There are also a couple citrus notes, but they don't overpower.

Taste is excellent - hints of caramel present. Cascade hops come through in the finish.

Medium body and low carbonation makes it even more easy-drinking.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thank god that I live in Seattle everytime I have this beer. Mac & Jacks is a staple at most bars in the Greater Seattle area. The appearance is amber colored with a dark hue. The smell is of hops and faint hint of malts, a slyte fruity and caramel trace as well. The taste is great. The malts and hops are very well balanced and it has a hint of a caramel. When the beer is in the mouth the carbonation is just right with a smooth taste. This is a very drinkable beer, when in a bar I always go for this, excellent!

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Photo of stewart124
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bob's Burger's and Brews in Bellingham, Wa.

Pours a hazy orange/amber color that is much different than I expected. Is this par for an African Amber or is it a Washington thing? Beats me but I like it. There is a thick off-white head that leaves beautiful lacing along the pint glass.

Smells of citrus and pine. I'm thinking centenial hops.

Taste is quite spicy but yet blends wonderfully with the sweet caramel malts. Right on point for what I expect the NW amber to bring. Big in the hop department that has that grapefruit character and it brings about a sweetness.

Body is medium and finishes dry and tart. The body and carbonation really bring out the hops. This beer is not too overpowering but just enough and it really made me want to drink more. This was a great welcome to the state of Washington.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the tav.
Pours a hazy amber color with a thin head that dissipates quickly.

S a slight citrus smell with some hints of carmel.

T very balanced between carmel malts and some sweet citrus from the hops.

M medium bodied

Overall this is one of my favorite beers for a reason. It is light enough to session yet it is complex and quite tasty. My only complaint is that it is only found on tap and not in bottles.

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Photo of micahgoldfus
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served to me with a thin, creamy head that never quite went away. Cloudy, amber appearance, looks tasty! Smells rich: malty, bready, citrus undertones. Taste is delicious! A wonderful example of malt and hop balance. Taste is piney on the tongue, and leaves a light, bitter hop splash at the end of the sip. Malty tastes with caramel and citrus fruit (grapefruit, i think). Average body and carbonation, making this beer quite drinkable.

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Photo of Derek
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent example of a Pacific-Northwest brew.

Nice redish-amber hue.

Lots of citrousy cascade flavour, balanced with a malty backbone. The aroma isn't quite as strong as the flavour.

Very drinkable. I'll have to travel back to this area again!

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Photo of HeadyBrewsevelt
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's been a while since I've had this beer, one I've had many times, and have not forgotten.

Comes in a rich amber color and some head, but dissipates quickly. Some lacing, but not much. Mild hop and citrus aromas and works well with pub food or by itself. Don't drink more than 2 or 3 as the flavor gets a little cloying.

A must-try when visiting the Pac NW.

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African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 120 ratings.