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African Amber - Mac and Jack's Brewery

Not Rated.
African Amber
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BA SCORE
87
very good

289 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 289
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.14%
Wants: 11
Gots: 26 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-04-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 289 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of russpowell
4.47/5  rDev +14.9%
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

russpowell, May 07, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
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!

feloniousmonk, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of oline73
3/5  rDev -22.9%

oline73, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at some restaurant in Seattle, WA.

Only had this on one occasion, namely on tap at a steak house in Seattle, which I think is the only place it is available. It was a good brew, and went well with the food.

Poured a hazy amber with a small white head that recedes to a film. Caramel malts and nuttiness in the aroma, following through in the taste; pretty much a straight up standard amber ale. A pretty good balance of sweetness and hop bitters. Light-medium body and easily drinkable.

Rifugium, May 13, 2011
Photo of mactrail
3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

On tap at the Oxford Suites motel at Jantzen Beach. Color is dark amber and appearance is cloudy in the pint glass. A modest head to start with. Plenty spritzy in the mouth with a distinct club soda taste.

Quite malty mouthfeel. Some browned flavors and a little sharp. The hops are herbaceous and on the dank side. Collard greens and the old oaken bucket. Murky and something tasting like "rust" overall. More bitter as you sip. I find it really quite unpleasant, but maybe people like this particular taste.

mactrail, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some lace on the glass edge despite the lack of a head. Cloudy and neutral amber.

The aroma is mild but the hop is dominant over the light malt aromas.

The flavor is closer to an English bitter than an American amber. While the body is nearly perfect, the carbonation is low. The taste profile is hoppy.

This is a nice, easy drinking beer.

smcolw, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of Gavage
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: slightly hazy amber color with some yellow highlights at the glass edge. 1 " head falls quickly. No lacing develops.

Smell: caramel and sweet fruits are mild and pleasant.

Taste: caramel, ripe plums, and soft bitterness. Overall it is mildly sweet with just enough bitterness to take the edge off.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp from start to finish. Medium bodied. Very short, almost clean aftertaste.

Drinkability: pretty nice drinkability, just wish it looked a bit better. Definite crowd pleaser here.

Gavage, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at SAFECO Field

A: Poured a cloudy, opaque, light orange.

S: Nose light with hints of caramel and bread.

T: Taste had notes of toffee, caramel, bread and perhaps butterscotch. A touch of citrus perhaps.

M: Mouthfeel is really nice, finishes with bread and butter.

D: Very good

barleywinefiend, May 23, 2010
Photo of jdhilt
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Cucina Cucina in Tigard, OR. Pours with one-finger white head that goes quickly leaving a little lace. Clear amber color. Slight hoppy nose. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Starts with a good mix of malt and hops, hops dominate, well balanced for an amber, finish does not linger. $4.50 for a 16oz glass.

jdhilt, Jun 10, 2006
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

BillRoth, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -22.9%

rab53, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of beertunes
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a hazy, cloudy brown-amber with a thin cap of off-white head that had medium retention and lacing.

The aroma was the basic malty-bready-sweet scent typical of the style. The flavors were basically blad and unoffensive (or unchallenging, if you prefer), but not terrible. The beer had a decent well-rounded flavor that didn't stand out in any aspect.

The body was typical for the style, perhaps a wee bit fuller than a lot.The drinkabilty was typical for an American Amber ale, smooth and easy, is how this brew goes down the hatch. Overall, this is not an exciting beer but it is not a bad beer by any means. I would certainly choose this over Alaskan or Fat Tire if those were the choices.

beertunes, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Derek
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

Derek, Aug 02, 2005
Photo of dirtylou
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz draft, on tap at Anthony's on Pier 66 in Seattle (great seafood by the way)

appearance: came to be in an awkward glass that I was unfamiliar with....bright amber with a light beige-tan head, retention is rather low

smell: aromas are rather light, bready, caramel malt, certainly well spiced

taste: very nice tasting beer...my initial reaction was that the taste resembled a big graham cookie flavour, quite toasty and bready, good nuttiness factor, light citrus hop profile. enjoyable

mouthfeel: medium, average carbonation

drinkability: high

dirtylou, Jul 08, 2006
Photo of flagmantho
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz glass on tap at my local Red Robin.

Appearance: cloudy brown with a thin head.

Smell: mild, sweet malt and a slight note of spicy hops. Possibly served too cold to get a good aroma.

Taste: sweet malt, a slightly wheaty character and a nice blend of spicy hops.

Mouthfeel: medium body with proper carbonation. Nice.

Drinkability: nice taste and goes down easy, but a hair too sweet and sticky for a real session brew.

flagmantho, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of Cynic-ale
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Cynic-ale, Sep 05, 2013
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a hazy, barely translucent dark honey golden. Light tan head was minimal, but this may be from the way it was poured - it does leave some substantial lacing. Rich, fruity, malty aroma has hints of honey and fresh wood. Flavor is fruity, primarily apple and pear, as well as malty, with a subtle hoppy, woody, bitter undertone. Texture is smooth yet quite fizzy, and it leaves a fruity, woody finish.

Cyberkedi, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of RoyalT
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – I had this at table seating at the Cheesecake Factory, so I didn’t see what kind of head that it produced. The color though was a very thick, dark orangish-brown.

Smell – An interesting mix of hop and malt aromas. The hops were more on the floral side.

Taste – The hop flavor dominates the malt, but both are there. The malt is sweet, like caramel, and very chewy. The hops are sharp with a hint of mint that brings up the rear.

Mouthfeel – Some carbonation that felt just right on the tongue.

Drinkability – The various flavors tend to collide, so this brew didn’t go down smooth. But, it is a very interesting mix and well worth a try.

RoyalT, Sep 01, 2003
Photo of maximum12
2.68/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on tap at...well, I don't know the name of the place, but I've visited it three times now in Seattle & know exactly where it is. If you like to walk like I do & stay downtown, this is a place that always has a dozen local taps. That place. You know it. Across from the Underground Tours, sort of.

Anyways. Have heard good things about it & had no doubt about what to order after walking in the door. Pours a muddy, turbulent, impenetrable kind of reddish brown clay. Smell is about the same. Muddled, red.

Mac & Jack's African Amber isn't what I'd heard, or hoped. The whole thing is a big mess, like the Mississippi flooding a clay mine. Malts collide with sediment & minimal hopping to create a beer that's, what? Not really sure.

Frankly, I couldn't figure out what was going on with either this beer or the friend/s that recommended it to me. Perhaps it had been sitting in the keg for eleven months, perhaps it's just not my thing, but this is a weird & unappealing mess to me. Mediocre at best.

maximum12, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.85/5  rDev +24.7%
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)

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of RedDiamond
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mac & Jacks brews their flagship beer with a proprietary strain of alt yeast used exclusively for this ale, so it's fair to say that nothing else tastes quite like it. It is a genuinely distinctive beer whose flavor dies and reemerges twice - at least that's how it seemed to me; the flavor peaks and tapers abruptly, then returns with a unique post-finish. Its alt-like nuttiness has a wooden quality with integrated spiced hops that work exceedingly well. This flavor is replicated in the nose and brings about the kind of rousing intrigue that requires repeat visitations.

Dark, translucent bronze with spartan lace, African Amber is M&J's best selling beer by far. And with good reason. It's an excellent session beer. Available on draught only.

RedDiamond, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of mhaugo
4/5  rDev +2.8%

mhaugo, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of canucklehead
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid amber that shows up in bars and restaurants all around the Sound. This is hoppy enough to make it intersting but really this beer screams drinkability( as a good amber should. The malt really backbones this beer and I also finds it stands up to most puib food.

canucklehead, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of twelveinches
4/5  rDev +2.8%

twelveinches, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of ffejherb
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured via growler on 1/9/09. Thanks to sholland119 for sharing!

A - Poured a hazy, rusty orange body with modest carbonation and thin white head that receded to a patchy veil and left behind some decent lacing. Head eventually diminished fully.

S - Subtle nose with caramel malt, grassy hops and a very mild citrus character. A bit of grainy malt and fruity notes emerge in the background as well.

T - Bready, grainy malt up front with a touch of mild grassy hops and some sweet fruitiness. This ale has a dry hopped character featuring mild spicy, woody and fruity notes. Finishes with an earthy hop bitterness and more grainy malt to balance.

M - Light bodied with a watery, slightly syrupy texture and medium carbonation. Finishes with a mild earthy/woody hop bitterness on the palate that doesn't linger for too long.

D - Sessionable amber ale with a subtle dry hopped character. Very easy to drink with a decent hop profile.

ffejherb, Jan 11, 2009
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African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 289 ratings.