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African Amber - Mac and Jack's Brewery

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African Amber
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very good

286 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 286
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.14%
Wants: 12
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: 286 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of superdavex
4.2/5  rDev +8%

Ahh yes, one of the crown jewel staples of the northwest.

A--A dark brown/golden hue with a small, thin head.

S--Sweet, malty, carmely with a faint smell of hoppiness.

T--Sweet, roasted, carmely malt dominates with a hint of chocolate and a slight citrusy hop backbone. Very delicious. It's like drinking beer for dessert.

M--Medium carbonation and a very creamy texture. Velvety smooth.

D--The drinkability takes a bit of a hit because of it's thick sweetness, but it tastes so damn good you can't help but have two or three of these.

These guys don't bottle and I think that's a good thing. This really is the type of beer that should be enjoyed on tap. The trick is finding a place affordable enough to make this an almost daily beer. If I had a kegerator at home this would probably be the beer I would keep in it.

superdavex, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of ckeegan04
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

From notes from my trip to Oregon in June. Sampled on a deck overlooking the beautiful Mackenzie River

A - Dark caramel in color with faint red hues when held up to the sun. Fluffy white head, about an inch thick. Chunky lacing left behind.

S - Sweet caramel aroma with light citrus notes. Some grapefruit and maybe even a little pine mixed in.

T - Very clean malt sweetness initially. Ample hopping provides adequate balance, but the malts really carry this one. Lots of caramel and some sweet biscuity tastes.

M/D - Medium bodied and very smooth. Easy drinking amber ale here.

ckeegan04, Aug 19, 2009
Photo of flagmantho
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

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 blackc5
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%

Had on-tap at BOKA Kitchen in Seattle. Served nicely chilled in a Pilsner glass.

A - Nice foamy head that lingered quite nicely for a warm day in the sun. Fair bit of lacing as well. Great cloudy dark amber color. A real nice unfiltered look to it that was simply appealing.

S - On the mild side, but what was there was quite nice. A bit of grassy, citrusy hops as well as caramel malts and even a bit of fruitiness.

T - Quite easy on the palette. Some bready, yeasty malts there, but very well balanced with fruit and a touch of the lemony hops. Very mild as far as the bitter components go.

M - This was a brand new keg and so quite fresh indeed. Very nice mouthfeel here. Light yet creamy. Medium carbonation with just a very slight bitter aftertaste.

D - Sky high. Could drink this all night - I had two, but could have had a third if we had the time. A great overall brew, if not exactly the most unique or complex.

blackc5, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of jdense
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%

On tap at the Acropolis Steak House :).

Cloudy, unfilitered amber brew, one finger some quickly dissipating lacing. Not a lot of hop presence in the nose, fruity but not citrusy- neither grapefruity or lemon-- Stone fruit perhaps (pear, peach???). Bready malts present in taste and afterwords with little if any hop bitterness, well balanced. Fairly low carbonation for style, though could be a dated keg. A very drinkable brew. While I've moved on to bigger brews, this is one of the Northwest best and most popular Ambers (especially in the Seattle area), certainly very approachable for the craft newbie. Recommended.

jdense, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of cptierney
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%

I had this brew at a restaurant called The In Place in Forks, WA. For you Twilight fans, yes, that Forks.

The Waitress looked afraid when I asked about it, but finally relented and gave me a full pint.

I've never had an "African Amber" before but this beer had lovely aromatics and cut a pleasing, smoky red figure.

The taste was not too unusual, though the citrus notes were a little unexpected in a beer of this color. The beer was not malt heavy and the hops didn't make their flavor appearance until the end as the beer disappeared with a bitter flourish.

Overall, a pleasant sessionable beer and an unusual find in an unusual place.

cptierney, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of froghop
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%

pours a cloudy burnt amber with a small foamy white head, and very good lacing.

smells of malt, earth, caramel, wood, and a touch of citrus.

taste is light and creamy, caramel, lemon, malt, and some hops, ends just a little bitter and creamy.

overall a very nice brew.

froghop, May 05, 2009
Photo of RedDiamond
4.28/5  rDev +10%

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 Deuane
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

Thanks to sholland119 for sharing this one he received in GatM.

A-Slightly hazy deep copper with a thin off-white head that left some lace.

S-Slightly fruity hop presence with sweet biscuity malt and a wee bit of spiciness.

T-Fruity/malty--sweet biscuit with a light floral hop pop. Somewhat dry in the finish.

M-Medium-light bodied, sharp, crisp and rather lively.

D-A very pleasant brew. A totally easy drinking, flavouful, session brew. This is the how a "regular" beer should taste. One I would be proud to serve to anyone, beer geek and BMC drinker alike.

Deuane, Feb 27, 2009
Photo of sholland119
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%

Received in GatM from thethrone. Thanks, Adam.

A-Pours a clear amber with a thin white head and a bit of lacing.

S-Modest amounts of grainy malt with a whiff of hops in the background.

T-A nice maltiness throughout with a light floral hop presence in the finish.

M-Light bodied and crisp.

D-Nicely drinkable. A good session amber.


sholland119, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%

Reviewed 5/25/2006 (Tap @ McCormick & Schmick's, Seattle, WA):

Appearance of brown/yellow muddy, light-colored at the edges, brown in the middle. No head except little @ the edges, white. Lightly malty aroma, sweet, some hops. Very fizzy, slightly malty, crisp, clean aftertaste, slightly fizzy, nutty. Light taste.

jujubeast6000, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%

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
Photo of Spikester
4/5  rDev +2.8%

On tap at a sports bar in Corvallis Oregon. Redish amber with a good sized head and copious lacings. Aroma was caramel and mild floral hops. Taste is sweet caramel malts with just the right amount of hops for the style. Easy drinker, I could sip this all night. Fairly low abv from the taste but don't know what it actually is. Not the biggest amber by any means but pleasant enough and super sessionable.

Spikester, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of Wackyfoot
4.65/5  rDev +19.5%

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.

Wackyfoot, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.85/5  rDev +24.7%

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 kosmoraios
3.58/5  rDev -8%

On tap at Sidelines in Bellevue, WA.

Pours a hazy golden color with a small, frothy white head that lingers for a good while. Aroma is of honey and fresh baked light bread, perhaps a hint of lemon zest.

This ale is biscuity and sweet, with a cashew nut and honey over the pine and apricot-citrus hops. Creamy and carbonated with an oily finish, phenols evident on the tongue. Well rounded and widely available, a very drinkable beer when out with friends.

kosmoraios, Oct 11, 2008
Photo of SickBrew
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%

Nothing special here. Had this one Bortalomies Pizza on tap. Was something new so I gave it try. Beer had about 1 finger of head topping a fair amber body. Taste was not special. Malts were more notable than hops, but both were rather subdued. There was also something off in this beer, perhaps a dirty tap! Body was light to medium with a fair carbonation. Overall this beer was just OK, but due to the off flavor I may try again and see how it compares.


SickBrew, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%

Sampled this one on tap at my friends recommendation (Thanks Spencer!) near the Seattle Aquarium while visiting the city of my birth. Off the tap and into my plastic cup this one was a cloudy, deep amber color with a khaki colored head. Really good lacing, even against the plastic! Nose was dominated by malt, sweet malt, biscuits and nuts. The flavors were also held down by a thick malt character, chewy caramel and toffee notes, wheat bread. Could use a little more hop presence. Thick mouthfeel and filling in a gratifying way. A unique amber and one well worth trying if you're North of Oregon's offerings.

thekevlarkid, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of Hoopster4hire
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%

Appearance: Opaque Golden hue with solid head that maintained throughout the drinking.

Smell: Malty, faint aromatic spices and pleasant aroma of hops sneaks through.

Taste: Hearty, slightly bready taste followed by a nice little kick of hops. Very well rounded.

Mouthfeel: Fantastic carbonation helps to make this beer one to savor.

Drinkability: Moderate to high. While they are incredibly tasty and go down pretty easy, after a bit you start to feel a little full. Definitely a beer you can call it quits with and not feel disheartened by doing so.

Hoopster4hire, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of ClavisAurea
2.45/5  rDev -37%

I drank this one on tap at Our Place in Silverdale, WA.

Consumed in a pint glass.

Appearance: chestnut amber but nothing to write home about

Smell: wet dog, horse hair, grass and citrus

Taset/Mouthfeel: hoppy but what do you expect from hop country, light citrus, malty but not in a good way

I have drank Mac & Jacks African Amber quite a few times but this time just ruined it for me. I must have been blind to the way it really is. Could be a bad batch/tap though.

ClavisAurea, Aug 01, 2008
Photo of elniko
4.28/5  rDev +10%

Drank on tap at Old Town Pizza in Portland in pint glass.

A: Deep amber hue with heaving lacing.

S: Very dry on the nose.

T & M: Just the smell this beer tastes dry with a bready backing. The mouthfeel is the same, I enjoyed the textures and taste of this beer.

D: I found this beer to be very drinkable, quite different and enjoyable.

elniko, Jul 22, 2008
Photo of wagenvolks
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%

On-tap at Jimmy's cafe, San Juan Island, WA.

Body is a cloudy, caramel core that transitions to a burnt orange at the edges. A light khaki-colored head (albeit thin from the pour) is uniform in appearance, creamy, and retains very well. Like most of the Washingtong brew's I've met along my vacation, the lacing on Mac & Jack's African Amber is phenomenal: thick webs across the entire backside of the pint glass. The aroma is pretty typical for the style, with sweet caramel backed by some spicy hops and yeasty fruit.

The flavor is big, biscuity, and nutty. Caramel nuttiness up front is followed by a bit of spiciness from the hops as well as some wheat and yeasty esters. Very nicely done. Mouthfeel is exceptionally crisp and well-carbonated, but finishes strong with a hint of toasted malt and nuttiness. All in all, this is one of the more drinkable and complex-tasting Amber's I've encountered. Easily gives Fat Tire a run for its money.

wagenvolks, Jul 19, 2008
Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%

A- Had from a very heady pitcher. The foam was nice and thick. The beer was a dark rusty red.

S- Very malty in the smell. The smell is very sweet in nature.

T- I thought the beer was quite malty, I didn't get much hops at all. I would have liked to get more. The beer had a bit of sweetness to it, but more of a earthy malty taste.

M- This beer felt kind of thick.

D- It wasn't too bad of a beer to drink. I thought the beer was heavy feeling though. I wonder how the rest of their beer line tastes?

Wetpaperbag, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of SurlyDuff
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours a frothy somewhat cloudy amber.

Sweet malt is the first aroma, but hops are in there too. This one is definitly malt-forward.

Smooth, and with the sweetness, is definitly sure to be a unique amber. Chewy and a good caramel/toffee presence. Hops are not up the competition, which makes it good, but I can see how standard BA rating would take points away for this fact. Fairly weak carbonation and a good medium to full mouthfeel thanks to the thick sweetness.

Overall a good brew, and Im' nopt really sure of the abv. I would consider this a good session beer, as I can't taste the alcohol in this one.

SurlyDuff, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of KBomb
4.53/5  rDev +16.5%

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.

KBomb, May 01, 2008
African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 286 ratings.