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African Amber - Mac and Jack's Brewery

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African Amber
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very good

279 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 279
Reviews: 110
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.14%
Wants: 11
Gots: 23 | 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: 279 | Reviews: 110 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

04-01-2009 02:46:30 | More by RedDiamond
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.

02-27-2009 11:27:48 | More by Deuane
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.


01-20-2009 20:57:29 | More by sholland119
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.

01-15-2009 00:07:53 | More by jujubeast6000
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.

01-11-2009 16:44:01 | More by ffejherb
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.

01-07-2009 08:42:39 | More by Spikester
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.

12-30-2008 03:27:12 | More by Wackyfoot
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

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)

12-26-2008 19:24:10 | More by LilBeerDoctor
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.

10-11-2008 19:10:59 | More by kosmoraios
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.


10-06-2008 20:19:13 | More by SickBrew
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.

09-10-2008 02:58:25 | More by thekevlarkid
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.

08-06-2008 21:54:42 | More by Hoopster4hire
Photo of ClavisAurea

New York

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.

08-01-2008 22:17:25 | More by ClavisAurea
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.

07-22-2008 22:24:05 | More by elniko
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.

07-19-2008 05:49:04 | More by wagenvolks
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?

06-20-2008 00:42:52 | More by Wetpaperbag
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.

06-19-2008 03:06:55 | More by SurlyDuff
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.

05-01-2008 23:52:15 | More by KBomb
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

04-22-2008 01:09:47 | More by canucklehead
Photo of stewart124


4.4/5  rDev +13.1%

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.

04-18-2008 22:51:11 | More by stewart124
Photo of lifeboyq


2.68/5  rDev -31.1%

Drank this on tap at the Taphouse in Bellevue, WA. I always hear this is a good beer and remembered differently so here goes. Pours a light murky amber. Minimal lacing. Smell, not much there, slightly sweet hints of grass and dirt, metal. Taste, up front its very much like a dirty sock, but finishes slightly malty, caramel malts, slightly sweet and a little citrus most likely from the overbearing hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, finishes clean but not interesting. Im sure its drinkable, but the dirty sock taste throws me off. I'll pass on this bland less than interesting offering. Severely overrated but just as I remembered. Great offering for an unrefined palate.

03-15-2008 05:11:51 | More by lifeboyq
Photo of dnichols


3.08/5  rDev -20.8%

I had this on tap at the Red Robin in Yakima, WA.

A: It poured an murkey dark tea or coke color with a modest tan head. The head disipated quickly but left a ring around the collar and supported a thin varied curtain of lacing.

S: It had a slight thin sweet malt aroma and barely there floral hops.

T: There are completing flavors of lightly roasted sweet malts and floral spicy hops. The malts have a hint of caramel flavor and the hops give of a bit of back end bitterness.

M: It had a very modest amount of carbonation and a light to modest body. It finished very clean.

D: It was a decent bar brew that went well with overly salty fries and the typically over-the-top burger. It went down easy and I could see knocking of two or three before the clash of flavors drove me to another brew.

01-15-2008 01:06:14 | More by dnichols
Photo of smcolw


3.65/5  rDev -6.2%

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.

10-06-2007 21:24:52 | More by smcolw
Photo of GimmeAles


4.15/5  rDev +6.7%

A wonderful local ale I can't beleive I haven't reviewed yet. Could review this from memory any time of the day.

A beautiful, quite cloudy amber, with the sparkle of red and orange sprites who dance winsomely within. A silky 1-finger head sits atop andh recedes to 2cm neatly sealing the glass to the bottom. Nice lacing the whole way down.

Smell is of toasty, wheat-bread and unsalted sunflower seeds infused with plenty of flowery, citrusy hops. More subtle, berry-like fruitiness mingles in the background.

Creamy, medium mouthfeel delivers big malty presence in the form of toasted bread crusts with a strong, earthy-ness coming in suggesting unsalted mixed nuts. A dab of caramely sweetness is delivered before the tart, citrusy hops make their presence know with a very pleasant fruity bitterness. Piquant strawberries and fresh Rainier cherries are quite evident, and the stand-out taste component of this beer in my mind. Wonderful.

A delicious beer, but one whose body makes it hard for me to have more than one, drinkability is only hindered by its richness. The only beer my wife actually gets near regularly - it's impressively complex and yet approachable. The fact that I can always get it very fresh makes this a excellent local standby.

08-24-2007 04:46:57 | More by GimmeAles
Photo of micahgoldfus

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +11.3%

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.

06-18-2007 04:12:12 | More by micahgoldfus
African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.