1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

African Amber - Mac and Jack's Brewery

Not Rated.
African Amber
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
very good

296 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 296
Reviews: 114
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 11
Gots: 28 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 296 | Reviews: 114 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chadjulius
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I heard a lot of good things about this beer before trying it. I wish I hadn't. I was expecting something I could almost make love to. But I barely got to 1st base with it. Yep, a let down. Yet, it was still a pretty good beer. Definitely not going to be my go to beer though. But I will definitely try it again.

It's fairly dark, with an amber tint (go figure). The taste is a cross of hoppy citrus and what is apparently caramel.

chadjulius, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of Bfarr
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy dark brown with no head or retention as served not to mention ridiculously cold. Muted hops and malt aroma with a hint of something unidentifiable. Good caramel with strong hop presence for an amber albeit rather nondescript. Mouthfeel is slightly creamy but with a fairly high carbonation.

This is a very easy drinking and nice unfiltered amber. It is typically served way too cold to really be able to appreciate any distinct flavors but has a very nonthreatening flavor. It's served in just about every chain restaraunt in Western Washington so there's never a shortage of places to try it.

Bfarr, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of appenzeller
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this from a growler I picked up at the brewery today next to Marymoor Park.

Pours an amber/red with a thin white head. Minimal carbonation, head left minimal lacing.

Smell is subdued, caramel notes, grain, and apple.

Taste is full of malts, bready, some sweetness like caramel/honey with a solid backbone of hops. Finishes fairly crisp for such a malty brew. Mouthfeel is good, this goes down silky smooth (wow this stuff is fresh!) and has a lightness despite its heavy appearance.

As the other comments indicate, this is kind of a Pacific Northwest classic. It's a nice brew, no doubt, not my favorite style but I'll often order it on tap around town. A good cold weather brew.

appenzeller, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of katan
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Old Chicago

A-pours a very deep brown color, but the light pulls through fairly strongly. Bright white head, well retained at 2mm.

s- light malt notes, but ahop profile shows most. Just a bit of floral American hops.

T- string malt note, but there ISA burnt earthy note in there. Could it be wattle seeds? Earthy, could be accentuating hops. Finishing very clean, light caramel notes.

m- full bodied, somewhat creamy. No carbonation bite finishes just lightly clingy from the sugars.

D- moderate drinkability. Just too full bodied for
full sessioning. Lightly filling.

katan, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
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 grittybrews
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have ordered on-tap on a number of occasions. Pours a rich orange-amber with around a finger of head and just a bit of white lacing.

Not much aroma to speak of and not overly carbonated, but really fills the mouth with flavor nonetheless. Excellent taste and drinkability...sweeter than expected with a nice balance of citrus and hops. I keep coming back to this one!

grittybrews, May 08, 2010
Photo of beertunes
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
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 yupitsmeadam
4.68/5  rDev +20%
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!

yupitsmeadam, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of drinknrun
4.83/5  rDev +23.8%
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.

drinknrun, Oct 22, 2009
Photo of TAREUA
4.97/5  rDev +27.4%
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.

TAREUA, Oct 08, 2009
Photo of superdavex
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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 -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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 -5.6%
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 blackc5
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 19, 2009
Photo of froghop
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 +9.7%
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 Deuane
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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 -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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 -11.5%
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
Photo of Spikester
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 +19.2%
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.

Wackyfoot, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.85/5  rDev +24.4%
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
African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 296 ratings.