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 BucannonXC5
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitcher draft into a pint glass at Earl’s Restaurant & Bar on Aug. 31, 2012 (for $12.50 a pitcher). 2-3 fingers of head (from memory). Poured an amber iced tea with gray lacing. Good retention all the way down.

Smelled earth, grains, toast, and some light combination of caramel/toffee.

Tasted similar to the nose, but seemed to come out a bit better. Got earth, grains, toast, roasty nuts and a bit of citrus hops.

Medium-to-full body (seemed heavy for an amber). Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Grainy, rough finish, but tasted OK.

An OK beer overall. I might have rated it a bit differently (higher or lower) had I tried it at home and not out at a bar with four others guys. Maybe will try it again.

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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 MDDMD
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-red amber color with a decent white head and some lacing

S-malt and bread, some sweet caramel notes

T-malt, toasted bread, caramel and some bitter hop flavors

F-light to medium body with light carbonation

O-a nice drinking amber ale with good flavor

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Photo of Dave128
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

*Reviewed from notes*
Enjoyed on tap at Sazerac restaurant in Seattle.

A - Brought to me topped off with no head room so I can't really judge the head. What is there is retaining pretty well. Cloudy red-amber in color. Lacing is moderate.

S - Dark malt apparent on the nose. Has a smoky smell up front. There is another light grain smell and light hops to complement it.

T - Like the nose, it is interestingly smoky. The smoky flavors lead into a light malt sweetness with a moderately bitter finish. Sweet wine like esters are noted from time to time.

M - Medium bodied and a little overcarbonated.

O - A decent amber ale, but I believe some of the flavors aren't very well done. There is that wine like flavor, which from home brewing experiences leads me to think this beer is not fully matured with residual sugars remaining.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Buffalo Wild Wings in Beaverton, OR. Reviewed from notes.

A- Two finger white head. Three minute long retention. Clouded amber-brown color. Wonderful lacing.

S- Malt and wheat. Light fruit scents as well. Some nice hops.

T- Hoppy and bready. Finishes sweet. Lovely flavor.

M- Lighter body, lightly carbonated.

O- Great beer. I enjoyed this.

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Photo of hopwave
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another always on @ The Conway Muse... pours a cloudy amber/sticky lace with small white head... mouthfeel is nice... rich and smooth, with slight sweet aftertaste. overall a nice on-tap only beer thats been around forever. give it a shot if your in the great Pacific Northwest.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Bete Lukas.

A finger of white head, amber body, hazy. Tons of sticky lace.

Nose is faintly lagery, but not much else.

Tangy, spicy-corn body. Big hop finish, well balanced and nutty.

Slightly coarse, but well textured.

Nice, full-bodied nutty amber.

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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 Scotchboy
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ The Firehouse, Meridian ID. Poured into a 25oz mug (happy hour baby!).

A: Pours dark orange, bordering on copper at times, and a little cloudy. Good off-white head lacing.

S: Earthy, sweet hop bitterness, toasted sweet caramel malt, and toffee sweetness.

T: Caramel malt sweetness, toasted bread and biscuit, creamy and smooth. The hops lend some touches of grapefruit bitterness as it finishes.

MF: Crisp, creamy, almost foamy, malty mouthfeel. Light medium body, lower carbonation.

O: A really pleasant drinker, and a good balanced offering. Refreshing. Plenty of toasted malt and sweet toffee, but with enough grassy hops and grapefruit notes to even it out.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Seattle Airport

A: Hazy amber color with a big cream colored head.

S: Earthy and a little fruity. Passion fruit and some clover honey.

T: Pretty malty upfront. A little lemon and cinnamon on the finish. Definitely pretty drinkable.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with a nice white head. Almost looks like apple cider...

Some fruity and caramel malts, and some citrus on the aroma.

Nice caramel maltyness, fruity/citrus hops, nicely balanced. Not overly complex. Definitely an interesting and unique amber ale.

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Photo of Franch
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a seattle institution - when i came to seattle, i was told to order both this and manny's pale ale - neither of which impressed. i get the feeling that they are the "good beer" that's on tap at anywhere in the seattle area, much like there's a one-off bell's offering anywhere in ann arbor, or back in downstate illinois there will be a sam adams lager.

unlike Manny's Pale Ale, but had a funky taste i couldn't kick. would not order again.

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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 Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of kgotcher
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Only ever had this on tap and only in seattle. Pours very opaque since it is unfiltered. Thin head but very good lace. Aroma is fruity and nutty with a spicy citrus note from the hops. Mouthfeel is fairy thick but not overly. Just has a heft to it. Goes down with good hop bite and a slightly tart feel from heavy grainyness. Taste is subtle. Nice fruity maltyness but with major unfermentable breadyness.

I love this beer and get anytime I am in town. Not much else like it out there. If you are in seattle give it a try.

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Photo of drinkofczars
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice dark amber color. Unfiltered so the beer is very hazy when holding up to the light. Not much head when poured.

S- Hoppy and citrusy smell. Some dark roasted aromas coming from the beer as well.

T- Mostly a malty and hoppy flavor, with a slightly darker taste than Manny's (which is very similar). When first taking sips you detect citrus, but that sensation dissipates as you drink more

M- Very thick type feel in your mouth for an amber because of the unfilteredness. Not too carbonated so the subtle flavors are very detectable and stick in your mouth for a long time.

O- I normally don't like amber beers, but this one is something I used to drink a lot and enjoy very much. WARNING: if you drink too much of this beer you will get burnt out on it as I have. Very similar to the NW Manny's beer.

Tasty beer.

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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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Photo of Docer
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap at Big Als in Vancouver...

- Nice foamy finger of head that stuck around in the pitcher.. Dark somewhat cloudy murky brown and copper... a good looking amber.

- Slight English malt funk, touch of roasty character, sweet caramel, malts are bready... citrus and floral hops... zingy.

- Smooth, bright hop bitterness... floral hops.. somewhat grainy and semi-sweet... and that malt funk again. Seems certain kinds of malts I catch this slight odd funk.. must be an English malt..

- Medium bodied, well carbonated, slightly chewy.. rather filling.

- A decent drinker. I bet their IPA would be killer.. going off of the flavors from this amber. More like a strong English IPA or ESB. Not too bad.

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Photo of starclassic21
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Being from Seattle, I was told that I absolutely HAD to try Mac & Jack's African Amber if I even remotely like beer. So I decided to get it on tap at a local sport's bar and was blown away.

Since then, I've had plenty of different ambers but none seem to compare to Mac & Jack's African Amber. I just wish they bottled it!

The appearance is a typical amber, more "orange-ish" than most.

The smell is very rich... a nutty, bready smell.

The taste is where this beer shines... a clean, mild, bready immediate taste, with a hazelnut-caramel finish/aftertaste. The aftertaste of this beer is what makes it for me.

The mouthfeel... very carbonated! More carbonated than most ambers. Has a light feel, despite its rich flavor.

The drinkability is very clean. Not too heavy, not too light, not too rich, not too dull. It's a very middle-of-the-road beer with an exceptional taste!


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Photo of maximum12
2.7/5  rDev -30.1%
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.

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Photo of SodoSyco
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- A nice amber color, good head. There is some pretty cool lacing too.

S- Smells nutty and rich, a really delicous smell.

T- Nutty, with lots of hops kind of piney too. It is very deep and amazing, I could drink it again and again. I order it with pizza when available. They need to bottle this stuff in stores.

D- Does not go down smooth but the taste makes up for that easily.

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Photo of WetCoaster
2.78/5  rDev -28%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

So I'm in Seattle at your standard tourist theme seafood place for lunch. Their "house" beer is this local brew. OK, I figure, they're probably going to play it safe with a middle-of-the-road amber, nothing else they have is too interesting, eh, why not?

What I ended up with is one of the odder beers I've had in a while. First, the appearance -- there is unfiltered, and then there's this. It looked like a glass of Metamucil, orange-brown and completely opaque.

So I have what appears to be a pint of river silt with a head on it. Alrightly, then. First sip is sort of... chewy? It was kind of like a beer smoothie, I guess, very thick and dense.

I considered sending it back at this point, truth be told, but I figured it may just be an odd style I haven't quite wrapped my head around, so I soldiered on. The taste was, again, interesting. It was sort of like a mild old ale, very fruity and sweet. The flavor sort of vanished and then came back in the finish as a sort of yeasty brown bread.

Uh-huh. The smell was also a bit fruity and yeasty, and given all the weirdness going on, I couldn't imagine drinking another.

I know a bit more about beer than your average guy, and I found this absolutely baffling. But since this was the featured beer in a chain restaurant, I'm assuming something must have been a bit off here, or they'd probably get back 95 percent of the ones they poured. Maybe this was one of the last ones left in the keg, which dredged the sediment, or maybe this keg just got away from them somehow.

Anyway, I'll have to give this one another shot, because I cannot believe a beer this weird could be so popular.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Hazy amber-orange color. A finger and a half of slightly off white head that retained fairly. Small ring of lacing on the top of the glass.

Smell: Light, aromatic citrus hop note up front, supported by a lot of caramel, some fruit, and a touch of yeast.

Taste: Yeasty and malty front end. A small, surprising note of coffee comes through in the middle, and finishes up with a light grapefruit hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly full bodied. Low in carbonation.

Drinkability: One word: smooth. Very easy to drink and tasty.

Final Notes: A great beer for those just stepping up into the world of craft beer, but has a lot of flavor to keep you satisfied. Perhaps a bit too heavy for a session beer, but I could have a few.

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Photo of chadjulius
3.55/5  rDev -8%
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.

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