African Amber - Mac and Jack's Brewery

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African Amber
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BA SCORE
87
very good

349 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 349
Reviews: 128
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 13.85%
Wants: 15
Gots: 52 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 349 | Reviews: 128
Photo of HeadyBrewsevelt
4.29/5  rDev +10%
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.

Photo of Docer
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

Photo of starclassic21
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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!

TRY IT.

Photo of maximum12
2.7/5  rDev -30.8%
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.

Photo of SodoSyco
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of WetCoaster
2.78/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

Photo of bagpiper2005
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of chadjulius
3.55/5  rDev -9%
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.

Photo of Bfarr
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of appenzeller
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of katan
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
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

Photo of grittybrews
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

Photo of beertunes
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

Photo of yupitsmeadam
4.63/5  rDev +18.7%
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!

Photo of drinknrun
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
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.

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.

Photo of superdavex
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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.

Photo of flagmantho
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of blackc5
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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.

Photo of cptierney
3.86/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of froghop
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of RedDiamond
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 349 ratings.