Red MacGregor
Orkney Brewery

Red MacGregorRed MacGregor
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Scottish Ale
Ranked #28
Ranked #28,256
3.8 | pDev: 12.11%
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom
Very Good
Red MacGregorRed MacGregor
Notes: Red MacGregor is a mighty beer indeed, it has a wonderfully complex aroma of fruity hop zest and spiciness with rich malts. Initial toasted and caramel malt, then mouth-watering citrus hop fruits, giving way to a clean dry refreshing robust hop bitterness.

One of the first beers in the UK that expressively used the citrusy American hop Cascade and as a result became a forerunner to Britain’s new wave of craft beers and was also the first Scottish beer to win the BIIA World Cask Beer Gold Medal.
Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 244 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sigmund from Norway

3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 4.0%. Copper to mahogany coloured beer, big off-white head. Pleasant aroma of lightly toasted malts, caramel and floral and fruity hops. The flavour is first very malt-accented with caramel and biscuits, then spicy and moderately fruity hops come through, leaving a nice bitterness in the aftertaste. Definitely a good Scottish ale this one.

Cask (return system) at The Abbotsford, Edinburgh. Copper to chestnut coloured beer, moderate head. Lovely malty aroma with loads of butterscotch. The flavour is malty with plenty of caramel and some butterscotch, low bitterness.

Dec 27, 2020
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a becher pint glass, the appearance was a fairly dark ruby red color in the glass while yielding a lighter semi-brown leafy transparent color in the pour itself. A semi-rocky finger's worth of eggshell white foamy head capped the top and seemed to hang around for a little bit before gently die-ing off. Light messy lace somewhat strings out here and there.
The aroma started off with some heather tips/floral hops flowing into some grassy spicy hops. Dark fruits/raisins bump fists with some dark toast and toffee malts. Robust biscuits descend on through all of the prior mentioned aromas to blend very nicely.
The flavor started off semi-sweet through toasted malts, a moderate roast, some peet, grass and moss. Biscuits, super dried raisin character and some spicy hops help the taste to mature while giving off a mild dry toasty and peety/earthy to toffee aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was almost medium bodied but sat just a touch under with a superb sessionability. Spicy hop harshness seems to stay behind enough to not distract and allow me to gulp this one. Finish was lingering with spicy hoppy dried grassiness.
Overall, to me, I'd say an odd Scottish ale mainly for its look and some aromas. However, it's still well brewed for me to warrant more pours. Seems like a "pass the fish n'chips" sorta beer to me.

Nov 06, 2019
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

From the 500 ml. bottle stamped L5187-10:55. I never know what these codes mean but I like to note them. Sampled on November 15, 2017.

It is a very handsome looking ruby red-amber tone with a modest off-white head that fades in short order. Decent clarity.

The aroma is caramel, toffee, and floral with a peat moss or maybe a pipe tobacco character.

The body is a little thinner but not watery.

The taste is sweet at first but kind of musty toward the end. It has a very mild bitterness.

Nov 15, 2017
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mynie from Maryland

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The brewers of Skullsplitter. I'd never seen it until recently. I guess there's not much of a US market for a low-ABV Scotch ale.

Pours clear and tawny with a large white head. Smells rich and toasty, with caramel and toffee along with some poppy frutiness; much closer to my conception of a British pale than a Scotch, but that's just my ignorance shining through.

The malt is bitter up front and the body is very firm and fizzy, and these two factors force me to drink it in a slow, contemplative manner. It gets brighter and fruitier as the sip progresses, finishing sharp and yeasty without much alcohol, and an aftertaste of toffee, hops, and cherries. A stupendous amount of complexity for a beer of its size.

Mar 11, 2017
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FBarber from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear ruddy red color. Beer is peppered with yeast floaters and sediment. Frothy tan head dissipates leaving a thin layer of foam along the top of the beer.

Smell is a light floral aroma with notes of red wine, cranberries, cherries, toffee, and caramel.

Taste follows the nose with some dry oak, red wine, dried cherries, giving way to a very bitter finish. Strong biscuit malt backbone take a complimentary role.

Feel is light and very dry. Medium carbonation.

Overall a solid take on the scotch ale style.

Feb 24, 2017
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Bluegrass49 from Minnesota

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 16 oz. ale glass. Very rich clear caramel color. Smell is a pleasant fruity/floral smell. Just the right amount of hops. One of the more enjoyable Scottish ales I've had.

Feb 25, 2016
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drmeto from Germany

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

-pours a clear ruby-copper with a big,creamy,offwhite head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-Follows the nose
-high bitterniss for the style
-medium to high carbonation
-light,watery body
Lacks a bit of Body otherwise a really nice Red Ale.

Jul 20, 2015
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Andrewharemza from Australia

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

coppery Amber pour, Aromas of bitter notes, floral, caramel and toffee. Tastes of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, biscuit, toasty notes. Medium-light body with a dry finish.

Jul 12, 2015
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The_Mad_Capper from Japan

3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appears a deep, tea-like, coppery amber with an off-white head. In the aroma is lots of toffee, a little cocoa, grape, and a touch of butter. The flavor is dominated by crisp, herbal hop bitterness; also reminiscent of Dutch cocoa with a little pale graininess. The feel is quite crisp but medium bodied.

Tastes as though it was made with hard water, contributing to the crispness of the bitterness and flavor. The aroma is very appetizing but a little buttery. The hops are most apparent in the flavor, with some rounding from the very backgrounded malt. Satisfyingly crisp and flavorful.

Jul 08, 2015
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Rifugium from North Dakota

3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Not sure of the availability of this in the US, but my father-in-law brought me back a 4pk from his trip to Scotland. This is pretty much an average Scottish ale, but with the distinction of possibly being the real deal: theonly one I've had that's actually from Scotland. I mean, I see Innis & Gunn on the shelves all the time, but it looks disgusting, so I've never tried a bottle.

Dark mahogany pour, looking nice, with a medium cap of off-white head. Toasty aroma, bready with a touch of smoke. In the taste, toasted grains, mild peaty smokiness, hints of candied fruit, dry grassy hop appearance in the finish. Body was about medium, with a pretty good drinkability for the style. An interesting beer to try.

Jul 08, 2015
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Jeffreysan from Maryland

3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, almost completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, speckled with reddish highlights and a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that partially covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice aromas of bready, toasted malt, caramel and brown sugar, and some floral, grassy, piney hops. Very nice.

Taste: Pretty good. Malty and bready and slightly sweet with flavors of caramel and a touch of toffee. There are also flavors of black pepper and coriander. Finally, the beer finishes with a touch of floral, grassy, piney hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and subtly carbonated. With an ABV of 4.0%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a decent beer, but nothing to write home about. Nice flavors and enjoyable as you drink it, but once drunk, its easily forgotten. In sum, its pleasant but forgettable.

Jun 20, 2015
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. pours dark red with fading head. rich malty aroma and flavor - no detectable hop flavor. medium body, higher carbonation. a nice solid Scottish ale.

May 22, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500 ml brow bottle purchased and consumed near St. Andrews, Scotland.
BB date stamp of May 2016 -- 1 year from now.

Clear red-brown body with a fine bone-colored head.
As hoppy as an Amer. Pale ale, but with a darker malt mix. Excellent hop/malt and bitter/sweet balance.

O: another solid and recommended offering from Orkney.

May 07, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours brilliant mahogany with a persistent, clingy 1” rocky fwhite oam collar – beautiful, very creamy, smooth and fluffy. Drinks clean and smooth with kettle sugars aromas and flavors.

May 01, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.14/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an almost opaque super dark orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, cardboard, chemical and spicy herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with watery cardboard, chemical, and spicy herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer with an mix of chemical and spicy herbal hop characteristics that make this one a bit difficult to drink much of.

Serving type: bottle.

Dec 25, 2014
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Jmamay22 from New York

3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Pours a nice clear ruby red with a tan colored head. Smells fruity and malty. Some caramel and toasted bread notes. Very clean scent.

Taste is similar. Initially bland, but turns to the caramel and toasted flavor. Finishes with a mild bitterness and lingers with a general fruitiness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly lingering sweetness. Nicely done if not spectacular. Enjoyable.

Aug 22, 2014
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Phocion from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Live review. 500 ml bottle poured into an imperial nonic. Dark thick copper color with a finger of very resilient beige/light-brown head. Excellent retention and thick splotches of lacing.

Aroma is definitely malt forward. Caramel, biscuit, and toffee are dominant along with roasted malts. Floral hops and dark fruits are also noticable. Slight earthy hoppiness. Overall, fairly heavily hopped for a Scottish ale.

Flavor is sweet toffee and biscuit along with floral hops. Black cherry and toast. Slightly musty, earthy yeastiness. Slight spicy hoppy finish.

Light-medium bodied, but relatively substantial for a 4% beer. Low carbonation and a very soft mouthfeel. Perfect for the style.

Fairly highly hopped for a Scottish ale, though most American palates would find this quite boring. This is a perfect example of what good British beer is. Smooth mouthfeel, low and sessionable ABV, perfectly balanced, and complex but subtle flavors. This one is a definite winner.

Jul 04, 2014
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doktorhops from Australia

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm looking forward to this - Orkney are the brewers of the divine and tasty Skull Splitter (one of the Doktor Hops all-time favourites), and even though I am decidedly not a big fan of lower than full-strength beers I have a feeling this one might win me over with its wily Scottish charms.

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Red and beautifully flowing like the hair of a wee Scots maiden, with bits of yeast sediment (which Dok finds yummy) floating around and a beige half centimetre head.

S: An aroma of sweet toffee malt mixes well with bread yeast and currant. Hints of earthy hops provide a solid backing as well. There is perhaps a bit more of a slant towards the sweet but the nose can sometimes be misleading.

T: Nope - the balance between sweet and bitter is spot on. Palate starts with a broad toffee malt and bread yeast base with currant (and even a sour cherry hint), then finishes with earthy hops. A good clean tasting ale here. Noted is a tiny metallic tang, it's a minor distraction though and no cause for alarm.

M: Mid to light bodied, borderline watery, with a nice light Scottish pub carbonation.

D: Overall a decent effort, but pricey (cost me $8 for one 500ml bottle!). The flavour is a little more diluted than I would like it to be - then again I am trending towards heavier beers as my palate changes - so it likely would have fared better with the me of 4 years ago. Other than that I think Orkney did well, not as good as Skull Splitter but I never expected it to be.

Food match: The label suggested casseroles but I would imagine a casserole overpowering this brew somewhat. I think it would better suit a soup like a Vichyssoise, pea & ham or a potato leek kinda deal... with a decent artisan crusty bread (it's all about the bread baby!).

Jun 28, 2014
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superspak from Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 4/1/2012. Pours fairly cloudy deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, and earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Slight earthy/peppery bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, apple, caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and robustness fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/yeast/hop balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly creamy, and slightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4%. Overall this is a very nice Scottish ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, dark/bready malt, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Jun 18, 2014
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MightyMonk from New Hampshire

3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep dark red with a nice 2 finger head that laces all the way till empty, with lacing still on the glass.
Not a strong aroma, traces of fruit and malt.
Creamy complex malty taste, very nice.
Carbonated nicely, feels creamy and full bodied.
This is a great Scottish session ale. @ 4 ABV I coud drink a few...well, quite a few!

Mar 31, 2014
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tillmac62 from South Carolina

3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby, almost brown, with a massive head and tremendous lacing. On the second pour from the bottle, flocculants were predominate and totally hazed what was a perfect appearance making it opaque. Light nose of caramel malt over a slight floral component. The body is almost medium with normal carbonation. The flavor is a mixed bag of citrus, biscuit, cherry and earthy hops. Finishes with a bit of tartness.

Feb 27, 2014
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DaveBlack from Virginia

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer certainly is red, a beautiful ruby colored beer. A good finger's width of creamy head.

S: Malty and fruity. A smell almost like candied orange peel.

T: After the look and the aroma, the taste is a bit of a let-down. Toasted malts, quite bready and yeast. The finish is bitter and dry.

M: Moderate carbonation and body.

O: A good beer, not a great one. Seems a little overpriced at $6 a pint. Very drinkable and pleasant, just nothing stellar.

Feb 26, 2014
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Red-brown in color, and hovering farther into the darker side of the spectrum. Great clarity. A massive rocky head towers atop the beer for the duration of the session. It creates persistent, sticky lacing that clings everywhere. A very good-looking beer.

S: Very hoppy and floral. Sort of a rose petal and lilac sort of aroma comes out of the glass with force. Backing malt scents are bready with hints of grain, caramel, and toast. Earthy too.

T: Toffee, bread crust, woody and nutty tastes, hints of chewing tobacco and brown molasses. Floral and pithy hops balance nicely. Mildly spicy, lavender, and even hints of marmalade and orange peel. Caramel and grain on the finish with lingering spicy hop oils.

M: Medium bodied with a fat and chewy texture. Coating. Low carbonation scrubs a little. A little gripping on the tooth enamel due to the hefty hop dose.

O: Truthfully I was not expecting much when I cracked this beer, but it's a very pleasant surprise. There's loads of hop character that you just don't typically see in these sorts of beers and in this part of the world. Floral, bold, and even aggressive in nature, the hops play the foil perfectly to the expectantly fat and rich malt body. A wonderful beer.

Dec 26, 2013
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FLima from Brazil

4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

First Scottish beer to win the BIIA world cask beer gold medal.
Dark copper reddish color with a two finger head with short retention but leaving a curtain of laces.
What a superb aroma, explosion of red fruits, I could swear they were added to the recipe. Then followed by some nice lychees and grapefruit citrusy with English earthy hops notes and caramels.
Fruity flavor with a Cascade hop citrusy. Notes of grapefruits, plums, floral and earthy hops, guaraná, lychees, nuts, caramel and toasted malts. Dry aftertaste with an elegant bitterness.
Body of a Session beer with good carbonation.
A light Scottish Ale. Very good beer, refreshing, tasty and still complex. I would love to see a version with higher alcohol and body (don’t recall well how this compares to their robust Skull Splitter).

Oct 05, 2013
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pkalix from California

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I swear it smelled like spearmint gum from the bottle before I poured it....
little head, dissipated to nothing quickly, save for a thin layer. rusty copper color (does copper rust?), kind of like the color of the amber the prehistoric mosquitos got caught in. not brown. not amber, more like a 'gold-brown'...
from the glass I get a candy-malty-toffee with a hint of pine and fruit.
taste is a tad bitter, tastes kind of old. definitely british(?). a little sweet. I want to say it tastes like a burnt wire or a bad residue from some jib... decent malts, but I question the freshness.
overall, it's okay. 4% abv, obviously they are trying to make their 'trademark'. it also may actually be older than expected for drinking due to the place I purchased it.

Aug 10, 2013
Red MacGregor from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 244 ratings