Red MacGregor
Orkney Brewery

Red MacGregorRed MacGregor
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Scottish Ale
Ranked #27
Ranked #25,638
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: 144 | Ratings: 243 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by FBarber:
Photo of FBarber
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As far as English Pale Ales are concerned, I really liked this beer. It has the maltiness of an amber (caramel, toffee), with the hopping rate of a Bitter, and the cleanliness of an ESB. With that, I'm surprised this beer doesn't rate higher. The look is a rusty, sly-of-clear, densly headed appearence with nice low-key carbonation. Aromas of solid malts (barley malt, caramel, and sweet breads). Fruitiness is less than the malty sweetness, but shows in the forms of red apples, figs, and dates. The flavors closely reinforce what is experienced in the nose; with emphasis on the malts and earthy hop flavor. A mild nutty flavor increases as the beer progresses. The feel is a rich and full malt feel with creaminess (carbonation) and an unwavering firmness. Finishes quite clean without any abrupt vaporation, graininess, or bite. Overall, this was a very good beer. No flavors that knocked my socks off, but a solid Scottish brew that offers the best characters of that region. I will certainly have more of these in the future.

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Photo of wl0307
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Revisiting the bottle version of Red MacGregor. This bottle comes at just 4%abv. - maybe due to a change of recipe? BB JAN 10, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: clear copperish hue, topped with a well-lasting dark beige froth that leaves tight lacing behind, on top of mild/moderate carbonation.
S: sweet orange, cherry+longan-fruits, creamy toffee-ish and brown-sugary malts, a touch of raisins, and lots of floral scent of hops... somehow, very sweet and dense in terms of the aromatic mixture of hoppiness and malts.
T: the sour-sweet juicy swallow of autumn-fruits is fast ensued by an utterly dry, roast tea-leafy bitterness on top of caramely+smoked-nutty malts... turning really chewy and bitter in the aftertaste with a dry-ish malty palate (as of well-toasted malts) as well as a touch of sweet coffee, while the fruity undertone reminiscent of dried longan-fruits, raisins, dried plums, and more dark tea-leaves lingers beautifully, consistently underlined by a mild sour edge. Brilliant aftertaste.
M&D: the mouthfeel could've been smoother if given a little less fizziness, while all in all the body retains pretty well throughout the drink. Despite being slightly too sweet on the aroma, the flavour presents a rather balanced performance and makes it really really quaffable as a well-hopped and very bitter fruity ale.

* Tasting Date: 16/02/06

500ml brown bottle, BB JUL 06. Served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.
4 A: dark reddish brown hue; effervescent, rocky and frothy off-white head slowly settling to a 0.5-1cm thick cap with very good retention; constantly fizzy body.
4 S: slightly apple-ish fragrant fruitiness upfront, on top of a more settled and rounded scent mixed of coffee-syrup, hazelnut, creme-caramel's caramelised sugary top and its creamy note.
3.5 T: lightly dryish smoked nutty+malty palate upfront, followed by a touch of lovely sour-sweet edge of a cup of herbal tea infused with a wedge of lemon; lightly tangy/tannic fruity and herbal flavour gradually prevails along with a lingering, dryish aftertaste of caramel maltiness and an interestingly crisp clean finish.
3.5 M&3.5 D: a ve...ry dry and mildly bitter-fruity ale it is, backed by the microscopic fizzy mouthfeel; the dryish edge makes this beer definitely a thirst quencher, while the residual nutty aftertaste provides a kick-back of maltiness in the very end. Pretty solid, albeit not as much exciting~~

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Photo of mdagnew
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of poetaster
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby red--very nice color. Solid quarter-inch head lasted a few minutes. Wonderful floral fragrance, but the taste, at first, seemed a little thin. I think it was too cold--my bad. The bottle says "the cask conditioned version of this beer was the first Scottish beer to win the BHA world Cask Beer Gold Medal." As it warmed, I could see it would be an excellent cask ale, with refreshing spicy-bitter hoppiness that complements the dry malt flavors very well. A great session beer with real body and definite Scottish character.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, cherrywood/mahogany colour with a foamy off-white head that settles down to a thin skim, and sticks to the side of the glass.
Aroma is sweet, caramel, and crystal malt.
Taste is much the same. You can really taste the crystal in this. Has a nice mouthfeel and it's hard to fault this beer. It doesn't stand out in any regard, either, and is good -but not great- in every regard.

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

Presented in a 500ml bottle, no freshness date noted. Decanted into the wine goblet, it pours a brownish ruby red with tiny bubbles beneath a one-finger brown-tan head. Nice slow fade down to a craggy cap with lots of sticky lacing. Nose is nice, heavy, sweet malt, a bit perfumy. Tastes warm in the mouth with mild malt character and slight bitterness. Nicely balanced. Slightly spicy/peppery. A pleasingly complex brew. Finishes on a dry, peat/dirt finish which I enjoyed but might take some getting used to. Mouth is viscous and semi-creamy with light carbonation; smooth overall. Drinkability is excellent; this is a mellow and quite tasty beer, suitable for enjoyment with some good red meat.

Overall: A great ale, very well balanced and enjoyable. Recommended.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear red color with rocky off-white head. Excellent retention and good lacing.

Smell: Has a somewhat earthy malt aroma with a hint of sweetness.

Taste: Tasty with a nice balance of malts and hops. Slightly sweet malts with a bit of butter, paired against some mild hops.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, yet with a bit of butteryness following it. Medium-bodied with mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable with a strong (yet not overwhelming) flavor and low ABV.

Not exactly what I'd consider a Scottish Ale, but definitely an enjoyable one. I first had the pleasure of enjoying this on Orkney, and was glad to get a bottle here in the states!

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Photo of melitameister
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Rich ruby with a thick full head that retreats quickly to leave fine lace.

S- Modest aroma of leechee, bread and maybe olives; not very much there

T- Some dry malt breadniness, gentle tartness, ash and solid spicy hop balancing it out nicely.

M- Light texture and smooth.

D- This is not watery, but rather a mild brew resulting in a highly drinkable brew with plenty going on. The Scots are getting nicely into the micro revolution.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red, amber in color. Decent head that forms a creamy foam on top. Great lacing with good carbonation. Has a bittersweet smell with a hint of spiciness. My first thought on my first taste is smooooth and balanced. Just a bit of hop bitterness. No aftertaste. This beer bubbles in your mouth in a good way and tingles the tongue. Very drinkable. Great session beer if you're willing to fork out the $.

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Photo of alexskovan
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear deep amber bronze, lovely to look at. Sturdy off-white head. Rich aroma of piney hops, balanced with toasted malt. Taste is a somber brooding whaloop in the mouth, like a nice single malt Scotch whiskey. This ale is like drinking a fine old cabinet ( I mean that in a good way).

Malt, hops, yeast, all working together and doing exactly what they should. What more is there to say?

When the British (or the Scots) get ale right the result is much like when the French get red wine right. It is the standard, the stuff, IT.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a brown color with a ruby hue. It had about ½” retentive head with light lacing. The aroma is floral and hoppy with malt noticeable in the background. The taste is malty and spicy. It has a nice flavor blend that isn’t overpowering. The mouthfeel was a bit thinner than I would have hoped. Overall, this beer goes down smooth and would easily lend itself to sessions.

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Photo of wcdoyle
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark caramel leaning toward red. The head is rich and then settles to about ½ inch. Smells of caramel, too. First taste is sweet, but not overly so. It’s mild with a slight bit of hops after the sweetness. The mild sweet, then hoppy aftertaste fades quickly. Not a bad beer, but the price ($3.99 at my retailer) will likely keep me away.

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Photo of KFaulkner
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A 1 pint bottle from Scotland featuring a badass Scotsman. That's about as badass as it gets though.

The beer isn't bad, don't get me wrong. But it seemed thin and a bit tasteless to me. Surprisingly bland... but not in a bitter, Anheuser-Busch sort of way. I think was surprised me the most was that it has absolutely no aftertaste. None. Nada. Zippo. The beer is nice and it a pleasant, viscous mouthfeel, but something was just missing and I think it was taste.

MacGregor was a descendant of Rob Roy... who was no Braveheart mind you. (Delgado just hit his second home run of the night to put the Mets ahead of the Cards in game 2 of the 2006 NLCS... Woo hoo!). Not that anyone cares about Braveheart anymore, the drunken anti-semite.

Anyway, the beer is probably worth skipping more than it is worth drinking, but it is unique and a nice find from Scotland; as far as Scotch beers go though, give the Heather Ales a try if you can find them.

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Photo of Phocion
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.

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Photo of Enola
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer last night for the first time. I was suprised a little by it. It was a nice amber color. It was a fairly smooth beer. A slight aftertaste. Had a decent head on it which lingered for a while. I think you could drink more than one of these at a time if not for the price. I will probably try this one agin sometime.

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

This is a fairly modest wee heavy scotch ale, but it is well recommended. It pours a fairly thick, cloudy brown color with a good deal of carbonation. The head is creamy and thick and the lacing is very good as is head retention. The nose on the beer is a good indication of what's to come. The aroma is slightly roasted and charred smoky malts, brown sugar slighly burnt, and a slighty boozy caramel smell.

This is a fairly full bodied beer, nice and smoked up, not overly sweet although with lots of caramel and brown sugar hints. There is a slight hop bitterness a touch drying, but overall just lots of thick malts. The beer is quite light in ABV, there isn't lots of booziness to the beer as is sometimes characteristic of the style. The smoky somewhat oaken flavors are quite nice. This is a nice beer worth seeking out for the style. L'Chaim.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out mildly sweet flavors of caramel, dark fruit and molasses. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and there's a very mild hops presence providing a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, mild kick, decent representation of style, it's a fairly good beer overall but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

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Photo of Shovelbum
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin quickly dissipating white head over a red-hued copper body. Aromas of straight up caramel malt. More of the same in the flavor department with a notable yet mild earthy hop presence. Apart from the flavor contribution, the hops are not major players with little bitterness. Lean to medium body with moderate carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

The scales are definitely tipped to the malty side with little balance-- in true Scottish fashion. A tasty malt lover’s delight.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of harpus
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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

50cl bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

A- Ruby red body with a creamy 2.5 finger tan head that reduces to 1 finger/crown after some time, lacing is good.

S- Caramel toasted malts, hop bitterness (neither floral or citrussy, but hoppy ;))

T- Toasted malts come through first with a sweetness of toffee, finishing in a not overly bittter hop bite but still overly noticeable for the style

M- Medium body with low carbonation

D- Certainly tasty and balanced well, hops are more noticeable than expected for the style. Nevertheless tasty enough for a session, a solid ale without complexity.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to an amber red with medium off-white head that stuck around through mid-glass and left good lacing. Aroma was roasted nuts, though not real dominant, and flavor was more of the same. Finish was dry and slightly sweet, although not real long. A decent beer, but not Orkney’s best., as I failed to find the "bitter" in this ESB.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby colour, slight murky brown tinge with a fairly flat, uncarbonated midst. Head is quite lovely: dense bubbles, beige colour, frothy suds on top with some thin lace and very nice retention.

Smell is really rather hoppy. Pleasant caramel malt underlies with a touch of vanilla but it's predominantly grassy from the hops with a slight medicinal bent and a mild earth character at the back. Well-balanced but somehow its appeal has worn thin the more I smell it.

Taste is quite English, with lots of rich toffee providing the major malt characteristics. Develops some earthy bitterness midway where the palate's peak of intensity lies. No real peaks or troughs of flavour though, it's quite one-note with just a mild crescendo of strength. Finish is clean, slightly herbal and XXX-tremely austere, mild and polite. A well-constructed ale, very sessionable, but the flavour just isn't quite a winner. I find it about as exciting as those bland English sitcoms, Are you Being Served? or As Time Goes By. And yes, I'm aware this is Scottish.

A bit sharp and biter on the feel, I think the hops assert themselves more through texture and really could have been more noticeable on palate as a result.

A session beer, definitely. Drinkable as hell, exciting as algebra.

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Photo of kmacphail
4.77/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is not an English Pale Ale as listed instead it is a ruby Scottish ale.

The beer pours a dark ruby colour with an off white head which settled to a 3mm film (decent for a botled beer).

The nose is dominated by one thing: malts,malts and more malts with a hint of roasted malts. Very nice, malty beers are becoming less frequent with the demise of 80/~.

The beer tastes of roasted malts with a slightly fruity hint of blackberries. The a very stereotypical scottish ale. The mouthfeel is medium to thick, just perfect for this type of ale.

The beer is very drinkable, it is easy to buy a dozen and finish these off in one sitting. Overall an excellent scottish ale, very old fashioned and very pleasant.

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Red MacGregor from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 243 ratings