The Red MacGregor | Orkney Brewery

BA SCORE
85
very good
234 Ratings
THE BROS
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The Red MacGregorThe Red MacGregor
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom
orkneybrewery.co.uk

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Red Macgregor is a unique beer: delicate and sophisticated yet the robust cask conditioned version of this beer was the first Scottish beer to win the BIIA World Cask Beer Gold Medal.

On the nose, this ruby-red beer is delicate, floral and fruity, with notes of violets, cherries, toffee and caramel.

On the palate, the fruits combine with a juicy malt character and hints of toasted malt, with a biscuit malt and spicy hop finish.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-09-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
234
Reviews:
142
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
12.4%
 
 
Wants:
12
Gots:
21
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 234 |  Reviews: 142
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark red in color and has a slight amount of carbonation along with a bit of particles visible floating in suspension. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that quickly died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of malty sweetness, caramel and floral hops in the nose.
T: The initial taste has a bit of malty sweetness and flavors of caramel--this transitions to a light amount of bitterness towards the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, slightly smooth and a bit watery on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness in the finish.
O: This beer goes down very easily and is also very sessionable given its low alcohol content.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
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 biboergosum
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle.

This beer pours a clear, very dark ruby amber hue, with two fingers of bubbly, foamy dirty white head, which leaves some semi-consistent honeycombed lace around the glass as it duly abates.

It smells of mild, thin caramel and toffee malt notes, a soft pitted fruitiness, and bitter, musty noble hops. The taste is somewhat biscuity caramel malt, mild toffee undertones, acidic dark fruit - black cherries, mostly - a subtle metallic flintiness, and soft earthy, floral hops.

The bubbles are here, there, but not quite everywhere in their weak edginess, the body an adequate medium weight, and grudgingly smooth. It finishes just a wee bit off-dry, the biscuit malt holding fast, with the hops taking on a heretofore unnoticed tame spiciness, which goes a long way towards the encouragement of further indulgence.

A decent enough UK ale, but I can't forgive the stony edginess, as inoffensive as it is, taste-wise - as it still affects the whole mouthfeel, and general perception of the whole offering - a sour, kind of unappealing 'fruitiness', where I'm expecting big (sort of) treacly malt sweetness. Sorry to say, an Orkney concern has finally failed me, in the general, keeping up with the Joneses sense.

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Photo of dmorgan310
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of olradetbalder
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of oberon
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich amber color with a creamy looking head that settles nicely leaving some nice lace behind,aromas of caramel and dried fruit (cherries) and a nice subtle nuttiness.Taste is right on in my opinion nutty and deeply fruity with some caramel tones even a little vanilla flavor in the finish.A tad watery but that adds to the drinkability,a very well done Scottish ale wich it should be coming from Scotland,nice job.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
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 dcmchew
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Rifugium
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The Red MacGregor... isn't. It's more a dark orange-brown, tawny some would say. The dark cream colored head is firm with a furiously pitting surface and a stickiness that is proven by thick, broken sheets of pocked lace. The persistent, two finger cap of foam is keeping me from assessing the nose properly, but I'm a patient man.

This beer has an odd aroma and not an especially pleasant one. There's a sort of musty earthiness that reminds me of some sort of vegetable in freshly dug soil. I'm not sure which of the ingredients is responsible (probably the malt), but in the end it isn't powerful enough to be off-putting and is easily ignored. I'm done smelling it anyway.

The flavor contains the same mild unpleasantness, although, again, it doesn't completely ruin the experience. Red Mac is lightly malted and lightly hopped. What's left is a modestly sweet and sour flavor (unripe raspberries?) that I'm having trouble describing adequately.

The bottle is emptying quickly, not because I'm enjoying the beer, but because I'm trying in vain to get a handle on the way it tastes. I give up, let's just say that there's no way that this beer is a pale ale. A red ale comes closer to the mark. (Hell of a review ain't it? I bet you can practically taste the beer as you read the vivid, precise description of each nuance of the flavor profile).

The Red MacGregor is not a beer that I can recommend. Orkney brews some good ones, but this is definitely not one of them. Cool label though.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown that is clear and shows some firm ruby tints to it when held to light. Nice crème head. Nose is nice levels of wood. Flavor is bitter but also has a unique earthy/woody tone to it. Lots of malts on there too. Feel has a good carbonation that gives a slight bite to it. Liquid is well bodied. A good drinker. Nice body, even and interesting flavor. Won't go down as the greatest ever of the style, but still good enough to give a try.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, crimson hue, solid, fizzy head of beigish foam, that surely disappears.
Aroma is fruity, spicy, but not very forward, suggesting malt, cherries, cinnamon.
Sweet and spicy on the palate, but, again, mild, ...almost lifeless, really...there's a flavor and a feeling, but it lies so lightly and speaks up so seldom, it's pretty forgettable. Easy to drink, yeah,...but, so what?
reminds me of Irish Red Ales, but not as full-bodied or malty...a bit too thin. sorry, I ain't feelin' it.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a deep reddish orange with a thin off-white head and lacing. Light sweet and toasted malt aroma. Flavor follows, with light sweet and toasted malts and caramel. Fairly subdued. Slightly sour and crisp finish. Hops kick in a little late to be well integrated. Pleasant, but not exceptional, probably largely due to the low ABV.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of flagmantho
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 500mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, enticing amber hue with a crystal-clear body. Head is a thick finger of frothy tan foam. Very, very nice.

Smell: big crystal malt aroma with a good hop component which is both a little spicy and a little citrusy; not unlike Cascade hops, really. It's not bad, although the combination of crystal and Cascade makes me think homebrew in the back of my skull.

Taste: mildish crystal malt flavor with mildish, bright hop flavor. Certainly brighter than other Scottish ales I've had. Not bad but not really to my taste.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good, well-integrated carbonation. Good mouthfeel for something with this low of an ABV.

Overall: not a bad session beer, although as I said not precisely to my taste. I wonder how this stuff is on cask?

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Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice sweet, malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a mild bitterness. The taste is good. It has a dry, yet sweet malty flavor with a bitter hop finish. It has a nice roasted taste that balances well with the hops. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good English pale/red ale. It has excellent malt character as well as hop bitterness; a fine sessions ale.

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Photo of NickThePyro
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Zorro
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear medium brown brew.

Smell is malt and dark roasted grains and smoke.

Taste is very smoky. Mildly sweet and medicinal in flavor, this tastes like a dry Scottish ale. Or a Rauchbier.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkable brew, tastes like a very mild Rauchbier.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My local Wetherspoons (like most) was having a ‘Scottish Week’ around the ‘Burns Night’ date and on 26th Jan 2012 I popped in and had a couple of pints: the second one being this fine beer.

First had Red MacGregor at a CAMRA festival (GBBF) many years ago: not had one since becoming a BA though, hence no review before.

Hand-pulled pint into a UK sleeve, the beer is a clear ruby red colour: on top a full head of foam, cream-coloured. Good lacing hung to the glass side as the beer level sank, the beer was in a good condition and you could tell.

The nose is a real mixed bag: malts and hops vying for attention, each coming to the fore and reducing again as the beer goes through the warming process in the glass.

The taste is also a fine blend of flavours: sweet malts and fruit/citric hop notes joined at the hip by a mini yeast presence that gives the beer that fresh and natural feel to it.

Easy drinking beer, the alcohol just about apparent although the mouth feel and body carry it nicely.

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The Red MacGregor from Orkney Brewery
3.79 out of 5 based on 234 ratings.
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