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Red Tail Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

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481 Reviews
Red Tail AleRed Tail Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-22-2000

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Reviews: 481 | Ratings: 956
Photo of Act25
3.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My first craft beer from 90s, when I lived and raced in SF.

A: Amber with a hint of haze. Off white head is sticky.

S: Balanced but too faint. Sweet pale malt, esters and herbal hops.

T: Smooth, malty, crisp with caramel and toasted malt, that finish in mild hop spiciness. A bit of lemon and hop oil.

F: Medium with chewy upfront mouthfeel.

O: One of the originals and and best red ales.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got as a gift! 12oz bottle served at 8deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high white head that films out within two minutes or so. Very dark gold colour and unfiltered

S- Not a lot here. Touch metallic

T- Light and sweet. Burnt flavor at the end. Not a bad amber. Not a great amber. Roasted malt is present, sugar present but big gap in the flavor profile

M- Dry and tart

O- Not a bad brew but not my style. Will not buy if I see but it's a nice to try brew

Food Pairing

This not bad brew went well with...... BBQ hamburgers with some fries on the side. Top 'em the way you like 'em as this brew will cut through a lot changing from sweet to bitter


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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.22/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Comes in amber and auburn, replete with a full 1" of off white head. Aroma almost made me think it was wood aged, has that vibe to it and some Cascade hop impression.

Taste was malty, crystal like malts, red malts, amber malts. Again, some bitterness from the what is perceived as Cascade hops. Good stuff, been around forever, been drinking these for 20 years. Almost a relic.

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Photo of gandres
3.13/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle to wine glass
App: dark amber, light brown, clear, minimal tan foam
Aoma: grains
Taste: medium bitterness
MF: lively carbonation, long nice finish
Overall: good beer, ok to repeat, not to look for
Drank: April 25, 2016

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Photo of q33jeff
2.13/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

LOOK: Slightly Cloudy Orange Color.
AROMA: light barley and hops, lighter wood and citrus.
TASTE: light barley and hops, lighter wood and citrus. A touch of staleness. Hay.

Nothing to write home about


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Photo of vikinggary28
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Carmel colour with a off white head. Smell is of slight hops with a bready undercurrent. Tastes very lightly malted. Very smooth. Not the best, but not bad either, goes down smooth and well do quite well in a pinch.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an amber/orange color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, some caramel, a bit of hops. Taste is well balanced hops and malts, light caramel, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours slightly hazy reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, toast, biscuit, light nuttiness/toffee, pear, apple, herbal, grass, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, toast, biscuit, light nuttiness/toffee, pear, apple, herbal, grass, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toast, biscuit, light nuttiness/toffee, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly creamy/bready, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this a very good English style amber ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of bile_duck56
4.23/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I really like this Ale. Very rich and tastes great. Just the right balance of carbonation and bitterness, with a great after taste. Hey I will not pretend I know how to describe beer with words like Hops and IPAs, with hints of this or that. I just know this Ale rocks.

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Photo of Falcone
2.75/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pours a clear amber in the glass. Minimal head with pour retention. No lacing observed.

Smell is butter and stale malt/hops. I'm not sure if I've ever had fresh beer from this brewery; pretty sure all they put out is shelf turds.

Taste isn't surprising. A decent malt flavor along with some stale bitter hops. The finish is what kills it; plenty of butter and even a bit of a sour funk (the bad kind).

Would try again if I could find it fresher though I doubt it would be that much better. A very mediocre red.

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Photo of FLima
3.47/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Amber copper color with a thick one finger head with medium retention and leaving some laces.
Aroma with notes of caramels, mint, melon and oranges.
Flavor with notes of toasted and caramel malts, a bit of hay, mild pine, spices from American yeast, grapefruit, tea leaves and American yeast. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Medium light feeling body with appropriate carbonation.
Pleasant and balanced American Amber Ale, no extreme flavors, still not dull. Huge drinkability and reference for the style.

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Photo of pat61
4.19/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours dark amber with a slight haze under a frothy 2” cream colored foam collar that grips the side of the glass.
S: A hint mint on popping the cap but not a lot of aroma, some dried fruit and caramel from the malt.
T: Fruit, biscuit, malt and hops, a light chocolate note, caramel, faint fruit and roast.
F: Very creamy, medium to medium light body, medium carbonation.
O: A well flavored mild beer that is easy to drink.

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Photo of pianoguy
3.89/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 bottle

Pours a light brown copper body with a creamy 1/2 inch off white head. Some lacing

A faint smell of malt

Starts out a malt taste that leads into a mix of sweet and a bitter. Nice finish .

Feel is crisp and a bit prickly

Overall It was like a lager but with a slight hop bitterness that just seems to work!

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep amber/pale brown with a reddish hue producing 2+ fingers of somewhat lasting, pale tan, foamy/frothy head that leaves a minor level of streaky, webby lacing. Aroma is toffee, caramel & earthy hops. Taste is dark bread, roast and nutty notes, more intense earthy hops with hints of yeasty fruity esters. The sip finishes with caramel, roast & nuts, fruit, some pepper & a light hop bitterness. Afrertaste is a dry, astringent & slightly bitter. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, wet but slightly dry, silky with a little prickle & a pleasant astringency.

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Photo of mjurney
4.26/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper color, clear. Lots of thin bubbles rising. Off white color head, very creamy.

Very faint aroma, I could smell some bready, toffee, some herbal hops.

Bready malt, biscuit, some toffee, a little toast. Some fruitiness, pear. Spicy, herbal, a little leafy hop bitterness towards the end. Finish is dry, very crisp. Body is medium, very smooth, dry, crisp, refreshing.

It's an outstanding beer.

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Photo of Samuel_Adams
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

This is a light-bodied beer with a nice amber hew. It drinks much lighter than I would expect by looking at the color. The beer has no discernible hop aroma, and the finish is very short. I think it's just an easy-to-drink, everyday type of beer. I have had pilsner with more body, but hey...you can get this pretty inexpensively. I paid $12.99 for a 12-pack.

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Photo of MartzMimic
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Pours from the bottle a reddish amber with just the slightest hint of haze. Caramel malts and leather are present in the aroma. It tastes almost exactly as it smells; sweetness and spice, followed by a touch of bitterness. Medium mouth with a bit of oil. A decent enough brew, but nothing remarkable.

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Photo of delta490
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours a slightly clouded ruddy amber with a creamy white head. The head dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing. The aroma starts to develop a bit as it warms, with light sweet malt aspects. Unfortunately, the taste remains pretty lackluster with just some nondescript sweetness and a little earthy quality. The body does have a nice weight and feeling to it on the palate, (lighter and smooth). This was one of the first craft beers I ever tried back in early 2000s and unfortunately, it hasn't held up in comparison.

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Photo of Brenden
3.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer itself is a lighter shade of red, darker than amber but just. The head is off-white in color, frothy and churning up to almost 3/4 of a finger. It recedes neither quickly nor slowly, leaving a craggy, thin ring followed by a spattering of lace.
A more traditional brew in the aroma, the focus is more on sweetness with just a little hops to balance. Herb and citrus do come out, though, along with caramel and grains in a pale malt sort of base.
Malt-forward in the flavor, of course, it's very toasty with lots of caramel to complement. hops are stronger, though, lots of citrus coming through with a bite to it before going more herbal. A bit of zest comes through before finishing with lingering herb and caramel notes.
A medium-bodied beer with a bit of dryness to it, the feel is nicely balanced as just enough is taken from the sweetness. It's plenty crisp and it's clean, getting pretty smooth from middle to finish.

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Photo of streetcommander
3.66/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from one pint lager glass at about 60F

Malt, brown sugar, molasses, and caramelized red meat juices are abundant and well balanced. Sounds heavy but it is not at all. Does have a booze taste, but it matches the flavor profile and is very faint...I like it.

Immensely drinkable and refreshing. I do tend towards this brew during the winter months though. This is not a heavy hop American ale.

The price is what is greatest. Between Obama's America and his hidden inflation and the current trend of craft brews escalating in price, this is a much welcomed sensibility priced every day bargain pearl of a brew.

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Photo of bfoot110
4.01/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at the local pub. It was the 2nd day of the cask, had a nice head to it the aroma was slight caramel and oats. The oatmeal taste was fantastic. Cask is the best way to enjoy this stout, it really brings out the taste. Had this on bottle once and thought it was just a middle of the road beer. Cask makes all the difference.

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Photo of jams6string
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a growler of Red Tail Ale from Minogue's Beverage in Queensbury, NY. This is a very good ale with a bold taste. Unforunately the keg kicked as my growler was being filled. It definately tasted better at Mendocino's tasting room in Saratoga Springs ,NY. I highly reccomend a trip there. Still it was a good beer at a very good price.

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Photo of itskohlsoutside
3.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A quality beer brewed local in Saratoga, NY. Amber Ale with a hint smell of alcohol and then hops. The same is with the flavor, the alcohol is tasted first followed by malted finish. I enjoy this amber ale, I am not sure if the alcohol percentage is correct because it is more like a strong ale. I do recommend this beer.

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Photo of Tmonahan
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great red ale; smooth consistency, flavorful, good after taste. Drank it in a pint glass; I prefer to let the beer breathe a bit. Typically Mendocino has great beers; lucky for me there is a brewery that bottles and fills kegs for them 20 minutes down the road.

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Photo of D1ck
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I view this beer as the flagship for the Mendocino line of ales.

Overall, very good although nothing outstanding. If you live in the east this beer is brewed in Saratoga Springs NY so it is viewed as a local brew for those of us who live in upstate NY. Despite the dark red color the flavor is close to that of a pale ale. A little more hops would have made it more interesting in my opinion. I'd be pleased to drink it again.

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Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.45 out of 5 based on 956 ratings.
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