Red Tail Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

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481 Reviews
Red Tail AleRed Tail Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States | website

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 duderus123
4.72/5  rDev +36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mendo Brew's flagship Ale. My favorite Amber Ale of all time.
appearance = an Amber hue that is slighty tinged. The head poured out creamy and settled fairly quick. No fizzing No lacing to speak of.

smell = Caramelly malt scent. Piney hops scent.

taste = Malt tastes caramelly. A slightly yeasty flavor. The hops are pronouced, but not overpowering. Piney and citrusy flavor going on. True to the style.

mouthfeel = its got a medium heavy body. A tad bit sticky.

overall = 10 years ago, this was the first Amber Ale I'd ever tried, and its the best Amber Ale I've ever had to date. The industry standard. TRY IT!

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Photo of thespaceman
4.65/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was my intro to craft beer, haven't had it in years but this one NEVER FAILS!

Appearance: Nice bronzish copper in color, poured a nice size head with foamy, sticky lacing.

Smell: Hints of some hop spice, a nice wallop of apple, and a astringent malt characteristic. This one always tasted better then it smelled.

Taste: I love this beer, to date I don't think anybody has balanced a good hop character to a malty persona like this one. It's got the apple and fruit pairing from the nose, plus an excellent caramel maltiness that is subtle, yet flavorful. The dry finish in this is a perfect ending to this wonderful concoction. Outstanding.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, a nice rich and hearty mouthfeel keeps this interesting. This one has a medium body and it shows through the maltiness, this one doesn't lose it's boldness on the tongue.

Drinkability: I understand why this turned me onto craft beer, this is such a good introduction to any craft brewery just because it combines the best of both worlds, hops and malt, which is lacking thereof in most of these BMC brewers. This is very sessionable at 6 ABV, and it hasn't changed a wink since I've had it 6 years ago, but why should it? This will go down as one of my all time favorite brews for the pure fact that it's easy to swig yet flavorful enough to enjoy and not get bored of it. A must have beer that should be picked up as soon as you see it!

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Photo of leadguit1
4.62/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

great looking color as it curls into the pint glass,amber at it's best.

aroma is hoppy and sweet with caramel as a finish

esquisite flavor of hops, honey and mild alcohol.

feels like a good cream soda , nice soda feel.

tastes so good, how will you know when to stop?

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Photo of thehenbarris
4.62/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh, my. I'm from Saratoga Springs, so I get the chance to have Red Tail at Olde Saratoga Brewery (Mendecino) often. In fact, I'm about to pick a keg of it up for home. However, tonight I had the chance to try this from a beer engine/cask. Wow.

A- Red/copper. Very very slight haze. "Head" was typical of a cask ale (larger bubbles, about 1/4-1/2"--from what I can tell, Mahar's in Albany doesn't use a sprinkler on their casks, but I could be wrong).

S- Hops, light fruits, caramel, malt.

T- Crisp. Light hits of caramel and citrus. A damn near perfect red ale experience.

M- Easily drinkable. No heavy CO2 in the cask ale, so I'm relying on the combination of yeast and finings to provide the character, which in this case is quite desirable.

If you have the chance to have this on cask (which is unlikely if you're not from the capital region of NY), do it!

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Photo of mshallah
4.57/5  rDev +32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Beautiful reddish amber ale with foamy head that stays.
S- Intense and wonderful aromas of malt sweetness and freshness with whole hop flower aromatics.
T- I can't get over the great taste and smell of the malt. It's just such a great backdrop for the domestic dry-hopping. Perfect amount of bitterness balancing the sweetness. One of America's best beers and showcases domestic hops with a flowery nose that bursts forth with every sip, swallow or gulp.
M- Great ale, smooth and creamy middle and a serious session quaff. Sweet and hoppy medium smooth semi-dry semi-crisp finish.
D- One of those beers that's great for everything. Hot weather or cold. With meals or as a session beer. When you crave hoppy or sweet just pick up a Red Tail Ale.
Notes: I'm a very happy man since Mendocino started brewing in Saratoga Springs, NY. Great news for the east coast.

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Photo of kindestcut
4.48/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite beers.

The Red Tail Ale pours...well, a beautiful red with a nice tan head. The carbonation is visibly vibrant.

The aroma is not overpowering, and to tell you the truth, not overly impressive. However, it is quite pleasant, dominated by a citrus nose.

The flavor is very, very good. This is a beer-drinker's red ale. The flavor is definitely not multi-layered, mostly sweet with a parallel hoppiness. This is a beer for enjoying in multiple glasses, not analyzing.

This is one solid beer and infinitely drinkable.

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Photo of shertz
4.47/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from fellow BA HombreWing who gave this 2 thumbs up. Supposedly the ABV is around 6% and sells for $20/case which already has me salavating. Poured into a Pint Glass.

A- Maybe a one-finger head. Not really red, but an orange/lemon mixture. Lots of small bubbles running upward.

S- Fruity/plums/floral hops. Some caramel malts also are hanging around. Very typical red ale smell, nice.

T- Nice fruity/floral hops. Wow, I really enjoy this. Nothing is overpowering, however, I feel a little heat at the end. The word I'm thinkin' is enjoyable and refreshing.

M- Well carbonated with the bottle conditioning they tout on their website(which btw scared the hell out of me when the eagle screeched, volume was up too loud). Goes down smooth.

D- Very good. I have to believe the 6% I was told because I can feel a little of the heat. But really this beer is well-balanced and enjoyable. I'm a little shocked by the B- grade because it is much better than that. And the price? I will definitely seek this out.

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Photo of billybob
4.45/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a hazy copper color with a one finger off white head and some lacing. aromas of slightly caramel malt with some herbel spice. taste is of caramel malt, bready, dry, well hopped. mouthfeel is light, crisp, no after taste. very nice beer, another good session beer. i will buy it again.

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Photo of Boneheadmx
4.43/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours out to a beautiful golden amber with a small head that fades away quickly. The smell is nice with a bit of malt and hops. The taste is rather malty and hoppy, with a nice amount of both in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is also rather good, with just that right amount of carbonation and a decent amount of thickness. This is one of the most drinkable beers I have ever had, and I will buy some more next time.

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Photo of HombreWing
4.43/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Love the price !

Eyes: white head that stays and laces.

Nose: Sweet caramel malt and just a hint of citrus hop. A hint

Tongue: The balance on this beer can't be beat. Has the balance of English bitter. Sweet caramel ...slight nuttiness and some hop spice. Not the typical West Coast Red/Amber and I'm ok with that.

Texture: Thin to medium bodied.

Mouth happiness: More than happy to except a lifetime supply

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Photo of watchnerd
4.42/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a six pack of this from Trader Joe's. I've had it before, but it's been a long time.

As always, the cardinal rule with beer is 'get whatever is freshest'. Mendocino brewing is pretty close to the SF Bay Area, so this six pack is pretty dang fresh -- and it shows.

This is such a nice change from the in-your-face IPAs that are all the range these days.

Lightly hoppy and fruity, slightly dry, a bit like Anchor Liberty Ale, but with more fruity tastes and a hint of caramel.

I've been away from this too long. I'll be buying again.

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Photo of thebeerdoctor
4.4/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An American classic from Mendocino Brewing. At $7 a six pack, this is quite a gift, Highly drinkable because the recipe hides its mechanics so well, it makes it seem simple. Beautiful orange color poured into a small nonic glass. Tasty, there is plenty of subtle complexity here.
Although this version was made in Sarasota Springs, New York, this should be considered in the same class as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anchor Steam as a legendary west coast recipe.

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Photo of kosmoraios
4.37/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Attempting to review for style:

Arrives a foggy bronze color with a small white head that dissipates into a ring within a few minutes. Lacing is minimal.

Apple and malt sweetness in the nose. Flavour is of light sourdough bread and caramel with the piney.spicy hops becoming more predominate as the ale warms.

Well carbonated and substantial, with a nice finish. A perfect session ale.

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Photo of Zorro
4.3/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a good-looking clear red-brown beer.

Alcohol Content is 6.1% by volume.

Smells malty and VERY sharply hoppy.

Taste is malty with a tea like hop taste. Slightly sweet with a sharp hops bite in the finish. Nicely Balanced.

Mouthfeel is about right.

Very drinkable. This is another local brew and a favorite. Lots of times this is the best thing on tap when I eat out.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.3/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz with no dates poured into a pint glass.

Amber copper with a slight haze. Decent white head that has some retention to it. Sticks to the glass as it goes down.

Smells very malty with a quick, but not unpleasant, sour note, followed by dry hops.

The malts are upfront again with some caramel, a bit of alcohol, and a dry, hoppy finish. This one achieves a nice balance and is a bit more complex than others of this style.

The malts give this one a nice mouthfeel. Very drinkable. A must try.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.27/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear amber. Head is there and then gone pretty quickly. Not much lacing.

Smell: hops on the nose.

Taste: Crisp; balanced between malt and hops. Dry finish. Classic American Amber. Perfect representative for the style.

Drinkablity: really refreshing. Paired very well with my Mexican.

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Photo of ralree
4.26/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Nice red color, very cloudy, wonderful reddish white head, decent lacing and retention. 1-finger.

S: Caramel malt, nice strong hop smell, light fruit. Wonderful.

T: Caramel, bready, nice hop kick. Fruit is just barely preceptible. Not watered down at all. Hops stick with you after swallowing, leaving a great taste that brings you back for more.

M: Very smooth, a bit astringent, a bit dry, good carbonation. Medium-light body.

D: One of the most drinkable beers I've had.

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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 jcdiflorio
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a nonic glass from a 12 oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped on cap.

Clear,medium amber color with a tall,thick,chunky white head with good retention leaving webs of lacing around the glass with a couple of tiny bubbles stringing to the top of the glass.

Complex moderate nose very malty with notes of toffee,bisquity,nutty,toasty with a bit of a burnt note. Not much hop aroma a bit grassy.

Sweet, burnt carmell/toffee tastes, bisquitty with a citrus rind bite. Very well balanced with a crisp,clean,dry sharp/tart bitterness leaving a burnt aftertaste. Really liked the taste of this beer.

Tangy,juicy mouthfeel also light and airy feeling with a bit of a grainy texture.
Easy drinking ale could drink quite a few of these really enjoyable. Worth a try.

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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 Brewmaster_Rick
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nostalgic beer for many people. Thinner body, excellent caramel malt character with a mild front-of-the-tongue hop spice to balance it out. Very floral. Would compliment a hearty steak or a day at the beach. A classic, and a staple in the American craft brewing renaissance.

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Photo of Mark
4.21/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had not had this beer since becoming an advocate, I had also forgotten how good it is. it poured a nice lightish amber, head was thin but retained very well and laced the glass moderately. Slight aroma of mostly fruity overtones. Very smooth malty, fruity, and slightly hopped taste. Very English in character and drinkability as well. A winner and I regret ignoring it for so long.

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Photo of Shiloh
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very nice product...need to find some more of these.
Colour is a medium amber and murky.
Body is full.
Carbonation is lively.
Very slight bread like scent.
Short head...leaving some cling and ring.
Taste is of the citrus hops to begin and escalates to the finish.
Session beer....big time!

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Photo of ccrida
4.2/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker, Red Tail is a pale copper with an ivory head that leaves scattered lace.

Smell is pretty light, sweet brown sugar and cereals, with a dash of spicy hops.

Taste is nice, sweet caramel malt, floral hops and some fruity esters clean, dry finish. Very well balanced and smooth, this is very nicly done.

Mouthfeel is crisp, with a medium-light, yet satisfing body.

Drinkability is very good, nicly balanced, crisp and on the sweeter side, a true classic 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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Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.45 out of 5 based on 956 ratings.
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