Jamaica Red Ale
Mad River Brewing Company

Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #63
Ranked #22,098
3.85 | pDev: 12.21%
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale
Notes: Our legendary red ale. This mahogany hued ale brings an intense spectrum of spicy aromatic hop character balanced by a full-bodied caramel richness. 2011 Silver Medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in the American Style Amber/Red Ale category.

IBU: 45.3
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Crystal 70/80, Wheat, Black Patent
Hops: Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, Willamette, Summit
Reviews: 258 | Ratings: 515 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of tigg924
tigg924 from Massachusetts

2.85/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours clear, amber in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is caramel and toasted malt with light grain. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation and slightly sweet. Speaks to an average beer brewed to style. If you like red ales, go for it...For me, this is an average to slightly below average red ale that makes for a big pass.

May 20, 2017
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Deerin from California

3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown with tinges of orange and amber. Mostly opaque. Leaves a pretty, billowy head with fair lacing. Not the best look imo, could use a bit more redness and some vibrancy.

Malty in the nose. I don't detect much hops here.

The flavor is an up front punch of toasty, sweet red malt, followed by solid hop flavor. I get copper caramel sweetness, followed by spicy hops, with some lemon and maybe resin.

It's syrupy, a bit astringent on the finish. Low moderate carbonation. A bit cloying for 6 1/2 in my opinion.

The taste is this beer's strongest asset, it is a bit rough around the edges. A solid red but far from my first choice in the catagory.

Apr 17, 2017
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ttying the Jamaica Red at Yards in Long Beach. It poured a hazy amber with white head that is leaving a lace. The scent is malt. The taste starts malty with caramel as the base then finishes slightly bitter. The Mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a good beer and would drink it again.

Sep 13, 2016
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FLima from Brazil

3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with a thick beige head with good retention
Malty aroma with notes of caramel, slightly toasted malts, melon and mild pine.
Likewise, flavor with notes of toasted malts, caramels and butterscotch, pine, red fruits citrusy, lychees and floral and spicy hops. Dry aftertaste with a bitterness that takes some time to hit.
Light to medium body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 6.5% is completely absent.
I found this somewhat too malt forward in the beginning especially considering the origin. This may be a little too tired, though hops started to show up a bit more in a delayed fashion. This is ok if you are not looking for a hop bite. Really it is American Amber Ale, not a Red IPA.

Aug 23, 2016
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Skrumpy from Oregon

3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I've been drinking this beer off and on since I lived in Humboldt during the early 90s. Very deep red in color, and hazy. Thin head, minimal lacing. Smell is light - mostly caramel malt and some earthy and herbal tones. The flavor is very nice. Malty and smooth. The sweet caramel lingers in the back of your mouth. Molasses and brown sugar. Slightly bittersweet anise flavor in the aftertaste. A bit watery mouthfeel, but a great beer overall!

Jun 19, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is like the darkest red ale ever created, it looks brown. The head isn't uniform, there's some chunks in it, it amasses about 1/2" high, off white. Aroma is super C hoppy.

Taste drops substantial malt and bitterness, the malt delivers more toffee than caramel flavors, everything is big on it. This is far from a traditional red ale, the malt is different, less sweet, the hops are way bigger.

One of my favorites from 20 years ago, I still like to dip into one every now and then.

Jun 15, 2016
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jkrich from Florida

3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a non-dated bottle: more of a murky brown than amber, there is a very attractive foamy, beige head that slowly recedes.

This is possibly one the most aromatic amber ales I have encountered - almost vinous in character, sharp and tingling on the olfactory. Could this be a hop-accented ale?

No it is not. There is a very nice caramel, somewhat bittersweet palate. Overall, it is balanced with roasted malt and with just enough hop bitterness to keep it interesting. While it has been awhile since I tried it, I believe this ale is similar to North Coast brewing's Red Seal ale; very sharp and rustic flavors.

The body is medium with a somewhat thick and malty mouthfeel. While the caramel malt lingers on the palate, the zesty carbonation and hop bitters keep this one from cloying status.

I have been on the lookout for this ale for quite some time and finally grabbed a six pack here in Lakeland, FL. It has been enjoyable but not an amber I will seek out again anytime soon.

Jan 09, 2016
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The_Kings_Thirst from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Deep brown red with a bit of orange.
S: Roasted caramel
T: Hoppier than expected based on smell. Piney finish. Flavor mellowed as beer warmed and roastiness came through
F: Smooth with medium body

Overall: Don't think this is one I'd purchase again, but not a bad beer and worth a try.

Sep 21, 2015
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Act25 from New Jersey

4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Because Red Tail was my first craft beer, I found this to be the best red ale ever - on tap at the Mad River.

A: Big creamy and thick tan head with lasting trail of lace. Deep brown- red california body.

S: Aroma of hops and caramel malt. balance of pungent hops and sweet caramel.

T: Follows smell but explodes with flavor. Huge arc of malt, caramel on top of chocolate and roasted fruit: pear, grapefruit and building hops then a jammy marmelade finish.

F: Just right body to carry the lovely flavor arc.

Must try!

Feb 21, 2015
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lazy8 from California

3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 Oz bottle poured into pint glass
A: light brown/auburn with 1/2 in. cream colored head. Minimal lacing.
S: mostly malt. Carmel and roasted malts
T: sweet, roasty malt flavor first. Gently bitterness in aftertaste
M: medium to full bodied. Moderately carbonated.
O: tasty red. More malt than hops. Overall a good beer.

Jan 11, 2015
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DavidBart from New York

3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is another one of those that was hard to finish. A little bit of red ale, a little bit of lager taste. Just all over the place, and very poorly balanced. I had better things in the fridge, so down the drain this went. I would steer clear of this.

Jan 04, 2015
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TheFrothDoctor from Australia

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

I doff my hat to Mad River Brewing for creating this Jamaican red ale which received a silver medal not long ago at The Great American Beer festival.

It poured a deep mahogany hue with a small condensed chest nut head. The smell was subtle, sweet malted grains and brown sugar were present.

The low level of carbonation complemented this beer well, oak fudge and earthy spices were dominant yet perfectly balanced with hints of citrus pine. A great overall beer that was initially brewed for a reggae festival!

FOLLOW ME http://instagram.com/thefrothdoctor

Nov 24, 2014
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Gabriel_Vaughn from California

4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Boot filled from a half keg tapped 18 hours ago

A: reddish, deep amber, thin ivory head

S: world class. floral.

T: slightly sweet, balanced hops

M: Very thick, creamy but not so intrusive on the palate- in a less than desirable way.

O: good beer man

Jun 30, 2014
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Furlinator from California

3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy brown with red tint. The 1/2 inch white head fades to just a thin ring on top and leaves spots of lace. There is visible floating sediment.

The smell is of buttered biscuit, molasses, faint citrus with a floral finish.

The taste is of bread grains, sweet toffee, honey, orange and some hop bitterness on the back end.

The texture is light bodied with medium carbonation.

Less hop dominant than most red ales I've encountered. This is a decent effort overall.

May 31, 2014
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CTHomer from Connecticut

3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Deep amber; caramel head isn't long lasting; no lacing

S: Roastiness, alcohol, brown sugar; not getting any hops

T: roasted malts; almost no bitterness

M: Light carbonation; smooth

O: not really my style, but it goes down easily; nice beer if you want something malty;

May 27, 2014
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TheSixthRing from California

3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a semi-clear reddish copper with an off-white finger width head. Fair retention leads to a broken layer of suds across the surface. What little lacing there is, it's spotty with almost no stick.

Smell - Strong caramel aroma on this one. Hops play second fiddle, hitting on distant citrus notes.

Taste - As in the nose, caramel dominates the flavor profile, leaving everything else to play complimentary roles. Hops hit on a light citrus twang before giving way to a distant orange pith bitterness. Fair chocolatey notes. Hints of fruity esters. Finishes with more malt caramel, but the hops do well to keep it from becoming cloyingly sweet.

Mouthfeel - A heftier than normal medium body with fair carbonation. Very smooth from start to finish; almost silky. An easy drinker for sure.

Overall - A good, solid red from Mad River. Once one of the stand-out ambers in the American market, time has pushed this to near garden-variety status as both similar and more distinguishable reds have hit the scene over the years. This isn't a bad beer at all, in fact it's a damn good example of your classic American Amber, but I don't see myself buying it all that often. One of those "too many beers, too little time" things.

Oct 21, 2013
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Lemke10 from Wisconsin

3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This pours a dark amber color with a slight beige head. The aroma is mild with hints of malts. The taste is decently malty with a slightly bitter after taste. The texture is decent but the taste is still lacking some deeper characteristics. Still ok for a red ale, but to the average consumer the Jamaican label on an American beer will throw people off.

Sep 19, 2013
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clayrock81 from Florida

3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Quick summation of my review: a good hoppy and slightly sweet red ale that is enjoyable down to the last gulp but nothing that will blow your mind. Reddish gold body, good head, decent lace, an aroma of mostly citric hops with some sweet malt (touch of bread). Beer is medium bodied, smooth, gives off a good chunk of citric hops and has a nice balance with mild sweet malts. Crisp, clean finish is enjoyable and can't say that this the hoppiest, sweetest, or best red ale I've had but it hits the spot.

Sep 01, 2013
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy dark auburn; khaki head that fades but leaves nice retention and lacing. The aromas are dominated by caramel malts. Tons of caramel, butterscotch, and cocoa. There are hints pine and citrus. The flavors are dominated by malts as well, but not in a bad way. There's definitely still a hop bite to this one and has a solid bitterness to it. More hints of pine needles. Mouthfeel is good; it's on the lighter side of medium-bodied and carbonation is moderate. Alcohol goes unnoticed and it's relatively easy to drink.

This is a solid red ale. Malt forward like alot of red ales, but it still has a hop bite. Not bad, it's enjoyable, but nothing earth shattering.

Aug 28, 2013
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

orinally rated back in '13 -4.25, re-review from bottle enjoyed chilled in a goblet, purchased at Brass Rail shared with octopus89.

The color is like a bowl of punch -rosy red with thick haze and thin pale cream head with very fine bead and lots of lace stickage. The smell is very expressive- I get some citrus as I pour with fruity almost plum-like scent and vinous berry accent with nice sweet aroma and ester of yeast. The feel is very tangy and juicy almost with medium high carbonation and moderately sweet feel with semi--dry and light astrinent aspect with mild tannin in the residual feel.

The taste is very fruity with tangy flavor off hibiscus giving a juicy berry and tea-like taste with yeast backing up the tropical flavor with a almost fruit-punch-like tangy and semi-sweet flavor as it finishes. The taste is excellent -I really enjoyed this and recommend this especially if you like hibiscus with tangy tropical fruit quality which has a sweet subtle but very drinkable result

May 24, 2013
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Uncle_Jimmy from California

3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- a ruddy brown not so much red a tan finger of foam on top doesn't linger or lace

Aroma- lavender florals some fruit

Taste- the very point of the spear has a Sweet Tart taste (no joke) that gives way to a dry roasted wheat bread (think ezekiel) and a piney earthy finish. Not bad a well rounded red.

Mouthfeel- medium light body a little hi in the fizz, but there doesnt seem to be a bad after taste or much lingering at all. Alcohol is well concealed

Over all not the best red I have had , but its tasty and i think knowing about the region this beer comes from makes you appreciate it that much more. I think that it is a very well rounded red in that the hops and booze aren't over powering for some reason i equate high hop character with a slight metallic flavor. This beer doesn't have that.

Feb 14, 2013
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micromaniac129 from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber with sediment. A beige head sits on top but isn't long lasting. Some lacing on the glass. Looks inviting to drink.
In the aroma the first thing I noticed was a sour smell then sticking my nose deep into the glass and drawing in deeply I smelled a sutle roastiness.
Taste was good, tart and tight with the roasted malts I smell in the nose becoming more apparent in the taste. At the end low levels of diaceyl.
I like this beer, it's easy drinking pretty smooth has fairly decent flavor. A good all purpose brew.

Jan 13, 2013
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ElSid from California

3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Beers of California


Freshness Date: None

A: Off white head with a copper body. Classic red ale appearance with appropriate lace cling as the beer settles down after an aggressive pour into a pint glass.

S: Brown sugar, strawberry syrup and bread highlighted with citrus and grass.

T: Starts off with a caramel, bready, and even berry sweetness which fades to an herbal, grassy bitterness with notes of citrus and peppery spice.

M: Smooth and somewhat syrupy, medium bodied and with moderate carbonation.

O: A staple for attendees of the Reggae on the River music festival. Balanced, smooth, and even: this well crafted ale is reggae music in a bottle. Best enjoyed with a spliff and Marley in the headphones.

Dec 09, 2012
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Murrhey from Washington

3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap at part of a flight at Haven Gastropub in Orange, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger off-white head with a long retention. Red-brown color.

S- Nutty and mid-roasted barley smell.

T- Malty and tasty.

M- Smooth and pretty wet.

O- Easy drinking beer. Not blowing me away.

Nov 15, 2012
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metter98 from New York

3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very hazy amber-yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation along with lots of particles floating in suspension. It poured with a thin beige colored head that died down and left a large patch of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge of the glass and some lacing down the sides.
S: Aromas of sweet caramel malts are present in the nose along with some hints of spicy hops.
T: Like the smell, the taste is very malty and has lots of caramel flavors along with some hints of spicy hops towards the finish. A very light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little thick (but not sticky) on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a nice beer if you like something that is rather malty, but I couldn't see myself having more than one of these in one sitting.

Nov 10, 2012
Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 515 ratings