Jamaica Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale
Very Good
515 Ratings
Jamaica Red AleJamaica Red Ale

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-23-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 515 |  Reviews: 258
Reviews by DOCALYN:
Photo of DOCALYN
4.84/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

jamaica Red was the first of Mad River's products I tried and it was love at first taste! I am a hophead and this brew satisfies all my taste preferences. I called the brewery to tell them of my appreciation for this beer and lo and behold they sent me a package of shirts, glasses and coasters. A very tasty beer on any occaision.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was more impressed with this than the extra pale ale,poured a nice deep brown/red color with great creamy head.Incredibly hoppy took me by suprise but a roasted malt flavor comes in to balance this bad boy out.Loved this beer great to find it around here will have many more for sure.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Dark brown with a reddish hue and a nice, lacing head. This one is cloudy and looks good.

Smell – Sharp citrus hops come out big in the nose. There’s also a nice, lightly-toasted malt balance to this aroma.

Taste – The hops calm down at the taste, making this a nicely balanced ale. The malt is more noticeable here. A good, all around flavor.

Mouthfeel – Somewhat refreshing and medium-bodied. There’s also a slight tinge of sourness to this one, like a drop or two of lime juice has been tossed in for good measure.

Drinkability – This would make a good summer refresher, but it’s nice here at the end of November as well. It is wonderfully balanced.

Comments – Thanks to mickeymac for sending me this bottle.

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Photo of nohead02
2.97/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A cloudy brownish red color. Not too much head or carbonation. A malty brew that has reasonable hoppiness. My numerical judgement may be a bit harsh because I don't really like this style of beer. If you like malty ales, you might enjoy this. I would certainly drink another one if this is all there was on the shelf.

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Photo of bertcat9000
5/5  rDev +30.9%

Photo of Todd
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Present in a 12oz short bottle. No freshness date.

As this is an unfiltered offering, it pours a cloudy, deep garnet colour with an off-white sticky, creamy, well-retained head. Wonderful aroma of raw, spicy, herbal hops with strong notes of citrus.

Oh yeah! Smooth, medium-body, luscious fruity/malty sweetness with notes of toffee, wood, earth, ripe pineapple and bready notes. Yeast flavours. Crisp. Sharp, somewhat coarse and leafy, hop bitterness that smacks with notes of citrus and herbal and backs the maltiness just right. Alcohol is spicy, very present and fusel. Linger alcohol, sweet bread flavours and wood linger in the finish for quite sometime.

This is a great Red Ale, with a wonderful malt and hop profile. Thoroughly enjoyable!

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Photo of Beerswag
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of Jason
4.44/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short brown twist bottle with no freshness date to be found. Thin layer of sediment on the bottom of the bottle.

Appearance: Big creamy and thick light tan head with a well painted trail of lace all the way down to the bottom of the hazy very deep brownish red brew.

Smell: Thick aroma of hops and caramel malt. Hops are a tad pungent to the nose and the caramel is quite well rounded.

Taste: Medium body moderate carbonation, hops are very flavourful with a straight-up bitterness and the pungent citric aftermath. Huge wave of malt, caramel rides on top with both chocolate and roasted flavour underneath. Fruity of pear though a grapefruit citric character from the hops rips right through to disorient the taste buds into nirvana. Finish is a bit clean with some residual caramel sweetness and a dark grainy bread flavour.

Notes: This is really good stuff, this one showed me that American beer can still reach this height of greatness. 6.0% abv.

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Photo of merlin48
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this, on tap, at Barley's Taproom in Asheville, NC, before the "Pop The Cap" event on 8/14/04. This Red arrived in an unchilled glass, with a 3 cm, beige head perched above a clear, copper body. Rings and sheets of attractive lace were left down the sides of the glass.

Aroma was pleasantly balanced. Malty fruit(apple) and caramel/toffee aromas were nicely complimented by pine cone hops.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied, with a solid, bitter hops bite on the tongue.

Taste has an outstanding, toffee/caramel malt backbone that is balanced well by pine hoppiness. As this warms, some citrus flavors emerge, and grapefruit and orangepeel take the flavor profile to another level. Finish is dry, with a citrus hop aftertaste.

Loved this one, and look forward to having it again. It really is excellent with Jamaican style, jerked chicken. Try it and see!

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Photo of ElSid
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of tigg924
2.85/5  rDev -25.4%
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.

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Photo of locckdown
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of chossboss
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of bsp77
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Unfiltered reddish-amber with moderate off-white head and a hint of lacing.

Smell: Toasted and caramel malts, sweet brown sugar, citrusy hops.

Taste: Semi-sweet malts with caramel, toast, molasses, dark fruit and a hint of roastiness. Turns spicy, citrusy and somewhat bitter on the finish.

Feel: Medium-full body with moderate carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: Fairly good, fairly big American Red Ale that has a lot going on. However, the sweet malts and bitter hops don't balance quite as well as the best examples of the style.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a nonic glass from a stubby brown bottle with a twist-off cap.Kind of a generic looking label.

Hazy,medium copper with a reddish hue 2" off-white head dissapated quickly to a slight coating looking just plain flat by half glass.

Citrus/pine, grassy with a sweet, toasty, carmell malt aroma some slight buttery aromas.A good clean,moderate,inviting aroma.

A big citrus/pine taste at first followed by a semi-sweet nutty,toasty, carmelly taste with some fruity tartness and grassiness, a very nice balance.
Finishes clean,crisp with a pleasing bitterness, not real sharp.

Medium body,tangy with a bit of pricklyness. Goes down nice and easy could drink a few of these seemed to taste better a bit on the cold side. A good medium bodied summer beer.

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Photo of yankeeheel
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an interesting little brew. Has a very turbid, ruddy brown appearance. Smallish creme colored head settles out to a ring of lace. Smells hoppy with a little spice. Taste is nicely complex with a slight caramel wave of malt, followed by some biting grassy taste. Finishes with a sweet, almost cinamon flavor. Mouthfeel and body are almost cider like. Nicely drinkable.

Tahnks to JahNoth for the sample.

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Photo of Soonami
2.98/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I despise twist top bottle and would not have bought this if I had realized it was a twisty.

The beer was a deep red with very little beige foam. The aroma is crackery with a hint of butter and a little citrus. The beer tastes very sweet with not much bitterness or hop flavor but a bit of butterscotch and definitely alcohol. The mouth feel is fine, but this is not a drinkable beer with the sweet aftertaste and lack of hop bitterness.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a red ale? It looks darker than red, is hoppier than red etc. . . chunky head, unfiltered for sure, great retention.

Aroma is very pungent hop and caramel. Again, smells nothing like a red ale, and its all good, because I'm not really a fan of traditional red ales. This is a hoppier west coast version I guess, and its for the better.

Taste, good, lots of hops, a heavy dark and chocolate malt feel interplays with the caramel. Carbonation keeps this one feeling fresh all the way through. Really didn't think the hops would come through. This beer is a little bit of everything, kinda like a precursor to black ipas, this one is dark, but hoppy, substantial, but not massive on the palate weight wise. All in all, its nothing like 99% of the red ales you see out there, which is why it scored high.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep chestnut amber with yeast floating very suspension like in appearance, forms a big billowing tan caramel head leaving heavy even lacing down my pint. Aroma: Nice citrus bursts of hops flows nicely along with the roasty caramel scented malts. Taste: Slight bready tone with a caramel roasted malt profile solid hop bitterness comes out not a bad red ale. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied light carbonation, the only way to obtain the fluffy head was with a very vigorous pour. Drinkability: Nice amber bitter, I could definitely picture myself visiting the Reggae Festival someday that this was brewed for.

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Photo of chinchill
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in pint glass

Pours a slightly hazy reddish-copper with a modest tan head. Small amount of sediment at bottom of bottle (added).

M - medium body and carbonation; smooth yet fairly crisp.

Subtle aroma of sweet malt and slight hops. Rich, complex, and well-balanced flavor. A serious taste battle between sweet and bitter components. Hops are more evident during tasting than smelling. "Crafted with whole hop goodness" indeed.

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Photo of rastaman
1.8/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle. Sweet cola flavours, with some nutty caramel. Pretty sweet and thin. Even not knowing anything about the beer of the brewery, i still didn’t expect much, don’t know why that is. Again, shame the beer was so bad, because the campsite we had it at was beautiful!

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Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Brenden
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is clouded, something atypical to an amber. Unfiltered? Nothing wrong with that. Some bubbling sticks to the sides of the glass while the tan head grows to about a finger in height. Retention is okay, but the head drops off somewhat quickly. A bit of spotty lacing is left behind.
Bread and caramel come out of the nose with a hops presence showing good balance. Some interesting sweetness is just hinted at underneath. A little bit of toast and citrus mingle in a way that doesn't seem like it would be great but works in this beer.
The balance is further laid out in the flavor. This is a malty beer, with a strong foundation, resulting in toast, caramel, a bit of toffee, some crust, and a bit of fruit, but the hops don't back down. At first I'm actually afraid the raw piney hops are going to overtake the malts, but a minute or two of warming shows these elements to be very well managed, and they all come together to make for a tasty, balanced and flavorful brew. Citrus and earthy notes also pull through. Very few ambers have this kind of flavor.
Crsipness is up front lightly, and there's a fair bit of smoothness as well. The body is medium. It's mostly semi-dry, but goes drier in the finish without quite going fully dry.

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Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 515 ratings