Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Jamaica Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
257 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 257 | Ratings: 496
Photo of unionturf
4.97/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap for $1.50 at Brixx in Charlotte...

Color was deep red and had a decent head. Smell was excellent and taste was near perfect for what I look for in a beer. Had a good hoppy flavor with wonderful malt too. It was not bitter at all and very drinkable, I'm hoping that it's this good from a bottle...if so this will be a regular in the fridge!!

 352 characters

Photo of DOCALYN
4.84/5  rDev +25.7%
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.

 332 characters

Photo of JahNoth
4.73/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice frothy head and sweet orange aroma that balances nicely with the pungent, citric hops. I love the cloudy, reddish amber apperance. Nice malty flavor well balanced with PNW hops. A tasty treat. What I love most about this beer is the variety of the ingredients. The hops and malt don't just project one style/flavor, but give you a tasty melange. This is a great beer!

 372 characters

Photo of gordavidson
4.73/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A cloudy, deep orange/red beer. Has a great crystal ball effect. A thin white head forms with amazing retention.

S- Smells very hoppy, carmely sweet. A little cinnamon. Very very good.

T- Caramel, grass, citrus, and oddly enough... a smack of watermelon. Just the right amount of bitterness and complexity.

M- A great balance of carbonation, stickiness, bitterness, and oiliness.

D- I am totally blown away by this. This is going to be a regular in my fridge.

 466 characters

Photo of MobBarley
4.66/5  rDev +21%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a ruddy, brownish red with a small head. Moderate lacing. Aroma is nice and malty with some strong hazelnut notes and an underlying Cascade aroma that spells "P.N.W.". The taste is similar, starting off sweet and bready with some notes of roasted nuts, pine and astringent greenness. Mouthfeel is great, a little on the chewy side of normal. Just how I like my reds. Drinkabilty is supreme. An absolutely delicious, if slightly less available PNW beer. Finely crafted brew.

 479 characters

Photo of wafers
4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy, ruby colored upon the pour... some sediment seen floating near the bottom of the glass
S: Noticeable smell of sticky hops, not overpowering at all
T: Very unique...you get a hit of hops initially but the majority of the flavor is something that reminds me of exotic fruits, but not overly sweet...the end is characterized by some more hoppy bitterness
M: Smooth, crisp, very easy drinking
O: Pleasantly surprised with this one as I have never had an amber/red ale tasting anything quite like this one...taste is an interesting mix somewhere between a hoppy pale ale, floral white ale, and a fruit beer...all in all awesome beer and would gladly drink again

 667 characters

Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I once had a friend say "this beer looks like dirt!" so ever since I've referred to it as my 'dirt beer.' Amber, dark, cloudy, with a tan head, yeah I guess it kind of looks like dirt - looks more like homebrew. The smell is awesome - pear juice, caramel and the evergreen forests of the Northern California coast (i.e., the hops.) Very tasty, with a generous amount of hoppiness. Carbonation is just right and you get a good savory tingling mouthfeel from the hoppy finish. This is one of my favorite beers.

Sadly, I am drinking the last bottle I smuggled back in my luggage as I write this. Needless to say, at the inevitable (I hope) Mad River premiere at Blind Tiger someday, I hope to welcome these guys to NYC in style. And take the next day off work.

 760 characters

Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
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

 264 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice brown/red color... huge head to it.. a little bit of lacing on the glass. Smell is of brown sugar and caramel with some hops to it.. nice aroma going on here. Great mouthfeel and body to this one.. just the right amount of thickness to it. A nice balance of caramel malts and still pretty hoppy all with a clean finish and a slight (very slight) tinge of alcohol.... solid beer right here, wish this was distributed to CT.. I love me some red ales and this is one of the better ones I have tried.

 509 characters

Photo of cokes
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muddied crimson under a stack of yellowed cream.
Nose full of resin, pine and citrus, backed with toasty caramel. Potent and powerful and nearly perfect, aroma-wise.
Begins with a substancial malt base. Liquid toffee and caramel, and mostly just thick. Grainy and bready too, with a few straggling carob notes. As powerful as the upcoming hops are, this is balanced in full.
The hops arrive, as we all knew they would, carrying coniferous pitch, ruby grapefruits, and sticky brick reefer. Full of dank resin, bright citrus, and growing evergreen pulp. This is West Coast hopping in it truest and best utilized sense.
Medium bodied, leaning even fuller. Drinkable in gulps and nothing less.
This is nearly peerless in the red ale category.

 745 characters

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jamaica Red Ale was served from a 12 oz. stubby bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was a murky amber-red color and was topped by a light tan head. Suspended particulates abound. The nose held a barrage of wildy aromatic malts and spice...sasparilla, toffee-sweetness, and plantain-banana. A spicy hop bouquet topped it off. On the palate, a rich and aromatic spicy malt profile delivered some banana-nut flavors on the way to an excellent spicy hop finish that left a nice lingering roasty-astringent bitterness....similar to the Cinder Cone Red finish. The body was quite smooth, full, and somewhat creamy...working well with the flavors and character of the beer. Jamaica Red Ale had a well-developed collection of flavors...finsihing brilliantly. A very interesting, tasty, and finely-crafted interpretation of the style.

 823 characters

Photo of captenaj
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this at the Sandy Butler deli in Ft Myers Beach, Florida. I purchased many different beers just for trying.

Appearance: This poured a cloudy, deep red with a thin head.

Smell: Slightly hoppy and citrus.

Taste: The label mentions that it is a hoppy brew, and the hops are there, but not over powering at all. Complex flavors with a very smooth aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel but the alcohol is somewhat prominent.

Drinkability: An excellent, excellent beer. I could probably call this my favorite. I would love to try a few of these on tap.

 560 characters

Photo of BeachBumC
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at the Stone 12th Anniversary Brewfest in San Marcos.

App: Nice dark amber color, darker than most reds, light tan head, light lacing

Sm: Nice roasted and hoppy aroma, balanced and inviting

Mouth: Light-medium body, quick finish, not bitter at all

Taste: Very nice flavor! Good roasted malt flavor with a LOT of hops but very little bitterness. I'm thinking this beer was dry hopped because there's a wonderful hoppy flavor that hop heads will enjoy but none of the bitterness that can dominate a good beer.

I really enjoyed this one and can see this being a beer for any season.

 607 characters

Photo of Jason
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

 982 characters

Photo of marc77
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy dark red hue. Thin, but tight off - white head leaves decent lace. Hugely caramelly in aroma-- darkly caramelized sugars dominate, but fruity esters and citrusy hops round out the aroma. Flavorwise, this brew is a tasty mix of dark caramel sweetness, fruity esters & citrus hop flavor. Hop bitterness is well - calculated, being assertive enough to be noticed on its own, while controlled enough not to overshadow malt notes and esters. Flavorful and highly drinkable. Moderate in body, w/ plenty of residual dextrins. Finishes w/ fading bittersweet residual sweetness and hop bitterness. Jamaica Red Ale is an excellent brew, possessing much more character all around than the typical prosaic red ale.

 714 characters

Photo of zerk
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky amber brown with a thin but persistent off white head. Aroma is big and bold... citrus hops, fruit, and a caramel malt backing. The flavor is very unique.. begins with an all out malt assault with biscuit and caramel flavors, then becomes nutty. Has a wonderful citrus and spice hop finish. Not overly bitter, but enough to grab your attention. Medium to full body with ample carbonation... slightly rough and oily. A damn fine brew. Serious thanks to DavidBanner for this one!

 491 characters

Photo of JustinAniello
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy red-brown with a foamy three finger head. Dissipates slowly to a nice lacing that sticks to the sides and a decent cap.

S - Heavy caramel with piney hop aromas.

T - Lightly sweet caramel and citrus at first. Turns from heavy breadiness in the swallow to a nice mild bitterness.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Perfect for the style.

O - A very good american ale. Various flavors meld well together with a simple yet enjoyable aroma, great body tops it off. A very good all around beer to have with dinner or to relax, would definitely have again.

 577 characters

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Brad for bringing this one to the state of Minnesota!

A: Pours a deep crimson with a finger thick off-white head that settles to a film a few millimeters thick. The beer is slightly hazy with some fine particulates. Lacing and carbonation are phenomenal.

S: Smell is sweet and a bit spicy, with some notes of caramel and cinnamon, and hops give the brew a citrusy, floral backround.

T: Resinous hops strike first with hints of pine and fruit. Bready malt characters inter-mingled with spice dance on the palate, then is finished with more spicy, floral, and fruity hop flavors. The most balanced Red I have ever tasted.

M: Medium-bodied and has a very long finish.

D: I could drink this brew all night if I had enough. It's very sessionable, and very easy to drink. Hands down, this is my new favorite Red.

 822 characters

Photo of rtratzlaff
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mad River Jamaica Red pours a deep dark brownish red which looks to be unfiltered. The aroma is sweet caramel malt and tons of it along with citrus hops in the background. The taste is sweet caramel and bread. Not a bad tasting beer at all. For an American amber this thing beats the pants off of most all in the style. Quite balanced but with all this malt, it requires plenty of hop flavor as well. The mouthfeel is rather chewy and full. This is a filling amber ale if there ever was one. This is truly great an unexpectedly so.

 531 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mad River- Jamaica Red Ale

A- Deep ruby red with a thick fluffy head. Good messy lacing all over the glass.
S- Sweet dried fruits and thick sugary molasses malt.
T- Big thick molasses/ licorice malt with hints of sweet cherry and earthy hops.
M- Thick malty and sweet with a big hoppy finish.

Overall- Delicious! Highly recommended and now available in the Bucks/Mercer County area!

 384 characters

Photo of DogFood11
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It took me a while to get to this beer even though I see it at most local beer stores. Damn glad I finally picked some up as this was a nice treat. Poured into a pounder glass it forms a milky, dense, tan head that maintains itself and leaves spidered lacing.

Malts stuck their head out first, they are rich and centered around darker candy, caramel, cake, and toss in some toasted character and I have a complex and well put together malt bill. Hops are also fairly aggresive, citrus variety with plenty of bitterness on the tail end. I liked that both sides of the house could lay claim to being the star throughout the beer, taking turns.

Notes: This is an outstanding brew. I really should pay more attention to Mad River Brewing as I think I remember the extra stout being a damn nice offering as well. Keep it up, I'll be back.

 840 characters

Photo of tgbljb
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy very deep amber color with massive chunky tannish head. Very attractive lacing.
Smell is a pleasant combination of caramel malt and piney hops.
Taste is fantastic. It is the perfect blend of the sweet maly and the dry hops. Starts out caramelly, but the hops slowly build to overtake the malt and present the perfect ending.
Supreme drinkability. Another excellent offering from Mad River.

 408 characters

Photo of woemad
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this at The Viking in Spokane for $2.75. I was running out of inspiration for what my next "tour de beers" choice should be, and the bartender reccomended this to me, describing it as a red ale with extra hoppiness. As I've generally felt that particular style needed a little more hop oomph, I figured what the hell.

From it's garishly bright bottle, this poured a dark, brownish red, with a moderate tan head. Not too much lacing left in the glass.

The smell of this was of citrusy hops and mildly sweet malts. Definitely the most hoppy smelling amber/red I've yet come across.

The taste is of mildly sweet malts, floral hops, and a bittering hops citrusyness. I think the hoppiness of this added a considerable amount of depth to what would have otherwise been a typically bland amber ale. I think this is well balanced, so long as the drinker doesn't mind a little hoppiness. While it's not an IPA, someone expecting a bland amber might be taken aback by it. Me, I think it's just fine.

This is a very medium bodied ale. The carbonation is not too much for the style. Just about right, I'd say.

This is a very drinkable amber ale, and is more interesting than most in the style, in my opinion. I don't know why more brewers don't add more hops to them, personally. At the very least NW brewers, who have such a reputation for hoppy beers anyway, should add a little more than the norm, perhaps start a sub-style of their own - the Northwest red/amber ale. Just a thought. I could have had several of these, and if I hadn't wanted to add to my "tour de beers" sheet, I'd have had several more.

 1,627 characters

Photo of QXSTER1
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer makes unfiltered wheats look like distilled water. It poured a turbid, dense, opaque, reddish brown that was a bit disconcerting at first. The bottle version is much clearer. My initial impression was a dominant cidery, fruity taste. This led into some caramelly, thicker malt flavors that blended well with the fruit. Some sourness in mid palate and then some subtle hop bitterness to finish. This is a red to be reckoned with. Not just an ale with a bit of red color, but a bold, complex, head of the class red ale. If you liked this in the bottle wait till you try it on tap.

 588 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It also has a kick ass piney hop aroma that enhances the beer. The taste is good. It has a good malty core with pale and crystal malts, but the flavor is overpowered by an awesome piney hop taste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a damn good red ale, maybe the best I've ever had. This is a good sessions ale.

 534 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 496 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!