Jamaica Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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

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Reviews: 257 | Ratings: 499
Photo of BeerManDan
1.7/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The high light of this red ale was the color when poured, then it was rock bottom from there on. Red was the color and the taste was sooo sour that I poured it down the drain. That is what was left of the six pack went down the drain. It was so sour, that I can't even tell you what the taste was. Blah!

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Photo of rastaman
1.8/5  rDev -53.2%
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 Braudog
2.52/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On draft at KClingers: Cherry red with virtually no head. After all the big beers I’ve been drinking tonight, this presented very thin with hardly any carbonation, almost like cherry juice. it drank very smooth with little to offend even the novice beer drinker. Very even keeled and well made, but nothing to make it stand out. (#2719, 2/18/2007)

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Photo of RixBeer
2.6/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Orange with yellow highlights with no head. looks like it has no body.

nasty smell that reminds me of swamp water. Totally gross.

Interesting taste. Reminiscent of a Murphy's but better. Not that that's saying much.

It feels like I'm forcing this one down. I'm not a fan.

I guess you could drink many of these, if you were already drunk and wanted to keep the buzz going.

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Photo of dmatsui
2.63/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip. 2-finger off-white head with good, sticky retention. Looks more like a brown ale.

roasty sweetness in the nose but a distinct hint of tropical fruit, although it's very subtle.

Clean, full-bodied maltiness with a good hop profile. not particularly astonishing, drinks more like a brown ale.

It's good, but it doesn't stand out. I feel like I've had this beer a million times.

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Photo of u2carew
2.67/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

(A) Amber in color. Visible "floaties" in the content and not completely transparent. Visible carbonation. Pours with minimal head and then bubbles move to the edge of the glass.
(S) Noticeable malt aroma, slight yeast smell, and some citrus notes.
(T) Bitterness from start to finish, coupled with a sweet malty and a just a touch of apricot.
(M) A strong body beer, but has a full body initially but then quick fades. The bitterness lingers too long.
(D) I found this tough to drink with a lingering bitterness long after I had finished my swig.

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Photo of jneiswender
2.75/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Served cool.

A-amber red body, clear and a beige head, thick

S-doughy and floral

T-sweet front, some fruit stone, bitter yet stale hop flavor

M-medium to full body, very rich on the palate

D-okay representation of the style but the hop flavor was a bit stale. I think I would go for other representations of this style.

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.86/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color is a fine red, they got that part right. Head is decent, creamy off-white. It smells like fucking wheat bread and caramel, mostly wheat bread. The taste is grainy and husky with notes of that wheat bread again. Where are the hops that were noted on the label? I don’t taste the citrus notes spoken of and I feel cheated. Overall, this one is average. I wonder if it wasn’t old, as I have never seen this brand in Colorado as far back as I can remember.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.88/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A red ale that is fairly hoppy, although not as much as, say, Odell's red. While these hops are prominent, they are over shadowed by a not-so-good malt presence. I'm not sure what it is, but the malt seems musky and stank. Perhaps the selected hops, which are earthy and piny, accentuates this malt characteristic. I don't know, honestly. I want to drink it again to make sure, but it's just not happening.

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Photo of nohead02
2.97/5  rDev -22.9%
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 Soonami
2.98/5  rDev -22.6%
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 bradybeer
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light orange color-not what I would call red. Little to no head, hops or malt aroma. Taste is rough-and I find a little harsh-I can't tell if it is the hops of th malt but there is a harshness to it. Mouthfeel is OK and on the medium side. Drinkabiity is average for me because the harshness is too much for me and I don't think I could have more than one or to of these

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Photo of 1whiskey
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle pours out a hazy copper color with a one finger head that quickly disappers. A quick swirl resurrects it.

Smells of musty grain and pine/citrus notes. Burnt sugar? I may need to let this warm up. It's pretty muted. 10 minutes later: Rich caramel and yeasty (bread) are now noticeable.

Interesting mix on the palate. Resinious hop flavors of pine and citrus are noticable, but so is a terricfic toasted grain and rich malt base. A good tea-like bitterness comes forward after a few sips (tettanager hops?). The individual elements are all fine, but they all seem somehow disparate. They do, however, come together more as this warms.

Medium body and a chewy mouthfeel, the hop resins leave quite an aftertaste on your tongue. Adequate carbonation. An interesting beer but not a sessioner.

I would definately recommend letting this warm up (way up, over 50 degrees) before drinking it, as this improved considerably as it warmed.

Additional notes: Mad River is one of my favorite breweries and, in my opinion, one of the most underapprieciated. Unfortunately, I think this beer is one of the reasons why. It's one of the few beers that MR distributes outside of CA and I believe it is their poorest offering. Additionally, this beer, like some other MD offerings, is somewhat inconsistent from batch to batch. It's still worth trying, but if you don't like it, don't let it steer you away from their other brews.

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Photo of TheDeuce
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mad River Jamaica Red Ale…..in a bottle….at Perilla in NYC

Nice to see more and more restaurants putting more craft beers on the menu.

Appearance-a mostly clear red with a tan head that rises about three fingers, but this head breaks away quickly and dissipates.

Smell-light fragrance of caramel malt and some pined hops. A little bit of bread as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel-light to medium mouthfeel, starts off with a bit of hop and then a medium breadyness throughout the whole sip. It’s smooth and the carbonation feels good, the taste leaves quickly and finishes clean. Hard not to wish for a little more backbone in the flavor, though what is here does work and is inoffensive.

Overall-a smooth beer that is fine for sessioning and went well with my meal, that said on its own it pales in comparison to much better beers of the same style.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber color. Ivory thin head leaves little lace.
S: Caramel. Sweet. Raspberry. Apples.
T: Sweet caramel malt prominent. Some earthy hoppiness takes background role. Clean, slightly sweet finish.
M: Medium carbonation, medium body.
O: Too malty for me, especially because it's not especially complex.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color, kind of cloudy, small white foamy head. Aroma is malty and slightly sweet. Hoppy and slightly bitter, nicely malty. Malts are nutty and sweet. Good flavor with some malt sweetness. Smooth mouthfeel. Finish is smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of mhewes
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A : Pours a reddish amber with an offwhite head. Good lacing is left behind on the glass

S : Not much. Get some caramel malts and a little hop aroma

T : Good malt flavor with some floral hops.

M : Medium body, good carbonation

D : Just a ho-hum red ale. Not one that excites me enough to think about going out to get more of it.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fine bubbled, light cocoa colored head. Brown colored beer with a cola glow. Smells like pineapple juice. Solid malt base with a tropical hop flavor and a mildly bitter finish. A hoppy red ale that just didn't taste right, not sure if it was off or just not my thing.

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Photo of Sammy
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Passable red ale, more malty than hoppy. Drinkable, but not very drinkable. Dark amber appearance was pleasant. Malts in the nose. More or less, not that interesting, a tad of citrus after a tad of spiciness.Average mouthfeel though carbonation a bit aggressive. WOuld like more hops.

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Photo of avalon07
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a reddish-brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was a quarter inch of long-lasting head and decent lacing.

S: Smelled of hops, a little citrus and malt.

T: Taste consisted of floral hops, faint citrus and malt. Mainly it was just thin and uninspired. Not in keeping with the style.

M: A fair amount of carbonation and a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is an uneven beer. In the end, as with all beers, it comes down to the taste, and this one just isn't that great.

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Photo of Blitzen15
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark amber in low light, red when put in front of a lamp. yellow head that dissipates in seconds

S - Similar to a flavored coffee without the coffe, think hazelnut but with a considerable amount of IPA mixed in.

T - The nutty flavor is the same as the smell however it is more distinctly a red and there is no sense of a pale ale left. Sweet not bitter.

M - Very creamy. It is thick enough to linger in the mouth and has almost no fizz but still not flat.

D - Not an instant favorite but an enjoyable alternative to your favorite red.

Purchased at: Ladd's & Co.

served on: 6JUL2010

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Photo of mralphabet
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Dark amber color little cloudy with a nice creamy colored head, about a finger and a half worth of head. Settles to a wonder layer and lacing from top to the bottom.... Fantastic looking beer.

S: Malt right up front... then mild hops and a touch of grass.

T: I'm getting the grass maybe a little pine and hops up front then finishes with a light malt.. The hoppy bitterness shows up in the aftertaste. Really my hops than I was expecting.

M: Medium bodied good carbonation.. leaves the mouth a little sticky

D: Not a bad little brew.. little more hoppy than I like my Reds, but the ABV is very well hidden. Worth looking for if you are looking for a little different red..

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Photo of HamdenHector
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;

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Photo of Brent
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

For some reason it always strikes me as funny that the beer is named "Jamaica" and the brewery feels compelled to note in large letters on the label that it is made in the USA. Afraid people will confuse this with Red Stripe, perhaps?

Certainly no comparison in taste (thank goodness). Big malt, with a strong streak of caramel sweetness that is a bit overbearing and takes too much control of the flavor profile. Hops struggle valiantly, but, in the end, must take solice in at least hanging in there. Pleasant enough, but not the best example of the style.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Sam Adams crazy glass. Appears a deep reddish-brown copper color, with lots of orange hues shining through when held up to natural light. LOTS of sediment; presumably yeast... at least I hope it's yeast... I mean, there are big freakin' yeast chunks in this beer. Weird, because there was no real warning of it on the bottle label. Oh well. It smells bready, probably due to all the yeast sediment, with some sweet malt scents thrown in for good measure. The taste is decent - malty caramel with some faint dark fruit flavors. But it's still a bit too bready for me to really enjoy a lot. Mouthfeel is solid.

I wonder if all the Jamaica Red Ale bottles contain this much yeast. I'd also like to try this on tap. It's a fine tasting beer, with a lot going for it, but that bread scent and taste is a bit overwhelming for me. Tone it down just a bit and you've got yourself a pretty darn good beer.

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Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 499 ratings.
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