Jamaica Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

very good
256 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: 256 | Ratings: 497
Photo of 360logic
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rich red with a small white head that fizzles out after about a minute. Not very impressive looking.

S: Malts, Pine trees, citrus, hops and a hint of corn

T: Very well balanced. Bigger malt character than other reds with medium hops.

M: Retains a surprising amount of carbonation. Manages to be fizzy with a medium body, balances a satisfying medium.

O: Very drinkable, one of the better red ales I've yet had.

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Photo of Brenden
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
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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Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: good amber hue with a light haze and a very good effervescence. Head is a thick finger of frothy ivory foam.

Smell: a bit of sweet caramel malt with a good contribution of citrusy and earthy hops. Well-done.

Taste: nice flavor with just the right amount of caramel malt, so it is not too sweet but has a definite red ale character. Hops are pretty forward with an earthy/citrus character and a relatively strong bitterness. I like it quite a lot.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a big carbonation. Not precisely creamy, but tingly and very refreshing.

Overall: a very good and drinkable red ale. This is not usually my favorite style, but Mad River have done a great job here.

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Photo of tony223366
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Huge frothy head after a vigorous pour. Head is a tan color with both small and large bubbles. Color is a darker amber, almost mahogany. In other words a brown bear brown with ruby red highlights. Nice lacing on the glass as well. I do notice a little fogginess in the glass though.

S: Mostly citrus up front from the hops. There's some light fruitiness as well from the malts. They mostly come off as a rich caramel but finish on the bready end. Not too big of a nose, but not bad either.

T: Very drinkable! This is why I love reds. The hops are definitely the front runner on the palate, coming off in a big citrus way. But then you get a lot of malt depth with some rich caramels and even some fruitiness. The finish is lightly bitter, but there's some definite sweetness in this beer too.

M: Medium to heavy carbonation with a nice medium body. Slick from hops.

O: Very tasty red that's worth the acclaim it receives. This is one of my favorite styles and this is a good showing. It actually has a fairly clean finish too.

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Photo of hopwave
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass...

deep ruby red colour, 2 finger off white head.

mouthfeel is very full/nice for the style.

Smell/Taste is sweet hops/malt. sharp hop bitterness followed by a nice liite sweetness at the end.

Very nice Red... will be picking this up again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with a quarter of an inch of brownish, soft, dense head that has great retention. Big, malty, bready, barley malt dominates the nose. There are also hints of a sugary sweetness. The flavor is also dominated by malt is far subdued from what the nose would have you believe. The malt character is bready with a slight sugary sweetness in the finish. There are faint notes of dark fruit as the beer warms. The hop character is very mild and offers only balance and very faint astringency in the finish. The mouthfeel is lighter than expected, smooth, and well carbonated.

This is a sessionable beer, but disappointing. The nose was big and robust leading me to believe the flavor would be intensely malt forward and medium to full bodied. In my opinion it fell short of the mark. I would have it again though if offered.

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Photo of OleJohnnieAle
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber could with nice creamy head that settles into a nice thin collar. Left thin lacing behind.

S: Some nice malts on the front side with a very mild hint carmel and floral hops.

T: A lot hoppier than I thought it would be, there is a sweetness from the carmel but moreso there is a piney hop flavor coming through. Nice bitterness that is not overpowering. NIce flavor and very well balanced.

M: Well carbonated with a medium bodied. slight bitterness from the hops that left a little resin feel.

O: Suprised by this one. I personally like the hops in this one. Will search this one out again.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear, bold copper with 3/4" head and lasting lace. It's aroma is of nuts, roasted malt, and fruity citrus. Tha flavor is a mix of roasted nuts, grapefruit, and caramel with a hint of spice. Interesting but it works well. The mouthfeel is medium. Mad River Red Ale is a pretty good beer, balanced and refreshing. Recommended!

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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 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

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a BrewDog cervoise glass. Received in a mysterious "beer of the month" package with no sender information...lucky me!

A: A touch more than a finger of loose head, replenished for a while by the copious amounts of bubbles. The beer is, in fact, red (well, reddish brown) and barely translucent. Scattered lacing. Looks good!

S: I can smell fruit from feet away. Up close, it's hoppier, with crisp bready malts. I'm impressed by the balance and strength of the nose.

T: It *is* fruity, almost tropically so. Mango? Peach? Hops offer a citrus edge and light bittering effect that cuts all sweetness from the latter part of the taste. It finishes dry, toasty, and pleasant. Perhaps a modicum of wheat is responsible for the pleasing sweet-softness that accompanies the initial burst of fruit.

M: Caramelised malt in the middle is chewy and gives excellent body to the beer. Unobtrusive carbonation allows the hop/malt interplay to shine.

O: Perhaps the best amber ale I've had to date. Unexpectedly delicious. More sweet than not, in the final tally, but it was fun to figure that out. Recommended. I would drink again.

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 45.3
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Crystal 70/80, Wheat, Black Patent
Hops: Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, Willamette, Summit

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

no obvious freshness date

A: Decent head and retention, some lacing.

S: A burst of hops when I opened the bottle, but not much after that.

T: Sweetish, thick malt with some caramel and a faint touch of roast. Banana, oddly enough, and a reminder of golden raisins. Bitter, piney hops on the finish. For some reason, I had expected more hop character.

M: Reasonably full with good carbonation.

O: Decent enough beer, but nothing outstanding. I would gladly drink it again, but I won't seek it out.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-This beer struts an opaque dark, dark amber color. Color has brown undertones. Very subdued head. Patchy and disconnected from itself. Head still manages to leave serpentine strips of lace periodically.

S-Nose is soft but attractive. Ruby red grapefruit via the hops. Hops are predominantly citrus. Pine intermingles with the citrus. Caramel and sweet-bread malt. I honestly really enjoy the nose but I wish it had more intensity to it. Same aroma, just turn up the dial from a 5 to a 9.

T-Flavor is very balanced. Citrusy and piney initially. The caramel and bread/toast balances out the hop flavors valiantly. Finishes grassy but does not leave much bitterness. Tasty. Sessionable Amber.

M-Medium body. Lightly sticky. Carbonation is very bristly. Slick feel.

O/D-Super deal ($4.99 a sixer). I absolutely love the Amber/Red style, both for its breadth and tendency to e very hop-forward. This is a sessionable, reasonably hoppy version of the style. This beer has no faults, but I would love to see an Imperial/Double version of this beer by Mad River.

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Photo of coldriver
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass. Sufficient head and lacing, pours a cloudy (unfiltered) deep amber. Aroma of caramel and bready malts with some citrus. Taste has the same notes, balance is more toward the malt side but hops are definitely noticeable. Medium carbonation with dry finish. This is a very good amber (but not exceptional) amber that I would be happy to have again.

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Photo of bsp77
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
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 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.

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Photo of horshack7
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: From a twelve ounce bottle is a very dark garnet underneath a frothy one finger worth of head.

Aroma: A fair amount of citrus and tropical fruit notes in the nose. Dark brown bread sweetness aroma with a touch of caramel. There is a twinge of dryness.

Taste: Caramel malt sweetness with a dam smooth mouthfeel. In the middle is a little bit of buttery toffee. For the finish are hints of citrus with a subtle dryness.

Notes: Very drinkable with a really good malt backbone dam tasty. Cheers.

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Photo of hiku7
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cloudy rust red with a beige head. Decent lacing.

Smell is piney and grassy hops and big doses of caramel malt. Taste is similar, with dominant caramel malt. Moderate bitterness throughout, slightly sharp in the finish, though overall decently balanced. Clean yeast, no noticeable esters.

This beer is fairly full bodied and somewhat sweet, which makes it feel a bit big and heavy for an American amber ale. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is decently balanced, but is malt forward. Simple but fairly well done amber ale.

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

Thanks to Cory for this brew!

A: Pours a dark ruby/amber color with a small tan colored head on top. Not much retention, but some nice rings of lacing formed around the edge.

S: A little closed, but there is some sweet malt and caramel. There is a little bit of pine and a touch of grapefruit.

T: Less hoppy than the aroma (which wasn't overly hoppy to begin with), with some caramel, sweet malt - almost candy sweet, and some bready malt.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Drinks smooth with no lingering bitterness.

O: Decent little amber/red ale. Would have liked it a bit hoppier, but thats more preference than a knock on this beer.

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Photo of BeerNutz324
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- pours a dark copper color w/ a brown hue. cloudy. nice foamy head about an inch, good retention too and some lacing.

Ar- sweet malts and piney hops.

T- same as nose, sweet malts, piney hops with a bit of citrus hit you at the end.

M- medium bodied good carbonation

O- I like this red a lot. it has a good balance of malts and is just hoppy enough to appeal to my inner hop head.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: brown and red. Murky. two finger head.

S: mostly caramel malt and some pine.

T: caramel malt with apple and pine/light hop notes.

M: smooth. Moderate carbonation and medium body.

Overall: This one isn't too bad. Its very drinkable and has a fairly complex taste for a red.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a draft at KnB Wine Cellar’s in San Diego, Calif. Color was dark copper, light brownish. About an inch of head. Lots of lacing and lots of film.

Smelled toffee, amber, chocolate and caramel.

First taste was cough syrup. Pretty hoppy. Also some hints of caramel and toffee.

Mild carbonation. A consistent smooth taste.

Not too bad of a red overall. I’d probably give it another try.

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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 cdizinno
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle, different than pictured. No dating information provided on bottle

A: Cloudy, rusty reddish-brown, with a nice off-white head and moderate lacing.

S: Very mild malty, grainy scents. Some background hop aroma present.

T&M: Strong flavored and full-bodied. Nice hop level. Caramel malty sweetness up front. Hop bitterness throughout with a nice tangy fade to a mild sweetness. This stuff has a nice chewy texture and it is well-balanced.

I might not search this one out specifically but it is defintely a decent drinker. Especially if you enjoy the 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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Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 497 ratings.
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