Jamaica Red Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

very good
506 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

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Ratings: 506 |  Reviews: 258
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.

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Photo of 1fastz28
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very deep red amber color with a nice 2 finger head on it. smell is very good, has a great biscuity maltiness to it a slight chocolate hint to it. Taste is good too, has a nice malt taste to it and a slight malt kick to it, its a good balance overall. Mouthfeel is rich and full, not watery at all, drinkability is good, i'm parched so this one is going down fast. a good beer, recommended

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a really good beer. I really enjoyed it.

Appearance- red coloring, good head, good head retention

Smell- pleasing aroma, malty with vanilla and spicy notes

Taste- earthy malts

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, smooth

Drinkability- really good beer, would definitely drink it again, reminds me of my days living in Arcata

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Photo of RobH
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby brown bottle.

A: Lovely red hue with bubbly, lively, long lasting head.

S: A hop-forward red ale, which comes through right away on the nose. Pleasant.

T: More hoppy than I was hoping for (I enjoy a more balanced amber/red ale), but not over the top and therefore still an enjoyable beer.

M: Lively in the mouth with lots of carbonation.

D: Not as quaffable for me due to the hops-forward nature of this Red, but I would certainly have one again. I just won't choose this over some other more balanced ambers/reds when given the choice.

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Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tight, if modest, long-lasting head. Some spottiness on the glass after each sip. Brown color with a definitive haze

Caramel aroma, light toffee; almost like a brown ale. No notable hop.

The key to middle-of-the-road beers is the complexity and balance. While the smell is slightly sweet with no bitterness, the flavor has a wonderful hop bitterness that lingers through the aftertaste. There's a touch of cream in the mouth, both in flavor and body. A very nice beer.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Total Wine

A - Pours an unfiltered mahogany with a 3 fingered orange-white head. Dissipates slow and leaves very nice lacing.

S - Chocolate and caramel. Cannot smell any hops.

T - Chocolate, caramel, accompanied by light grapefruit and light flowers.

M - Full-bodied, well-balanced, viscous and lightly dry.

D - Pretty good. Very sessionable, but could be less dry and use more hops for my preference.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a woody amber hue, not far from dried dark turkish apricots. a fair bit of particulate makes it hazy. a creamy almond colored two-finger head fades relatively quickly but leaves behind a nice foamy collar.

aroma is decently malty with some nice vanilla and spice notes. just a touch of floral earthy hops. a hint of grapefruit. relatively mellow... although what's there smells great. if aroma was a bit stronger and more amplified, I'd be floored.

taste is powerfully rich, yet smooth and mellow. Rich malt, roasty and toasty, with a nice hop kick at the end that lends a nicely clean bittering. earthy and spicy hops with just a hint of grapefruit. the earthy, roasty, almost peaty malt still gets to shine through, making this a pretty solid red.

medium body, ample carbonation, a hint of caramel and sweet thickness without being syrupy or sticky. nice clean carbonation lends a bit of crispness that works nicely with the hop bitterness.

all in all, a pretty good red ale. not amazing, and not as hoppy as I was expecting from Mad River, but a decent effort that yields a relatively drinkable - if not entirely exciting - red ale. I'd certainly consider revisiting again.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.32/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Gaudy label with no freshness date. Opaque caramel color with a tan head and sticky lace. Overall look is muddy and unappealing.

Smells of heavy cider-like caramel malt with a pleasant citrus hop aroma. Mild burnt yeast.

Caramel with citrus hop. Nice bitter in back. Aftertaste is hoppy and very spicey with mild plum. Mouthfeel is generally unremarkable, maybe leaning towards watery. One is enough for me.

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Photo of jonziefle
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: Poured a deep red/brown dark amber. Almost clear with visible micro-suspension particles. One finger khaki head. Okay retention; reduced to a thin layer in about a minute. No visible carbonation. Some lacing, but not much.

Smell: A mix of dark malts and dark fruit hops. Some sweetness. Not overly strong. Earthy.

Taste: Some earthy malts, with some sweetnes as well. Hops are present, but compliment the malts and don't really stand out on their own. A mild hop bite just before the end that moves into a toasted/smokiness that lingers the rest of the way.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and very smooth. Crisp. A nice bite up front, but ends creamy.

Drinkability: A good beer that was not quite what I was expecting. Less hops and more malts than most of the Amber/Reds I've had. Easy drinker though, with a unique taste.

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Photo of beachbum1975
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce brown bottle picked up in a mixed sixer I made at the Root Cellar a couple weeks ago.

Pours a nice, slightly cloudy ruddy-dark brown. Average tan head that disappears quickly leaving a little skimming of suds on the top with some big bubbles in the mix.

Smells like a red... Sweet malts mixed with a nice blend of sugary, floral hops. Light nuttiness in the mix, as well.

The nose follows into the flavor. Starts big with sweet, lightly toasted and caramelized malts and fades with nuttiness coming through. Aftertaste and finish is light, floral hops. Not too complex, but enjoyable, for what it's worth.

Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation on the mouthfeel. Adequate, consistent boded.

Nice, easy sessionable beer - 4's across the board on this one...

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Photo of yesyouam
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad River Jamaica Red is a very cloudy dark amber ale with a small light beige head that fades but leaves great lacing. It has a strong, sweet, malty aroma with a piny spice. There are notes of candied orange peel and fruit cake in the nose. It is medium-- maybe medium-full bodied. It is soft and smooth with a clean, dry finish. It has a full semi-sweet malty flavor that kind of reminds me of frosted cupcakes. It is well-balanced with a citrus-pine bitterness and it has a resiny flavor. This is kind of like a light barleywine. This is pretty classic. I used to drink a bunch of this back in the day, but I don't remember it tasting quite like this.

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Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a deep copper colored brew with a nice thick tan head and a ton of lacing. The aroma is a very edible blend of malt and oatmeal rye hops. The flavor is sweet creamy malt and grassy hops. There's a touch of nuttiness with a late apple and grape fruitiness. I get some burnt rye toast. It's plenty drinkable, midland body at most. Overall a very tastey brew. Recommended.

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Photo of eelriverbrewfan
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this beer is local to my area so i must say that i am a bit partial to it. mouthfeel is the most impressive part of the beer as it is very flavor rich. not the best for a day at the river but a great session ale. folks who like this should try the scotch porter as well.

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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.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish copper with a thin tan head that descends to a wide patch. Dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of grapefruit, caramel, some breadiness and a hint of herbal spicing.

The taste is of grapefruit and herbal hop spicing backed by caramel and some musty bread. Finishes with a bitter dryness, but with a rounding sweet caramel sweetness.

It has a sharp, firm medium body.

Very drinkable despite the bite. Hoppy, but with a caramel maltiness in play too, and some breadiness. A solid choice for a hop-accented red!

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear, dark amber. Nearly two fingers of light brown, almost orange head rise. Retention is decent, minimal lacing.

S - Considering the taste, there isn't a lot going on in the nose. Mainly caramel with a bit of toasted grain. Slight fruity and piney notes but I'm fighting to find them.

T - Very, very good. Caramel sweetness kicks things off with a burst of apple and apricot. Molasses and butterscotch hide in the background. Mid palate the sweetness fades a notch and some citrus and pine pull through. Earthy flavors enter the picture with a moderate bitterness drying things out quite well. Aftertaste is filled with remnants of rock candy and an almost strawberry-like flavor.

M - Solid medium body with low carbonation. Couldn't imagine it any other way.

D - Extremely drinkable. Jamaica Red Ale is another example of how well a moderately hopped amber works. Impressive to say the least, wonderful balance.

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

This review is from notes. I had this beer on tap at Tyler's Taproom in Durham, NC. It was the featured beer on "Pint NIght", so I got to take the Jamaica Red logo pint glass home! Gotta love Pint Night at Tyler's!

A: Dark copper color with a reddish tinge to it when held up to the light. No head and no lacing, but a slight halo of bubbles around the edge. Some visible carbonation..

S: More malty than hoppy to my nose. A nice sweet earthy smell.

T: Very malty sweet up front, but hops come to the forefront as the beer goes down the back of the throat. This beer finishes with a hoppy bitterness.

M: The maltiness gives this beer a velvety mouthfeel that fades quickly into bitterness.

D: This is a very drinkable beer on tap -- not overly sweet, bitter, or high in alcohol. I'm sure I'll have this one again.

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

A - Nice dark earthy red with a beige well laced head.

S - coppery with slight hops and rich malt. I got a funny, natural watermelon smell...not a bad thing it was nice. Very very pleasant aromas.... pretty psyched to taste this one.

t - Taste delivers just like the smell. Nice vanilla backing to the sweet more prominent malt notes. Juicy ripe melon fruit comes before the sweet hop finish. This is incredibly balanced....so impressive!

M - Nice prickly carbonation enhances the coppery hop bite. Medium mouthfeel. Nice cool finish.

D - Exceptionally smooth and refreshing. This will be a frequent go to when the weather gets warm. The cool looking label will undoubtly spark some attention at the campsite this year. I'll stock up by the case.

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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 mithrascruor
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Callahan's, San Diego.

Pours a dark copper-red color with light off-white head. Mild spicy citrus aroma. Taste is malty but spicy and has a citrus finish and aftertaste. Noticeable carbonation but still generally smooth. Though a tad strong, it has a nice balance and can work nicely as a session beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

01/12/09- Purchased at Total Wine in Roseville, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, forgot to look for freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Caramel-brownish-red in color. One fingered head upon pour leaving some small spots of watery lace behind.

Smell- More of a deep roasted malt flavor, maybe a slight whiff of chocolate and some hops.

Taste- Hops aren't as prevelant as I would expect in an American Red Ale. They are there, but not really a large bite. The malt, which is pretty deep really defines this beer.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level, rather thick and chewy for a lower abv beer. Not much of an aftertaste.

Drinkability- Perfectly fine output from Mad River. Not for hopheads though. Pretty easy drinking, but malty Red.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: clouded light crimson, with nice ruby-like tones. Nice off white colored head with sticky lace

S: spiced hops, rich burnt caramel, with just a whiff of malts

T: husky and raw flavors throughout! Hops boast a large presence with acidic fruity characteristics as well as plenty of peppery bite. Malts are softly present and are paired with a touch of bread-like characteristics. Sweetness is earthy and smooth and leads me to a very light touch of chocolate on the tongue...dang I am really digging this beer!

M: active carbonation and good smooth character. A nice clean and rather crisp finish

D: I could drink this all the time. Great balanced beer overall...from hops to malts to sweetness, this brew has a nice vibe

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

A very dark amber pour with a fluffy off white head some yu7mmy sediment floating around.. A very nice spicy,citrus hop aroma for a red. A nice full body,very nice mouthfeel,with lots of hop flavor,and just the right amount of caramel malt to balance it out.Crisp finish. Very enjoyable.

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

Looking good in the Sammy freebie glass, a hazy copper/amber pour with a creamy ivory head. Leaves a bit of Brussels lace. Darn bottle has no dating though.

Malty aroma with a touch of chocolate milkshake. Doughy toasted bread in the quaff, along with that unique pop of chocolate smore. Weird, but tasty none-the-less. Well balanced with a sturdy kick of spicy hops in the finish.

Not a bad red at all. Good one from this brewery now hitting the Midwest area.

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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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Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 506 ratings.
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