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Jamaica Sunset India Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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148 Reviews
Jamaica Sunset India Pale AleJamaica Sunset India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-30-2001

For Trade:
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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 257
Photo of RootedFool
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Sidelines in Arcata, California.

Arrives with a bright white head resembling creamy cottage cheese. The foam collapses after a couple minutes and leaves a pasty sheet of lace on the glass and a grainy, gray layer of film on the brew's surface. Hazy orange body.

Smell is sour apple sweet and floral hop bitter. The tail end of the nose is a gritty, freshly baked biscuit.

Taste opens with a narrow stab of pine cones, followed by an almost raspberry sweetness, rapidly pursued by a chewy bitterness (grapefruit rinds and spring rain).

Aftertaste is a dry prick of bitterness.

Mouthfeel leaves my palate sticky -- dense and nearly syrupy, but plenty of quenching carbonation.

Resembles a cross between an amber ale and a pale ale -- doesn't have the brawny bitterness I associate with west coast IPA's, not necessarily a bad thing.

Overall: interesting.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. squat amber bottle. No freshness dating.

Appearance: Poured a hazy bright orange color. Thick and bubbling white head thins down to a respectable level. Very nice lacing of the glass. Lots and lots of sediment is clogged on the bottom of the bottle.

Smell: Fresh fruits! Very noticeable aroma of fruit. The beauty of dry hopping.

Taste: Started out loving this, what with the rather unrefined "in yer face" hoppy bitterness. Good malt base balance this bitterness more than expected. Finishes dry and bitter, with a slightly unpleasant grainy flavor that was unexpected.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth, medium-bodied. Nice puckering effect at the end.

Drinkability: Suffers a little due to the rather nasty aftertaste.

Just short of a really good "west coast" IPA IMHO.

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Photo of brentk56
3.81/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a very nice head that leaves quite a few swaths of lace behind; impressive retention

Smell: Rather balanced aromatics with both caramel and pine/grapefruit hops commanding attention

Taste: Caramel malt, up front, followed by a piney hop flavor that evolves in a citrusy orange/grapefruit direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the bitterness lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Quite enjoyable; Mad River has lifted their game with this one

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

No freshness date.

Appearance - Pours hazy rusty orange with an off-white, half finger head. Sub-par retention leads to broken layer of microbubbles across the surface. Lacing is spotty with fair stick. Lots of sediment floating around, though that's never really bothered me.

Smell - Mild tropical fruit notes, touching on pineapple and mango. Hints of bread and caramel.

Taste - Follows the nose; mild notes of tropical fruitiness, backed by a very light bready, almost grainy, malt backbone. Faint caramel. Finishes with a mild citrus pith bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with fair carbonation. Smooth from start to finish.

Overall - A mild example of the style. Nothing outstanding, but this is about as quaffable as IPA's get while still having interesting flavor. 'Jamaica Sunset IPA' is probably the most apt name for this beer. Forget Corona, this is the beer I wanna be drinking while the sun is setting on the beach.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep orange unfiltered glow...like a sunset? And a cream haze overtop.

Nose is sweet IPA, rich.

Big flavor in the mouth, like banana/orange/strawberry juice -- that reminded me of tropical lifesavers, or blood oranges. Fades to malty sweetness in the after. Low carbonation is overtaken by a bitter hop arc followed by the malty after. Spots of alcohol at times. Medium to heavy body -- which made this IPA less drinkable for me.

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Photo of 57md
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy light orange with a thin head that quickly dissipates. There is a light floral aroma that is quite pleasant and a light, but present hoppy flavor upfront. The finish is dry and slightly bitter, but this offering lacks the hop punch that I like to have in an IPA.

Bonus: This beer is proudly union made by the men and women of the IAM.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy, pale golden color, nice, flush white head, stalwart, slowly, but surely diminishing, ...Aroma: spicy, citric, hoppy nose, pungent garpefrit, and peach pits, orange zest, and pineapple pulp, a little sour, and very tangy. very lively.
Those flavors return in the taste, but are accompanied by a huge sourness, an outsized citric twist on the palate, a little too unlean for me. Medium-bodied, with a big blast on first entry, a rounded fruity flavor, then thinning some, but not losing any of the bitterness. It rides long and zestily in the mouth, before eventually fading away. Long, fruity, bitter finish.
Very likable, this one, milder in the hop delivery than I like in my IPAs, but you can't please everyone. This ought to please plenty of folks just fine, and, heck, I like it a bit, too!

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a foggy gold with a creamy white head, smeels like oranges. Nice citrus taste, a mix of orange and grpefruit with a slight malt taste and a dry hoppy mouthfeel, not too much in the hop department for an IPA though, pretty mellow. A strong dry finish, I could surely drink more than one but the dry finish keeps it from being thirst-quenching, the longer you go without another one (or something else) the more your mouth starts to pucker like you've just had an alum lollipop. Not as good as he Red, but certainly worth grabbing for the summer BBQ season.

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Photo of Act25
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Mad.

A Unfiltered - pours a cloudy, dirty blonde beer topped with white lace with a bit of stick.

S Musty, fruit w yeast and a floral bouquet of hops.

T Follows smell but widens. Very smooth. Big malty/sweet body. Crisp, tingly carbonation w hops waking the palate. Offers pineapple, peach, mango. then herbal and spicy, and yeasty finish.

F nice body and finish.

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Photo of boss302
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A Orange color, clear, but there are quite a bit of dregs left in the bottom of the bottle. There was no head to speak of, and I poured it rather aggresively.

S Flowery sweet with some dried fruit, apricot?

T Slight maltiness, with some caramel in the aftertaste. Not as strong a hop flavor as other American IPAs, probably closer to British versions and probably what the brewer intended, i.e. British IPA. Finishes clean with very little hop astringency.

M Medium body, not much bite due to the lower carbonation level. There is a little warmth from the alcohol.

O A good red ale and hopped more appropriately for a British version of the IPA. Recommend.

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Photo of kflorence
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a translucent amber with hints of orange and red. I poured this one aggressively and got about half an inch of frothy foam atop that dissipated to a thin layer of film that leaves a bit lacing around the glass as you drink. Carbonation levels look solid.

S: Lovely citrus and pine hop aroma with a bit of malt in the background. There are also some floral notes and maybe a bit of spice.

T: Taste follows the nose well. Hops hit first, predominantly citrus but definite pine notes in there. Roasted malts come through towards the end of the palate. Finishes dry and bitter with a bit of residual sweetness.

M: This is medium bodied with good carbonation and a bit oily on the tongue. A bit thin for an IPA, but not watery as it has a tiny bit of chewiness to it. I could use a bit more substance, but the thinness of the brew does keep it smooth and easy to drink.

O: Overall, I found this to be a very solid, refreshing take on the American IPA. While this one won't win you over with originality or complexity, it is quite palatable and would make a good session IPA. Some may find the hop levels to be a bit low comparatively to other West coast American IPA's, though I found it to be enjoyable. Another decent brew from Mad River. Cheers!

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Photo of jwc215
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a rich off-white head. Nice head at first, but it descends to an isolated patch with minimal lacing.

The aroma is pretty mild for style - floral and orange citrus with a pale malt, slightly caramelish, backing.

The taste is pale/caramel maltiness with floral and orange/citric overtones. Sharp herbal bitterness in the finish, but in a balanced way.


A nice, but nothing particularly special, IPA, with a mix of floral and orange notes. Mild, but yet sharp, and enjoyable.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz brown short neck.
Very good looking beer, it is a very hazy,dark orange,with a beautiful thick,billowy off white head, loads of great lace down the glass.
Nice hoppy aroma though quite reserved compared to other West Coast IPAs.
the flavour is also quite hoppy but it is not over the top and there is a very complex malt backbone to it. Finishes quite sweet.
The mouthfeel is the best part of this beer forme. Its very slick,smooth and almost velevety and quite "full" for the style.
A nice ,not over the top IPA with a great mouthfeel..will drink again.

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Photo of Morey
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper-orange color with a one finger off-white head that hangs around a bit, and produces some pretty decent lacing.

The aroma is on the mild side for an Ipa (although I'm not sure how fresh this bottle is). Some hops in there for sure, but there is also a mello earthy maltiness going on too.

Taste is pretty balanced. Nice hop bitterness up front, but the malt backbone quickly comes in to round things out. No big citrusy flavors here, but it taste pretty good none the less.

Medium body, with a good carbonation level.

I could easily drink several of these. My bottle says that this Ipa is 7%, so Mad River must have recently upped the alc. content on this one.

Morey's Bottom Line: A pretty good Ipa. Nothing ground breaking, but a solid representation for sure.

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Photo of froghop
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy dark amber-orange with a small dirty white head, good lacing.

smell is of grapefruit, caramel, citrus, floral, some malt in the back.

taste is mellow grapefruit hops, caramel, citrus, some roasted nuts, some spice, end is nicely bitter.

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Photo of rkuhnel
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a local brewery so I want it to do well. Poured in a pint glass this was very attractive gold with little suspended particles that looked like pieces of gold. Nice big fat white head that left great lacing. Great start.

Nose was mostly of hops with overtones of pine, grass, and citrus.

Palate was crisp and clean, but does not hide the alcohol well.

Flavor was much of malts with hops jumping in. There is an odd metallic aftertaste that keeps this from joining the ranks of the top IPA.

Overall, it shapes up as a decent but far from great IPA.

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Photo of woemad
3.67/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased at the Rocket Market in Spokane. No freshness date.

Poured a slightly hazy shade that is just dark of copper, with an inch of white foam. Sheets of foam retreat down the glass, leaving streaks and spots behind.

When first opened, this beer had a very bitter, herbal nose. Allowed to warm, it takes on a more melded, citrus-bitter scent.

Moderately bitter and citrusy hops hit the tastebuds closely melded, with the bitterness maintaining a slight lead. The fadeout is quite dry.

Slightly oily, prickly mouthfeel. About right for the style.

While not a beer that really wows my tastebuds, I find this to be quite drinkable, and I could consume several pints of it were it to appear at my local. It's a little too high to be a session beer, though, and it doesn't quite stand up to the flavor of the other IPAs I'm able to procure on a regular basis.

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Photo of BDIMike
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice look for an IPA. This brew is called a Sunset IPA and that is exactly what it looks like. A great hazy unfiltered brew the colors of a sunset, red-orange on down to yellow. There is a fairly thick white head that laces all the way down the drink.
Smell doesn't have a ton going to it. There is a bit of citrus hops, but also a slight toffee malt to it as well.
Taste is good, but a bit subtle. A good balance of tastes between malt that is taken over by a very nice hop taste.
Mouthfeel is nice for an IPA. A good smooth thickness.
Drinkability is very nice. I didn't realize til after quickly taking down a bottle that this beer was 7% ABV. There is a good balance and an easy drinker. Nothing crazy or special, but a nice session IPA.

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Photo of McStagger
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure on the age of this bottle.

A: Pours a hazy orange with a ton of particulate floating throughout. Two finger khaki head. Great lacing. Good retention. Hard to gauge carbonation due to the insane amount of solid chunks floating throughout the beer.

S: Big tangerine and mandarin notes. Some malt caramel, but little else.

T: Moderate malt backbone. Hops are fairly tropical, but again, the mandarin orange taste simply dominates. It's like canned mandarin oranges, which is very interesting. Some green apple on the finish, with just a soapy bitterness.

M: Crisp, fairly light. This one has a moderate carbonation that helps to cut the malt and alcohol.

O: This one is all over the map. It seriously tastes like mandarin orange syrup. And it looks decent, until you see the particles. Very strange brew, but the flavor is enjoyable. This one would pair nicely with Asian food.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A cloudy glowing deep ruddy orange brew is capped with small layer of khaki foam that reduces pretty quickly to a collar with some wispy haze on the surface of the brew. Some nice lace is left on the glass, and a quick swirl builds the initially flimsy head up to a nice fat finger.

S - Mandarin orange and orange blossoms. A nice thick biscuity malt background allows the mellow citrus and floral note to play out. Some melon and cantaloupe are in there too. This could stand to be a little more assertive though, it's very weak.

T - This has a little more horsepower (hop-power?) in the mouth than in the nose. Again, mellow mandarin orange and cantaloupe. Sort of like a mixed fruit cup initially, then the bitter hops really kick in and give this a very grassy finishing note...like bitter greens.

M - Medium bodied with a very sedate level of carbonation that prickles the tongue just enough to keep this lively. The finish is a really nice herbal/grassy bitter flavor that reminds me of parsley in the aftertaste.

D - A good IPA for sure. I really like the nice off-dry finish more than anything. This one is above average, but not show-stopping by any means.

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Photo of pitasoup
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to flexabull for this bottle.

A: Golden and slightly hazy with half an inch of foamy white head. This was clear in the bottle so the haze might be from the chill, but I did also notice some sediment at the end of the pour. 3.5

S: Hops. Pine and earthy hops. A bit of malty sweetness as well. Towards the end, fusel and oxidized notes come out. 3.5

T: Bam, tons of pine cone bitterness. A fair bit of grapefruit as well. It is as if I stuck my face into a forest. Lingering citrus, faint lemons on the tongue towards the end. Certainly american hops, perhaps simcoe and then a little fuggle? 3.5

M: Medium body. Head is consistently fine and this helps for a smooth mouthfeel. Slight alcohol as this warms. 4.0

O: Pretty fair IPA/DIPA. There was a lot more hop bitterness and not enough aroma to balance it - this could be a freshness issue. Still, this is very drinkable, I could pound quite a few of these, but I have a feeling the abv is deceptive. 4.0

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Photo of felipe2toes
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours copper orange with thick white head--leaves plenty of lacing and crust.

Smells of floral hops, some sort of fruity sweetness, though very mellow for IPA.

Some pine and citrus flavors, maybe even some sweet honey, but not the usual in-yer-face hoppiness in American IPAs. still good.

Good mouthfeel as well, medium-bodied, crisp finish.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours a translucent clouded orange, lots of sediment in suspension. A thin layer of light cream foam holds around pretty well, laying small pockets of lace randomly about the pint glass.

Aroma - powdery biscuit, light fruity citrus. Simple and nice.

Taste - decent biscuity grain with a hint of caramel. Light to moderate citrusy hops, turning slightly more bitter on the swallow but keeping some light orange and fruitiness. Mild bittering at the finish, a pleasant flavor overall.

Mouthfeel - notably solid body, crisply carbonated, and a better than average smoothness.

Drinkability - a nice little session IPA here.

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Photo of malty
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a glowing copper/amber with a tiny amount of micro-suspended yeast particles floating about. The off-white thick head settles down to about an inch. Lots of fine visible uprising carbonation. Some lace working.

Lovely vanilla sweet malty backdrop in the nose with a lush and syrupy floral hop greeting, (though a bit fainter than I would have hoped).

...everything looks and smells quite nice.

The flavors are here, somewhere, but they seem to be hiding from me. (after a few more gulps and swishes...) The bitterness from the hops is felt in my mouth and on my tongue to a point where it's a bit chalky, but the hop flavor is VERY faint. The maltiness of this IPA is reminiscent of an English IPA whereas it creates a solid platform for the hops to take center stage, but sadly the hops in this ale must be experiencing stage fright.

The mouthfeel of this ale is very unique. It has a very thick, dense fullness, which is great. The fine carbonation is felt quite wonderfully. Almost full bodied but still has a somewhat watery feel - very peculiar.

Drinkability is good, and would pair well with a hearty rueben with a spicy rye bread.

Overall a very interesting and unique IPA. The look, smell and texture are great. I'm sorry the (layers of) hops didn't surface and showcase they way I look forward to. I'd love to try this fresh on tap at the brewery as I'd bet this might have suffered from some careless handling, (but I don't have proof of this).

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Photo of mickeymac
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle, it's clear gold with a minimal white head that dimishes quickly but leaves just a trace on top. Flowery hops dominate the smell and the taste. Unfortunately, not much else makes its way through. It's not extremely bitter, but it still somehow seems out of balance. It's not bad but is disappointing after the expectations created by the Jamaica Red.

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Jamaica Sunset India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.59 out of 5 based on 257 ratings.
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