Jamaica Sunset India Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 257
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.

 660 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think this IPA somewhat undervalued. It had a veryunfiltered look about it, many floaties in a light grapefruit coloured body, crowned by a thick white foam. Hop aromas. The taste, appropriately carbonated, of orange citrus and a nice melange of hops. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

 283 characters

Photo of crossovert
2.32/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Comes in a cheesy looking stubby 12 oz brown bottle. No sign of a freshness date.

Pours into my American pint glass with a foamy one finger off white head and a murky brown/amber body. A huge mass of sediment lurks in the bottom of the glass, leaving me to think this one might be old.

Smell is malty, similar to an older English IPA. Just some nutty smelling malts here, nothing else, completely and utterly void of hops.

Hops show up in the taste slightly, but it is mostly malt, really tastes like an English IPA after it made its way around Africa back in the day. Has a little bit of lemon sourness and some metallic flavor as well. Not the strongest American IPA for sure, it doesn't seem fresh.

This is nowhere near the quality of Steelhead form the same brewery, and I purchased them at the same time, so maybe this one is fresh and is just supposed to taste stale.

 877 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.87/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left behind sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of pine and strong floral notes. Also, touches of citrus and roasted malt.

T - It tasted of quite a bit of pine and citrusy, bitter hops. It had a nice toasty malt flavor to balance things out.

M - This brew was fairly thin for an IPA. It was a crisp, light bodied ale.

D - This is a pretty tasty IPA with loads of piney hops.

 456 characters

Photo of MisterClean
4.3/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From total wine

A - Pours an unfiltered and hazy orange with 2 fingers of off-white head. Dissipates slow and leaves really nice lacing.

S - Honey, grapefruit, and citrus.

T - Honey, citrus, and bittering hops. Tastes like I just bit into a grapefruit.

M - Full-bodied and hop dominated.

D - An excellent quaff. This should be a standby for an IPA.

 353 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this one.

Pours a cloudy dark golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, with some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is more on the malt side with this one, with some hops and citrus. The taste is sweet, malty, hoppy, with some citrus. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty IPA.

 347 characters

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.

 636 characters

Photo of Tone
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of hops, earthy malt, biscuit, some all spice, and tart malt in the finish. Fits the style of a American IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick with a low carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front, sweet malt next, some all spice comes through strongly, and a dry/bitter finish. Overall, if you like a spicy IPA this is not bad at all.

 447 characters

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.

 756 characters

Photo of captenaj
3.26/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I found this in a Total Wine store in Fort Myers, Florida.

Appearance: A nice copper color with practically no head. Slightly cloudy.

Smell: Hops, orange, fruity.

Taste: A flat, hoppy flavor initially overpowers anything else. After a while, a slight orange flavor comes through.

Mouthfeel: Thin and rich at the same time.

Drinkability: Too much alcohol to make more than one or two of these a possibility in one sitting. But very refreshing on a hot day.

 461 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
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 standard pint glass.

Appearance- Darker golden in color approaching amber. Unfiltered as I can see lots of clouded yeast in the pour. About a one finger head and light spotty lace left behind.

Smell- A lighter nose of toasted malt and some grapefruit pith hops.

Taste- Well rounded in malt and hops, but nothing really jumps out as outstanding. More grapefruit rind in the hops rather than the juice. Malt is nicely toasted and melds well with hops.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level with a short lived hoppy bitter aftetaste.

Drinkability- Middle of the road IPA, not great, not bad...just there.

 733 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A bottle conditioned brew, she pours a hazy amber orange after giving it the swirl. A lazy ivory head pops up, and quickly resides. It goes leave sticky ring laces.

Aroma is big pine and citrus, west coast style. Quaff gets done in the dirt, with an earthy and woody backbone. Finishes clean and crisp, just a slight oily note. A funky kick of rotten orange drops the taste average down.

Not the tastiest IPA I've ever had, but still a solid contender.

 454 characters

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.

 507 characters

Photo of ewright
3.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass with very little head that dissipated within 30 seconds. The beer is a rather murky copper color.

S: Moderate hop nose with equal parts citrus peel, mint and a musty note. Hints of tangerine peek out.

T: The bitterness is not apparent up front, nor is it a clean bite late... it shows up strangely in the middle. Grapefruit peel dominates the bitterness, the malt is there for balance, but contributes no obvious notes to the palate.

M: The one word that keeps popping into my head is round. This beer starts off mellow, gives a good kick in the middle, then finishes too mellow. Moderate to low carbonation makes it feel just a bit dull as well.

D: This is an easy drinker, not challenging except for the odd timing of the flavor elements. It's a slightly above average IPA, but nothing spectacular.

 852 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

NOTES 9/12/08
Nice cloudy orangish pour with one finger of fluffywhite head. Very nice floral hop,and citrusy aroma. Flavor is of varied hop notes,floral,citrus, and a nice malt background,maybe a touch of honeyall with a nice dry finish. Very enjoyable,and drinkable

 267 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3.17/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A VERY fruity IPA. Copper pour with sediment and a big whitish head. Spicy aroma with hops, wood, and sweeter fruits. Grapefruit and citrus hops take over the palate, but without the IPA bitterness. Lots of hibiscus and passionfruit give this a tangy sweetness. Dry and light on the back end. I like it, but it really is not that good of an IPA.

 345 characters

Photo of BMoney575
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 11-23-08

Pours a super cloudy bright orange, with a filmy head and light lacing.

Smell is all sweet hops, deeper and more complex than usual. Unbelievably good.

Taste is surprisingly buttery and sweet, I wonder if I've got an older one. Still, decently complex and very tasty.

Mouthfeel is great, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is decent, though the sweetness is a bit much.

Overall, a good beer, but I can't wait to have a fresh one.

After reading other reviews, I'm thinking that this is as good as it gets. Too bad.

 542 characters

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.

 1,174 characters

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.05/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sunset IPA pours a slightly cloudy orange body with carbonation bubbles providing a slightly thin white head.

The aromas present are a decent hop aroma providing citrus character, but not a ton going on in the nose for an IPA.

Flavor is slightly subdued for what I expected in a 7% IPA. A bready malt is matched and overtaken by bitterness that finishes slightly dull rather than crisp and vibrant.

The mouthfeel is rather smooth with lighter carbonation.

Perhaps this bottle isn't the freshest. I hope to give this a try when I know I am getting it fresh. The hop character just doesn't seem to slap me in the face like a good IPA should.

 643 characters

Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.05/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served cool from a brown 12 oz stubby into a small pilsner glass.

Pours orange and hazy with a rocky tan head.

Aroma is fruity and slightly malty.

Flavor is cloying with caramel sweetness.

Moderately bitter and decent weighty mouthfeel.

Drinkability is pretty poor. I've brewed better. IPAs aren't that difficult--commercial brewers should try harder than this example.

 375 characters

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.

 253 characters

Photo of argock
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Murky honey-orange with respectable off-white, sticky head and tons of fine reticular lacing, mostly at the top of the glass but some down the sides as well.

S: Pretty mellow for an IPA, but this is still a raw hops edge to the aroma. Sweet caramel and lightly toasted malts are present in addition to some soft floral and citrus fruit aromas.

T: Solidly malted without a doubt as this beer has pretty equal parts sweetness and bitterness. The sweetness is up front with a more leafy + fruity hops bitterness coming through in pretty dry finish.

M: Good mouth-coating feel that is not overly oily but thick as this beer is majorly malted. Aftertaste is bitter with leafy and soft fruity hops.

D: A really nice IPA (-) -- pretty malty and a little underhopped to be a true-blue IPA, but it is a well-crafted beer that has received a lot of attention from its makers. The high-quality malting is evident and the flavors are very nicely blended -- I'd put it as a hard-edged APA in my book.

 1,069 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Arcadia IPA glass I snagged from my brother a few years ago when I moved out of Mom and Pop's place. Features an attractive bright orange amber with a thick but brief head and plenty of carbonation on the body. Nose is sweet with yeast,, vanilla, and citrus and present but not overpowering hops in the shadows.

The taste is dry with a nice closing bitterness and tones of vanilla, citrus, and mild pepper. Alcohol is on the field but not the superstar. The finish is aggressive and lined with withering citrus hops. Mouthfeel is balanced and slightly oily. Not my favorite IPA but a good choice for the curious and worth trying.

 645 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Short, fat, stout, single, twelve-ounce bottle just copped from New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street in Manhattan...
Pours a hazy, murky, tawny, ruddy, dark-copper hue with a modest head that quickly receded and deposited a thin flim of lacing around the edge of the serving glass...
Thick, hop-based, citrus-filled aroma with hints of vanilla and caramel thrown about in the mix...
Taste: Superb, hop-filled, citrus-dominated aroma with strong nuances of lemon, lime, and lemongrass... Supremely refreshing with an impressive 6.4% ABV...
Excellent rendition of a classic American IPA...
Highly recommended...

 613 characters

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).

 1,466 characters

Jamaica Sunset India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.59 out of 5 based on 257 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.