James Ready 5.5
Moosehead Breweries Ltd.

James Ready 5.5James Ready 5.5
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American Lager
Ranked #529
Ranked #47,789
2.71 | pDev: 22.88%
Moosehead Breweries Ltd.
New Brunswick, Canada
James Ready 5.5James Ready 5.5
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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 44 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of biboergosum
2.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

355ml single can, part of the 8-packs they suddenly showed up in around Alberta this past week. Thanks, Nova Scotia!

This beer pours a clear, bright pale golden yellow colour, with four fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fizzy bone-white head, which leaves some random electrical resistance pattern lace around the glass as it eventually blows off.

It smells of gritty and grainy pale malt, a not unsubstantial rice and corn breakfast cereal thing, dead yeast cells, a bit of wan stale apple and pear fruitiness, and some quite underwhelming leafy, weedy, and skunky floral green hop bitters. The taste is skanky 'verdant' hops (hard to differentiate, so I'm not gonna), grainy and bready pale malt, more well-obfuscated cheap cereal notes, mildly soused-up pome fruit esters, a still stupidly extant yeastiness, and more plain leafy, musty, and floral noble hoppiness.

The carbonation is fairly active in its swirling and churning frothiness, the body an adequate medium weight, and not particularly smooth, as the committee in charge of such seems to have overlooked the skank factor here. It finishes off-dry, the bland malt and heretofore basically hidden alcohol making a shitty day of it.

Overall - yeah, this is nothing more than a simulacrum of those laughable 'icebeers' that flooded the market twenty-something years ago. A bit of a mess, is my understatement of the week, and I'm sticking to it!

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Photo of mynie
3.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is like Moosehead Strong? Or something?

Half liter can. Artwork meant to evoke some kind of European shithole. Vaguely Scottish, I think, but I'm an idiot so that doesn't mean a goddamn thing.

Pours adjunct lager pale with a wee little wisp of a head. Smells like an American blonde, lacking the distinct cereal nodes of most Canadian lagers. Tastes more Canuky than it smells, but still not very distinctive. There's some light peat and spice nodes, but otherwise it's nearly indistinguishable from, say, Coors heavy. Sweet cereal, light fruit, very little by way of hops. Not bad, though.

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
2.81/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Re- reviewing this as I happened to see it in the singles bin. 473 ml can Purchased for $2 CDN. Served cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Clear weak straw in color. Nice two fingers of head was poured, but dissipated quickly. Some lacing left around the glass. Some bubbles make their rapid ascent to the top of the beer.

Smell - A little bit earthy, spicy and grainy all melded together. Nose isn't terribly big on its own. A bit of a malty booziness that I often find associated with cheap boozy beer.

Taste - Pretty bland although there's a somewhat significant caramel malt note that's sweet but artificial. Otherwise quite bland. Again the booziness doesn't come out and smack you but it's only thinly veiled behind the sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Moderately high carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall - As far a cheap blonde ales go, this isn't awful, but as far as quality blonde ales go it's not great. Definitely passable for the price.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
2.98/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

341ml Bottle: BBD 31 Jul 2013. Drank in my Berlin hotel room on 25 Feb 2013 (don't ask!).

It's a Lager: clear golden, bright and clean looking, usual white head.

Grainy nose and taste: typical International Lager/Pilsner without any interesting or different attributes to the thousands of others out there.

Nothing wrong with it: just your usual, unusual Lager/Pilsner. Had I known it was a Moosehead beer I wouldn't have bought it.

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Photo of featthebeard79beerhead
3/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No lengthy review typical macro brew overall excellent for the price bargain brew with some taste not as bland or watery as typical cheap brew great in between beer drink a few nice IPA or your choice fill the gap with jr sure we all love beer but let's face the facts we would not drink non alcoholic. JR is above average bargain brew nice carbonation decent taste and easy on wallet. Nothing special nothing offensive good cheap brew period.

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Photo of thehyperduck
2.64/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Tallboy can from the LCBO; packaged November 2011.

Pours a pale golden-yellow, topped with about one finger of smooth, white head. It's mostly gone within a minute or two, leaving behind a thin, foamy cap and decent quantities of lacing. It's hard to pick anything individually out of the aroma, except maybe the corn syrup. Other than that, 'grainy' is the only word I can confidently use here. To be blunt - it smells like cheap beer.

The taste isn't exactly good, but at the same time it's a far cry from undrinkable. Worth noting however, the flavour is a bit stronger than in most typical adjunct lagers. Dominated by light, grainy malts alongside sweet, corny adjunct notes that become more prominent in the finish. There aren't really any distinguishable hop characteristics; just some vague bitterness that mingles with the syrupy sweetness in the finish (but not enough to balance it). JR's carbonation level is through the roof; I have been drinking it for years and it always makes me feel bloated and belchy. Thin body, with a watery mouthfeel.

This is a beer that I consumed far too much of during university, and it definitely wasn't because I appreciated the nuances of its taste. It has two selling points: it is dirt cheap, and it is .5% stronger than most other dirt cheap beers. I will still pick up a six-pack occasionally if I am drinking socially and want to cough up as little money as possible, but if price is not a relevant concern for you then the value of this brand is questionable at best.

Final Grade: 2.64, about a C- on the letter grade scale. Looking for something cheap and tolerable that will get you hammered a bit faster than other value beers? Look no further. If you are looking for a quality adjunct lager though, your quest will not end here.

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Photo of doctorbfunk
4.34/5  rDev +60.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light yellow colour with an average size head, slight lacing visible for a short period of time.

Smell: Smells like light grain, certainly not offensive as compared to similar priced beers, even though it was served less than cold.

Taste: Has a sweet taste, highly carbonated and very enjoyable. No distinguishable after taste. An easy drinking beer that also tastes good and very refreshing in my opinion.

A, I don't understand the negative reviews for this beer. People, this beer is $28 for 24. It is the greatest bargin going right now at The Beer Store, not even mentioning the 'bonus' .5% alcohol content. I'm not saying its the worlds greatest beer, but the price/performance ratio can not be beat. Why spend $40+ on the main brands when you can get a superior tasting substitute at a fraction of the cost. Also, for a "session" (binge) drinking beer this goes down smooth. In fact I have enjoyed quite a number before posting this review and I have zero complaints. Give it a chance. A++++ would drink again.

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Photo of spinrsx
2.41/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

473ml Can

Appearance – Clear light yellow colour with an average size fizzy white coloured head. There is a below average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Grains, bread, corn, skunk/solvent/metallic

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation. I can taste bread mixed with light floral hops and some corn. As well I can taste something along of the lines of medicine or solvent.. not pleasant. It finishes with a grainy corn syrup sweet aftertaste.

Overall – I was always curious about this beer. I've seen people buying cases of the stuff countless times, so I figured it was worth a try. I guess it's cheap.. and some people like it.. but I don't.

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Photo of MattyV
2.6/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Have had this sitting in the back of the fridge all summer so figured I'd finally review it.

Pours a pale straw yellow with about 2 fingers of foamy white head that doesn't last long and leaves little in the way of lacing

Smells of grains, pale malt, hints of sweet corn which instensifies as the beer warms slightly. I'm starting to think this is least offensive drank "sub-zero" like some other quality adjunct lagers out there...

This beer has a sweet and grainy taste with the adjuncts still pretty evident. I might be detecting a hint of hops as well, but I'm probably reaching.

Highly carbonated and is actually relatively refreshing and inoffensive on this warm summer evening. Not something I'd ever buy myself, but there's alot of much worse discount adjunct lagers out there

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a super light yellow color lager with a large bubbly pure white head with minimal retention and not much lacing. Aroma of light adjunct and residual sugar. Taste is bland though adjunct do not overtake too much from the taste. Body is quite light with good carbonation. Not bad for the style though not something I will seek out again - too bland for my taste.

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Photo of ericj551
3.03/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

James Ready pours a light golden yellow with a decent head that lingers for a moment or two. The aroma is light and grainy, with some sweetness. The flavor is crisp and a bit sweet, more graininess pops up and some cooked corn. The finish is dry, but not as thin as I anticipated.

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Photo of Moontang
1.66/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I have had more bottles of this stuff than I'd care to count, mostly because it's often the only free beer available at school events. Here's the breakdown.

I've only ever drunk it straight from the bottle, and as such, I am not certain whether the appearance appeals to me or doesn't. From what I can tell through the bottle and some of the times I or others with me have spilled it, it is on the light side of medium, I would say a bit darker than most lagers. Foams up with big bubbles, and doesn't leave much of a fine lacing pattern behind. The head is a bit resilient, and it takes a bit of time and tapping the bottle for me to get at the beer itself.

The smell is unremarkable, just mildly acrid and acidic, with no sign of any grain flavour.

This is where the beer really fails, as it is incredibly hoppy in front, with an unpleasant sting I feel all over my body, and it does not redeem itself with its aftertaste, which is weak at best and far too fizzy most of the time

It feels like I'm drinking a very fizzy soda, but I'm usually distracted by that godafwul taste to notice what it feels like.

The taste sinks it, and the only reason it doesn't get a 1 flat here is that it has a decent alcohol content for a cheap beer, and it doesn't cost a lot for the distance it gets me to bombed.

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Photo of biegaman
2.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The lightest possible shade of straw - even champagne pales by comparison, hell probably some mineral waters too! The beer is perfectly transparent with a (literal) water-like complexion. The only thing giving it away would be an anemically thin tarp of white that subsists and leaves vague prints of lace. If this beer is even half as light drinking as it is looking than I understand the mainstream appeal already!

The aroma steers clear of being offensive but not by much. I keep thinking I can detect a hint of musty hops in there somewhere but the problem is they're so far buried under so many buckets of heavy, industrialized corn syrup that I'm beginning to hate myself for even looking. Clearly, people must drink this straight from the bottle.

The flavour I can make no defense for - it's darn near close to awful. For a beer this light coloured I'm surprised it could be so heavy in anything, including the cloying, artificial notes of corn syrup and 'who knows what' that sets in seconds after the swallow. Not only do I recommend drinking it from the bottle but I also recommend drinking it very, very cold.

Actually, I don't recommend drinking this at all. Beer should be enjoyed and - all relativity aside - there is nothing enjoyable about this. I understand we all drink according to our own tastes and so take my words as being subjective if you'd like, but I've tried this a number of times now and it does not fit my definition of a true beer in any way. This is considered a "value brand" in the province of Ontario; I can't find anything of value about it.

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Photo of EatsTacos
3.08/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Ok James Ready 5.5 my neighbour loves this beer and offers it to me on the regular.

Appearance and smell are both pretty bad, typical for a common micro

The taste has more going on than I would expect for this price. I can actually detect some hops and there is a nice balance with the malt. Taken for what this is, not bad.

Mouthfeel is pretty carbonated with a medium body which makes for a pretty refreshing beer in the summer.

I definately prefer this to Blue and Canadian

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Photo of Mindsquall
3.35/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a pretty average yellow lager with some lace on top, nothing out of the ordinary for a macro lager, Smell is much the same, adjuncts and a faint hint of hops and malt. Taste isn't that bad, reminds me a little of Moosehead. Adjuncts are definitely present but not disgusting, no nasty aromas of skunk or rotting cabbage or anything of the sort. It goes down rather smooth and is actually surprisingly easy to drink.

As far as Macros go, this one isn't bad. As a value brand this one is pretty good. I'd likely have another of these again in the future.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
2.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Light yellow color with a phoney head of white foam that bubbled off quickly. Medium level of carbonation. No lace.

S: Strong note of sweet adjuncts and malt, mainly a corn essense. Light, cloying hop note. Some fusel alcohol notes.

T: More flavor than most macros, but nothing different. Mild notes of corn and buttery malt with a strange sweet/bitter note. Hops were nearly non-exsistant.

M: Bubbly, refreshing. Nothing to write home about, but appropriate for the style.

D: Average. Not a bad brew. I'd go for this in the summer time.

Notes: Special thanks to biegaman for the sample.

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Photo of pootz
2.4/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a sad commercial adjunct ale.

Sickly sweet aroma pale yellow color, not much of a cap....sweet and funky like creamed corn with small hints of herbal hopping...fast finish, clean but totally uneventful and way too much carbonation...I was belching like a warf brigand on 2 sips of this stuff...if you were to chug a can you could compete in belching with those dorky kids on the Jackass show.

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Photo of jayc333
3.48/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a golden yellow with a two finger white head. Head doesnt stick throughout, but long enough to look like a better then average macro. A few bubbles rise to the top.

Smell is of your typical macro. Need I say more?

Taste starts sweet, followed by a hoppy twang, and finished by a nice maltiness. Altogether very clean. Holy smokes, this baby has a certain complexity! However, it has its watery quality.

Crisp mouthfeel, just the right amount for the style I'd say. A little too thin.

Now I consider the average macro different then the "value priced" macro, and James Ready 5.5 is "value priced." I actually think I prefer this to the more expensive Labatt or Molson brews (I'm Canadian). Add the fact that this is .5% higher in alcohol then your average Canadian beer. With all this is mind, I'd like to end by saying that whether your on a tight budget, or whatever reason you may be looking for a good cheap beer. JR 5.5 should be your pick.

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Photo of relapse
2.48/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Firstly, a bit about me to put my opinion into perspective.

I consider myself very sensitive to things unhealthy to my body due to my lifestyle. I snack on fruits and vegetables. I drink lots of water. Preservatives in beer give me headaches. I drink light beer. I'm your average 'health nut'.

Anyway, I can -taste- the extra .5 in JR. It has a nice sharp flavour that tastes refreshing when chilled just right, but the added alcohol just upsets my stomache. It's unfortunate because it's a well made, well carbonated beer. The .5 just sours the experience for me.

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Photo of Bestuurder
4.18/5  rDev +54.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A little history first. In 1928, James Ready Brewery of Saint John's New Brunswick was bought by Moosehead Breweries. In 2003, the 75th Anniversary of the buyout of James Ready by Moosehead, Moosehead breweries finally decided to bring back the James Ready label, which is certainly a good thing. Since I can guarantee that this brew will bring something back into your life.

A pale yellow colour, with a beautiful white and fluffy head that is definitely crisp and clean in both taste and smell.

A smooth real beer taste without aftertaste. It is fully fermented, lightly hopped and dry brewed, creating a lightly coloured beer with less body.This beer is 5.50% ABV that feels lighter than an ice beer (usually with a 5.50%).

The feel of this particular beer is refreshing, not overpowering and definitely crisp and made with Goldings and Chinook. Drinkability is easy on the palate, not overcabonated, in fact if I could get my homebrews to be this perfectly carbonated, I would just stop buying different brands altogether.

I recommend this product over almost ever product on the market, definitely a winner in my books, and just wait 'til the Canadian and International championships, I certainly hope to see James Ready walk away with a couple of awards.

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James Ready 5.5 from Moosehead Breweries Ltd.
Beer rating: 69 out of 100 with 44 ratings