Sassy Red | Mac's Brewery

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Sassy RedSassy Red
36 Ratings
Sassy RedSassy Red

Brewed by:
Mac's Brewery
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jahsausage on 04-17-2005

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 21
Photo of pin
2.5/5  rDev -30.7%

Photo of tedho21
2.5/5  rDev -30.7%

Photo of jahsausage
2.89/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Originally brewed by Lion breweries showcase brewery in Wellington, Sassy Red describes itself as a "Hoppy Best Bitter". It is a nice orangey brown colour but its head is exceedingly shortlived for which I had to deduct a fair amount of points for. It has a very strong 'spicy' smell from the hops, possibly one of the strongest smelling beers i've had. In taste it is strongly bitter, almost too much for my taste which is suprising. Overall I did not like this beer as much as some of Mac's other offerings which I find a bit odd considering that it must have been popular at the brewpub for Lion (who currently own the rights to marketting Macs beers) to produce it on a large scale.

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Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of SmashPants
3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle: 330mL brown stubbie, pretty boring label. I'd expect a bit better for a reasonably expensive beer.

Appearance: healthy dark reddish-bronze. Good loose-bubbled head. Little carbonation. Good lacing.

Aroma: spicy hop oil on the nose - vegetal and herbal. Not a lot of malt.

Taste: falls down a bit. Based on roasted malt, but a bit too subdued. Expected more flavour. Hops are a bit overwhelmed by metallic fug.

Aftertaste: what little flavour there was has disipated, not much in the aftertaste at all. Some malts remain.

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation - almost too much. Medium-bodied.

Overall: some roasted malts and some vegetal hops, but all together an unsophisticated and expensive lighter ale. For AU$55 a case (2012), I won't be bothering again.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty healthy dark reddish-bronze. Good loose-bubbled, slightly greenish head. Little carbonation. Good lacing.

Decent spice hop oil on the nose. Pretty vegetative and herbal. The Saaz is definitely prominent, but not a lot of malt. Decent though.

Malt on the palate, peppered with a sprinkling of resinous hops. The hop bitterness is delicate, and a little subdued, really. It's mostly the aroma of hops which is noticeable. Palate is based on toasted malt. It's still pretty decent.

Mouthfeel is a little thin, but not too bad. A creamier feel would have boosted this beer significantly.

It's a pretty nice drinking beer, with a bit of character. Worth a look.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.27/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber/red with a large but short-lasting head.
Nose shows generous amounts of toasty, nutty malt with some caramel in there too. In the way of hops there's a faint fruity character. Loving the malt though.
Some of the nutty malt transfers through as a flavours but overall the malt profile seems overly metallic. Finishes with a weak bitterness and that metallic character.
Carbonation is much too high.

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Photo of crusian
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at northern steamship brewery. Pours more of a dark golden than a red, nice finger of head. Lacing is really nice too.
Nose is weak on hop, heavy on caramel malt... not much else going on.
Taste is heavy on the hops, English bitter hops. Damnit, chose this one because it smelled boring and thus would leave my palate in tact. Nice flavor on this, hops dominate for sure, malt plays in the back, but are there...
Nicely carbed, light to medium bodied. A nice surprise.

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Photo of soju6
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice amber color with a small head that fades to nice lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt sweetness with spice and some grain in the back ground.

T: Taste of malt sweetness and a bit of spice. Mild bitterness and a clean finish.

F: fairly medium body, smooth and a bit creamy. Has a distinct character.

O: Nice drinker that goes down easy. Not bad for the style.

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Photo of redmaw
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of labrooy
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of seadragon99
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of MenInVen
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of Guden
3.56/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of BAsbill
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rec
3.59/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Apparently this is dirt cheap in NZ, but here it's over $50 a case.

A light chocolate brown coloured body flows into the glass, with unfortunately little head and almost no retention after dissipation.

The taste is over-the-top spice and hops, just like the aroma, and it works surprisingly well. Upon first sip, I could have almost sworn I was drinking Little Creatures Pale Ale (Western Australia), it's so similar that I honestly doubt if I could tell them apart after a few throw-downs.

The mouth feel is average, a typical macro with med to med-high carbonation, but paired with the aftertaste that just lasts and lasts you can't help but like it.

It's apparently limited release, which is a shame because I'd be buying this over Little Creatures Pale Ale because of the $20 saving otherwise.

If you can find it, try it! It gets my vote.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This has to be my first New Zealand beer…bought at Vintage Cellars in Melbourne along with some nice wines for my return.

Appearance: bizarre bottle to say the least…spiraling ribbed neck, funky gold cap that calls for you to pull a ring back and then pull it up ripping the cap into 3rds of which the middle 3rd allows passage of the bounty. Body is a very rich amber colour with a creamy lace and little retention

Smell: robust caramel aroma, complex malt structure (5 different used), noble hopping

Taste: biscuity/bready, sweet caramel, saaz hops noticeable, nutty, nice red apple sweetness, kind of a cardboard taste (probably just the saaz clashing with the malts)…all in all an interesting beer and worth the try

Mouthfeel: smooth and slick

Drinkability: pretty good

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Photo of doktorhops
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's not hard to like Mac's; a brewery based in Nelson NZ that follows the strict German "Reinheitsgebot" (or "purity law") and tries to give their beers an interesting kiwi hop spin to their beers (which generally include the fantastic "cascade" hop to boot!). I certainly enjoyed my last Mac's brew outing (in the form of the impressive Hop Rocker), and I suspect for a beer that proudly includes 5 different types of malt I will likewise enjoy this.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a conical pint... though the conical pint does look a little "glass half-empty" with only 330ml's in it.

A: I'm awed by such a perfect clear sienna body and the mighty 2cm chalk white head that sticks around longer than expected before leaving a healthy lace inside my glass. Top marks here.

S: The aroma has a decent caramel malt base mixed in with a biscuit accent and golden syrup sweetness. It's definitely no slouch with the hops either - I can detect an earthy slightly citrus hop nose, which is quite welcome in my books.

T: Damn this is close to a decent English bitter! The caramel malts are up front with a mid to back palate bitterness throughout and an earthy (even nutty) tone is present. There is very little of the sweetness I was expecting in the nose. The flavour is good but not great - the bitterness of the hops is too present for this style, it needed to be easier on the bitterness (despite being called English bitter the style itself is far from it).

M: Low to mid carbonation as an English style brew should be. The body is also on par being medium-bodied.

D: I want to like this beer more because it ticks all the boxes of being a great ale; all except that present bitter note in the palate, which is really holding this beer from being a real classic drop. Otherwise it's a good brew for the price (when it's on special that is), and it goes down fairly well.

Food match: My food match for this beer is light stews/casseroles or roast lamb, veggies and gravy (or mint sauce). Some of the less matured cheeses would also match well with this.

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Photo of Bobhoya
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of TubaManJack
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Great Beer- End Review

A- A pleasing dark red color. Its looks like some of the Red Ales I have had. The cream colored head dissipates slowly.

S- Big Bold Glorious Hops, everything else is lost. However the smell is pleasing and not boarding on pungent like some bitters.

T: The hops comes through clearly in a medium boded beer that has a clean finish. There are malt notes are very dark almost like what you expect to find in porters. They occur between the bitter hops and this allows the tastes to be in proportion. This is one of my favorite session beers here. However its kinda expensive for someone at Uni @ $12 for a six pack.

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Photo of Macca
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark amber/red colour with a centimetre of dense white head.

For something with that colour I was expecting a lot more maltiness on the nose. Some great hop notes but no malt.

I was hoping to tell you how the malts jumped out on the palate but no, hops again. Very fine tasting hops mind you. A tiny bit of maltiness hiding in there

Some very nice bitterness as you would expect given all the hoppiness going on.

A really nice beer unless you are expecting a lot of malt.

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Photo of femALEist
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

English Bitter and 4.5% abv. The label says: a real favourite and Mac's most awarded beer. A very hoppy bitter with loads of Saaz B and five different malts. All the flavour you can handle. (Don't you love how the English spell things like flavor?).
It poured a copper red with a touch of a head and minimal lacing. It smelled of some light toffee notes, some berry, and a touch of piney hops. It tasted crisp, with some berry fruitiness, with a good malty backbone that leaves a nice dry hop bitterness on your tongue. I actually liked it. Kudos for the name, plus I was with a sassy redhead, so it actually worked out quite well.

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Photo of ADZA
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love this breweries bottles and labels they definately take pride in their beer,it pours a deep mahogany hue with nice carbonation that leaves a one finger frothy head with nice lacing,it has a spicy hop aroma with some malt aromas in the background,it has a nice medium body mouthfeel with a very nice malty,spicy hop taste at the start and finishes nice and bitter with abit of a liquorice twist in there aswell at the very end but definately moreish,in my books a nice easy drinking session bitter.

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Photo of btmo
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh my!

For a macro beer, even a limited release, special run macro, this is *very* good indeed.

The taste of this beer has to be seen to be believed, if I may mix senses like that!

It is spicy and hoppy in a very good way, and is very drinkable indeed. I was recently at a barbeque at a friends place, and this was the beer of choice on the evening. I had never tried it before, and was amazed at the depth of flavour.

The taste just lingers and lingers.

I picked up a six pack the very next day.

What is amazing to me is that this is a dirt cheap beer - one of the cheapest in the chiller at the local supermarket!

Good value, a fine drop from Macs.

Try it.

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Sassy Red from Mac's Brewery
Beer rating: 3.61 out of 5 with 36 ratings