African Amber
Mac and Jack's Brewery

African AmberAfrican Amber
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #38
Ranked #16,956
3.89 | pDev: 13.37%
Mac and Jack's Brewery
Washington, United States
Very Good
African AmberAfrican Amber
Notes: The Northwest’s original, unfiltered and dry hopped amber ale. African Amber's pioneering and innovative style is proof that drinkability does not have to come at the expense of flavor.

30 IBU
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Reviews: 143 | Ratings: 449 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RJLarse
RJLarse from Washington

4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer is a staple across the northwestern US. It can be found on tap almost everywhere. The term "Mack and Jacks" has become synonymous with the African Amber beer. But Mack and Jack's is really the name of the brewery, and they do produce other beers, all with names in an African theme. All of that said, this is a nice sweet amber ale, which enjoys wide appeal.

Feb 07, 2021
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Pivopijak from Washington

4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Coarse, ivory head. Nearly opaque, caramel & dark orange appearance. Toasted, caramelized grain and toffee aroma. Mild toasted grain flavor with a tinge of woody sharpness. Medium light body.

Dec 07, 2020
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metter98 from New York

3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is crystal clear dark reddish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a short beige colored head that left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel and sweet malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and is quite sweet, having flavors of caramel malts and what even seem like some candi sugars.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied, slick and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The hops in the beer I had seemed to be very muted, but overall it was pretty good - it was kind of like a Belgian dubbed without the yeast.

Serving type: can

Dec 03, 2020
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NickSMpls from Washington

3.56/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pretty beer - which what we like about amber / red ales. Reddish tone, sparkling clean. Tight head, sticky lacing. Indistinct nose. Very malt forward, a little sweetness, light touch on the hops. Overall, it's a pleasant beer to have on the porch after work. Would be good with a sandwich or other fare.

Jul 10, 2020
Photo of Africanamber

4.81/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'm pretty sure I am not an expert on beers, but this beer causes me to quit counting how much I have had...that's not really a good thing then is it? Love this beer and is not the easiest beer to get here in Chugiak.

Mar 07, 2020
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WA_Brian from Washington

3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a crowler purchased at the brewery earlier today.

L: Pours a cloudy, deep amber color. Lovely spectrum of color from the edges to the center of the glass when held to the light. Good size light brown/tan head and a nice amount of lacing.
S: Caramel, brown sugar.
T: Very sweet with quite a bit of bready malt flavors and a bit of honey. A bit surprised how sweet this is.
F: Good carbonation, creamy, and long finish.

I don't often drink an amber ale, but I've had African Amber more times than I can count. It's available at basically every bar and restaurant in the Seattle area which also means quality can vary greatly. Picked this up direct from the brewery and my only real complaint is that it's a bit too sweet for my liking.

Dec 01, 2019
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

2.62/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Man this is so prolific and ubiquitous in Washington State it’s easy to forget that this is not a Major brand across the country. There is not an African thing about it unless it’s color reminds you of the savanna, but it’s loved by many who frequent bars in lieu of breweries where the next best thing is men’s room red!

May 08, 2019
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

i am confused, i do not know why this would be called african at all, no identifiable ingredients, origin stories, or anything else associate this northwestern amber ale with the african continent at all, am i missing something? seems like weird branding, i dont get it. in any event, the beer is fine, tastes like a classic anyway, more hoppy than most of its peers, especially from a bitterness standpoint, which makes this have a little more character than i am used to in a basic amber. its not all the way clear, brick red in the glass, and with a full inch of khaki head from the tap. aroma is a little sweet, an english richness and breadiness to the grain base for me, nutty and fuller, warming and hearty, good and layered, setting up the hoppy finish really well, subtle sweet orange and pine there at the end, earthy all the way through, and not as sweet to me as other amber types, fermented a little drier. fine beer, not usually a style i get real high on, and i am confused by the name, but i thought this was pretty solid. my first from these guys.

Apr 01, 2019
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jadpsu from Georgia

3.91/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hillsboro, OR at the Chicago Old Style Pizza
Draft, came to me in a Tulip glass, amber in color and very cloudy along with not much of a head head. Side glass lace was tan in color.

AROMA: Caramel, biscuit-y malts, and a bit of brown sugar. Sweetend coffee.

TASTE: Maltiness with caramel, coffee and citrus hops. Creamy with a spicy finish.

Jun 10, 2018
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap. Poured a clear amber color with a small, off-white head of foam. It smelled of toasted caramel, bread crust and floral notes. Sweet caramel with a slight roastiness and bitter bite.

Jun 01, 2018
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Curtis from Utah

3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Get these via growler at the Fred Myer in Pocatello Idaho. Tried on a whim a year ago and enjoyed very much. On my second one now and glad they still carry it. Nice amber. Smooth and easy to drink, but still has substance to it and a good mouthfeel. You have to wait for the head to break, especially out of a fresh growler. Very drinkable and not heavy. Some light lemon and mild hops. A good fall beer Well balanced. You can finish several glasses alone with no worries and you won;t get bored with it.

Dec 10, 2017
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gandres from Philippines

3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Growler from Total wine to wine glass
Sight: light amber, hazy, big off white foam
Smell: Fragrant aroma, malty
Taste: Medium bitterness, some sweetness
Mouthfeel: Creamy, very good long finish, bittersweet aftertaste Overall: Very good beer, good value for the price
drank: Sunday, March 19, 2017 7:30 PM

Mar 20, 2017
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jwc215 from Arizona

3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Boat Shed, Bremerton, WA:

Pours clouded orange amber with a head that lasts and leaves lacing down the glass.

Smells and tastes like sweetened iced tea with a touch of lemon zest and a hint of caramel.

Smooth and refreshing, this is an easy-drinking, sweet-leaning brew.

Jun 06, 2016
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hacksoncode from California

3.29/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Seatac airport. Poured its usual gorgeous hazy deep amber into a 22oz glass. Nice ivory head with strong lacing. Smell seemed a bit off, maybe a bit metallic. Same with the taste, which was otherwise nice and malty, and a bit sweet. Mouth feel and drinkability was very good. Overall, not as good as i remembered. Don't know if I got a bad batch or if it's just gone downhill. It used to be one of my favorites.

May 18, 2016
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plbogen from Tennessee

4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Mac and Jack's African Amber is gorgeous. It's unfiltered cloudy orange looks just like amber. It feels nice and solid in the mouth and lets you know you are drinking a real beer. While I've had better tasting beer, it still is a pretty solid beer that is great for a meal.

May 09, 2016
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Stardusthotel83 from Washington

4.01/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

FYI: you can only get it on tap in WA and a little in ID/OR. They dont bottle it but you can get growlers.

L: Awesome red-orange-yellow, looks like a hazy sunset.

S: Smell is actually pretty standard, sweet but has some bite to it.

T: Good tastes, pretty hoppy for an ale in my opinion. Lots of citrus.

F: Medium mouth feel and carbonation.

O: A really good unfiltered ale, defiantly worth a try if you're ever in WA.

Apr 25, 2016
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brewskifan55 from Mississippi

3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Country Cousin, Centralia, Washington. Our first beer in the PNW.

A: Opaque orange/amber with fluffy white one finger head that lingered. Decent lacing.

S: Caramel, biscuit-y malts, honey and a bit of brown sugar.

T: A great overall maltiness with caramel, toffee and citrus hops. A really nice kick on the finish; a spiciness that lingers and makes you want more.

M: Medium with medium, creamy carbonation.

O: A ubiquitous beer in the PNW, tasty and raring to go. I could enjoy this African Amber back home.

Apr 21, 2016
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Taybeh from Minnesota

3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this many times back in the 90s around Seattle...but it has been awhile. This time, served at SeaTac, into a shaker. Pours a hazy orange copper, with a thin crown of off white head...minimal retention and lacing. Modest nose of biscuity malts with a little sweet honey and brown sugar then a little edge of grassy hops. On the tongue it is sweeter...add some toffee in there, and a little less biscuit. There is also a kind of spiciness, that paired with the hint of hops, gives it a lively mouthful, fairly smooth though a little on the thin side. A little too sweet for me, but very distinctive, and it has its place as an early PNW micro that's still worth a shot at the right time and place. Glad to have it again, even though the layover gets longer and longer.

Feb 02, 2016
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass. Pours a very hazy coppery amber with a one finger white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of biscuit and caramel malt, citrus hops; hoppier, but reminiscent of a rich English bitter. Flavor is full bodied, well balanced biscuit and caramel malt, hints of toffee, citrus hops. Finishes with semisweet malt and citrus hop bitterness. Medium bodied with a light creaminess; nice mouth feel. I'm sorry I haven't tried this one earlier. The full bodied, well balanced malts are very tasty and supplemented with pleasant citrus hops. I'm glad to know that this ale, commonly on tap at restaurants, is so good a great complement to dining. I'll be back to this one. Kudos.

Nov 20, 2015
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mr-jj from Washington

3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This used to be my go-to beer. I would seek it out over almost anything else. As my tastes have evolved, it's become a bit too sweet for my liking. But I had the chance to revisit it recently and wrote down some notes.

Pours a hazy amber with a thick white head. Nose is caramel roast with some piney hops. Flavor is similar, it's a nice amber with some hop accents. Overall, a good amber.

Oct 31, 2015
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stevoj from Idaho

3.59/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cloudy amber with small silky head. Aroma of malt, spice and citrus. Taste is malty, followed by coriander and some orange on the backplane. Complex but enjoyable,,good with food.

Oct 30, 2015
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VashonGuy from Washington

3.11/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer looks pretty good ... nice red amber, good lacing. But it's downhill after that.

The aroma is pretty mild. The flavor is sweetish and bland, bland, bland. Nothing interesting going on here.

I've had Mac and Jack several times over the years, as it's sometimes the lone craft beer among a bunch of taps of Bud and Coors and MGD. I've held off rating it, as I keep thinking I must be missing something. But there just isn't a lot to this beer, beyond the sweetness. I don't get the popularity. It's better than a macro AAL, but just barely.

Oct 07, 2015
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SerialTicker from Michigan

3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Ivar's Mukilteo Landing in Washington.

Fantastic. One of my favorite from the style. I really appreciate the fact that they stray away from loading this with hops, and instead accent the beer with it. This has a great, sweet caramel-like flavor, with a subtle pine bitterness. This stays true to the style better than many others do. I hear this is the best selling draft beer in Washington -- I don't know how true that is, but if that's the case, they've got some good taste in the Northwest.

Jul 08, 2015
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ckornmannn from Washington

4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a growler, and many times in restaurants: cloudy brown-orange beer with a delicious thick creamy head. Biscuity like most amber ales and hints of apple. A perfect hop presence in my opinion. There is something about this beer that is distinctive. Can't put my finger on it but I feel like if someone handed me a pint of it I could immediately recognize it as a Mac and Jack and I wouldn't say that about most beers. Absolutely delicious and a tremendous bargain at 6.50 for a growler fill at my local place. This beer is a godsend because chances are if you go to a restaurant in Seattle with a limited beer selection... they will have Mac and Jack and you can still have a great beer with your dinner. Its popular for a reason!
12/31/15: asked for a growler of Mannys Pale for New Years eve. It was not Manny's- it was Mac and Jack. No doubt! (they have both on tap).

Jul 01, 2015
Photo of Jgreen100

4.7/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My only problem with this beer is that it isn't available outside of the Seattle area. It's very popular in Seattle with good reason! One other note. This beer seems to vary greatly by where you get it. Some places it is hoppier than others. After a year and a half of trips to Seattle it's still my must get beer whenever I am here. I bought a Mac and Jacks t-shirt I like it so much.

Jun 12, 2015
African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 449 ratings