African Amber | Mac and Jack's Brewery

very good
132 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Mac and Jack's Brewery
Washington, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-04-2002

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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 412
Photo of gandres
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
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

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Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of hacksoncode
3.29/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

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Photo of plbogen
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of Stardusthotel83
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.85/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of Taybeh
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.12/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of mr-jj
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of stevoj
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

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Photo of VashonGuy
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of ckornmannn
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
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).

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Photo of Jgreen100
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
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.

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Photo of dabone
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from draft. Dark orange and cloudy with a creamy white head. Cereal grain aroma, not much hop. Taste is a lot of cereal grains with a bitter aftertaste. Not much hop flavor. Texture is expected. I rate this as an average Amber.

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Photo of Svingjo
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy caramel brown with a thin white head. The nose has a sweet malt with toffee notes. There is some citrus hop to the edges of the smell. The taste is much the same. The mouthfeel is a bit carbonated and the hop bitterness comes through coating the tongue.

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Photo of Slsalta
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Stopped at Seatac prior to a red eye to NYC. Was pleasantly surprised by the balance and flavor of the African Amber. A big fan of malty IPAs this was a good alternative

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Photo of psruss
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I happen to be a fan of amber ales. I was travelling to Washington State. On my way back from Selah to Sumner, I stopped for a burger at The Tav in Ellensburg. I ordered a pint with lunch and there was some pleasant difference between Mac and Jacks African Amber and standard ambers. I have to say the look and taste were the standouts and would probably be a good session beer. Alas, I was just there for lunch and glad to have had it with the burger.

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Photo of LouZ
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

One of the most common beers around these parts. It's a very sweet brew - pretty much liquid honey. No hops whatsoever. If you're a serious beer drinker, you'll probably want to avoid. But if you're like me and you wind up somewhere with no real options and commercial beer en masse, this is an easy-drinking alternative.

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Photo of Redneckwine
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Cold pint on tap (this beer isn't bottled/canned)

Appearance - Glowing dark golden/amber and totally hazed over, 1 finger head dissipates to leave a wispy cap, a little lacing. Unique look for an amber.

Smell - Not getting much off this, very subtle: toasty malt bready sweetness, kind of a super clean floral hoppy note. I had this in a stinky bar atmosphere... Not the best for smelling beer: score will have to default to 3, though I'm sure it deserves better.

Taste - Excellent, wasn't expecting it to pop so much since the nose is so faint. Lots of toasty, bready maltiness underscored by a nice floral hop kick, a touch sweetness and bready yeast ties it all together. Very clean tasting... Unique. Finishes pretty dry with mild hoppy bitterness.

Feel - Creamy and very smooth, drinkable medium body, carbonation is gently scrubbing. Nice.

Overall - Really a surprisingly excellent amber. It's clean, malty flavor really pops and jives perfectly with a pretty unique floral hop profile. It's a tragedy they don't bottle this! Outstanding brew.

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Poured from a growler filled fresh from the tap into a tumbler on 06.14.14.

A: 3 finger fluffy head. Nearly opaque brown body. It's unfiltered, so it's cloudy.

S: Sweet, bready malt. Flower too.

T: Bready sweetness dominates. It's like drinking a cinnamon roll. Flower, sweet yeast, and spices are subtle.

M: Creamy smooth. Chewy, but still easy to drink.

O: The bready sweetness hits first, then the flower takes over. It all blends very nicely. This is nothing like other amber ales that are out there.

Rating: A+, 100/100.

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Photo of Wattman4
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Smooth and creamy african amber. Not too heavy, but not too light. Beautiful color with reddish brown coloring. Nice Bitter start with a smooth and sweet after taste. One of my favorite beers whenever I head into the Seattle area.

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Photo of Dsimenson
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Draft poured into a pilsner. Nice one-finger head, unfiltered red-honey amber color, not much lacing. Aroma is subdued initially, when it is cold. When it warms up a bit, the aroma is still mild, but very pleasant--gentle malt and floral hops. Flavor is malt, mild hops, a bit of pine, not citrus-like, a bit of sweetness. Mouth feel is on the thin side of medium, not thick or chewy. Overall this is a very good red ale, not quite outstanding. It was great fun to sample, and I would drink it again.

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Photo of FannyBack
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My first beer on tap!

Off the pour it looks smooth with a white top finish. Nice warm golden brown look.

Tastes amazing. It is unlike most other beers with a strong wholesome wheaty taste, followed by a satisfying after taste.

There are so many other beers on tap to try I feel like I cannot score it a high 5. However, it is also not served as a beer. I wish it was, I would buy so many of them. It is only served on tap in Washington. If you come to the NW, ask for Mac and Jacks and take what they give you!

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Tawny brown and wonderfully cloudy due to being unfiltered. This is the sort of beer which makes you understand the whole 'liquid bread' thing.

S - Sweet malt pairs nicely with the minor spiking of hops.

T - Unlike so many amber and brown ales this beer does not short change you on flavour. This beer has a wonderful rich, malty flavour and then a little hops pops up to keep things interesting on the back end.

M - Fabulously thick and full-bodied for the style and abv. Boosts the beer's character, taking it further and further away from the mass of humdrum and watery red and brown ales.

O - A real Pacific Northwest classic. I drank this at Ixtapa. Coming from Britain I would not have expected to have such a good beer at a place like Ixtapa. God bless the Pacific Northwest and Ixtapa.

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African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
3.85 out of 5 based on 412 ratings.
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