African Amber | Mac and Jack's Brewery

very good
131 Reviews
no score
Send samples

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 410
Photo of imrichbeeeatch
1.4/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

What is wrong with this beer. I am not one to bad-mouth a beer just for the sake of it but...

This beer is bad. It smells like the fermentation went poorly. Old yeast, spoiled hops and cheap malt. I don't know where else to go. I can't believe this beer is in as many places as it is. I saved this review until I tried it in a few different places. I did this just to rule out dirty lines, bad glass ware, and poor environment. No luck. Just a bad beer. How do they make/sell so much of this?

Like Bill Cosby said, "It tastes like bad breaf."

 549 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
2.43/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I drank this one on tap at Our Place in Silverdale, WA.

Consumed in a pint glass.

Appearance: chestnut amber but nothing to write home about

Smell: wet dog, horse hair, grass and citrus

Taset/Mouthfeel: hoppy but what do you expect from hop country, light citrus, malty but not in a good way

I have drank Mac & Jacks African Amber quite a few times but this time just ruined it for me. I must have been blind to the way it really is. Could be a bad batch/tap though.

 471 characters

Photo of lifeboyq
2.68/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank this on tap at the Taphouse in Bellevue, WA. I always hear this is a good beer and remembered differently so here goes. Pours a light murky amber. Minimal lacing. Smell, not much there, slightly sweet hints of grass and dirt, metal. Taste, up front its very much like a dirty sock, but finishes slightly malty, caramel malts, slightly sweet and a little citrus most likely from the overbearing hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, finishes clean but not interesting. Im sure its drinkable, but the dirty sock taste throws me off. I'll pass on this bland less than interesting offering. Severely overrated but just as I remembered. Great offering for an unrefined palate.

 676 characters

Photo of maximum12
2.7/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on tap at...well, I don't know the name of the place, but I've visited it three times now in Seattle & know exactly where it is. If you like to walk like I do & stay downtown, this is a place that always has a dozen local taps. That place. You know it. Across from the Underground Tours, sort of.

Anyways. Have heard good things about it & had no doubt about what to order after walking in the door. Pours a muddy, turbulent, impenetrable kind of reddish brown clay. Smell is about the same. Muddled, red.

Mac & Jack's African Amber isn't what I'd heard, or hoped. The whole thing is a big mess, like the Mississippi flooding a clay mine. Malts collide with sediment & minimal hopping to create a beer that's, what? Not really sure.

Frankly, I couldn't figure out what was going on with either this beer or the friend/s that recommended it to me. Perhaps it had been sitting in the keg for eleven months, perhaps it's just not my thing, but this is a weird & unappealing mess to me. Mediocre at best.

 1,014 characters

Photo of WetCoaster
2.78/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

So I'm in Seattle at your standard tourist theme seafood place for lunch. Their "house" beer is this local brew. OK, I figure, they're probably going to play it safe with a middle-of-the-road amber, nothing else they have is too interesting, eh, why not?

What I ended up with is one of the odder beers I've had in a while. First, the appearance -- there is unfiltered, and then there's this. It looked like a glass of Metamucil, orange-brown and completely opaque.

So I have what appears to be a pint of river silt with a head on it. Alrightly, then. First sip is sort of... chewy? It was kind of like a beer smoothie, I guess, very thick and dense.

I considered sending it back at this point, truth be told, but I figured it may just be an odd style I haven't quite wrapped my head around, so I soldiered on. The taste was, again, interesting. It was sort of like a mild old ale, very fruity and sweet. The flavor sort of vanished and then came back in the finish as a sort of yeasty brown bread.

Uh-huh. The smell was also a bit fruity and yeasty, and given all the weirdness going on, I couldn't imagine drinking another.

I know a bit more about beer than your average guy, and I found this absolutely baffling. But since this was the featured beer in a chain restaurant, I'm assuming something must have been a bit off here, or they'd probably get back 95 percent of the ones they poured. Maybe this was one of the last ones left in the keg, which dredged the sediment, or maybe this keg just got away from them somehow.

Anyway, I'll have to give this one another shot, because I cannot believe a beer this weird could be so popular.

 1,644 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.85/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dirty amber in color with a clean, headless pour. Woven inbetween the hops is a citrus flavor (orange maybe?). Makes me think of a hefeweizen taste; not an amber. There was little lace on the side of the glass. The beer's aroma made me think of being outdoors. My friend said it was tasting funny, so maybe the it was a bad keg.

 328 characters

Photo of Franch
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a seattle institution - when i came to seattle, i was told to order both this and manny's pale ale - neither of which impressed. i get the feeling that they are the "good beer" that's on tap at anywhere in the seattle area, much like there's a one-off bell's offering anywhere in ann arbor, or back in downstate illinois there will be a sam adams lager.

unlike Manny's Pale Ale, but had a funky taste i couldn't kick. would not order again.

 442 characters

Photo of dnichols
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at the Red Robin in Yakima, WA.

A: It poured an murkey dark tea or coke color with a modest tan head. The head disipated quickly but left a ring around the collar and supported a thin varied curtain of lacing.

S: It had a slight thin sweet malt aroma and barely there floral hops.

T: There are completing flavors of lightly roasted sweet malts and floral spicy hops. The malts have a hint of caramel flavor and the hops give of a bit of back end bitterness.

M: It had a very modest amount of carbonation and a light to modest body. It finished very clean.

D: It was a decent bar brew that went well with overly salty fries and the typically over-the-top burger. It went down easy and I could see knocking of two or three before the clash of flavors drove me to another brew.

 800 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

On tap at the Oxford Suites motel at Jantzen Beach. Color is dark amber and appearance is cloudy in the pint glass. A modest head to start with. Plenty spritzy in the mouth with a distinct club soda taste.

Quite malty mouthfeel. Some browned flavors and a little sharp. The hops are herbaceous and on the dank side. Collard greens and the old oaken bucket. Murky and something tasting like "rust" overall. More bitter as you sip. I find it really quite unpleasant, but maybe people like this particular taste.

 510 characters

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.

 556 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I've had this beer countless times, but not in recent recollection.

Turbid oragey amber with a etched surface of light foam. Smells of, well the cleaner of the restaurant here (can't dock 'em). Flavor is malty with some hints of oxidation and a good bit of bitterness and some sweet honey in here as well; not a bad flavor. Medium on full bodied here with plenty hi carb (too high) and a wet finish. The aftertaste is a bit sweet and has that slightly milky character. It's an alright beer.

 492 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a hazy, cloudy brown-amber with a thin cap of off-white head that had medium retention and lacing.

The aroma was the basic malty-bready-sweet scent typical of the style. The flavors were basically blad and unoffensive (or unchallenging, if you prefer), but not terrible. The beer had a decent well-rounded flavor that didn't stand out in any aspect.

The body was typical for the style, perhaps a wee bit fuller than a lot.The drinkabilty was typical for an American Amber ale, smooth and easy, is how this brew goes down the hatch. Overall, this is not an exciting beer but it is not a bad beer by any means. I would certainly choose this over Alaskan or Fat Tire if those were the choices.

 730 characters

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.

 421 characters

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.

 321 characters

Photo of hopwave
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another always on @ The Conway Muse... pours a cloudy amber/sticky lace with small white head... mouthfeel is nice... rich and smooth, with slight sweet aftertaste. overall a nice on-tap only beer thats been around forever. give it a shot if your in the great Pacific Northwest.

 278 characters

Photo of xoqx
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don’t drink Mack and Jack’s African Amber very much – I never seek it out. It has never left me wanting more. I do like fresh beer, however. This afternoon, dining at the somewhat concealed Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond, Washington I was confronted with their lackluster beer selection, of which only two are on tap. M&J was one of them. I ordered a pint with an open mind, if some reluctance. HOWEVER, it would have been with much more zeal if I had known then where Mack and Jack’s is brewed. Less than 600 yards from Lisa Dupar’s East Side catering kitchen-restaurant is Mack and Jack’s Brewing Company. I like to drink fresh beer close to where it’s made, so this was a nice coincidence.

Appearance – The beer pours brown and very cloudy with an unfiltered almost ciderish appearance. A one finger off-white head exhibited little retention and very slight lacing. This is atypically cloudy for an American Amber Ale.

Smell – There is very little offered in the nose here. Some slight malted barley, caramel scents are present and not much else.

Taste – The beer has a lot of fruity overtones, no doubt from the amount of yeast still in suspension in this beer. Slight caramelly notes are added by the medium-roasted malts and the slight hoppiness present provide some citric bitterness. The finish is short and unremarkable,

Mouthfeel – The beer is somewhat chewy and medium-bodied.

Drinkability – This is a fairly drinkable beer, but not as drinkable as I would expect from this style. My impressions haven’t been changed too much. However, I will seek out some of the few other brews offered by this Washington brewery.

 1,655 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at some restaurant in Seattle, WA.

Only had this on one occasion, namely on tap at a steak house in Seattle, which I think is the only place it is available. It was a good brew, and went well with the food.

Poured a hazy amber with a small white head that recedes to a film. Caramel malts and nuttiness in the aroma, following through in the taste; pretty much a straight up standard amber ale. A pretty good balance of sweetness and hop bitters. Light-medium body and easily drinkable.

 506 characters

Photo of SickBrew
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nothing special here. Had this one Bortalomies Pizza on tap. Was something new so I gave it try. Beer had about 1 finger of head topping a fair amber body. Taste was not special. Malts were more notable than hops, but both were rather subdued. There was also something off in this beer, perhaps a dirty tap! Body was light to medium with a fair carbonation. Overall this beer was just OK, but due to the off flavor I may try again and see how it compares.


 463 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Cucina Cucina in Tigard, OR. Pours with one-finger white head that goes quickly leaving a little lace. Clear amber color. Slight hoppy nose. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Starts with a good mix of malt and hops, hops dominate, well balanced for an amber, finish does not linger. $4.50 for a 16oz glass.

 319 characters

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Had from a very heady pitcher. The foam was nice and thick. The beer was a dark rusty red.

S- Very malty in the smell. The smell is very sweet in nature.

T- I thought the beer was quite malty, I didn't get much hops at all. I would have liked to get more. The beer had a bit of sweetness to it, but more of a earthy malty taste.

M- This beer felt kind of thick.

D- It wasn't too bad of a beer to drink. I thought the beer was heavy feeling though. I wonder how the rest of their beer line tastes?

 503 characters

Photo of zacharius
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer beer had little head and carbonation. The african amber is a very cloudy amber beer. It smells good but the taste leaves something to be desired. It seems to sweet for my tastes with the malts overpowering the hops. There also was a bit more fruityness than to be expected for this style. This beer is only available on tap and a bunch of people I know wish that they could get bottles but I don't see any reason to bring this beer home. This is a great session beer as it is so easy to drink so make sure that you get a pitcher.

 539 characters

Photo of Brisket
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- Hazy copper color. Thick head and heavy lacing.

S- Subtle, citrus hop, bready yeast.

T- Amber style malt, very light hopping. Some fruit, not much.

M- Relatively heavy body, light carbonation.

O- Good beer, not great, ubiquitous in the area, worth drinking.

 268 characters

Photo of ffejherb
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured via growler on 1/9/09. Thanks to sholland119 for sharing!

A - Poured a hazy, rusty orange body with modest carbonation and thin white head that receded to a patchy veil and left behind some decent lacing. Head eventually diminished fully.

S - Subtle nose with caramel malt, grassy hops and a very mild citrus character. A bit of grainy malt and fruity notes emerge in the background as well.

T - Bready, grainy malt up front with a touch of mild grassy hops and some sweet fruitiness. This ale has a dry hopped character featuring mild spicy, woody and fruity notes. Finishes with an earthy hop bitterness and more grainy malt to balance.

M - Light bodied with a watery, slightly syrupy texture and medium carbonation. Finishes with a mild earthy/woody hop bitterness on the palate that doesn't linger for too long.

D - Sessionable amber ale with a subtle dry hopped character. Very easy to drink with a decent hop profile.

 938 characters

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.

 234 characters

Photo of Docer
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap at Big Als in Vancouver...

- Nice foamy finger of head that stuck around in the pitcher.. Dark somewhat cloudy murky brown and copper... a good looking amber.

- Slight English malt funk, touch of roasty character, sweet caramel, malts are bready... citrus and floral hops... zingy.

- Smooth, bright hop bitterness... floral hops.. somewhat grainy and semi-sweet... and that malt funk again. Seems certain kinds of malts I catch this slight odd funk.. must be an English malt..

- Medium bodied, well carbonated, slightly chewy.. rather filling.

- A decent drinker. I bet their IPA would be killer.. going off of the flavors from this amber. More like a strong English IPA or ESB. Not too bad.

 706 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
African Amber from Mac and Jack's Brewery
3.85 out of 5 based on 410 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.