African Amber | Mac and Jack's Brewery

very good
132 Reviews
no score
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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 smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some lace on the glass edge despite the lack of a head. Cloudy and neutral amber.

The aroma is mild but the hop is dominant over the light malt aromas.

The flavor is closer to an English bitter than an American amber. While the body is nearly perfect, the carbonation is low. The taste profile is hoppy.

This is a nice, easy drinking beer.

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Photo of GimmeAles
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A wonderful local ale I can't beleive I haven't reviewed yet. Could review this from memory any time of the day.

A beautiful, quite cloudy amber, with the sparkle of red and orange sprites who dance winsomely within. A silky 1-finger head sits atop andh recedes to 2cm neatly sealing the glass to the bottom. Nice lacing the whole way down.

Smell is of toasty, wheat-bread and unsalted sunflower seeds infused with plenty of flowery, citrusy hops. More subtle, berry-like fruitiness mingles in the background.

Creamy, medium mouthfeel delivers big malty presence in the form of toasted bread crusts with a strong, earthy-ness coming in suggesting unsalted mixed nuts. A dab of caramely sweetness is delivered before the tart, citrusy hops make their presence know with a very pleasant fruity bitterness. Piquant strawberries and fresh Rainier cherries are quite evident, and the stand-out taste component of this beer in my mind. Wonderful.

A delicious beer, but one whose body makes it hard for me to have more than one, drinkability is only hindered by its richness. The only beer my wife actually gets near regularly - it's impressively complex and yet approachable. The fact that I can always get it very fresh makes this a excellent local standby.

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Photo of micahgoldfus
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served to me with a thin, creamy head that never quite went away. Cloudy, amber appearance, looks tasty! Smells rich: malty, bready, citrus undertones. Taste is delicious! A wonderful example of malt and hop balance. Taste is piney on the tongue, and leaves a light, bitter hop splash at the end of the sip. Malty tastes with caramel and citrus fruit (grapefruit, i think). Average body and carbonation, making this beer quite drinkable.

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Photo of russpowell
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap in Twin Falls, Idaho

Poured caramel with 1" of white head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Earthy & piney hop with just a hint of biscuitty malt

T: Piney hops, breadyness & citric hops up front. Finishes with loads of hops & good malty presence

MF: Medium bodied with slighlty too much carbonation, but superb balance

Super drinkable, one of the better ambers I've encountered as of late

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Photo of rm0312
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First tried this on tap at Boston’s in Spokane, WA with a pizza. I had never heard of it at that point so I had no preconceived notions. I was very pleased with every aspect - dark brown color, hoppy aroma and taste, great finish and goes well with several foods. I have had it since at Safeco Field - it even went well in a plastic cup (something I try to avoid with any drink). Great of my favorite ambers.

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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."

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Photo of zuggy9
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a translucent dark amber with a fast head. Not much retention. The smell is rich in fruit and caramel. The taste is great, with a nice sweetness hinting of fruit and caramel, but no overly sweet. Mouthfeel is good with medium body and a clean finish. Quite drinkable.

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Photo of chrisms86
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark, opaque brown with a thick frothy head that sticks to the side of your mug until you're finished. Not much of an aroma and the taste comes up just as mellow, with light hoppy notes that finish just mildly bitter. A delicious brew but not one that dominates your tastebuds. Because of this it is an easy drinker, with a fantastic thick mouthfeel that is usually found in more filling beers. A great session brew that tastes great

The taste of this one is really hard to describe and I feel as thought my review is lacking, but the best way I can explain it is very toned down. The taste, when you search for it, is delicious but it isn't very intense. Highly recommended for parties or any other situation where you might have more than one.

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Photo of erikjon
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty sure this is the one I had last night... it was only referred to as "Mac and Jack's" on the menu, but the description seems to fit. An organish-red colored ale that was very cloudy and had a good head on it (not too big, not too small... just right). Tasted very smooth and had a good balance of bitterness and hopiness. Was very drinkable, and the three (or was it four?) I had went down very smoothly... and a little too fast. I would definitely recommend this one as a must-try if you're in the Seattle area.

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Photo of eballard
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours an unfiltered hazy amber color. It has a light head that settles quickly. The smell is malt and sweet with hints of caramel. The taste is sweet and slightly malty with a nice hops blend. The feel is crisp and smooth. This is a great beer. It’s smooth and refreshing with a rich flavorful taste. This beer is only available of tap in the Northwest area. It’s a must if you’re in the area.

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Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: slightly hazy amber color with some yellow highlights at the glass edge. 1 " head falls quickly. No lacing develops.

Smell: caramel and sweet fruits are mild and pleasant.

Taste: caramel, ripe plums, and soft bitterness. Overall it is mildly sweet with just enough bitterness to take the edge off.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp from start to finish. Medium bodied. Very short, almost clean aftertaste.

Drinkability: pretty nice drinkability, just wish it looked a bit better. Definite crowd pleaser here.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz draft, on tap at Anthony's on Pier 66 in Seattle (great seafood by the way)

appearance: came to be in an awkward glass that I was unfamiliar with....bright amber with a light beige-tan head, retention is rather low

smell: aromas are rather light, bready, caramel malt, certainly well spiced

taste: very nice tasting initial reaction was that the taste resembled a big graham cookie flavour, quite toasty and bready, good nuttiness factor, light citrus hop profile. enjoyable

mouthfeel: medium, average carbonation

drinkability: high

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pint glass, Capt. Ankeny's Portland, OR:

A: A really nice looking tawny amber, with golden highlights. Thin but creamy white head with steady lacing

S: Mild floral hoppiness but little else. Beer may have been served a little cold...or my nose just doesn't detect much.

T: An interesting mixture - toasted nuts & malt, but with a nicely balanced hop bitterness. Just a hint of citrus zest & some pine in the finish.

M: Medium body, a fairly thick and creamy mouthfeel with a pleasnt lingering bitterness and moderate carbonation.

D: A pleasant session-type beer. Not overly complex, but good flavors & enjoyable. Try if you see it on tap...

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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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inspired by the proud feline on the label, I have opted to employ my lovely Lion tulip glass from the Ceylon Brewing Company of Sri Lanka. That will be all the pointless, self-involved trivia for this review. You're welcome.

Unfiltered, for sure, as it pours opaquely, a rich russet, far darker than I'd expect of an amber, light orange at the foot and along the sides. The head is puffy, bone-white, a solid half inch and holds well. Very attractive glass of brew!

Nose is lightly laced with hops and amped up with sweet malt. Slightly candyish, and aplomb with fruit, soft citrus, grapefruit and tangerine, orange rind and lemon zest. Exceptionally inviting!

Clean entry on the palate, but loaded with flavor, urging the lips to meet the cup again, for a deeper examination. Hangs full in the mouth, then floods the gates with deliciousness, same flavors found in the aroma spilling out.

Body is medium, mouthfeel is smooth, while tangy and tasty. Finish is lighter than I normally prefer, but seems just right for the style. I understand why ambers are favorites among many people and the one that hits the right medium can became "the best beer in the world!" to those folks. There's a lot of them, and I can see why this one can easily be Washington's answer to New Belgium's Fat Tire, Anderson Valley Boont Amber, and so many others. I would drink it up like crazy, if there were no IPAs or Stouts vying for my attention.

Only halfway into the glass as I finish these notes, and yet I can assure one and all that this growler will be gone in no time flat. Well-crafted, unfiltered amber of exceptional quality will always have a home in my stomach. (Actually, it's starting to remind me of other favorite unfiltered ambers, such as Bell's Amber, and also Rush River's The Unforgiven, not surprising that the RR brewers once worked for Mac & Jack's.)

much thanks to Corey for the chance to try it out, at last, after reading of it's cult status for so long!

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Photo of jclovebrew
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at an airport bar in Seattle. Cloudy, opaque, light orange. Looks like an dunkel weisen that's extra dunkel. Aroma was unexpectedly citrus. Very refreshing. Light bodied and kind of fruity. A touch of citrus, that I can''t figure out where it's coming from (the hops? but it doesn't feel like hops). Detecting some wheat in the malt bill though it could just be my imagination. This would make a great session beer. Unique, tasty, and easy-drinkin.

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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.

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Photo of ggroller
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Given to me by cvschaller in GIF 6.0.

Well packaged growler with electrical tape around the cap. Upon opening, I noticed that the beer was filled all the way to the very top.

The beer smells sweet. I don't get a lot of hops in the nose, though, from the dry hopping.

Pours a nice amber color. Ample head with plenty of sticky lacing.

Tastes superbly balanced. Hops, malty sweetness, and bready yeast from this unfiltered brew. Plenty of carbonation with a semi sweet coating mouthfeel.

A great session beer all the way from Redmond Washington to my home in Slatington Pennsylvania.

A heart felt thanks to cvschaller for this wonderful Sunday night treat. Cheers brother.

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Photo of evoljetta
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First tried this beer on a trip to Seattle by chance. Looks cloudy like a good wheat beer. Good mouthfeel with a wonderful taste..Every time I go to Seattle, a trip to the Mac and Jack brewery is now a staple...The only bad thing about this beer that I can say is they don't sell it in Chicago :(

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Photo of Derek
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent example of a Pacific-Northwest brew.

Nice redish-amber hue.

Lots of citrousy cascade flavour, balanced with a malty backbone. The aroma isn't quite as strong as the flavour.

Very drinkable. I'll have to travel back to this area again!

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Photo of shark262
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers and a great example of American Amber Ale. Distribution is limited to the Northwest, but definitely a brew worth seeking out.

Unfiltered orange/amber color with a nice long-lasting head.

Smell is very inviting, apricots with floral hops. There are also a couple citrus notes, but they don't overpower.

Taste is excellent - hints of caramel present. Cascade hops come through in the finish.

Medium body and low carbonation makes it even more easy-drinking.

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Photo of woemad
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this last night at the Viking, and again today at The Elk, both on-tap (as if you can get it any other way).

Poured a cloudy orange/amber color. Big, fluffy white head with lots of lace. This looked almost like a hefe.

Smell was of mildly sweet malts and floral hops, with a noticable orange scent to it as well. All very well-balanced smelling. It smelled very inviting.

Taste was similar to the smell. Without being cloying, it was sweet tasting. There was a mild dryness at the swallow, but there otherwise wasn't much hoppiness at all. Though I normally prefer my ambers hoppy, this is not a complaint, as what was here was very tasty. This is probably the only mostly-malty amber I've ever enjoyed, as most taste kind of out-of-whack to me, if that makes any sense. While it's not the best tasting beer I've ever had, it's an excellent accompaniment to one's lunch on a sunny afternoon.

Medium bodied ale, with a normal amount of carbonation. No nasty surprises here.

This makes an excellent session beer. Definitely one to remember when you're hanging out with some friends and want to share a few pitchers.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint ( or 3), at Gregorys Lounge near Sea-Tac.
A nice darkish amber coulour beer with a good sized creamy/frothy white head.
It has quite a spicy aroma for an amber , with notes of citrus and maltiness.
This is quite an unusual amber ,very sweet and spicy with particular notes of peach flavour.,Bitter after taste.
Nice and smooth on the tongue woth lowish carbonation.
A very drinkable amber, unusual for sure,but i liked it a lot.

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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.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thank god that I live in Seattle everytime I have this beer. Mac & Jacks is a staple at most bars in the Greater Seattle area. The appearance is amber colored with a dark hue. The smell is of hops and faint hint of malts, a slyte fruity and caramel trace as well. The taste is great. The malts and hops are very well balanced and it has a hint of a caramel. When the beer is in the mouth the carbonation is just right with a smooth taste. This is a very drinkable beer, when in a bar I always go for this, excellent!

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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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