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McNeill's Champ Ale - McNeill's Brewery

Not Rated.
McNeill's Champ AleMcNeill's Champ Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

54 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 54
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 14.09%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Champ Ale is a West Coast style pale ale. Also somewhat citrusy, it has notes of concord grapes both in the flavor and the nose. Made from a blend of British and domestic malts, it has a light red or pale rose color and very high drinkability.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-17-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hopstout
Hopstout

Minnesota

2/5  rDev -44.8%

01-29-2014 06:47:02 | More by Hopstout
Photo of patrick802
patrick802

Vermont

2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

05-04-2014 19:51:46 | More by patrick802
Photo of mvanaskie13
mvanaskie13

Pennsylvania

2.4/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a fluted glass, color is pale copper, translucent, head is off white, very thick and dense, clings the glass well.

Smell is slightly off, bitternes is the there, but the sweet notes are not, hints of vinegar.

Taste starts out somewhat clean, light caramel sweet, but is caught up by some tartness, something is off, bitternes is there but not in a flavorful way.

Mouthfeel is balanced, the tartness is not lingering and the bitterness is the for a pale.

Overall, I don't like this as pale, it looks nice but does not followup; again an off beer from McNeill's, could be the freshness, could be the product and attention to quality, so far it has been 50/50.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 02:34:29 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of BeerNinja007
BeerNinja007

New Hampshire

2.63/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

22oz bomber was $3.69 at the Lebanon Co-op grocery. Label notched to indicate best before last day of February. No year is indicated, so this info is of minimal value. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

A: A rigorous pour gives 1" of off-white foamy head on top of a mostly-clear pale golden-yellow brew. Minimal lace.

S: Light tasty aroma of honey, apricot, green grapes, hay, florals.

T: Much more hoppy and dry than I expected from the smell. Mostly dominated by a big note of bitter orange and lemon, then some yeastiness. Barely any malt at all, far too bitter with no backbone. Finish turns a bit tropical, bitter pineapple or mango.

M: Dry, thin, a bit fizzy. Acidic and unrefined.

D: It has a good hoppy bite but lacks any balance with malt or sweetness. Fizzy hop water. Plus there's a complete disconnect between the smell and the taste, which are nothing alike. I'm not too interested in finishing this, it is a chore to drink. Dumped the rest.

A perusal of other reviews shows my experience to be atypical. I previously speculated that McNeill's may have problems with consistency/ reproducibility and this seems like even more evidence. Drink at your own risk. :/

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2010 01:14:17 | More by BeerNinja007
Photo of Noelito76
Noelito76

New York

2.75/5  rDev -24%

12-25-2013 15:19:38 | More by Noelito76
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

2.75/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Explodes out of bottle for a five+ finger white head that fades slowly to a ring leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit nose. Flavor is sour peach and grapefruit, lingering bitter aftertaste from the hops. $2.99 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 22:58:54 | More by jdhilt
Photo of OriolesFan1008
OriolesFan1008

Maryland

3/5  rDev -17.1%

07-06-2013 15:27:30 | More by OriolesFan1008
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22ozer from Brattleboro Co-Op, Brattleboro, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" eggshell head over a cloudy golden amber brew. Uneven head lasts reasonably, with great lacing. Slightly sweet aroma with citrus notes. Very earthy taste upfront (not so much in a good way), with expected hops character. Mouthfeel and drinkability were both affected by what I perceived as off flavors in the taste. Disappointing, since the appearance and nose were so promising. Will have to revisit and verify.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2005 21:45:00 | More by ppoitras
Photo of cracker
cracker

Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 22oz bomber, best before date 11/?? (year is conspiciously missing). Pours a golden yellow hue with little to no head. Smells of biscuit and some sweet malt. Little hop aroma. Taste is very tangy and citrusy but not from bittering hops. Light carbonation. Somewhat strange sensation on the palate. Drinkable but not one of the better apa's I've had. Maybe past it's freshness date I admit.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 03:24:56 | More by cracker
Photo of LJWalker
LJWalker

Alabama

3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

12-01-2013 16:36:12 | More by LJWalker
Photo of madjr80
madjr80

Massachusetts

3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I bought a 22 ounce bomber for 2.75, so it was not a bad deal. It is listed as an American pale ale, but it is not really true to the style. It has a funny yeasty/citrus tang to it. The color was a pale amber. The texture light with enough of carbonation; head retention is just about average(thin lace).A bit weaker on the hop than expected. Overall, not a bad decision, but a 22 ounce bomber is enough for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2010 03:43:48 | More by madjr80
Photo of deereless
deereless

Colorado

3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Lots of frothy foam sticking to the side of the glass, quite opaque, a dirty gold color; 4.25, S: Heaps of citrus, noticeably grapefruit, I realize this is an APA, but I smell a dry crispness that I associate with a sour ale - 3.00, T: Some orange or grapefruit zest, solid hop bite, mild grainy sweetness, the sour on the nose creeps into the palate - 3.50, M: Medium bodied - 3.00, D: A decent beer, misses on a couple of marks in my opinion but I'd drink it again - 3.00

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2009 03:25:07 | More by deereless
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another gem from McNeil's. I have really been plowing through their lineup lately to say the least. I think this is the 6th or so I have had and I have one more left for tonight. Split with my brother in law over dinner, this one was consumed on 10/13/2009.
 
The pour was fairly nice I have to say. Nice golden amber in color with a good three inch head that quickly collapsed on itself and left behind only token amounts of lacing but kept a good bit of carbonation working up from the bottom of the glass throughout to make sure you kept yourself interested. Light aroma, hints of dry citrus notes, grapefruit maybe? A touch of light pineapple and a good bit of grain to balance it out. As I reach in to take a sip it just leaves me looking for a little bit more. It is nice and clean, crisp, dry and with a good hop kick right up front I would have just wanted a touch more to go on for me. Starts with a nice dose of grapefruit and light  orange flavor that quickly blends in with a bready taste and a nice touch of light grain. But then it just kind of all muddles and fades into one another and never really comes back to where it needs to be. Clean and dry finish and nothing really terribly heavy about it, but I was really just looking for that one more little punch to make this one excellent.
 
Overall a solid, seasonable and workable pale ale, but I just wanted a little bit more out of it. Would not turn it down but it needs a little work. Still good though.
 

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2009 18:46:26 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the 1 pint 6 fl. oz. bottle with the date clipped at February on the label without a year listed. Sampled on December 28, 2009. It pours a cloudy copper yellow with an overwhelming and long lasting puffy cream head. The aroma is strong on yeast, the sign of an unfiltered brew. There are some clean hops lingering around the background a bit. The mouthfeel tends to be thin to medium. A tart and sour taste that leaves an aftertaste that was unappealing to me. I guess I have a hard time giving it as high a rating as previous raters.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 01:05:29 | More by puboflyons
Photo of sponberg
sponberg

New York

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

Amber, white head. For once the label was on fairly straight and almost entirely glued.

Nose of citric hop and toasty malt. Carries through in the flavor, with a bit of sweetness in the middle and a firm bitterness in the finish to go along with the grapefruity hop flavors. A decent brew in bottle, probably great on a hot day, but if they have it on cask at the brewery, try it - it's huge.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2002 20:31:43 | More by sponberg
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
FLAbeergutinMASS

Massachusetts

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

Bomber purchased from the brewery with no freshness date. Seemed to have many bottles on hand, so I figured they must go through a lot of it. I can see how.

Should be considered an EPA. Very bland in color. Nice lacing. most likely due to its freshness?!?!?!?!

Peachy clean taste. For an EPA (which is what it is) has a fair amount of bitterness that accompanies it.

First McNeil’s beer I've "officially" reviewed. Craft yes, good yes, try again? Yes. Average at best.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2005 03:25:41 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle. Another story on a label. This time a jester is juggling some beers and taming a dragon. Ah, the power of beer. No freshness date.

Appearance: Light amber with a hearty white head.

Smell: Slight malt, and a delicate perfuming of hop aroma.

Taste: Dry bitterness upfront, mellowing with a touch of malt sweetness and toasted grain.

Notes: A full flavoured brew with great balance. A very drinkable session style beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-1998 00:00:01 | More by Todd
Photo of firkinhophead
firkinhophead

Georgia

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4.99 from the Casual Pint in Knoxville. Bottle conditioned.

Pours cloudy, golden with a thick, fluffy head that rises up over the rik and takes a while to settle down. Clumpy, sticky lace.

Aroma is a strong suit. Sharp, yeasty notes of cheddar, apple, lemon, and biscuit. Floral hops.

Steely wheaty malts, citrus pith, vinous dry fruitiness, mild lemon soapyness.

Thin, slick mouthfeel like a wheat beer. Dry and a tad chaulky. Soft on the palate from the bottle conditioning.

Easy drinking, dry and subtle. A great summer ale that would pair well with bread, cheese and fruit. Drinks like a Saison without the spiciness. Would be great on cask. Perhaps a bit simple, but quite satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2012 02:59:22 | More by firkinhophead
Photo of albern
albern

Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a good APA, not brilliant but good. The tartness of the beer really shines through as it settles in. The beer pours a really cloudy, dirty water, no make that filthy water light brown, with particulates mostly at the bottom of the glass. There is a decent creamy, slightly fizzy head, with some lacing. The nose imparts more hops than you will find in the taste. The nose is very enticing and it hints at a really well balanced beer with a nice bready malt underbelly.

The taste is good but doesn't quite live up to what the nose was leading to. There is a nice slighlty floral hop, maybe a bit of drying leafy hop, with some thick malts underneath. There is some herbal texture to the malts. The defining feature is the lemony, tartness that comes through on top of the hops. There is a slight acerbic quality to the beer and a bit of mouth puckering with this one. The beer has some body, and dries up in the finish. The lemony tartness overly predominate this beer. It's good, but not brilliant.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2010 00:45:43 | More by albern
Photo of scootny
scootny

New York

3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lightly cloudy golden honey with a prodigious shaving cream sticky head. Retention is quite good and the glass is well decorated as I drink. Lots of yeast suspended but not much carbonation.

Smell has an orangey note with citrusy hops and a caramel malt base. A bit of yeasty bread.

Taste is sourdough bread malty with grapefruity sharp hops. A light spiciness and a return of sourness, this time gently tannic in nature. Finish is dry and firmly bitter. Lots of grapefruit skin and a light malt lingering in the mouth. Feel is finely carbonated in a lightly tingly way and somewhat crisp. Weight is moderate.

Quite quaffable. A nice one with dinner ( fish sticks, asparagus, garlic mashed, and lentil pilaf this evening ). Good for a ball game.

Thanks to The Rowan for this Vermont treat.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 01:31:08 | More by scootny
Photo of Goldorak
Goldorak

Quebec (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Translucent and orangey golden, with only a ring of lace.

Smell: Clover honey and grapefruit hops. Good stuff.

Taste: Very well balanced. Sweet malt cascades into a light hop bitterness. Low carbonation makes this creamy smooth and very drinkable. APAs like this are rare in my neck of the woods, so I enjoy them when I have the chance.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2005 01:08:02 | More by Goldorak
Photo of SaintPeter
SaintPeter

Colorado

3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an explosion of head. Careful attention to detail is needed when poured as not to end up with a beer table cloth or a slick bartop. A tad over carbonated.

Pretty, fluffy off-white head. It jiggles like a fat person's belly when laughing. Silky look to it. Carbonation bubbles are flowing. Head shrinks at a medium rate and leaves an island of foam in the middle of the glass, if not disturbed. Amazing lacing, almost uniform macramé on the inside of the glass. One of the most impressive I have ever seen. The lace twinkles in the light like miniature diamonds. Wow! Hazy amber/copper color with streaks of red. Still a layer of foam hiding the beer under it's cap after a few minutes of recession with champagne-esque bubbles streaming from the bottom of the glass. Foam coats the glass fully all the way down to the last sip. Extremely impressive.

So much going on here: sour cherry, hibiscus, grape skins, sour apples, crushed pepper corns, antique furniture, Belgian yeastiness, vanilla, citrus fruits, tartness, hints of Flemish sour ale aged in oak.

Sourness initially, like a sour ale, morphing in the middle to hoppiness and then being balanced with malt. A lager perception for an instant. Finishes with green grape skin tartness and a lingering coat in the throat of warm alcohol, oatiness and hops. Resembles a sour ale mixed with a pale ale or English bitter. The mixture is rough, though.

Watery, light and soft mouthfeel. Not what I expected from the creamy head and bold fragrance. Average.

The acridness that shows it's face just as promptly disappears making it easy to drink. Could have a pint, but not more. Lots of varying flavors and amalgams: lager, ale, hops, citrus, sourness, woody, etc.

The aroma and appearance are world class, but the taste and feel of mouth are all over the place and unbalanced. With McNeill's it is a tad difficult to predict what you are going to get--A world class beer or a homebrew gone awry. This one sits on the fence.

May pair well with equally as powerful foods--blue cheeses, meats, et al.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2009 18:44:00 | More by SaintPeter
Photo of WYVYRN527
WYVYRN527

Minnesota

3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 ounce bottle.

A: Pours an amber/orange hue with a thick white head that is slow to settle. Lacing is decent, and carbonation is vigorous for the style.

S: Caramel and bready aromas up front, with piney, citrusy hop notes making up the better half. Some fruity aromas rise from beneath.

T: Very malt-forward up front. Caramel and honey, along with some fruity esters from yeast. Slight burnt grain notes lie in between. Hops come forward with citrus, grassy notes, and a slight medicinal bitterness on the finish.

Notes: Moderate in body with a very pleasant mouthfeel, and as the beer warms it becomes better. Rustic in flavor, combining the old world with the new. Flavor is there, but overall, the rest of the aspects are pretty basic. A good pale, although there are others that I would choose before it on a menu.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 08:13:11 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of Hagbard
Hagbard

Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy deep golden color with some reddish highlights. The beer is not transparent. A thin, soapy, white head forms. The aroma is subtle with a hoppy presence. Slightly fruity. Thankfully, there is more to the taste than their is to the aroma. The taste is very hoppy up front. Immediately a bitterness asserts itself with a florally background. The bitterness mellows a bit allowing some citrus juiciness to assert itself. This beer is seriously hoppy. Much more strongly hopped than most of the more mainstream, tamer IPAs. In fact, without knowing better, I would have assumed this was an IPA. I really like this beer as it has some really nice hop flavor, however it isn't something I would grab when looking for a nice mellow pale ale. If I'm looking for hops...bring it on!

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2005 12:07:42 | More by Hagbard
Photo of sammy806
sammy806

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

07-03-2013 03:41:16 | More by sammy806
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McNeill's Champ Ale from McNeill's Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.