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Fire Chief Ale - Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Fire Chief Ale
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45 Reviews
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Reviews: 45
Hads: 99
Avg: 3.59
pDev: 14.76%
Wants: 0
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 04-01-2003

"Our fresh-brewed Fire Chief Ale* is a medium-bodied,
auburn-colored Ale that gets its pleasant sweetness and lightly toasted character from select caramel and crystal malts. Hand-selected hops from the Pacific Northwest lend a crisp and satisfying citrus finish."
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Reviews: 45 | Hads: 99
Photo of JamesS
4.43/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(On tap at Rock Bottom, downtown Indy) Poured a very nice semi-deep red with excellent head and some very nice lacing. Nice deep malty scent, with slight sugar and caramel tones. Wonderful taste, with a great middle-depth malt deepness, with good caramel undertones and a nice crystal malt sweetness; decent hop finish under a nice tangy maltiness. Goes down extremely smoothly; very refreshing and cleansing.

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Photo of stockingcpl
4.26/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This brew pours from the growler with a nice thick foamy eggshell in color. Head retention is excellent. Lacings and spiderwebbing are plentiful. Brew color is a nice reddish amber in color. Clarity is high with no cloudiness.

Smell: Aroma is a carmel sweetness with a very faint spice character. The aroma curve is a littole shallow and tapers quickly. Minor hop presence during sustain. Malt is very faint throughout aroma curve but generally superimposed by other charicteristics.

Taste: Flavor character is a little interesting with flavors merging an fading during curve intervals. Onset has high carbonation with provides a nice transition to hop zing. This tapers off quickle and permits spices to appear with biscuit and butter overtones. These quickly fade and the hop presence reemerges. Sustain is fairly long. This is an amazing flavor mutation where the hops presence is distinct during two separate phaces of the flavor curve. Interesting and VERY well presented. Great job.

Mouthfeel: The initial carbonation hit, while not rare, does provide the palate with a presentation of strong hop quite smoothly. The transition to spice is interesting and very coordinated. The reemergence of hop is a little suprising at first, but the drinker, wantin that esperience again finds that another sip will follow quickly. Palate does not clear perfectly, however this is not unusual in a high hop profiole brew.

Drinkability: The flavor transitions will strike the drinker as fairly unique. The hop dual emergence is very inviting, and the drinker will find that he/she ends up taking multiple small sips to reexperience this effect. Due to this, I rate this brew very highly.

Overall: Great job Rock Bottom! Too bad this is a brewmaster selection and not a regular offering. If the drinker has the opportunity, be sure to sample this brew!!!


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Photo of MattyG85
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Rock Bottom in Minneapolis, MN.

Appearance: Deep amber red. Decent sized tan head with nice retention and lacing.

Smell: Scent of citrus and pine hops followed by toffee, malts, and caramel.

Taste: Piney hops followed by earthy bread. Hints of caramel and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation. Smooth.

Overall: A good version of an amber ale.

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Photo of jaz
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep reddish amber color with a thin layer of light foam. Lace was minimal but there was some. The aroma was floral and mildly malty, somewhat earthy. Taste was fruity with a bittersweet flavor. Mouthfeel was somewhat watery. Sharp tang finish that disappeared quickly. It's a very drinkable session beer.

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Photo of Biscuit033
4.08/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Burnt orange with a thin off white head with great lace.

S: Sweet malts (not too caramelly), some flowery notes, and a hint of citrus.

T: Balanced malts and hops up front, with the hop coming forward at the end with pine and citrus notes and some tropical/red fruit hints as well.

M: A bit thinner than expected but smooth with a clean, dry finish.

D: Very nice ESB with lots of flavors. This is something that I would drink all night and would love to try cask conditioned.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am all about the charity! So when I saw that there is a combo of beer and charity...SCHWING! The growler came from Rock Bottom D'Town Chitown! The amber color was very nice and two finger white head gave to a nice lace. The aroma could have been more, bit was a nice subtle cross between malt and hop! The taste is nice and caramelly. I really like this beer and could Session all day long!

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this years batch is hoppier than past versions, the brewer stated he used lahtanum (sp?), cascade, and simcoe. a cloudy brownish amber in the glass with a creamy head. citrus and bready caramel in the nose, although a bit subdued as are all the beers here (local water?). taste followed suit with fresh bready caramel malts, lightly roasted nuts, and a citric hop twang. mouthfeel was rich, creamy, and quite full-bodied for this abv. freshness adds to the drinkability. a good session beer.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep copper/amber color with a nice half inch of khaki head on the top. Very nice clarity here. Aromas of toasted grains and caramel along with a spicy orange hop twang. A touch of fresh baked bread. Really nice citric aroma. Good stuff.

First sip brings a toasted caramel grain maltiness upfront along with spicy orange pekoe tea flavors coming from the hops. Goes down crisp with a slight biscuity finish and a mild bitterness. A solid amber ale to be had here.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with good carbonation. I could easily drink a good deal of this brew. A nice session beer for sure. Really toasty and worth checking out. I hope for more like this from RB Warrenville.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rock Bottom Long Beach

A: The pour is not quite amber, more of a dark orange, with an off-white head.

S: Much more hoppy than their standard amber ale. Lots of citrus notes with some notes of pine in there too. Though it is hoppier, there is still plenty of malt character. Good toffee and bread aromas providing the backbone of the beer.

T: Citrus fruit, citrus peel, and pine hops provide a nice flavor and a bitterness that I find enjoyable in an amber ale. Like with the nose, substantial bread, toffee, and caramel to provide sweetness and balance.

M: Medium in body with a moderate carbonation.

O: Nothing to complain about with this beer. Good flavor, and while it doesn't blow you away, it packs a lot of flavor into a 5.5% ABV beer.

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Photo of hdf561
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

March 22nd 2011 Rock Bottom Brewery Indy

Served in a Fire Chief Ale Pint glass, from draft tap.

Appeared darker than most beers I drink, but not as dark as a Guiness.

Smelled good, not offensive, I think I smell the caramel they say its brewed with.

Taste, great initial taste no aftertaste. Kinda of tasted like Yuengling.

Mouthfeel was very smooth.

This was a darker beer but very very drinkable, I had 2 of them, and could have drank this all nite had it been served at other locations I was going to.

Overall this is a really good beer, and I wish they served it here at home, I will definetly try and get my hand on more, plus it supports my profession, and it was being used as a fundraiser for Indy Firefighters, which made it even better.

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Photo of russpowell
3.99/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this today at lunch. I think this was also dry hopped

Poured caramel/ruddy red with loads sparkler foam & bubbles & 2 fingers of tan lovely head. Cleared quickly, fantastic head retention & lacing

S: Citric hops & faint toasted malt

T: Grapefruitty hops & roasted malt up front. Earthy hops & slight grainyness as this warms. Finished with citiric hops & crispness, not as much malt profile as the draft version

MF: Nice & creamy with good carbonation levels

Drank pretty easy, a nice red

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Photo of Redrover
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I stopped by RB before a work outing and lucky for me, it was the release party for Fire Chief Ale. A portion of the sales goes to the Chicago Fire Department and they had firemen on-hand for the taping.

The beer is a dark red with a tight off-white head. Nice lacing.

The beer has an aroma of some caramel, a slight touch of citrus and something earthy.

The taste is pleasant and just screams out session beer. There is a bit of sweet caramel and slightly grainy malts all moderated by some subtle hoping . I thought the hoping seemed to increase as the beer warmed and some grapefruit tones started to emerge.

The mouth is pleasantly sturdy and workman like. This is an easy drinker and would be a perfect cross-over beer.

Bottom line, good beer for a good cause. I also picked up a commemorative pint glass.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Its clear, deep copper body has an orange-ish glow to it, and its creamy tan head holds well before dropping to a thin surface covering that leaves thin splashes of lace. The nose is caramelish and fruity. Its medium body is accentuated by a crisp carbonation that gently "zests" the tongue and wakens the tastebuds. In the flavor, a juicy, berry-like fruitiness is found up-front; followed by a caramel-tinged, toffee-ish malt and lightly spicy and floral hops. It's very well balanced by a firm bitterness, and its fruity and toffee-ish flavors combine brilliantly. I didn't think I was going to like this one as much as I did... but I just had to have a second pint. Very well done, and quite drinkable!

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I especially like the fact that Rock Bottom donated some procedes of the sales of Fire Chief to local fire departments.

This Ale has a dark amber look and a dark-white head that stays a while. The taste is slightly bitter, just enough to wake your tongue up. It's rather smooth, VERY drinkable. Too bad it's a seasonal.

Edit for 2009 release:
This year's version is noticeably more hoppy and less smooth than I remember from last year. The flavor is still good but the tartness I find somewhat off-putting. Sad :(

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Photo of beernut7
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't really know what I was expecting with this brew. I was just happy to see a new beer on the menu. Fire orange in color, a bit hazy and topped by a generous head, the aroma is mellow and hints at just a bit of spicy hops. The first sip brings forth a smooth, rounded brew with a mild maltiness and a nice bold, but not aggressive bitterness that carries through in the finish. Not like any other steam beer I have had, but fairly tasty by any standard. Very drinkable, even caught on with some of my beer-wuss buddies.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on a hand pull at the brewpub. Nonic glass, cellar temperatures.

Appearance: Dark reddish copper, somewhat hazy in appearance. Thick and creamy offwhite head which stuck around for awhile. Rings of lace left on the glass.

Smell: Orange marmalade-esque aromas with a titch of grassy hops. Could've used a bit more hops, but not too much.

Taste: Sweet toasty malts with judicious amounts of fruity character. Slight grainy taste on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and somewhat creamy. Relatively refreshing.

Drinkability: Very sessionable and food worthy beer. Nice and pleasant, overall. I might have to go back for a growler of this...

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the Harvard Square brewpub.
"For the seventh consecutive year, Rock Bock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery will hold its annual Fire Chief Ale promotion in tribute to Fire Fighters across the nation, kicking off Thursday, March 20th, and lasting for three weeks."

This beer poured a cloudy, copper color with white foam. The smell was good: malt and floral hops. The taste was dominated by hops but with a good amount of malt to balance. The mouthfeel was smooth, but a bit astringent from the hops. The body was medium with low carbonation feel. The drinkability was OK.

To be honest I am unsure of the Style. Comments elsewhere on the web imply that this might be a Steam beer.

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Photo of dcscientist
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%

This is usually a very short release, so if you want it, you have to get there fast. I finally got myself some, and it was worth it. Very smooth and drinkable Irish red, a better beer than most of their standards.

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Photo of bradybeer
3.76/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer raises funds for a firefighter's non-profit.
A= Beer is dark copper-orange
S= little to no hop aroma
T=Tastes of toasty malt and caramel, and finishes with a slight hop bitterness.
M= Mouthfeel is medium
D= Drinkability is good, though beer a little too carbonated for my taste.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.76/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Rock Bottom Fire Chief Ale

From 4/3/13 tasting notes. Enjoyed on tap with dinner. Arrived in tulip style pint glass. Served chilled.

A) The red brew with at least a finger of off-white head. Nice retention and ample lacing. Quite an attractive beer.

S) A nice malt forward aroma toast, light roast, and a hint of caramel. A little earthy, with some pine in the distance.

T) Follows the nose pretty closely. Has a bready/toasty flavor, touch of sweetness, but that is balanced out with a decent hops presence, that is slightly piney and herbal. Earthy finish...

M) A medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Pretty crisp and refreshing.

O) The last red I had was a Killian's. This was substantially more flavorful and more enjoyable. Not too shabby Rock Bottom. Really, quite a good effort.

Paired with the chicken fried chicken... I love me some chicken fried chicken.

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Photo of drewbage
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed in Chicago

Served in a big mug as bright red beer on the verge of orange cherry.

Aroma seems intense with both a caramel malt and an american hop slap with some sandalwood (Simcoe?)

Flavor is well balanced with a malt forefront and a hop zing. As the finish comes on and the malt flavor takes a break the hops come back and dance on the tongue to wipe the caramel and bring us back to a zing for the next sip.

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Photo of spointon
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at the Orland Park Rock Bottom on 4/10/09. This beer is brewed annually for a charity event in the late winter/early spring.

A= This ale poured a murky dark copper/red color with a 1/2" white head. The head dropped to a thin cap almost immediately, and left behind faint spotty lace.

S= Not an overly aromatic beer, but I did find a fair bit of malty sweetness and some spicy Goldings in the hop profile. Pretty two dimensional though.

T= A mild American red ale with just a bit of hop forward character to it. The malt base was caramelly and sweet, with a bit of oat flavor in there too. The hops were spicy, earthy, and definitely of the Goldings variety. Finish was sweet and devoid of any noticeable alcohol.

MF= Medium bodied with an oily/slick mouthfeel and a softer carbonation level.

D= A decent red ale, but a bit too "oaty" for me. Pretty drinkable though.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on tap at the Westminster location. an appropriate beer for st pattys day. the pour is clear brick red, nice and dark with a good inch of off white foam. the nose is surprisingly complex, lots of floral springtime essences and an orange or tangerine citric element that's uncommon in the style. all this behind a sturdy red malt body and a biscuit ale yeast. the flavor is identical to the nose, but with the orange only coming out after its swallowed. I love the layers here, and it feels just right for spring. its an easy mug to get through, with a medium body and cruisy carbonation. its not really as dry as advertised, but who cares. the long finish allows the orange and flower petal thing to really come out. overall I like this a lot, especially for a chain produced red ale. I think rock bottom is pretty impressive for a chain though, the food is fantastic and the beers are always a little creative. also, proceeds to charity for this one, so props for that.

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Photo of chaz01
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at the RB in downtown Cincinnati served in a pint glass.

A: Reddish amber color with an average size head.

S: Citrus and grapefruit notes

T: More citrus and grapefruit notes -- pretty hoppy almost IPA like. Bitter hoppy finish.

M: Medium bodies , Astringent mouthfeel.

D: This would be a great session beer, light on the alcohol, well balanced and plenty of hoppiness.

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Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a white lace head. The aroma is good. It has a light malt scent along with some mild aroma hops. The taste is decent. It is a little weak in the malt department as well as the hops department. This is supposed to be an American pale ale. That usually means some good hop flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied brew with good carbonation. This is like most of their beers, weak and made for the masses. It falls short on style.

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Fire Chief Ale from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.