Fire Chief Ale - Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Fire Chief Ale
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BA SCORE
81
good

91 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 91
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | 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:
"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."

(Beer added by: oggg on 03-20-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 91 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the Rock Bottom in Bethesda, MD.

Pours a moderate amber color with a bit of a tan head. Some lace rings follow a quickly-receding head. The nose brings some light bready and caramel malts with a bit of roast. Slightly roasted malt character alongside some light caramel and toffee. A bit of citrus in there with some bitterness following along. Drinks fairly well and the lighter malt is complemented by light citrus hopping.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well-carbonated iced tea amber-brown with generous reddish highlights in the body of the beer and bright orange ones at the edges. The liquid was capped by a disk of ecru colored foam that lasted no more than several minutes. Thin, smeary, tried-to-be-rings ended up on the glass, but followed the surface of the disappearing beer rather than remaining in place from the top edge down.

The aroma was woefully short on... aroma. I could appreciate minimally toasted malt with a little hop fruitiness that wasn't prominent enough to identify with any degree of certainty. I kept smelling the beer for the life of the pint (not as obvious and as obviously geeky as repeatedly holding the glass up the light), but it failed to come out of its shell with warming.

The flavor was a more forthcoming approximation of the nose. First impression: not enough malt. What was present was moderately toasted. I've noted on more than one occasion that some beer from this brewpub tastes apple-like, a flavor that I've attributed to the house yeast strain. Who knows whether there's any truth to that or not, but I tasted appley notes (and some orangey ones as well) in Fire Chief.

In fact, the central flavor could be described as apple chunks rolled in toasted malt powder with a pinch or two of crushed aspirin for bitterness. It tasted better than that description sounds, but that's the general idea. I was fully prepared to guess that English hop varieties comprise the hop bill when I burped something citric. Could be an Anglo-American effort.

The finish was brief, bittersweet and lightly coating. Although it was too light and too fizzy initially, the mouthfeel did make a comeback of sorts by the bottom of the pint. It didn't come back far enough, however, since the last swallow was still too busy in the mouth.

Fire Chief Ale is definitely in the bottom half of all the offerings that I've had at this brewpub over the years. Since it's a beer that has been released at numerous Rock Bottoms around the country, and since most BAs don't seem overly fond of it, I wonder if the recipe was predetermined by corporate headquarters. Better to let the local brewmasters unleash their creativity. At least then there'd be a chance at good beer.

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
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!

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of russpowell
4/5  rDev +12%
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

Photo of Rifugium
2.2/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First had: on tap at Rock Bottom, King of Prussia, PA

I was not impressed at all by this seasonal brew. They said it was an ESB, BA says it's an Irish red. But it basically tasted like a watered down amber. Profits go to charity, but...meh.

Poured an orange-amber with a thin layer of bubbles for a head. Light aroma of toasted caramel malts, nutty. Not much in the flavor department. Nutty, somewhat toasty, bready, a bit of hoppy bitterness, but nothing really distinctive. Light-medium mouthfeel, and after one mug, I had no desire to have another.

Photo of WesWes
3.63/5  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.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of LXIXME
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.33/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Same beer as Fire Chief Irish Red
( Served in a tall glass mug)

A- This beer has a slightly hazy brown body with an orangeish-copper glow to it. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that support a thin film of cream that last for a few sips.

S- This beer has a soft dry tangy malt nose with a light dry toasted quality to it. The smell is very clean until the beer warms a bit.

T- The taste of soft nougat gives way to a soft dry toasted note that has almost a perfume quality to it and a finish that is best described as zippy hops. They are green and just a bit tangy with the carbonic acid flavor. There is also a light field corn and raw grain quality after the finish after the beer warms a bit.

M-This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz at the finish.

D- This beer has some slightly odd flavor with the tangy notes and the raw grain notes at the end left kind of a dull flavor in my mouth after each sip.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.51/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rock Bottom Brewery
Fire Chief Red

Pours a firey clear reddish color, with an off white head and some lacing. Aroma of caramel malts and some toffee. In the taste, caramel and toasted malt flavor, with a restrained sweetness. Fresh kilned malt flavor. Mild hop flavor of herbs, citrus and distant pine. Medium bodied and well carbonated. This is a more than decent red ale. With proceeds going to support local fire departments, this is an all around winner.

Enjoyed at Rock Bottom, Homestead PA

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of WoodBrew
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
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!

Photo of DrDemento456
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this as part of a sampler. It was their seasonal ale at the time.

A - Very little head on this which to me signaled a higher ABV since most of these are loaded with carbonation. Sadly its under 6% but it looks like a red ale very bright red brown clear in color.
S - It has a toasted malt smell, slightly sour with some caramel but mostly grainy.
T - It tasted kind of unbalanced very bitter pine grainy character making the body more boozy than it should have been. Not very sweet just loaded with toasted malt.
M - Daymn was this 8%? When I checked the menu it said it was 5.6% and I thought no way. Hard to drink despite the medium body.

Overall I was not very impressed and kind of saddened since pint profits go to local firemen and I only got a sample. It Ok overall.

Photo of WOLFGANG
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of barnzy78
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of deapokid
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of UncleJimbo
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.68/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - nice copper color, cream colored head holds at a solid cap and laces quite well.

Aroma - just a bare whisper of grain, not much at all here.

Taste - light flavor, a moderate grain presence. RB's description says 'sweet caramel tones' but I'm not picking that up. It does have some sweetness on the aftertaste, but this comes across very average.

Mouthfeel - decent body, crisp bubbles, no issues here but I'm getting an average impression overall.

Drinkability - it's as drinkable as any 'okay' beer but considering the other RB taps, I'll save my growler for something else.

Photo of TX-Badger
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of yemenmocha
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of beerpadawan
3.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +12%
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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Fire Chief Ale from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.