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Fire Chief Ale - Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Fire Chief Ale
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BA SCORE
82
good

91 Ratings
THE BROS
-
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 Sycodrummer
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presented from the tap in a 23oz. mug this beer was a dark amber color with one-finger of slightly off-white head. Some slightly sticky lace and some carbonation could be seen sticking to the glass as well.

The smell had a faint but present hop aroma with a grainy, caramel like scent. Some baked bread and toast like malty aromas as well.

The taste had a mild toasted malt backbone to it that was accented with hints of hops. Slightly sweet with hints of caramel and toffee in the finish. Hop character struggles a bit to come through and the beer does not have any one flavor that really pushes through. Its balanced, but bland.

Medium body with a high degree of carbonation.

Like many of RB's beers this one fails to wow. Its good for what it is but it doesn't make me want to order another. Not a bad beer, and certainly drinkable (actually very sessionable), but not one I will rush back to.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev +12%
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.

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 sinistrsam
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served at the Arlington location, typcal pint glass, colder than it should have been. It had a medium reddish brown color, with a large faomy head. It had a sweet, mildly fruity aroma with mild hops. The tatoh sweet and roasted. It had a mediocre mouthfeel with a good balance of carbonation, sweetness, dryness and smoothness. It was, however, very drinkable, and rather refreshing.

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

The appearance is a medium brown/copper, with a beige head, mild lacing. Aroma is a very muted hint of malt. Initial taste consists of a gentle caramel (but not as sweet) grain, few hops, dry and mildly carbonated. Few high notes. Designed to be an average crowd pleaser. I know the brewmaster (John) and his standards are higher. He is planning some awesome brews for the coming months after March 2006. Stay tuned.

Photo of zjungleist
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red color with an average white head. The smell was nothing special, basically just a bit of malts and a tiny bit of hops. As for flavor it was a slight hoppy twang up front and a bit of lighter malty sweetness. I did detect a slight oxidized or metalic flavor. The mouthfeel was pretty standard, crisp, but not too light. Overall I didn't really see anything special about this 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 ManekiNeko
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
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...

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
2.68/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Served at Rock Bottom Chicago. Here it was presented as an Irish red ale, and I don’t think any of us has many great expectations from this style. Still, there are some nice roasty malt notes, and a noticable hop profile in an attractive red body. A decent enough session ale.

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 drewbage
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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 jaz
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Photo of oggg
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is made yearly, I believe, as part of a charity event for the firefighters. It's billed as a hoppy amber ale.

The beer looks much like the Rag Top Red -- a deep ruby red with an average head. After having the dry hopped Rag Top Red, this beer had a much less interesting aroma. On first taste, the beer was spicy. Very spicy. Amid medium bitterness which subsided to let in the mild to moderate malt character. Medium body. All-in-all, the spiciness is a good thing. This amber is clearly different from the Rag Top and is worth trying.

In the restroom the recipe is posted: Centennial, Willamette, and Mt Hood.

Photo of beernut7
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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.

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Fire Chief Ale from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.