Fred Red Ale - Blue & Gray Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Fred Red AleFred Red Ale

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62 Ratings
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Ratings: 62
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 14.81%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Blue & Gray Brewing Co. visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 04-15-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 62 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by Toddv29424:
Photo of Toddv29424
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this beer fresh from the brewery, where it's billed as "the best beer you'll ever have". Pours a dark amber color with little to no head. The smell is pretty big with a monolithic crisp roastyness to it. The taste is much like a nut brown, although there are hints of the "red" in there. Again, there is not much variety to the tongue, but the nut flavor is well developed. Not too much carbonation, which lets the taste linger for well after the beer is swallowed. While it is big in the flavor department, it lacks in depth. Not a bad beer, but fails to live up to its moniker.

More User Reviews:
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
1.93/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Sampled as "Vinny's Famous Red Ale" at Vinny's pizzeria and grill near Richmond.

Presentation: 12oz. frosted (damn!) mug.

Appearance: It looked like weak iced tea but with a very creamy head on it. There was slight ring lacing of the mug.

Smell: I hate to say this, but there was nothing. I swirled it around and must have looked silly as I was practically plunging my nose into the glass trying to get something resembling anything to appear. No such luck. It was only after I'd let this beer warm *considerably* that I began to get any sort of smell. The faint odors I could perceive were mostly a mixture of grainy musty aromas mixed with a little bit of malty sweetness.

Taste: Ummmm.......bad? This was a very strange experience. It was almost like drinking very cold straight seltzer water. Literally no flavors at all at the very beginning. Again, only as it warmed was I able to get something to appear on the palate. Strangely, the menu stated that "If you like Killian's, you'll love Vinny's Famous Red Ale." At least Killian's has some sort of flavor.

Mouthfeel: Like hyper-carbonated water. Very fizzy and unappealing.

Drinkabilty: The only reason I finished it was to see if something actually was in the aroma and flavor departments. I'm not sure what makes this beer "famous", but I certainly felt cheated. I think it would be better served being called the "M.O.A.B. Beer" (Mother Of All Bland Beer)

Photo of mocktm
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brew pub last night along with a few other beers, including a new kick-ass Hefe that I'll add into the system later. Any who...

Pours a deep amber red with about a half of a finger of tan head that quickly dissipates. Looks incredibly creamy...

Aroma is full of bread like malts, light fruits and spice: mostly clove and cinnamon. They claim this to be a very malt forward beer, which I have to agree with, as I can't really detect much hop presence.

Tastes fairly sweet up front from the malts with the mildest hop presence in the back. As in the nose, light fruits such as cherry are present to complement the spices, as well as a nice caramel presence. Real good stuff.

Medium bodies with a nice creamy consistency. Very drinkable and a great session beer.

I've never been a huge fan of reds, but have always found this as a dependable go to beer. Maybe I'm just biased because it's brewed in my home town, but I certainly think its a solid offering.

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

A slightly hazy reddish-copper body is topped by a creamy ivory head that holds well but leaves only spotty, transient lace. The nose is malty with a caramelish, woody, and mineral side amidst a light fruitiness. Its medium body and very fine, natural carbonation tingles the tongue before it warms to become creamy and smooth across the palate. The flavor is far more fruity than the nose suggest with red berries and white grape over a gently toasted and caramelish malt that's backed by a balancing bitterness and some lightly floral and grassy hops. It finishes dry with some short lingering fruity malt.

Photo of nickd717
3.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber thanks to billab914. I felt an instant connection with this beer. It's from an unassuming Civil War-themed brewery not far from where I spent much of my childhood, made with local ingredients. I love the commercial description - "Fred Red is the best beer you've ever tried." Is it, now? I'll say one thing - it's a pretty unique beer, and a very tough rate. Why? Well, it's sour. But here's the catch: it's not that bad. Anyway, on to the review...

The color is indeed a stunning garnet red, and a two-finger creamy tan head leaves a half-finger of foam for a long while.

The aroma is...uh oh...infection. Definitely some lacto/pedio stuff going on here. A definitive metallicity complements the soured caramel malt base.

The flavor is tart and slightly metallic, although the metallicity is nowhere near as strong as on the aroma. Sweet caramel malt transitions into a vinegary red berry tartness reminiscent of a Flanders oud bruin.

The palate is not bad. It's very dry and rather tart, and the finish is clean. Medium-bodied.

I honestly think that if you put this beer in, say, the bottle of an Allagash sour, and didn't tell people what it actually was, you'd get some high ratings. This definitely isn't great, but it's one of the better unintentional wild ales I've ever had.

Photo of goldbot
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, coppery red color. Thin head that fizzles out quickly. Fruity, malty aroma with a nice floral hoppiness. The flavor is fairly sweet, with fruit notes of cherry and apple. Some bready or grainy malt and only a touch of bitterness. The mouthfeel is pretty good, just enough crispness to balance the medium body of the beer.

Photo of BeerSox
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into nonic.

Crystal clear amber hue with a strong red tint. A one finger tan head settles to a thin cap along the top.

Very malty - a lot of toasty malts along with a strong butterscotch aroma. The hops add a little bit of a leafy aroma in the background.

Smooth malts in the foreground, giving more of the toasty malt characteristic along with some burnt caramel. The hops add some bitterness toward the end, but don't add too much to the flavor. Full bodied.

An okay Red Ale. The hops don't need to do the talking in this beer, but the malts seemed overly sweet and the hops didn't balance that well, and mostly only provided bitterness.

Photo of Proteus93
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A gorgeous dark red, but basically no head whatsoever. What is there dwindles away to nothing in moments.

S: Toasty malts, a fruitiness - almost like cranberry, cherry, and apple peel.

T: Much of the same fruit funk going on as found in the aroma. A bit of maltiness in there, but somewhat overpowered. A little on the bitter side towards the finish, though it comes across as going for sour rather than bitter. A little bit of a strange tasting beer.

M + D: An easy going carbonation, medium body, and semi-dry finish. That kinda hints a little more towards the Irish Red style, which the bottle implies they are (going so far as to say "a fresh brewes malty, smooth, Irish Style Ale." with the 'Irish" highlighted in green, as if to let you know that it's of importance when tasting. Maybe reading into it too much, maybe a good hint, overall not bad but not exactly something I'd go for again... an interesting brewery that I'll be looking into further, though.

Photo of TracyfromVA
4.8/5  rDev +36.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stopped by the brewery and had a sample of the Fred Red Ale (among others)....LOVED IT! Went into the brew pub and had a pint. Delcious and excellent session beer. Dark red in color. I ended up getting a growler to take home and we finished it that night!

Photo of auxiliary
4.37/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

appearance - Dark red color, decent white head.

smell - Apples and sweet spices here.

taste - Sweet apples, not sure if it reminds me of a cider beer. Maybe. enjoyed the taste a lot.

mouthfeel - Light body with some carbonation.

drinkability - I enjoyed this beer. I liked it a lot and would buy it again. Wish they came in smaller bottles though.

Photo of lehows
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pleasant red color with a semi-creamy head. Nose is sweet, some fruit scents in here but nothing overpowering. Taste is very refreshing with some mild sweetness. This is definitely a highly drinkable brew with good session appeal too. A see alot of varied reviews here but I think it's perfect for a hot summer day or evening, give this one a try.

Photo of hiikeeba
2.93/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this beer on tap at Sammy T's downtown and really enjoyed it. I decided to visit the brewery and take some home with me. When it came my turn to get my growler filled, they had to change the keg. I didn't open the growler for a couple of days, but did store the beer in the refirgerator the whole time. When I finally sampled it, I noticed the beer had off flavors. There was an astringency in the beer that gave it a red wine taste. That flavor definitely not there at the restaurant, or during the beer tasting at the brewery. I can't decide if the flavors were a result of the long lag time in the growler, or if the new keg was bad.

I defintely will visit the brewery again, and I'll try the growler again. But I may have to sample it in the parking lot before I go home.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 22oz bomber to nonic pint glass on 1/14/12
*From notes

A: It looks more like a clean, pale brown ale and not a traditional amber. A firm pour yields a dissapointing .25 finger head that fades quickly, giving it a cask-like look.

S: Earthy. The grain presence is a bit intense. It smells like you've just walked into a brewery.

T: It tastes just like a classic brown ale. Put a blindfold on me and I'd swear to it. Very earthy malt bill all over this. There's a light hopping to it, but it doesn't mesh well with the malt profile.

M: Meh. It doesn't wow me.

O: I'd rather they call this "Benjamin Brown", as it really does come off like a traditional brown ale. This is about as middle of the road as a beer can be. If you're merely looking for a glass of beer, something to quaff without a lot of thought, this will surely suffice.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Amyliz4 for grabbing this growler on her way home.

Pours a moderate amber with an off white head and not too much lacing. Smell is amber malt with a bit of biscuit as well as a slight diacetyl presence. The buttered popcorn makes its way into the taste as well, but isn't too bad, especially in this style where it almost tastes like a British amber or some other style where a small amount of diacetyl would be acceptable. A bit of biscuit malt and some slight sweetness, though mostly a bit dry. Feel is of a medium body with decent carbonation, although the taste lowers it a bit. Same with the drinkability. I really would like to love this place, although the APA is all I've had so far that really worked.

Photo of Rifugium
3.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

First had: on tap at B&G

Medium amber color with a small white head; average retention and lacing for the style. Basic malty aroma, nothing surprising. Cakey caramel malts in the taste, very light herbal hops, and not a whole lot else. Light-medium body, and I suppose fairly drinkable. Basic stuff and not much more to say.

Photo of TMoney2591
2.91/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

The best beer I've ever tried? Strong words; let's see if it lives up... This stuff pours a clear sunset amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises straight barley, light toffee, miscellaneous greenery, and a touch of soil. The taste holds notes of dry caramel, greens, a twinge of tobacco, and a kiss of potting soil. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a kinda sad little red, one that seems to have issues with both malt bill and yeast choice. Not something I'm gonna be buying any time soon, nor is it anywhere near the best beer I've ever tried. Way to lie, beer, way to lie...

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one from a 22oz bottle that describes the beer as an Irish Ale. Pours out a reddish apple cider looking liquid. Apple cider like because it is cloudy like cider. There is an off-white head about a finger tall that dissipates very quickly and becomes wispy and thin, but leaving no lace.

After emptying the bottle in the glass, there is a yeasty sediment floating around the glass. The smell is very fruity, much like raisins, peaches and pears. Unlike some beers, the smell is very apparent.

The taste is very good, but not much bite. It is sweet and gingery. The aftertaste reminds me of ginger ale. The beer finishes very strong with hints of hoppiness and yeast.

This is a good one and a very pleasant surprise.

Photo of SwillBilly
3.72/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased from B&G about a month ago.

Appearance: Poured from a 22 oz bomber, Fred Red lives up to its name with a nice red to amber hue. A very minimal head takes away from the appearance, and what head was there fades quickly leaving just a wisp of lacing topping the beer. Lacing on the glass is minimal.

Smell: Malty sweet with hints of apricots, brown sugar and caramel with just the slightest hint of spicy hops trying to break through.

Taste: Starts very smooth and clean with a slight caramel and brown sugar like sweetness. The middle moves the beer along to a finish that is more malt, but this where the hops finally make an appearance. Not overpowering but very subtle, they show more in the aftertaste as an iced tea like bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with relatively low carbonation with makes it seem thicker than it really is.

Drinkability/Notes: A pretty good Amber/Red ale that is highly drinkable. Nothing to offend the senses here, nice and lightly sweet with caramel and just a hint of hops to balance things out. Carbonation was rather low and not sure if this due to the fact that B&G hand bottle most of their beers so shelf life might not be that good. Otherwise, a pretty solid offering from a very underrated brewery. A session beer through and through, however if memory serves me right this beer 6.7% abv. Seek and enjoy

Photo of oelergud
4.37/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark cloudy maple syrup body with a light tan head, decent retention and good lace, cant tell how much carbonation there is.
Smells strongly of sweet molasses, faint overripe banana and a little cherry. Some spiced honey scents mingled into the whole thing.
Taste is damn good, crisp sweet nectar with a subdued yet strong honey side to it, again a hint of cherries, banana and maybe a little burnt caramel. Aftertaste is long lingering molasses and spice.
Mouthfeel is pretty good, full bodied but not too thick, good coating and slick.
Highly drinkable brew.
NOTE: I got this fresh from the brewery and it's great, I have no idea what went wrong looking at the previous reviews but sounds like the frosted mug could have F'ed it up and maybe the vendor kept it on the shelf too long. My bottle was god damn good.


Photo of joepais
2.67/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to Bboyshatter for sending this want along in the under 100 BIF.
I poured this into a Smuttynose snifter red body with no head to speak of. There was a little aroma of funk coming from this along with some malt sweetness. I was surprised that it had such a sour flavor to it I had it refrigerated since receiving it and it was shipped in rather cool temps. It was an interesting flavor as well almost like a sour brune type brew, Bad bottle I guess?

I will grab another one of these the next time I am down south to give it a fair shake

Photo of jale
3.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a light brown with red hues and two quarters of tan head.

S: Sweet malt aroma and just a hint of hops.

T: Starts slightly sweet with very light malt. Mild hop bitterness with a dry finish.

M: Light body with and creamy.

O: Just OK for the style.

Photo of beergoot
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Hyatt Regency Washington Article One Lounge under the name "Article One Ale". Per the Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, this is contracted from Blue & Gray Brewing and is their Fred Red taken from notes...

Dark amber, no head...

Dark malt, rye-like. Light coffee...

Toffee and caramel, faint cocoa, nice medium malt sweetness w/warm complimentary bitterness...

Clean, dry finish...

A satisfying amber ale; nice malt notes...

Photo of pentathlete
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red with a small off-white head and blocky lacing. Cloudy, translucent at the edges. Smell has some dark malts, some fruits, cough syrup, hint of hops. Taste is woody malt, with a porter-like feel, the fruits are subdued, the cough syrup flavor lies beneath it all and the finish is ashy hops. Medium mouthfeel and body with a long finish. The ABV on this is about 5%. Very drinkable and satisfying.

Again, this is a small brewery that hand caps their bottles. Shelf-life for these brews is notoriously short. When you get one, consume within a month or so.

Photo of drabmuh
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at some restaurant. Beer served in a plastic shaker pint glass.

This is a red ale? OK. Beer is brown...I guess its reddish at the corners. Off white head with a little lacing and low carbonation. The beer is mostly clear. Looks OK.

OK, the aroma is quite good. A nice surprise. Lots of carmel. Mild sweetness.

Beer is medium in body, lots of carbonation on the palate, very silky smooth, almost nitrogen like. Mild sweet caramels in the mid palate and a nice back end roastiness, very subtle. This is a brewing trick. Add patent malt to the mash out and you'll get red color but only mild roasty bitterness.

Photo of nukem5
4.6/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Passing thru and got a very nice tour and some taste samples we chatted for awhile.The Fitzpatrick's are really great people .Took 4 growlers to go and some bottles.

A: Pours a wonderful ruby color with a nice head very creamy.

S:Instantly the nose is overpowered with caramel goodness sweet and sticky malts.

T: Sweet caramel and matly notes explode in the mouth, very little hops flavor but note of apples make it a great tasting beer suitable for the fall.

M: Nice full body.

D: Very drinkable, outstanding beer!

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Fred Red Ale from Blue & Gray Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.