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McIlhenney's Irish Red - Alpine Beer Company

Not Rated.
McIlhenney's Irish RedMcIlhenney's Irish Red

Educational use only; do not reuse.

76 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 76
Hads: 253
Avg: 3.73
pDev: 19.84%
Wants: 10
Gots: 24 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gusler on 12-19-2002

Dark red, malty ale. Eleven different malts, all used to contribute to a complex, malty sweet flavor and aroma. Hops are kept low (10 ibu's) for this multiple medal winner (GABF, World Beer Cup, etc)
Draft & 22oz bottles.
View: Beers (46) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 76 | Hads: 253
Photo of Moose90
3.24/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served On-Tap, 16oz Willibecher Pint

A — Pours a ruby red, slightly dark hue into the glass. There is a nice bit of clarity shown through the beer as well. Nice cream colored head of about 1/2" forms and leaves behind some consistent enough lacing.

S — Smells malty and lightly sweet here, nice notes of caramel, toast, bready malts, lightly doughy and sweet. Not much in the form of hops, just a little bit of a clean crisp pine note in there if you search long enough.

T — Taste is driven by malts and focused on smooth malty sweetness. Nice notes of caramel, bread crust, cracker, crusty bread, little bit of a rye spiciness as well on the finish.

M — Medium bodied, lingering and sticky finish.

O — Pretty good overall, fairly well done, just very mellow and approachable, could have a few of these in a sitting.

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Photo of Christoffer91
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had a pint on tap at Eureka burger. Delicious beer! I am not normally a fan of styles heavy on crystal malts, but this beer is surprisingly dry. The malt comes through with the toffee, bready malty goodness but without being sweet. Yeast character adds a nice possible ester element. Hops adds a bitter backbone but just enough to let the complex malt bill take the show. This beer has rekindled my interest for these styles. Great job Alpine.

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Photo of brother_rebus
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark color: more brown than red. Somewhat of a malty nose. Eversoslight hop scent. Very tasty. Malty and toasty. Not really sweet though. Hops are detectable, but I wouldnt say the beer is hoppy. Somewhat latent carbonation. Smooth drinking. Finishes dry, but lingers a hint of flavor. Not super traditional. But very well done. Would buy again.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Really pretty red, crystal clear, with a rocky off-white head.

Smell: Herbal hops, a little malty.

Taste: Smooth malts, caramel. Hops are a bit spicy, herbal. Pretty moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Moderately thick and well carbonated.

Overall: Refreshing and tasty! This is a very easy-drinking beer.

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Photo of Child_Pugh
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

More brown/ rusty red than a typical Irish red. Tracings the whole way down, this head. Smells heavy of maple. Sweet and refreshing and warming all at the same time. Easy on the palate, doesn't leave too much film on the tongue. Somewhat heavy and fizz-free. would 100% get again.

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Photo of DuaneL
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

DL had this on draft at Henlopen Oyster House 9/10 - to JK seemed a bit watery, but DL liked it with the food he was having at the time, like raw oysters; not something we'd want to purchase.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a very nice looking creamy looking and off-white head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a very good looking deep red amber that is clear. The beer looks very nice with the hue and clarity and the head is also appealing.

The smell is very nice even if it is a bit malty for the style. The strongest note is primarily the malt smell. The smell comes off a nice and strongly nutty with slight toffee notes. When cooler, the beer has a slight tea note that is quickly covered up by the nutty smell. There is also a very light hop note that is also covered by the nutty malt smell.

The taste is a bit different from the smell. The strong nutty malt note is still present but not as strong as it is in the smell. The hops and tea notes come out a bit stronger and are more present in the taste. The hop bitterness is very light and a bit floral.

The feel is pretty good. While it is a medium bodied beer, the beer is fairly smooth bordering on slightly creamy. Biting carbonation also gives the beer a bit of texture. Slightly dry finish.

Overall, a pretty Irish Red that I hope to come back to. While it's not very tea-like, it does have a good malt presence. Recommend.

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Photo of PZBREW
4.52/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Caramel and sweet but still dry. Could drink a few more. Very easy to drink and not intense but that's a good way. Would drink six packs of this in the fall and enjoy sweet aroma.

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Photo of Zach136
4.31/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clear deep red, light beige head.

Aroma: Raison nut bread and melanoidin.

Flavor: More roasted, nutty, melanodin, less dark fruit than the nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium+, but still very easy drinking.

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Photo of Auraan
4.26/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a clear red body with a thin tan head. Overall impression of appearance is of a perfect Irish red ale. Scents of toasted malt, caramel and notes of toffee at moderate levels. Overall impression of aroma is of a malt forward pint, very true to style for an Irish Red. Flavor begins malty and sweet with a caramel quality and medium-light notes of toasted malt, along with light English hop flavors. Middle gains a dry quality, deriving from roasted malt, with flavors of lightly roasted malt and toasted malt. Finish is dry with light flavors of roasted malt and slightly burnt toast and a hint of caramel. Aftertaste is dry with notes of toasted malt, light roasted malt and a hint of hop bitterness. Overall impression of flavor is of a simple, malt-forward, well-crafted Irish red, true to style and pleasant. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation and a smooth, creamy feel, ending slick. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a perfectly to style Irish red. Overall this is a fantastic pint. It hits all aspects of the style perfectly, and while it is not the most complex, rich or "deep" beer, it is a fantastic example of an easy drinking, oft overlooked pub ale. Highly recommend.

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Photo of salcedo
4.74/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber poured into a glass.
L: Deep amber-red color, almost like maple syrup.
Creamy caramel colored head that dissipates quickly.
S: Toasted grain with nice caramel
T: Malty. Sweet with some caramel flavor. The bitterness of the toasted grain balances out the sweetness.
F: Very light body, goes down easily. Lightly carbonated.
O: Nice toasted malt flavor. Would go well with a nice burger or steak

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A red ale far better than it's scores here. So sweet that alpine stuff us showing up at the best tap houses, hopefully a sign of more to come. This has some hops to it, but is a marked departure from all the other IPA type beer I've had from them so far. Dark brick red, muted luster, creamy darker than khaki head, wonderful carbonation. It smells less Irish, not much yeast profile, and plenty of pine hops on it. Dome sweetness to the red malt base, but not heavy and lingering like others in this genre, and way short of heavy caramels. Earthy, fresh baked, birch, toffee, molasses, and wet pine wood are all there in the taste, but the finish is crazy clean, drier than expected, and really a whole lot more complex overall than almost any other I have had in this family. Some alpine hasn't made it to the hype levels out there, but this one is better than it's ratings here. Awesome example of the style and a model for others.

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Photo of MisterGone
3.28/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This was a pint from West Coast BBQ (which rumor has it is now the same people as O'Brien's... so I ahd high hopes).

A deep, ruby-copper red, well fitting the style. But then, things fell apart. There was no nose whatsoever at first, which I attributed to a cold brew. After sitting, there was just the slight hint of maltiness. The flavor was also very subdued. I expected some serious malt-forward flavors, but got a little caramel and a little roasty malt backing. There was a nice little bitter blast in the finish.

My hope is that this was the result of the pour or equipment because everything else I have had from Alpine has been top notch. I will try again in a different setting.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There's more to Alpine Brewing that just the hops. To pay my respects, I venture to the malty side. Coming from a 22 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

The beer rests in the chalice a dark cherrywood color, topped with a semi-creamy head which retains well. As a bonus, the sight of whisped lace circling the glass doesn't seem to end. It smells like fruit snacks, pleasant fruity esters, toasty, earthy. Smells nice.

McIlhenney's brings respect to the Irish Red Ale. The beer won't blast your palate with a mélange of succulent flavors, but this beer combines easy drinking with a modest, well balanced flavor. The beer has toasty and sweet notes, pleasing fruity esters, and a wee note which reminds me of kilned malt. The beer has a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and as typed earlier is easy drinking.

This is a sleeper in Alpine's year round lineup. The malt mouth in all of us should give McIlhenney's Irish Red a chance.

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Photo of Luisfcarrizo
5/5  rDev +34%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smelled caramel, chocolate, roasted nuts, toffee, faint coffee malts, dark cocoa, chocolate syrup and light copper. Very impressive for the style. Got chocolate, bitter roasted nuts, caramel, toffee, copper or another metallic malt, dry rye malts and faint coffee malts. Medium body. Oily texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Nutty, bitter finish.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Lagunitas mason jar
From: Alpine Beer Company Pub in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $4.99
Purchased: Dec. 28, 2014
Consumed: Jan. 2, 2015
Misc.: N/A

Poured a red, auburn semi-clear color with 1-to-2 fingers of khaki-tan, frothy head. Good amount of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Above average sporadic foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Average retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled caramel, chocolate, roasted nuts, toffee, faint coffee malts, dark cocoa, chocolate syrup and light copper. (Smell - 3.75)

Tasted maybe even better than the nose. Very impressive for the style. Got chocolate, bitter roasted nuts, caramel, toffee, copper or another metallic malt, dry rye malts and faint coffee malts. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Oily texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Nutty, bitter finish. (Feel - 3.75)

This was a very good Irish Red and I’m not saying that just because I live in Alpine. Much better than I thought it would be. (Overall - 3.75)

3.75 | 85 | B+

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy dark reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and slight fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, burnt sugar, caramel, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with solid toast and caramel qualities that come through slightly better in the taste to me.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep ruby in color. A maple syrup like amber almost. Soft offwhite head.

S- Oh so bready. Has the baked bread character of a Doppelbock. Resinous hop notes and a touch of pine.

T- Follows nose really well. Bready start again with a healthy does of caramel coming through. a lingering bitterness in the finish. Rye is apparent throughout. Certainly leans heavy on the malty side of things.

M- Interesting. The nose and taste buds tell you this will be a heavy brew, but it turns out to be quite light in body. Dry finish.

O- one of the best Irish ales i have ever had. Nice complexity in a style that tends to lack it at times. Big malt character that drinks easy.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Great looking beer. Deep crystal ruby colored body in a glass. Faint microscopic carbonation all through with a faint matching tan color. Tan color continues to the head, slightly bigger than 2 fingers tall and leaves a simple thin puck. Great looking beer.

The sticky classic malts are all over this on the nose even as I pour. Mild sweet caramel, hints at cherry fruit strangely and some cinnamon spice. Where is that normally on an Irish Ale? Boy that's unexpected. Some nice dried clove like spices round out.

Probably one of the most unique tasting Irish ales I've had. Surprisingly light malt depth, but with a perfectly silky nearly creamy texture. Flavors hint from the nose, lots of the toasted brown spices of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and so forth. But very light and with a fleeting aftertaste that really hints of toasted brown bread and pumpernickel almost. Caramel comes in with a bit of warmth and brings some vanilla like cream as well.

Overall just a real fine easy drinking Irish ale, it's nearly perfect.

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Photo of rand
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's San Diego leftover from St Patty's Day

Normally I don't mention other reviews, but just scanning some other entries it's obvious people don't like Irish Reds. They're far from my go-to style either, but it seems the average-ish scores (for an Alpine brew) are largely due to the unpopularity of the style.

That being said, living in the land of hop bounty, sometimes a brew like this hits the spot. Or it at least allows you to enjoy delicious IPAs if by contrast. Either way, this is throwing back pretty easy right now.

A: The brew is a mahogany-red in color, clear, served with a nice 1-inch frothy head.

S: Bready bouquet, sweet, like squaw bread. There's a candied, almost cherry sweetness, along with some husky grain and a touch of alcohol.

T/M: A chewy, bready complexion carries toffee sweetness, with the cherry aspect detected in the nose more pronounced here. Toasted grainy with notes of dry grass and a touch of hop astringency balancing at the back of the palate, keeping in line with the style. Finishes long and sweet.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.08/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance - Reddish brown body. Small khaki head. A thin collar and some lacing.

Smell - Nutty malts. Caramel. Hint of roasted malt, like chocolate. Some English hops.

Taste - Brighter. More of a hop presence. English hops. Nutty malts. Sweetness builds into the finish.

Mouthfeel - It gets a little sweet. The low bitterness doesn't cut any of it, either. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Not many Irish Reds are very exciting and this is no exception. It is well made, though. No trouble sharing this bomber.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.49/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alpine Beer Company - McIlhenney's Irish Red

Snagged one of these as an added bonus via a trade, figured it was Alpine so why not.

Look - Pours a hazy deep amber red with a small soapy head that doesn't stick around. No noticeable lacing, not much retention.

Smell - Malty caramel and chocolate meets typical Irish Red tang on top. Hearty aroma. Fruity, zero on the hopometer.

Taste - Thinner than expected but a wave of creamy caramel and chocolate hits first, then fades into a roasted chocolate finish. Interesting take on a red.

Mouthfeel - On the dry side, but sweet, the chocolate roast dominates the feel, which is the best part of this brew. Bread and butter. On the boozy side for a 6% but it is not a major deterrent. Medium bodied.

Overall - Interesting brew, the mouthfeel makes this maybe worth a shot. Very unique in the land of Irish Reds but not anything to write home about, strange overall.

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Photo of kevanb
3.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle poured into an Alpine Pint Glass.

The beer pours a nice red brown color, slight haze but generally clear. A thin, fizzy off white head appears, about a finger high that dissipates immediately, no lacing or retention. The aroma is very malt forward, very sweet and rich, some mixed berry aromas pop out and lend themselves to the sweet and almost fruit forward maltiness. Hops are pretty much out of the picture here, not what I really want to see from Alpine, but true to the style. The flavors match the nose nicely, lots of rich malt, slightly sweet and mildly fruit forward, a bit of brown sugar pops out as well that plays nicely with the fruitiness. Touches of berry at the finish that is creamy and sweet. The body is nice, rich, light zestiness from the carbonation with a great creamy finish.

Verdict: A nice Irish Red from Alpine, but obviously this isn't going to turn any heads when compared to their hoppy line up. Still a nice beer for someone who likes a sessionable, malty beer.

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.24/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Just a half finger of light beige head that quickly falls. The body on this thing is moderately cloudy. Color is a rusty red, maybe indian red. Slight lacing

S - A malty freshness to it. Some banana and raspberry compliment the bready backbone.

T - Here is where the fruitiness doesn't help. A sour-milk flavor in this one. Raspberry still there. Biscutiness does not go well with the sour-milk.

M - Strong carbonation which holds up a bit weaker body.

O - The flavor just seems off on this one. Some weird berries don't go well with the rest of the beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of fantastic cream, beige colour, nice thickness, and good retention. Very appealing. Colour is a semitransparent caramel-red. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Toasted malt, chocolate malt, cream, caramel, vanilla (?), and very subtle fruit notes - I even get a hint of grape in there, and it actually works. Quite dry and musty, suiting the style. I'm getting really excited about trying this. A perfectly subtle mild strength aroma. Quite intriguing.

T: A toasted and caramelized malt backbone immediately sets the tone for this solid Irish red. Some cream up front, with dried bright fruits emerging throughout, blossoming as the second act progresses right into the full-bodied brilliant climax. The third act features diverse fruit flavours, but they should be wrapped up by then. In any case, it's a solidly built beer in the style. I'm impressed. The flavours are balanced nicely; I just wish the stucture was.

Mf: The finish should be coarse and dry, but it is instead quite the opposite. This is the biggest failure of the beer. It's thick but not overly so. Nicely carbonated. Unfortunately, the mouthfeel is wrong for the style and distracts from the flavour.

Dr: A very drinkable Irish red boasting a lot of diverse enjoyable flavours. I don't know that I have had an Irish red this good since Smithwick's. I'd definitely try this on draught; it's as good as most Irish Reds I drank while living in the auld country. Bravo to Alpine.

Low B

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McIlhenney's Irish Red from Alpine Beer Company
84 out of 100 based on 76 ratings.