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McIlhenney's Irish Red - Alpine Beer Company

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

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BA SCORE
83
good

182 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 182
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 9
Gots: 9 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: Gusler on 12-19-2002)
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Ratings: 182 | Reviews: 60 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark amber with a nice double-finger head. Some nice lacing as I work my way through the glass. The smell is of sweet malt, and is fairly complex, as is often the style with a good Irish Red Ale. The taste is all malt, with only the faintest hint of hop bitterness. I can definitely see the insane number of different malts in this, as the taste is fairly complex. Nice and medium-bodied and very drinkable, especially for a style that's not one of my favorites.

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

--William Butler Yeats


Glazed terra cotta with bright tangerine edges. A standard pour yields a three finger cap of golden tan that is tight-bubbled and firmly creamy. It's a perfect color complement to the beer on which it sits and is a more than respectable lace generator. A classic Irish red ale look.

The nose is toasted malty, earthy and some kind of nutty. In some ways it reminds me of an Oktoberfest. I wouldn't be surprised if Munich malt was in the house. Unfortunately, there's no hint of the rye malt that was used. Perhaps things will be different on the palate.

McIlhenny's Irish Red is good beer because it's well-malted and because it's bursting with flavor. Alpine is one of those breweries that isn't afraid to deliver aggressiveness, even in a so-called session beer. An ABV of 6.0% might disqualify it as a session beer, but it sure is a drinkable son of an Irishman.

I like the fact that, in addition to plenty of malt, there's a greater proportion of the darker malts. That design decision gives the beer cocoa notes (pumpernickel bread) to go along with the usual toasted barley, steely caramel and oven-baked nuts. Spicy rye malt, an inspired addition, is now easily appreciated.

Apparently, there aren't many hops present (10 IBUs). Could have fooled me. This bottle has to be incredibly fresh because I'm really enjoying their English Breakfast tea leaf-like flavor and bitterness. This is anything but an overly sweet, sticky Irish red. In fact, it's very nicely balanced.

The mouthfeel is as expected given the talent at this brewery. It's no more than light-medium with an underlying suppleness that doesn't fade on the swallow. To be brief, the mouthfeel matches the flavor profile perfectly.

Other than Mandarin Nectar (which is okay), I have been supremely impressed by Alpine beer. Pure Hoppiness is one of the best DIPAs that I've ever had and Alpine Ale is a damn fine APA. McIlhenny's Irish Red may not be in their league, but it's a well-brewed version of the style and would be my choice for St. Patrick's Day if I lived in Southern California.

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Downtown Johnny Brown's (San Diego, CA) on 3/18/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear deep amber with a finger of foamy off-white (nearly tan) head. Retains with a thin creamy look, that flares up nicely, drenching the sides of the glass with lace. The aroma has a good bit of substance to for an Irish Red. Lots of toasted malts and caramel sweetness in the nose, along with a nice and fresh floral feel.

The taste packs the same robust mix, with toasted bready malts, caramel, with a touch of zesty citrus character thrown in for good measure. There is a more moderate hop profile present. It's enough to balance the profile but pulls back just enough to also allow the malts to really shine. Sweetness and citrus linger past the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied wiht a nice easy carbonation and overall smooth feel. Very drinkable for a 6% beer.

This one took me by surprise a bit. Nicely flavored for an Irish Red and the drinkibility was right on! I didn't get to drink any "Irish" beers the day before on St. Patties Day, so this was a nice belated pint to celebrate with.

Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of mactrail
2.7/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Seems like a lack of inspiration meets a category of low aspirations.

Lemony and fruity, is the best quality. Slight sweetness. Very light bodied. Coppery amber in the glass with a decent head and lacing. Just a little taste of hops. Light all around. Mostly beery with a little murkiness. Totally forgettable. The cask version certainly doesn't add anything to the flavor or mouthfeel.

This makes me wonder about the medals at beer-judged events, if this won gold anything anywhere. I don't see that we, the Great Unwashed horde of BAs, like this so much. On the cask at the Linkery in San Diego.

Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
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

Photo of Halcyondays
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours red with a medium white head, good retention, some lacing.

S: Toasted malt, caramel, malt-dominated.

T: Quite sweet taste of biscuity toasted malt and caramel. Bit of a spice kick, perhaps from the rye. Hops are very minour, leaving the beer a bit unbalanced IMO. Really close between a 3.5 and 4.

M: Somewhat soapy carbonation, medium-bodied, smooth.

D: A good beer, I really liked the flavour initially, but over the whole 22 oz. the sweetness did become cloying and hard to drink at times. Still looking at the overall picture, it was a nice pint. Glad to try it. A bit more hop character would have helped for sure.

Photo of stakem
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BdubleEdubleRUN for the generous extra in our Alpine beer trade. Poured from a bomber into a snifter, this brew appears a clear amber red with a creamy yellowish tan head. It fades slowly holding close to the edge of the glass leaving spotty lace. A swirl revives the cap back to a finger of tan coloration.

The aroma of this brew is hoppy with a fruity scent. Plenty of noticeable alcohol fuels the fruity esters. There is a noticeable amount of sweet smelling toasty caramel malt that balances out the fruited aspect of the hops and alcohol. There is almost a vanilla-like sweetness that comes out as the brew warms. Overall very fruity sweet smelling.

The taste is toasty caramel malt that is thick and toasty with a sweet flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of vanilla. A little bit of a grassy aftertaste from the hops and a mild alcohol warmth. The grassy hop aftertaste is balanced with the residual flavor of toasted malt.

This is an easy drinking brew. It is medium bodied with a modest amount of carbonation. Very smooth throughout with plenty of malt and balancing hop flavors. A very solid representation of the style, I would drink this again.

Photo of corby112
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at the brewpub.

Pours a dark golden orange/amber color with a 1.5 finger off white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic streaks of lacing left behind.

Sweet malt aroma with lots of caramel, toffee, rye and dark fruits. Subtle hops and estery yeast balance things out a bit.

Fuller bodied than expected with a balance of crisp hops and sweet malts. Hoppier than expected up front with dry spiciness and subtle earthy, floral notes.backing malt backbone with lots of sweetness. Hints of caramel, toffee rye, hazelnut, apricot and other light fruit. Well balanced and very drinkable.

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +24%
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.

Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of billab914
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Founders pint glass. it poured a deep mahogany red color with a thin white head to it. It also had some decent head retention to it as I drank it. Really nice looking color to it overall.

The aroma has a big caramel presence to it with some sweet almost butterscotch candy like flavors to it.

The taste is sweet and malty, just as the nose suggested. Caramel really comes through and a hint of that butterscotch flavor that was in the aroma as well. Just a bit of the dark, chocolaty and roasty flavors come through in the finish and helps it from becoming too sweet.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a little below average carbonation. Drinkability is good, it was a really cool, unique and good beer overall. I really liked all the different malt flavors in it and they all really came together nicely.

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McIlhenney's Irish Red from Alpine Beer Company
83 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.