McIlhenney's Irish Red - Alpine Beer Company

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McIlhenney's Irish RedMcIlhenney's Irish Red

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68 Reviews
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Reviews: 68
Hads: 232
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 11.5%
Wants: 10
Gots: 17 | 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.
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Reviews: 68 | Hads: 232
Photo of scottfrie
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into SN tulip pint glass.
A: Pours a dark woody brown with a finger of tan head that slowly faded into a thick film that left thick rings of lacing down the glass. A few flakes of white yeast came out with the last pour.
S: Huge notes of orange-cream ice-cream similar to a Flintstones Pushup Pop (you remember those). I get notes of orange zest, caramel, wood, toffee, nuts and tangerines.
T: Follows the nose almost exactly although the creamy flavor is toned down a bit. I also get a hint of rye. The finish is very nutty and the aftertaste is spicy with hardly any bitterness to it.
M: Medium-thick body with a slick mouthfeel and soft even carbonation.
O: Wonderful malty flavors. Really refreshing and enjoyable, and thankfully not super sweet. (766 characters)

Photo of regspeir
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle (courtesy of Hamilton23) poured an dark amber with a small off-white head which dissipated into a coating. There was little lacing. The nose was dark fruit, caramel and roasted malt.
The taste is fairly sweet - brown sugar and caramel, tempered by rye and with a bready taste. The mouthfeel is thin with medium carbonation. While this is a fine stab at the style, with so many great beers from this brewer, this one missed for me. Not a bad brew at all, this just isn't a noteworthy offering. (506 characters)

Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.31/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brought this home from a weekend trip to Alpine. Poured from a bomber into a Firestone Walker pint glass...

A - Pours a reddish copper with a one finger tan head. The coloring is spot on what I would expect from an Irish Red. Head retention is decent at best, and there is only a little slippery lacing to be had, but the coloring of this one is really exceptional.

S - Caramel, rye, and some mild fruity notes...

T -Caramel, bread, cocoa, and maybe a little toffee. Lots of sweet malts. Ends on a slight bitter note. Finish is dry...

M - Pretty thin. Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Refreshing and smooth, but still a little for my likings...

O - Glad I got a chance to try this one, but not my favorite from their lineup. While it's not a bad beer, it's not necessarily a good one either. Probably won't be revisiting this in the near future...

Cheers... (879 characters)

Photo of MrVonzipper
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly mirky red with a dark amber tone. Nice 1-2 cm tan head with decent retention and no lacing.

Smell is kinda like a bowl of mixed sweet and sour dark fruit consisting of cherry, plum, raspberry and blackberry.

The flavor overall is pretty good. It is lacking character though. Tough to determine distinct flavor characteristics. It's interesting and different for a red in my opinion. Definitely doesn't really have the roasted chocolatey finish that the bottle states. Caramel malt and Slight roasted malt on the back end.

Mouthfeel Is medium bodied overall. Starts light and finished a tad heavier. Medium carbonation.

Overall the beer is pretty good. I really think the 10 IBUs is really what is keeping this beer from being a pretty great beer. I think it's seriously lacking character and maybe dry hopping would just set this beer above and beyond. (867 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

563rd Review on BA
Bottle to Pint

Bottle brought home from Alpine Pub over Memorial Day.

App- When this sat in the glass it looked like wood varnish with a finger and a half of fast receding khaki pancake batter colored head. Left a large amount of sticky lace.

Smell- From a malt aspect its quite dominant with a sweetness that is tamed by a touch of rye. The caramel is faint is well but I hate to say this its kind of corn like in smell.

Taste- Its pretty straight forward malty with a touch of brown sugar and no real chocolate flavors are there more of a walnut nutty/roast taste.

Mouth- The feel is quite thin and high carbed. The residual flavors are a bit adjunt to me. Very let down by feel.

Drink- Im glad I got to bring a bottle home. Normally i really like what Alpine does but this was thin and off flavored for me. I probably wont come back to this one. (878 characters)

Photo of armock
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Pery's Liquor in Livermore CA

A - Poured a mahogany color with an off white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is mostly of sweet caramel malt

T - Like the smell strong sweet caramel malt

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - This is a good beer overall its easy to drink with a good taste not sure its worth the price in bomber form but if you see it on tap its worth getting to try (428 characters)

Photo of Trilogy31
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish brown, without much head to speak of. I poured very aggressively and this beer seems lightly carbonated as no head formed. (the mouthfeel also has a pleasant light carbonation. Nose has simple caramel and lightly roasted malts with maybe a little coffee/toffee as well. Taste is a tasty mouthful of different malts. Really from light breads through rich caramel and finishing with a touch of dark roasted malt. Good beer for the style though you could give me a newcastle and i would be sadly just as happy. (523 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
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. (1,170 characters)

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass

A- Three finger frothy head that dissipates slowly, lacing sticks to the side, medium carbonation, dark brown bronze color.
S- Sweet malts up front, caramel, hints of fruit very appealing aroma.
T- Nice spiciness, sweet taste, brown sugar, malt backbone, very surprising beer, raisin, and caramel.
M- Medium mouth feel, moderate carbonation.
O- Very surprising beer, did not know what to expect, very sweet, wonderful malt characteristic, very easy drinkability, a perfect beer to have for dessert. (545 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint glass.

A: Clear, light reddish-amber color with over one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Toasted bread and grain, not as much caramel as the appearance might suggest, with some faint tangerine citrus occasionally emerging.

T: Begins barely off-dry, malty with bread and caramel. A fruity quality that reminds of maraschino cherries is also present early, likely formed by a combination of yeast esters, crystal malt, and careful hopping. Acidity is well-balanced here, perhaps even remarkably so. Vanilla ice cream is detected in the middle, where some of the other previously-noted flavors fade considerably. The finish is dry, slightly bitter, and even leathery at times.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, fluid on the palate--even occasionally creamy--with moderate carbonation.

D: Alpine brews a few different amber ales--this one, as well as Alpine ale--that are remarkably similar. This Irish red ale is malt-forward, never extreme, and just what one might expect from one of Alpine's less abundantly-hopped beers. It pairs well with a variety of food flavors, reminding at times of New Belgium's ubiquitous Fat Tire--but with less overbearing biscuit flavor than that other beer. (1,275 characters)

Photo of farrago
3.27/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light head, crests at maybe half a finger, between cream white and the lightest tan, a lot of larger bubbles with not so much foam, lacing about as non-existent as can be and have still momentarily been there. Lighter amber red color with orange rims and glass bottom, damn close to fully transparent, widespread bubbles quickly kick upwards. The nose is fairly airy and light with a soft malty, caramel, molasses, honey, cocoa and pie flake core, not that sweet but sweet enough red cherry, grape, apricot, apple, pear fruit scents to outweigh the grass, hay component, citrus stays in the background, the stuff is there to be more appealing, however, simply isn't clearly keen on taking many steps to please. Medium-bodied and on the soft side, an amiable jiggle and "more to love" going on, still the carbonation tries to add more precision and leanness, if ultimately failing. Good deal of cocoa, milk chocolate powder with caramel mixed in, powdery texture yet sweet. The lemon, orange citrus is tart and lacks the zest to persist to the end. Bready, more towards rye or maybe pumpernickel than whiter dough. Faint metallic earthy ring. Tenuous apricot, peach, nectarine, apple fruit. Not flawed, in the end commits the cardinal sin of just being boring. (1,259 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (846 characters)

Photo of nickd717
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from City Beer in SF for $6.99, which is a little high for an Irish Red, but oh well. I was surprised to see Alpine there.

Pours a clear firetruck red color with a creamy two-finger light beige head and good lacing.

Aroma is typical for the style: bready caramel malt, slight roast, earth, and even a little rye.

Flavor is caramel and toffee, rye, wood/earth, and mild fruity notes.

Medium body with a nice smooth mouthfeel.

Not terribly exciting, but drinkable and good for the style. (497 characters)

Photo of JTahoe
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nearly garnet red with orange tones, one finger off-white head reduces fairly quickly but leaves enough lace hanging around to be respectable. Looking really nice for the style.

S - Malty sweet with hints of tropical fruit, perhaps a whiff of piña colada... interesting

T - Caramel malts dominate. Some fruitiness coming through... a hint of pineapple... but this fades about half way in. Some toasted nuts, and cocoa begin to come subtly into play along with just the lightest hint of citric bitterness. Very clean all the way through.

M - Medium body leaning just slightly towards medium-full. a nice velvety smoothness, just a touch of creamy feel. Carbonation is perfect.

D - A really nice beer all around, perhaps my favorite Irish Red. Very very well made. (771 characters)

Photo of popery
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, home. This beer is okay, but it's a disappointment coming from Alpine. This beer is bright orange rust in color with a small dissipating head, white. The aroma is a nice mix of malt flavors. It's hard to pick out too many individual malt notes because the caramel dominates, but chocolate and a touch of fruit peak out. Hops are almost nonexistent. The flavor is the real downer. It starts out almost rich and sweet with malt flavors but that quickly fades into an odd mess of sickly sweet and off-kilter light roast bitterness. The mouthfeel is also odd and not so great. I wish that this beer had a bit more hops or a bit more direction with the malt. It's not bad or anything, but this isn't a direction that I particularly like. All that said, I still firmly believe that Alpine is awesome. (802 characters)

Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear Dark Reddish/Amber color with about a finger of off white head.

S - Malty sweet smell, Cinnamon, candied sugar, and citrus.

T - Tastes of malts, brown sugar, spices.

M - Nice carbonation and slightly syrupy.

D - This is not a very complex beer but Irish Reds aren't usually but it is very drinkable. (314 characters)

Photo of hophead247
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out clear deep copper with thin off white head. The aroma has sweet malty caramel and lightly roasted malts along with a light smattering of hops. The flavor is much like the aroma with sweet caramelized malts, roasted malts and light hints of vague hoppiness. It ends with less sweet roasted malts. Nice malty brew. (323 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (471 characters)

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice looking red color into my pint glass. Very thin bubbles and a small but consistant head formed on the top. Good lookin beer.

Smell is not much. The malt smells wonderful but no hop aroma. Smells almost like a Maibock.

Taste is pretty good. Although I like my reds hoppier this one focuses on the malt. Almost no hop flavor and only slight bitterness. The malts do taste good though.

Mouthfeel is good. The head offers a certain frothiness. A little more carbonation would be nice.

Overall it is a tasty beer. Better than alot of reds I have had but for sure not the best. I wouldn't seek it out unless Reds are your style but it is a good beer to grab if you see it. (688 characters)

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. into a pint glass

P: Deep cranberry with a light cream-colored head of thick foam with little tightly-packed soapy bubbles on the surface. Showed decent retention before it sank to a thick collar and left some skinny webs of lace behind.

A: Big, juicy, deeply-toasted caramel malts that give it that signature 'red ale' smell. Behind it is some floral notes, citric hops, toffee, toasted nuts, and a very subtle chocolate that comes out more once it warms up a bit.

T: Juicy caramel malts, toffee, and the toasted nuts make up the sweetness that dominates the profile before a more-than-expected citrusy hops presence shows up to keep it from becoming overly-cloying. Make no mistake, though, this is prettys sweet from beginning to end as the bitterness stays pretty mild. Subtle and very well-orchestrated notes of baker's chocolate come through on the back end to further compliment the profile before it finishes pretty clean and leaves a nice aftertaste.

M: McIlhenny's Irish Red is just a notch above medium-bodied, and has a rich, smooth feel with a little creaminess that I think enhanced the flavor nicely.

Notes: This is a solid Irish Red that left a good impression on me. It's got a good nose, flavor, and mouthfeel that comes together to make this beer quite drinkable, but not necessarily sessionable for me because of its sweet nature. You can tell the guys at Alpine know what the hell they're doing! Very solid (1,442 characters)

Photo of ETF5000
4.53/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought at Pizza Port Bottle Shop in Carlsbad, CA

A- Pours a nice dark amber color with about 2 fingers of light nougat colored head. Perfect for an Irish Red as far as I'm concerned.

S- Malty sweetness is the first thing that comes to mind here. Very caramely, with a touch of roastiness and a very mild hop charactaristic on the end.

T- Wonderful! I'm not a huge Irish Red drinker, but I have to say I really enjoyed this one. Great malty sweetness, with a tinge of hop to cleanse the palate and balance the sweetness. Some people find the beer to be a tad cloying, but I thought it was a perfect balance.

M- Great carbonation. Nothing really to point out here!

D- Although not a session beer in my opinion, I could drink a couple of these babies over a couple of hours. Truly, this is a new favorite of mine from Alpine. Good work guys! (843 characters)

Photo of bigbelcher
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep red amber color with a fast falling off-white head. Minimal lacing and not a lot of retention. You can smell the caramel malts, a bit of toast, and a slight trace of floral hops. Not really an Irish Red, more like a hoppy American Amber. Had a sweet malty front with a subtle hop bitterness. A medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation. A decent beer but not really an Irish Red. (414 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (1,104 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
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. (648 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a growler into a pint glass, this brew pours a clear reddish amber with a half inch of porous off white head. Retention is short as it settles quickly into a surface cap yielding random strings of lacing.

Smell is of roasted caramel malts, a bit smoky in fact. Yet clean and uncluttered as I sense this brew isn't overly sweet for the style. A notable hop presence blends well with the roastiness of the brew.

Taste confirms my suspicions and offers a welcome light yet complex malt flavor. Roasty up front, segueing to a clean finish and a dry aftertaste. Hop bitterness is less than anticipated given the nose. Offers a good carbonation level which fits the beer well. Drinkability is above average for the style due to the relative lightness of the malts. A nice Irish Red that doesn't smother things with excessive malt notes. (838 characters)

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McIlhenney's Irish Red from Alpine Beer Company
84 out of 100 based on 68 ratings.