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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.

74 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 74
Hads: 248
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 19.79%
Wants: 10
Gots: 22 | 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: 74 | Hads: 248
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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of hopdog
3.12/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf (thanks!).

Poured a medium and clear brownish color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of caramel and fruity. Tastes of pretty much the same - fruitiness and caramel. Some graininess too. Thinner body.

Notes from 12/12/05

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Photo of srandycarter
3.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rust red. Small head, all leaves quick. Some light sudsy lacing.

S - Sharp grain and some sweet malt.

T- Small sweet center, crisp and a little bitter at finish, but not in the typical hop fashion.

M - light to medium body, fair coating, good carb. Pretty balanced.

D - Not a bad offering and could be somewhat sessioned.

Note: This beer is far better as it warms, IMO. Sweeter, more complex, riper aroma.

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Photo of m1ked
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh pour at SD Toronado while waiting for a sausage.

A- This pours a clear rusty caramel red. Without being fire engine red, this is as red as I have seen a red. Brief white foamy head that transforms to a thin white rim.

S- Sweet carmel-ish malts. A slight and barely detectable bitter note.

T- Mmmmm. This where this guy shines. Sweet carmel malts with some creamy nutty honey flavor. Touch of vanilla notes.

M- Smooth. Lightly coats the tongue. Late hit on the carbonation that does not distract.

D- I have recently realized that I like reds. For me this is the measuring stick.

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

On tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad. Pours a pretty dark but clear red, with lots of streams of carbonation present. The overall impression here is it's more of a toasty brew, less smooth but more flavorful than other macro irish red's I've had. There is a distinct hop bitterness in the finish making it feel somewhat harsh. It was ok though, a good compliment to a pepperoni pizza.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle.

Poured a beautiful, clear copper color. Topped by a large, creamy, light tan head.

Aroma was malt and yeast. Spicy, pepper, maybe rye?. Earthy. Minimal hops.

Fairly sweet -- molasses and a touch of chocolate. Hops are there, herbal, mainly at the finish. Biscuity.

Medium in body, medium carbonation. Very refreshing, not drying at all.

Very drinkable. I am surprised by the restraint shown with respect to the hops. This beer drank almost like an English Brown Ale. Hope to have this again someday.

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Photo of drseamus
3.04/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this beer from metallitone1 in Bday '07 and I'm drinking it on St. Pats day. It pours a brilliant dark amber red and is crystal clear. Not much to speak of in terms of aroma, mostly light caramel and dark fruits. The taste is pretty tame. Nothing really stands out here to grab my attention. The body is good but the flavor is weak. What is there is some caramel sweetness and malt. This would be a decent session beer, but I've been more into bolder beers lately.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear coppery color in the glass with a small head that melts to merely a ring of white.
The nose is fruity and sweetly amber malts.
Sweet malts on the tongue immediately are overcome with a fruity, grainy taste and a bit of citrus hops. Decivingly dry and slightly bitter makes you think it is hoppy until you notice the spice and graininess of rye malt used in this brew.
Not really a big red as first percieved. More a reddish-rye if that makes any sense.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ski Lodge label, 6% ABV, 22 oz bomber $3.99 from Hollingshead Deli in Orange, CA.

Pours with a light auburn apricot hue topped with a settled skim ivory collar leaving no lace in the glass.

Aroma is a light red apple and light mixed fruit peaches and red grapes wth a bit of Earthy dirt in the fist.

First swigs: A big husky, grain malt Earthy front with a light almost peat moss scotch ale. Rye is perceivable, but hops dry out instantly to a brisk dry dusty orange peel finish with a linger of caramel.

Feel is medium bodied and crisp carbonation. Bold flavor that takes over a palate for a spell, so not quite session worthy, but well woth a try.

Last swigs: Grainy husky malt middle with an orange peel finish. Worth the $4 from Hollingshead Deli. Not quite a hoppy red, but a robust red, nontheless.

Beer is good. Happy Red Irish Beering.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.57/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a mohogany color, with a thin white head. The head fades too quickly, leaving minimal laces.

This beer has a malty sweet aroma. I detect some toffee. It boasts a slight nutty aroma also. Almost no hop aroma is present.

This beer has a rich nutty flavor. A strong caramel sweet malt flavor is also present. As with the aroma, the hops are almost non existant.

This beer goes down very smooth, leaving a nutty sweet aftertaste. It is a little undercarbonated in my opinion.

This beer would probably make an excelent session beer. It is not too high in alcohol, and the flavor is good and not too aggressive.

Overall: I am happy to have had this as my 300th review. I am surprised that I have never had this beer before. It is good, and I definately plan to make it a regular in my beer fridge.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Ruby red, almost crimson. Light beige head has fallen to a fizzy shelf.

S: Caramel, fermented strawberries, tea and almonds.

T: Very nutty, in a blind taste test one might call this a nut brown. Lightly malty, balanced and buttery with caramel notes, fresh dough, baked apple and creamed corn. Finishes with sweet and toasted biscuits.

M: Medium bodied with a light fuzzy carbonation.

D: Not half bad. Extremely drinkable and well balanced.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a far this sits a shadowy dark blood red, up to the light it has a wonderfully clear ruby brown tinted body. The cap is small and faintly thick with a light stained ivory color. Minimal lacing sticks in small globuals.

Nice aroma of candy bar chocolate and caramel with a wiff of subdued cherry-like fruityness and vanilla.

Taste is outstanding for an Irish Red. Complexingly delicate and well rounded flavors of malty fruityness bringing a partial red apple and date filling, feathered in vanilla cherry coke without the overly sweetness or active carbonation. Mild but fulfilling with a calming smooth character. Great finish of lightly dry candy bar chocolate and caramel swirling off into a return of some malty fruits and vanilla.
Tthe mouthfeel of this beer is awesome. Big full smooth body. Succulantly easy to quaff. Its smoothness is like no other Irish Red I've ever encountered. Its milding charm is very enthralling and the finish is spectacular.

My kind of beer. Tasty, well rounded, smooth, full, candyish with chocolate and caramel with a sweet fruity center that helps keep a terrific balance. Damn good stuff!

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to xlperro for grabbing me a bomber.
Pours a copper color with some red tints. Small light tan head dies very quickly.
Aroma of caramel with rich bread notes and some roasted nuttiness.
Flavor has a big caramel front, wheat bread tones and some resined hops on the finish.
Mouthfeel is medium-boided and mildly sweet with a mellow roasted feel.
Drinkability is very good. Great transitions between flavors and progression of sweet, roast and bitter.

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Photo of Sixpoint
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pretty nice session ale.

The balance was a bit more towards the hoppy end of the spectrum for an Irish Red, but nevertheless, it had the session ale qualities that is sought after for the style.

Strangely, the beer I poured had a turbid haze to it. Perhaps it is unfiltered, or perhaps it was a protein precipitate. The beer did not taste infected though.

The beer had a balance of toasted and crystal malts with a slight lingering hop flavor in the finish.

Overall, it was a very drinkable brew, and a fine session ale.

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

Purchased during a recent visit to the Alpine Beer Company with fellow BA’s, xlperro, and EyeChartBrew, on 12th July 2003. The McIlhenney’s Irish Red, is one of only three ABC beer’s that are currently bottled (the other two are Pure Hoppiness and Mandarin Nectar). Purchase price was $2.99 for a Bomber.

ABC Name: McIlhenney’s Irish Red.
ABC Description: Dark Red, Malty Ale, Low Hops.
Listed Strength: 6%ABV.

Presentation: A 22 fluid ounce brown glass classic shaped Bomber. It has a very colorful label that is generic in nature. The main label picture has a snow-capped, lush green mountain, with a log cabin beneath. Has the words ‘McIlhenney’s Irish Red’ below the picture. It is very interesting to note that the bottle states 5.6%ABV, whilst the Board in the Sampling Room stated 6%ABV?!

Appearance: Very dark, auburn ruby-red color, when back-lit it had a lovely fiery copper hue. Massive agitated head at first that soon calms down to a decent thick collar, cream in color and very smooth in appearance. It laces well with solid carbonation.

Nose: Sniffing lightly is enough to capture the malts in this Irish Red. Has a sweet aroma dimension to the aroma also.

Taste: Starts with strong rounded Malts that are off-set against a light hop presence. Not quite balanced, the biased is more in favor of the darker malts I find. Sweetish in the middle with some Devon toffee. Dry in the end yet the sweetness leaves a light cloying peanut taste in the malty finish. Light hops are still evident right at the death.

Mouthfeel: Bold mouthfeel, malty balance with a smooth aerated feel on the palate. Solid, but never overpowering.

Drinkability: A nice enough beer that drinks well and I found that I liked the round smoothness of this Red.

Overall: Reds are either harsh Island misnomers or sweet, sickly offerings. This is neither, far from it. The high quality ingredients from the Maris Otter Pale, Munich and Rye Malts, as well as the Pacific NW and European Hops listed all shine through. A very nice Red and a good solid drinking partner.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to xlperro for this brew.
Appearance: McQlhennye's Irish Red pours a crystal clear reddish brown color w/ a two finger dirty white head. The head slowly dissapates.
Aroma. The nose is nice and malty
Flavor: This brew has a slightly malty taste with a touch of hops.
This is a nice session beer.

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Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer as it sets in my glass a limpid mahogany color, the head average in size, frothy in texture. Light tan in color and the lace a decent covering upon the glass. Malt dominates the nose, fresh and clean, sweet as it the malt-laden start; top is skimpy in feel. Finish is lightly carbonated, the hops present and mild in their bite, dry aftertaste, average beer, drinkable and pleasant enough when your into something on the lighter side.

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Photo of aracauna
3.01/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark plummy red brown but the head is licaking. The aroma is malty, a bit roasty but little else. The flavor is more roasty than expected with a light sweetness. Not a lot of complexity except for a little melon, and really low hopping. Of course, low hopping makes sense for the style, but the lack of fruitiness doesn't. Boring but not bad.

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McIlhenney's Irish Red from Alpine Beer Company
84 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.