McNeill's Blond Bombshell (Big Nose Blond) | McNeill's Brewery

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McNeill's Blond Bombshell (Big Nose Blond)McNeill's Blond Bombshell (Big Nose Blond)
36 Ratings
McNeill's Blond Bombshell (Big Nose Blond)McNeill's Blond Bombshell (Big Nose Blond)

Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A West Coast style golden ale. Hoppier than many throw away beers, it contains a generous amount of citrusy hops, German and domestic malts and has a deep gold color. Winner of the golden ale category at the '94 Great American Beer Festival.

Added by Todd on 04-25-2004

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 27
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of jondeelee
3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blond Bombshell begins with a hoppy aroma, thick with nuanced grapefruit and hints of pine, atop a layer of sugary malts that is reminiscent of confectioner's sugar.

On the tongue, the brew begins with a simultaneous burst of grapefruity hops and sugary malts, the latter rich in berry flavors (strawberry, cherry) and light fruit esters (apricot, pear, apple). These rest atop a good layer of toasted grains, and the brew is thus quite like a good bowl of cereal with fresh fruit. Later in the mouthful the sugars die off, exposing the toasted grains, which last well into the mouthful, as well as the hops, which are present in good quantities and create a warm burning on the tongue and soft palate. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-heavy.

Overall, this is a good beer, with surprising and tasty berry flavors that nicely complement the grain and citrus flavors.

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

Thought I would give this another chance on-tap instead of from the bottle.

After I pint of "Old Ringworm" and the RIS I decided to end my session with a lighter brew so I would'nt go over the edge. I'm glad I did.

This one is a slightly hazy golden blonde color with a fine creamy 1" head that dissiptaed rather slowly but eventually went away totally with moderate lacing.

The nose has a very herbal, tangy, spicey hop with vanilla-malt effects and a very nice sour and herbal yeast underneath.

The flavor is very bold and hardy for this style, this is a very heavily malted Blonde with a fine creamy aspect. The herbal, even spicey hop makes for a great balance, nevermind the delightful, zesty yeast effect. nice, bold flavors.

This one has a medium body, feels rather hefty for the style, not as thin or crisp as some other versions but much more complexity and heft.

This is a very popular brew and I would suggest it on-tap instead of the bottle version.

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

On draft at the brewery. A head and lace on peachy colour. Aroma that was both hoppy and malty. Medium mouthfeel, grainy malt and grapefruit taste, a good bitterness with piney resin.
Had four years later in bottle and it was most drinkable, but took some getting used to, a little lighter and sourish initially.

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

Wow...not what I expected from one of my favorite breweries. Pours a light coppe with a very small head. Smelll was odd..fruity, earthy and old socks...not overly inviting. Taste is "puckery" with a strong phenol presence. Drinkability suffers due to odd taste on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium, but aftertaste is a downer.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From the 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bottle with the label clipped at October (no year). Sampled on December 4, 2009. It pours a hazy orange-brass with maybe a quarter of an inch of white head that dissolves a bit but never goes away entirely. The aroma is full of that yeasty, wheaty, citrusy, hoppy scent you get in blond ales. The yeast and citrus rules the day. A medium mouthfeel greets the palate. The taste is sour and tart with a hint of tangerine and a mellow dose of local hops. Blondes are a bit low on my list of styles but McNeill's carries it off well.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a slightly hazy blonde color ale with a large white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of semi-sweet cereal notes with light hoppy and floral notes. Taste is a mix between some semi-sweet clean cereal malt backbone with some light floral and hoppy notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Enjoyable though nothing to write home about either.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.76/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 Oz Bomber shipped to me by my good BA friend Hopshop for my birthday. Best-before date is October of 2004, I tasted in Jan 2005. This may have affected it (not having tried it otherwise, I don't know), but it seemed to be ok.

Pours a pale-medium yellow with a huge head. Did I say huge? I meant HUGE!

Aroma is by far the best part of this beer. I could just sit and smell this one all day long (and from a foot away, no less!). Sugar and apples and pears and bananas and pineapple. A veritable tropical drink in this beer! No spiciness except for the slight tart of the pineapple smell.

Flavor does not follow through from the aroma- surprising. I detected minimal hops in the aroma, but they are there quite blatently in the flavor. As other reviewers suggest, it does become better balanced as it warms, but not dramatically so.

Mouthfeel is pleasant, not overwhelming.

This one was alright, but I don't see myself going back for more.

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Photo of Westyn
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of sammy806
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of Noelito76
3/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of faillace
3.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a silly "Cheers" beermug. I thought it had a nice, hazy golden color to it. Quite a foamy head; didn't stick to the sides of the glass.

Smelled like hops to me. Definitely "piney" or "woodsy."

Upon tasting, I was a bit overwhelmed with the amount of citrus in this one. Would have liked a tad more bitterness to balance out the lemony flavor. Definitely drinkable mid-summer, but again, too much citrus (though I'd describe the mouthfeel as delightfully "creamy"). I'd buy again in the summer.

But, hell, the bomber cost me a mere $3.50 at Formaggio's Kitchen in Cambridge. Of course, this might explain why they hide the colorful McNeill's bottles on the bottom shelf behind a distracting display of local fruit...

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Photo of ppoitras
3.3/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22ozer from Waterbury Beverage, Waterbury, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed an airy 1/2" white head, which faded to a little foam layer in almost no time. Warmly golden hue to this brew, and it does lace slightly as drinking ensues. I don't know about big nose, seemed to me to have a slightly hoppy, slightly spicy aroma. Taste is initailly of pale malts, and then the hops kick in with some spiciness and a bit of bitterness to finish off. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, and this may be affected by the seemingly low carbonation of this bottle. Drinkability is reasonable, with the sharpness of the hops fading a bit as the session goes on.

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Photo of patrick802
2/5  rDev -43%

Photo of potownbill
3.94/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy straw color with a thin white head
Smell: Yeast, Lemon citrus, Sourdough bread
Taste: some tartness, yeast, citrus
Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation, smooth
Drinkability: Very enjoyable. Easy to drink.
I am looking forward to another. McNeill's has been a very reliable brewery, and I am looking forward to trying a few more.

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

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

A: Golden orange pale color with a slight haze, big head that disappears quickly with large bubbles

N: Lightly malted citrusy nose with hints of spice and yeast and slight wit beer notes

T: Taste starts somewhat light and citrusy with orange rind, some sour fruit and slightly Belgian wit style, then gets a little creamy and carbonated, a slight spicey malty chalky quality in the middle, the sour apple like quality comes in a couple waves

M: Lots of carbonation and slightly thick mouthfeel

F: Slightly bitter and dry aftertaste with sour apple, orange and vanilla hints, it has a yeasty sour apple and high carbonation, with a strange bitterness on the finish

Final thoughts: Almost a cross between a Belgian wit, and blonde ale, and a saison. Its very drinkable but still somewhat over spiced and too much orange and citrus.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger white head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Clear pale amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Faint citrus and hop nose. Flavor has hints of caramel with hop bitterness. $3.79 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of billybob
4.1/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 22oz. bottle

cloudy yellow gold color with a fluffy one finger white head that holds to just covering the beer and ring of lace as you sip. smells of citrus, lemons, limes, and very slight spice also. first taste is wow sour yeast and malt then some fruity citrus then sour and tangy again. medium body and carbonation is crisp. takes getting used to but it's very enjoyable. don't know if it would make a good session beer.

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Photo of smcolw
3.66/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bountiful off-white head that leaves ample fluffy lace. The liquid is cloudy straw-gold.

Sour malt aroma, almost like a Belgian wheat beer. Nearly no hop in the nose.

More malt than hop. Sour, but not as much as the nose would indicate. Very high carbonation--fairly large bubbled. The body is mid-level. Nice hop at the end of the swallow, leaving a pleasant, if mild, bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of currysage1
2.87/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bomber bought at the pub in Brattleboro.

Look was the best thing about this beer, nice goldenrod yellow with a good sized cream colored head. Nice carbonation showing, no chill haze.

Smell is where it all ends, it literally smelled of warm plastic, like when an old tv has been on for too long.

Taste had the same quality but much less pronounced, also mixed in where some nice light grain bursts toward the end. Also some light fruits and light malt.

Mouthfeel wasn't bad, good thickness, with carbonation that played on the tongue.

Drinkability would have been higher through a straw, the smell affected that much.

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Photo of OriolesFan1008
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of WesWes
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a hazy gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a grainy pale malt scent along with a mild hop nose and a touch of biscuit malt breadiness. The taste is decent as well. It has a thin pale and biscuit malt flavor. It's light and grainy with a mild noble hop character. The mouthfeel is fine. It's a low bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an easy drinking blonde ale; not overly complex and sessionable.

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Photo of scottum
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not much of a nose for a beer called big nose... A very hard hard pour only got me a half inch of white head which was gone too soon. Still though, it has McNeill's trademark hop bite and that makes it worth drinking alone. For the style, Big Nose is still an ok draw.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.45/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was a great session-style quaffable brew. Rather clear light gold with medium white head with little retention but good lacing. Has medium-body, grainy malt, and a complex dirty hoppiness. The hops are a fruity, but also very earthy in a strange kind of way that I only seem to get from some McNeill's beers (Summer IPA for example). Wonderful smooth feel and drinkability. Definitely drink this at pretty warm temps, just slightly chilled as with all of the other beers from this brewery.

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Photo of Brad007
4.47/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light blond color with a thick, fluffy head. Aroma is light and malty, somewhat flowery (due to the hops) and smooth. Aroma is smooth and light upfront with a heavy malt aftertaste that retains the flowery notes that I observed. Pretty light beer here. The aftertaste is nice because it even retains a very faint hop bitterness as well. Reminds me a lot of a belgian wit as well. Very delicious.

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Photo of jawneyt
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

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McNeill's Blond Bombshell (Big Nose Blond) from McNeill's Brewery
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 36 ratings