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McNeill's Champ Ale | McNeill's Brewery

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McNeill's Champ AleMcNeill's Champ Ale
BA SCORE
3.6/5
Good
61 Ratings
McNeill's Champ AleMcNeill's Champ Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Champ Ale is a West Coast style pale ale. Also somewhat citrusy, it has notes of concord grapes both in the flavor and the nose. Made from a blend of British and domestic malts, it has a light red or pale rose color and very high drinkability.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-17-1998

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#34,746
Reviews:
44
Ratings:
61
pDev:
13.61%
Bros Score:
3.58
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
0
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 |  Reviews: 44
Photo of Hopstout
2/5  rDev -44.4%

Photo of patrick802
2.25/5  rDev -37.5%

Photo of mvanaskie13
2.44/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a fluted glass, color is pale copper, translucent, head is off white, very thick and dense, clings the glass well.

Smell is slightly off, bitternes is the there, but the sweet notes are not, hints of vinegar.

Taste starts out somewhat clean, light caramel sweet, but is caught up by some tartness, something is off, bitternes is there but not in a flavorful way.

Mouthfeel is balanced, the tartness is not lingering and the bitterness is the for a pale.

Overall, I don't like this as pale, it looks nice but does not followup; again an off beer from McNeill's, could be the freshness, could be the product and attention to quality, so far it has been 50/50.

 673 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
2.65/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Photo of BeerNinja007
2.69/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

22oz bomber was $3.69 at the Lebanon Co-op grocery. Label notched to indicate best before last day of February. No year is indicated, so this info is of minimal value. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

A: A rigorous pour gives 1" of off-white foamy head on top of a mostly-clear pale golden-yellow brew. Minimal lace.

S: Light tasty aroma of honey, apricot, green grapes, hay, florals.

T: Much more hoppy and dry than I expected from the smell. Mostly dominated by a big note of bitter orange and lemon, then some yeastiness. Barely any malt at all, far too bitter with no backbone. Finish turns a bit tropical, bitter pineapple or mango.

M: Dry, thin, a bit fizzy. Acidic and unrefined.

D: It has a good hoppy bite but lacks any balance with malt or sweetness. Fizzy hop water. Plus there's a complete disconnect between the smell and the taste, which are nothing alike. I'm not too interested in finishing this, it is a chore to drink. Dumped the rest.

A perusal of other reviews shows my experience to be atypical. I previously speculated that McNeill's may have problems with consistency/ reproducibility and this seems like even more evidence. Drink at your own risk. :/

 1,185 characters

Photo of Noelito76
2.75/5  rDev -23.6%

Photo of jdhilt
2.78/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Explodes out of bottle for a five+ finger white head that fades slowly to a ring leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit nose. Flavor is sour peach and grapefruit, lingering bitter aftertaste from the hops. $2.99 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

 315 characters

Photo of OriolesFan1008
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of swierczt
3.1/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Bluegrass49
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of LJWalker
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of ppoitras
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22ozer from Brattleboro Co-Op, Brattleboro, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" eggshell head over a cloudy golden amber brew. Uneven head lasts reasonably, with great lacing. Slightly sweet aroma with citrus notes. Very earthy taste upfront (not so much in a good way), with expected hops character. Mouthfeel and drinkability were both affected by what I perceived as off flavors in the taste. Disappointing, since the appearance and nose were so promising. Will have to revisit and verify.

 514 characters

Photo of cracker
3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 22oz bomber, best before date 11/?? (year is conspiciously missing). Pours a golden yellow hue with little to no head. Smells of biscuit and some sweet malt. Little hop aroma. Taste is very tangy and citrusy but not from bittering hops. Light carbonation. Somewhat strange sensation on the palate. Drinkable but not one of the better apa's I've had. Maybe past it's freshness date I admit.

 396 characters

Photo of madjr80
3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I bought a 22 ounce bomber for 2.75, so it was not a bad deal. It is listed as an American pale ale, but it is not really true to the style. It has a funny yeasty/citrus tang to it. The color was a pale amber. The texture light with enough of carbonation; head retention is just about average(thin lace).A bit weaker on the hop than expected. Overall, not a bad decision, but a 22 ounce bomber is enough for me.

 411 characters

Photo of deereless
3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Lots of frothy foam sticking to the side of the glass, quite opaque, a dirty gold color; 4.25, S: Heaps of citrus, noticeably grapefruit, I realize this is an APA, but I smell a dry crispness that I associate with a sour ale - 3.00, T: Some orange or grapefruit zest, solid hop bite, mild grainy sweetness, the sour on the nose creeps into the palate - 3.50, M: Medium bodied - 3.00, D: A decent beer, misses on a couple of marks in my opinion but I'd drink it again - 3.00

 476 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another gem from McNeil's. I have really been plowing through their lineup lately to say the least. I think this is the 6th or so I have had and I have one more left for tonight. Split with my brother in law over dinner, this one was consumed on 10/13/2009.
 
The pour was fairly nice I have to say. Nice golden amber in color with a good three inch head that quickly collapsed on itself and left behind only token amounts of lacing but kept a good bit of carbonation working up from the bottom of the glass throughout to make sure you kept yourself interested. Light aroma, hints of dry citrus notes, grapefruit maybe? A touch of light pineapple and a good bit of grain to balance it out. As I reach in to take a sip it just leaves me looking for a little bit more. It is nice and clean, crisp, dry and with a good hop kick right up front I would have just wanted a touch more to go on for me. Starts with a nice dose of grapefruit and light  orange flavor that quickly blends in with a bready taste and a nice touch of light grain. But then it just kind of all muddles and fades into one another and never really comes back to where it needs to be. Clean and dry finish and nothing really terribly heavy about it, but I was really just looking for that one more little punch to make this one excellent.
 
Overall a solid, seasonable and workable pale ale, but I just wanted a little bit more out of it. Would not turn it down but it needs a little work. Still good though.
 

 1,485 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the 1 pint 6 fl. oz. bottle with the date clipped at February on the label without a year listed. Sampled on December 28, 2009. It pours a cloudy copper yellow with an overwhelming and long lasting puffy cream head. The aroma is strong on yeast, the sign of an unfiltered brew. There are some clean hops lingering around the background a bit. The mouthfeel tends to be thin to medium. A tart and sour taste that leaves an aftertaste that was unappealing to me. I guess I have a hard time giving it as high a rating as previous raters.

 539 characters

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

Amber, white head. For once the label was on fairly straight and almost entirely glued.

Nose of citric hop and toasty malt. Carries through in the flavor, with a bit of sweetness in the middle and a firm bitterness in the finish to go along with the grapefruity hop flavors. A decent brew in bottle, probably great on a hot day, but if they have it on cask at the brewery, try it - it's huge.

 395 characters

Photo of Snow81
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

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

Bomber purchased from the brewery with no freshness date. Seemed to have many bottles on hand, so I figured they must go through a lot of it. I can see how.

Should be considered an EPA. Very bland in color. Nice lacing. most likely due to its freshness?!?!?!?!

Peachy clean taste. For an EPA (which is what it is) has a fair amount of bitterness that accompanies it.

First McNeil’s beer I've "officially" reviewed. Craft yes, good yes, try again? Yes. Average at best.

 478 characters

Photo of Todd
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle. Another story on a label. This time a jester is juggling some beers and taming a dragon. Ah, the power of beer. No freshness date.

Appearance: Light amber with a hearty white head.

Smell: Slight malt, and a delicate perfuming of hop aroma.

Taste: Dry bitterness upfront, mellowing with a touch of malt sweetness and toasted grain.

Notes: A full flavoured brew with great balance. A very drinkable session style beer.

 457 characters

Photo of firkinhophead
3.59/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4.99 from the Casual Pint in Knoxville. Bottle conditioned.

Pours cloudy, golden with a thick, fluffy head that rises up over the rik and takes a while to settle down. Clumpy, sticky lace.

Aroma is a strong suit. Sharp, yeasty notes of cheddar, apple, lemon, and biscuit. Floral hops.

Steely wheaty malts, citrus pith, vinous dry fruitiness, mild lemon soapyness.

Thin, slick mouthfeel like a wheat beer. Dry and a tad chaulky. Soft on the palate from the bottle conditioning.

Easy drinking, dry and subtle. A great summer ale that would pair well with bread, cheese and fruit. Drinks like a Saison without the spiciness. Would be great on cask. Perhaps a bit simple, but quite satisfying.

 695 characters

Photo of albern
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a good APA, not brilliant but good. The tartness of the beer really shines through as it settles in. The beer pours a really cloudy, dirty water, no make that filthy water light brown, with particulates mostly at the bottom of the glass. There is a decent creamy, slightly fizzy head, with some lacing. The nose imparts more hops than you will find in the taste. The nose is very enticing and it hints at a really well balanced beer with a nice bready malt underbelly.

The taste is good but doesn't quite live up to what the nose was leading to. There is a nice slighlty floral hop, maybe a bit of drying leafy hop, with some thick malts underneath. There is some herbal texture to the malts. The defining feature is the lemony, tartness that comes through on top of the hops. There is a slight acerbic quality to the beer and a bit of mouth puckering with this one. The beer has some body, and dries up in the finish. The lemony tartness overly predominate this beer. It's good, but not brilliant.

 1,008 characters

Photo of 31Sam13
3.69/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had to give some higher-than-newb marks because of my long affinity with this beer.
( Maybe a bad choice of words.) However, this stuff has been satisfying a small percentage of us in the Connecticut River Valley for many years. The taproom is rustic, inviting, friendly and the beer is underrated. Champ is one of my faves...perhaps it's the whole experience but I will never take this of of my Zombie Apocalypse List...Along with Spam and Zombie dust, if that gives you any perspective. Seriously good....

 511 characters

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 ounce bottle.

A: Pours an amber/orange hue with a thick white head that is slow to settle. Lacing is decent, and carbonation is vigorous for the style.

S: Caramel and bready aromas up front, with piney, citrusy hop notes making up the better half. Some fruity aromas rise from beneath.

T: Very malt-forward up front. Caramel and honey, along with some fruity esters from yeast. Slight burnt grain notes lie in between. Hops come forward with citrus, grassy notes, and a slight medicinal bitterness on the finish.

Notes: Moderate in body with a very pleasant mouthfeel, and as the beer warms it becomes better. Rustic in flavor, combining the old world with the new. Flavor is there, but overall, the rest of the aspects are pretty basic. A good pale, although there are others that I would choose before it on a menu.

 857 characters

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McNeill's Champ Ale from McNeill's Brewery
Beer rating: 3.6 out of 5 with 61 ratings
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