McNeill's Champ Ale | McNeill's Brewery

BA SCORE
83
good
61 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good
Read the review
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
Ratings:
61
Reviews:
44
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
13.5%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
0
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 61 |  Reviews: 44
Photo of LJWalker
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of OriolesFan1008
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of sammy806
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of InspectorBob
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Bandi
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of noremac423
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of firkinhophead
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
2.44/5  rDev -32.8%
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.

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Photo of hoeg0015
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of jondeelee
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Champ Ale begins with a rich, malty nose, full of caramelized brown sugars, lychee nut, hints of chocolate malt and milk chocolate, and a good counter of rosewater hops.

On the tongue, the beer starts off slow, with a grape-like flavor mixed in with caramelized brown sugars, then moves to more light fruit esters, including apricot, orange, and berry. These lighter textures are soon joined by a good undercurrent of toasted grains, adding a biscuit/cereal base. Hops are very faint here, noticeable not so much because of their flavor (though they do nicely balance the sugars) but from the tingling they leave on the tongue and soft palate. The aftertaste is a mixture of nicely toasted grains and light pine notes from the hops, and lingers for quite a while. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium to medium-heavy.

Overall, this is good fare, and some lovely citrus and fruit flavors play around on the tastebuds.

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Photo of Durge
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the pub in Brattleboro this pale ale is a yellow-ish amber color with a thin white head but good cascading lace. The aroma is mild citrus hop with a bready, vaguely caramel idea. The taste buds pick up rye bread mixed in with the citrus bite, much like I noted in the cask ESB. There’s a nice grapefruit/lime taste that stays steady with a hempy, dusty, almost evergreen grain theme underneath it. The body is on the heavy side of light, with tasteful but delicate carbonation. Highly drinkable and a good choice for the beer lover at large.

 554 characters

Photo of koopa
4.27/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy watered down iced tea color (mild copper brown) with a 2 finger white crown that displays moderate retention and some lace.

Smell: English yeast, butter, toffee, slight fruity note, light hop presence.

Taste: Same as the nose but not as colorful. Might not be the freshest bottle so I'd like to revisit this one again.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied with ample crisp carbonation and a moderately soft crown.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable.

 481 characters

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

$3.99 for the bomber @ the Brattleboro, VT. Food Coop.

"Best before last day of" dating on bottom of the label, nice info for the consumer.

Pours cloudy typical amber, looser off white head that stays then goes to to a frothy foam/film and better then decent lacing.

Gritty & citric, moderatly pungent hop nose.

Respectable APA, moderate cascade infused hop package, flowing over a nice malty base. Fairly balanced, but enough hops for respectability.

Decent every day APA, perhaps a bit thin mouthfeel wise and lacks the depth of flavors to challange the all stars of the style.

 584 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 650 ml bomber from the Lebanon, NH Coop.

A: The APA is a pale amber color, like watered down iced tea. Translucent, the ale sits under a white head of nearly half a finger.

S: The nose is grainy, a toasted bisctui aroma that covers up any sign of hoppiness. Mild citrus wafts out after some searching.

T: Biscuity toffee flavors rule the day, a much maltier ale. Tea flavors run alongside the grains, a sweet body that covers up most of its hoppiness. What's there is citrusy and very faint. Not a malt-bomb, just one that is very focused on its own breadiness.

M: The breadiness of the APA is nice, a rich landscape of toffee and biscuit. A little more in the way of hops would really help though.

D: Another solid beer from McNeills. All the horror stories that I've hear are fading away as I sip my way through their line-up.

 835 characters

Photo of cavedave
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly cloudy light amber, with a quick to leave off white head that places a bit of lace, and settles to a lively skim.

Smell is yeasty tart, bready like an English bitter, and some floral and lemony citrus hop in a nose that is lighter side of medium strength.

It tastes like a bitter also, but with a tart edge, some caramel, then that English hop fade out herbal bitter at the end, here with some lemony/citrusy bitter added. This is an APA? The simple flavors combine in a balanced and delicious way, esp as it nears room temp.

Nice mouthfeel, very low carb., full bodied for style, and a long fairly clean finish. To nitpick there is just a bit of the lemon taste buildup on palate.

Drinkability, rated against others in style, suffers. Ten better in this style easily spring to mind.

Impression: Another well made McNeill's beer that is good, esp. for price, and tasty, yet not a standout.

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Photo of madjr80
3.26/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
2.69/5  rDev -25.9%
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 albern
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours light creamy and bubbly head. A hazy pale almost glowing wheat orange color.

N: Nose is quite nice and complex. It has some creamy malts, and a decent pale malt aroma. Hints of fruit and... grape?... and a nice hop aroma, with some grassy, chewy, and fruity hops.

T: Starts with a malty bite, some nice dark toasty malts, a really nice malt flavor actually. It then comes through with some light pale bitterness and some light grassy and spicy hop flavors. Those hop flavors are then followed with some fruity and juicy hops. More earthy malt flavors mingle. A slight citrus orange peel flavor comes through a little on the end, but isn't too bad yet.

M: Somewhat light body with good carbonation.

F: FInishes with a nice light pale bitterness that builds a bit, then adds more of the spicy hop quality and can be somewhat dry. Then it gets a somewhat unpleasant bitterness, like biting on an orange peel as that orange peel citrus flavor goes way over the top. Overall it's a nice pale ale, with some nice hop flavors, lighter fare, great malt flavors, and refreshing. The only real issue is that strong orange peel bitterness.

 1,142 characters

Photo of alpinebryant
4.28/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark marigold color with a creamy white head at first that quickly turned to a few larger bubbles in the center of the glass and a ring around the glass.

A stonger citrus aroma of lemon and some grapefruit. Smell is great with a nice malty scent as well.

Tasted like a well bittered APA, there is a nice light sour bite that is enjoyable but balanced out with the bittering hops. some dry bite at the end and a lemon flavored sweet flavor as well. More grapefruit flavor in this beer than I have tasted in any other - period. The Grapefruit really comes out because this beer is not overhopped to some ridiculous IBU rating to sell bottles. As for the dragon on the label though I have not quite figured out its relevance. Maybe the dragon likes to drink Champ Ale?

Strong carbonation and a nice finish. I bought 4 bombers from a grocery store of McNeills on the way back from VT and I am beginning to think that was a great idea...

 948 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of scootny
3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lightly cloudy golden honey with a prodigious shaving cream sticky head. Retention is quite good and the glass is well decorated as I drink. Lots of yeast suspended but not much carbonation.

Smell has an orangey note with citrusy hops and a caramel malt base. A bit of yeasty bread.

Taste is sourdough bread malty with grapefruity sharp hops. A light spiciness and a return of sourness, this time gently tannic in nature. Finish is dry and firmly bitter. Lots of grapefruit skin and a light malt lingering in the mouth. Feel is finely carbonated in a lightly tingly way and somewhat crisp. Weight is moderate.

Quite quaffable. A nice one with dinner ( fish sticks, asparagus, garlic mashed, and lentil pilaf this evening ). Good for a ball game.

Thanks to The Rowan for this Vermont treat.

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McNeill's Champ Ale from McNeill's Brewery
3.63 out of 5 based on 61 ratings.
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