Firehouse Amber Ale
McNeill's Brewery

Firehouse Amber AleFirehouse Amber Ale
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Red Ale - American Amber / Red
Ranked #402
Ranked #38,828
3.68 | pDev: 15.76%
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States
Firehouse Amber AleFirehouse Amber Ale
Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 106 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of papposilenus
papposilenus from New Hampshire

3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 12oz. can, best by 04/10/16, served in a... well, I don't actually know the name of this glass. It's like a tulip, but taller. Ah, never mind. Anyway, next time I'll drink it from the can because it's the kind of beer that wants to be drunk from a can. After you've had it, you'll feel pretentious for having poured it into a glass.

Pours a deep golden brown, the colour of apple cider, with vigorous carbonation and a big fluffy cap of suds. Retention is so-so but a few gobs of fat lacing remain on the glass.

Smells sharp and yeasty with big fruity esters - apples, oranges and bananas, allspice and clean earthiness.

Well-balanced with biscuity malt and assertive bitterness both right upfront and straight through to the finish. Nothing complicated going on here, just good, plain, clean-drinkin' beer.

Medium-light bodied, crisp and heavily carbonated.

I have no idea whether this is really an amber ale. I doubt it. Anyway, it's a good, old-school beer, perfect for fishing in the sun or hanging out with the old folks on the porch at night. Not a good beer for thinking brooding thoughts or obsessing over beer style classifications.

Feb 03, 2016
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CTHomer from Connecticut

3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: slight haze; burnt orange in color; 1 finger off white head that receded slowly to a wispy cap; very little lacing; steady stream of bubbles rising;

S: sweet malt; a little floral;

T: follows the nose from start to finish; very mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O: easy drinking; no complexity;

Jan 19, 2016
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours hazy amber under a persistent 2.5” rocky cream colored foam collar that grips the sides of the glass.
S: Big bread aromas with traces of hops.
T: Big fresh bread to biscuit flavors backed by an assertive bitter hop emphasis.
F: Medium to medium full bodied and slightly below medium carbonation.
O: this is an amber ale for people who find amber ales boring.

Jun 09, 2015
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SparkieDog from Massachusetts

3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Identity crisis:
This beer is somewhere in between and an amber or a red. It looks like an amber when poured into a glass, but the "thinner" feel and low maltiness are more like a red ale. I got a 6 pack before reading the BA reviews. So, my initial expectations for straight out amber ale faded after the first sip. (Maybe I should have caught the hint with "Firehouse" in the name.) However, Firehouse is not quite a red ale either. It's not a bad brew. Just, if you grab some this expecting an amber (or a red), be prepared. I suspect the wide range of BA ratings on this beer reflect identity issues rather than quality. So, if curious about the children from a marriage between Amber and Red, this might be a fun adventure for you.

Mar 28, 2015
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founddrama from Vermont

3.08/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is going to sound weird but… this is like a very clarified homebrew. Aroma is really similar to the red I brewed. Speaking of that yeast, I'd guess something in the same family as Safale US-05. A bittersweet maltiness front to back. Hops are pretty mild. Stand-out flavor comes is coming from the yeast I think. And/but/so yeah, significantly more clear than the red I made; but right there in that color range &c.

ALSO: having had a few times... it's pretty inconsistent from serving to serving.

Mar 22, 2015
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LeRose from Massachusetts

3.19/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

22 ounce bottle poured into lager glass.

Appearance was a cloudy, more towards the orange/red color than amber, but not bad looking. Creamy head, maybe two fingers worth that retained well, sticky thready lacing on glass.

Smell was malty and bread-like up front, some caramel or toffee sweetness, grainy. Over the top of that base was some spiciness with citrus notes and a little pine/resin. An odd fruity component too - maybe a little apple aroma.

Taste was initially malty/bready with some nuttiness, slightly toasty. The citrus/pine showed up mid-taste and built up a little bit. Definitely a hops presence that was evident through the taste once it started. Pretty decent bitter kick at the end, maybe a touch of saltiness? And wondering about the apple - slight taste of that in there matching the aroma.

Mouthfeel was medium to light bodied, pretty lively carbonation, surprisingly astringent finish.

Overall, a decent beer but nothing I would seek out again. Reasonably balanced, but I am none too sure about the apple/other fruit flavor that I picked up. Some fruit character expected with the style - not sure the apple component works for me. Good to try, very cool label theme.

Aug 27, 2013
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Viciousknishs from Virginia

3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gift from the sister. Brought back from Vermont.

A- pours a hazed red with a creamy luscious off white head. Excellent retention with fair amount of lacing as well. Looking good!

S- the malt is the highlight of the nose. Lots of toasted bread, caramel and fresh cracked grain notes. Subtle pine and earthy hop characteristics come out as well.

T- rustic home baked bread and toasty malt flavors hit the palate at first. A bit of a sharp hop bitterness in the middle with a pine and earth like character. Finishes with a lingering dry malt flavor. It tastes like eating the malt you use before you brew. Balanced and drinkable.

MF- smooth mouthfeel with a light body. Solid bottle conditioned carbonation.

D- very drinkable and good with food.

Overall a solid beer. A little subtle and underwhelming but thoroughly enjoyable and well crafted for what it is.

Sep 05, 2012
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WYVYRN527 from Minnesota

3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22-ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep amber in color with slight chill haze, and a fluffy off-white head that has excellent retention. Sticky lacing coats the glass.

S: Hops shine through on the nose first, with some citrus and pine, along with a spicy, somewhat briny aroma. Malt lends aromas of caramel and fresh bread.

T: Caramel up front, with some nutty aspects and toast. Hop bill adds floral, piney, and citrusy character to the beer, with just a slightly astringent finish.

Notes: Balanced, although the astringent character on the end is a bit off-putting. However, that fades as the beer warms in the glass. Medium in body with a silky mouthfeel. While not the best out there, it's a solid brew and represents the style pretty well.

Feb 18, 2012
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corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden orange color that's almost completely opaque except for bright golden orange edges.  Half finger off white head that quickly settles into thin ring.  Sporadic spots of lace left behind.  

Slightly earthy aroma with spicy hop notes, pine needle and subtle citrus fruit.  Countered by sweet malt notes and bready yeast.  

Medium bodied and fuller than expected with a blast of juicy hops up front that linger over the sweet malt backbone into a slightly bitter dry finish.  Subtle floral quality with some dry piney character but the hops are mostly citrus flavored with hints of mango, orange peel and grapefruit.  Sweet malt backbone with hints of caramel and biscuit with alcohol heat toward finish.  Decently balanced but sweetness from alcohol and malt take away from the hops a bit.  

Oct 25, 2011
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MoreThanWine from Massachusetts

3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured almost all head, beige. Body is a hazy but bright and lovely amber. There's only a very slight smell of caramel. Taste also is very light and reminds me more of tea than anything else, with a little hops and a touch of caramel again. It's a pretty beer, an easy to drink beer, but it doesn't blow me away.

Sep 25, 2011
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jondeelee from Massachusetts

3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Firehouse Amber Ale sports a rich, malty nose with loads of brown sugars and good smatterings of apricot and cherry fruit esters, along with the promise of a well-balanced hop counter.

On the tongue, the beer is far more sour than the nose would imply, primary tastes including toasted wheat, apricot, sour cherry, and faint hints of sour apple cider. The hops add a piney note to the mix, enhancing the earthiness of the brew, and further bringing out the tartness of the citrus flavors. Near the end of the mouthful a good layer of biscuit-like toasted grains is exposed, providing a little relief. The aftertaste is largely toasted grains and leftover tartness, mainly at this point from the hops, and the tongue and soft palate tingle for a while from the hoppy resins. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, further enhancing the tingling sensation on the tongue.

Overall, this is a tasty brew, though I feel it tends slightly too much toward the tart, bitter side of the flavor profile, and could use a few more sugars to balance out the mix.

Aug 03, 2011
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B967ierhunter177 from Pennsylvania

1.21/5  rDev -67.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer pours a clear amber color with half-inch head. The aroma is of citrus and caramel. It's flavor is a bit fruity with caramel and a very bitter finish. The bitterness was very sharp and biting, unpleasant. The mouthfeel is light. McNeills Firehouse Amber Ale waqs a drainpour. NOT recommended!

Jul 03, 2011
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Fire brick-orange in color with a dense like clarity. A rigorous rocky like foam head rises above with a parchement like sheen to it providing a long lasting visual appeal. Micro-bubbles can be seen rushing to the surface, beading and building the head with a constant care along the outer edge of the glass. A thick foamy band encircles the glass to close things out. Interesting color.

S: The aroma bears a sweet and fruity nature to it, some fresh cherries and freshly sliced apples with sweet sugary grains. Clean overall, not much hop presence, just a natural amber ale at work, both sweet and fruity and moderate in strength.

T: Flavor was sweet and fruity, again of apples with some mentions of honey dew. Sweet grains with a finish of herbal hops. Nice mixture of soft wet lemon hops in the front is closed out by a equally soft flowery essence on the close. Very clean drinking flavor, great balance and respectable.

M: Snappy carbonation with a light creamy body.

O: Overall a very easy drinking amber, not your hop bomb, but a simple American amber ale with just the right amount of hoppiness and extremely clean flavor that will make you want to keep drinking and enjoying. Very good flavor overall but one that is simply outstanding to drink and enjoy which gets it extra credit here.

Jun 23, 2011
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Reagan1984 from Massachusetts

2.43/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up while skiing in Vermont with my son.

Best before May is notched on the label.

Foamy white head about a finger thick forms and shows nice retention, the beer is a bright straight amber color with mostly copper highlights.

Aroma is mostly of toffee, light malt and a little apple.

From the visual and aroma characteristics, I was hopeful. Flavor is a let down. Thin fruity malt flavor with apple components. Nothing off, spoiled or wrong here, but I just think it reminds me of fruity apple. Finishes quickly and without fanfare. Session beer to the max. Too much. I’ll pass this one the next time.

The body is too thin and watery. You swallow and wonder what happened.

Well, I’ve never had the highest opinion of McNeill’s and sadly this didn’t help change my perception.

Apr 24, 2011
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BigPlay1824 from New York

3.29/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

A: pours a very nice deep golden color that is quite hazy, pours with a nice amount of head and leaves a bit of lacing

S: has a nice sweetness with a very slight hop character

T: very nice tasting brew with a slight sweetness and light hop notes, has a very slight underlying malt character

D/M: great drinking brew, slight carbonation tingle, smooth on the pallet and doesn't drink too heavy at all

Dec 30, 2010
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Seanibus from California

3.03/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours deep amber with a huge head - I mean huge, huge. So huge that I thought the bottle was infected. But as I explore this brewery, I am learning this is a standing characteristic: weird, infected looking heads.

The aroma is not terribly good, sour and malty, but the flavor is interesting: strong brown sugar, toffee, and toasted nut. Quite sweet.

The mouthfeel is syrupy.

not great, but better than some other McNeill product.

Sep 30, 2010
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david18 from New York

3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had a sixteen ounce pour of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's Upper West Side. I'm not a big fan of this brewery, not finding any of the beers to be outstanding. I drank it the other night because I wanted something easy to drink, not to outstanding in any way, and that's pretty much how I found it. Certainly better than a lot of other options and a good choice for what I was looking for.

Red/Amber color as expected. Not too much in the way of carbonation. Aroma is very subtle but ok. Flavor is a good balance but there is not much outstanding in any way about it.

Sep 06, 2010
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bruachan from Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice froth but the amber liquid is hazy

strong hop aroma with a touch of esters

stronger hop flavor, and without grinding bitterness. piney hops with a touch of citrus and mild caramelness and biscuit and toasty. a little on the meager end, however

Aug 16, 2010
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OatmattStout from Connecticut

2.36/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Have had other mcneils beers before and really liked but not impressed is an understatement.

cloudy amber with a very nice head with gooretention and lacing.

nothing really stood out in the nose.

taste was where the real problems set in for me. Had a sour component and very little matl to stand up to astringent hop flavors. really had a pale ale profile to me.

maybe a bad batch cause the brewery is solid.

Dec 27, 2009
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DIM from Pennsylvania

2.26/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

a: This was a clear coppery amber color. it poured with a big chunky head.

s: Kind of an odd nose on this one. Most noticeable was the aromas of lemonade. Not lemon zest or suggestions of lemons, but lemonade straight from the super market. Hiding behind that, and not hiding all that well, was a burned plastic smell.

t: Starts off tasting like sweet lemonade that becomes lidly abrasive. That burned plastic was back at the finish. Not much to like here.

m: Carbonation and texture are okay, but that plastic taste really lingers.

d: Thanks Joe, I'm always up for something new. This one was off though.

Nov 27, 2009
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

2.65/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a one finger white head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Almost clear amber color. Light to medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Flavor is hops and hints of malt. Light lingering bitter finish. $2.99 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

Nov 08, 2009
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u2carew from Massachusetts

2.3/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz bomber
A) Pours with a mellow head - thin, big bubbled. Lacing is weak and not sticky. Hazy and amber in color.
S) Hints of caramel. Some floral hop notes. Light citrus notes. Not very aromatic as a whole.
T) A bit sour up front. Any hints of malt are very mellow. The hops are noticeable but not abundant in the finish.
M) The body is light. Crisp. Sour - puckering.
D) Did I get a bad beer? If not, I wouldn't drink this again.

Sep 14, 2009
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smcolw from Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very cloudy! Orange amber color. Large bubble head initially, but there is a wonderful cascade of tiny effervescence that replaces it. Short lived, though. Light, spotty lace on the glass.

Yeasty and chewy smell. Dry-ish malt aroma. Low hop nose.

The flavor has a strong citrus bite to it. This reminds me of my best homebrews, although it is overly sour in the swallow. Light hop background. Very short aftertaste on the flavors except the tart bits. Good body with a subtle carbonation that prevents it from becoming too rich. Simply put, if you are curious about what a homebrew tastes like, this would be a good sample.

Jun 23, 2009
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bomber poured into a pint glass. Red amber color with a small to medium sized off-white head. It had a sweet malt, floral/hoppy aroma. It tasted like caramel popcorn, with a late hit of hops. I was a little surprised at the amount of hoppiness in this style of beer. Enjoyed it.

Jun 21, 2009
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LilBeerDoctor from New York

2.53/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Pours a cloudy light brown with a small white head. Aroma is hugely diacetyl (buttery popcorn). Really can't get anything else. Flavor is more diacetyl with peppery spices and some bitterness in the finish. Watery, weak palate. This is bad...drain pour...

Jun 11, 2009
Firehouse Amber Ale from McNeill's Brewery
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 106 ratings