McNeill's Firehouse Amber Ale | McNeill's Brewery

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McNeill's Firehouse Amber AleMcNeill's Firehouse Amber Ale
106 Ratings
McNeill's Firehouse Amber AleMcNeill's Firehouse Amber Ale

Brewed by:
McNeill's Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 02-14-1998

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 106 |  Reviews: 70
Reviews by TXHops:
Photo of TXHops
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

McNeill’s was one of my most encouraged purchases on the AOBF trip to Boston and my anticipation is high. Firehouse Amber actually looks kinda red. Well, redder than most red beers. In reality it’s more a very deep amber, burnt orange like color with a very slight chill haze and a long lasting, sheeting head of beige foam. The aroma is like hopped Juicy Fruit gum—so fruity!!! This was the aroma of fresh Mendocino County Red Tail Ale out in California—simply amazing. The flavor—exceptionally fresh malt, juicy hops and a lingering bitterness that turns a little more like the inside of malted milk balls in the finish, is just as fruity as the nose, but in a very clean way. Then the beer gets bitter and stays that way until I have another sip. I love hops, but bitter is just bitter unless its hoppy too. This beer was hoppy, THEN bitter, and that’s a detraction in my opinion.

I suspect the use of a good portion of aromatic malts in the grist—Belgian aromatics, or biscuit or something comparable. Excellent effect. This is what Amber beers should be—sweetly, freshly malty, nicely hoppy and well balanced. I think the hop bitterness lingers a little long on the finish, but that’s just a matter of personal preference. Not all beers can be continuously hopped (at least not yet). Wonderful beer—I could drink a lot! I'd score it slightly higher if it didn't thin out ever so slightly in the finish and if it had a little more going on in the finish than just bitterness

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I liked this alot more than the Ruby ale.Nive color,really good balance of hops and malt,lacking in the before mentioned Ruby ale.Would have loved to try this on tap.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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

Presentation: An old picture of firehouse with a horse drawn water pump surrounded by proud firemen adorns the 12 oz. brown bottle. The invite to visit the pub and taste their unfiltered cask conditioned brews straight from the cellar serving tanks is dreamy to say the least. Sadly the date was never stamped.

Appearance: Cloudy oranges and reds due to its being unfiltered. A nice homebrew style head.

Smell: Clean malt, and very hoppy aroma.

Taste: The first thing that strikes the palate is the complexity of hops. Sharp, almost salty sting that refuse to go away and even lingers as an after taste. A smooth maltness can be detected under the sting of hop.

Notes: To the hopheads, this will a pleasant experience. You can even taste the hops when you burp. Now that is a sure sign of a hophead beer if I ever encountered one. To the non-hopheads, this will still be an amazing brew to swill back.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

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Photo of far333
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper colored with an off-white head that dissipated right away, but left nice lacing around the glass. Low carbonation forced me to pour it heavily to create a head at all. Hoppy, flowery aroma with notes of sweet apricot and honey, and a bit of cotton candy. Flavor is big and hoppy, a bit tannic, hints of pine and citrus, with a sour aftertaste. ABV makes itself known. Not too malty. Damn good, very drinkable.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.01/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice. Beer is cloudy with warm browns and amber colors. There's some sediment at the bottom from the lack of filtration. Head is tan/cream color and nice and fothy. Nice lacing. The smell is nice, but not very strong. It smells malty with light hops and maybe orange peel and woody scents. Tastes very hoppy. Mostly leafy and spicey. The farther into the beer the more I notice a bitter finish. Its got a real smooth moutheel and goes down very easy. I'm drinking it way too fast I think...

Overall very drinkable and nice + suprisigly hoppy for an amber. Get some.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of Ray Mcneill's classic brews. I had this from a Keg which was at an old church in Brattleboro, VT during a GFE show (A rock/hip-hop group)

golden Amber color, some minor hints of orange. Poured a thin white head that disipated rather quickly.

smells of herbal wheat grain and light spices.

Taste has a sour note, not citrusy though, mellows to a spicey, yet very clean finish. bit of a bitter aftertaste.

carbonation is good, just tapped from the keg so the MF is clean and crisp.

I had a few of these throughout the night, I did get tired of it at one point. Overall, I very much enjoy this brew.

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Photo of Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Amber colour body with abundantsoap bubble transparent head. Hops and malt in aroma. Hoppy brew with thin head. Hoppy like a good English pale. Quite drinkable as thirsty. Went well with fish, I believe its 5.2% alcohol, so just over the session beer bar. Enjoyable and serviceable even though not a big beer, but would not go out of way to get it again.

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Photo of blaje
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bomber, this beer is amber (what a surprise!) and hazy. Since I noticed a fairly good amount of sediment, I've been careful pouring this beer to have just the good amount of yeast deposit mixed up in my glass...

This beer is covered with a very nice white thick head that seems to never die! Sticky lacing. This is tempering down the nose, so I got trouble sorting out the nose... A bit citrusy, yeast and wet earth.

Mouth is good. Nice carbonation. Hops is well present but not dominant (for me). Hops is citrussy (works with the nose). Caramel from the roasted malt. Yeast gives an herbal twist to the taste.

Nice beer, good drinkability, but again, as my other review of McNeill's beer, I'd like to have this one on tap. It must be better on drought.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After I finished admiring the label, and pondering how it stayed on the bottle with such cheap glue, I poured the redish colored beer int a good size glass. Great hops and malt. The hops did not overpower the subtle qualities of the red style. A truely remarkable beverage.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Man, this is a great beer.

It exists in that nether region between IPA and APA, it has a strong blast of citrus in the nose and citrusy hops are pretty much the only thing you taste. But there is something, not sweet, but something that balances out the bitter-lemon peel taste of the hops. I can't put my finger on the malts, and I wouldn't want to, they aren't the focus of this beer, but they balance out the bitterness.

There really isn't too much to say about this beer, it is great but part of its greatness is its straightforwardness. Boom, strong PNW hops slightly balanced by some delicious malts, which also provide a wonderful mouthfeel.

A great beer.

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Photo of edchicma
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice unfiltered, cloudy light amber appearance. Very nice hoppy aroma with hints of citrus. Nice bitter taste that stays throughout..excellent hop presence. Slightly astringent mouthfeel that left with a nice tart aftertaste. Easy to drink,,,highly recommend for those who like a hoppy brew.

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Photo of OatmattStout
2.36/5  rDev -35%
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.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

FRom the 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bottle and sampled on May 30, 2009. There is a spot on the label to show the expiration date but nothing was checked off.

A - It pours a very cloudy amber-red with very little head but some decent lacing.

S - The aroma is more floral and hoppy than anything else.

M/T Medium mouthfeel. The taste is a mix of sweet malts and a solid dose of hops. Not too bad overall.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to PPoitras for the sample
Pours a cloudy auburn red. Thick, sticky off-white head on the pour.
Minor lacing as the pint drains.
Aroma citrus and light pine with some caramel and bready secondary tones.
Flavor of caramel, bread crumbs, light citrus and a resined bittering.
Mouthfeel was medium, on the heavier side of the spectrum for this style but pleasant. Crisp and clean on the palate with no one side dominant, good balance.
Drinkability was solid but not the freshest so might it have been
better fresh ? (Let it sit in the cellar too long ?)

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Photo of Murph
4.73/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great looking, slightly hazy bright amber color with a perfect sized creamy off white head on it. This brew couldn't look more appetizing. Smell is very hoppy with strong citrusy hop aromas but there is also some sweet malt lingering in the background. This brew starts off with some tingling hops on the tongue but a war is then fought for domination of this brew. The hops are attacked by the awesomely smooth malt of this beer. The malt soon asserts it's presence over the hops as the dominant characteristic of the brew. The brew finishes with a lightly fruity malt flavor. The hops get their revenge as you will be burping them for some time after though. Great smooth and creamy mouthfeel yet the brew is surprisingly crisp and does not really linger at all. Amazingly drinkable. This is by far the best amber ale that I have ever had and I seriously doubt if it will ever get knocked off of it's throne. A huge thanks to the Bierman for this brew. I was expecting something good, but this blew my expectations away.

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Photo of LJWalker
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of u2carew
2.3/5  rDev -36.6%
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.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
1.21/5  rDev -66.7%
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!

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Photo of wedge
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep hazy amber color with mild carbonation. Sediment clearly evident as this is an unfiltered, bottle-conditioned beer. A nice frothy head dissipates rather quickly into a light foamy lacing. Odor is faint - smells of dark malts and clean hops. Taste is suprisingly hoppy for an amber - a bitterness that seems to grow towards the end with a solid maltiness underneath. Mouthfeel is smooth and dry - nice hoppy finish. Very drinkable - unobtrusive and not overly complex.

This makes for a great summer (or anytime) beer that never seems to lose its drinkability. Solid + satisfying.

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Photo of sammy806
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

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McNeill's Firehouse Amber Ale from McNeill's Brewery
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 106 ratings