Fire Chief Ale | Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

BA SCORE
82
good
102 Ratings
THE BROS
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States
rockbottom.com

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Our fresh-brewed Fire Chief Ale* is a medium-bodied,
auburn-colored Ale that gets its pleasant sweetness and lightly toasted character from select caramel and crystal malts. Hand-selected hops from the Pacific Northwest lend a crisp and satisfying citrus finish."

Added by UncleJimbo on 04-01-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
102
Reviews:
45
Avg:
3.6
pDev:
15%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
5
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 |  Reviews: 45
Photo of Biscuit033
4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Burnt orange with a thin off white head with great lace.

S: Sweet malts (not too caramelly), some flowery notes, and a hint of citrus.

T: Balanced malts and hops up front, with the hop coming forward at the end with pine and citrus notes and some tropical/red fruit hints as well.

M: A bit thinner than expected but smooth with a clean, dry finish.

D: Very nice ESB with lots of flavors. This is something that I would drink all night and would love to try cask conditioned.

 481 characters

Photo of stockingcpl
4.26/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This brew pours from the growler with a nice thick foamy eggshell in color. Head retention is excellent. Lacings and spiderwebbing are plentiful. Brew color is a nice reddish amber in color. Clarity is high with no cloudiness.

Smell: Aroma is a carmel sweetness with a very faint spice character. The aroma curve is a littole shallow and tapers quickly. Minor hop presence during sustain. Malt is very faint throughout aroma curve but generally superimposed by other charicteristics.

Taste: Flavor character is a little interesting with flavors merging an fading during curve intervals. Onset has high carbonation with provides a nice transition to hop zing. This tapers off quickle and permits spices to appear with biscuit and butter overtones. These quickly fade and the hop presence reemerges. Sustain is fairly long. This is an amazing flavor mutation where the hops presence is distinct during two separate phaces of the flavor curve. Interesting and VERY well presented. Great job.

Mouthfeel: The initial carbonation hit, while not rare, does provide the palate with a presentation of strong hop quite smoothly. The transition to spice is interesting and very coordinated. The reemergence of hop is a little suprising at first, but the drinker, wantin that esperience again finds that another sip will follow quickly. Palate does not clear perfectly, however this is not unusual in a high hop profiole brew.

Drinkability: The flavor transitions will strike the drinker as fairly unique. The hop dual emergence is very inviting, and the drinker will find that he/she ends up taking multiple small sips to reexperience this effect. Due to this, I rate this brew very highly.

Overall: Great job Rock Bottom! Too bad this is a brewmaster selection and not a regular offering. If the drinker has the opportunity, be sure to sample this brew!!!

Prosit!
Nikki

 1,877 characters

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I especially like the fact that Rock Bottom donated some procedes of the sales of Fire Chief to local fire departments.

This Ale has a dark amber look and a dark-white head that stays a while. The taste is slightly bitter, just enough to wake your tongue up. It's rather smooth, VERY drinkable. Too bad it's a seasonal.

Edit for 2009 release:
This year's version is noticeably more hoppy and less smooth than I remember from last year. The flavor is still good but the tartness I find somewhat off-putting. Sad :(

 515 characters

Photo of Duhast500
3.15/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from the tap.

The color is red amber with a white head

The smell is slightly muted with flavors of hops, caramel, and some mild malt.

The taste was somewhat fruity with a bitter hop feel to it. Some spicy feel to the beer.

Overall the beer was easy to drink and was a little crisp. Not too heavy.

 325 characters

Photo of bradybeer
3.76/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer raises funds for a firefighter's non-profit.
A= Beer is dark copper-orange
S= little to no hop aroma
T=Tastes of toasty malt and caramel, and finishes with a slight hop bitterness.
M= Mouthfeel is medium
D= Drinkability is good, though beer a little too carbonated for my taste.

 295 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.31/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Same beer as Fire Chief Irish Red
( Served in a tall glass mug)

A- This beer has a slightly hazy brown body with an orangeish-copper glow to it. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that support a thin film of cream that last for a few sips.

S- This beer has a soft dry tangy malt nose with a light dry toasted quality to it. The smell is very clean until the beer warms a bit.

T- The taste of soft nougat gives way to a soft dry toasted note that has almost a perfume quality to it and a finish that is best described as zippy hops. They are green and just a bit tangy with the carbonic acid flavor. There is also a light field corn and raw grain quality after the finish after the beer warms a bit.

M-This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz at the finish.

D- This beer has some slightly odd flavor with the tangy notes and the raw grain notes at the end left kind of a dull flavor in my mouth after each sip.

 945 characters

Photo of HopDerek
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear amber with a finger's width of foamy off-white head, good retention and lacing. Smells of floral hops and toffee, not much else. Taste is of floral hops with a nice caramel malty backbone, earthy finish. Medium in body, good carbonation. Easy to drink but not very complex, nice that proceeds go to help local fire departments though, that alone is worth getting a pint.

 385 characters

Photo of treehugger02010
3.61/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in King of Prussia, PA. It was served in a pint glass.
Appearance: A ruby redish or amber body that is pretty transparent, a fluffy off-white head that was ok sized leaving lots of lace and having pretty good retention.
Smell: Pretty much absent, but having at least some earthy hops.
Taste: Lots of earthy hops, caramel malts provide a solid backbone, but it does need to be looked for.
Mouthfeel: Crisp and rigid.
Drinkability: Good.
Don't drink and review.

 515 characters

Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this years batch is hoppier than past versions, the brewer stated he used lahtanum (sp?), cascade, and simcoe. a cloudy brownish amber in the glass with a creamy head. citrus and bready caramel in the nose, although a bit subdued as are all the beers here (local water?). taste followed suit with fresh bready caramel malts, lightly roasted nuts, and a citric hop twang. mouthfeel was rich, creamy, and quite full-bodied for this abv. freshness adds to the drinkability. a good session beer.

 491 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.99/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this today at lunch. I think this was also dry hopped

Poured caramel/ruddy red with loads sparkler foam & bubbles & 2 fingers of tan lovely head. Cleared quickly, fantastic head retention & lacing

S: Citric hops & faint toasted malt

T: Grapefruitty hops & roasted malt up front. Earthy hops & slight grainyness as this warms. Finished with citiric hops & crispness, not as much malt profile as the draft version

MF: Nice & creamy with good carbonation levels

Drank pretty easy, a nice red

 508 characters

Photo of Redrover
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I stopped by RB before a work outing and lucky for me, it was the release party for Fire Chief Ale. A portion of the sales goes to the Chicago Fire Department and they had firemen on-hand for the taping.

The beer is a dark red with a tight off-white head. Nice lacing.

The beer has an aroma of some caramel, a slight touch of citrus and something earthy.

The taste is pleasant and just screams out session beer. There is a bit of sweet caramel and slightly grainy malts all moderated by some subtle hoping . I thought the hoping seemed to increase as the beer warmed and some grapefruit tones started to emerge.

The mouth is pleasantly sturdy and workman like. This is an easy drinker and would be a perfect cross-over beer.

Bottom line, good beer for a good cause. I also picked up a commemorative pint glass.

 827 characters

Photo of Sycodrummer
3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presented from the tap in a 23oz. mug this beer was a dark amber color with one-finger of slightly off-white head. Some slightly sticky lace and some carbonation could be seen sticking to the glass as well.

The smell had a faint but present hop aroma with a grainy, caramel like scent. Some baked bread and toast like malty aromas as well.

The taste had a mild toasted malt backbone to it that was accented with hints of hops. Slightly sweet with hints of caramel and toffee in the finish. Hop character struggles a bit to come through and the beer does not have any one flavor that really pushes through. Its balanced, but bland.

Medium body with a high degree of carbonation.

Like many of RB's beers this one fails to wow. Its good for what it is but it doesn't make me want to order another. Not a bad beer, and certainly drinkable (actually very sessionable), but not one I will rush back to.

 908 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep copper/amber color with a nice half inch of khaki head on the top. Very nice clarity here. Aromas of toasted grains and caramel along with a spicy orange hop twang. A touch of fresh baked bread. Really nice citric aroma. Good stuff.

First sip brings a toasted caramel grain maltiness upfront along with spicy orange pekoe tea flavors coming from the hops. Goes down crisp with a slight biscuity finish and a mild bitterness. A solid amber ale to be had here.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with good carbonation. I could easily drink a good deal of this brew. A nice session beer for sure. Really toasty and worth checking out. I hope for more like this from RB Warrenville.

 714 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.21/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well-carbonated iced tea amber-brown with generous reddish highlights in the body of the beer and bright orange ones at the edges. The liquid was capped by a disk of ecru colored foam that lasted no more than several minutes. Thin, smeary, tried-to-be-rings ended up on the glass, but followed the surface of the disappearing beer rather than remaining in place from the top edge down.

The aroma was woefully short on... aroma. I could appreciate minimally toasted malt with a little hop fruitiness that wasn't prominent enough to identify with any degree of certainty. I kept smelling the beer for the life of the pint (not as obvious and as obviously geeky as repeatedly holding the glass up the light), but it failed to come out of its shell with warming.

The flavor was a more forthcoming approximation of the nose. First impression: not enough malt. What was present was moderately toasted. I've noted on more than one occasion that some beer from this brewpub tastes apple-like, a flavor that I've attributed to the house yeast strain. Who knows whether there's any truth to that or not, but I tasted appley notes (and some orangey ones as well) in Fire Chief.

In fact, the central flavor could be described as apple chunks rolled in toasted malt powder with a pinch or two of crushed aspirin for bitterness. It tasted better than that description sounds, but that's the general idea. I was fully prepared to guess that English hop varieties comprise the hop bill when I burped something citric. Could be an Anglo-American effort.

The finish was brief, bittersweet and lightly coating. Although it was too light and too fizzy initially, the mouthfeel did make a comeback of sorts by the bottom of the pint. It didn't come back far enough, however, since the last swallow was still too busy in the mouth.

Fire Chief Ale is definitely in the bottom half of all the offerings that I've had at this brewpub over the years. Since it's a beer that has been released at numerous Rock Bottoms around the country, and since most BAs don't seem overly fond of it, I wonder if the recipe was predetermined by corporate headquarters. Better to let the local brewmasters unleash their creativity. At least then there'd be a chance at good beer.

 2,253 characters

Photo of sinistrsam
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served at the Arlington location, typcal pint glass, colder than it should have been. It had a medium reddish brown color, with a large faomy head. It had a sweet, mildly fruity aroma with mild hops. The tatoh sweet and roasted. It had a mediocre mouthfeel with a good balance of carbonation, sweetness, dryness and smoothness. It was, however, very drinkable, and rather refreshing.

 383 characters

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

The appearance is a medium brown/copper, with a beige head, mild lacing. Aroma is a very muted hint of malt. Initial taste consists of a gentle caramel (but not as sweet) grain, few hops, dry and mildly carbonated. Few high notes. Designed to be an average crowd pleaser. I know the brewmaster (John) and his standards are higher. He is planning some awesome brews for the coming months after March 2006. Stay tuned.

 416 characters

Photo of zjungleist
3.15/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red color with an average white head. The smell was nothing special, basically just a bit of malts and a tiny bit of hops. As for flavor it was a slight hoppy twang up front and a bit of lighter malty sweetness. I did detect a slight oxidized or metalic flavor. The mouthfeel was pretty standard, crisp, but not too light. Overall I didn't really see anything special about this beer.

 384 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.65/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - nice copper color, cream colored head holds at a solid cap and laces quite well.

Aroma - just a bare whisper of grain, not much at all here.

Taste - light flavor, a moderate grain presence. RB's description says 'sweet caramel tones' but I'm not picking that up. It does have some sweetness on the aftertaste, but this comes across very average.

Mouthfeel - decent body, crisp bubbles, no issues here but I'm getting an average impression overall.

Drinkability - it's as drinkable as any 'okay' beer but considering the other RB taps, I'll save my growler for something else.

 600 characters

Photo of ManekiNeko
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on a hand pull at the brewpub. Nonic glass, cellar temperatures.

Appearance: Dark reddish copper, somewhat hazy in appearance. Thick and creamy offwhite head which stuck around for awhile. Rings of lace left on the glass.

Smell: Orange marmalade-esque aromas with a titch of grassy hops. Could've used a bit more hops, but not too much.

Taste: Sweet toasty malts with judicious amounts of fruity character. Slight grainy taste on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and somewhat creamy. Relatively refreshing.

Drinkability: Very sessionable and food worthy beer. Nice and pleasant, overall. I might have to go back for a growler of this...

 657 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
2.7/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Served at Rock Bottom Chicago. Here it was presented as an Irish red ale, and I don’t think any of us has many great expectations from this style. Still, there are some nice roasty malt notes, and a noticable hop profile in an attractive red body. A decent enough session ale.

 277 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Its clear, deep copper body has an orange-ish glow to it, and its creamy tan head holds well before dropping to a thin surface covering that leaves thin splashes of lace. The nose is caramelish and fruity. Its medium body is accentuated by a crisp carbonation that gently "zests" the tongue and wakens the tastebuds. In the flavor, a juicy, berry-like fruitiness is found up-front; followed by a caramel-tinged, toffee-ish malt and lightly spicy and floral hops. It's very well balanced by a firm bitterness, and its fruity and toffee-ish flavors combine brilliantly. I didn't think I was going to like this one as much as I did... but I just had to have a second pint. Very well done, and quite drinkable!

 706 characters

Photo of drewbage
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed in Chicago

Served in a big mug as bright red beer on the verge of orange cherry.

Aroma seems intense with both a caramel malt and an american hop slap with some sandalwood (Simcoe?)

Flavor is well balanced with a malt forefront and a hop zing. As the finish comes on and the malt flavor takes a break the hops come back and dance on the tongue to wipe the caramel and bring us back to a zing for the next sip.

 428 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a white lace head. The aroma is good. It has a light malt scent along with some mild aroma hops. The taste is decent. It is a little weak in the malt department as well as the hops department. This is supposed to be an American pale ale. That usually means some good hop flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied brew with good carbonation. This is like most of their beers, weak and made for the masses. It falls short on style.

 479 characters

Photo of jaz
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep reddish amber color with a thin layer of light foam. Lace was minimal but there was some. The aroma was floral and mildly malty, somewhat earthy. Taste was fruity with a bittersweet flavor. Mouthfeel was somewhat watery. Sharp tang finish that disappeared quickly. It's a very drinkable session beer.

 305 characters

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

This beer is made yearly, I believe, as part of a charity event for the firefighters. It's billed as a hoppy amber ale.

The beer looks much like the Rag Top Red -- a deep ruby red with an average head. After having the dry hopped Rag Top Red, this beer had a much less interesting aroma. On first taste, the beer was spicy. Very spicy. Amid medium bitterness which subsided to let in the mild to moderate malt character. Medium body. All-in-all, the spiciness is a good thing. This amber is clearly different from the Rag Top and is worth trying.

In the restroom the recipe is posted: Centennial, Willamette, and Mt Hood.

 627 characters

Fire Chief Ale from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
3.6 out of 5 based on 102 ratings.
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