Bonfire Ale | Fremont Brewing Company

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Bonfire AleBonfire Ale

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by LiquidAmber on 11-02-2013

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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 137
Photo of outdoor7or24
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can from Kyle C, poured into pint glass.
A: pours a Coca Cola brown red body, 1 finger off white foam head, carbonation, some stringy lacing
S: smoke malt, dark brown sugar, sweet caramel, light earthy hops
M: medium body
T: roasted malt, molasses, caramel, fresh earthy hops, slight burnt malt taste in the finish, however it mellos out.
O: nice sipping brew, mello flavors

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Photo of jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle:

Pours brown with a lasting tan head. Plenty of spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel/toffee, with earthy notes and a pleasant wood smoke character.

The taste is of caramel, brown sugar (and a kiss of honey) An earthy hop touch and a woody smokiness (that is noticeable but not overwhelming) balance the sweetness.

It could be fuller I suppose, but it does hit medium bodied and it is very creamy, smooth.

A unique brew - it is a brown ale with a bonfire character. An easy-drinking, pleasant brew! I like it!

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Photo of stevoj
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can from Boise Co-op. Was expecting more of s winter warmer, but this a straight up brown ale, nothing too exciting. Dark, clear brown, adequate foamy head. Pretty solid lacing. Mild roast grain aroma, mildly sweet. Taste features the roast graind, with some sugary sweetness towards the back. Long lingering bitterness finishes it.

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Photo of Skrumpy
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very dark, reddish brown with a thin, tan head. Minimal lacing. Toasted malt, fruit and spice in the aroma. Flavor is orange and malt with some nutty and herbal notes. There is a sweetness to this beer, but well balanced with the hops. Dry finish with a light hops bitterness in the aftertaste. A very nice winter brew.

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Photo of Ninjakillzu
4.58/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Pint Defiance tulip. The body is an almost opaque reddish brown, with a two finger tan head. Aromas consist of dark roasted bitter coffee, dark unsweetened chocolate, molasses, some charcoal smokiness, some spiciness, and a hint of dark fruits. Flavors are the same, and completely dry. There's actually a bit of bitterness on the finish, but it lessens as the beer warms up. The flavors remind me of a porter, but with a focus on roast over chocolate. Medium (leaning towards the lighter end) bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of Moose90
2.82/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served From 12oz Can

A — Pours a murky muddy brown color into the glass, a tiny dark brown colored head forms, but quickly settles and leaves nothing more than hints of lacing behind.

S — Smell is lightly smoky and very malt focused, some chewy dark almost burnt caramel notes play with a lightly spicy almost Rye like note. No real hop presence, just some dark over roasted slightly astringent malt.

T — Like the nose, but amplified, there are big chewy malt notes, quite a bit of astringency, somewhat cardboardy and bitter, a drying lightly smoky finish as well.

M — Medium bodied, lingering finish.

O — OK overall, misses the mark for me, too light and bitter for this category.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

This one pours a dark reddish-brown color, with a 1.5 inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like warm smoke, chocolate, rye, and caramel.

This is pretty interesting. The smoke is subtle and warming, with none of the ill-effects that smoked beers can sometimes have. There's some chocolate, rye spice, and sweet caramel, and maybe a bit of sweet molasses. Up front is mostly smoke and rye, with a very sweet finish.

Unfortunately, this finishes kind of watery- the finish falls a bit flat. It's got a good level of carbonation.

This is really unique, definitely cool to try something so different.

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Photo of ckornmannn
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a can, many times: deep mahogany copper color; transparent. Light brown tenacious dense head of foam. Mostly hops on the nose, oddly enough. Toasty and lightly smoky with a good amount of hops in the background. Mouthfeel is silky and darn near perfect; probably from the wheat and rye in the malt. Lingering smoky aftertaste. I have had this many times it has really grown on me. It is a really unique beer and probably my favorite winter warmer this year.

 470 characters

Photo of Parmesan
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Dark black color, marooning where light hits it. Frothy white tan head with some sticky lacing on the glass.

A: Some smoke, chocolate, spice from the rye, cranberry. Reminds me a little of a campfire.

T: Quite a bit of smoke, some meat, rye spice and bitterness,some sweetness. A little bit of chocolate but not as evident as it is in the aroma. Smoke is a little overpowering.

F: Creamy mouthfeel, but also a little watery. Medium body, dry finish

O: Interesting beer but a few flaws.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Great looking beer with a robust, frothy head as persistent as they come. A pleasure to look at.

Smell is muted, doesn't showcase anything smoky (I really wanted a bonfire) and has that sourmash smell from bourbon or vodka puke. 3

Taste doesn't remind me of smoke really, at least initially. In reality, I get something more akin to earthy tobacco and leather. It eventually grows on me but not enough to love it. Chocolatey notes develop and eventually it takes on some smoky flavor, but it still feels to be an afterthought. 3

Way light in body for my liking, especially for a winter warmer, and viciously bitter and earthy on the finish. 2.75

Two plus months old, so that may contribute to my experience, but for a smoked beer lover, this wasn't a standout.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from can into a tall Weizen glass.

Look : Deep rich nutty caramel color, with a towering head, 3 fingers. 90% opaque. Webby lace.

Smell : Wet leaves, nuts, caramel, barley malt. A bit of orange wedge, too.

Taste : Nutty, amber roasted malts; rye, winter spices; a touch of spruce tips, and a fruity finish of juicy orange wedge. A bit of nut hull in the breath as well.

Feel : Medium bodied, semi-dry, semi-creamy. Ends dry and roasted.

Overall : It's okay. Most of Fremont's beers are okay. I'd say this is one of the better offerings I've had. Nice beer on a cool morning.

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Photo of kemoarps
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 9/22/15
Pours darker than but reminiscent of root beer. Small tan head settles quickly to the edges and little else. Good lacing though for such little retention

Nose is malty and not-quite-sweet. Some light toasty brown sugar. A creamy nuttiness and maybe a faint whiff of smoke.

Manages to just hit a nice little spot of balance. Creamy sweet malts of caramel and rye, with that hint of smoke and layers of roasty toasty nuts and a bitter finish.

I find myself enjoying this one more than I anticipated. Not going to jump out or make anyone's year-end lists, but it's incredibly drinkable, smoothe, creamy, roasty, solid deliciousness.

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Photo of msds
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 12/15, poured 12/28

Perhaps too thin, but otherwise pleasantly creamy feel. Long lasting head, and good carbonation. Earthy caramel toasty flavors dominant, but nicely hoppy.

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Photo of RenzoD
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was my beer of choice for ringing in the winter solstice and I am not dissapointed with my selection.
This is more of a traditional take on the winter ale style beer than Fremonts Abominable Ale. It has almost a dopplebock kind of meaty taste. Super creamy mouthfeel and surprisingly pretty hoppy. Dark malty color like most winter warmers and a nice creamy head. I think I enjoyed Abominable a little more than this but I'd take both.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I had this beer on-tap in a tasting glass at the Fremont taproom.

Appearance: dark brown hue with just a little bit of haze and a thin layer of ivory foam. I think it looks quite good.

Smell: light and toasty, with some light caramel notes and a hint of herbal hops. Not bad.

Taste: toasty and lightly sweet, with a mild hop character and a moderate bitterness. There’s an odd soapiness to this one; not a dealbreaker, just a bit out of place.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and a very nice creaminess for a brown ale. I dig it.

Overall: this is quite a decent brown ale; it drinks easy and is inoffensive.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

So, let's just get this out there; this beer is all about malts. And we kind of know that most BAs think malt, in anything other than an imperial stout (but there we really want sugar!), is actually evil. "That IPA is too malty", etc. The complaints about it being "thin" are sort of amusing. It's an increadibly creamy beer with great carbonation ... but it's a 6% abv winter warmer. You want a stout body? Even more amusing; the comments on there not being enough spices. True ... very true ... since there are NO spices. There is a cinnamon and clove aroma, and a peppery finish but this is all due to malts and yeasts. The smoke is subtle, adding savory elements but not overwhelming.

All told, this is a very unique and well done take on the winter warmer. A smokey, spicey flavor with a creamy body, best as it approaches room temperature. If you're a drinker that appreciates malty beers and doesn't need their winter beers to be syrupy, sweet, over spiced, barrel aged, infused with a dozen adjuncts, 10%, or hop bombs ... but just made out of, uh, beer ingredients like deft combination of malts, yeast, hops, and water, this is really an excellent beer.

 1,165 characters

Photo of rand
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From 12 oz can to pint glass

Tasty little winter brew with a interesting, malty profile. Oaky, caramelly, toasty, with notes of nutmeg, allspice. Gets a little too sweet toward the back of the palate, reducing its drinkability as it warms. But appropriate for the season, and the malt-profile is quite unique.

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Photo of mr-jj
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Collective.

Color is reddish brown with a thin tan head that fades quickly. Smell is caramel malt, rye, spices and nutty aroma with hints of smokiness. Flavor is very similar to the nose, with a bitter finish. Body is full with low carbonation.

Overall, a really good beer. I'd call it a winter brown ale if I was choosing a specific style. Lots of brown ale nuttiness but so much more complexity and taste.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

a fun beer with tons of rye and darker wheat malts. lots of body and rye character to this beer, peppery and stiff. the color is curious too, darker than amber but lighter than brown, clear, and looking quite still in the glass. the nose is all rye, which is great, so many of these beers sprinkle in a bit of rye and call it, not this beer, its rye heavy. the dark wheat adds a roasty character and a deeper, more autumnal base. the smoked malt is mild, barely there in the nose, and extending the finish of the beer, but never being rauch style in robustness. i like a malt forward beer that has more gong on than a 60 crystal. this is that, and its a great grain bill. hopped up enough, but mostly bittering with a slight pine element. definitely cold weather beer. cool to have these available this week for GABF.

edit: despite being a malt driven brew, this is definitely one to drink fresh. i just had a can with a few months on it, and a lot of the nuance has faded. didnt expect such a rapid dropoff, but there it is, even a little tangy and metallic now. if you have any laying around, drink it up!

 1,108 characters

Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Bottled on 02.17.13.
Poured from a bomber into a tumbler on 01.30.14.

A: See through black with some red. No head.

S: Caramel, dark berry, sweet breadiness.

T: Brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, some roastiness.

M: Smooth.

O: Malty sweetness comes first, then comes roastiness. It was good, but I'm not sure now how well it held up for being such an old beer without a high ABV. The place that I was buying bottles from likes to inadvertently age their beer. I'm going to re-review this when the sun goes down at 3:30pm up here in the PNW.

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Photo of woemad
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From notes. Consumed in January.
12oz can purchased at Total Wine in December. According to the can, it was canned on "11/04/13 at 1349." According to the boilerplate, it was brewed with "Pale, White Wheat, Midnight Wheat, Rye, Smoked and Chocolate malts" and "Cascade and U.S. Goldings hops." It was also stated that it packed 40IBUs and was 6% abv.

Poured a dark mahogany color with a rubyish tinge when held up to light. There was a big, creamy beige head that was long lasting and left lots of lace on the sides of my glass.

The aroma was earthy and malty. There was also a whiff of what smelled like gingerbread. No hop aroma to speak of.

Like in the nose, the flavor was mostly of earthy malts, along with some spicy hop notes as well. Also like the nose, there was a lingering gingerbread-like aftertaste.

Medium bodied, with a slightly prickly mouthfeel.

Not a bad tasting beer at all. Kudos to Fremont for brewing a winter warmer that isn't some variation on Celebration (i.e., an IPA with some holiday spices thrown in).

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Photo of RJLarse
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I bought a bomber of Bonfire Ale at a bottle shop. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a mahogany brown color, translucent, with a small off-white head.

The smell is an earthy aroma, some charcoal, smoke and peat notes.

Taste is a lot like the aroma, earthy flavors like smokey peat and grain. There is a hint of caramel and then a mild bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a bit light for the style, but good. A very clean character.

Overall a very good brew. I would have it again and not necessarily in the winter.

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Photo of dar482
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a toasted dark woodsy brown.

The aroma has toasty malt, whole wheat bread, sweet caramel. A nuttiness, some brown ale notes.

The flavor has sweet toffee, a peanut or generic nuttiness. Tons of toasted bread. A bit of rye spice.

This is a beer has this wonderful brown ale flavor with some winter ale notes. Delicious stuff.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 11.14.13

A - Pours a clear medium-dirty brown with a light tan head that fades fairly fast.

S - Smokey, malty, and bready.

T - Sweeter smoke, toasted malty bread.

D - Good carbonation with a light body.

O - Smokey winter ale, but lighter and sessionable.

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Photo of hreb
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Original Dec 2013 review: 22oz bottle served in pint glass. Beer is brown; head is massive. Pleasing spicy and malty aroma. Flavor is pretty good too. Texture is pretty creamy, especially at this cool but not cold temperature. Really well balanced and with a solid load of interesting malt flavors, this beer is highly sessionable.

Oct 2016 update: I keep finding myself coming back to this beer. It looks beautiful in the glass, has a very subtle smoky flavor, and has remarkable balance. As previously mentioned, this is a go-to sessionable and flavorful ale that doesn't overdo it on hops.

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Bonfire Ale from Fremont Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 137 ratings.
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