Fred Red Ale | Blue & Gray Brewing Co.

31 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Fred Red AleFred Red Ale

Brewed by:
Blue & Gray Brewing Co.
Virginia, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 04-15-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 67
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

At the pub, it comes from the tap amber with a small head. Pleasant taste to the mouth and light scent in the nose. Easy to drink, despite it's strength level. A good warming beer before the storm hits!

 205 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.91/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

The best beer I've ever tried? Strong words; let's see if it lives up... This stuff pours a clear sunset amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises straight barley, light toffee, miscellaneous greenery, and a touch of soil. The taste holds notes of dry caramel, greens, a twinge of tobacco, and a kiss of potting soil. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a kinda sad little red, one that seems to have issues with both malt bill and yeast choice. Not something I'm gonna be buying any time soon, nor is it anywhere near the best beer I've ever tried. Way to lie, beer, way to lie...

 706 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.21/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

First had: on tap at B&G

Medium amber color with a small white head; average retention and lacing for the style. Basic malty aroma, nothing surprising. Cakey caramel malts in the taste, very light herbal hops, and not a whole lot else. Light-medium body, and I suppose fairly drinkable. Basic stuff and not much more to say.

 325 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Hyatt Regency Washington Article One Lounge under the name "Article One Ale". Per the Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, this is contracted from Blue & Gray Brewing and is their Fred Red taken from notes...

Dark amber, no head...

Dark malt, rye-like. Light coffee...

Toffee and caramel, faint cocoa, nice medium malt sweetness w/warm complimentary bitterness...

Clean, dry finish...

A satisfying amber ale; nice malt notes...

 459 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 22oz bomber to nonic pint glass on 1/14/12
*From notes

A: It looks more like a clean, pale brown ale and not a traditional amber. A firm pour yields a dissapointing .25 finger head that fades quickly, giving it a cask-like look.

S: Earthy. The grain presence is a bit intense. It smells like you've just walked into a brewery.

T: It tastes just like a classic brown ale. Put a blindfold on me and I'd swear to it. Very earthy malt bill all over this. There's a light hopping to it, but it doesn't mesh well with the malt profile.

M: Meh. It doesn't wow me.

O: I'd rather they call this "Benjamin Brown", as it really does come off like a traditional brown ale. This is about as middle of the road as a beer can be. If you're merely looking for a glass of beer, something to quaff without a lot of thought, this will surely suffice.

 841 characters

Photo of Chaney
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Blue & Gray (Lee's Retreat).

A: Poured a glistening ruby red color, ultra clear, with a slight white froth that retained itself like a rat bastard from hell.

S: Very faint puffs of red velvet cake batter and melted cherry lollipop. Subdued, yet still okay.

T: Bitter on the backbit, but the fruit component in this brew tasted somewhat stale to me, and a tad thin overall. VERY yeasty!

M: Like many of the Blue & Gray brews I've tried, the carbonation was too low for my tastes. The lacing was nill.

O: Even though I'm only giving this a B- rating, it has gotten increasingly better the last couple of times that I've tried it. Was there a reciped change or merely a change in my tastes? I tend to gravitate towards the later.

 752 characters

Photo of mocktm
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brew pub last night along with a few other beers, including a new kick-ass Hefe that I'll add into the system later. Any who...

Pours a deep amber red with about a half of a finger of tan head that quickly dissipates. Looks incredibly creamy...

Aroma is full of bread like malts, light fruits and spice: mostly clove and cinnamon. They claim this to be a very malt forward beer, which I have to agree with, as I can't really detect much hop presence.

Tastes fairly sweet up front from the malts with the mildest hop presence in the back. As in the nose, light fruits such as cherry are present to complement the spices, as well as a nice caramel presence. Real good stuff.

Medium bodies with a nice creamy consistency. Very drinkable and a great session beer.

I've never been a huge fan of reds, but have always found this as a dependable go to beer. Maybe I'm just biased because it's brewed in my home town, but I certainly think its a solid offering.

 981 characters

Photo of goldbot
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, coppery red color. Thin head that fizzles out quickly. Fruity, malty aroma with a nice floral hoppiness. The flavor is fairly sweet, with fruit notes of cherry and apple. Some bready or grainy malt and only a touch of bitterness. The mouthfeel is pretty good, just enough crispness to balance the medium body of the beer.

 328 characters

Photo of jale
3.23/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a light brown with red hues and two quarters of tan head.

S: Sweet malt aroma and just a hint of hops.

T: Starts slightly sweet with very light malt. Mild hop bitterness with a dry finish.

M: Light body with and creamy.

O: Just OK for the style.

 282 characters

Photo of TracyfromVA
4.8/5  rDev +36.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stopped by the brewery and had a sample of the Fred Red Ale (among others)....LOVED IT! Went into the brew pub and had a pint. Delcious and excellent session beer. Dark red in color. I ended up getting a growler to take home and we finished it that night!

 255 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Amyliz4 for grabbing this growler on her way home.

Pours a moderate amber with an off white head and not too much lacing. Smell is amber malt with a bit of biscuit as well as a slight diacetyl presence. The buttered popcorn makes its way into the taste as well, but isn't too bad, especially in this style where it almost tastes like a British amber or some other style where a small amount of diacetyl would be acceptable. A bit of biscuit malt and some slight sweetness, though mostly a bit dry. Feel is of a medium body with decent carbonation, although the taste lowers it a bit. Same with the drinkability. I really would like to love this place, although the APA is all I've had so far that really worked.

 722 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber thanks to billab914. I felt an instant connection with this beer. It's from an unassuming Civil War-themed brewery not far from where I spent much of my childhood, made with local ingredients. I love the commercial description - "Fred Red is the best beer you've ever tried." Is it, now? I'll say one thing - it's a pretty unique beer, and a very tough rate. Why? Well, it's sour. But here's the catch: it's not that bad. Anyway, on to the review...

The color is indeed a stunning garnet red, and a two-finger creamy tan head leaves a half-finger of foam for a long while.

The aroma is...uh oh...infection. Definitely some lacto/pedio stuff going on here. A definitive metallicity complements the soured caramel malt base.

The flavor is tart and slightly metallic, although the metallicity is nowhere near as strong as on the aroma. Sweet caramel malt transitions into a vinegary red berry tartness reminiscent of a Flanders oud bruin.

The palate is not bad. It's very dry and rather tart, and the finish is clean. Medium-bodied.

I honestly think that if you put this beer in, say, the bottle of an Allagash sour, and didn't tell people what it actually was, you'd get some high ratings. This definitely isn't great, but it's one of the better unintentional wild ales I've ever had.

 1,294 characters

Photo of jjboesen
3.06/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a bomber during a recent trip to this historical city on the Rappahanock River, the one where Little Georgie Washington threw a silver dollar. The Fred Red pours a deep caramel body, one that emits little light. The head is a little spongy; the lacing, minimal. The nose can pick up some whispy alcohol fumes as the palate detects a mild raisin-brown sugar combination. The mouthfeel came off as a bit cidery - not sure if the bottle was bad .... It was average, in any case. Still, Fredericksburg makes for a great weekend from DC - and it is home to the outstanding Capital Ale House. (See My Reveiw.)

 613 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at some restaurant. Beer served in a plastic shaker pint glass.

This is a red ale? OK. Beer is brown...I guess its reddish at the corners. Off white head with a little lacing and low carbonation. The beer is mostly clear. Looks OK.

OK, the aroma is quite good. A nice surprise. Lots of carmel. Mild sweetness.

Beer is medium in body, lots of carbonation on the palate, very silky smooth, almost nitrogen like. Mild sweet caramels in the mid palate and a nice back end roastiness, very subtle. This is a brewing trick. Add patent malt to the mash out and you'll get red color but only mild roasty bitterness.

 618 characters

Photo of nukem5
4.6/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Passing thru and got a very nice tour and some taste samples we chatted for awhile.The Fitzpatrick's are really great people .Took 4 growlers to go and some bottles.

A: Pours a wonderful ruby color with a nice head very creamy.

S:Instantly the nose is overpowered with caramel goodness sweet and sticky malts.

T: Sweet caramel and matly notes explode in the mouth, very little hops flavor but note of apples make it a great tasting beer suitable for the fall.

M: Nice full body.

D: Very drinkable, outstanding beer!

 520 characters

Photo of joepais
2.67/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to Bboyshatter for sending this want along in the under 100 BIF.
I poured this into a Smuttynose snifter red body with no head to speak of. There was a little aroma of funk coming from this along with some malt sweetness. I was surprised that it had such a sour flavor to it I had it refrigerated since receiving it and it was shipped in rather cool temps. It was an interesting flavor as well almost like a sour brune type brew, Bad bottle I guess?

I will grab another one of these the next time I am down south to give it a fair shake

 549 characters

Photo of BeerSox
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into nonic.

Crystal clear amber hue with a strong red tint. A one finger tan head settles to a thin cap along the top.

Very malty - a lot of toasty malts along with a strong butterscotch aroma. The hops add a little bit of a leafy aroma in the background.

Smooth malts in the foreground, giving more of the toasty malt characteristic along with some burnt caramel. The hops add some bitterness toward the end, but don't add too much to the flavor. Full bodied.

An okay Red Ale. The hops don't need to do the talking in this beer, but the malts seemed overly sweet and the hops didn't balance that well, and mostly only provided bitterness.

 658 characters

Photo of dmamiano
3.26/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sent to my by fellow BA Swillbilly. Thanks buddy!

pours a nice ruby amber with a medium off white head and nice, thick lacing.
nose has a nice mix of caramel malts and hoppy undertones. A slight, grapey or fruitiness detected.
Taste is sweet on the tongue, with a bitterness that catches that backsides of my tongue. A slight sourness also makes its way into this one.
Not great, but not bad either.
Good session beer and one I would have again.

 446 characters

Photo of jdmorgan
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I walked into the brewery on a day trip with my wife while they were brewing a batch of this. Their shop was closed, but a young man (T-shirt adorned with malt stains) jumped down from his work and was as friendly as ever. He sold me a bunch of 22 oz. bottles and a glass. Nice folks, and I'll be buying more.

Poured an amber/red color with a white creamy head. The smell had a sweet malty aroma with a bit of hops in there too. The taste had a very full malty head with sweet caramel flavor and lots of depth. The hop flavor was medium/light and appropriate to the malt and had a medium bitterness. Nicely balanced with a medium/thick consistency and a medium carbonation.

I enjoyed the thick body of this malty ale and will be having more for sure. A nice local operation brewing quality beer. Give it a try if you see it!

 826 characters

Photo of Proteus93
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A gorgeous dark red, but basically no head whatsoever. What is there dwindles away to nothing in moments.

S: Toasty malts, a fruitiness - almost like cranberry, cherry, and apple peel.

T: Much of the same fruit funk going on as found in the aroma. A bit of maltiness in there, but somewhat overpowered. A little on the bitter side towards the finish, though it comes across as going for sour rather than bitter. A little bit of a strange tasting beer.

M + D: An easy going carbonation, medium body, and semi-dry finish. That kinda hints a little more towards the Irish Red style, which the bottle implies they are (going so far as to say "a fresh brewes malty, smooth, Irish Style Ale." with the 'Irish" highlighted in green, as if to let you know that it's of importance when tasting. Maybe reading into it too much, maybe a good hint, overall not bad but not exactly something I'd go for again... an interesting brewery that I'll be looking into further, though.

 973 characters

Photo of Toddv29424
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this beer fresh from the brewery, where it's billed as "the best beer you'll ever have". Pours a dark amber color with little to no head. The smell is pretty big with a monolithic crisp roastyness to it. The taste is much like a nut brown, although there are hints of the "red" in there. Again, there is not much variety to the tongue, but the nut flavor is well developed. Not too much carbonation, which lets the taste linger for well after the beer is swallowed. While it is big in the flavor department, it lacks in depth. Not a bad beer, but fails to live up to its moniker.

 586 characters

Photo of auxiliary
4.37/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

appearance - Dark red color, decent white head.

smell - Apples and sweet spices here.

taste - Sweet apples, not sure if it reminds me of a cider beer. Maybe. enjoyed the taste a lot.

mouthfeel - Light body with some carbonation.

drinkability - I enjoyed this beer. I liked it a lot and would buy it again. Wish they came in smaller bottles though.

 363 characters

Photo of SwillBilly
3.72/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased from B&G about a month ago.

Appearance: Poured from a 22 oz bomber, Fred Red lives up to its name with a nice red to amber hue. A very minimal head takes away from the appearance, and what head was there fades quickly leaving just a wisp of lacing topping the beer. Lacing on the glass is minimal.

Smell: Malty sweet with hints of apricots, brown sugar and caramel with just the slightest hint of spicy hops trying to break through.

Taste: Starts very smooth and clean with a slight caramel and brown sugar like sweetness. The middle moves the beer along to a finish that is more malt, but this where the hops finally make an appearance. Not overpowering but very subtle, they show more in the aftertaste as an iced tea like bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with relatively low carbonation with makes it seem thicker than it really is.

Drinkability/Notes: A pretty good Amber/Red ale that is highly drinkable. Nothing to offend the senses here, nice and lightly sweet with caramel and just a hint of hops to balance things out. Carbonation was rather low and not sure if this due to the fact that B&G hand bottle most of their beers so shelf life might not be that good. Otherwise, a pretty solid offering from a very underrated brewery. A session beer through and through, however if memory serves me right this beer 6.7% abv. Seek and enjoy

 1,369 characters

Photo of lehows
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pleasant red color with a semi-creamy head. Nose is sweet, some fruit scents in here but nothing overpowering. Taste is very refreshing with some mild sweetness. This is definitely a highly drinkable brew with good session appeal too. A see alot of varied reviews here but I think it's perfect for a hot summer day or evening, give this one a try.

 355 characters

Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on-tap at the Blue & Gray Brewery from a tasting glass. Not sure if I agree with the amber/red ale style...this beer is in a style all it's own.

A - Cloudy, dark reddish with a creamy off-white head.

S - Profound aroma of apples, cherries, and some spice. Rather on the sweet side, but not overpowering.

T - Remember how I mentioned the unique style? A very strong fruit medley - apples & cherries with a honey background and a little sweetness. That being real characteristics of beer here, more of a strong cider...but it doesn't lack in taste. The alcohol is present (not strong, but detectable) and there may be a very slight hop feel, but that might have just been me looking for it. I gave it a 4.0 because it has a very good and unique flavor...not a 4.0 based on it's amber ale characteristics.

M - Light on the carbonation...finishes a little tart.

D - Goes down crisp with a sweet, warming feeling. I'd say definitely try it to check it out for yourself.

 996 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Fred Red Ale from Blue & Gray Brewing Co.
3.51 out of 5 based on 67 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.