McIlhenney's Irish Red | Alpine Beer Company

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McIlhenney's Irish RedMcIlhenney's Irish Red
McIlhenney's Irish RedMcIlhenney's Irish Red

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our most versatile beer. Good to drink as well as cook with. Light enough to quench a thirst and complex enough to accompany fine dining. Caramel malty sweet fades to a chocolate roasty finish and dry from a touch of rye. 1.057 OG 13 IBU

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 274
Reviews by beagle75:
Photo of beagle75
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint glass.

A: Clear, light reddish-amber color with over one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Toasted bread and grain, not as much caramel as the appearance might suggest, with some faint tangerine citrus occasionally emerging.

T: Begins barely off-dry, malty with bread and caramel. A fruity quality that reminds of maraschino cherries is also present early, likely formed by a combination of yeast esters, crystal malt, and careful hopping. Acidity is well-balanced here, perhaps even remarkably so. Vanilla ice cream is detected in the middle, where some of the other previously-noted flavors fade considerably. The finish is dry, slightly bitter, and even leathery at times.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, fluid on the palate--even occasionally creamy--with moderate carbonation.

D: Alpine brews a few different amber ales--this one, as well as Alpine ale--that are remarkably similar. This Irish red ale is malt-forward, never extreme, and just what one might expect from one of Alpine's less abundantly-hopped beers. It pairs well with a variety of food flavors, reminding at times of New Belgium's ubiquitous Fat Tire--but with less overbearing biscuit flavor than that other beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of brother_rebus
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark color: more brown than red. Somewhat of a malty nose. Eversoslight hop scent. Very tasty. Malty and toasty. Not really sweet though. Hops are detectable, but I wouldnt say the beer is hoppy. Somewhat latent carbonation. Smooth drinking. Finishes dry, but lingers a hint of flavor. Not super traditional. But very well done. Would buy again.

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Photo of tgates
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DuaneL
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

DL had this on draft at Henlopen Oyster House 9/10 - to JK seemed a bit watery, but DL liked it with the food he was having at the time, like raw oysters; not something we'd want to purchase.

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Photo of Christoffer91
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had a pint on tap at Eureka burger. Delicious beer! I am not normally a fan of styles heavy on crystal malts, but this beer is surprisingly dry. The malt comes through with the toffee, bready malty goodness but without being sweet. Yeast character adds a nice possible ester element. Hops adds a bitter backbone but just enough to let the complex malt bill take the show. This beer has rekindled my interest for these styles. Great job Alpine.

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Photo of aracauna
3.01/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark plummy red brown but the head is licaking. The aroma is malty, a bit roasty but little else. The flavor is more roasty than expected with a light sweetness. Not a lot of complexity except for a little melon, and really low hopping. Of course, low hopping makes sense for the style, but the lack of fruitiness doesn't. Boring but not bad.

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Photo of HunterSBeerson
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased during a recent visit to the Alpine Beer Company with fellow BA’s, xlperro, and EyeChartBrew, on 12th July 2003. The McIlhenney’s Irish Red, is one of only three ABC beer’s that are currently bottled (the other two are Pure Hoppiness and Mandarin Nectar). Purchase price was $2.99 for a Bomber.

ABC Name: McIlhenney’s Irish Red.
ABC Description: Dark Red, Malty Ale, Low Hops.
Listed Strength: 6%ABV.

Presentation: A 22 fluid ounce brown glass classic shaped Bomber. It has a very colorful label that is generic in nature. The main label picture has a snow-capped, lush green mountain, with a log cabin beneath. Has the words ‘McIlhenney’s Irish Red’ below the picture. It is very interesting to note that the bottle states 5.6%ABV, whilst the Board in the Sampling Room stated 6%ABV?!

Appearance: Very dark, auburn ruby-red color, when back-lit it had a lovely fiery copper hue. Massive agitated head at first that soon calms down to a decent thick collar, cream in color and very smooth in appearance. It laces well with solid carbonation.

Nose: Sniffing lightly is enough to capture the malts in this Irish Red. Has a sweet aroma dimension to the aroma also.

Taste: Starts with strong rounded Malts that are off-set against a light hop presence. Not quite balanced, the biased is more in favor of the darker malts I find. Sweetish in the middle with some Devon toffee. Dry in the end yet the sweetness leaves a light cloying peanut taste in the malty finish. Light hops are still evident right at the death.

Mouthfeel: Bold mouthfeel, malty balance with a smooth aerated feel on the palate. Solid, but never overpowering.

Drinkability: A nice enough beer that drinks well and I found that I liked the round smoothness of this Red.

Overall: Reds are either harsh Island misnomers or sweet, sickly offerings. This is neither, far from it. The high quality ingredients from the Maris Otter Pale, Munich and Rye Malts, as well as the Pacific NW and European Hops listed all shine through. A very nice Red and a good solid drinking partner.

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Photo of gldnns
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer as it sets in my glass a limpid mahogany color, the head average in size, frothy in texture. Light tan in color and the lace a decent covering upon the glass. Malt dominates the nose, fresh and clean, sweet as it the malt-laden start; top is skimpy in feel. Finish is lightly carbonated, the hops present and mild in their bite, dry aftertaste, average beer, drinkable and pleasant enough when your into something on the lighter side.

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Photo of Alpha309
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tavernjef
4.43/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a far this sits a shadowy dark blood red, up to the light it has a wonderfully clear ruby brown tinted body. The cap is small and faintly thick with a light stained ivory color. Minimal lacing sticks in small globuals.

Nice aroma of candy bar chocolate and caramel with a wiff of subdued cherry-like fruityness and vanilla.

Taste is outstanding for an Irish Red. Complexingly delicate and well rounded flavors of malty fruityness bringing a partial red apple and date filling, feathered in vanilla cherry coke without the overly sweetness or active carbonation. Mild but fulfilling with a calming smooth character. Great finish of lightly dry candy bar chocolate and caramel swirling off into a return of some malty fruits and vanilla.
Tthe mouthfeel of this beer is awesome. Big full smooth body. Succulantly easy to quaff. Its smoothness is like no other Irish Red I've ever encountered. Its milding charm is very enthralling and the finish is spectacular.

My kind of beer. Tasty, well rounded, smooth, full, candyish with chocolate and caramel with a sweet fruity center that helps keep a terrific balance. Damn good stuff!

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Photo of Tbone2131
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of n2pux
4.31/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jooler
4.06/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initial taste was flat and nasty, but the more I drink, the better and refreshing the beer gets. Not a bad red ale.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.16/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to xlperro for this brew.
Appearance: McQlhennye's Irish Red pours a crystal clear reddish brown color w/ a two finger dirty white head. The head slowly dissapates.
Aroma. The nose is nice and malty
Flavor: This brew has a slightly malty taste with a touch of hops.
This is a nice session beer.

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Photo of swanfungus
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bigbelcher
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep red amber color with a fast falling off-white head. Minimal lacing and not a lot of retention. You can smell the caramel malts, a bit of toast, and a slight trace of floral hops. Not really an Irish Red, more like a hoppy American Amber. Had a sweet malty front with a subtle hop bitterness. A medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation. A decent beer but not really an Irish Red.

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Photo of bcw12109
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of CRJMellor
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to xlperro for grabbing me a bomber.
Pours a copper color with some red tints. Small light tan head dies very quickly.
Aroma of caramel with rich bread notes and some roasted nuttiness.
Flavor has a big caramel front, wheat bread tones and some resined hops on the finish.
Mouthfeel is medium-boided and mildly sweet with a mellow roasted feel.
Drinkability is very good. Great transitions between flavors and progression of sweet, roast and bitter.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
4.24/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."

--William Butler Yeats

Glazed terra cotta with bright tangerine edges. A standard pour yields a three finger cap of golden tan that is tight-bubbled and firmly creamy. It's a perfect color complement to the beer on which it sits and is a more than respectable lace generator. A classic Irish red ale look.

The nose is toasted malty, earthy and some kind of nutty. In some ways it reminds me of an Oktoberfest. I wouldn't be surprised if Munich malt was in the house. Unfortunately, there's no hint of the rye malt that was used. Perhaps things will be different on the palate.

McIlhenny's Irish Red is good beer because it's well-malted and because it's bursting with flavor. Alpine is one of those breweries that isn't afraid to deliver aggressiveness, even in a so-called session beer. An ABV of 6.0% might disqualify it as a session beer, but it sure is a drinkable son of an Irishman.

I like the fact that, in addition to plenty of malt, there's a greater proportion of the darker malts. That design decision gives the beer cocoa notes (pumpernickel bread) to go along with the usual toasted barley, steely caramel and oven-baked nuts. Spicy rye malt, an inspired addition, is now easily appreciated.

Apparently, there aren't many hops present (10 IBUs). Could have fooled me. This bottle has to be incredibly fresh because I'm really enjoying their English Breakfast tea leaf-like flavor and bitterness. This is anything but an overly sweet, sticky Irish red. In fact, it's very nicely balanced.

The mouthfeel is as expected given the talent at this brewery. It's no more than light-medium with an underlying suppleness that doesn't fade on the swallow. To be brief, the mouthfeel matches the flavor profile perfectly.

Other than Mandarin Nectar (which is okay), I have been supremely impressed by Alpine beer. Pure Hoppiness is one of the best DIPAs that I've ever had and Alpine Ale is a damn fine APA. McIlhenny's Irish Red may not be in their league, but it's a well-brewed version of the style and would be my choice for St. Patrick's Day if I lived in Southern California.

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Photo of Child_Pugh
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

More brown/ rusty red than a typical Irish red. Tracings the whole way down, this head. Smells heavy of maple. Sweet and refreshing and warming all at the same time. Easy on the palate, doesn't leave too much film on the tongue. Somewhat heavy and fizz-free. would 100% get again.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Geoffq
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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McIlhenney's Irish Red from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 274 ratings