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Schell's FireBrick | August Schell Brewing Company

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231 Reviews
Schell's FireBrickSchell's FireBrick

Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
FireBrick was introduced in 1999, and is named after the bricks that line Schell's old boilers. It is the culmination of an effort to bridge the gap between the "popular-tasting" beers and the heartier, hand-crafted ones.
FireBrick is a refreshing all-malt lager with an amber-red hue that reflects the feeling of the brewery itself.

It has been described by Ted Marti as having a "subtle maltiness combined with a hint of hoppy taste that creates a mild, pleasantly drinkable beer." It is made with four specialty malts, along with Vanguard, Chinook and Hallertau hops.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-17-2002

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Reviews: 231 | Ratings: 475
Photo of ta_hagen
5/5  rDev +35.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the best Vienna style beer out there for sure... Try it and tell me I'm wrong?... Go and get any other Vienna style beer and compare it to this one and see how it play's out... This Firebrick will beat any other beer on the market in it's class. It's just wonderful!... It's maltiness combined with a hint of hoppy taste that creates a mild-Best craft Vienna beer with a peppery spice, and some dark fruit notes to play with the heavy, toasted malt... Cheers for sure!

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Photo of beachscrat
4.94/5  rDev +34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a schells mug.

Brilliant mahagony amber. Perfect but maybe needs a touch more foam.

Sweet caramel aroma with a touch of orange. Again perfect.

Balanced malt with a touch of baked caramel bread. Finishes ultra uber clean. No cloying nonsense, these guys are pros.

Cleanest purest Vienna lager your going to get. Gold standard.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant deep amber under a 1: cream colored foam collar that produces thick lace.
S: Slight hop aroma but no caramel.
T: Moderate malt flavors with a crisp dry finish with a moderate hop bitterness. No fruity esters or diacetyl.
F: Soft and elegant with moderate carbonation and medium light body.
O: One of the few good Vienna Lagers around.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.46/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a light brown with a moderate head. The aromas are straight up toasty malt. The flavor is more complex, bringing a peppery spice, and some dark fruit notes to play with the heavy, toasted malt. The mouthfeel is light ad refreshing. Overall this is a delicious beer, and excellent in style.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.46/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a shaker pint at ~40 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a lovely, bright, crystal-clear burnished copper, and forms about a finger or so of fluffy, vaguely off-white but just barely, head. Bubbles stream up continuously from the bottom. Lacing is insanely good, draping the sides of the glass in walls of tightly-packed bubbles with occasional holes and ridges.

Smell: Bread. Warm, dark, crusty bread, with honeyed biscuit, toffee, white pepper, and something floral.

Taste: The floral aroma is definitely present in the flavor, from start to finish, though not significantly enough to trigger my Wall-O-Hops-And-Nothing-Else response - which means for non-supertasters, it's probably just this side of "detectable". Rolling along beneath and around the florality comes the dark bread and biscuit, which taste like they want to be sweet (and likely would be for someone other than me). Toffee is present as well, around the edges, and there's some mild, faint tinge of raisin frolicking about in the distance. The aftertaste lingers as flowers and bread, like a blooming vase left on a kitchen table strewn with crumbs where a loaf was just devoured.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light in body with a good deal of sparkly carbonation, with no watery breakdown at any point during the drinking process.

Overall: That's a damned good Vienna lager - up there near Eliot Ness. I'll be tracking this down again.

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Photo of hardy008
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear dark amber color with a two finger off white foamy head with nice retention and lacing. The aroma has sweet caramel malt, toasted bread, and hops. Very nice as always.

The taste has sweet caramel malt, toasted bread, and hops to provide bitterness for balance. If more lagers tasted like this, I would drink more lagers for sure.

Medium bodied with modest carbonation and a light sweet aftertaste. I could easily drink this beer all the time, and do have it pretty often. I was surprised to find out I had not reviewed this beer in a bottle yet. I thought this was as good a time as any to do so.

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Photo of andymay
4.43/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is a malt lager, and it has the characteristics of a malt lager, so I'll not bore you by re-hashing.

The flavor is smooth, the finish is strong but the aftertaste dissipates quickly and leaves a sweet fresh flavor behind (yeah, I would say fresh). It also suffers no ill consequences as it warms, the flavor remains almost entirely consistent, so it's a great beer for the slow drinker (which I most certainly am).

This is my favorite Schell beer. It's one of the easiest to drink; it's excellent in the summer heat, or the winter cold. We have plenty of both here in MN.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Firebrick appears red with a thick white head and vigorous carbonation. One of the prettiest lagers I have seen. The aromas are slightly fruity, followed by a crisp hop character. The flavors are similar to the smell, but more intense. Fruity at first, with mild notes of caramel and toast. It finishes crisp and dry, with a nice bitter hop bite. This beer is light to medium bodied, and has a very clean mouthfeel. It's very drinkable, and may be my personal favorite brew Schell's has to offer.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Translucent Brown with some hints of red and amber coloring.Starts with a solid two finer head that lasts a good minute or so. Little active carbonation and only some lacing.

S: fills the area with a malty goodness. Sweet, but with hints of citrusy hops.

T: Some bitterness here, more than I remember from the last time I drank it. Still a light, malty sweetness and less hoppy floralness.

M: Smooth, but a little thin. not much going on and could be a bit more carbed

D: Easy, a good more flavored beer for a warm day. A great transition beer for the BMC drinker.

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Photo of steveh
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Recently revisited this old favorite and was not disappointed.

A -- Deep, clear, reddish copper color with a long-lasting light tan head.

S -- Bready malts with some mild fruit, pear-like, back. Nothing horribly off-putting to style, could be vague hop character.

T -- Soft bready malt that starts sweet and finishes clean and dry. Some of that vague fruitiness in the aftertaste, betting on hop character again.

M -- Soft, smooth mouth-feel with a light-medium body.

D -- Drinkability is, as marked, exceptional. A very nice quaffer.

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Photo of beerfairy
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle

A: Pours a medium copper color with a light head and little lacing.

S: Smells of malt, a bit of grain and caramel with a hint of sweetness that I can't place.

T: Sllightly malty, sweet and a hint of bitterness.

M: Hit's the back of the tongue with a bit of bitterness then vanishes. Good carbination and goes down easy with no long lingering aftertaste.

D: Can definitely drink plenty of this. This is one of the better examples of this style. Not the best in my opinion but far better then the many who miss the mark on this one.

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Photo of AleMan66
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 12 oz. bottle into a clear wide-mouth beer glass. It pours an attractive amber red. The taste is an awesome mix of malt and subtle hops. Love it!

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Photo of Sixpack595
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this one. The copper orange color and decent white head made for a nice appearance. The aroma was fine with malt, hops, and citrus. The taste is very well balanced, the sweetness of the malt held in check by by the light hopping that it finishes with. Medium to light bodies, I found this to be a very drinkable beer. You won't get tired of it.

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Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 10-14-2012
Freshness: Best by 11-26-2012
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Willi Becher
Purchased: Received in a trade

A: Clear beer, dark copper in color. The white head starts at 3 fingers and shows very good lacing and retention.

S: Aromas are rich, malty and sweet, with a dose of earthy hops.

T: Clean lager taste of sweet caramel malts. Simple yet flavorful and delicious.

M: Crisp feel with moderate carbonation. Aftertastes are malty, with just enough hop presence to make a good balance. Body is medium.

O: An excellent, easy-drinking lager from Schell's. It reminded me of an Oktoberfest beer. If I had access to this I could see it being a fridge staple!

Thanks to fLax for this one!

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Photo of beveritt
4.29/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: My 200th review. Thought I would mention it here, or else I will never remember which one it was. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. The label depicts bricks with a raging fire in front. No easily discernible freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with a 1/4 inch of light tan, big-bubbled foam. This settles slowly into a thin coating and a ring. Decent amount of lacing. The beer itself is a red/copper.

Smell: Lightly metallic malt. Very little smell.

Taste: Great mouthfilling taste! Upfront caramel malt with a hint of sweetness. Smooth, medium level bitterness comes next and lingers for a long time.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is great.

Drinkability: Anyone who thinks lagers are not as flavorful as ales should try this beer. Hell, I usually think that. This beer is full and complex. Nice and refreshing. So many thinks. I like it a lot.

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Photo of Jason
4.27/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with no legible freshness date.

Appearance: Orangey tarnish copper hue with a bright clarity, thick froth forms and subsides to a dainty and creamy off white lace.

Smell: Sweet toasted malt aroma with a soft perfume-like hop twang to match, clean with a fresh grain smell.

Taste: Carbonation is at a moderate level, creamy slick mouth feel of malt within the firm medium body. Soft toasted malt flavours surround the taste buds and leave bursts of grain, bread and caramel. Melanoidian flavours of concentrated malt pops up in the middle, soft graininess is throughout. Hops are controlled with their bitterness and drop a light sharpness on the tongue. Bit of hop flavour is there but barely noticeable with suggestions of herb and flowers. The multi-leveled malt character shows each layer of complexity; breadiness, soft grain, caramel and toasted husk. On the sweet side, big malt residuals are left in the finish with undertones of toasted malt and a surprising long lasting hop finish also to make for a pleasant ending.

Notes: Very drinkable with big malt complexities. If you like sizeable malty lagers this will be a treat for you. Big enough to pair up with some schnitzel and kraut.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My thanks to Chaz who sent this to me and has been awaiting my review since its arrival. It too is really fresh, dated 12/09/10 and I CAN't wait to get the Crack & Glug underway. Let The CANQuest (TM) resume in earnest!

From the CAN: "At 145 years of age, the August Schell Brewing Company is the second oldest family-owned brewery in the nation. While breweries and beers have come and gone, our quaint little brewery has remained here in New Ulm, MN, timelessly brewing traditional lagers and fine ales for five generations. Schell's Firebrick is a refreshing Vienna-style amber lager that carries a pleasant maltiness with a subtle sweetness and light, hoppy finish."

My pour resulted in just better than a finger of foamy eggshell-white head with decent retention. Color was a coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a rich caramel sweetness to it. Mouthfeel was medium with a very malty sweetness initially, but giving 'way to a slight grassy hoppiness on the tongue. Finish was incredibly smooth, very pleasant to drink, with an intermingling of the malt and hops that made me wish for more. I would certainly put this beer in my imaginary cooler that has become my basis for a "drinkability" score.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an orange/copper color. Initial smell is primarily malt--the rich malt smell jumps our nicely. The initial taste and mouthfeel are of roasted caramel, the feel of toast/baked bread is left on the palate, very nice indeed. This is a very smooth, easy drinking beer, a great offering from Schell.

Notes. Picked this up as a single, very drinkable brew.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark copper-amber with about two fingers of off-white head that settles to a film with a smidge of lacing.
Smell: Caramelly bready, softly fruity (apples? pears?)
Taste: Taste mirrors the nose. Soft, round flavors. Lightly sweet and malty with a balancing herbal bitterness in the finish.
Feel: Light to medium body, moderate carbonation but smooth.

Overall: Firebrick must have been one of the first "craft" beers I tried when I came of age. I remember liking it then, and I like it now. It has a very nice round, aromatic maltiness that is lightly sweet but not cloying, and great balance in the finish. Compared to the Great Lakes Eliot Ness, which I also really like, I feel like the Schell's is a bit mellower in flavor with more bitterness in the finish. Consistent with its lower ABV (5% vs. 6.2%) it is more sessionable than the Eliot Ness.

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Photo of StanleysCup
4.19/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Beautiful golden-amber hue with a one-finger head.

Smell: robust, clean barley aroma with just a hint of esters.

Taste: Awesome maltiness and body that goes down smoothly.

Feel: no bite whatsoever - again, very smooth.

Overall: OMG, I could easily make this my go-to session lager if only it were readily available on the East Coast.

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Photo of KeefD
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice Minnesota beer - and there's not many to speak of!

This has to be one of my favorite varieties of August Schell's. The nose is sweet and malty with just a hint of hoppiness. It's got an all-malt flavor that a Vienna Style Lager should have. The mouthfeel is smooth and clean.

Pairs well with pretzels and fire roasted red pepper jack cheese.

Overall a great brew from New Ulm!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint. 121409 Date on neck. No other info.

A - A beautiful clear orange amber body with a low cream-colored head. Decent retention helped by the etched bottom of the glass with bits of lacing covering the bowl of the perfect pint.

S - With very little hops on the nose, it's a maltier beer. Pale and lightly toasted Vienna malts with a light caramel hint and a dry kiss of noble hops for a light balance.

T - Smooth and deliciously malty with a bit of caramel right off the bat followed closely by a finely balanced hop flavor. Noble, it seems by the crisp, refreshing, dry, and floral characteristics it posses.

M - Very smooth and almost creamy, the texture is fantastic. The dry finish compliments the sweet start and a light crisp carbonation tingle gives it a refreshing quality.

D - A fantastic Vienna lager I wish I had a six-pack of. Very delicious and smooth. An easy drinking beer that begs to be both actively inspected and passively enjoyed!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not sure that I can add much to what's been said already. Smallish flat head, amber color with hints of orange. Light aroma that is mostly malt. Richer and bolder than average malt flavor. I noted a metalic quality on the tip of my tongue. Virtually no hops noted to the taste or finish so it lacks the balance to give it creaminess and smoothness for type. Medium fullness to mouthfeel with ample carbonation. An enjoyable beer with the characteristic richness of this brewery.
This is a beer that the more I taste it the more I like it. Well balanced, with some nice subtle qualities. Good with food or as a session brew.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Huge bready head whcih only falls a little bit overall. Perfectly clear amber rouge.

S: A little sweet malt with a touch of banana-nut. Clove? Adjunct grain?

T: Extreme roasted malt flavor. Hops are almost on par with the sweet nature of the malt. Nearly perfect for the style.

M: Light chalkiness is on the finish while medium carbonation and viscosity are the main.

D: I always like a lager that steps out with strong flavor profiles. I love this. Could easily session.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red orange color with two fingers of white head. Smells of citrus, vanilla, and malt. Nice balance of malt and hops, with a moderate amount of carbonation. Finishes very clean. Maybe a little too sweet, however. Tasty and refreshing, a good year-round beer.

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Schell's FireBrick from August Schell Brewing Company
3.68 out of 5 based on 475 ratings.
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