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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: 472
Photo of CraigP83
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark copper good head retention. Smell is sweet malt, slightly floral and bright. Taste is slightly metallic, good summer beer if you wanted something with a bit more body. Would also be great in the fall around a fire

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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 Bluegrass49
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Clear, dark amber color with a tan 2-finger head. I was really surprised at how smooth and refreshing this one tasted. Perfect combination of maltiness and hops. Can't wait to have another.

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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 rodbeermunch
3.04/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Dark brown and burnt copper color, thin head, decent lace. Super faint nutty caramel, toffee thing going on.

Taste was roasted malt more than expected, but pulled off smoothly. A little heavier than a Vienna Lager, this one goes into Oktoberfest territory.

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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 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 Evilyak
4.09/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sometimes you read the description from the brewer and wonder if they switched labels. this one's pretty spot on:

"an amber-red hue" - yup. sticky head and and clear, reddish-brown color. nothing remarkable here, but clearly defined.

"subtle maltiness combined with a hint of hoppy taste that creates a mild, pleasantly drinkable beer" - pretty much. smells clean and malty. tastes the same. nothing hanging around afterwards, no untoward or unusual flavors, just simple and easy to quaff.

i'd never think that i need to get some firebrick, but it's the kind of thing that you go back to every once in a while and think "that's a damn fine beer".

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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 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 Ri0
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured 12oz bottle into Pils glass.

A - Burnt amber color with visible carbonation and 2.5 finger white frothy head that left some splashy lacing on the glass.

S - Big toasted malt, bready notes, sweet fruity notes, and floral hops . Pleasant aroma for the style and well-balanced between the malty and hoppy notes.

T - Big bready notes, toasted malt, sweet fruity notes, and a kiss of floral hops.

M- Very smooth, medium body, soft carbonation, and dry.

O - An excellent Vienna lagers. Very well balanced, great aroma, and a very smooth, easy drinker.

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Photo of jrsaffert
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great representation of a Vienna lager, a style that I think is generally underappreciated.

Beautiful amber color. Solid maltiness. Lightly hopped. Crisp, smooth finish.

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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 The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

New review :

Gave this one another spin since I'm a little more experienced with beers now. The review below this one was posted in July of 2013.

Appearance : very thick head, three fingers tall and tightly knit. The body is a dirty honey color. Amber-ish. Beautiful character.

Aroma : toasted grain, amber, clean barley, faint tobacco.

Flavor : honey-infused amber and roasted flavors. Mild roast hop behind everything. Some nuttiness, caramel malts. Out of a glass is much better than the bottle. It's delicious.

Mouthfeel : Alive with carbonation, just enough to make the drink exciting. Finishes clean.

Overall : I like this beer and would even buy a six pack. Better than Boston Lager.


Night 3 of my birthday gift sampler pack. Tonight I will be reviewing firebrick in a 12 oz bottle.

Smell - toasted barley, bitter sour pilsner grains. Blueberry syrup. Spice.
Lots of character! I honestly get an image of "firebrick" in my head when I smell it.

Taste - Bitter and sour. "Eye-twitching" bitter. Really not used to the style. Can tell you off the cuff I am not a fan here. Some say this beer doesn't represent the style well. I can tell you if the rest of the Vienna's are like this, I'll never drink one again.

I'll try to be subjective though : grass, dirt, wine vinegar. Starting to sound like a Tide commercial. Some yeasty barley.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied yet thin. Carbonated zing.

Overall - Gross? I won't be trying this again. I'm sure this beer is great for its style (300 beer reviewers can't be wrong?), however it is definitely not one I'll be coming back for. A class "A" nominee for drain pour.

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.51/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark amber color with a one-finger large white head.

Smells of sweet bread and herbs.

As expected from Schell, and the German brewing tradition, the taste is very subdued, and mouthfeel very light. Drinkable, tolerable, and forgetable.

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Photo of Taybeh
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a single bottle into an imperial pint

A: clear copper with a 1 finger khaki head
S: toasty malts, hoppy edge, overall lots of grain
T: lots of toasted breadiness, some round caramel notes, a little spicy hops, and then an extra boost of sweetness at the end...very nice, well put together
M: moderate carbonation, a little thin and watery to be ideal to me, but this is an easy drinker and it is full of great malty flavors
Overall: Well done, August Schell.

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Photo of enjambed
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving type: bottle chilled to ~40F. poured into hefeweizen glass

Appearance: Well as the name suggests, it has a deep red color with maybe a bit of orange. A very conservative pour produces a half-finger sudsy white head that quickly goes down to lace. Lacing is moderate

Smell: sweet, lightly roasted and delicious malts. I could be wrong, but it reminds me a bit of red ale. Not much going on with hops.

Taste: I guess the best I can describe it is rich, flavorful lager. There’s some iron in the aftertaste, which reminds me of the water from the northern MN iron range. The first time I tried it the thought of bread came to mind. This wasn’t white bread, but hearty whole grain.

Mouthfeel: Moderate, it adds a good amount of heft to this lager and makes it really enjoyable.

Overall: Schell’s did a good job with this malt extravaganza. If you’re looking for something else from the hop-forward IPA’s that characterize craft beer, this is a good change of pace. FireBrick is a nice, very approachable beer to introduce to your non-BA friends.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at a rochester honkers game. Pours reddish amber with a small white head. Smells of some dark roasted malt but not much else. Tastes of some dark roasted malt with a slight berry aftertaste. Beer is light bodied nice carbonation very crisp. Overall, an above average beer.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
2.9/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

FireBrick pours a dark reddish color with a decent sized head. The aroma is non-existent. The taste has a harsh malt backbone and finishes with a very grainy taste. Nice body, unusual flavors. Overall its a bit harsh, and has some adjunct like flavors.

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Photo of NODAK
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma was a bit of roasted malts, mildly sweet....maybe earthy. Not bad. More interesting than most lagers.

Taste had an initial sweetness to it....perhaps a bit of caramel....followed by some tea and mild roasted notes as well. Hops are mild but present on the backend, of a herbal nature.

Pretty good lager here, as Schell's is known for. I hadn't had any of their beers in a while, and this makes me want to try more.

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Photo of mcrow24
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A: brownish brick red in color, clear with a finger tip of white head, no noticeable lacing.

S: Like most light lagers, not a lot to smell here but there are noticeable malty toasted scents.

T: This is a pretty malty brew, sweet, soft but hoppy notes at the finish. Leaves a sweet, mildly bitter after taste.

M: Light bodied, medium to high carbonation, which confirms the smell and taste.

Overall: Good solid light bodied malty style lager, though may not be right for those who do not enjoy the malty sweetness.

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Photo of harrymel
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Best by 09SEP13

Its a lovely amber with a solid sheet of toasted cream on top. Smells sweet with some nougat, some pale malt, some biscuit and a bit of tea. Flavor is malts, sweet, some banana, some more tea (sweet tea in the south), some bits of orange peel. Medium on full bodied with fine, creamy carbonation and a wet finish. Decent beer, nothing I'd be likely to slam repeatedly.

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Photo of TheSSG
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a soft, white head that forms a thin, white layer atop the liquid. Sweet malt aroma with a lot of nice, floral hops. Amber-burnt sienna color that has an orange quality to it. Starts a touch tart from carbonation and floral hops, moves quickly into a MASSIVE malt middle, a flash of hop bitterness, and it all mellows in the finish, where the floral hops and a touch of bitterness comes through, but malt dominates.

This is really, really nice. There is just a touch of hops to make you happy, but the malt is so fantastic and well balanced throughout. It's just miles and miles of smooth malt. It's just a nice, silky mouthfeel, too!

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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 herman77
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber/copper orange with a small white head. Not much lacing.

S: Sweet, nicely toasted malt. Biscuit. Slight spice/hop twang to it.

T: Carmel and semi sweet toasted malt. Lots of biscuit and toasty flavors. A bit of hop bitterness keeps you coming back for more. Finishes a tad sweet, but still fairly crisp.

M: Light to medium body. Good amount of carbonation.

O: Good drinkability. If you like malty lagers, this is for you. Better than Sam Adams Boston Lager. Another great lager from Schells.

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Schell's FireBrick from August Schell Brewing Company
3.68 out of 5 based on 472 ratings.
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