Schell's FireBrick | August Schell Brewing Company

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: 478
Photo of Sammy
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice malt and balance with carbonation. Nice copper head. Drinkable, good example of type as not too sweet. 139-years of brewing experience contributes to quality. Fresh. Session brew.

Hat off to the Minni Minister of beer, feloniousmonk for the sample.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A pretty tough beer to get just right. This beer starts off promising with good copper-rust color, great clarity, and withstanding head retention. Smells moderately malty with a light underlying caramel hint. Slightly hopped for interest. Bready, lightly toasty, and lightly yeasty. The flavor are less successful than aroma. The toasty, bready flavors don't come through the same. Hopped a little higher than the malt can support causes the delicate bread and yeast flavors to subside a little too much. The body falls a bit watery, but the alcohols make a bold presence without becomming too hot. A little dry in the finish, but clean despite a lingering graininess. Decent beer. I appreciate the attempt.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an semi-opaque, amber color with a tan, foamy, two-finger head. It left some trace of lace.

S - It smelled of malt and caramel notes.

T - It was very malty and had earthy/grassy flavors. Also, somewhat bittersweet.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good Vienna Lager. A nice standard in the August Shell lineup.

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Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

Color is a golden bronze. The beer looks dark, but you can see right through it. Pours a light tan head that leaves great lacing.

Smell is very malty. Roasted malts with hints of carmel. Taste is of roasted nuts and the same hint of carmel. The taste is mainly malty, but there are some slight earthy hops present.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy. The beer goes down with a slight bitter aftertaste.

Overall this beer is easy to drink and could be a wonderful session beer. It is a great beer, however the taste becomes more and more of a typical lager after a while, and I am more of a fan of ales.

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

A style that I dont see enough and rarely find alot of quality in,poured into a stein a deep bronze color with a thinner slight off white head there was a slight chill haze to it.Nice aromas sweet caramel and toasted grain with a light leafy hoppiness a full aroma for sure,well rounded and food friendly flavors starting off with a big caramel buttery sweetness with an underlying firm toastiness with a small dose of spicey/herbal hop that lingers nicely in the finish.I think a very appetizing vienna lager its just good I cant find any real faults to it really.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A frothy off-white head holds well over a slightly hazy and deep-amber body with a reddish cast. Some nice lacing adds to the appearance, although it doesn't stick to the glass for very long. The aroma displays a clean, gently sweet and mildly toasted malt that's quite welcoming. The body combines a firm maltiness with a gently crisp carbonation for a smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel. The flavor delivers the rich Munich/Vienna maltiness that the nose promises; well-balanced by a firm bitterness. It's clean and fresh with the malt dominating the bitterness and just a touch of hop flavor at the tail end. It ends with a surge of sweetish, toasty malt followed by drying bitterness in a long and enjoyable finish. It's not complex; nor is it supposed to be. It's quaffability we're looking for here! Very nicely done and quite enjoyable. This beer appears to contain all of the aspects of a brilliant Vienna-style lager and I'd highly recommend it as a perfect companion to grilled and barbecued foods during the summer season.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from cpolking so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light coppery brown color, with a short but dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains lager yeast, honey, caramelized malts, some fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel & honey followed by bready flavors of lager yeast and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is mild but brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, it’s a decent beer but there are others in the style that I would pick first.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.31/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-amber body with a creamy off-white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling toffee with a good measure of breadiness and a hints of citrus and red apples.

Taste: Sweet toffee and hints of bread followed by a taste of grains. Kiss of lemony citrus. Slight fruity apple tanginess. Mild, easy-going bitterness. Smooth, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight creaminess.

Drinkability: A middle-of-the-road vienna.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly clouded orange with just a hint of amber and of red. One of the most orange beers that I've seen. The head is small, dark cream to light tan in color and doesn't last all that long. Almost no lace. The nose is primarily toasted caramel malty with a decent amount of spicy hops.

The flavor follows the nose. Still lightly toasted malty, still spicy-earthy hoppy. The finish is short, dry, acidic and modestly metallic. The body is medium-thin (not bad) and the mouthfeel is fizzy (bad).

FireBrick could stand to have a great deal more complexity, but it's still a decent, drinkable Vienna Lager.

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Photo of russpowell
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of a variety 6xer purchased in Grand Forks ND, so pretty much home territory.

Pours bronze with light effervesence & a thin filmy head that hols up. Oily appearnce & zero lacing

Smell: Diathecyl (sp?) & malt

Taste: Malty with slight caramel notes. Fruitttyness follows& along with a slight butter taste. Finishes grainy with caramel notes

MF: Thin, but good carbonation

Drinks about average, pretty mundane example of a vienna IMO

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

he pour was decent, better then I thought it would be with a nice medium amber color and a smooth even head of white across the top. Aroma is of light grains, hints of mild hops and a touch of a bready note, pretty standard here. Nice even flavor, again mostly a bready, grain malt flavor with only a touch of hops to serve to try and even and balance it out. nice carbonation though and it went down smooth and easy with a crisp, clean finish and a nice bite at the end.

Overall better then I thought it would be. This was actually fairly decent and i would not turn it down if offered.

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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 mdfb79
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - Pours a dark amber color with about an inch of white foam and moderate carbonation.

s - Some sweet malts and some hops, but a little lacking in smell.

t - Tastes strongly of sweet malts, as well as fruit. Other reviewers taste of banana is the most evident of the fruits.

m - Light to medium body with little carbonation. Pretty smooth and easy to drink.

d - A decent everyday lager. While it is no where near the best, it is pretty good and I could see this being a beer you could drink several of or in a session. Solid beer.

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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 WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Is an amber copper tone with a cream colored nice sized head leaving specks of lace as it dwindles down. Aroma: Slightly metallic with a roasted malt nut tone and an underlying hop bitterness they're very mild there is no fragrance jumping out at me. Taste: Taste is a clean sweeping amount of toasted caramel malts and bitter sweet tones, nicely balanced a little mild seems mass produced but still tasty overall. Rather uninteresting compared to some Vienna styles but this one beats out the Sam Adams lineup even though this one is lacking compared to Elliot Ness overall not a bad throwback. Mouthfeel: Thin highly carbonated not much texture to speak of. Drinkability: I could put down a few without being filled up, but I wouldn't really yearn for too many of these, they're not challenging my palate seems run of the mill and for the mill I don't run.

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Photo of jwc215
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to morimech!
Freshness date of 040510 stamped on the neck:

Pours copper with a thin off-white head that stays until disrupted by sipping. The head becomes wispy before disappearing. Some broken lines of lacing stick.

The smell is of caramel, some toast and a subtle earthy touch.

The taste is very sweet - caramel (ala "red"). Caramel sweetness lingers throughout and into the aftertaste. A hint of bread/toast with slight touch of alcohol and a subtle, mild hop touch come through in the finish, but remains caramelly sweet.

It has a smooth malty body with an appropriate medium carbonation.

This is a caramelly lager - a bit too sweet, but a decent lager if you're in a caramelly sweet mood.

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

Color is a clear orangey, head is a thick, fluffy white. Aroma is sweet and fresh, with touches of citrus,sea air, and a whiff of caramel, maybe. Palate is smooooth, with a trifly, tumbling texture for the tongue to play over. Very tasty, and sweet, and the malt's really pulling it's weight.
Very rich and satisfying, and not as thin in body like others of a similar style. If I can name names, I'd be happy if this one was the default beer everywhere on earth, like Samuel Adams is. It has a firmer body, and is malty, hoppy, malty, hoppy, a beautiful tango, back and forth, the two keeping pace with one another and surprise and delight the palate.
Again, a great lager. "All malt Vienna Style Lager" What, are they sneaking something else into their other beers? Do I have to keep an eye on those guys in New Ulm?
Nonetheless, Firebrick's a winner.

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Photo of Tone
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, copper color. One inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, yeast, spicy hop, slight citrus hops, and strong pale malt. Fits the style of a Vienna Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, yeast, slight spicy hops, tea, pale malt, and adjunct. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and body, but the feel is too sharp and the blend is too much favoring the tea flavors.

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Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet caramel malt aroma, but something sour about it. Maybe the bottle's old. Smooth malty taste, finishing with a little bitterness. Flavor has elements of caramel and roasted/smokey barley. Easy drinking, pair with some ham, or just have a couple during the summer. Not the best vienna lager I've had, but an easy and nice alternative to adjunct lagers.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured on-tap. A rich copper almost amber in color with an off white head.

Smell: Lightly malty not a whole lot going on in the nose.

Taste: Malty, providing some caramel and roasted tones. Hop profile is scarce to none. Still not overly sweet. A nice malty brew, seems more like a brown ale than a Vienna Lager/

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and fairly smooth going down.

Drinkability: A good session beer here. Nothing extraordinary but still quite satisfying.

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Photo of plaid75
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium copper hue with a one and a half finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a sweet caramel malt as well as other husky grain elements.

The taste consisted of a sweet grainy malt and a faint flowery hop. Toasted malts and a mild cocoa as well.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness and a bit astringent.

Overall a nice and drinkable lager. Another solid beer from Schell. Thanks to bulldogsturge.

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Photo of Derek
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber-brown, light tan head, very little retention but some good lacing.

S: Floral & herbal; surprisingly fruity for a lager (Smells more like an Alt).

T: Floral, caramel, nut & bread with a balanced bitterness.

M: Moderate body has some residual sweetness; smooth.

D: A decent drinker.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.34/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades quickly to a ring leaving some lace. Nearly clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Slight malty nose. Starts sweet, hoppy and smooth, then sweet and finishes slightly bitter. $1.39 for a 12oz bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, Ia.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra from France 44. Thanks folks!

Best by stamped on bottle, Dec 5, 2011.

It pours a brownish amber with a 2 finger head of foam and leaves some lacing.

It smells kind of purfumey with notes of sweet malt and a flowery sort of bitterness.

The taste is nice. There are some good malty sweet notes with a hint of chococlate, some roast and grain, and a mild non descript bitterness.

On the low end of medium bodied with fairly light carbonation, the mouthfeel is decent and it's easy to drink. Not a bad little brew.

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

Appearance: soft crystal clear coppery color with a thin off-white head that lasts for a minute or so.

Smell: Nice light honey malt smell a good hoppy aroma

Taste: Very smooth balanced taste with that light malty taste and hoppy taste throughout the drink that makes my tongue say "Mmm Beer". The Vienna malt taste comes through at the end with just a bit of hops. It is very well layered.

Mouthfeel - Good crisp finish with no alcoholic warmth. Moderate carbonation which is good for this style

Drinkability: Not as sweet as most American versions. This is a great beer for sipping on a hot summer day. One of the better American versions of this style.

Thanks to tavernjef for shipping this to me.

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Schell's FireBrick from August Schell Brewing Company
3.68 out of 5 based on 478 ratings.
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