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 PokerGod
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Nonic glass.

Appearance- Dark copper color, with thick creamy head. Great retention and lacework on the glass. Beautiful

smell- Not much going on here, very subtle. Malty.

Taste- Smoother than I had anticipated, with some real solid flavor, all up front.

Overall- A very tasty brew. If I were to pick apart anything, I wish it had a stronger smell and a little more flavor on the finish. But that really is nitpicking a very tasty lager. By all means try it!

 489 characters

Photo of Lauthaha
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Beer pours a copper color with very strong orange hues. Not a lot of visible carbonation, but the head froths up nicely before receding down to a thin layer of bubbly foam on the surface of the brew itself.

Smell: Lightly toasted malty beauty. Lots of spice, along with some very flowery hops.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Gentle carbonation carries a plethora of flavors across the palate. Hops are probably the most noticeable thing in this brew, being very earthy. Then, there's a touch of spice, almost like white pepper. The malt is toasty underneath, with very little sweetness, but some decent breadiness. Aftertaste is floral, with just a touch of that spice. Very lightly oily on the palate after imbibing.

Overall: Another winner from the Schell Brewing Company. I think this one would be a great winter beer.

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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 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 tito42
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into straight pint glass. Best by 05/08/2011 stamped on bottle.

A: Foamy copper-white head. Very active carbonation bubbles. Beer is a light copper color.

S: Malty and slightly sweet aroma. Very faint clove or pepper smell.

T: Very nice roasted malt backbone followed by a rather stout earthy hops flavor. Some roasted coffee notes flutter in and out. Possibly some adjunct sweetness later in the pour. A nice balance between the malt and hops that is somewhat bipolar but works well overall.

M: Medium-bodied beer with a good dose of dryness with the hops finish. Smoother later into the pour. Feels watery at times, but also has a nice malt character.

D: Overall an interesting beer. Very malty at times, a bit hoppy at times. Rich and malty at times, but a tad watery at others. Overall, a decent representation of the style. Not quite on par with Sam Adams, but very close.

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Photo of afinepilsner
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle

Schell's Firebrick was orange-amber in color with good clarity. It had an off-white head with good retention and lacing. The smell was toasty malt with some floral hops. The taste was toasted malt upfront with some earthy and spicy hops and enough bitterness to balance. The finish was dry with some residual spicy hop and malt flavors. The mouthfeel was good with a medium body and medium carbonation. The drinkability was good as well. This is a tasty and refreshing lager that would pair well with grilled or smoked meat.

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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 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 EwaldEichstaett
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Good orange/brown color with an alright head.

The beer smells great. It is crisp and malty. I like the contrast between the sweetness of the malts and the crisp, fresh hops.

The taste is also very pleasant. The beer has nice caramel malty character with a touch of spicyness that warms you up. The hop character is superbly balanced with the flavour of the malts. Crisp and refreshing and yet, warming, on a cold day.

The mouth-feel is a bit thick, lacking a bit of carbonation. Strangely, for a lower ABV beer,I noticed a bit of boozyness in this as I was drinking it.

Good beer for a good price. One could easily drink several of these. I'll be buying this more often.

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Photo of brewdub17
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A darker brass, red body with small hints of the light brass around the edges. The malty character gives it a nice white fluffy head.

Smell: Crisp, clean but watery smell that doesn't compliment the malt flavors other than dryness and slight hint a sweet/tartness.

Taste: Malty characteristics are blended well with the crispness from being bottom fermented and aged in cool areas. Slight acidic/sour tastes are notice able but are coated with the malty sweetness making for a pleasant finish.

Mouthfeel: Those acidic/sour/dry complexities are mixed well with the feel of the maltyness. A crisp/clean but full bodied feel.

Drinkability: Nice balance of flavors and not a too complex mouthfeel combined with a light ABV can make for a nice drinkability.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Menomonee Falls, WI for about $1.50 in fall 2010.

This Vienna Lager from Schell's is a good one. It pours a dark copper color and has a slight scent of malts. As you drink the carbonation tickles your mouth but it finishes nice and smooth to the point that you don't even notice you were just drinking a beer. A nice find for a colder night.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. thanks to morimech.

Pours a clear cherry auburn with a light head with fades quickly, leaving very little lacing around the glass.

Smells of slightly musty caramel malt along with some sweet fruit and hops.

Bitter up front with mid-level hops and some dry malt. A bit of darker, roasted malts attempt to creep in, but further dry hoppiness continues. Finishes overly bitter and dry, with lingering abrasiveness.

Unusually dry feel, which adheres itself to the palate in an offensive fashion. The flavor profile isn't terrible, but the feel wraps itself around the tongue and refuses to leave.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a best by date of 111810. Pours a very clear copper color with a thick layer of tan foam. Displays great retention and lacing. This is a fine looking beer.

Nose is highly caramelized malts with a light touch of grassy hops and cooked corn. Very pleasant smelling lager, really.

Roasty, caramel and toffee maltiness are the main show here and are pretty powerful for a lager of 5%. Light hopping combines with a bit of toast to give more than enough bittering power on the back end. Mouthfeel is decent and the carbonation is perfect. Little bit of cooked veggies and light astringency are the only complaints I have here. I would be happy to take a sixer of this to a tailgate or cookout. Good brew.

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

pours a very nice copper color with a staying 1/2 finger head also some nice lacing..smell is malt and bread with citrus and hop ,,taste is malt forward with a sweetbread taste then some hops and a slight roasted caramel hit in the background..mouth feel is smooth and creamy with some good flavors ....its medium and good...its drinkable not over the top just refreshing and well made... schells is a solid brewery that makes some great brews

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Photo of jera1350
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear copper color with a one finger creamy tan head on top.

Very light nose of of bread and caramel. Similar to a caramel roll and even a bit of cream icing.

Lightly toasty malt with a bit of caramel sweetness and lightly bitter and earthy hops.

The feel is quite creamy on the tongue. I would say this is medium bodied. Lightly chewy as well.

It's been a long time coming and I finally had this one. Firebrick is an excellent all around beer that I really should drink more of. This would make a nice session beer and I have some friends that would really enjoy the hell out of this as well. I will be getting more of this from now on.

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Photo of dstc
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear bronze color with a big, light tan head. Head falls slow but stays. Decent lace.

Malt aroma with a bit of sweetness.

Roasted malts and a bit metallic. Slight hop bitterness in the finish.

Medium bodied and somewhat smooth. Average carbonation.

Not bad. Average beer.

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Photo of Ottertude
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Firebrick poured a coppery brown into my pint glass with a thin off-white head that didn't stick around long.

The smell was of sweet malt and of caramel. The taste not surprisingly was maltcentric. Lots of caramel sweetness up front and some burnt toffee with some dry bitter hops in the back to help balance things a bit. All in all a decent Vienna lager.

The mouthfeel was not too thin. A couple of these are fine and then I would switch to something. This beer from August Schell is decent. When it comes to Vienna Lagers I do prefer Great Lakes Eliot Ness though.

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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 goblue3509
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a copper color with a thin head that disappates quickly with no lacing. The aroma is of caramel malts and maybe a hint of hoppiness, the aroma is kinda faint and hard to get to. The taste is of caramel malt backbone and a little toastiness, along with a slight hop bite. The mouthfeel is very carbonated and fizzy. Overall the drinkability is okay, you could have a couple, but there are better beers in this style out there. A little faint in the aroma and taste department.

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Photo of bcpriess
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A Respectable Brew.

It had me at "this all malt lager." While this is not by any means a jaw droppingly awesome beer, it is a good, solid, beer that I could imagine wanting to drink from time to time. Schell's of New Ulm doesn't produce a favorite beer of mine, but I respect their work, and their commitment to lager styles, and for that alone they edge out Summit as the top Twin Cities brewery.

Although I am down on Schell's uber sweet bock, this is more of a light, malty, none too sweet brew. It seems like it might be the more forceful cousin of Grain Belt Nordeast, with a bit more of a char flavor.

A: Appearance is nothing special. This beer pours a deep amber, almost reddish color, with a thick beige large-bubbled head that rapidly dissipates. Par for the course.

S: Predominantly malt and yeast - not a generic odor - but not special either.

T: In addition to the malt and yeast (which you smell), there is an unexpected and interesting char flavor (I suppose the reason for the Firebrick name). This beer would be just the thing to drink with the pulled pork burrito at the BLB - although it is a fairly malty brew, there is no overpowering sweetness, and the char is exactly the kind of thing that would counterbalance a sweet meat. Paired correctly, this is a winner. As I mentioned before this feels like a more intense Nordeast - the key differences being that this is just slightly less sweet, and the presence of the char flavor.

M: Like many Schell's beers, a little on the dry side, but it doesn't leave any unwanted residues behind. An appropriate level of carbonation, maybe a little on the low side, but still somewhat crisp feeling.

D: Somewhat above average. This isn't an uber heavy drink that will leave you with a gutache if you approach it as a beer to drink for flavor. Would be refreshing as a hot weather beer. If you tried to down six of these, you would have a gutache, but then you wouldn't be reading BA either.

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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 AmberMan22
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brazen orange color with a khaki colored head. Head transitions beautifully from huge bubbles at the bottom to microscopic at the top, and is retained throughout.

Smell is maybe a little on the weak side. Some sweet malty flavors come forward, along with maybe a touch of cream. Really just needs some more oomph.

Taste however, as I've come to find with Vienna Lagers, is quite smooth and well balanced. Just enough hops to keep the maltiness from overstepping.

Those big bubbles I referenced earlier make this initially feel like a fizzy macro. Thankfully after the initial bite, the carbonation settles down and yields to a creamy, smooth mouthfeel.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this offering from Schell BC. Had plenty of their stuff before, but never really took time to review any of it. I'll definitely be looking to do so in the future.

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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 Parrotbeak
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Light amber with a thin white head that fades quickly, becoming patchy.
Smell is bready malts, with some very faint dark fruits and spice.
Taste is spicey malts, with the malts becoming toasty about halfway through. Slightly nutty and toasty on the finish.
Mouthfeel is moderately crisp, with a good level of carbonation. Slightly dry finish. Medium-light body.
Very drinkable. A great beer overall; goes down quite easily.

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Photo of kegger22
3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schell's Firebrick was an amber color Vienna lager with a half-inch beige head that faded to a collar.

The aroma promised some malty sweetness but the scent wasn't very strong.

The taste did come through with the malt sweet, but I didn't notice much hoppiness. The after taste was a little dry to me.

The mouth feel was medium bodied, especially after warming up, with good carbonation.

Drinkability was good; I enjoyed it and would welcome another.

As Vienna lagers go, Firebrick ranked right up there with the best of them.

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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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