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Fireman's #4 | Real Ale Brewing Company

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Fireman's #4Fireman's #4

Brewed by:
Real Ale Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-23-2003

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Reviews: 185 | Ratings: 803
Photo of Reagan1984
3.77/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap in Austin, TX

Pint came with no head and left no lacing as it was consumed. Very light yellow/gold color with no carbonation.

Sweet grains and bread like aroma.

Flavor is slightly sweet, very bread like with a fairly crisp ending. Slight hop flavor, but really leans a little more towards the sweetness. This was the only craft beer selection on the menu and that tells you something about the extent of this menu. Not a great deal of complexity to the flavor. Not bad and I enjoyed the bread like notes.

Mouth feel was very light and thin.

A sessionable beer, but not one with a lot of complexity.

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Photo of blackie
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: into a pils glass, gives a big white head over a pale golden beer, nice retention

s: pale malts with a touch of grassy hop spice, nothing off and well-rounded, just a little on the simple side even considering the style

m: carbonation on the low end of medium, lighter in body, a little dead on the tongue

t: pretty standard, white bread pale malts with a little corn honey sweetness, a touch of weird aldehyde type flavor (not unlike a stinkbug)...sounds horrible but it's only a slight detractor, low grassy hops

d: no problem, just doesn't inspire a desire for more than one

single from mhewes in Pre-Season Football BiF...notched as best by December

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.35/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Real Ale’s Fireman’s #4 Blonde Ale has a medium, fluffy, white head and a somewhat hazy (especially after the bottom of the bottle is swished), yellow appearance, with lots of bubbles and a good amount of residual lacing. The aroma is of faint lemon and white wheat bread. Taste is of soft, white bread, lemon, and mild hops. Mouthfeel is medium and spongy, and Fireman’s #4 finishes mild and refreshing. Overall, this is a good one to have.


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Photo of beergoot
2.89/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Soft yellow colored body; lively carbonation with a foamy white head. Biscuit and cracker grain aroma; fresh cut grass; bare hint of citrus. Dull, almost wheat-like flavor; bitter with a metallic edge. Weak, watery, and flat mouthfeel; dry finish.

A bitter and twisted blonde ale, to be sure. Metallic and nearly astringent in character, it leaves one grasping for some redeeming taste qualities. Real Ale brews some respectable, tasty brews, but this blonde ale sample just can't live up to its look and aroma potential. The flavor borders on tasting like wet cardboard and makes me think I'm indulging in a weird-ass macro adjunct lager. Perhaps it was this bottle. I'd give it another shot on down the road, but it wouldn't be my first drink choice from this brewery.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Right off the bat let me say that I’m not into blondes. I would have to say it’s one of my least favorite styles of beer to drink. In my mind blond ales are watery, flavorless beers that you swill. (Not to be confused with adjunct lager, although I admit associating them with such.) Biased? Perhaps. But am I alone in feeling this way? Probably not.

So, that said, allow me to describe my enjoyment of Real Ale’s Fireman’s #4, with just a bit of irony. Or egg on my face.

Poured from the bottle into a nonic glass Fireman’s forms a hearty bit of head that quickly dissipates. Gone in a flash!

The beer is clear, and true to its name, blond. It’s the color of straw yellow. There’s a trace amount of residue at the bottom, most likely from being bottle conditioned.

An easy drinker. There’s not a whole lot of complexity, although isn’t that true to style? One thing that I find distinguishes Fireman’s and makes it enjoyable for me are the faint biscuit notes. It’s just a trace, but as the beer warms they become more pronounced. In fact, its my favorite part of this beer.
I’d consider this a gateway beer for people who aren’t familiar with craft beer or for those hooked on BMC. For the rest of us it’s an excellent example of a quality craft beer’s approach and the difference it makes. I’d pair this with pizza, nachos, grilling outside and—if it was canned—tubing down the Guadalupe. (At least until beverages are officially banned on the river!) As far as blond ales go it’s a winner.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours a cloudy, hefe-like yellow. A thin head of white has a little fluff to it but dies out pretty fast. A few rings of lace.

Aroma - a lightly sweet grain smell, indistinctively fruity.

Taste - grainy, a detectable element of roast in there. Again, just a light sweetness, well done. Some balance on the swallow as the soft influence of hops enters the picture. Very palatable, it stays light and wanes into the aftertaste. Clean finish, a slight lemony tang.

Mouthfeel - light-bodied, some noticeable smoothness, though the crispness is more evident.

Drinkability - very sessionable and a great summer pick. Thanks to BGThang for sending me a few of these, put to good use in some August heat.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.82/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This 12 oz. bottle was brought to Portland by Beerzack; notched at 'best before "JUN"'. and poured to a pint glass.

Here's the description off of Real Ale's website: "Fireman's #4 Blonde Ale - This refreshing blonde ale strikes a perfect balance between the smoothness of the malt, the subtle fruitiness of our house ale yeast, and zesty citrus notes from Crystal hops. Fireman's #4 is a great way to beat the heat - enjoy it on a Texas summer day, or pair it with spicy foods to help put out the fire. ABV: 5.1%, IBU: 21, OG(plato): 12 "

A: Light golden/straw color with a 2-finger crackling/frothy white head rising above. Strange, cola-like bubbling sticks to the glass for an inch or two beneath the head. A hazy, less-than-filtered silt permeates the glass, giving a sort of 'dirty' look. Sparkly film and sparse bits of lace.

S: Dry, crackery malt with a slight tartness. A hint of caramel with some dry green apples. With warmth, this edges towards a soft fruitiness, berries and melon.

T: Very bready; lots of malt/grain and a dash of spiced hops. It's sorta like a sourdough pretzel at first, even a little salty. Develops with some warming to a sweeter bread dough, and picks up a subtle fruitiness (pineapple?).

M: Very soft carbonation; seems rather boring at first, but transcends to a slippery doughiness with some starchy stickiness on the lips and a heavier bitterness. Lip-smacking good, moderately salivation-causing.

D: I can see why this doesn't get better reviews; it seems kinda bland, boring. I liked the subtleties and enjoyed the malty, fruity flavor and aroma - a good version of this Kolsch-like style. Easy to drink, relatively light body and fine to sip on a spring-like day..

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Photo of allengarvin
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Newly arrived in the Dallas area in bottle (though it's been available on draft for a couple years). This is a bright, very clear pale gold beer. A nice head developed on the initial pour, but faded by the time I took my seat. Nose consists of sweet, grainy malt, with just barely an intimation of hops. The taste is simple, lightly sweet malt with a moderately-low bitterness. There is a pleasant fruity ale character, but otherwise unexciting.

Better on draft--or, at least, it seemed better in the past, with more detectable hoppiness.

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Photo of Redrover
2.96/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another local offering on tap at the Flying Saucer in Houston. Served in a 22oz pilsner glass, the beer is light gold with a chill haze. Off-white head. Rings of lace.

The aroma is light. I get some light grains and hints of grass. Mild citrus in the background.

The taste is mild even for a golden ale. A bit of grains, a hint of green apples and the very faintest whisper of citrus. A bit of vanilla when the beer is 7/8s gone.

The mouth is medium with a nice trace of thickness and gentle carbonation.

This is a bit to mild mannered to be anything but the gentlest of crossover beers. I’ve liked everything I have had from this brewery, I just like this one a little less.

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Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear medium golden color with abundant carbonation, a large white head and lots of lace.

Aroma: Slightly sweet, malty aroma with lots of citrus hops.

Taste: Full at rich light malt at the start of the taste, soon gives way to aggressive citrus hop flavors. Finishes dry with slightly tart malt and lingering hop bitterness

Mouth feel: Very smooth and pleasant with lots of carbonation, refreshing.

Drinkability/notes: Tasted on tap at the brewery during the RealAle Seventh Anniversary Celebration in Blanco, TX on June 28th, 2003. According to the good folks at RealAle, this beer may be offered in bottles soon. Alas, there are no plans to offer the much-beloved Coffee Porter in bottles.

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Photo of BigBry
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft, local offering while in Dallas.
Pours a pale, yellow color with a thin white head, minimal retention or lace.
The aroma has some light grain and grassiness, and a bit of yeast.
Taste is mild grain flavors, clean and crisp, with just a touch of hop flavors coming through.
Light body, goes down smooth, nice on a hot patio; as a light blonde ale should be.

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Photo of matjack85
4.05/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Dive Bar in Downtown Houston. The Dive is part of the downtown Aquarium complex (hence the name) and I was there during happy hour (3-7pm) and ordered this on the advice of the bartender there. 14oz glass for $4.

The beer poured a clear golden/yellow color, pretty typical for a blonde ale. The 1-finger white head had good retention and tons of lacing.

The beer had a citrusy (lemony) smell along with other fruits and some biscuity malt.

Initially fruity flavor with some malty sweetness. The sweetness subsides a bit and turns to biscuity dry malt, but the fruit flavor never goes away. A slightly funky fruity yeast flavor also adds to the complexity. I like this one.

Light bodied, crisp, and highly carbonated. Refreshing, with a finish on the dry side after an initial sweetness.

As a Chicagoan, I never heard of this Texas brewery before nor had I tried any of their products, but if this is an example of what they have to offer, I'll be on the lookout for more of their stuff. This was a very good blonde ale.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Extremely clear, pale yellow body with about two fingers of completely white head. The head settles into a couple small islands and a tight ring around the edges. Pretty good lacing left behind in some nice rings.

A malty nose with a slight fruity smell.

A big blast of sweet malt comes through first followed by some earthy, spicy hops. Next some fruity flavors that remind me of pineapple and apricot are noticeable. A pretty hoppy blonde with a slightly bitter finish.

Light bodied, but on the heavier side with above average carbonation.

Fairly drinkable brew, I like it. This is my second real ale brew and I've been impressed so far. I was somewhat surprised by the fairly low reviews for this one on here, but I like it.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint on-tap at Fowler's Wings & Bar, Cedar Park, TX.

Attractive 'golden light' color (the sunset variety) with an active carbonation level. The off-white cap of head does an OK job at retention, eventually settling to a wispy ring of foam. Pleasing, mild aroma of herbal hops and wheat. Malts smell crisp and crackery, with some lemon and yeasty fruit esters in the background.

Flavor matches the aroma well, with a bit more hoppiness/fruitiness on the front of the tongue. Malts are slightly grainy and taste of bleached bread dough and wheat. A slightly hoppy aftertaste fits the style well, but it was the clean profile of this brew that really impressed me, as it washed down the hot wings well. Body is light and nicely-carbonated. Overall a tasty brew by Real Ale. Not quite up to Southern Star's Blonde Bombshell, but it's a distant second. I'd easily have this again, but probably only on-tap, and probably only when the other options are all macros (as was the case today).

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BB Aug 27 2015 at 39 degrees into snifter
Aroma – grainy
Head small (<1 cm, aggressive pour), white, frothy, quickly diminishing to irregular one to three mm ring and no layer
Lacing poor – few small irregular islands of tiny bubbles
Body light yellow, hazy
Flavor starts slightly malty, clean meld into clean, crisp, slightly bitter; no distinct hop flavor, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate light, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3.5, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 3.75

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Photo of Onenote81
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle received in a trade with DeathbySexyBT recently. Thanks, Brian!

12oz bottle, best by 11/3/11, printed on the side. Poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a slightly-hazy pale gold with a thin bone-white head on top. Weak retention; no lace. The aroma reminds me of stew, some veggies, grains, butter. Odd scent. Not the most-inviting nose on a beer.

The body is light and slick, which is par for the style. Drinkability is aided well. Easy to consume. Decent enough flavors. What I got in the nose, didn't carry over to the flavor, thankfully. There's some light malts, buttered bread, corn, rice noted. Light bitterness. This is an easy-drinking beer if there ever was one. Perfect for the grilling-season.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.19/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Nice firm aroma of what I believe are cascade hops, a fresh grapefruit smell.
Appearance: Bright clear sunny yellow with a thin white head that left minimal lace.
Flavor: The grapefruit adds strongly to the taste, but a slight undercurrent of spice. Coriander perhaps? Not enough to get a good reading but added some complexity. It may have just been the malt poking its head out.
Mouthfeel: Medium light body, a touch heavy on carbonation but a nice clean finish.
Overall Impression: A light refreshing tasty beer. Pretty straightforward, but a touch of intricacy lends itself to a good summer thirst quencher or session beer.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.29/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Buffalo Billiard's in Austin.

A: Pours a clear straw-colored body with substantial effervescence up the glass. Has a couple of fingers of off-white head with great retention, lasting several minutes before collapsing into a light cap / donut on top of the brew. Leaves some lacing down the sides of the pint glass.

S: A dry, lager-like aroma of Noble hops and just the slightest hint of pale malt and toasted crackers. Nothing special or pungent, but it's not bad.

T: Malt is very subdued / attenuated, with the varieties in the nose manifesting themselves as a light adornment on the leafy, citrus (lemon) hop profile. Finishes dry and clean. Not the most flavorful beer, but it's pretty tasty.

M: Carbonation is spot-on for this; the fine bubbles accentuate the finish and whisk away the aftertaste, leaving the mouth clean and ready for another swig. Light-medium body.

D: I had two glasses and enjoyed them both. This seems like a good fallback beer if I'm playing pool (which I was) and there wasn't anything great on tap (which there wasn't).

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Photo of far333
3.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pale apricot colored with a firm beige head that lingers long and leaves sheets if jagged lace up the sides of the glass. No aroma. Even flavor of breast malt, slight corn and grassy notes. Even mouthfeel, full and creamy. Tasty beer, not overly complex.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden and perfectly clear. A few rising bubbles. Head was pretty good and lacing is ok.

Aroma is grainy, sweet, a little citrus, and maybe some biscuit.

Taste is pretty good and about what I expect from a blonde ale. Grains, grasses, biscuit malt, sweetness, a little hops bite and a touch of citrus.

Feel is light and drinkable, but yet more ale-like. It's kinda like an adjunct lager, but with more body and taste. Pretty spot-on for the style.

I like this beer. It was cheep and tastes good. More success from RABC.

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Photo of Jayli
2.8/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Maniacal One for my care package!
Apparence was pretty good with a light pale gold colour with virtually no head retention and no lacing. Scent and taste was weak with some really odd flavours that I could not quite place. I finished the beer, however not one that I would purchase on my own.

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Photo of JDV
2.9/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Billy’s in Austin. Slightly cloudy yellow color, similar to some hefeweizens. Light smell of corn, malt, and spices. Similar taste, with a little hearty corn like malt taste followed by some light coriander-ish spice. Mild, easy drinking beer. Almost like a light hefeweizen. Nothing to write home about, but a decent simple beer.

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Photo of stephens101
3.03/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A honey yellow pour with an already faded head, leaving a good bit of empty space in the pint (note to Ginger Man). There's a spotty lacing all around. Smells of malts, a bit of grass, and some faint hops. Tastes of sweet malts, some honey and subtle, almost undiscernible light fruits. I'm a big Real Ale fan, but this one could use some work.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.42/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle at Boiling Pot. Pours hazy golden with a short-lived white head. Aroma is of barnyard yeast, sour apple and grassy hops. Body is medium and crisp. Biscuit malt, some herbal hops and ripe fruit fill the mouth. Finish is medium and dry. Nice session brew.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy straw gold with a finger of bright white head. Nice aroma with some biscuity grain, grass, lemon, and honey.

Slightly low carbonation and a creamy, light mouthfeel. Honey and biscuit malt up front followed by some light lemon and a little grainy bitterness on the tail end.

Pretty smooth and easy-drinking, but the more malt-dominated blondes aren't my favorite.

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Fireman's #4 from Real Ale Brewing Company
3.44 out of 5 based on 803 ratings.
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