Long John Ale | Red Brick Brewing Company

30 Reviews
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Long John AleLong John Ale

Brewed by:
Red Brick Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by khiasmus on 11-25-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 36
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.03/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Brown pour with 1/6" of off white head on it. Aroma was a little bit of sweet brown sugar, cinnamon and caramel malt tones.

Taste hit with the alcohol first, warming effect, mild chocolate and brown malt notes, stayed away from bitterness. Tobacco edge to it.

Interesting interpretation of BDSA from the South.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.13/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This vintage of Red Brick's Long John Ale is from before the rebranding to Long John Ale, when it was known as Red Brick Winter Brew Belgian Style Ale. While there is no date or label information on the bottle, the cap is branded from the previous company name as The Atlanta Brewing Company, dating this bottle likely around late 2009-early 2010 at most recent. A couple of years age possibly exceeds this ale beyond its viability, but granted I can rarely ever find even fresh Long John Ale in any stores, this is as close as I'll be able to get to trying this beer. For similar album art to my bottle, look under Winter Brew: Oatmeal Porter.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to my Brick Mason snifter. Served north of 48º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) A vigorous pour yields a short lived creamy light tan head of a frothy consistency over a mahogany brown body with medium clarity and significant dark sediment, perhaps expired yeast. Head and body quality would suggest a Belgian Dark that is past its prime, but it was still somewhat vivacious in its appearance. Fortunately, the appearance is overall a minor player in the overall score and matters little to me personally. 3

(Smell) Dark roasted Belgian candied sugars, dates, figs, and notes of raisin bread yeast amongst an otherwise clean beer. Very noticeable grain alcohol booziness present, a bit strong in comparison to the malt and yeast character. Potentially decent, but the malt body has dried up a bit and the alcohol is taking a lead in the overall aroma. 3

(Taste) Limited raisin bread malt profile, mildly sweet with a sharp dry grain alcohol finish. Very warming with a limited drinkability unless you like sharp alcohol notes. There is a great deal of candied sugars, fruity yeast notes and malt body there, but there should be a bit more residual sweetness and texture. I think that the malt character is past its prime. Although the body held up decently, the alcohol is just intensely strong and sharp, limiting drinkability, and none of the malt nor yeast character can even begin to balance it out. Not completely off-base for the style but not very drinkable either. 3

(Mouthfeel) Texture is medium thick, mildly chewy and mildly sticky. Carbonation is mild but decent for the style. I find that carbonation and texture is in the right as compared to the flavor. This beer doesn't need to be fizzy creamy or even fluffy in texture, the touch of thickness that it has is near perfect. Alcohol is easily discernible, very boozy and not quite enough sweet body left to round it out. The body is light-medium for the style, and heavy overall. 3.75

(Overall) However many years old this beer happens to be, it held up surprisingly well, but I couldn't help but consider how much better balanced a fresher vintage of this beer could be. There was a great deal of candied malt and fruity yeast notes, but a strong grainy alcohol really limited drinkability and took away from the experience. This beer could have managed to go easier on the alcohol- bigger isn't always better as this beer loses its focus a bit. I'm not ruling this beer out- it deserves a fresher take, but if you have them, don't hold on to them for nearly this long! If you're an Atlanta beer completist, good luck ever trying to find this, but I wouldn't try all that hard. 3.25

Red Brick Brewing Company's
Red Brick Winter Brew Belgian Style Ale (Vintage Long John Ale-Pre 2010)

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, brought to Portland by Cyberkedi (thanks, Freya) and poured first to a standard pint...then re-poured to a teardrop goblet, once I realized the error of my ways - that this is a Strong Belgian Dark (nothing on the label ever goes beyond vague hints at this).

On the label: "Weep for your northern brethren. Long winters. Suspect college football. And perhaps worst of all, no Red Brick beer." and so it continues... good stuff to read for an ex-Southerner like me...

A: Mahogany or a lighter garnet shade, but it's deep and brown at the end of the day. Pretty strong head, a full finger of toasted marshmallow/ivory. Lilting lace in jaunty bands.

S: Decent from the bottle but improves considerably as it warms. fruit and caramelized brown sugar. Good strength.

T: Nutty maltiness, good spice, fairly fruity - a mash of raisins and plums. A bit smoky/ashy, somewhat of a surprise.

M: Creamy feel and a good, fairly hearty carbonation. Medium-bodied, but a bit muddled and chewy in the end. Booziness is pretty well concealed.

O: Pretty likeable, a bit better than average... but 'Belgian' styles are a tough thing to brew here in the US. 'A' for effort, 'B/B-' for execution. Wouldn't mind trying it again, but, knowing the competition, I'd probably go for the real Belgians instead.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this as part of a generous trade on my end. . . brown pour, no head. Kind of a brown sugar and light cinnamon aroma to it.

Taste, boozy, slightly sweet, bready, a touch of cocoa powder to it. Toffee. Looks like it would have some dark fruit going for it, but nothing appreciable on the tongue could I find. Got a little more complex along the way, alternating between a creamy feel and smooth Laramie cigarettes.

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Photo of carolinahophead
2.98/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to the Flying Saucer Charlotte for getting this beer out out ATL Ga.
A nice brown color with dark fruit & a big booze aroma. The alcohol is there and upfront.The beer has a nice beginning then a warm finish. A medium mouthfeel with some good taste of dark fruit and a good hop finish.
This beer is way over the top. 8% is trouble waiting to happen . The brick knocked me out !

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
2.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Thomas Hooker pint glass.

A: Very cloudy, dark, reddish brown amber color with a frothy, two-finger head of tan foam which hands around in a small, creamy veil, leaving decent lacing on the glass.

S: Toffee-like, bready malt sweetness with raisins and some herbal hop and candied fruit aromas.

T: Like a sweet, syrupy apple-berry juice blend up front, with flavors of apple, pear, candied plum, banana and spiced cherry. A sticky, peppery sweetness combines with a dose of Cherry Tussin, alcohol and all, before washing down prickly and bitter with a lingering, cloying alcohol sweetness.

M: A full-bodied, sweet and chewy ale with prickly carbonation and a pretty harsh alcohol bite.

D: At 8.2% ABV, Long John Ale has certain warming qualities, but I can't tell if it's the brew or the acids heard and felt churning in my system after every other sip. A pretty medicinal, sticky sweet and fruity ale that's too off balanced and boozy for me to enjoy.

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Photo of baconsausage
3.09/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to crookedsill for the extra.
Pours a murky dark brown with little head. smells of ripe apple and dark sugar. Taste is more of the same, but I also get a hint of strawberry. Weird. Carbonation is good for the style, but the mouth-fell is a little bit viscous and slightly off putting. I wouldn't buy more of this, but probably wouldn't turn it down if offered one. Probably.

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Photo of rebel1771
3.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a near black color with an off-white head that fades quickly.

S: Aroma of toasted malts with a slight note of dried fruits.

T: Toasted malts dominate the flavor with a decent amount of candied fruits coming through especially a prominent raisin flavor.

D: This is a decent beer but without a doubt does not taste like a dark Belgian. Kind of a strange beer but not bad.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.3/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some reddish highlights and not much of a head. Lots of belgian yeast in the nose, with banana and some vinous notes, as well as a touch of cocoa. Similar flavor profile with a spice top note as well, but unfortunately the flavor fades quickly on the finish, leaving a watery vegemite character. Relatively smooth, but there is an undercurrent of tea-like tannic bitterness. Not terrible, but seems a bit disjointed.

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Photo of Brent
3.4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Despite the higher ABV, this beer tended toward a bit more reserved Belgian Strong Dark Ale interpretation. Some candy sugar notes up front, but mostly caramel malt. Not as spicy as one would expect, but some pepper bite from the ABV. Overall, a respectable but not impressive stab at the style.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2010 vintage.

Pours hazy brown with a two finger tan head that leaves some lacing and holds a wispy cap and ring.

Aroma is toffee, caramel, candi sugar, spice, cinnamon, strong fruity esters of figs, raisins, apples, banana, some grassy and herbal quality, bread and yeast. Moderate to good strength.

Flavor is chocolate, toffee, caramel, dark fruits, brown/candi sugar, some light citrus hops, fairly sweet and spicy lingering finish. A touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, medium carbonation.

A tasty wintertime brew from this local brewery.

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Photo of Rogsterman
4.09/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reminds me of a nice smoked porter. Other reviews labeled it a Belgian because of the malts used. Not, the case here. I can't see why the beer is getting such bad reviews unless they are basing it on the type of beer it is classified to be. Overall, it's a great beer to have with smoked meat and I would recommend it to dark beer enthusiasts.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.33/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

another new one, they had cases of this sitting at total wine, literally like 20 cases so i grabbed a single and decided to try it out, served in a pint glass,

pour is a nice dark brown with an even head of light tan that just keep building until reaching about two fingers and settling down with a decent lace. aroma is sweet, lots of fruit notes, fig, banana, hints of dark cherries and a very sweet malt nose. the flavor is even sweeter, almost too sweet at times with a huge malt bill and nothing at all to balance it. some slight touch of fruit in the finish but that was it and it was over,

overall not sure what they were trying for here but it did not work. not the best effort.

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Photo of RossCain
2.31/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Served on tap into a tulip glass:

A: Dark amber coloring. Poured with a very small, white head which left virtually no lacing.

S: Overly sweet and yeasty. Almost what you would expect from a decent Belgian gone bad.

T: Hits you up front with moderate notes of Belgian yeast and fruits (raisins, bananas) which turns into slight malty middle with a smokey finish reminiscent of overly toasted bread and burnt sugars. All around OK in the beginning but certainly not what I was expecting.

M: A little too much carbonation with a thin-medium body. The alcohol was masked by the lingering taste of burnt sugar which just kept making its presence known in the aftertaste.

D: I thought that the first 2-3 sips were *OK* but the more I drank, the more and more I was wishing for the beer to be finished with. Certainly not anything that I would recommend as a good Belgian Strong Dark Ale to anyone.

Overall, the Long John Ale left way too much to be desired. From the appearance alone, I was led to believe that I was in for something much better than I was actually left to taste. The beer experience started out relatively weak for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and continued downhill with each consecutive sip. The typical sweet, creamy, and fruity notes you expect would dominate for such a type were masked too much by an almost astringent taste of burnt sugars and burnt bread.

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Photo of BlackBearForge
3.28/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Long John pours a rather murky brown with some ruby highlights and a fizzy head that falls quickly with little to no lacing.

The aroma is mostly of soft fruity malts but little else.

The flavor is predominantly sweet softly dark malts, fruity in character with a touch of banana, bubblegum and just a touch of bitterness on the tongue after the finish. Warming enhances the yeasty esters, but not entirely in a good way.

Mouthfeel is medium, a touch chalky and perhaps a tad harsh from the carbonation.

I'm a bit on the fence with Long John, it's not a bad beer by any description, just a bit odd. I might even develop a taste for it but I doubt I'd want more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of Jason
3.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle w/ a freshness date.

Crackling head drops to a thin lacing, deep burgundy color has some haze. Big ripe banana, medicinal, clove and brown sugar nose. Thick and slick medium body, just enough crispness with a lush smoothness. Vague spice in the middle. Bready doughy malt is coated with toasted bits and cocoa powder. Banana is the forefront of the tropical movement with bandaid medicinal flavors and a warming alcohol in tow. Spicy drying finish with a dash of unsweetened chocolate and dried grass.

Spice, alcohol and fruit is talking holiday all over. A bit boisterous and lopsided by still enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of obireidkenobi
3.85/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Formerly known as Red Brick "Winter" Ale. Apparently this is supposed to be the same recipe as "Winter" but there is a slight taste difference.

Appearance: Deep amber, 1 finger white head on the pour.

Smell- Belgian for days. Yeast, dried fruit. Sweet.

Taste- Sweet Belgian candi sugar, dark fruits, subtle touch of roasty coffee.

Mouthfeel: Not heavy, tart. Slightly tongue curling.

Drinkability: An easy drinker, the sweetness mixed with the dark fruit notes doesn't linger long. Keeps you going for another taste.

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Photo of FLBeerGuy
2.05/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Pours a mahogany color with a thin white head that leaves very little lacing.

Nose is sweet dried fruit and malts.

Taste is awful! I don't have many drain pours, but this one became one. I had high hopes for this one too, sounded good...a Belgian winter ale, but was sadly disappointed.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
2.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid brown with a light red tint- very little head.
Smell is light of dark fruit with some belgian spice.
Taste is pretty ok- dark fruit pits are solid.
Finish is dry with very little spice on the end and after.
Drinks ok- it goes very well at 8.2

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Photo of mwa423
2.18/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - The color was a hazy/murky red with a finger of off white head that quickly disappeared and left some lacing.

S - Little smell, a bit of raisin and dried fruit.

T - Uh....I think whomever traded me this at Dark Lord Day was mad at me. The taste was similar to rotten raisins fermented over Belgian yeast and spiced in secondary fermentation. As far as both the category and winter beers, this is near the bottom.

M/D - Mouthfeel was hard to rate because I tried to throw this back as fast as possible but overall, if you're still considering drinking this, don't. Drinkability? I wish I had a funnel handy to make it go quickler.

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Photo of fairdinkum2
2.91/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I've been a big fan of ABC brewing products since I discovered that the brewery was around the corner from where I work. They have a happy hour three times a week with four beers for eight bucks and live music on occasion. What's not to like right?

I've tried the Winter brew on tap and it's not what I remember in this bottled version.

The beer pours well with a nice finger thick, creamy tan head and a deep red brown color.

That's where the comparison with "Belgian Style Ale" ends. Where most of these styles are warm, rich and smooth, this effort demonstrates lifted, volatile notes.

Almost perfumey nose followed by a rather coarse flavors of hops, spice and weak coffee. Definitely not the richness of Belgian ales. Just a little shy of the mark.

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Photo of Crazy4LegMoose
3.67/5  rDev +18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown hue with 1 and a half fingers of a creamy golden brown head that dissapates very quickly. Slight lacing left on the glass.

S: Pleasant chocolate smell accentuated by a malted scotch flavor.

T: A nice balance of smooth roasted coffee flavors, combined with chocolate and scotch with a hint of scotch whisky in the finish. Very interesting combination of flavors.

M: Smooth medium bodied beer. Good carbonation balance.

D: Good drinkability for a winter brew. Really warms up the body after a couple of these.

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Photo of movingtrain
2.71/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this beer up at a little wine shop in North Carolina...had never heard of the brewery, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

So, the bottle reads "Belgian-Style Ale." Mostly, I agree. It is in that style, but not an excellent representation of it. The appearance is brown/dark amber with a decent head that quickly fades. There is a little sediment floating around in the glass, as well.

The smell seems pretty close...a little funky, caramel, some chocolate notes, maybe some dark candy sugar, figs, dried fruit.

As for the taste, there isn't much body here...it's tasting a bit watered down. There is some good bitterness up front, and then again on the back of the tongue, but where the weight of the beer should be, it is lacking. I'm not sure what it is...the best way I can describe it is to say it tasted like a slightly watery/less flavorful spiced brown ale.

Overall, a decent beer...not undrinkable, but probably not one I would pick up again if I saw it. I'm glad I tried it, but this isn't one to really write home about.

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Photo of glid02
3.47/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle had at Twain's in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy dark brown color with a thin layer of tan bubbles on top. The head recedes quickly to a thin ring around the glass leaving no lacing.

Smells of bananas and bubblegum with hints of roasted malts and subtler hints of bread.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The banana/bubblegum flavors rule throughout, with bready undertones and a nondescript ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side and doesn't seem to have as much body as it should.

Drinkability is good. I finished one without a problem, but I'm not sure I'd want another one.

Overall I didn't think this beer was a bad as most others that have reviewed it. That being said, it didn't do much to further ABC's cause (or Atlanta's for that matter) as a solid brewery (or brewing town).

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Photo of farrago
3.12/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Virtually no head when poured, just a thin accumulation around the glass sides, zero lacing. Deep brown core, further out towards the rims there's orange and yellow shades, almost fully opaque. Boisterous banana, fruitcake, plum, cherry and ginger, coriander spices, licorice too, the nose is a mother lode of sweetness, milk chocolate, bubblegum, all that junk in the trunk. Full-bodied in terms of weight but weak in terms of maintaining that weight and palate pressure. Seems more foamy than carbonated, prematurely breaks up the concentration of the brown sugar, molasses, chocolate sweetness. Banana, green apple, plum, cherry fruit fade into bubblegum flavors. Dried oranges and tangerines. Not as sweetly spicy as in the nose. Double clutches on the finish, you can't get to to soak in before it hiccups on you.

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Long John Ale from Red Brick Brewing Company
3.11 out of 5 based on 36 ratings.
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