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Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8 - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

311 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 311
Hads: 469
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 4
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
California Common / Steam Beer |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brent on 05-11-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 311 | Hads: 469
Photo of ZAP
4.73/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Looks the part. Clear gold color..nice lacing on glass.

A-Toasty malts..light caramel...some woody hop notes...

T-Great toasted maltiness...one of the best malt flavors in a beer of this style I have ever tasted...hops are secondary and lend a light woodiness. Just a hint of fruitiness

M-Medium bodied...crisp..great session beer.

O-Kicks the shit out of Anchor steam. One of the best beers of this style I have had. Would buy this by the case if made available. Great summer BBQ beer.

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Photo of Popp24
4.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer and it was my favorite of the Beer Camp choices. This beer has a nice creaminess to it that makes it an easy beer to drink. I really feell like this should be a year round beer for Sierra Nevada or at least a beer that comes out in the Summer or Spring.

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Photo of russpowell
4.52/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours honey colored with 3 fingers of fluffy cream colored head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Slight floral hop notes mix with breadyness & grassy/hay notes

T: Grassy & lemony hop notes up front along with a touch of pear & faint biscuitty malt notes. Dryness mixes in as this warms along with more grassyness, slight bready notes & lemony hops. Finishes crisp, slightly dry with nice lemony notes, could be a touch fruitier though, but that's a nitpick

MF: Light/medium bodied with firm carbonation & great balance

A stellar example of a Cali Common IMO, This one I wish this would turn to a year rounder or seasonal. The best of the four hands down

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Photo of titosupertramp
4.48/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful golden amber color, clear. Thick, white, frothy head. Lots of big bubbles and texture. After the head is gone, you're left with a film with carbonation bubbles poking through. Lots of sticking lacing. Wonderful look to this beer.

S: Clean and refreshing. Lemon citrus, grass, pale, sweet malt.

T: Follows the nose. Getting a tea flavor again with lemon, grass and the sweet malt. Just a little peppery towards the end.

M: Medium bodied and buttery.

O: Wow. I really like this beer. If this gets packaged by itself down the line, I will buy a lot of it. Would make a terrific transition to craft beer and it would also satisfy seasoned beer geeks.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The yeast strain used for "steam" beer or "California Common" is the Christian Schmidt strain from Philadelphia. Does that really fit with the true history of the style? We don't know. (Possibly, yes, there are some thing that would point to something along those lines considering that John Wagner brewed the first lager beer in American in Philadelphia in 1840). But what we do know for sure is that the current ideal of "steam" beer was created by Anchor Brewing Company and that's the strain that they're using. So, what about that? Well, it gives the beer a bit of sulphur along with some fruitiness. It has a bit of a bite to it, and a touch of character. That's what distinguishes it from either a straight-forward ale or lager. The question then is, does Sierra's "Beer Camp California Common" have it? And the answer is yes. There's a touch of sulphur and a nice, wide fruitiness that's mainly reminiscent of juicy apple. (If you don't find the sulphur at first, you should find it in the burp - it should remind you of a lager). The rest is easy: pulling together the malt bill with a little bit of caramel; and focusing the bitterness level - both achieved! Overall it's quite pleasant, and it's got a lot of character to it despite its being basically a malt and yeast beer as the hops are kept in check. It's nicely done; and well worth checking out given the fact that the other beers in the "Beer Camp" 12-pack are quite nice as well.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aggressive pour yielded a fairly small but foamy head. But holy shit! This beer is bubbly as champagne! It looks like a volcano. Hope that isn't a bad sign. Body is a very clean shade of light orange. Smell is very sweet, citrusy and somewhat floral. Has a bit of a wheat texture to it. Has a good clean somewhat hoppy scent. Taste is a pleasantly surprising hoppy. Very grassy with hints earthy tones. Great thirst quenching taste and could be great for converting non beer drinkers. Carbonation is nicely aggressive but in a good way. Overall I will simply say I enjoyed the hell out of this beer!

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Photo of dcook11
4.44/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper hue with decent lacing at the start that fades into nothingness after ten minutes or so. Smeels of light hops and sweet malt, some caramel as well. Balanced. The taste is similiar to the smell, with just a touch more hop presence. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied. Overall a very enjoyable and balanced offering.

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Photo of klewis
4.43/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a bright golden with a moderate frothy head. Light lacing.

S: Inviting aroma with honey and light citrus.

T: Malty with a candy-like sweetness. Full, thick flavors of honey, brown sugar, and tropical fruit. Almost a dessert beer.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Unusually chewy and sticky for the style, but I like it.

D: A solid offering and certainly one of the best commons that I've had. Well done!

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Photo of JosiahS
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: Dark straw color, lots of carbonation nice half-inch white head. Very lively and refreshing-looking.

s: light bready malts with a decent dry/floral hop character followed by some citrus and lager yeast.

t: Initially this beer comes off as very well-hopped. Lots of floral and citric flavor but it doesn't overshadow the great caramel and nougat flavor. Finishes clean.

m: Light-medium in thickness with a clean and crispness in the mouth.

o: A lot of flavor for a California Common, I like this a lot.

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Photo of jsh420
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours clear bright golden orange with a 1.5 finger white head that covers the glass with lacing

smells of sweet bready malts apples pears - hint of grassy hops

taste is very similar to the nose but with a good deal of hop bitterness to help balance the sweet bready malts

mouthfeel - medium body with great carbonation that gives this lager life without being too harsh

overall - very impressed with this offering - reminds me of a heavier SN summerfest with the bitterness of the SN esb

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Poured a light copper with about 1 finger of a pillowy white head. The head dissolved quickly leaving a thin film. Lacing was already forming as the head receded. The body looked rather thin during the pour. Also minimal carbonation was present.

Smell: Sweet notes with a bready lager aroma in the background. I hate to make comparisons – but it sort of reminded me of a Sam Adams Boston Lager. I also got a fruitiness with a little spice at the end. Very nice so far.

Taste: I immediately noticed some pit fruit infused with a spicy bite. Carbonation then kicked in somewhere towards the back of the tongue. The finish was a clean hoppiness that I really didn’t notice until the beer left the palate. A warming alcohol sensation with some nutty notes incorporated into the aftertaste.

Although this is a very thin bodied beer, it is still very well balanced with some interesting complexity. I have to be honest - this is only my second 'Steam Beer' ever so I may be completely off track with this review. It is a very enjoyable beer though.

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Photo of dfillius
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A; Aggressive pour yields 1 finger of tight white head with good retention. Clear golden amber liquid is good looking - typical for S.N.
S: Clean and bready with a crisp Noble hop balance. Herbal with slight lemon peel.
T: Tastes like it smells. Clean and bready with some caramel notes. Crisp seemingly Noble hops have an herbal flavor and balance well with slight citrus. Flavors stay paired well all throughout. Cascade? hops emerge near the end.
M: Crisp and clean and full
D: Love it! I want another and I would buy 6. Perfect for a warm day.

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Photo of JizackFH
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer pours a very clear golden copper color. It has a big fluffy 2-finger white head on it. The head has good retention, and leaves some nice sticky lacing on the glass.

S - It smells of nice bready malts, and a bit of some earthy hop character. There is also some scents of grain and some floral notes.

T - This starts of with a nice bready malt backbone. There is a sweet yeast flavor, and a great hop character that slowly intensifies. It has a great complex malt flavor, that works perfect with the hops. I am also getting some earthy bitterness. The finish has some lingering earthiness and hop bitterness.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It has a very smooth creamy feel to it. There is some lingering hoppy bitterness. This is a very nice feel for the style.

O - This has good drinkability. It goes down super easy, and the flavor is great. Truthfully, I did not expect much from this beer, but boy was I wrong. Every aspect of this beer is wonderful, I will definitely be picking up more of this. Look out Anchor Brewing, theres a new california common in town.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fantastic golden body, exceptional clarity, topped by a softball of snow white micro-bubbles. Terrific thick lace.

Pleasant, inviting light juicy fruity aroma.

Sweet caramel beginning dances across the tongue. Plenty of juicy fruit leading up to a crisp hop nip at the swallow and a clean finish with a mild lingering bitterness.

Firm middle of the road mouthfeel carries everything along smoothly and lightly.

A great take on California Common, a nice salute to that other pioneering California brewery that I always pair with SN in my head.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint. Very nice clear golden color with a thin white head and a bit of lacing.

Not much in the aroma but a slight malt aroma. Little bit of that steam lager aroma.

Taste is so smooth and tasty. Clean steam beer taste. Nice slight malty taste. Don't know why everyone is giving it only a B.

Mouthfeel is smooth and easy drinking.

Overall I could pound this beer during the summer months. Very tasty and smooth. If they ever put this in cans I'll be buying 12 packs.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - clear brass color with a off-white head that left some thick lacing on the top of the mug despite it's thinning out.

S - sweeter malt aroma with a hint of pungent hops.

T - good all around balance of sweet and bitter flavors dancing on my tongue.

F - medium bodied with a smooth, refreshing feel.

O - a very good beer.

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Photo of mynie
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Commons have always confused me, as they have most beer folk. They're basically American Pales only they're lagers, not ales. Thing is, ales keep better than lagers. And we're not expecting lagers to be hoppy.

This, like your standard common, is hoppy. Only unlike, say, Anchor Steam, it wears its laggeriness on its sleeve. The front end therefore tastes like the beginning of a hoppy APA--nodes of caramel, and the citrusy start of what's sure to be a long, bitter hop. But then it drops, as if jumping down (or up, I guess) 3 whole rungs of a stepladder, and turns into the backend of a robust pils. The split is disconcerting, but sometimes things are disconcerting not because they bad but because they're good in a way you're not familiar with.

Despite being so un-common (a huh huh hur), the two styles actually compliment each other quite well, once you get past the initial reaction in which they appear to clash. The dry, pleasantly fizzy back end, reminiscent of a Pilsener Urkel only not as saazy, serves to accentuate the ale-y front end, which is a nice change of pace. With ales, the front becomes an afterhought after the first couple sips. Here, there's more room to explore its sweet, malty complexities, and to really appreciate the way the hops taste before the bitterness (usually) sets in.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer pours a clear deep orange body with a swirl of microbubbles supporting and off-white head that sticks to the glass with each sip and last for a good bit.

S- This beer has a woody green hop aroma with some pale biscuit malt underneath but is overall really clean.

T- The pale malt is dry with a green woody hop flavor to follow and some citrus hops notes in the finish. The soft green hop pellet flavor grows a bit to balance the citrus notes and there is a green bitter hop note that lingers after the dry finish.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight carbonation and a crisp texture.

O- This beer has a nice smooth Northern brewers hop character with a good biscuit/pale malt blend and it is very crisp and light with a subtle depth. Great beer for warm weather.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass: off white head light lacing; color is amber.

Smell is caramel sweetness with grainy undertones and hint of grassy hops.

Taste is just right, a touch sweet, with caramel tones and light graininess. Hints of hop bitterness, but unidentifiable.

Mouthfeel is great balance of sweet, bitter and good carbonation. Flavors linger nicely on the tongue and hit the cheek well.

Overall, nearly an exceptional example of the style. I can't believe it's 6.5%, flavors are great.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks go out to betsona for this beer.

A- Pours a pale orange color. Two finger white head shows good retention. Long streaks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Grassy hops in the front of the nose balanced out the hints of grain that went with the caramel backbone. Alcohol really isn't much in the nose. Overall not bad smelling at all.

T- Light bitter hops in the front of the beer cut through what would be a caramel malt sweetness. Light green apple notes in the middle of the beer. Lager yeast, caramel malts, and grassy hops blend together wonderfully in the ending giving way to a crisp alcohol flavor.

M- Light medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is lively for the beer. Grassy hops and caramel malts last on the palate and long into the aftertaste with hints of alcohol in the aftertaste as well. Overall very well balanced for the style. No off flavors were present while drinking it. Light drying on the palate with each sip.

O- I thought this was a nice refreshing twist on this style. While I would think of this as more of lighter pale ale it wowed me for what it was. A couple ABV points lower and Sierra Nevada would have one hell of a session beer that I would buy all the time.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a pale orange with two fingers of rocky white head.

S: Crisp, fresh-cut grass hops with a sticky, slightly metallic backbone.

T: Smooth and bitter. It has enough hop presence to balance out the clean lagered malty flavours.

D: Goes down very easily. alcohol is nowhere at all and it drinks more like a 4.9 than a 6.5. The mouthfeel is interesting, too. It goes from prickly carbonation to medium-bodied in seconds.

Overall: A great beer! The thing I love about this one is that it is damned refreshing! This is a style that really needs to be brewed more frequently. This was my favorite beer for the "beer camp" pack. Its the perfect summer beer. If SN ever puts this in sixers I will buy it more often than SN Pale Ale, I shit you not.

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Photo of bonkers
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a SA perfect pint glass, light yellow pour, moderate white head. The aroma was light and pretty, IMO typical for style. The beer was hoppier than I expected, grassy and herbal. It has a lingering light hop finish. The carbonation was good, light body. My favorite from the mixed 12 pack, a very surprising brew, hope they make this into a 6 pack.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint. Loads of carbonation bubbling up through the golden amber body a la champagne. The size of the head is less than you'd normally see from this brewery, but it's dense, creamy and leaves handsome lacing behind.

Pleasant grainy nose with a grassy and citric hops in the background. The flavor flipflops, with grass and citrus washing over the palate right away. Bitter sting midswallow, then a clean, refreshing finish. Full of flavor and quite satisfying. A touch of booziness is the only complaint I have about this beer; dial it back to 5, 5.5% and it'd be just about perfect. (It's pretty damned tasty as it is.)

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Photo of drabmuh
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At the time of this review, this is the #3 California Common / Steam beer on beeradvocate best of lists. Served in a pint glass.

Beer is light in color and mostly clear with a nice white head of small and medium bubbles, moderate to low carbonation and a little lacing on the glass.

Aroma is weak but exactly as expected, wet with a mild yeast and grain presence.

This beer is thin and drinks about as easy as it gets. I'm really feeling this beer. Awesome, I could down a keg of this stuff. I like the mild sweetness on the front and the wet finish in the back, no aftertaste, low bitterness, overall a great great beer.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear golden colored brew, small white head with a fair amount of lace. Pilsner malt scent, maybe a hint of hops. Loads of malt for the taste, a lots of different fruit tones, pretty good amount of hops. Medium bodied, very refreshing. I'm loving this brew. Brew it as a seasonal SN, por favor.

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Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 311 ratings.