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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

468 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 468
Reviews: 311
rAvg: 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 468 | Reviews: 311 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So this is the beer camp California Common, eh...

Curious pour...It carries a head like a soda pop...Brilliantly clear amber and nary a bubble a burstin' (aka it's very lightly carbonated). Decent lacing considering...

Aromas are what one might expect from a beer that's tyled after Red Tail and Anchor Steam Beer...Heavy caramel malt...I get a touch of vanilla and some sweetness, which hearkens to the higher than average ABV of 6.5%...

BTW: The basics: $19/12 pak in the beer camp box (great price!!) and 6.5% ABV (decent)...

Flavor is great, in my opinion...I love the strong malt character, very typical of the California Common. This one happens upon a peach juice middle, however - kinda tangy, kinda sweet and sharp! Finish is relatively short and tangy, with a nice hop kick but the malt is king here.

What I like most: The nice, to style flavor profile...

What I like least: The lack of carbonation...

Verdict: CERTAINLY worth the price and actually quite a tasty rendition of the style...

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.

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.)

Photo of avalon07
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a golden yellow color and a clear texture. There was an inch of creamy, somewhat long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A very malty smell, with traces of hops and some citrus.

T: Tasted of malt, mild citrus, earthy hops, and an almost grainy element. Not quite what I expected after having some other California Commons (e.g., Anchor Steam), but it was an interesting flavor. Alcohol was surprisingly noticeable.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick, oily finish. Light-bodied.

O: This beer doesn't necessarily adhere to the style, but it does make for an interesting drink.

Photo of MacQ32
2.58/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Purchased from the Charleston Beer Exchange, poured a clear golden color with a 1/2 finger white head in my tulip glass. Pretty decent retention at first with minimal lacing

S: Grassy hops, some yeast, malt and a hint peppery spice. Weak nose overall - similar to Glissade

T: Mild malty sweetness. Hard to pick out the flavor due to blending of flavors with a mild earthy hop flavor. The hops are subtle but provide a nice balance, although I find this libation a bit bland for my liking.

M: Medium bodied. Fair amount of carbonation. Earthy finish

D: An easy drinking beer, could certainly have several of these, but not enough taste to keep me interested. (Not a big summer ale guy anyway)

Photo of spitInTheOcean
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

color is on the golden side of amber, with a nice head retention.

aroma is mildly hoppy and malty, and unless i am mistaken the alc come through a little bit as well.

not alot of flavor here. little bit of malts, little bit of hops. kind of like the aroma.

the beer has a nice body to it, which is a surprise for it clarity. crisp finish.

overall, this guess this just isnt my kind of beer. it ok, but i have not been impressed.

Photo of Pahn
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. From 2011 Beer Camp sampler.

Appearance: Free pour yields a two inch, fizzy white head that dissipates quickly leaving a few spots of lacing. Pours a clear, beautiful gold, and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Bready in the bottle, breadier with sweet and effervescent highlights in the glass. Mild hops at first, getting fruitier and grassier with warmth. Very pleasant aroma.

Taste: Follows the nose, bolstered by the excellent, creamy mouthfeel. Yeasty and bready up front, ending with a really nice bitterness. Not too much hop influence beyond a mild grassiness and a suggestion of fruit (barely there).

The overall flavor is very clean and very good. The one flaw for me is that the high-for-the-style 6.5%ABV does show through a bit, and its heat gets in the way of the great flavors that are happening otherwise (reminds me of Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary bock in that respect, actually). It's a small complaint.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy with moderate carbonation. Excellent finish; the high-ish bitterness comes as a bit of a (welcome) surprise in light of the other flavors, and transitions perfectly into the dry finish.

Overall: This is a very good beer that just misses greatness in all categories (except mouthfeel). I think with a little less noticeable alcohol, and just a bit more hop character in the smell and taste (and some greater lacing and head retention) this beer would be an absolute masterpiece. As is, it's very solid.

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-This beer is clear, crystalline amber. Lazy bubbles lift from the bottom of the glass. The head rises and dies off quite quickly. Almost no head remains after the die-off. Patchwork lacing dots the entire glass.

S-Sweet aroma. Smells a bit like apple juice to me. Light hops prickle the nose. A bit yeasty too. The hops are light and exhibit some floral characteristics. The malt is dough/bread like. The yeast is more evident after every sniff, also is probably where I am getting the apple juice smell from. The nose is complex but not very strong.

T-The sweet and bready malt is the first thing that hints me in the taste. Some light lemon and floral hops punch in soon after. I get more hops in the taste than in the nose. Well balanced. I can taste the yeast too. Still getting some apple juice flavor. A bit more intense in the flavor department.

M-More carbonated than the bubbles would lead you to believe. Lighter bodied. The consistency of the beer sticks around after each sip.

O/D-This is my final beer from the Beer Camp 12 pack. This was my least favorite of the four found in the pack. I still enjoy this beer, but I do not love it. Overall, the Beer Camp 12 pack is awesome. If this beer so happens to be my least favorite out of a variety pack, then that means you got a great variety pack.

Photo of snilsen13
2.84/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My complaints are probably the same as other's praise.

The smell is okay, mild and not easily identified. Smells like a home brew. It tastes pretty strongly of alcohol, which shouldn't need to be the case. It's unusual in a beer of this strength, so I'll just rate it as an average, even though it's anything but average.

Overall, it's a lot like many home brewed beer I've made and this recipe is not a keeper. It needs tweaking. Still, it's a drinkable beer and while I wouldn't make it twice I still find it an enjoyable drink. I'll give it an average rating.

Strike 1 for Beer Camp.

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.

Photo of Brez07
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received from sitarist in the Blind Beer BIF #5. So... reviewed blind. 12oz poured into a pint glass

A: Popped off the cap... hey, wait a sec, this says Sierra Nevada. Haha, whoops. Pours a clear goldenrod color with a 1/2 finger white head. Pretty decent retention at first. No lacing to speak of (3.5)

S: Grassy hops, some yeast, malt with a bit of peppery spice. Not much of a nose, but enough that I have an immediate guess of some sort of Bock. Because of the light color, I'd say Maibock (3.5)

T: Sweetness from the malt. I'd say caramel, but barely. Hard to pick out the flavor here because it blends with an earthy hop flavor. The hops are nice, very subtle, but certainly adds a needed balance (4)

M: Medium bodied. Fair amount of carbonation. Earthy finish (3.5)

D: An easy drinking beer. Not something that wows you, just a solid beer (3.5)

Photo of portia99
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a crystal clear, rich golden color, perhaps with a gentle copper hue to it. A finger of fluffy white head lingers for a bit and finally dies to a thick skim coat on the surface, a foamy collar and some sparse lacing on the glass.

S - Floral hops up front, sweet, a bit fruity and a background bitterness.

T - Very fruity and estery, floral/perfumey hops, sugary sweetness, a green/fresh cut grassiness. A bit of buttery diacetyl too.

M - Not a very clean fermentation, lots of esters in here. Strong carbonation over the top of a medium body.

O - Interesting and pretty good take on the style. This really fermented out very estery, not really surprising, but more than I would have expected. A solid beer, but not sure I'd rush back to have another of these. Something is missing/not exactly right here...just can't place exactly what it is.

Photo of Wadsey
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hard-poured into a New Belgium tulip.

A: Deep, clear gold beer with lackadaisical bubbles. Eggshell white head that lacks retention and leaves little lacing behind.

S: Light caramel, toasted and grainy malts, with some citrus (lemon) and woody hop notes. Multi-grain characteristics seem to be in charge.

T: Touch of light sweetness kicks off taste, followed by big grainy malts, some toast and a bit of caramel. The lemony and woody hop notes are present, too, but once the bitterness asserts itself, and it does, they take on more of a grassy quality.

M: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation. A little drying.

D: Damned drinkable. SN Beer Camp is an attractive beer that is quite quaffable.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear medium gold color into my snifter with less than a finger of head that displays little retention or lacing.

S - Malted barley, light hops, and grain. Pretty mild overall.

T - Toasted malted barley, mild caramel sweetness, lemongrass notes and just a touch of bitterness that lingers on the palate.

M - Light in body and not at all overwhelmed with excessive carbonation, extremely smooth and creamy.

O - This actually is a very enjoyable beer, it's just not off the chats exciting by any means. Really nice balance and very crisp and refreshing.

Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I actually poured a bottle and a half into a 1/2 liter stein,a brilliant bronze color with a large fluffy white top,great definition and great lasting power to the head.The hoppiest steam beer I have come across at least aroma wise,to go along with herbal/grassy hops came a big sweet caramel base.Herbal hops again make a presence on the palate but the sweeter side kinda wins out,caramel and drunken fruit with an iron tinge overtop of herbal hops.This a brash steam beer with big sweetness and a healthy dose of hops,its brash,would you expect anything from this series?

Photo of projectflam86
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a golden color with a thick foam that settles to a nice ring. Scattered lacing left.

S- Rich toasted malt aroma in the nose. Sweet, and biscuity.

T- Certainly more hops in the flavor than in the nose. Sharp bite of hops initially with a rounded malt center. A touch of alcohol in the finish.

M- Medium bodied and crisp. Fairly dry and refreshing.

O- Overall a very drinkable brew and a nice take on the style.

Photo of ebby82
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium golden hue into a pint glass with minimal head.

The aroma is not very strong, but what there is mostly sweet, light malt, perhaps almost fruity in aroma.

The taste is of very light malt, with barely a hint of hops. Slightly sweet.

The mouthfeel is exceedingly smooth, and the body is light and crisp. A really nice beer for a summer day, or any day for that matter.

Photo of Natural510
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the Beer Camp mixer.

Pours a very light amber-orange; decent swath of head & lacing.

Scent is sweet and fruity from the malt, with a hint of yeast.

Flavor is also very sweet, with notes of cherry, wheat and a powdery yeast. A bit boozy toward the end, with a cough-syrup quality. Only the slightest hint on hops in the finish.

Nice body and mouthfeel; quite sturdy for the style.

Unique take on the steam beer/CC style; a bit heavy on the ABV and overly sweet. Perhaps Ken was looking to do a 180 from what is brewed from his good friend Fritz. A bit too much so for my tastes, but still a stand-up beer on its own.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper-orange color with a big finger of white head. The head fades down to a thin frothy ring around the glass.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malts and some light citrus hops. Little bit of floral and fruity aromas as well.

T - Starts off with some citrus hop flavor and sweet caramel malts. There is a bit of other fruity flavor mixed in. Through the middle, some light hop bitterness and floral elements come through. The finish is a mix of cirtus flavor and caramel malt with a touch of bitterness that lingers nicely.

M - Medium to medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. Super smooth and crisp without any watery feeling. The finish is really clean and refreshing.

D - Very drinkable. Feels really crisp and fairly light without being empty or lacking in any way. Really like the hop malt balance here.

Photo of Kendo
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a pilsner glass. Body is clear, dark golden with a small white head. Some scraggly lace left behind.

S: Cereal grains and floral hops. Not terribly strong in the nose, but appropriately clean for the style.

T: First impression: it reminds me somewhat of a Helles Bock, but the body is a tad bit lighter. There's a bit of fruity sweetness (ripe apples as it warms) underneath, some bready malt, and then it finishes with the florally hops. A touch of lingering grassiness at the end.

M: Lighter side of things, heft-wise. Carbonation is active but gentle.

O: A good spring lager that's highly drinkable and balanced, yet flavorful. If they replaced Glissade with this as their Spring offering, I'd buy it.

Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice golden body with a quickly dissipating 2 finger head.

Smell is of yeast/malt/hops all lightly complimenting each other.

Taste is like the smell with a medley of the light earthly hops and a clean malt finish.

Overall a really solid beer. My second of the style.

Photo of Brad007
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden color with a two-finger head that is quick on the draw to fade, leaving some lacing.

The aroma of sweet, grainy malt greets the nose with a buttery feel to it and little in the way of hop bitterness.

The hop bitterness shows up here with just a dab of the sweet, buttery malt underneath. Relaxed. Not as sweet as originally perceived.

Lingering bitterness and butteriness. Crisp.

I have to say that even though I'm not big on this style, that I really like this example. It's clean, drinkable and simple.

Photo of codynevels
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased May 12th, 2011
Consumed May 14th, 2011

Reviewed from notes

Bottled poured into a SA Perfect Pint

This beer pours a nice golden copper color with a 2 finger fluffy white head. It is very effervescent, with a ton of carbonation bubbles. The first smell of this beer presents a toasted malt characteristic with slight earthy hops lying underneath. As this beer warms, a nice smoky smell becomes apparent. The taste of this presents more smokiness with toasted grain, and finishes with a slightly sweet maltiness. The body is rather light, highly carbonated, and goes down very easy.

Overall this is a very enjoyable beer, drinks easy with a lot of character, and one of my favorite beers from Sierra Nevada. I will definitely be enjoying another on of these in the near future.

Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this recently as part of the Beer Camp mixed case. Overall it was a great beer and a style that I don't see that often other than the ubiquitous Anchor Steam.

Appearance was very clear, dark copper colored. A little on the low carbonation side but very tasty looking in general.

Aroma was bready and a little hoppy. Not too overwhelming in either area.

Flavor was consistant with the style. Refreshing, interesting without being too complex or extreme in any regard. Just a good craft beer.

Overall, this was a great beer that I will seek out again. In my opinion, the best in the case.

Photo of nlmartin
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer was served chilled in an Imperial Pint glass.

A- The beer has a clear golden colored body with active carbonation. The head is thick pillowy white. Very good head retention. Plenty of lacing remains behind to mark this beers passage from my glass.

Smell: The aroma of the beer is very much biscuits and bready. The hops present very floral, herbal lemony at times.

Taste: The flavor of the beer is toasted malt, caramel sweetness supporting hops with lemony grassy tones through out. A bit of fruity flavors peak out but are quickly smacked down by the hops. Nicely done!

Mouthfeel: The beer is light bodied. The carbonation is active.

Overall: This is a very satisfying beer. This would be my lawnmower beer for the summer if I could buy it as a sixer.

Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 468 ratings.