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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 311 | Hads: 469
Photo of arizcards
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up as part of the Beer Camp 12-Pack in early July from Bevmo for $17.99.

Beer poured a golden-orange with the typical SNBC solid head.

Nose is sweet grains.

Taste is sweet grains balanced perfectly with enough hops to make this refreshing even at the 6.5 abv.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with enough carbonation to make this nicely refreshing after a hard day of working around the house.

Overall this is a very nice beer, glad i had the opportunity to try!

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Comes out a hearty golden amber color, excellent clarity, borderline perfect. Foamy white head, small bubbles, ok lacing, head doesn't stick around too long though.

Smell is ok, not very strong though. It's well malted, little hop presence detected, maybe slight citrus/cascade. Sweet grains, toffee and hints of brown sugar and butterscotch.

Taste is a reasonable step up. Again very well malted. Sweet brown/orange bread and grains, toffee and butterscotch blend, brown sugar again. Hops more detectable in the taste, stronger citrus taste, but malts are much more powerful.

Mouthfeel is good, for such a well malted beer it's lighter than one would expect. Sort of a long dryish finish, pretty good. More malted but a good balance. Nice carbonation level.

Only other California Common beer was Anchor Steam, so not too experienced with the style, but I like it.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass - Pint

A - Super clear golden color with little visible C02. It produced a 1-2 finger head that dissipated quickly. I didn't get any lacing on my glass.

S - It's got a nice hop aroma of floral, pine, and lemon notes. I get some mild sweet aroma's, along with soft biscuit, caramel and toasted bread notes. It kinda reminds me of an American Pale Lager.

T - I definitely get more malt character than I expected. Upfront I get a bit of leafy lemony hop flavors, along with a touch of alcohol. Mid to finish I get a nice combo of toffee, bread, biscuit, and caramel towards the end. It finishes with a bit of moderate, lingering bitterness and hints of alcohol.

M - Medium-full bodied with lite-moderate carbonation and a smooth feel.

O - Overall I liked it. I liked it's easy drinking flavor profile and the body was great to me. I'd definitely drink it once in a while but I gotta say I'd probably just end up going for a Pale Ale or America Pale Lager at this point. Worth a try. Cheers!

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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 ummswimmin
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have enjoyed sampling the Beer Camp series. It was nice for Sierra Nevada to go in these new directions. This was my first California Common, which I tried because it was part of the Camp.

I poured this into a pilsner glass. There was a lot of foam in the initial pour. The creamy foam stayed on the top for quite a while. The result was some really nice lacing running all the way down the glass.

There wasn't a whole lot to the smell on this one. Just a simple aroma coming off the top.

The flavor was also very simple. It had stock pilsner flavor. There is minimal hop flavoring and light maltiness. There is a little bit of metalic after-taste, but that went away as the beer warmed.

It was pretty good. The Beer Camp was hard for me to find. So, I probably won't go out looking for this one as it was good but not great.

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Photo of gabedivision
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass.

Deep golden yellow color with hints of orange and red, and a thin white lace of a head. Light bready malts, light citrus tone. Nice buttery buscuity taste, citrus throughout, lots of fruit tones flying around very smooth. Light on the feel, smooth, creamy, goes down well. Overall this was ok, probably my least favorite in the beer camp back.

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

This beer was a golden color with a thick white head. A tiny bit of lace.

Sweet malt aroma. A good deal of fruit.

Caramel malt. Fruity orange taste. Some light hops.

A crisp, refreshing beer.

Easy to drink and very enjoyable. I would drink this again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden copper with one finger of head. Nice retention. There's a very faint nose; yeast, piny hops, and a little malt. Taste is light, smooth malt flavor and pine hopes. The bitterness from the hops lingers on the palate. Well carbonated and crisp.

Not a bad beer. Not as good as the others in the mix pack, but it's drinkable and it doesn't really disappoint.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a Beer Camp variety pack at Safeway.

Appearance- golden color, pretty thin head

Smell- citrus fruits, bready malts

Taste- very similar to the smell, citrus fruits, bready malts

Mouthfeel- light to medium bodied, smooth

Drinkability- I thought it was very good. Sierra Nevada usually does their beer right. Very nice

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at 1702 Tucson, AZ; May 2011
The beer arrives with a clear, gold color that is quite a bit paler than the Anchor Steam standard. The beer is topped by a frothy, initially half-finger thick, pale tan colored head that leaves some nice lacing patterns on the sides of my glass. The aroma has an herbal and spicy hoppiness to it up front and the finish has a nice, dry cracker like grain character to it. The finish is also rounded out by touches of lemon zest aromatics as well as something that reminds me a bit of toothpaste (though this last isn’t nearly as bad as it may seem.

The beer tastes dry and bitter up front, but picks up a touch of caramel malt character in the middle that linger on the palate with a touch of a viscous quality. There is a minty hoppiness to the finish that combines with a nipping, softer bitterness. The beer has a bit more body than I expected from the pale color, but it is actually about the same as Anchor Steam; this is definitely quaffable, but has a certain chewy character to it at times. The hop character is definitely the dominant note here with flavors of slight lemon, menthol, a hint of pine and really what is a solid herbaceous quality.

It is certainly nice to try another commercial example of this style. Objectively this is perhaps just a middle of the road Pale Ale, but I get a kick out of the style which makes me enjoy this beer a bit more than I would in a blind setting.

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Photo of chodinheaven
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy orange colored beer with a somewhat sea foam, silky white head on top. Nice lacing. Decent retention. Soft lemony aroma around a wheat malt, and light floral hops.

The lemon aroma translates into a soft lemon flavor with a little hop kick going into the finish. The combination of the wheat malt and lemon taste make for an odd, somewhat bitter and unpleasant aftertaste that ultimately takes focus away from the soft but vibrant flavors in the actual taste. Lots of acidity in there as well. The mouthfeel is a little too carbonated and despite a somewhat crisp and dry finish, it seems to foam up in the mouth, leading to an odd mouthfeel that doesn't fit the style. All in all, not SN's best in my opinion, but for what they were going for, its decent.

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Photo of dbossman
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden hue with a huge steady off-white head and wonderful lacing; quite bubbly too

S: Dry fruits (banana, pear, and apple) dance alongside bready, grainy, grassy qualities; the fruits and bread seem to mingle with such ease next to each other

T: Dry bitterness up front: citrus and apples; then the bready--somewhat earthy--grains come along to help finish the beer nicely

F: Medium body with good carbonation and enough cling to keep the taste lingering

O: A really nice, hoppy version of the style; my first beer in the beer camp 12 pack and so far I am impressed

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

when i poured this beer into a glass, it has a 1' white foamy head on top of a nice golden body. The smell is nice and citrus and some honey and spices come through. The taste starts off sweet then some bitterness on the back of tongue with some spice to it. The mouth feel is nice smooth with some carbonation. Overall this is a good beer.

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Photo of beerman21
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, got it this from there beer camp variety pack. The only California Common I've had from the Anchor Steam Brewery. Which I find to be quite enjoyable and unique. So yet another CA brewery taking a swing at the California common. So lets see how it holds up..

A- Large active carbonation, color golden slightly hazy, I was expected a more Pilneresh appearance.

S-aroma sweet biscuit malts, wet sour dough, hints of floral hops hide behind the bisquity aroma. Nothing really pronounced.

T-Sweet tangy spicness. Earth tones of mild garlic flavor, bitterness is minimal but well balanced behind the up front sweetness of the malts. Carbonation really died down and i would of like to have had more of bite and crispness with it. Smooth but not in a good way.

M- Smooth almost a creamy texture. Nothing like anchor steam where its more chewy then anything. Overall its decent, I hate to compare but anchor steam still has it right. This beer is highly drinkable yet the 6.5%abv I'm sure could sneak up on you.

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

A golden pour, clean and clear. Looks 'denser' than a usual Common. Head is fluffy and white, but dries out and falls to very little lacing.

Aroma of light caramel malt and biscuit. Some spice to it. Medicinal as well. For a Common, strong alcohol aroma

Taste is spicy and floral. The caramel lingers and provides a light backbone. The hops aren't overpowering, but they do open some eyes. Somewhat crisp, borderline smooth.

Overall a nice summer brew. Good with the burger I grilled.

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Photo of boudreaux
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: pours a clear, crisp light copper; creamy, bubbly white head, about 1/2 finger thick, with minimal lacing

S: heavy, but not overwhelming aroma; hops and wheat notes up front, clean, fresh and citrusy; malt notes come through underneath the hops

T: really floral at first taste, with expected clean, fresh, citrus hops; bread/yeast wheat notes also there; enough sweet, malty flavor comes through to balance the taste; booze flavor comes through as the beer warms up

M: smooth drinkability throughout, thanks to the wheat and malt additions; refreshing and crisp from the hops; carbonation adds refreshment and a crisp, clean feel; medium-light body; just a hint of tinny, metallic aftertaste; definitely session-worthy

O: I really don't care for this style much. That being said, I rated the beer based on objectivity, and found that I do like this beer better than other versions of this style, and I would pay to drink this again

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

Single from State Line.

Golden amber in color, this beer is brilliantly clear and is capped with a dense, fluffy, off-white head with excellent retention and lacing. The nose is great. Doughy, mildly bready malts with a soft fruitiness in the back, this is a great smelling California Common. The hoppiness is restrained, and is mostly mild citrus in nature, complementing the moderate stone fruit character from the yeast. Ridiculously clean, there are no off-notes here.

The palate opens with a mild herbal bitterness with some citrus rind as well, along with a blend of honey, dough, cotton candy and a little caramel. There's a certain fullness to the body that I have a hard time describing, and it carries a lot of delicate flavors, including a yeasty fruitiness. Drying on the finish, this beer is medium-bodied, crisp, clean and has a wonderful finish with a blend of mild lingering bitterness and honey. Very clean, I wonder how much of it has to do with the water that was used. Excellent stuff. The alcohol is a little higher than it needs to be, and it does appear as it warms up, but this is still a great beer

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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 fsvan
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass.

A- Right between gold and orange. Minimal white head lingers slightly.

S- Nice clean cracker like malts. Fairly straightforward, but very nice.

T- A little bite on the tip of the tongue. Again, cracker like malts, finishes cleanly with a tinge of sweetness..

M- Mediumish.

O- This is a very straightforward and simple beer to me, but very good in every aspect (4s across the board). Much like the Juniper Black, I wish SN would make this at least semi-regularly.

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Photo of beer2day
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the color of apple juice. No head and no retention. Moderately active carbonation.

Very malty nose with apple juice flavors here, too.

Taste is caramel malt, touch of light dry fruit, hint of strawberry licorice. Light iced tea flavor in the finish with a touch of peat.

Body is fairly thick and chewy for a lighter beer.

While I didn't like this at first, it starts to grow on you by the bottom of the glass.

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Photo of herman77
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a straw gold with a hint of amber to it. Has a nice fluffy off white head. Decent lacing.

S: Pretty mild nose. Light bready and pale malts. A little bit of lemon and citrus hop zest

T: Slightly sweet bread and biscuit malt up front with a decent amount of lemon zest and mild citrus hops. It's got a little bit of pear like sweetness to it as well. Slightly dry, yet fairly crisp finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Feels a bit smooth over the palate.

O: Nice drinkability, could easily have a few in a row or drink these all night. I don't have too much experience with common/steam beers, but this one is pretty good.

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Photo of stephens101
3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Color is golden and clear. Head thins quickly off a medium pour. Some streaky lace sticks as the beer lowers in the glass. Sweet malts and some musty grass and ripe fruits to the nose. Tastes of more grainy malts, some light citrus hops and a nice fruit basket which includes some green apples, orange, and even banana. Has a light mouth-feel with an airy, clean and open body. A steam beer is what it is. Nothing fancy, just some straight-forward, simple and fun drinkin', and this one sums that up perfectly.

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Photo of riored4v
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 6/22/11

Poured in to a pint glass. Clear, golden body. White, 2 finger head and good webbing on the glass.

Smell was malty and slightly earthy. Some floral hop aroma. Tough of biscuit and caramely notes.

Taste had some good floral hop presence backed with slight earthy flavors. Note of biscuit and caramel. Some metallic flavor. Mild malt sweetness and almost a hint of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel was medium body, medium carbonation. Light dryness.

Overall it was good. Slight off-putting metallic flavor. Light flavors.

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Photo of lazjuarez
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tumbler

A: Pours a dark gold color with a finger worth of egg shell colored head. Low retention and almost no lacing. Some small carbonation coming off the bottom of the glass.

S: Smell is very light, but I get some grains, sweet malts as well. Almost like an imperial pils, but not as crisp. This is my first "steam beer", I might come back an edit after some more experience with this style.

T: Big biscuity malt notes, some hop bite, and grainy on the finish. The mild sweetness balances the hop that is present.

M: light/medium bodied, a bit bready, fairly coats the mouth and enhances the malt undertones.

Overall, a light refreshing beer that has a nice malt base, almost like a malty pale ale.

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Photo of BeerPhan86
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'd just like to start by saying that this is the fourth variety I've had from this Beer Camp variety pack (first to be reviewed), and I have really enjoyed the three other styles. What a fantastic mix pack, I'm really impressed by the amount of effort SN put into each one of these offerings.

A - Pours a clear golden amber with a one finger white bubbly head. Head dissipates quickly and there is very little lacing if any.

S - A hint of toasted malt and floral notes but not much else. This beer is almost void of an aroma.

T - Earthy and slightly bitter hops up front that ride out to a toasted malt aftertaste. Minimal flavors but the flavors that are present are bright and refreshing. Well balanced. Finishes slightly spicy and dry with just a hint of the alcohol present.

M - Thin and lightly carbonated.

O - Admittedly I have not sampled many California steam beers, but I like this. Lightly flavored, well balanced and extremely refreshing on a hot summer day. Extremely sessionable if you could find it outside of the mix pack. Probably the least exciting of the four styles offered here, though. I just like more umph in my beers.

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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.