1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Brown Bear Ale - Rock Art Brewery

Brown Bear AleBrown Bear Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

17 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 17
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 10%

Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beernut7 on 07-21-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 16 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by cbl2:
Photo of cbl2

New York

3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

6/17/2007 $3.25 22 oz. No best by date.


Pours a lovely clear dark brown with some ruby highlights, that is adorned by a quarter inch of tight tan head that is slow to settle.


Roasted malts, with cashew notes and a touch of sweet grape-juice.


Odd flat mouthfeel is coupled with some flavors that never seem to mesh. There is a touch of chocolate and loads of nuttiness alongside an off fruity flavor. Perhaps if the carbonation was there to usher the flavors to your taste buds, this would work, but as I've stated before, it just winds up falling flat. Very disjointed with too many flavor vying for center stage, and none of them truly stepping up. This could have been a good beer, but it just misses the mark.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2007 00:55:21 | More by cbl2
More User Reviews:
Photo of jaxon53


3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

06-26-2013 23:59:57 | More by jaxon53
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.25/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a brwon color with a 1/4" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a some roasted/caramel notes, but overall quite weak in the nose. The taste is average. It has a very weak malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes crisp with a slight roasted malt flavor. The mouthfeel is average as well. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an easy drinker, but it's light in aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. It's one and done for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2007 01:36:01 | More by WesWes
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark bronze with a healthy infusion of both red and orange. The sandstone colored cap is softly creamy and lasts long enough to be respectable. Glass coverage is limited to a few small sheets of lace that look like they'll be washed away with the disturbance of drinking.

The nose is quintessential English brown ale. Although it's primarily well-toasted malty, cocoa notes from the chocolate malt are easily appreciated as well. Oven-baked nuts contribute and a whiff of East Kent Goldings rounds things off in fine fashion.

I can't help but feel that Brown Bear is a fraction too light for its own good. The malt bill was well chosen (pale, crystal, carapils, chocolate), the beer simply needs more oomph in that department. I'm pretty sure that this is exactly the beer that Rock Art intended to brew since they gave it a session-friendly ABV of 4.5%. That doesn't stop me from looking for ways to make it even better.

The flavor profile takes after the nose, more or less. Cocoa is at least as prominent on the taste buds. The brewery wasn't kidding when they state that this offering is 'lightly hopped'. Of course, it's 'lightly' everything. In fact, with each passing ounce it's becoming more and more obvious that Brown Bear doesn't have the claws to hang in there throughout an entire mouthful.

Given the style (and keeping in mind that it fits on the lower end of the style spectrum), the mouthfeel is barely acceptable. Unfortunately, there's no hint of creaminess. The flavor simply washes away just before the beer washes down my gullet. Only a 'third bowl of porridge' amount of carbonation keeps things in the average range.

If Rock Art Brewery stole the tagline from UPS and asked 'what can Brown (Bear Ale) do for you?', my answer would be to double the amount of malt. I'm convinced that there's a pretty good English brown in here somewhere.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2007 12:39:52 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a somewhat muddy amber, and though there's a reddish tinge at the edges, calling it ruby may be too generous. A finger of light beige head dwindles soon to patches of fine froth. Spare speckles of lacing fleck the inside of the glass.

The aroma is fleeting, but it does give up references to chocolate malt, caramel, a general nuttiness, and even a splinter of wood. A distant hop spiciness is equally cursory.

Upon tasting, the elements blossom a bit, led by a roasted malt earthy sweetness boasting caramel and cocoa, as well as a more rounded presence of hops through the middle, lightly spicy and aromatic. A flighty sourness leads to biscuit and nuts across the tongue. The finish is mildly sweet with a mostly mitigating and lingering crispness. There's no doubt, the flavor redeems the aroma.

North of light bodied but not quite medium, the malt presence is smooth and even a touch creamy, but it doesn't so much slink away as splashes itself gone.

I wasn't across the board impressed by this, but let's face it, sometimes a strong flavor profile can forgive a host of sins, especially when those sins are more venal than mortal. It's a lesson in not judging a book by its cover, I guess. And it's the flavor that makes this worth drinking, with no real reason to stop at just one if you don't have to. So it's more of a teddy bear than a big brown bear, but cuddly is better than nothing sometimes.

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2007 14:37:10 | More by Foxman
Photo of jjayjaye

New York

3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a medium amber color with a half finger light tan head the fades without much lacing. Clear but with a trace of effervescence.

S - Subtle malt chocolate with a hint of caramel.

T - Sweet milk chocolate together with nice hop balance.

M - Light but effervescence adds a nice complexity to it.

D - Very drinkable. I'll buy it if I come across it again. A nice session beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2007 00:22:20 | More by jjayjaye
Photo of guinness33

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown Bear Brown Ale pours a nice looking and crisp ruby/amber colour with a decent sized and somewhat creamy head that quickly moves to a thin lacing that is mildly sticky.

The aroma is sweet, with hints of caramel and perhaps a touch of chocolate in the mix. A bit of rugged malt is present as well along with some nut and wood notes.

Flavour hits on the aromas quite nicely, with sweetness again leading the way. The more earthy, nutty notes don't kick in until the finish, which is much more rugged than you would expect after such a sweet beginning to the flavour. There is a hint of hops in the middle of this one as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and could have been a bit more hearty in my opinion, although it's current state is really sufficient.

Overall this was another good one from Rock Art. I would have toned down the sweetness a touch and turned up the earth notes on this one a bit, but that's really personal preference more than anything else, and even that aside, this is still quite and enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2006 04:22:20 | More by guinness33
Photo of Cadyfatcat

New York

4.13/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks rather uninspiring. Dark brown with a yellowish head that dissipates almost immediately.
Smell is distant, a little sour and certainly some roasted malts present.
Watery at the onset, rather arid. Then you get a little tart toasted malt flavor. Then the beer begins to shine, it develops an almost macadamia nut richness and silkiness as it settles into your tongue. This is accompanied by and gradually defeated by a chalky unsweetened chocolate flavor. Almost no hop character.
A rather subtle and delicate beer, but very good. No potentially cloying characteristics, I will drink this often.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2006 06:02:54 | More by Cadyfatcat
Photo of geexploitation


3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown Bear Ale pours quite dark for a brown ale... I suppose it is kind of bear-colored. The nose on this thing is classic English style brown ale, with some toasted malts, a dusting of cocoa, and some earthy hop notes in there. The taste is also typically English, with a distinct sourness up front; the toasty malt flavors don't really take over until the finish. Mouthfeel is thin and sessionish. Highly drinkable. Overall, this beer is decent but not anything terribly interesting. It's an odd choice to start off Rock Art's bomber series (at least in my state).

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2006 00:14:45 | More by geexploitation
Photo of jmz62565


3.15/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours a reddish brown with a decent white head. The smell is slight with some malt,but it's mostly a "bisquity" aroma. The taste has some maltyness to it,but little else. This doesn't have any nut or brown sugar flavors like some many brown ales. The m/f is light,but the aftertaste has a metalic taste to it. This really is average at best, after their stout I was disappointed in this.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2006 03:20:25 | More by jmz62565
Photo of Matthew


3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Grabbed this is Mountgomery. Pours a dark brown and at first has a fizzy tannish head that immediatley disapears. Smells is of nutty roasted malts and a slight hoppiness in the background.
The most prevelant taste is of a walnutty flavor. The malt character I was expecting based on its aroma is much more mellow than I had anticipated. The hop character is also very mellow. I think that this beer is worth picking up but I would suggest it might be better if the flavors came through a bit more pronounced.

Serving type: growler

11-22-2005 04:25:20 | More by Matthew
Photo of weeare138


3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a dark brown with a small off-white head. Leaves small traces of lacing.
Smell is nutty, malty, and of caramel and a wheat like blast with some wood like hops.
Taste is of all the aforementioned smells.
Mouthfeel is tingly on the middle of the tongue with the medium carbonation.
Drinkability is decent for a brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2005 16:49:05 | More by weeare138
Photo of ppoitras


3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased at Winooski Beverage Warehouse, Winooski, VT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" light tan head over the dark amber brew. Head settles at about half original height, and heavy foam lacing abounds. Aroma is hearty grain husks, and apparent as soon as the bottle is opened. Taste is upfront with light maltiness, a slight metallic tinge in the middle, and closes with a bit of a sour flavor. Mouthfeel is kind of thin for what the appearance and aroma indicated, with okay drinkability. This was kind of a let down for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2005 15:23:49 | More by ppoitras
Photo of Truh

New Hampshire

3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ran uphill as fast as humanly possible with this one on 2/18/2005. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Initial ¼-inch coat settles quickly to just a glancing blow of mossy white growth and no stick. Copper hue, with a touch of ruby that actually lightens it up; slight haze and a good amount of action. Light smoke, or roast, on nose with some toasted molasses, pleasant malt, and toffee sugar. Buttery initial aspect is quickly overwhelmed by an up-front carbonation that surprises, but does not necessarily detract; bountiful malt profile with only a late hit of hop bite. Drinkable, but pedestrian for style.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2005 02:28:22 | More by Truh
Photo of sponberg

New York

3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, no freshness date.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see? I see an offwhite head - whoops! It's gone! - looking at me. Medium brown in color, with an aroma of cocoa and some nuttiness over English earthy hops.

Very drinkable - pours down very nicely. Interesting mix of flavors in this one - some Fuggle-ish hoppiness, but mostly toasted bready nutty flavors with some dusted cocoa kicking around. Very reserved - nothing stands out, but in that respect it could make a nice session brew. Slightly thin, but otherwise unremarkable mouthfeel. A nice brew - true to style.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2004 01:38:59 | More by sponberg
Photo of scottum


3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out brown with an off-white head which sits nicely atop the beer. Brown Bear Ale certainly wouldn't have been my next choice for release in 22oz bombers, but I'm not in charge. Thin mouthfeel is almost watery, but not in a bad way. Tastes is very mellow and keeps to itself. A solid drinkable brew, but nothing that will make you say "Wow, Rock Art!" Good to see Rock Art expanding some of their draft only beers to bomber format regardless.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2004 16:33:50 | More by scottum
Photo of beernut7


4.33/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This lighter brown ale comes off the tap witha nice foamy head wafting a spicy hop aroma. A medium bodied ale, Brown Bear is complimented with a generous hop blessing making it a tasty unique brown ale for the region.

Serving type: on-tap

07-21-2002 07:13:48 | More by beernut7
Brown Bear Ale from Rock Art Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.