Common Sense - Upstate Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Common SenseCommon Sense

Educational use only; do not reuse.

74 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 74
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 13.04%
Wants: 0
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Upstate Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tviz33 on 06-15-2013

This beer is a revival of a beer style that was one of the most popular beers in America prior to prohibition: Kentucky Common Ale. It has a dark color with a rich flavorful taste and a decent hint of hops (22 IBU), but it is light and easy drinking.

Many people today mistakenly think that this style is supposed to have a sour taste, but our research led us to the over 100 year old "American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting & Auxiliary Trades" (see page 818) which makes no mention of it having a sour quality or using a sour mash to brew it.

Instead, it was just a dark yet refreshing beer that the working class people of the time loved to drink very fresh, which was around 2 weeks after being brewed. We also serve up Common Sense 14 days after brewing it. It is a great resurrected beer for all modern beer lovers!
View: Beers (7) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 19
Reviews by ElijahRivera:
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #83 (Dec 2013):

A resurrected style from a pre-prohibition era around the Louisville, KY area. Great choice packaging this beer in 16oz pounder cans as it is super drinkable, just enough flavor and a pinch of complexity too boot. Offer this one up to a novice beer drinking friend with the story behind the beer and they’ll probably want more.

STYLE: Kentucky Common Ale
ABV: 5.3%

LOOK: Dark copper hue, healthy looking lace

SMELL: Spice, faint tartness, dried grass, toasted bread crust, herbal hop, orange zest

TASTE: Deep smoothness, dry graininess, crisp, mild twang, lasting breadiness, light hopping, leafy, herbal, dried hay, faint broth, clean, dry and grainy finish

Photo of Billolick
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 ounce can purchased as part of a four pack for $9.99 at peekskill Beer and soda, Peekskill, NY

Pours near clear chocolaty amber, supporting aa creamy and slowly morphing darker khaki head. Leaves decent amounts of low sheeting and then fine webs and spots of lace on the glass.

Sweet malt nose with powdered chocolate on the nose.

On the sweet side with more nice tasting lite chocolate and malts carrying this one forward.

Easy drinking and pleasant enough. Respectable take on the style.

(BTW they call this a "Kentucky style common ale" on the notes on the can)

Not really my favorite style, but this one would do fine helping to marianate some pork or in a pot of chili, or a decent choice to help expose a newbie to better beer.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bar Louie in Greece, NY.

Pours a darker clear amber, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like toasted malts, but not strongly. That's about it.

This is a bare-bones, basically unexciting amber ale. There's some slight hop bitterness, with stronger flavors of toasty bready malts. Nothing to get too excited about.

This one is medium bodied, with a higher amount of carbonation, and a crisp doughy mouthfeel.

Second beer from these guys, not as good as the IPW I had from them.

Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is crystal clear reddish amber in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving patches of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of sweet toasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has light flavors of toasted malts, but the sweetness is mostly replaced by a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied and a little creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and doesn't seem to be over the top with any of the flavors so it would probably be a good choice for a novice beer drinker.

Photo of tviz33
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing from memory. I'll update this when I have it again.
Served in a red solo cup at a grad party.

A- Pours clear but dark with some orange/red hues and an inch tall off-white head.




O- This beer is really easy to drink. Creamy and smooth. It was perfect for a nice day of drinking outdoors. Even the non-craft beer drinkers seemed to enjoy it.

Photo of CHickman
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Drank from the can, no clue what it looks like. Nice history behind this beer listed on the can: "Based on a style of beer that was popular before Prohibition in the Louisville, KY area. After Prohibition, many small regional breweries never returned, and the style died out. We read about Kentucky-Style Common Ale in an old book on American brewing. Now we're bringing it back." Ballsy mission statement, I like it.

Tastes of caramel, floral hops, wheat bread, malt, light hoppy spices like pepper and coriander, and a touch of earthy sweetness like roasted grains dipped into wine. There is no booze flavor, but the wet grain sweetness is hard to nail down. All flavors are neutral and none really jump out, but the flavor is still pretty decent.

Mouthfeel is medium, with average carbonation, an almost watery smooth feel and a slightly bitter aftertaste that leaves a grainy sweetness that's almost got a metallic funk similarity. No sign of the ABV at all.

Overall it was decent. An above average lager, but not sure what a Kentucky-Style Common Ale should be like. Nice effort from a new brewer taking on a recipe from a book and maybe starting a revival. Better than most macros, it was worth $3.75 for the pint can. A little on the sweet and basic side, but worth a try.

Photo of guidom2
3.44/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look: Clear brown with hints of amber in the light. No head, very little lacing
Smell: Faint malt notes
Taste: Initial sweet malt with slight hops throughout, cascade notes. Fairly well balanced with earthy finish. Lingering bitter.
Feel: Overall smooth, slightly creamy with very low carbonation.
Overall: Easy drinking with pub food.

Photo of CandleGoat
4.82/5  rDev +39.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Many brewers use hops in abundance, but very few use hops correctly. Upstate Brewing Company thankfully has it figured out. Much like the good folks over at the Natural Light camp, here we have a beer that is both good natured and loving, with hops that grab you by the scruff of the neck and kiss you like your prom date. As such, you will be utterly smitten by this beer's mild smooch and malty hug and aluminum embodiment, which oozes style and class. The hops create a musky and satisfying brew which serves to inspire greatness in us all. Truly a world class beer, this Kentucky Common Ale is stuff of legends.

Photo of pgrose
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served on tap in Nichols, NY
L: Clear dark brown, slight amber. Minimal lacing and no head.
S: Slight malt presence
T: Malt forward finishing in bitter hops, reminiscent of a brown ale.
F: Light carbonation.
O: A strong bodied yet potentially sessionable beer.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear medium ruby reddish amber in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some garnet red highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall creamy off-white head that reduces to a large patch of very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted malts with a light amount of sweetness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted malts with a light amount of grainy sweetness. That is followed by a light amount of earthy hops that impart a light amount of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: Light to medium bodied with a little more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Lightly creamy.

O: This beer is very easy to drink and enjoyable. Considered a Kentucky Common Ale (whatever that is) by the brewer on the can packaging. If this is really a cream ale, I wish it was just a little creamier. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of utopiajane
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an orange amber, clear and with lots of bubbles coming to the top. A dirty off white head of creamy foam that falls fast. Nose is malty, some corn sweetness and a bit of floral. Drinks malty but light with a lager carbonation that has some bite to it. Light caramel. Sweet with a bit of hop bitter at the very end and some malt dryness that defies the sweetness of the adjunct. It reminds me of corn flakes with a little sugar on them. Soft creamy mouthfeel with a clean finish. Grainy and even a bit tart. Some herbal in the finish also with a bitter edge. Mild and light this is a perfectly enjoyable adjunct beer in a style that has not been seen since prohibition.

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.54/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I don't get this beer. The clarity is really superb, but it tastes like an amber ale and something really boring and middle of the road mixed together.

Photo of j0hnc2468
3.39/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

very avg, I would call it a pale ale good for session ale.

Photo of curasowa
3/5  rDev -13%

Appearance: Dark, copper color with a huge, three-finger head that fades slowly with chunky lacing.

Aroma: Pretty phenolic, a little metallic with some toasted malt in the background.

Taste: Smooth, toasted malt, somewhat lager-like, lots of phenolic and metallic notes in the middle with some roasted malt and a slight tinge of bitterness towards the finish, which is pretty fast and clean.

The Rest: Quite a few off notes taint an otherwise good beer. I'll have to see how the rest of the the four-pack is; this might just be a bad can.

I had another can and while not as bad as this one, it was still pretty phenolic.

Photo of auswild
4.14/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredibly drinkable. Crafty and complex just enough for the connoisseur yet the flavor is not overpowering to scare away the average Joe. It's simple and good.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.62/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i havent known the common style to be a red beer, never really occurred to me that it could be one, its always blonde and fuller bodied, never amber hued like this one is. nice clarity and a pretty frothy cream colored head on it. the nose shows balance, minimal grassy hops up front with a long toffee malt thing that isnt half as sweet in taste as it smells like it would be. the taste is nice, dry for a red beer, with probably an interesting mash bill on it. big enough bodied like it may have oats in it, sweet like corn even, heck, probably some wheat fluffing up the feel too, but i cant confirm any of this. i wish for more bubbles, its a little flat, but the body i like and the flavor i like a lot. its a cool beer, appealing to a wide audience but based in tradition. i also always appreciate a dry amber beer, which this definitely is in the finish despite a medium sweet middle to it. overall something i quite enjoy. i was impressed with both upstate beers i had. this is far better than its ratings.

Photo of HamdenHector
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: crystal clear; amber colored; less than a 1 finger slightly off white head that receded slowly to an uneven cap; no lacing;

S: caramel malt; toasted grains; a little metallic; no hop presence;

T: caramel through mid-palate; slightly bitter, earthy finish; no hop flavor, except for perhaps Columbus in the earthy finish;

M: a little thin; slightly prickly carbonation;

O: couldn't find either the cascade or Willamette hops; nonetheless, this was an easy drinking fairly neutral beer;

Photo of boocie
4.55/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this beer up randomly on one of my beer runs and I was supprised by how good it tasted!

Photo of Huffs
3.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured to a pint glass, nice head developed, a bit bubbly, with mild retention and lacing. Appearance was a copper / amber color with a slight haze. Aroma had notes of malt and citrus with some sour thrown in. Tasted earthy with notes of malt, toffee, grass and wood, almost a woody / whisky taste. Mouthfeel was light, almost watery, with a mild and dry aftertaste.

Common Sense from Upstate Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.