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New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale - New Holland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
New Holland Cabin Fever Brown AleNew Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

734 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 734
Reviews: 267
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.39%
Wants: 14
Gots: 38 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
New Holland Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  6.25% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-29-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 734 | Reviews: 267 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of possumfollower2
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A little more in depth description of the main factors:
Aroma had vanilla and light touch of butterscotch. Color is deep, I mean deep, dark brown. Head retention was reasonable but died quickly. It was very light tan and thin laced. Texture was thick and hefty like taffy. I'd further say, the quafibility for me is in limited doses. This beer is great for the Vanilla Porter and sweet stout fans out there. Has just enough all spice to remind that it's a winter beer. You can tell it's the same guys who brew Red Tulip and Dragon's Milk. A little in love with the malts, boys? A suitable dark winter for those who don't enjoy the typical "winter" beers. It's fair to middlin', in my humble opinion as are most New Hollands. Too sweet and overly malty with no counter balance of dry tones that gives good to great beers their complexity.

possumfollower2, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of prototypic
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's dark brown in color. Almost looks like cola. There's some red highlights around the edges. A vanilla colored head that's about a finger and a half deep tops it off. Retention was on the short side and lacing was light.

Smell: The nose is alright. It's fairly strong. Primarily, it consists of a caramel/toffee malts. Frankly, I don't find it all that enticing. It's a very strong buttered toffee smell that's nearly overwhelming. There's a touch of chocolate and toasted malts that help out a little. Smells a little yeasty. Alcohol is masked well. Not a trace of it. Buttered toffee rules the day. Very average.

Taste: The flavor profile is better, but not materially so. Caramel/toffee malts are easily the focal point. Chocolate malts are more pronounced here. It may help the butttered toffee flavor come across a little better. Something does. There's a slight yeast flavor, but it doesn't offend. Tastes like there's some light hopping that adds a touch of bitterness. Nicely done. Alcohol is not at all noted. Finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and has a pretty good feel. It is smooth. Carbonation is light. Actually, the feel is this beer's high point. Drinkability is above average, but not quite good. The flavor's not quite good enough to command many visits.

Cabin Fever's an okay beer, but it is a little disappointing. The strong caramel/toffee aspect of it is just a little too much for me. It really hinders the nose. There's a number of superior Brown Ales that are much more desireable. It's worth a try, but needs some work.

prototypic, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of ncstateplaya
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: This brew poured a very rich mahogany color with a creamy head about the color of oatmeal. The head was very frothy but had very little retention and quickly dissipated. The lacing in the glass was virtually non-existent.

Smell: Slight hints of coffee with notes of hops. Sweet aromas such as caramel and toffee were mixed in with some undertones of the alcohol.

Taste: I thought this beer had a smokey flavor with a rusty metallic bite. There was a slight bitterness that pleased my palate. On the finish it seemed to be more than just a 6.25ABV.

Mouthfeel: This brew was crisp and nicely carbonated. It coats the mouth and the slight bitterness persists through the finish.

Drinkability: Not a brew that I would actively seek out or even reach for if I saw it on the table. Many more winter seasonals that appeal to my palate.

ncstateplaya, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Ohio a few weeks back on my HoF run...didn't know what to expect from this and I haven't had a Brown Ale since I tried Brooklyn's version of it a ways back. This beer wasn't that bad but there wasn't much about it that stood out. Not hoppy, not spicy, and certainly not outlandish. It goes well on a cold night like this, but trying to pinpoint the flavors is tough since I'm not accustomed to this type of beer.

The hue was the best part of this pour - a rich mahagony with traces of garnet at the edges. There was a slightly frothy head that didn't last long and the lacing is practically nowhere to be found. As for the mouthfeel, it's mellow, malty, and full of butterscotch and toffee. This almost seemed like a dessert beer, not on the level of a stout or a tart lambic, but instead, more on the sweet side. I almost thought of cheese when I first took a sip of this - something buttery and thick. I think it's just the sweetness of the butterscotch that's coming through, but I could easily see myself having this with some cream cheese and some grapes. It just has that basic appeal to it!

This has a week feel of alcohol to it and I'd swear it would make a good session had I not seen the 6.25% ABV. I don't really feel any toffee in this like some others do, but instead, I look at this as a less sticky and caramel-like version of Newcastle. It can warm ya up on a night like this but it's by no means a winter warmer. Instead, it's a mellow after-dinner beer perfect for those who just want to mellow out and not think about what they're drinking. A quietly solid offering from New Holland...

JerzDevl2000, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of scruffwhor
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pousrs mix of dark garnet and brown with a pretty quick head and some small, sluggish, sporadic bubbling. Nutty and toffee filled aroma with just a bit of bitter roasted malt. Very nutty and full of toffee, wuth maybe a splash of suagared and creamed coffee. Maybe a little too sweet. No discernable detection of hops. Velvety super sweet palate. Wintery sweet yes, but not all that sessionable. Although, the flavors are good, and they don't linger too long.

scruffwhor, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a nearly opaque dark brown beneath a thin tan head.

Aroma of malts, hazelnuts, butter, toffee, and vanilla.

The taste is sweet malts, butterscotch, raisin, toffee, and hazelnuts. Smooth finish of vanilla creme.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy, with a moderate carbonation.

I really enjoyed this brown ale from New Holland. A real pleasure to drink.

Monkeyknife, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Emerges a cocoa amber color with an impressive, stiff and dense one finger sized head, dark eggshell in color. Plenty of lacing and the head retention is quite amazing.

Aroma is pleasing and slightly alkaline. Loads of maltiness and sublte fruitiness.

I really enjoyed the flavor here. Somewhat sweet and quite fruity with a sticky sort of slickness. Some coffee and other dark grain flavors.

Great mouthfeel. Almost full bodied and thick and chewy and slick. Perfect carbonation. Perhaps a little fruity and slightly sweet, but a really good beer. I am usually not a brown fan (english, anyway), but these american browns are starting to grow on me.

SaCkErZ9, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of jmalex
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Phillyduke for offering this beer to me. It will be my first from New Holland.

APPEARANCE: Pours into an English pub-style glass a deep but not opaque brown. A small off-white head forms initially but falls quickly to a hearty collar with a large foam patch floating on the surface. Waiting a bit longer yields a completely still surface with only a scant few bubbles remaining.

SMELL: A full-strength, malty aroma comes fast out of the gates. Nutty, some light caramels, and a hint of black malt are the most prominent smells. A very light hop aroma balances everything out with an earthy, floral quality.

TASTE: A bit bigger and sweeter than I expected. The malts are big and bold with nutty, bready, caramel, and toffee flavors coming through strong. Hop flavor is not quite there for balance which throws the beer slightly askew. The finish doesn't let any flavor escape featuring the entire spectrum of tastes in close to their full glory.

MOUTHFEEL: Hard to get my head around this. Quite thick and approaches a syrupy feel. But the finish becomes almost too thin somehow and peters out somewhat. Carbonation is fairly strong and maybe the slightest bit too high.

DRINKABILITY: Great malt flavors make this easy to drink, but a lack of balance leaves me wanting more. More bitterness and hop flavor, that is.

My first beer from New Holland was also my first brown ale in quite some time. I'm glad I got both those things tonight, and will probably look for more of both despite being underwhelmed by this one.

jmalex, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a deep dark brown color with ruby highlights. It had a tan, foamy, one-finger head. It left thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled very nutty, lots of hazelnut. It had a sweet roasted malt nose, too.

T - This had a very nutty flavor, especially hazelnut. Sweet caramel flavors emerged underneath the nutty taste and a biscuity malt flavor added to the sweetness.

M - It was smooth and very soft. A light to medium-bodied brew.

D - This has to be one of the best brown ales that I have had in some time. Great sweetness and nutty flavors.

zeff80, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of Bighuge
3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark ruby brown body. Just a skimming of brown cream on the surface. Lace is minimal. Aroma is thick and sweet. Caramel and fudge and toffee and nougat all balled into one. Taste is pretty sticky sweet. Big toffee and a little butterscotch. Also caramel and some wet cardboard. Lingering semblance of cloying. Viscous mouthfeel with cough syrup feel to it. It turned out better by the end of it than with my first sip. But still very average.

Bighuge, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of neenerzig
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ending my Christmas night with this beer. Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass. This beer pours a clear brown color with deep amber highlights around the edges when held to the light. Off-white head is about an inch thick when poured before eventually settling to a decent surface coating with nice lacing. Aromas of roasted nuts and some malt along with raisins. The raisin flavor hit my palate right upfront as well. Also flavors of roasted nut and some caramel malt. Rounded out with a touch of hops. Never had a brown ale with this much raisin flavor in it before. Something about the taste does remind me of some red wines I have had. Not a bad thing, but unique. The taste of alcohol is there a bit as well. Has a nice, fairly crisp and smooth, light to medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. easy to drink. Certainly worth a try IMO.


neenerzig, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of HeyItsChili
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown, semi-opaque with a thin light tan head.

S - Faint roasted malts overpowered by dark fruits. Very raisiny, nutty, and sweet.

T - Dark brown sugar, butter, nutty, coffee, mild chocolate.

M - Thin to medium bodied, slightly oily.

D - Unusual tasting beer, not too heavy, not bad. Not my favorite from New Holland, but a well crafted beer nonetheless, just not my favorite genre.

HeyItsChili, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.13/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hrm... this one felt a little all over the map. Very malty and lots of caramel. Almost has a burned marshmelow afterataste. Typical burnt coffee, toffee and earthiness.

I would say this is one is average. It is tasty, I would probably drink it again but the flavors didn't feel entirely cohesive.

cadenwhitaker, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of robbyc1
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown ale with ruby notes, good head.

Great malt nose with butterscotch notes, slightly sweet.

The flavor carries through the smell, very malty, roasty, some interesting backbones but no hops as there shouldn't be, but nicely balanced.

Good heavy mouthfeel, lowish but good carbonation.

Impressive effort for a brown ale, almost a session beer but it would be hard to only have one. Nice going!

robbyc1, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
2.9/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I grabbed this as part of a mix-a-sixer at Friar Tuck's in Champaign. Seeing New Holland on the label made this a must-grab, especially since I hadn't had a good, new Brown Ale in some time. I wish I hadn't.

Dense tan froth dissipates rapidly, leaving no lacing around a rich, deep brown. Moderate aroma with some molasses, lightly toasted hazelnut coffee, and caramel. The taste is sour and somewhat bitter, at least as much as it is sweet. As it warms, the sour takes charge, unfortunately. The carbonation isn't bad, but the sour taste makes this a turn-off, much to the detriment to the creaminess that tries to emerge.

Big disappointment, the worst I've had from New Holland. I won't ever grab this again. Avoid.

Gehrig, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a somewhat thick texture. There was a half inch of long-lasting head and some good lacing.

S: There was a nutty aroma, along with a sugary quality.

T: A nicely balanced taste, with roasted malt, a nutty quality and a helping of brown sugar. A good cold weather beer.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is a likable, drinkable beer, with a nice warming quality when you drink it. A good beer for the season.

avalon07, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of drxandy
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz to standard pint, pours a dark reddish brown - creamy tan head hangs around

smells of roasty malt, metallic, slight hops

taste is of nice heavy malts, roasty, creamy texture, slight bitterness, alcohol is present, nicely balanced, nutty, slight coffee, chocolate, brown sugar - perfect for a cold day.

mouthfeel is slick and slightly creamy, robust flavors, one of my favorite new holland offerings!

drxandy, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Poured a moderately deep brown, clear beer. Topped with a dark tan head, low retention, reduced to inconsistant bubbles.

S-Prominant toffee, with some butterscotchiness. Appropriately malt-dominated.

T-Toffee and more toffee. Also, some hints of toasty malts, all of which is paired with some minimal bitterness. A flavor later in the taste and into the aftertaste, perhaps abit of a spiciness, but almost a metallic twang.

M-Medium body, medium-low carbonation. Feels pretty thick flowing over my palate.

D-It's a drinkabile beer. Enjoyable down to the last sip, but nothing that I will seek out in the future.

CHSLBrew, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of nightcrawler
2.58/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a very dark brown. The liquid was very thick, almost like an oatmeal or imperial stout. In fact, it was thicker than the Guinness I chased it with. The higher carbonation saved it from being too thick for me.

It had no real smell, even though it produced a nice, fairly long-lived head. The taste was sweeter than I expected. That alone makes me only want to drink one in a sitting, if any.

As far as American browns go, I'll probably spend my money on a different brand in the future.

nightcrawler, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of superdedooperboy
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, dark chestnut-brown hue with a very small light brown head that disappears abruptly and shows no trace of lace behind.

Nose is filled with toffee and molasses, mixed with a bit of fruity esters and an ever-so-faint hint of herbal hops.

Thick and chewy mouthfeel, with a rather viscous body. This is one malty brew, with full sugary-sweet malt flavor up front, filling out across the palate with a full complement of flavors such as chocolate, nut, dark fruit, slight bitter hops, a mild earthiness, and a noticeable warming alcohol presence, with a finish that is very long and sweet.

An excellent and complex blend of flavors and textures, but the viscous, chewy mouthfeel, sometimes slightly cloying sweetness, and not-so-well-hidden alcohol presence hinder drinkability. Despite this ale's downfall as a session beer, it is certainly a nice, rich filler for a cold winter's night.

superdedooperboy, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of sudsface69
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An intriguing brown ale for sure. From the pour, you would swear you were looking at a glass of coke - the color is strikingly similar and the head dissipates to a cola-like set of bubbles. I get a lot of butterscotch on the nose of this one, intermingled with some slight metallic notes, and definitely some brown sugar/molasses. I'd say the body is medium-heavy, and the carbonation is plentiful, perhaps a little too much. I usually think of brown ales as having a smooth mouth feel. This one is a little rough given the amount of carbonation. The flavor is quite interesting - a lot more complexity than your average English Brown. I get raisins, figs, molasses, toffee, plus some herbal notes that mingle together pretty dynamically. I'd be interested to know what yeasts they are using here. Kind of reminds me of a recent trip I made to the Ommegang Brewery in NY where I tasted a couple beers made with wild yeasts. There are definitely some wild, estery notes in this brew. Not quite sure where this one fits categorically, but it's an interesting beer to try. Maybe not one of my favs, but certainly worth sampling. Give it a shot if you're looking for something different.

sudsface69, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American Pint glass)

A- This beer pours a dense brown body with a faint ray of brown light at the very base of the glass. There is a thin head that fades to patches soon after the first sip.

S- There is a soft metallic note that gives way to a nice dry roasted malt nose with some chocolate malt notes coming through as it warms. There is a watery quality to the finish.

T- The light carbonic acid note gives way to a pleasant roasted malt flavor and some chocolate malt notes followed by a crisp watery flavor in the finish. As the beer warms there are some nice coffee malt notes and a tartness that comes through at the beginning of each sip.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a fizzy finish and a light watery texture to it.

D- This beer has some nice clean dark malt flavors to it but it is a bit thin and taste a bit like a porter that was diluted with water. The tartness was a bit bold for the rest of the malt flavors and it would be nice to taste some other flavors besides the mineral watery notes.

rhoadsrage, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
2.8/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, rouding out a seasonal 12pack from New Holland.

Clean looking cola color, that is to say, not demonstrating those sticky bubbles on the side of the glass that most colas are guilty of, that and the one and a half finger head make all the difference in the world. Apart from its caramel color, its aroma is even more apparant, almost butterscotchy in aroma and mixed with a prety decent amout of grapefruity hops. Not like any brown ale I've ever encountered, this one is American through and through. Rich, roasted caramel malt dominate the opening and everything keeps getting sweeter from there, hops seem to fall of a little bit from the nose. Beer closes overly sweet and grainy, almost cloying, would be almost unbearable if not for the soda like carbonation that keeps the beer bubbling just above the tongue. Not something I'd really want to reach for again, reminds me a bit of Atwater's beers, maybe I got a bad bottle, but the rest in teh 12 pack seemed okay. Just a bit dissapointed here.

bluemoonswoon, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of weasbri
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks like a Coke after pouring: not much head, dark brown coloring.
Roasted malt aroma, not much else to it.
Flavor profile is more of one of a higher alcohol content than 6.25%. Raisin seemed most prominent to me, like I see in more extreme brews. More roasted malt flavor, some chocolate, just a touch of hop bitterness in the finish.
Nothing particularly sensational, glad I only got two to sample.

weasbri, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of flyphisherman
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Before the Industrial revolution, most beers of the world were brown; that's because the malt was roasted or "cured" in kilns by wood fires, producing heavily roasted grains and therefore, darker beers. After the wide-spread availability and use of pale malts, brewers were liberated by a more diverse range of styles. Amongst so many popular styles , the Brown Ale has endured the numerous brewing advents heretofore, and is still flourishing today.

Yes, the English created the Brown Ale, spawned from the "Mild Ale"; it's usually a sweeter and maltier style, with a fuller body. Hues can range from copper-colored all the way to deep, dark browns. Although Cabin Fever is a far cry from the"English" Brown, it is important to recognize from where it draws inspiration. What sets Cabin Fever apart from other Browns, for one, is its abundant use of wheat and rye. Rye isn't a typical ingredient in many contemporary styles, and adds a resilient spiciness to the palette, while the wheat brings a twangy crispness that works well with the moderate hop levels. Also unlike the English Brown, Cabin Fever adapts a "Belgian Farmhouse Ale" technique where they let the yeast ferment "out of control". Cabin Fever closely resembles the Farmhouse Ale in that they are very complex and spicy beers with moderate bitterness. According to Brewmaster John Haggerty, instead of trying to model beers after a specific style, "let's make [the style] up ourselves." This is one of many instances where "Art in Fermented Form" is a mantra NHBC takes quite seriously.

Appearance is a dark, shadowy brunette with a crimson translucency on the edges. The head is a supple khaki-beige color that is velvety and frothy. Lacing is decent; it clings to the glass and dissipates slightly throughout consumption. It smells of sweet molasses and ginger. The dark malts they've incorporated here evoke elements of coffee and caramel yet avoid an overtly sweet and cloying finish. Sweetness is subtle and nutty, balanced by the spicy characteristics. Hints of fruity esters exist in the distant background and segues a beautiful, warming alcohol finish. Cabin Fever is medium to full-bodied and drinkability is something to take caution with.

In its second year as NHBC's winter seasonal, Cabin fever is a strong choice among many winter varieties. Cabin Fever is preceded by Ichabod in the fall, Zoomer in the summer and Red Tulip in the spring; all of which available at The Beverage Company in Traverse City. Cabin Fever is rich and complex, just what a winter beer should be. So before you reach for that ordinary and ubiquitous "New Castle Brown Ale", consider a beer that pushes the boundaries of beer and is made right here in Michigan.

flyphisherman, Nov 19, 2008
New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale from New Holland Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 734 ratings.