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Newcastle Brown Ale - The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

Newcastle Brown AleNewcastle Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,588 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3588
Reviews: 1459
rAvg: 3.34
pDev: 18.26%

Brewed by:
The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-29-2000)
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Ratings: 3,588 | Reviews: 1,459 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MrGaughran

1.03/5  rDev -69.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A friend of mine had me try this. It's one of his favorite beers, and I trusted him up until this point. I took the first sip (out of a bottle), and I hated it. I asked him if they had been sitting in his car for the last few months, because it tasted like the worst skunk beer you could possibly drink. And, too my surprise, he said that was exactly how it was supposed to taste. I can't get down with a beer that's supposed to taste skunked.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2012 02:35:44 | More by MrGaughran
Photo of nige4958


1.15/5  rDev -65.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Oh how the mighty have fallen. I remember this beer 20 or so years ago when you could only get it in pint bottles. It tastes nothing like it once did. There is a rather odd aroma that smells like dirty socks. Flavor wise it reminds me of bad home brew. It tastes like it's brewed with a lot of cane sugar. Dry, cidery like finish that's just awful.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2013 18:44:02 | More by nige4958
Photo of dinnersd


1.18/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

i need to get something off my chest. This beer is so frieken horrendous, simply because i belive its to outlandish and sickening. Sure others might like it, and i can understand why, its not bland or anything like that. By far the worst feature of this beer is the smell and taste, and i dare any of you to drink this in large numbers. I ussually like beers with hints of coffee and chocolate but somehow they have managed to repulse me. Thanks for reading and publishing my review.

Serving type: can

02-05-2010 08:51:29 | More by dinnersd
Photo of nogoodreason


1.4/5  rDev -58.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

It pours a translucent brown with a weak limp head that immediately vanishes. Nose is of barely nutty malts and faintly skunked hops. Nose is almost non-existant. This is more of a blessing than a curse.

First taste is water. Water followed by a big sack-kick of diacetyl. Mmmmm. It's not entirely one-dimensional, the next taste adds a skunks ass to the water/butterscotch equation. Mouthfeel is flaccid and watery, with that sickening slickness of diacetyl. In your mouth it cycles though it's flavors, water, skunk, butterscotch, water, skunk, butterscotch. This is truly the worst tasting beer I've ingested. Holy gross.

It finishes leaving your mouth dry yet slick with lingering rancid butter. This is an aftertaste. Not a finish, an aftertaste. Gross. Gross. Gross.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2004 15:30:18 | More by nogoodreason
Photo of n8tron


1.45/5  rDev -56.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I did not like this beer. This is a darker beer, not totally dark like a stout just dark brown. On first taste it wasn't that bad and indeed the first part of each sip was ok, however the aftertaste was awful. It was watery but the taste you did get was indescribable. like a base, it was bitter but bad bitter, like your drinking soap. Each sip made me gag, hence the 1 for drinkability. I thought i would like this beer but i will never drink one again.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2004 13:13:07 | More by n8tron
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

1.53/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This is a very overrated beer, really quite bland with a buttery caramel sort of taste, which isn't too pleasant, i'm sure it was pretty good, 20 or 30 years ago though.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2002 19:39:09 | More by rastaman
Photo of erz316


1.55/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

on tap at yd tap room, pitcher into pint.

this beer is such a cult classic, and I have no idea why. I dislike everything about this beer, pretty much. maybe not the trivia and facts they put on the bottle, but as for the beer itself, well, it blows hard. the first english brown I had was sam smith's, and I have never gone back. having this presented as a brown ale is laughable. the only beer i dislike more is probably boddingtons. the body was not dark enough, there was head (minimal), the nose was corny with a touch of something else, the taste was lacking the most fundamental supports for the style, the onlything I could taste was a watered down biscuit/malt flavour. this is just a beer I tend to avoid when i see it at gallery openings, i'll take highlife, at least that one is being honest about how bad it is.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2010 20:13:06 | More by erz316
Photo of mikeg67

New Jersey

1.55/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a reddish-brown with negligible head. Aroma is very weak, mostly earthy hops. Very thin for a brown ale and very dry. Not much is going on a flavor side. I love brown ales but this one is terrible beer. I could not finish a bottle. The beer is easily available everywhere but this is the last time I try it.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2010 22:23:38 | More by mikeg67
Photo of jt31914


1.63/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served from 12 oz. Bottle

A: Typical of brown ale; not too much head, but noticeable carbonation. Not too dark or light.

S: Smells pretty weak, can note the dark malts and a chocolate/coffee type of scent.

T: Tastes okay, really a very mild brown ale; the chocolate is noticeable, but the beer tastes almost watered down. I wish they would've made this beer stronger.

M: Feels nice in the mouth, a little overcarbonated but somewhat smooth.

D: Easy to drink.

This beer is pretty mild and it feels like Newcastle just wanted to make a marketable and drinkable brown ale. There is no dominant flavor and this beer is subpar.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2009 19:10:18 | More by jt31914
Photo of corpulent


1.63/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Looks nice and dark, but no flavor to back it up. Faint ordinary smell in the nose. Astringent. Thin, thin, watery taste. A little sweet. Feels greasy in the mouth. Actually hard to finish, as I can't really pick anything good out to focus on.

At least I can check it off the list now.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2010 17:53:27 | More by corpulent
Photo of brandonlovesbeer

South Carolina

1.64/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

COLOR: Medium Amber


Varies depending on where you buy it. But it ranges anywhere from $11.99 to $16.59 for a 6 pack.

12 oz bottles, 12oz Cans, Draft

Depending on how vigorously you pour the beer, the head will be somewhere between nonexistent and 1/2 pinky finger. But it only sticks around for a brief period of time then dissipates.

Crystal clear. Light carbonation. It doesn't look like any brown ale I've ever had. The color was more like a dirty Budweiser.

Very fruity smelling beer. Just like most English ales. There’s a malt sweetness that is very present in the aroma, but nothing over the top. There’s a light breadiness that evens out the malt sweetness.

The first thing your going to notice is that there’s absolutely NO hop character in this beer, which goes right along with the English Brown Ale style.
The bitterness is only slightly noticeable in the aftertaste, which only sticks around on the back of your tongue for about a minute then disappears.
There’s no alcohol taste or presence in this beer. But I wouldn’t expect that from a 4.7% beer.
The pronounced English fruitiness is ever-present in the taste, and is one of the only redeeming qualities about this beer.

Surprisingly, in the bottle that I reviewed, there was none of that Import-Clear-Bottle-Skunkiness. This was certainly refreshing, as I’ve never had a bottle of Newcastle that wasn’t completely skunked.

Is it Worth the Money? "No"
This beer was on sale at my local grocery store for $12.99 for a 12 pack. That’s down from it’s normal price of $16.59. However, it’s normal price at my local beer and wine store was only $11.99.

I just can’t see myself paying nearly $18.00 (after tax) for the regular grocery store price. Not when it’s only $11.99 down the street.

Since there’s such a wide price-range on this beer, if your heart is dead set on buying Newcastle, seek out the best price. Don’t just go to your favorite grocery store and lay down nearly $18 when it can be much cheaper at another store. This is just too over priced for what it’s delivering to the senses.

I feel like the flavors and aromas are so light and muted that this beer just isn’t bringing much to the table.

If you’re looking for a flavorful beer that you can drink quite a few of, this is not the beer for you. It doesn’t really taste like much. However, yes you can drink a ton of them and not even get buzzed.

Although, I guess you could consider this a nice transitional beer for someone looking to dip their toes into the craft beer world. But would I call this a craft beer? Definitely not.

This is what I consider the English equivalent to a Budweiser looking like. It doesn’t taste like much but because of it’s worldwide hype, everyone wants to drink it.

If I’m going to spend nearly $18 on a 12pk of anything, it’s going to be something like Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada or another more flavorful beer than this. Something that I can sit back and relax and have one or two and be completely satisfied. Newcastle just doesn’t give me that sense of satisfaction.

This almost feels like a novelty beer to me. For example:

A point of advice when shopping for this beer...
I’ve always complained about how this beer usually has that clear bottle import skunkiness like Heineken and Corona. But as long as you don’t buy it off the shelf where it’s been sitting in direct light (even fluorescent light), then you should be alright. Personally, I always get the pack that’s all the way on the back of the shelf.
Always buy the 12 pack of bottles or the cans because the packaging shields the beer from the harmful rays. If you buy the 6 packs, there is more surface area exposed to the light which will skunk the beer faster.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2013 05:10:45 | More by brandonlovesbeer
Photo of IrishRedRock


1.7/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I agree with many of the other BA's who reviewed this one. There is just something I don't like about Newcastle. I should also say that I really don't care for brown ales, even the offering from beer master Samuel Smith.

The smell isn't good, the taste is something of a bitter medicinal blaaaahhh and I just don't like how the brown stuff looks in the clear bottle. Same when I poured it out...I dont know, it doesnt look good. This to me is just another bad English brown. Oh the dirty brown.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2002 18:24:38 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of StoutyMcHaggis


1.7/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A-Brown, actually has more red in it than expected. Nice and clear though.

S-Hops with a hint of rubbing alcohol, not good.

T-Nothing like the browns I have been trying. Really funky bitter taste. Probably the worst brown I have ever bought.

M-Really carbonated, foamy mouth feel.

D-I did not like this beer, maybe I purchased a bad bottle that was sitting in the sun for a couple of days. I'm not sure, but it was not very tasty at all.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2007 03:22:00 | More by StoutyMcHaggis
Photo of bobhits


1.7/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Simple reddish colored and well laced body. The aromas are boring and dulll just nothing worth speaking of. Flavors aren't much better. Sweet, touch of sour, no body or depth, no dark flavors, no yeast....this is just not good and frankly it is pretty crappy.

Just not interested. if nothing is on tap and this one is cheap go for it...

Overall this isn't exciting or good..

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 16:40:54 | More by bobhits
Photo of psyco1


1.73/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This six pack must have been sitting in the flourescent lighted cooler way too long, because all I got from this was a big dose of skunk. No smell or taste got past the overpowering skunkiness.
It looked fine, a nice light brown and the mouthful was a bit thin, but the skunk...wow.just wow.

I'm going to have to try some fresh on tap to see what it really tastes like.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2004 18:10:34 | More by psyco1
Photo of vitesse


1.75/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

served in clear 12 oz. bottle.

I've had this beer so many times. finally decided to review it. S&N will wish i hadn't. (ok, they don't actually care...but...)

this beer is just awful. One of the wost i've had since reviewing beers on this site. With every sip you can tell where accountants and marketing schmucks have sucked the soul out of this beer.

there's nothing there at all. other than the distinctive brown color (compared to the usual fizzy yellow lagers), newcastle has little to offer. the maltiness just doesn't exist and in its place is nothing but hard, metallic, brown water. the beer doesn't smell like much more than hard water, either. a total yawner of a beer.

this is one of the most over-rated beers in the world, imho. it's flavors do a disservice to brown ales everywhere. pass on this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2004 16:57:11 | More by vitesse
Photo of MoreThanWine


1.75/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

If you're bottling a beer that's brown then why not put it in brown glass to deter skunking? Instead they use clear glass, revealing the standard brown color of the beer (yippee?) and causing my current sample (and some before it over the years) to be somewhere on the road to skunk.

Pours a modest head which dissipates quickly. Brown. Very mild and a touch sweet. I once read a reviewer say that people have strong opinions on this beer and I'd agree - I'm strongly disliking it. Boring, except for the Russian roulette mystery of will it be skunked or not.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2010 10:05:10 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of bigdeuce


1.78/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

I really can't figure this out. How can anyone pay $15 a twelve pack for this? No taste, all water, nothing good to say. Very thin mouthfeel, very little flavors. A little brown sugar....maybe?? And all water. Bottle is cool, but that is about it. Avoid and buy a good microbrew.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2006 22:31:21 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of JDV


1.78/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Transluscent maroon pour with offwhite head. Smells skunky, like a heineken or st. pauli girl would, then a bit sour, vinegar-ish smell. A bit of the band-aid smell I've read about, but this was my first experience actually noticing it. Taste is a thin boring very lightly malty flavor that was much weaker than I expected, but at least I didn't taste the skunkiness. Even if this one weren't bad, the flavor was a very diluted brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2008 23:10:45 | More by JDV
Photo of tjsmith910


1.8/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Impressive by sight and color only. I could barely finish 1 newcastle before I began asking the bar tender for a glass of milk.

It is only opinions of other beers that led to my experience of this terrible tasting and thick beer. Just not my style in any way.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2010 15:52:41 | More by tjsmith910
Photo of hrmhrm


1.83/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Appearance: Before tasting, flat brown. After the first taste, more like liquid dung.

Smell: Not as bad as the taste.

Taste: Stagnant water and sour yeast.

Mouthfeel: Didn't really give the mouthfeel a chance: felt the need to swallow immediately.

Drinkability: I threw the bottle away with half left to go, ordered something else.

I see people ask for this and I can only think: "The power of marketing."

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2010 03:57:18 | More by hrmhrm
Photo of emsroth

New York

1.85/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle

App: A clear ruby brown with a small head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Dank, floral hops reminiscent of skunky cannabis. As the skunky smell subsides the aroma is slight sweet, roasty, caramel malt

Taste: Very light taste. A gross caramel sweetness followed by a balanced but bland hop bitterness

Medium body that seems to be sugary. Decent carbonation.

My first time trying this beer as a craft drinker, and probably my last time.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2009 16:58:54 | More by emsroth
Photo of TempeBeerMan


1.85/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Crystal clear reddish-brown with a one finger eggshell colored head which disappeared quickly. Minute patches of thin lacing.

S - Ugh. Skunky formaldehyde. Some residual malt sweetness underneath, but the horrible formaldehyde aroma is overpowering. Why, oh why is anyone still bottling beer in clear bottles with everything we know about beer these days ???

T - Some dextrin sweet malts, and grain husks. Tiny amount of earthy and slightly spicy hop in the finish. (actually the hops might be good if the other off flavors weren't taking center stage) Sadly, the light struck odor is also present in the taste. Tastes of adjuncts. Bland, inoffensive.

M - Thin bodied and watery. Also severely under carbonated, to the point of being almost flat.

O - I think this beer would be much better and might be at least drinkable if it wasn't light struck, but as it is....it's swill. Just a horrible misfire on nearly every level with no redeeming qualities. Terrible.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 05:19:11 | More by TempeBeerMan
Photo of Brunite


1.88/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Serving: Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice deep brown/ruby-red color. Tan, 2 finger head with some pitting upon settling. Head subsided rather quickly. Reasonable lacing.

Smell: Not much going on here. Faint sweetness with a little bit of raisin??

Taste: Again....almost nada. Very bland. No malty tones. Slight raisin taste. Something almost metallic or medicinal.

Mouthfeel: Thin, watery, weak.

Drinkability: In a word....difficult.

Overall: What happened to this brew? Has it changed that much since I used to enjoy it 10-15 years ago? Or have my tastes evolved? This was a big disappointment. I already know enough to never buy this stuff in an open sixer as the clear bottle leads to skunkiness very quickly. Thus....I bought a closed 12 pack thinking this would be, at least, a sessionable beer (from memory). Bad choice. It was hard to finish one. This will be my last memory of "Newckie Brown".

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 21:53:28 | More by Brunite
Photo of buyBinboaVodka

New Jersey

1.88/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer should not be considered craft, but I guess to the masses it is. I had this at a hockey game, this was the best of the worst. It poured a dark red with brown highlights. Head was 1 finger that vanished quickly. The smell is of light roasted malts and a little bit of a ho presence. Taste is like malt flavored water. I do not pick up chocolate, caramel or any other flavor in this beer. Mouthfeel is thin with mild carbonation and it leaves a metallic tinge in the mouth. Overall, it is better than BMC, but not worth drinking.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2011 14:07:59 | More by buyBinboaVodka
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Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 3,588 ratings.