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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.

3,601 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3601
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: 3,601 | Reviews: 1,459 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of AlexLMS


1.9/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: deep amber colour. Very clear appearance. Moderate frothy tan head. It seldom persists but it leaves a good amount of lacing.
Aroma: not very inspiring. Some sweet malts notes.
Taste: weak malt flavour. Very adjuncty. Herbal hops presence.
Mouthfeel: dry, low carbonation, medium alcoholic strength. Light to medium body.
Finish: odd astringent lingering aftertaste.

Overall: first of all I always figured that English Brown Ales would not use this amount of adjuncts. The label states “Water, Barley, Wheat, Maize, Glucose Syrup, Caramel, E150, Hops, Yeast”. I did not enjoy this one and won’t buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2008 13:51:07 | More by AlexLMS
Photo of Vendetta

New Jersey

1.93/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Original Rating Date:
June 16, 2008

I really don't know how people get so infatuated with this beer in bottle. The classic brown ale flavor is there, but it's overwhelmed by skunkiness. The aroma and taste are both so skunked that the beer just isn't very enjoyable. I suppose it's due to the sunlight the clear bottle catches, which is a shame because this could be a really good beer. I've had it from the tap before and I remember enjoying it far better, but for this review I had a clear bottle and I just can't get over the skunkitude enough to enjoy it.

I have had this on tap before, and it's much better, but I haven't gotten a chance to rate it yet.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2008 00:45:47 | More by Vendetta
Photo of MrAleman

United Kingdom (England)

1.95/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

The only good thing about this beer is that it is generally well priced and comes in a good sized bottle. The one I had was 550ml.

On the downside the beer tastes pretty bad, I have go along with those who say it tastes earthy and skunky. In fact every taste was a challenge. There was a sweetness there as well but that did not cover up the skunk.

The smell was also like an old skunky smell and pretty unpleasant i've got to say. Not recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 10:35:25 | More by MrAleman
Photo of magictrokini


1.95/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

The beer looks like it would taste good. It does not. Pours clear brown with a short off-white head. Brown bread aroma that is old and dusty. Taste is watery, just like the mouthfeel. Sour-sweet malt and a little Worchester-saucy. It is also pricey in comparison to other beers, thus sealing its fate as an underachiever.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 22:29:49 | More by magictrokini
Photo of brewerburgundy


1.95/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

18.6oz bottle (wtf is with that volume and the clear glass) , Central Waters shaker pint.

The color is garnet, filtered crystal clear. The head is really quite nice, light tan, very good retention and lacing.

Skunk was immediately apparent as soon as my nose got anywhere near the glass. It's really hard to get past, so I only smell or imagine I'm smelling steely sugar or caramel. That's it. I should have known better than to buy this bottle, but before that Newcastle should have known better than to keep putting their beer in clear bottles.

Skunk is the most prominent flavor too. Steely sugar, DMS, mild husk. I'm wondering why I bothered. The answer is to check a ubiquitous, 'classic' off the list.

4.7% isn't that small a beer, especially by English standards. This is watery and even the relatively low carbonation is too much.

I'll never buy or probably even accept a Newcastle again. I'm drinking it, but it is really a terrible beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2011 22:42:32 | More by brewerburgundy
Photo of BlackBelt5112203

South Carolina

1.95/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

18 oz bottle poured into an English pint glass at cellar temperature.

L - Brown color with a 3-finger bubbly cream-colored head. Good retention and very nice lacing. A good amount of carbonation bubbles.

S - Really grainy malt. Not toasted or nutty at all like a brown ale should be. A little bit of skunk in here, as well.

T - Again, grainy malt and skunk. There’s maybe a tiny, tiny bit of caramel malt but no sign of any toasty, bready, nutty malt. Maybe a tiny bit of earthy hops at the finish.

F - Light-bodied with good carbonation, a crisp mouthfeel, and a slightly dry finish. Refreshing.

O - This beer is not good. I’m not sure it’s because of the long trip from England in clear bottles, but there’s a ton of skunk in this. It looks very nice and has a decent mouthfeel, but the aroma and taste leave much more to be desired. I hope this isn’t what most people think of when they hear brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2012 00:34:22 | More by BlackBelt5112203
Photo of Mikala


1.95/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm new to beer-drinking so I don't know fancy terminology to describe it. The bottle looks great to me, it's bright and fun. Packaging makes you want to drink, which is important to me in choosing a beer. Even though I drank from a bottle, I've seen the way it pours and the head doesn't last for very long. It dissipates about 1 minute and a half after it's poured. So you're better off having it from the bottle. The smell was like a dull yuengling (which I love how yuengling smells, but I'm not a fan of the taste). The taste was very bland and bitter. Almost a little too robust. Like drinking extremely strong tea without sweetner (yes I'm a southerner). And the mouth feel was a little too bubbly to me. I like a dull carbonated feeling. If you're more about hops and robust-ness then this is your beer. But if you look for more of a well-rounded flavor that expands when it's in your mouth this is not for you.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2012 20:32:15 | More by Mikala
Photo of Jsmick


1.95/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.75

This beer was so bad that it inspired me to write my first review. After walking around Fenway Park for a while, I came across one of the beer stands that sold something other than Bud Light. I'm a huge fan of English Brown Ales, so I figured I'd give this one a try.

The mouthfeel was thin and watery, almost like a light beer. No real toastiness or nuttiness that goes along with the beautiful style of beer that is an English Brown. Very bland taste that didn't improve at all as the beer warmed. The watery taste gave way to a faint graininess that faded away into a hop bitterness that just didn't compliment the thin beer at all. This is a pathetic excuse for the style. Avoid this brew. Go with a Samuel Smith's or a Boneshaker instead.

Serving type: can

06-09-2013 05:05:30 | More by Jsmick
Photo of BMMillsy


1.96/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

I have never gotten into this one. The clear bottle pours a medium colored brownish red with a lightly cream colored head. This always gives a bit of a tequila smell from it, with some hazelnut and a bit of tofee malt. Flavor follows suit, and for some reason I get a tequila flavor from this (I do NOT like tequila). A watered down brown ale that seems to almost have a tequila aftertaste. Color is faint. Not a win in my book.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 22:45:04 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of xnicknj


1.98/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle poured into glass

Pours a clear burgundy color with cherry hues. An off white head fades out into a collar of lacing with some clouds of film and lacing.

Scents of metallic steel with nuttiness. Some residual hoppiness and semi-sweet malt.

Slightly toasted malt with faint watery caramel. Nearly nonexistent hops and metally bitterness. Wet towel with lemon peel. Slight citric acid. Yeah, I think that's about enough for me.

Lighter medium body, higher carbonation, puckering awfulness after swallowing. I can't believe there was a time when I actually enjoyed this beer. Atrocious flavor, unattractive scent, and an overall poor experience.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 06:41:50 | More by xnicknj
Photo of beertaster13


2/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer was nothing what I expected, in fact it is horrible. It pours a light brown with a semi/tan head that materialized then quickly faded. Lacing was nowhere to be found. The smell was of grain and alcohol, other that that no other tones found. The taste was a dark grain/corn almost grilled taste, you can taste the alcohol as well. A semi sweet malt character is traceable and a hop tracing at the end, but nothing that makes you say "wow" or even "okay". Simply put this was not a good beer. Light bodied for an ale (brown ale) and light and crisp. Not very smooth. I couldn't drink anymore of these, there are great brown ale's out there, this is not one of them. Try Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2004 20:31:01 | More by beertaster13
Photo of Lupe

New York

2.03/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I can't quite put my finger on why I don't like this beer. There is just something about the taste that makes it hard to swallow, and the smell is very medicinal. The bright spot for this one is the apperance.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2002 10:40:56 | More by Lupe
Photo of Radome


2.03/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Dark amber color, extremely clear. The head is weak and thin and fades quickly.

S - Aroma is a smooth mix of malt and earthy hops initially, but it is very faint. At the end of the whiff is something medicinal or vinegar-like that is not pleasant.

T - It almost doesn't taste like beer. The early dominant tastes are butter and vinegar, In the middle there is some malt. The aftertaste has a nutty note that finally bears some resemblance to a brown ale, but it is fleeting.

M - The body is thin. Carbonation is very low, as appropriate for the style.

D - This is not a good beer. I don't know if this is an old example that is oxidized, or if this is a US version that is inferior to the original. If this is how it always tastes, I don't know how it got famous.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2010 04:07:21 | More by Radome
Photo of cfpct


2.05/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer was a major disappointment. I would describe it as bland, tasteless and watery. It sort of reminds minds me of a Michelod Dark, which pretty much explains why I'll never buy this beer again. There is nothing complex or interesting about this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2007 02:40:43 | More by cfpct
Photo of bark


2.08/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The colour is clear red-brown; the two finger thick beige foam forms an airy head with some crater tendencies.

The smell is sweet and malty with a clear burned note, some sour-bitter notes and a slight chemical note.

The taste is unbalanced with a fruity, somewhat burned salty flavour. The taste soon becomes watery with a notable corn-feel. The aftertaste is short and rather mild with a saccharine-like sweetness and a chemical bitterness.

The mouthfeel is rather odd; it is almost stale and almost sharp at the same time, making it rather unbalanced.

When I was a young, innocent and inexperienced beer drinker, I drank a lot of this beer. Now, I find it very uninteresting and artificial. Way to go…

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2005 21:02:35 | More by bark
Photo of Mandrake

Nova Scotia (Canada)

2.1/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice dark reddish-brown, and builds a small off-white head that dissipates quickly, but leaves decent lacing most of the way down. Smells vaguely hoppy and has fruity hints, but there is a metallic note to it as well. Tasting one can see where the smell comes from. It is dominated by an unpleasant metallic taste, although hints of malty sweetness are present as well. Mouthfeel is thin and unsatisfying, and I certainly wouldn't go back for another, even if it's not terribly difficult to get through.

Serving type: can

12-31-2005 19:39:18 | More by Mandrake
Photo of giblet


2.1/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured from a clear bottle. i dont think that is usually a good start. poured nicely into my glass. nice head and carbonation. smells sweet but not strong. tastes sweet. this was the let down. it was lighter color than i expected and far sweeter than i like. it is easy enough to drink cuz it is pretty light.

ok for a notch in the belt. not great.

suckem up and movem out.


Serving type: bottle

08-06-2007 10:06:45 | More by giblet
Photo of waughbrew


2.13/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Nice auburn with yellow highlights. Medium creamy head that doesn't have too much retention, but laces well. Nose is English hops with apple skin notes, a butteriness, strawberry and faint banana esters. Taste is a big let-down. Just not too much there - the dull hop flavor is there in equal force as the toasted malt, but the finish is fast, weak, and just a harsh graininess. Very bland malt flavors for a brown ale - do they use coloring?. Pretty full body but with a biting carbonation. I did not enjoy this beer, although I hear it is better on draft. I won't buy it again in bottled form.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2004 00:25:08 | More by waughbrew
Photo of Rifugium


2.13/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

First had: on tap at Keswick Tavern, Glenside, PA

I'm not huge on brown ales, and this one's no superstar among them. Pours a cola brown with a finger of off-white head. Somewhat weak aroma, toasted malts and plastic-y. More of the same in the taste, with touches of chocolate perhaps. Light-medium mouthfeel, a bit thin, and not very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2011 04:32:45 | More by Rifugium
Photo of RaulMondesi


2.13/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Out of a bottle n into a pint glass and Raul don't like it.

Even back in the day when homies would load up their Etnies backpacks with 6er's of this stuff and bring it to parties, Raul didn't think it was cool.

Looks alright, smells better than an olsen twin, but the taste... ay papi! Did someone grind up a bunch of cigarettes and mix them with gutter water? This hooch is rank!

Raul does not agree.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 01:41:38 | More by RaulMondesi
Photo of JohnnyJam


2.13/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. clear bottle with a date code 29 02 Y L050 59 22 (which no one knows what that means) on it into a pint glass and got 1 1/2 finger of head.

A: Pours a dark brown color (think of an old brown shoe) and I get about 1 1/2 finger of head that dissipates quickly to leave a ring around the glass that lasts to the end. There is a moderate amount of lace at the beginning that sticks and little to none at the end.

S: I smell little except some funky brown sugar industrial thing.

T: It is sweet and it finishes sweet. That is about it.

M: I'm going to say that it is watery and light-bodied but not at all in a good way. The carbonation comes into play just as I'm going to swallow. It kind of sticks in my throat and does not go down good.

O: I don't like this beer and I can't recommend it. I am always surprised and stunned at the following this beer has. I have a friend in L.A. that only serves this beer at his parties and gets upset if you want to bring your own. He will have a server at a taco bar but you have to drink this beer out of a bottle blah! I don't get it at all.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 01:04:28 | More by JohnnyJam
Photo of bbluemzbeer


2.14/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

My first English Brown ale . I was not to impressed!

Appearance: It is brown to black color

smells : Nutty and carmel smell to it.

taste: It had a half seconds of taste of nutty and caramel flavor then fade to water taste. I was not impressed with taste.

Mouthfeel : Light moutfeel

Overall : I always thought that dark beer have more taste.
Miller lite and bud light has more taste and cost less. I will taste other English brown ale then compare it to them . In future might be better or worse.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 03:10:49 | More by bbluemzbeer
Photo of Todd


2.15/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12 FL OZ custom clear bottle.

Appearance: Tawny/leathery brown. Nice and rich in colour with a bit of a creamy, bubbly lace of a head. Semi-sticky and seems to retain well.

Smell: Medicinal, astringent aromas. Smells crisp and clean. Most of the smells come from the funky ass Ringwood yeast.

Taste: Sweet (but not very malty) and light bodied in the begining. Toasted notes. A crispness creeps up pretty quickly followed by corn sweetness and a definite alcohol taste distinctly from the added maize grits. DMS (cooked vegetables) is also on the palate. Hop notes are leafy, a bit oily. They meld with the prominent yeast profile, that seems to dominate, to create a dryness. Brew gets a bit tea-like, then the tongue then gets coated with a light hop oil/astringent dose of residual flavours from the yeast. Finishes odd.

Notes: This brew uses corn grits, added liquid sugar and is pasteurised. Hardly a "real ale" from England. It's very much a commercial beer these days, and long gone is the age old "goodness." It's now another brew victim to global fame and demand. Despite this, it's drinkable. Not the best brew, or Brown Ale even. In fact, some might find its claimed "special flavour" hard to swallow. Newky Brown uses the tag line "The One and Only" ... let's hope so.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2000 00:00:01 | More by Todd
Photo of dracula68


2.15/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm a bit too much of a novice yet to talk competently about mouthfeel, sediment, lacing, head. But after finishing this bottle I just have to say something. There is a way to make something very cheaply that tastes just like this beer and maybe even looks like it. Very simple.

Take a can of Diet Pepsi and open it.
Put Diet Pepsi back in fridge for 24 hours
remove Diet Pepsi

It's not just the low carbonation, but the fact that there really just isn't much of any kind of flavor at all. The hops are way too subdued, little bitterness, no spice, a very weak aroma.

I drank it from the bottle -- I know, I know -- not the best way, but from the clear bottle even I could tell the head would be hardly anything, very thin. I should never trust a beer in a clear bottle in the first place. It's just a big brown nothing. I thought the English knew how to brew up a good dose of bitters.

Favorite beers so far:
1) Celis Grand Cru
2) Smithwick's Irish Ale
3) Anchor Steam

Worst beers
1) Harbin
2) Corona -- The Yugo of imported beers

and I am EVENTUALLY going to buy myself a decent mug and be able to give a proper review or two.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2007 08:52:41 | More by dracula68
Photo of shirfan

New York

2.17/5  rDev -35%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was abominable for the price.

Has a faintly carmelly-corn sweet aroma, pours a clear copper-brown with a feeble, sticky head.

Tastes like a macro. Malt is thin and watery, has a metallic note, and a powerful corn presence. Not a trace of hops. I loaded up the newcastle website to see if it would list the ingredients, hoping I was wrong....oh no, no, no. I'm painfully right... as the "brewing process" proudly lists maize grits. A flashy animation loads up a large bottlecap that implores the consumer "for a bitter taste, drink with ex-girlfriend".

Obviously the only reason this is an ale is the top fermenting yeast..or are those poor organisms simply trying to escape this wretched concoction they've been immersed in?

I have nothing against cheap, adjunct-laden beer. I do have an axe to grind with bad, adjunct-laden beer that sells for premium prices.

Constructive criticism: scrap the grain bill, brew with malt only, find some hops.

It takes a lot for me to flame a beer, but this one deserves it. Marketing gone wild, this brewery has just earned a vocal detractor.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2003 21:08:47 | More by shirfan
Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 3,601 ratings.