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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.

3,585 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3585
Reviews: 1458
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 3,585 | Reviews: 1,458 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Graphirus

Russian Federation

3.89/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

My first time trying a Brown Ale so maybe I'm not the perfect guy to judge it... anyways, let's go:

A - Pours a dark brown beer that forms a modest off-white head. Head has good retention and forms modest lacing. The liquid is sparkling and vivid.

S - Average malt smell, I perceive some notes of apple and pear. Hops are light, with some citrus notes. Yeast is light, almost not perceived.

T - The taste is very good. The body is medium, at the beginning has some sweetness hints that gives rooms to some astringent bitterness after swallowing.

M - Creamy and soft carbonation. Astringent and bitterness aftermouth.

O - May not be and WOW beer, but I found it to be quite pleasant and something that I would on a regular basis. My personal rating would be around a 3.8 and 4.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2013 17:54:46 | More by Graphirus
Photo of LiquidAmber


3.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a ruddy brown amber with a thin, fine off-white head with decent retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, nuts, a hint of sourness and whiffs of skunkiness. Flavor follows, with light caramel, slightly biscuit malt, hints of toasted malt, walnuts, slightly sweet. A lightly hoppy, malty finish with faint skunkiness. Light bodied. A lightly, but satisfactorly flavored English brown that is well suited for its purpose as an entry level English brown. It is refreshing that Calendonian has not succumbed to the fad of brown bottles that would prevent the delightful addition of skunk butt to the beer over time. Or not. Not a bad light mealtime beer. A good choice if you stuck somewhere with limited beer selection as it's quite well distributed and more interesting than most mass produced beer. Buy the ones in the dark cooler.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2013 19:23:33 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of Premo88


3.74/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into pub glass

L: dark brown with deep amber highlights; dark amber (loses the brown) when held up to light; solid 1/4 to 1/2-inch head of tan that sticks hard at the top; crystal clear; if it laced on the way down, it'd be an easy 5 ... it doesn't lace much, but it does keep a nice tight collar of foam.

S: grain when super cold (standard for most brews), but opens up into a malt-bomb ... sweet lightly toasted barley, butter, toasted walnuts, yeast -- the standard English malt notes. they aren't overwhelming, nowhere near "perfect," but the malt notes are nice and correct.

T: nuts, mellow buttery light malt; never fully sweetens on either end, but otherwise has all the brown ale taste notes

F: light and watery ... not overloaded with carbonation. if it were any lighter, it would dip into the undrinkable realm, but there's just enough overall here to keep it drinkable

O: frankly, i love it. it's not overwhelmingly good, but it's all i need to get a decent English brown ale fix. the nose is especially correct, but the taste is solid. for $9.36 a six-pack, it's a decent enough buy when put in context ... and as solid a session beer as I've found at 4.7% ABV

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2013 21:27:33 | More by Premo88
Photo of ThePaintedGrey


2.99/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into standard bar pint glass. Reviewing from notes.

A: Kinda looks like a glass of root beer, or another similar dark soda. Not impressive in terms of head retention, or lacing for that matter. Pretty "meh" for the most part.

S: Some sweet malts up front, a little bit of roasted grains. Overall very light in the aroma department. Not much going on.

T: A lot of sweetness up front, but not from the malts. Almost reminds me of artificial sweetener... Some weird yeasty flavors that meld with some roasted grain give this one an overall weird flavor profile. It's not offensive, but it's not exactly pleasant either.

M: Thin with a soda-like fizz. Light and refreshing, but not what I want in a beer...

O: This one is passable, I guess. Not something that I would find myself ordering again, but it's not offensive enough to earn a "stay away" stamp. Just look past this one if there are better options...

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2013 18:47:39 | More by ThePaintedGrey
Photo of BethanyB

New Jersey

3.03/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Medium brown color, with light red highlights. Good clarity, and a large, fluffy, light tan head that lasts for a reasonable amount of time.

Smell: Bready, slightly toasted malt, with shades of clean hops and caramel. The aroma is light, and it takes a few good whiffs to uncover what little complexity there is. Some diacetyl was detected (fine for the style).

Taste: Light caramel and biscuity malt with medium low bitterness and the style's signature nuttiness. Unfortunately, these flavors come across as being watered down. and a completely clean finish only makes the taste that much more forgettable.

Mouthfeel. A smooth slickness lightens the medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall: Never fails to unimpress. Those "hallmark" Northern brown qualities seem to be hidden under a sheet of water. Needs to be amped up a little (or a lot) more.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2013 01:23:59 | More by BethanyB
Photo of DeFaz


2.7/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

"The One and Only" Newcastle is indeed a little different. It certainly doesn't taste like your typical brown ale, but it does have more than enough (and I believe too much) of the earthiness that you would expect to find. It starts off sweet, finishes sweet, but there's some faint dryness in there too. Expect yeast and malt with just a touch of hop flavor and don't be surprised if you see a mushroom floating around in your bottle (not literally). As for its mouthfeel, this one is way too thin and the carbonation is just a bit too slight in my opinion. Maybe there was a time when Newcastle was revered, but my guess is that they've modified their recipe since then, and all they're left with now is an odd but not necessarily offensive beer with adjuncts that has nothing that a great brown ale typically offers.

Overall, not bad, but at $8.99 for six this one is an easy pass.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2013 00:48:46 | More by DeFaz
Photo of Alextricity


2.88/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

About $4 for a single bottle at a bar that didn't have anything to offer that I was particularly interested in.

Appearance: Comes in a clear bottle... bad start. Pours decently, but still nothing special. A decent head lingers, but there's no lacing (that I noticed). Very ordinary.

Smell: Eh... watered down... could smell a lot better. Dusty sorts of roasted malts give that roasty/coffee aroma, but it doesn't smell particularly good. The quality just isn't there.

Taste: It's just OKAY. My dad said that in the '70s he used to drink this a lot and it tasted a lot better (citing that they probably changed the recipe, and that the beer was in brown bottles). It's light like it ought to be given the ABV, but it just doesn't taste very good. It's not bad thanks to the fact that there's nothing off-putting and that it's not super sweet, but it's pretty mediocre.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2013 23:16:46 | More by Alextricity
Photo of TheMarkE


3.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Toffee brown with a quickly disappearing head, decent lacing.

Smell: Bready malts.

Taste: Bready malts with a hint of brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a slight sweet aftertaste.

The Verdict: Not bad. Watery, unexciting, but ultimately drinkable. That's about it.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 21:57:34 | More by TheMarkE
Photo of IchLiebeBier


3/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Reddish-brown; big head; good lacing

Aroma: Malty; biscuity; hoppy

Taste: Slight sulfur taste; dried figs; slightly bitter finish, but pretty well balanced; still, wasn't that impressed with the overall flavor.

Remarks: Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 21:47:34 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of dwren89


2.66/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: foamy tan head, medium burgundy color, opaque

Aroma: beet, prune, slightly sugary malt character, Belgian yeast character-- pungent and slightly earthy

Taste: blast of sugary sweetness at first, then developing beet/prune/date flavor, with supporting bitterness, and surprisingly balanced and somewhat dry finish

Mouthfeel: High carbonation, tingly in mouth, surpringly light bodied for the style (medium body), nimble and not at all cloying,
Overall Impression: This is the Quad to end all Quads. An immediate dark fruit punch in the mouth with slowly developing dark malt and yeast character that somehow manages to stay medium bodied and a slightly dry finish. Although it is very similar in taste to most well made quads, its nimble body and drying finish take the Westy XII to another level. This is a malt bomb that is amazingly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2013 21:31:16 | More by dwren89
Photo of dougbassett


3.56/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

One of the "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die" -- #26 of the ones I've reviewed here.

A beer so classic Humble Pie sang about it in "30 Days in the Hole". The color of it is nice, although docked noticeably for having a head that vanished almost before I put the bottle down. The nose wasn't awful, but wasn't anything at all like you'd might expect from a brown ale, or even a beer this shade of brown -- it smelled to me noticeably like muted apple cider vinegar. (Ie no sharp bitterness, I don't think it was a bad bottle, though who knows of course.)

The mouthfeel is quite pleasant, this is one of the few beers I've reviewed here recently where they hit the sweet spot for me. It didn't taste like much of anything, maybe a little grain and a little hop bitterness, although the finish is surprisingly pleasant, reminiscent of toast, of all things. Maybe freshly toasted 7 grain whole grain bread or something.

Kind of a hard beer to review. It's pleasant and by no means undrinkable -- it's sort of eccentric, too, in it's nose and flavor profile. Still I can't imagine scenarios where I'd be trying this again. Probably worth trying once and deciding for yourself -- I find it genuinely odd that such a mild, eccentric little beer became the favored brand of working class toughs, but history is filled with such oddities.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2013 20:16:21 | More by dougbassett
Photo of silverking


3.2/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- It pours a deep copper/red with a rocky tan head. head retention is good, and it leaves thin yet well defined rings of lace.

S- Light bready malt, a hint of english hops.

T- Bready, light earthy bitternes in the finish.

M- Light bodied with gentle carbonation. The finish is watery.

O- Its good, but not great. It is, in my opinion, one of the best beers you will find in most grocery stores.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2013 05:28:57 | More by silverking
Photo of andjusticeforale


2.81/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from an oversized bottle into a perfect pint glass.

The head quickly settled into the body and very little residue stuck to the sides.

The aroma was earthy and mineral and decidedly British, with some alcohol in the nose. the beer is a pretty copper-ruby color.

The first taste revealed a pleasantly thick mouth-feel without much carbonation at all, a toasted bread characteristic mid palate, and then, a vinegar-esque bitterness in the finish with a taste of minerals and yeast. No alcohol taste at all. The bitterness remains.

I wouldn't slam this beer- it is full of British nostalgia, and is quite drinkable, especially deep into the six pack.

The color and mouth-feel are standouts here, making the beer almost beautiful and full bodied.
The off flavors and bitterness would be much better replaced with true hop flavor, but until then, its not a bad choice at an outdoor barbecue, or when the alternative is euro lager green or keg beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2013 02:33:35 | More by andjusticeforale
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 GerardMota


4.2/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The foam is lower retention, but i has a good marron color so that´s fine, the smell is more roasty and barely sweet.The taste is well balanced between roast and caramel malts, and mouthfeel is very smooth, i find it quite splendid and it works for me on a hot day cheers!!!

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 17:21:15 | More by GerardMota
Photo of ThomasMetal75


4.01/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Bownish-Red. Typical for a brown ale. Nice frothy head that dies to a small amount of lacing around the glass.

S- LIGHT AND REFRESHING SMELL! Lightly roasted malts. Toffee and honey. Sweet. Even a slight spicy note. Very inviting!

T- Tosted malts, toffee and honey like in the smell. Bready-ness overall in the palate. Biscuit perhaps as well? Sweetneess rounds out those flavors nicely, but is not sickly sweet. Hoppy likespice in the finish to balance everything out. Clean taste and finish!

M- Light and watery, but is so flavorful at the same time. Several at a time can be put down.

Overall, I've always liked this beer and I'm liking it now while reviewing it. It's just so easy to put these down. Better than light lagers becuase this is a really flavorful, light bodied beer. If I need a beer to bring to an outing that I can drink all night with no problem whatsoever with flavor, it'll be this!

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 04:04:12 | More by ThomasMetal75
Photo of sajaffe1


3.33/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A- Clear brown color with a small, light tan head. No retention and minimal amount of lacing.

Smell- Sweet malt, grass, nutty, and a tad skunky likely due to the clear glass

Taste- Caramel malt flavor with some sweetness and nuttiness. A hint of floral hops at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied and watery for a brown ale. An average amount of carbonation for the style.

Overall- This is just an average brown ale, but better than other macros. It is just slightly above average for a beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2013 03:23:38 | More by sajaffe1
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Newcastle indeed looks a 'nut' brown ale, its colour being some blend of chestnut and pecan tones. Despite quickly losing all its foam the beer remains quite the looker; sheeny highlights and spotless clarity really show-off against the light. I see why they put it in a clear bottle.

The aroma has a minimum amount of nutty, toasted maltiness and a needless amount of sweetness; corn syrup is masqueraded as caramel. The difference is plainly apparent and, like using margarine in place of butter, there's just no substituting the real thing. The flavours are vaporous and passive, not engaged. Smells more like an amber ale than nut brown.

That minority of people who were happy finding tootsie-rolls in their trick-or-treat bag is probably the only group likely to find this satisfying. I base this on the beer's bland, penny-candy quality (though its corn syrup/cocoa/condensed milk profile does create an actual tootsie-roll-like flavour). The mouthfeel has a mineral element that tastes copper-y (like old pennies).

The best brown ales finish with a dusting of chocolate-mocha richness - this one has (maybe) a semblance to soft-serve chocolate ice cream but it's more so because of the milky sweetness, not any cocoa-like taste. The brewer used only enough caramel malt so as to lend colour; the taste of plain pale malt is about as captivating as waiting in line at a drive-thru.

Newcastle is a name synonymous with the brown ale style. This should be attributed to the brand's history and no other reason. Presently, it's a brown ale with a lager's outlook on life. The brewery's aim is no longer to produce the best, most flavourful brown ale but, rather, to market a dark(ish) beer that is still insipid enough to have mass-market appeal.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2013 21:01:49 | More by biegaman
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 scratch69


3.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Clear brown color with a half a fingers worth of light tan head. No retention and minimal amount of lacing.

Smell- Sweet malt, grass, nuts, and a little skunky.

Taste- Caramel malt flavor with some sweetness and nuttiness. A hint of floral hops at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied and watery. An average amount of carbonation.

Overall- This is just an average brown ale. It is not impressive in any way.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2013 00:29:12 | More by scratch69
Photo of leaddog

Alberta (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance- Pours a clear chestnut brown with a thin line of bubbly head.

Smell- grass, straw, sweet malts, corn adjuncts.

Taste- Sweet "caramel" like malts followed by the grass with a slight hint of nutiness.

Mouthfeel- Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall- An agreeable English brown ale. There are better examples of the style out there but this one is good for what it is. I wasn't too impressed with the aromas, however, the taste improved my overall thoughts of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2013 03:42:53 | More by leaddog
Photo of screamking


2.7/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance-pours red brown with very small light khaki head, mild carbonation. 3.25

Aroma-Carmel, hint of roasted nuts, some light brown sugar, nothing much going on here. 2.5

Taste-light roasted malts, roasted peanut, a little brown sugar, better than aroma but not by much. 2.75

Feel-light bodied, very watery, barely coats palate, aftertaste is brief, as drinkable as water. 2.5

Overall-Wow, I used to love this beer. Revisiting now is kind of eye opening, my palate has came a long way. This beer isn't horrible but its not anything other than beer to drink to get drunk. The flavor is better than most lagers but compared to other brown ales it is falling very far behind. Lots of other fish in the sea.2.75

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2013 22:41:33 | More by screamking
Photo of delta490


2.76/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams glass. Poured a clear, medium-light brown, with almost no head and even less retention or lacing. Aroma is malty, with what I thought smelled like caramel. But there's not a whole lot to it. The taste is about the same. Not much distinctive or notable about it. Oddly enough, it had a nice mouthfeel. There's nothing bad about it, but there's not much to it, either.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2013 09:44:18 | More by delta490
Photo of The21ner

3.16/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I bought this at my local liquor store for $3.39 + tax (18.6 oz). I heard about this beer so i decided to try it. To be honest i feel a little disappointed. It had a very classic average taste to it. Nothing really impressive. It's not a bad beer, it's just not gooD enough to be my first option.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2013 21:25:33 | More by The21ner
Photo of doktorhops


2.68/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ahhh, Caledonia, also known as "Scotland", tis a bonnie land of whiskey and tap ales. Newcastle is in England geographically so it is a curiosity that a Scottish brewery should make an English ale and a famous one at that, perhaps Australia should start brewing a New Zealand lager and sell it back to them as their own? They are practically our seventh state. In any case it is what it is - a famous brown ale that I've not tried since 2001, having not been particularly fond of it in the first and I doubt much has changed.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Fairly brown body actually... it's in the name, with a chalky white lacing for a head, it looks ok, amber bodied beers are more appealing overall, however from an objective standpoint it's good marks here.

S: Smells a bit like a pub floor (I've mopped a few in my days). There is a malt grain note mixed with hints of yeast, slight fruity hops but that pub floor smell drives home that this may be a mediocre brew... lets see how it goes with the taste before we confirm.

T: It's got a classic array of English ale flavours; nutty, caramel malts, slight sour yeast, light fruity hops in the background and more of a dry than bitter finish. Certainly doesn't taste as bad as it smells which is unexpected. Still not as good as many other English ales I've tried, such as - St Peter's, Old Hooky, Landlord... take your pick.

M: Light(ish) bodied with flat carbonation.

D: A bit of a "meh-beer". There are plenty of superb English ales vying for my attention for me to be remotely be interested in this, and a 6-pack costs $20 which is well overpriced for such an average brew. We sold a lot of Caledonian beers at the bar I worked at in Edinburgh and not a single one of them could hold a candle to the real ale pull tap beers from brewers like Harvestoun, which is telling of the overall state of the market between macro/craft brewers: craft will always trump macro in the battle for my taste-buds.

Food match: A nice hot vindaloo curry will completely overpower the flavour of this brew... which isn't such a bad thing.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2013 08:20:18 | More by doktorhops
Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 3,585 ratings.