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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 Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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

average brown. Too sweet, mild hops and undertstated nuttiness. Ok brown colour. Lots of better choices in this style. On tap at Underground Bluz in Orlando. Thin mouthfeel, fizzy, eh. Dry but drinkable. Fizzy but better than in the can. Thin mouthfeel.

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2005 04:04:56 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.08/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Townhouse Kitchen & Bar in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown color with a 1 inch light brown head that fades to a thin cap. Foamy sheets of lacing form on the glass on the drink down. Smells of toasted malt, some nuttiness, and an off metallic smell. Taste is of the toasted malt, some slight caramel, slight nut, and subtle hops. The metallic smell I got is also in the taste somewhat. This beer has a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. A bit coating in the mouth after each sip. Overall, this is a pretty average beer that is widely available. Nothing too great or too horrible.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2011 09:01:31 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium brown with a hint of red. The beer actually looks like a lighter version of root beer. The cream colored cap appears soft and a little sticky. Unfortunately, it doesn't last long. Small, tattered sheets of lace decorate the glass.

The aroma isn't impressive with respect to intensity or character. A lightly roasted scent is evident, but so is a strange artificial smell that I can only describe as plastic-like.

Newcastle Brown Ale tastes better than it smells. It features flavors of lightly sweet dark malt, mild cocoa and nuts. However, that artificial character is still lurking. I'm unable, at this point, to be more specific or descriptive with off-flavors.

The finish is slightly metallic. Unlike a lot of beers that have that characteristic in the first several mouthfuls, the metallic taste didn't go away. An early and middle sweetness fades to a subtle bitterness on the finish. The mouthfeel is acceptable: smooth and not a bit thin.

Despite what one might assume after reading the above, I don't think Newcastle Brown Ale is such bad beer. The off-flavor wasn't that offensive and there's just enough character to nudge this English brown ale into slightly better than average territory.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2004 03:37:08 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a thick dark brown with no real head but some decent lace. Smell was of caramel and nutty Malt, with a bit of a hoppy hit in there. Taste followed suit well. Taste very full and actually well balanced. This one was always one of my favs before getting into the craft brew and still deserves a good reputation.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2006 03:07:26 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


2.95/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a clear brown with red highlights and an off-white foam that leaves nearly as quickly as it arrives.

S: The aroma is not all that pleasant. A definite metallic scent coming from the glass along with some sweet, sweet grain. I normally like some nuttiness to my brown ales.

T: The beer is very sweet. A definite caramel and toffee flavor to it with an ever so faint touch of nuttiness on the finish. A mild hop bitterness, but not enough to quite cut through the sweetness.

M: The body of the beer is a bit thin, but not horrible. The level of carbonation is moderate.

D: I used to enjoy this beer, but I'm no longer sure why. It's alright in the flavor department, but nothing spectacular and the nose is quite off-putting.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2010 07:08:18 | More by womencantsail
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Caramel brown with a very modest head but some decent lacing

Smell: Caramel, nutty malt and yeasty aroma. Fairly low profile.

Taste: Initial malty sweetness - caramel and nuts - quickly matched, but not overwhelmed, by distinct bitterness

Mouthfeel: A little thin but decent

Drinkability: Not unpleasant. While I would like to have more distinct flavor in my beer, the widespread availability of this beer makes it a decent selection in macro-wonderland places that are trying to show a little sophistication by carrying this ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2004 21:44:15 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.75/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Can: Poured a clear light brown ale with below average head with minimum retention. Aroma is quite weak with light roasted malts being noticeable. Taste is generally quite refreshing, with light roasted notes and a slight dry aftertaste. Overall, this is a refreshing drink, better then your average macros, but that is lacking something to make it really special.

Serving type: can

09-20-2004 14:42:37 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


2.65/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

What should be a nutty northern English brown ale be relegated to a smooth but grainy tasting English-like ale that exhibits as much toasted grain as it does hearty malted character.

The pour of chestnut brown coloration shows brilliant clarity, but only forms a short-lived and lackluster head character that dissipates rather quickly. Reducing to a lace, the beer does lace with isolated pockets of foam. The look is fine, just not as substantial as I would have liked in the foam department.

Grainy-sweet aromas carry a mild nutty, toasty, lightly kilned barley character with woody herbal hop notes that complement the slight caramel and cola nut scent. The nose if fine, crisp, and clean but doesn't allure the senses in the way that classy English brown ales should.

Timidly flavored, the beer starts with more grainy sweetness than it does maltiness. There's really no biscuit malt character, and flimsy toffee richness in taste that celebrates a rather empty mid palate of cola and barley husk more than substantial malt or hop balance.

Low in body, the beer seems to be derived more so of grain hulls as it does of first runnings of malt. Grainy, astringent, and watery, the grains are over worked and unsupported with the textures that make the authentic nutty and malty versions so appealing.

In reality, today's Newcastle has been relegated to a beer that can carry your swill guzzling buddies from Anheuser-Buschs' Amber Bock towards better Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale or Wychwood Hobgoblin.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2005 13:27:27 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


2.8/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass.

Pours a medium brown color with a thin off-white head and a bit of lacing as it goes down the glass. The nose brings some light toffee and caramel plus a faint bit of nuttiness. The nutty character comes through a bit more in the taste along with plenty of the toffee. Light to medium body with good carbonation. Drinks fairly well, but isn't something I'd go after with other choices available.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2011 01:43:51 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

3.23/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear reddish brown in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high frothy beige head that slowly died down but never completely faded away.
S: There are metallic aromas in the nose.
T: The taste has a mild amount of sweetness and flavors of caramel and toffee. There are some notes of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels light-bodied and a bit thin and watery on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer goes down very easily because it has a low alcohol content and isn't very filling, however I wouldn't consider this to be sessionable because the flavor isn't interesting enough for me to want to have more than one of these at a time.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 16:30:29 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


2.65/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, walnut brown body with a small, fizzy, pale beige head.

Smell: Light, nutty nose with a vague fruitiness and a faint hint of diacetyl.

Taste: Weak nutty, apple flavor with a middling sweetness and a soft buttery quality to it. Not much hop character at all. Short, abrupt finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Watery mouthfeel. Somewhat spritzy carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly bland and yawn-inducing.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2007 01:51:05 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of TMoney2591


3.23/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flared pokal.

I can't tell you how many times I've had this classic, but now I've decided to finally sit down and review it. It pours a clear light sienna topped by a finger or so of off-cream foam. The nose comprises light caramel, dusty biscuit, and a touch of light grass. It's all pretty meek, lemme tell ya. The taste refuses to change things up very much, save in the intensity department, and it's not like it went crazy with that particular decision. This isn't to say it tastes bad, it just doesn't really taste all that much at all. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta smooth feel. Overall, a real easy-drinker, something that doesn't pretend to be more than it is. I'll likely have many more in the future.

Serving type: on-tap

07-13-2011 02:46:32 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.93/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, russet in color with a tan head that holds OK but soon drops to a collar and limited surface covering. The aroma is of a gently fruity and lightly caramel malt. It's in a clear bottle but it's not skunked. The body is light with a moderate carbonation giving it a smooth mouthfeel. The flavor offers a lightly sweet, caramel maltiness and subtle earthy hop flavor (Fuggles?) that's supported by an underlying bitterness. There's also a nutty and buttery character that's very nice. It finishes fairly dry with a softly lingering residual maltiness. A very drinkable beer that offers some nice characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2002 21:12:27 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle at Ceili's Irish pub across the alley from my condo, as part of Friday afternoon after-work bullshitting and the like.

This beer pours a clear, dark red brick amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, cushioned, and slightly bubbly pale beige head, which leaves a bit of arching seaspray lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of fruity, orchard-heavy (apple, and musty pear, mostly) toasted caramel malt, some wet bready notes, mild indistinct inexpensive oily nuts, and softly innocuous leafy, earthy hops. The taste has a prominent sweet candy essence - bubblegum, drupe and vinous fruit, sweetened generic black tea, and a thin caramel malt - simple, sure, but duly serviceable.

The carbonation is quite low and ineffective, as is duly expected, the body medium-light in weight, and egregiously smooth, a certain soul for sale creaminess providing the score. It finishes sweet, the muted caramel malt more prevalent that anything else, any titular nuttiness more or less gone off on a side bender, or something, by this point.

A tasty, and easy enough to put back offering, if you don't mind keeping your mind otherwise occupied, which I seem more than capable of doing at the moment, colleagues and black-skirted waitresses so clearly abundant and engaging.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2009 22:35:04 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk


2.9/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

At a pub once, friends and I noticed the pint glasses we'd been seved. K. was shocked and dismayed to find her Anchor Steam in a Newcastle glass. G, a Newkie fan, wondered why. "It's like MGD with brown food coloring!" While I don't fully agree with her opinion, I fully support the feelings behind it.

Huge, crackling tan head, dark amber hue. Aroma: caramel, toffee, hazelnuts, almonds, white chocolate. Very smooth on the tongue, with no bite, no real presence of hops. Immense malt, though, and the aroma soon departs. Finish is flat and lackluster. Very easy to see why this is so popular, as it poses no challenges, and possesses little flavor, palate-wise. Overly sickly sweet, and too eager to please. As a bartender, I've tried to steer Newc fans toward better micro versions of brown ale, like Goose Island or Moose Drool, and they order Corona instead.
I don't hate it, I just find little to like.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2003 16:21:48 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.6/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color with a thin, off-white head that fades at an average rate and leaves a decent lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very malty and nutty, with a little bit of hops & caramel.

T: The taste is mostly malty, nutty sweetness with flavors of hops & tea to balance the sweetness to the point that the after-taste contains just a minimal amount of sweetness. Overall, however, the taste just seems kind of dull.

M: Very smooth, light-to-medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: This beer goes down very easily, because it’s not too heavy and has a low ABV%, which allows you to drink a lot of volume. However, it’s that same quality that could cause you to look for something with more flavor and more kick.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2006 04:06:31 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured amber/caramel with a 1/2" white head. Great lacing & head retention until half-way down the glass, then it just vanished??''

S: Sweet malt & caramel

T: Sweet malt & caramel up front, then a little grainyness. Nice rich caramel & a hint of butterscotch follow. Finishes sweet & dry

MF: Light/medium bodied with a little too much carbonation, leading to some prickliness

Drank fairly good, just not comples enough to hold your attention. Had this in england & to be honest it didn't do much for me there. My wife, however loves this stuff

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2006 05:20:22 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.8/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a light brown color with a thick frothy white head. The aroma is malty with that English dry yeast smell; quite good. The taste is smooth and refreshing. It has a bit of maltiness to it, but there is a great balance between base and specialty grains. The mouthfeel is good. This is a light bodied beer. Macros beers don't always have to suck. This is a fine example of a decent macro; a real good drinking ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2003 03:29:31 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


3.4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What can I possibly say about Newcastle that hasn't been said before. When I met my wife this was her beer, this and Killians, so I would keep it around. I recently had it again and thought it was time to write a review.

Beer is clear and brown, forms a small head of medium bubbles that doesn't leave lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate but can't prop up the head. Looks fine.

Sweet, slight, nutty, slight. Kind of has a watery smell if possible.

The malt gets me first, its the sweetness up front followed by what I imagine is some kind of woody nut but its not great. No aftertaste to speak of, not a lot of bitterness to mention, carbonation on the palate is low, its perfectly drinkable, its just boring and pointless.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2010 19:35:47 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80


3.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours out a solid amber/brown hue. A decent size head. It smelled very malty. The malt flavor was accompanied by a hop bitterness, nutty flavors and a hint of caramel. The mouthfeel was fairly crisp and dry. Like most darker beers it is a little heavier than other but overall, I really enjoy Newcastle Brown.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2006 18:18:16 | More by zeff80
Photo of Knapp85


3.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had NewCastle at the Keystone Pub for the first time on 3-2-2008. I saw it on the bottle list there. After having most of what was on the list already, I chose to try something new. The beer pours out as a light brown color, very clear looking with a fizzy whie head. The smell of the beer is a little skunky but not enough to hinder the beer. The taste of the beer is sweet up front with a nutty caramel flavor going on that fades into a bitter dry aftertaste. The mouthfeel of this is pretty light and has a low carbonation to it. Overall I like this beer, It's good as a casual or social beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-13-2011 16:44:37 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


3.65/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium to dark brown with a thin off-white head that quickly disappears to leave a ring and a small swirly patch. Nice color and clarity, but poor head retention.

The smell is nutty with some toasted grains. The aroma is mild.

The taste is of nuts and roasted earthy grains. It's very basic, but what is there is not bad at all. Unfortunately, some of it is washed away by water.

The feel is smooth and buttery. It does thin a bit, but the flavor holds up for the most part.

A "session" brown ale. Nothing great, but easy enough to drink a few and still get characteristics of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2006 00:08:04 | More by jwc215
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

2.63/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Clear 550ml bottle, best before Nov 2007, drank March 2007.

This used to be a big beer in the UK, when I was a lad (don't ask), there were rumours that a whole ward at Newcastle General Hospital was allocated to drying out drunks who couldn't leave it alone. The rumours were not true, although I knew and still do know a few Geordie's who could have spent a week in there for their health.

I always liked this beer as a youngster, I am older now, so here goes.

Poured into two 'Gordon's Golden' Thistle glasses (the wife wants to try some, for old times sake). Looks fine, a good clear mahogany brown, sparkling and clean, with a small off white foam head on top.

Aroma of sweet bananas, caramel and toffee apples, but not overly strong.

Bitter sweet taste, some burnt malts and a little caramel in the mix too.

Very watery, nothing there after the liquid has gone.

This isn't how I remember Newcastle Brown, someone has taken the flavours away, it looks the same, but everything else has gone, what a pity.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2007 21:57:13 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of WVbeergeek


2.95/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a light brown ruby tone with a thin off white amber head and does an okay job of leaving some speckled lacing. Smell contains some light fruit tones and some deeper roasted malts just a little bland not much of anything other than some mildly nut tone sweetness. Flavor is lacking it's not off or bad just very mild from the clear bottles, that I must note if bought in a 12 pack or case are much better than experiences I have had from light struck six packs or 22oz bottles. When nothing else is available better this could have the potential of being a throw back I can't justify paying as much as most places ask for it. Mouthfeel is thin I wish it had some body to it would make it much more palatable for me. Drinkability like I said no off flavors nothing outstanding middle of the road in taste, but overall this one is overrated and overpriced for sure.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2003 14:24:07 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of smcolw


3.2/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Short-lived head that dies to a single layer of bubbles. Clear and light brown liquor. Small amount of lace on the glass.

Mild malt aroma. There's a touch of metal in the smell as well.

Pretty good balance of hop and malt, although both are on the lighter side. The body is thin and the carbonation is high. As a lawn-mower offering, this would rate quite high. As an English brown ale, it is not as robust as others. This also appears to be on the verge of skunking.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2008 23:02:02 | More by smcolw
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Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 3,588 ratings.