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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.

3,591 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3591
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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Photo of Bernoulli

South Carolina

2.64/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Poured dark reddish brown with a cider like lack of head.

Disconcerting lack of any smell.

No hoppiness, or aftertaste and nothing unpleasant.... and not much of a taste at all..

Very smooth, the highlight of the beer.

Overall, non- offensive and innocuous verging on bland with not much to particularly recommend it. (Put it at the bottom of the cooler and no one will complain when they get to it.)

Serving type: can

10-18-2013 22:29:50 | More by Bernoulli
Photo of CalgaryFMC

Alberta (Canada)

3.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours light brown with a little caramel colored foam that quickly breaks. Aroma is surprising fruity, not unpleasant, minimal malt and caramel. On the palate the beer is mild brown sugar and dry sweet malt, hints of vinous fruit, vanilla notes, tea. Minimal nuts or chocolate. People taste strong nuts in this? Maybe if your taste buds have some form of Olympic level training. Gustatory illusion based on style expectations I think. Watery tepid body and drinks more like a lager than a brown ale. Finishes with a fairly dry bitter earthy note. Beer with a lofty reputation that is not born out in the tasting.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2013 00:06:37 | More by CalgaryFMC
Photo of GentlemanQuan27


4.34/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its a smooth brown ale that does the job when you want a cold one. I wasn't a fan of brown ale beers or brown beers til I had this one, then I started to have more. I love that its smooth and it has a taste of its own. But that should be expected when it comes to Newcastle

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 20:06:49 | More by GentlemanQuan27
Photo of Captain_Komamura


3.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Dark brown, with a thin head and decent retention

Smell - A somewhat sweet malty aroma

Taste - it had a caramel/brown sugar taste to it

Mouthfeel - Goes down smooth, but has a bitter aftertaste

Overall - It was an average beer, an everyday beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 04:55:21 | More by Captain_Komamura
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 willpay4beer


3.03/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Solid ale with a decent finish. Not the most refined of ales. The Draught Keg makes for a decent if not overly foamy glass. A very good "drinking" beer. Honestly better than anything else that you can get for a beertender. Best when served cold.

Serving type: nitro-can

09-21-2013 22:05:15 | More by willpay4beer
Photo of KYGunner


3.78/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The appearance of this brown ale is fairly weak with a crystal clear brown hue and a thin white head.

The aromas are relatively straight forward with a barley malt scent, a touch of nuttiness and some semblance of dry caramel malt.

The flavor is strong with pronounced barley, light caramel malt and a nutty, pecan where the beer gets its name.

Newcastle brings an Old World flavor to the New World of beer. I have a personal love of this beer but I still think it has relevance in the beer geek scene.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2013 02:22:34 | More by KYGunner
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 rtrasr


3.4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good mouthful, not much on the nose. I taste roasted nuts and some oak. There is some burnt sugar as well. I was already acclimated to English Ales so this one did not particularly stand out but nevertheless a good solid beer. Perfectly suited to the mass market but better than your typical mass market beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2013 13:37:01 | More by rtrasr
Photo of JonLefave

Ontario (Canada)

3.06/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bland, but not offensive. It has a very thin mouthfeel, and quite fizzy.

Little bit of caramel flavor, some malty hops... but the flavors are all too subtle. Almost akin to drinking carbonated water.

There's nothing impressive about this beer. It's drinkable, and therefore it's on par with other macro-brewery beers. I wouldn't buy this beer again, but I wouldn't turn it down if it's offered to me, either.

Serving type: can

08-05-2013 21:23:47 | More by JonLefave
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 Libationguy


2.61/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Medium brown and clear. Off-white dense head that has moderate- retention. Nice lacing from a beer clean glass.

Sweet malt with cocoa powder, caramel and roasted banana. Not much hop influence on the nose. Mild scorched quality in the background.

Scorched quality continues on the palate and becomes more prominent. Mild hop bitterness to offset the malt sweetness. Needs more texture in the back palate. Fairly flat in flavor.

Medium-bodied with a watery back end. Short finish.

It's been a while since I have had Newcastle Brown. Will have to revisit. Wonder is it is a bad keg. I remember this beer having more to it.

Serving type: on-tap

06-24-2013 22:38:45 | More by Libationguy
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 Tones-


2.48/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Saw the new 10 packs of 14.9 oz cans and figured I'd see what Newcastle tastes like when it isn't skunked in that clear bottle. Also a sucker for trying out new product sizes/labeling from time to time.

A - new 15 oz can looks great, and is a welcome change from the aforementioned skunk-prone clear bottles. Good job marketing. You got me. Damnit! If poured into a glass or plastic party cup, there is a 1-2 finger head (depending on how vigorous the pour is) that quickly dissipates into nothing. Translucent brown color, but almost zero lacing, and no carbonation going on. This does not bode well for the mouthfeel of this beer....*foreshadowing*

S - cereal grains, webster definition of 'malt', brown sugar.

T - Malt and cereal grains immediately, followed quickly by a hit of fake brown sugar (tastes like high fructose corn syrup), and then upon swallowing it, there's a small kick of carbonation that comes along with a dry, unpleasant metallic taste that i'm assuming marketers would call a "no nonsense hoppy finish"...hey, maybe I should've majored in Bullsh*tting!

M - no carbonation up front. watery, thin mouthfeel. when you swallow it, there's a carbonated tingle in the throat, and then a few seconds later you'll experience a thin film in the mouth (like when you drink a sugary drink) that has a high fructose corn syrup + metallic taste... it doesn't taste good. warrants some gum...or food...or a cigarette...something!

O - The can is really cool looking, and if you're going to a gathering where MCBs are the norm (bbq, sports, beach, hike, crappy house party), this might make for an interesting but safe change of pace. Honestly, it seems like people will just be happy to hold this new almost-pint can and look different/slightly more tasteful than the innumerable MCB can-wielders. Aside from it's exterior looks, you could do some hand waving and say that this tastes better out of a can than the bottle. The bottom line is that there's a lot to be desired. No coffee! No cocoa! No toasted flavor! Poppycock!

Serving type: can

06-21-2013 08:24:03 | More by Tones-
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 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 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 IdeaSpeeder

Ontario (Canada)

3.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving Type - 500ml can poured into nonic pint glass.

Appearance - Pours an (unsurprisingly) dark brown colour. Held up the the light its more of a deep amber. There is a light head which faced quickly and leaves behind very little lacing.

Smell - Not a lot going on here. What is there is sweet caramel and toffee. Sugary smell, almost like candy.

Taste - Some light alcohol initially. Caramel dominates after that. Maybe some honey - not sure, but regardless it's very sweet.

Mouthfeel - Not bad. Low carbonation and a medium to light feel.

Overall - 3/5

Serving type: can

05-24-2013 03:48:52 | More by IdeaSpeeder
Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 3,591 ratings.