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Newcastle Brown Ale - The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

Not Rated.
Newcastle Brown AleNewcastle Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,257 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,257
Reviews: 1,483
rAvg: 3.32
pDev: 18.67%
Wants: 36
Gots: 352 | FT: 2
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,257 | Reviews: 1,483 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of litheum94
2.95/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear bottle. 12 oz.

Brilliant, bronze body with a brown tinged head that foams up slightly and leaves a faint cover.

Aromas of roasted nuts and biscuit malts. That's it.

Toasted nuts and caramel malts dominate. Very light hopping. Gentle carbonation.

Not a whole lot of depth. But an easy drinking, wholly average beer.

litheum94, Sep 23, 2011
Photo of Veillantif
2.55/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle, about 8 degrees C, poured into unchilled stange glass.

A: not quite one finger of sudsy head; a bit of orange or yellow overlying a caramelly color.

S: sugary, malty, a hint of hops: it hasn't changed since I was a teenager, and it's still just as pleasant.

T: oh, man, what happened? I used to think of this as a reliably good brown ale, but I wouldn't say that now. There's the familiar malt taste with a little caramel, but following right behind is something stale and not pleasant at all, old and vegetal.

M: head retention is small, but unwanted anyway; carbonation is strong, helps keeps things interesting.

D: "drinkable" in the sense that downing one of these won't make you ill or leave you with a pounding headache in the morning. My girlfriend and I finished the six-pack I got for old time's sake, but it took effort. When English browns have proliferated so much, particularly on this side of the Atlantic, you can afford to skip this one.

Veillantif, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of MattyG85
3.18/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Brown with some amber orange and lots of rising bubbles. Solid three finger off white head with good retention and a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Aroma of sweet bready caramel malts and grains. Some noticeable skunk. Hints of brown sugar and a light presence of earthy hops. Mostly sweet malts and skunk.

Taste: Sweet and bready caramel malts and grains up front are followed by some brown sugar and some dark roasted malts. Mild hints of grassy hops towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Smooth and somewhat watery.

Overall: An ok brew but mediocre as a brown ale. Flavors could be fuller and darker.

MattyG85, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of dmcbeerington
4.5/5  rDev +35.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like this beer. I don't know why it is C+ for such a good beer. This beer reminds me of that Chinese tsingtao beer. It tastes and smells almost similar but I personally prefer this over the Tsingtao beer.

A: It looks pretty good, at least better than pale ale since it is brown ale. It looks like beers to me. There is a strong head to my new castle beer that lasted for about 1 minute.

S: although not very special, it does smells like beer.

T: There is a small taste in this beer, not strong enough for most people to recognize, so that is why they say this beer is too watery. In fact, I can taste some sweetness like honey to it and a little bit bitterness after.

M: Definitely very easy to drink. If you are new to beer, you should be able to drink the whole bottle without any problem.

O: I like it. It is very drinkable. Because of its not that strong taste, this beer is good to pair with any food.

dmcbeerington, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of JednoPivoProsim
3.3/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 fl oz bottle into a 50 cl mug.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber body with a thin toffee-colored head.

Smell: Toasted malt aroma. Smells of molasses.

Taste: Dark malt flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Little to no carbonation, somewhat watery.

Overall: A bit underwhelming.

JednoPivoProsim, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of hoppyweasel311
2.75/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark brown color with quick disappearing head.
Smells of caramel, bread, skunk and brown sugar. Taste is watery carbonated caramel skunk.. sweet and skunky. I used to really like this beer until I tried it in a can, it was so much better... it didn't have that skunk flavor.

hoppyweasel311, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of anakar
3.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's a good brown ale, it ain't exeptional, but it's very good

App: pours a dark brown with a small head, bronzy you might say but dark

Smell: Smells of barley and sweet caramel. a bit of toffee but not heavy, just faint

Taste: caramel, lovely and suprisingly sweet flavor. not a lot of after-taste, but what's there is good and not crappy like most beers. That's a bi point to it, the aftertaste and the easyness

Mouth: Nothing memorable, it goes smooth, I could easily have another but a third would be streching it (with food...) you do have a bit of carb, but not too much

Generally recomended but don't think this is some keep-at-bay heavyweight. Buy a 6-pack and have it around.

anakar, Aug 28, 2011
Photo of Converge
3.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16oz serving.

A - Pours with one finger of foamy, light-tan head. The beer has a deep brown hue with amber and ruby highlights. Looks really good. The head settles to a thin, soapy cap, and leaves some nice lacing.

S - The aroma here is dominated by malt. Nice bready, buttery malt, with some biscuit and caramel malt in there as well. I can pick out something else really sweet, almost like cherry bubblegum or cotton candy.

T - A little bland compared to the aroma. Some warm, bready malt and barley upfront. I detect a slightly off metallic taste as well. Sort of watery, but the sweeter flavors come through as it warms. Finishes with a distinct touch of roasted malt which sort of caught me off guard. The sweetness and metallic tastes sort of blend together near the end. I can also pick out some ripe banana and light alcohol content as well. Not great, but fairly varied and complex.

M - Light to medium carbonation. Medium bodied. Pretty easy to drink.

D - Drinkable and enjoyable ale. The flavor profile feels full and interesting, and the color looked great.

Converge, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
3.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: brown and clear. Quarter finger head.

S: sweet, brown sugar and malt.

T: toasty, sweet and nutty. Cherry and caramel notes.

M: light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Very smooth but watery.

Overall: I think that brown ales either go the way of lots of alcohol or sweet. This one is sweet, maybe a little too sweet but very drinkable. It takes knocks for the macrobrew watery feel I think but it is a decent beer.

kylehay2004, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of jazzyjeff13
2.4/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A 550ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Feb 2012. Thought it was about time I reviewed a British classic.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A deep maroon colour with strong carbonation. Forms a large head of creamy off-white foam that subsides after a minute or so. Smells faintly of sweet caramel malt with very weak notes of roasted grain and stewed leaves.

Tastes of exceptionally mild caramel malt with a hint of sweetness and a dry finish. Subtle notes of sweet dark malt and weak stewed leaves. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly from the high carbonation, but thin and watery. Subtle aftertaste of sweet malt.

A poor excuse for an ale. Incredibly bland and watery, with an insubstantial body - not to be upheld as an example of the style. Perhaps it was a better beer in times gone by, but I find it hard to believe that this enjoys the reputation it seems to have among many. Avoid in favour of something better.

jazzyjeff13, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of rcfunk
4/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an old faithful standby for me. What can I say? I know what to expect and it never steers me wrong. The nice thing about Newcastle to me is that it is just light enough to be enjoyed as a hot weather refreshment and just heavy enough to satisfy the appetite for something a little bit hearty.

This beer always delivers a nice British ale character that is nicely blended with a little roastiness.


rcfunk, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of Lockedin
3.18/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

My Wife bought a 12er of "The Brown" today. It reminded her of our dating days as locals at a certain point break. But I digress.

A: A nice, clear Tawny Brown into a standard pint glass. An aggressive pour brought out only 1 finger of head which settled to a ring around the glass with a couple of bubble islands in the middle of the mug. Very fine lacing, but not much.

S: I don't have the greatest sniffer. I can't really identify the aromas too clearly here; faint malt, turbinado sugar...it smells like Newcastle - very faint, but specific to my nose as Newcastle.

T: A lot thinner than I remember! Sweetish (but not THAT sweet) malt first, then bitter earthy hop. Some sugar, boiled green veggies, and grain come through in the middle. Finish is bitter earthy hop and vegetal. Taste improves as it warms; actually seemed to have a porter-like finish as the evening wore on (a touch of charcoal maybe?).

M: Thinner and more watery than I remember. A good session beer (which is probably why the elder statesmen of my beach chose it!

Overall: This ale was my intro to dark(ish) beers. When I was a kid, Dad would send me to the store a few blocks from the beach to pick up a 12er for him, and as I got older he'd let me have a couple under the guise of getting it for one of the guys; so I have a bit of a fondness for this stuff, even if I don't pick it up as often as I used to.

1st review!

EDIT: I've lurked here for a long time, and have come to trust certain posters' reviews when looking to try a new brew. So, a big "Thanks" to y'all!

Lockedin, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of aletale
3.88/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL can poured into a lager style pint glass...

Poured aggressively reveals a nice 2 finger, somewhat fizzy head with decent retention. Beer is a deep, translucent copper colour. Medium carbonation. Some real nice lacing.

Nose is surprising. The most notable of which is a grainy bitterness more akin to a pilsner. Also, a nice underlying spicy/nutty flavour. Maybe a small amount of caramel, but certainly not much. A light smelling beer.

Taste starts off with a spicy malt punch, and finishes with a nice bitter touch on the finish. Not dry by any means. Little aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel, with a nice alcohol bite, and no nasty sting from the carbonation.

A very nice beer. Easy drinking, easy to get along with no matter your taste. Let your Budweiser-drinking buddies try this one.

aletale, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of tdm168
3.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a nice amber color with 1/4" of head with good retention. Smells of very mild malts and even milder hops. Taste is mild, sweet caramel malts, a hint of yeast, and some mild hops to round it out. Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied.

Though a traditional beer, there are far better English browns out there.

tdm168, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of barrenbane
3.18/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark brown, almost black. Low levels of carbonation. No discernible head, which is understandable for its style.

S - Slight hints of malt and grain with subtle notes of caramel.

T - One of the smoothest "dark" beers I've tasted. There are subtle hints of chocolate and caramel, although it reveals lager qualities simultaneously.

M - Quite watery; I would expect a beer of this style to have a more full-bodied mouth feel.

O - An easy-drinking dark beer for those who are tired of lager and "typical" styles of beer. Compliments seafood dishes wonderfully.

barrenbane, Aug 05, 2011
Photo of jspace3
2.3/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I use to love this beer when in High School - yes ages ago and now I find it hard to enjoy.

Newcastle pours red-brown,the head is tan-coloured and about a half-finger in size; retention is poor but there's some lacing. The smell is of barely detectable caramel malts, perhaps a hint of coffee.

The flavour is roasted grain malts with caramel and a faint echo of bitter coffee grinds. Somewhat sweet with a lingering bitterness that is not very pleasant. The mouth feel is thin, watery, despite the syrup coating left on the tongue.

All in all not a very good beer. The first one is bearable the ones that follow become harder and harder to swallow.

jspace3, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of Paincane
3.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown with reddish hue and creamy tan head with mild lacing.
S: Malty and nutty
T: Nutty, sweet with a bit of caramel and malt
M: Smooth, light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation
D: A very drinkable, tasty, reliable brew that is like comfort beer. Familiar brown ale that is not setting the world afire, but is good.

Paincane, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of Tschnab
3.88/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- dark brown, a rich red almost when held to the light. A small tan head tops it off, no lace.

S- toasty and malty, maybe some nuttiness too.

T- like the smell, really not too much going on here, the malt is the main player. Mouthfeel is watery.

O- not a bad choice when immersed in a BMC locale, but not nearly as good as most other brown ales.

Tschnab, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale.

Appearance: Clear brown with moderate carbonation. Two finger, off-white head that diminished quickly. The lacing was fair.

Smell: Light roasted aroma that wasn't very interesting. Not much changed as the beer warmed.

Taste: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Roasted with hints of coffee and toast. The finish did not last long.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body that was a bit dry and watery. The carbonation was soft, almost flat. There was a metallic and alcoholic feel present.

Overall: This beer does not compare very well with Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, but I would stop short of saying it is less than average. If I was craving a brown ale at a restaurant that served nothing else, I would drink Newcastle.

SolipsismalCat, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of STKPICR0720
2.55/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this brew when I was out at dinner with my wife. I had a Cigar City Jai Alai before we went out. This beer is the most over priced brew besides Heineken out there. This beer does not deserve the extra price tag that many restaurants put on it.

Pours light brown very little hop, malt and taste. More sugar than anything. This beer is more or less like a glass of tea with alcohol in it that has sat out too long. That being said of course it took 3 of them for me to come to this conclusion. An okay beer if you just want to pay extra for crap beer just to fit in.

Fine dining needs to increase their beer knowledge like they have their wine knowledge and food pairings.

STKPICR0720, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of DrewSnyc667
3.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap last night. buccos have lost 4/5 hence the uptick in reviews

A- dark dark body. Cola and copper colored. Rich frothy head that sticks nicely to the glass. So dark you can barely see through it

S- sweet carmel and toffee a bit to much metal for me though

T- light and sweet, toffee, butter and plums, finishes clean malty goodness with oh a light hop dryness

M- really light and smooth, finishes clean, may be a tad sweet but really malty

O- a good beer, something I enjoy when I'm wanting an ale that's not over the top with hops

DrewSnyc667, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of WinthrHOPHEAD89
3.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve oz. can into an Irish Style Pint glass

A: This beer pours a 4 finger off-white, creamy, foamy head that slowly dissapates, regenerates, well, and leaves some wavy lacing behind. The beer itself is a dark copper color, with some light-medium effervescnece.

S: The aroma of this beer is very sweet. Almost 'sticky' smelling. The most notable dinctions are caramel, dark malts, and nuts. Very pleasant smell.

T: The taste is very clean, and very sweet, just like the aroma. You get a nice caramel sweetness on the backend of the tougue, and a nice dry nutty taste after the finish.

M: The mouthfeel is very soft, and slightly sticky. Leaves almost a confectionary sweetness behind in your mouth, but nothing too extreme. Just leaves you wanting abother. Out of the can, the head makes a nice creamy texture.

O: Overall, having had it in can, bottle, and on tap, the tap is the better of the three, followed by the can, then the bottle. The bottled version always has that skunky smell and taste, whenever you get it. So if you can, get it from the can.

WinthrHOPHEAD89, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a reddish brown syrupy color with a white head.

Very clean nose, really hard to detect anything; it has a faint ice tea smell.

Hits hard with a heavy sting of carbonation, Then slightly sweet molasses and slightly bitter citrus, and some astringent alcohol, finishes dry. Very well balanced and easy drinking, but it is unremarkable and short on flavor.

Chickenhawk9932, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of thehyperduck
3.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Surprisingly, I've never had this one, despite the fact that it's everywhere and I've always liked the style. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had a brown ale I didn't at least kind of appreciate. This one was a single 500 mL can picked up at the LCBO.

Newcastle pours a mahogany brown with some amber highlights. The head is tan-coloured and about a half-finger in size; retention isn't very good but there's some lacing. The smell is bland and barely detectable; roasted caramel malts are really all I can pick up; maybe some toffee.

Unfortunately the flavour is kind of similar. The main flavour is roasted grain malts, a little biscuity, with caramel and a faint echo of bitter coffee grinds. A bit sweet tasting at first, but the residual bitterness kind of balances it. In a strange way, it works, although the flavour overall is pretty uninteresting, and very watered-down. The carbonation is high for the style and it doesn't make detecting the faint flavours any easier. Thin mouthfeel, but drinkable and surprisingly refreshing on a hot night.

This is a brown ale to get if you want to drink beer quickly without worrying too much about the taste being interesting (but positively don't want a lager). In this sense, it's probably sessionable; there's nothing offensive about it, and it's drinkable enough that having several wouldn't be a chore. I doubt I would get this again unless instructed to. Why pay a premium for the EBA equivalent of BMC when there are much better browns (both import and non) out there?

[Updated Aug. 12 2014]

Picked up a six-pack at TBS, mostly due to a lack of other interesting options, and because I wanted the cap. While my rant in the last paragraph still applies, there is not really anything wrong with this beer. It's just very bland compared to most craft browns available these days. I don't mind this beer when I'm not paying for it.

Final Grade: 3.01, a C+.

thehyperduck, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of CountJustinian
3.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark brown color with dark amber red highlights. Small head less than inch, dissipates quickly. Does not have a big nose; what light smell it has is sweet and malty. Medium body with good carbonation but not much complexity to the flavor. Some caramely sugar is evident in the maltiness. Only light hoppy bitterness. Very drinkable, nothing particularly memorable.

CountJustinian, Jul 26, 2011
Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 4,257 ratings.