1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Newcastle Brown Ale - The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

Not Rated.
Newcastle Brown AleNewcastle Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,954 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,954
Reviews: 1,473
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 18.32%
Wants: 29
Gots: 227 | FT: 1
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)
View: Beers (27) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Newcastle Brown Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,954 | Reviews: 1,473 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

3.35/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Warm brown redish color with a white, light tan head. Head is decent in size, has pretty good retention and leaves some clumpy lace behind. Nose is softly caramel with buttery light malts. Seems like its trying to be toasty. Taste is more nutty than the nose led me to believe and there's a roasty bitterness mingled in the light smooth malts. Not very complex but has some good flavors. Mouthfeel is nothing exciting. Smooth, lightly coating with mellow carbonation. Body has some weight but feels disconnected. Drinkability isn't bad.

Alright. Nothing ultra exciting. I imagine this is much thicker and more awesome when poured from a tap in the UK.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2006 03:58:13 | More by tastybeer
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear dark amber-brown with a head that quickly fades to a patchy covering. Sweet sticky caramel malt aroma...mild bread and toffee. Lightly sweet toasted caramel and nuts. Mouthfeel is on the light side and has some texture to it. A little dry.

Very drinkable and undemanding.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2006 03:51:20 | More by wedge
Photo of hckyfn9999


3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice brown color with a decent white head into a pint glass. A sweet caramel aroma is present, not very strong though. Taste is pretty sweet and a little nutty and toasted as well. In my opinion this is definitely a better beer on tap than bottled. Definitely drinkable when not much else is around.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2006 07:30:53 | More by hckyfn9999
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +15%
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 PhiloPsych


3.38/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep redish brown. Head is light and short-lived. Not much aroma to speak of. Both the taste and mouthfeel are a bit light and watery for me. Not a whole lot of carbonation. Maybe the watery mouthfeel and lack of carbonation are supposed to account for the advertised "smoothness" of this beer. Taste is sweet up front, finishes quietly and has little aftertaste. It certainly isn't bad, but it's nothing special, either. There is nothing to complain about, but there is nothing really to recommend it strongly, either.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2006 02:38:22 | More by PhiloPsych
Photo of eberkman


2.93/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Served on tap at an Uno's Chicago Bar and Grill. Best offering from a poor selection of beers on tap.

Poured a dark reddish-brown into a 20 oz. pilsner glass, leaving a thin, tan head that vanished quickly.

Very faint aroma of malts. Not much in the nose to speak of.

Taste was a bland maltiness balanced with a very mild bitterness that oddly didn't seem at all hoppy. Had a somewhat metallic finish.

Felt very thin and watery in the mouth. Almost zero carbonation. Generally, when I've had it in a bottle, it's a little more full-bodied. Pretty drinkable since it seemed very low alcohol.

Really nothing special -- not bad, not great. Particularly for the style. Many better options out there, but it's a better call if you're in a place with a limited selection. Not as good as I remember from when I was in my 20s and this seemed like a true premium. I didn't know much then. But perhaps this was a bad tap line too.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2006 00:34:54 | More by eberkman
Photo of JustinBathurst

Ontario (Canada)

2.9/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a cola brown with a tan head easily dismissed (gone, sorta forgotten).

Smells like an open container of brown sugar and warmed apples. A slight solvent is detected beneath it all.

The mouthfeel is a bit watery with a medium carbonation. A bit too watery for my liking.

The taste is sweet, but not cloying. A 'pleasant' bitter finish confirms that this is most certainly a brown ale. The aftertaste reminds me a bit of black olives. Interesting, for sure.

In short, a very nondescript, but pleasant, brown ale. The kind you could share with mom.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2006 05:50:46 | More by JustinBathurst
Photo of Kendo

New York

3.25/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, a strange shade of brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light and a 1/4 to 1/2 inch off-white head that disappeared quickly, despite plenty of tiny bubbles rising to fortify it, leaving a film on top. Some lacing clings to the side of the glass as I work my way down.

S: Slightly nutty caramel malt sweetness, with musty and even a metallic scent to it. I wrote "it smells like Newcastle" which doesn't help explain it, necessarily, but if you've drank plenty of Newcastle, you probably know what I mean.

T: Kind of bland all around, with not much real flavor. Some caramelly sweetness is present, along with a hint of burnt sugar, and I swear there's a corn presence there as well in that sweetness. No real hops to discern, but a slightly dry sour bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue and coats the roof of the mouth, where it stays for awhile.

M: Definitely on the light end of things -- watery and thin. Well carbonated, but not obnoxiously so.

D: The light body and moderate flavors make this easily quaffable. I can't remember how many times I sessioned this on Friday nights at the Hill Street Cafe in Albany for hours and hours when I was in my early twenties.

Notes: As I wrote above, there was a time -- when I was first getting into the whole craft beer scene -- when I drank lots of Newcastle. It makes sense in a lot of ways, as it was a ubiquitous find, not terribly challenging in flavor -- yet dark in appearance, and was light in body and so easily sessioned. I believe BA MRMOJORISIN's dad once said that Newcastle was the Brown Ale against which all others are measured. I understand the sentiment, as this is probably the first Brown Ale that many will try, but now that I've had plenty of better Brown Ales, I recognize this beer's weaknesses. Generally, I prefer a beer with a bit more heft -- in nose, flavor and feel. Still, it's drinkable and in some settings you can do far worse.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2006 02:51:38 | More by Kendo
Photo of bigpatvoodoodad

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My old favorite bar, The Alley (now closed down :( ) began serving this, which was awesome, since before then I only bought 12 packs for the house. I like this beer alot. It does have a somewhat funky smell, but I think that may be due to the clear bottle. The taste is great and is what a brown ale should taste like. It is highly drinkable. Most of the rednecks I hang out with like it once they try it. I'm the beer snob of the group, so I try to enlighten them with good beer, instead of the same ol macro-beer chug fest we usually have on weekends. If you want a good English Brown Ale, give this a shot

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2006 15:47:23 | More by bigpatvoodoodad
Photo of Adamthome1


3.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty sessionable if you're used to drinking some cheap macro....Flavor is pretty bland for the category but it goes down fairly easily. Pours a brown and the head remains for about 5 minutes and a nice laced ring remains throughout thereafter.

Carbonation is just right, it goes down easy, and the aftertaste is very mild, this is what I like about this beer. Pretty sessionable, worth a try. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2006 02:28:21 | More by Adamthome1
Photo of kmacphail

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.8/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is best served in a half pint glass with a continuous top up from the bottle. This has a big effect on the taste and mouthfeel of the beer, an older guy in one of the local pubs informed me of this and I have stuck to this rule ever since when drinking Newcastle Brown Ale.

The beer pours a nice mahoganny colour, brown with a hint of red and an off white head that remains thin, but consistent throughout the duration. The nosel is OK but nothing to write home about malty scent with the added sweetness of caramel and a hint of fruitiness thrown in for good measure, but none of these are distinctive enough.

The taste is a bit less sweet than the majority of traditional brown ales. A nice malty taste with a caramel after taste and a hint of bitterness (possibly citrus). This beer is medium bodied and is very nice in the mouth, refreshing yet satisfying.

It is a drinkable beer that is available in a lot of pubs in Scotland in bottles, I have never seen it on draught in Scotland (it may exist I just haven't seen it since I tried it for the first time 8 years ago). Worth a try, it won't win any awards or become many peoples favourite beer, but a good all round beer that most people would enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2006 21:56:13 | More by kmacphail
Photo of theopholis


2.83/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Visual - Pretty, deep redish-brown with a loose off-white head. Head doesn't last long, but does leave a touch of lacing, but that quickly disappears to.

Smell - An odd mixture of malt and either tartness or sourness. Not as sweet as I would expect something this malty to smell.

Taste - Malty and just a hint caramel. The hops are there in the back, but very light and unidentifiable.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Carbonation is good for the style. A tad syrupy for my taste, but I ain't into brown ales.

Drinkability - It's worth trying, especially on a cool evening where you want a medium bodied beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2006 06:05:39 | More by theopholis
Photo of maddogruss

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice, dark body with a white head that was fairly retained. Fruity, malty smell kind of reminiscient of an EPA. A nice, malty, honey taste with a slightly bitter aftertaste. A pretty decent mouthfeel although I expected it to be thicker. Pretty drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2006 20:47:56 | More by maddogruss
Photo of JOaikido

Quebec (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- very nice beige head of fine bubbles. leaves a lacing and a foamy ring as it goes slowly down. Dark red colour with touch of amber.

S- Malty with noticeable fruitiness (berries, apple).

T- Malt, caramel. Touch of roasted flavours including hint of chocolate. Fruity flavours of berries and green apples. The slightest touch of hops bitterness on the finish. Good beer for those, like myself, that prefer sweeter maltier beer over hops. The only wekness in the flavour is a wateriness.

MF- Creamy and frothy but somehow also watery.

D- Good flavour, reasonable ABV and light feel make this the definition of a session beer.

Serving type: can

11-22-2006 17:40:07 | More by JOaikido
Photo of TheLiterati


3/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I’ve had several glasses of this brew on tap, but happened to pick up a bottle to compliment a fish and chips meal I was enjoying and thought I’d formally review it.

True to the name, it pours a nice brown color with hints of red and gold when held up to the light. Smells of malt, which is the predominant aroma.

Mouthfeel was a little lighter than I remember from the tap variety, but not at all unpleasant – more like crisp, but not what I’d consider full-bodied.

Tastes a little sweeter than I prefer, but is right on the money for the style. Not much else in the flavor to balance the sweetness, but a decent beer.

I like BA GPHarris’ description of Newcastle as a “gateway beer.” It definitely was among my first crossovers into the wonderful world of craft brews.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2006 01:36:42 | More by TheLiterati
Photo of BrandonUB


4.3/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Not impressive to me on initial appearance, with a typical light head, but a somewhat "off" color, in my opinion.

T - Really the strongest portion of Newcastle, for me. Nice butterscotch and caramel notes really make it an enjoyable and lively drink.

D - Tremendously drinkable, and always a nice one to break out for people who haven't yet gotten into craft brewing.

Newcastle is among my favorites - it's a a well rounded (if not distinguished) brown ale thats very easy drinking. I find that many people who typically drink low taste American lagers are still able to appreciate it, which is important to me since I have lots of young friends.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2006 21:33:34 | More by BrandonUB
Photo of russpowell


3.7/5  rDev +11.1%
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 GPHarris


3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick head into a tumbler. head color is light tan and leaves a nice amount of lacing the first half of the beer but after that it's gone. body is a clear brown or mahogany.
s - slightly nutty and malty.
t - same as above with a little butter taste to it.
m - slick with medium carbonation.
d - this was one of my gateway beers (as probably yours) and it has a special place in my heart. still solid if you don't have many other options. much better on tap than from a bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

11-10-2006 17:03:06 | More by GPHarris
Photo of Washburne


3.9/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my drink of choice back in my student days. Preferably draught, but bottle if it wasn't available. I agree with the other poster who claimed inconsistency was a problem, but despite this it is always enjoyable.

For tonight's serving:
A - Lovely deep, semi-opaque brown with a good light brown head. Head doesn't last long, but does leave a touch of lacing, at least to begin with.

S - Ok, not actually based on tonight's as I have a cold and can't smell a whole lot, but I know there's some great malty tones in there.

T - Decent malt and enough hops without going into overdose.

M - Crisp but smooth. Carbonation is enough to give a little tingle on the tongue without ruining the style.

D - As I said, this was my session beer of choice when I was younger. I'd still be quite happy drinking a few of these.

Obviously there's better examples of the style out there, but usually they aren't nearly as readily available.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2006 03:22:53 | More by Washburne
Photo of mnesporov

North Carolina

3.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: I believe I smelled a little toasted grain with a sweet aroma that mixed greatly.

T: Nice average Malt Flavor, with an noticeable hop kick to it. I also tasted a little bit of fruitiness towards the end of the sip

M: Crisp and smooth in the mouth with a smoothness going down to.

D: I had this beer on Tap and it was served in an extra tall Pilsner which really let me enjoy the beer. I found it to be quite decent ale.

Serving type: on-tap

11-06-2006 17:25:19 | More by mnesporov
Photo of Damian


3.38/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank on-tap at Daedalus, Cambridge, MA

Poured a clear crimson brown with a one-finger, creamy, off white head. The head lasted a few minutes and, during this time, enabled a streaky blanket of lacing.

Smell was mild initially but became strong as the beer warmed. Malty rich and woody with some notes of ripe fruits.

Taste was similar yet not as pronounced, nor as impressive. Subtle malty sweetness up front with strong syrupy fruitiness and some nuttiness noticeable mid-palate. Finish was clean, slightly dry and a bit hoppy (this was the only point at which the hops became apparent).

Medium bodied with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

Easy drinking. This is a good beer to fall back on when not at a brew pub.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2006 05:49:52 | More by Damian
Photo of bort11


3.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz clear bottle poured into an Imperial pint glass. Not a whole lot of head with this, and it quickly recedes to a filmy lace. Color is a dark nutty brown with a tinge of red. In all honesty, not much to look at. Smell is hazelnut. Taste is very nutty, mildly bitter, and a bit buttery. Mouthfeel is fairly light and smooth. A few of my friends swear by Newcastle as the go to session beer. It's not bad, but there are others I prefer.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2006 03:43:48 | More by bort11
Photo of PeatReek


3.85/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is crystal clear ruby brown, with a slight beige head that dissolves quickly to barely a lid, even after a rocky pour. Aroma is sweet, caramel-toasty. A hint of butter makes the scent seem thicker and somehow savory overall. Taste is cool and sweet, quite grainy and just the slightest touch roasty. No perceptible hop bitterness or flavor at all. Ah, the roast aspect comes in a bit more prominently in the aftertaste, which is otherwise smooth and clean. Body is light, bordering on thin, and only slightly carbonated, which complements the light body very well. Maybe a touch too sweet to be a true session beer, but otherwise quite amenable to high-quantity quaffing. This is more a commercial standby than a classic of the genre, but there aren't any metallic aftertastes or cloying sweetness that sometimes plague commercial beers... quite well done overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2006 04:25:20 | More by PeatReek
Photo of wavz


3/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Wooden brown color with a slight redish color mixed in. Head disappears quickly.

S- Nutty with hints of caramel.

T- Kind of reminds me of a English ale version of Guniness. Nutty and slight caramel.

M- Smooth, not much carbination, kind of watery.

D- This a generic version of a English Ale that doesnt offer anything in a craft beer.


Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 04:09:13 | More by wavz
Photo of Neehan

North Carolina

3/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, light brown with a thin head and a bit of retention. The smell is slightly nutty but unremarkable. The taste is quite sweet and watery, like a light syrup. The past several that I have had have been painfully close to crossing into being labeled as skunked. In comparison to most beers, this one actually lacks carbonation and is quite watery. Average drinkability, like the rest of it.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 03:38:56 | More by Neehan
Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 3,954 ratings.