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.

4,042 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,042
Reviews: 1,473
rAvg: 3.32
pDev: 18.37%
Wants: 30
Gots: 262 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Newcastle Brown Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,042 | Reviews: 1,473 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of marksto


4/5  rDev +20.5%

A classic Northern English Brown Ale, and a brand which pretty much defines the style. Smooth and malty, lightly nutty and soft on the palate. I get a brown sugar essence with it as well. It is a very easy drinking session beer. Anyone who has ever brewed this style knows how hard it is to get just the right malt balance and color to match it.

Interestingly, Newcastle Brown is widely available on tap in the US, but in Britain (where it is brewed and where most beers come from the tap or cask) it is almost always found in bomber bottles.

12-26-2005 22:11:04 | More by marksto
Photo of danielocean03


3.2/5  rDev -3.6%

Pours a modest dark brown with a quickly disappearing head, and although no outstanding traits that make this ale a standout, still admirable in the areas of a fantastic session beer. Taste is sweet and toasted, nice malt present, finished aftertaste free. Carbonation level complements simplicity of beer nicely, not too much not too little, average on the nose. Would purchase this ale over any mainstream domestic as far as a good drinking night goes.

12-24-2005 03:56:14 | More by danielocean03
Photo of gatorsuf1


2.85/5  rDev -14.2%

Pours a mahogany color and forms a bubbly head that dissapears quickly. Smells like sweet malts, sugarcane-like, with some nuttiness as well. The taste is not impressive at all. Basically a sweeter, maltier version of an American macro. Has a faint hop flavor right when you swallow. I rate this a 3.5 in drinkabilitly only because it would be so easy to finish of a 12-pack of this. It tastes better than the average macro, but not good enough to sip and savor.

12-18-2005 23:13:43 | More by gatorsuf1
Photo of edmundfitzoil


3/5  rDev -9.6%

"The One and Only" Newcastle Brown Ale from 1 pt. 2.6 oz. clear glass bottle. I poured it into a standard pint glass.

The beer was brown and thining to an amber on the bottom half and edges of the glass. The beer poured with a finger of highly fizzing head that dissipated quickly and left no real lacing. The aroma has some caramel and nut hints as well as some toffee as well. The flavor is not that bad: plenty of malt and little to no hop character with a caramel finish. Very little carbonation to this, giving it a syrupy tecture, yet light mouthfeel. Newcastle's brown ale is 4.9 ABV, and I've found it to be quite different on tap than in the clear glass, easily light struck bottles. This is a drinkable, imported brown ale though.

12-18-2005 08:34:42 | More by edmundfitzoil
Photo of DarkerTheBetter


3.55/5  rDev +6.9%

This beer came a glowing amber with a thin head. Nice color, but that was about it. Smelled of fruity plumbs, green grapes and a crisp brown ale-malt. Tasted of prunes, noodles, smooth molasses, green grapes and honey. The mouth feel with thin with a medium carbonation. Not too bad of a beer. It’s definitely good, but it’s nothing to write home about. However, I can see myself drinking quite a few of these in a night.

12-15-2005 14:07:34 | More by DarkerTheBetter

South Carolina

3.53/5  rDev +6.3%

Poured this into a pilsner glass. small head with bubbles. This dissapates fairly quickly. No true lacing. smells of caramel and hazelnut. the flavor also has a malty taste with brown sugar or caramel. The mouthfeel is fairly thin so you can drink them quickly. I like this beer, its not that expensive and taste pretty good... thumbs up

12-11-2005 06:19:28 | More by KALIKGOLD
Photo of LordChesterfield


3.4/5  rDev +2.4%

very dar reddish brown brew with a quickly dissipating head. Newcast Brown Ale has kind of a simple taste that has both mellow hops and sweet undersated malt. The most prominent flavor is the nut flavor that blends well and complements the malt. Very smooth and drinkable and has a relatively low carbonation. Not bad.

12-11-2005 04:48:38 | More by LordChesterfield
Photo of Suds


3/5  rDev -9.6%

I must have had this beer countless times. Only now I’ve taken the time to do a proper review. All things told, I’m not sure I’ve ever understood the hype over this brew. That’s certainly true today. It’s a brown, wooden-colored, clear liquid, with a respectable, but unremarkable head. The aroma is just slightly malty, without much to add. Taste: roast malt, caramel, chocolate, and that’s about it. It’s sort of quiet and unobtrusive. The finish is silent. Moderate mouthfeel, with a little carbonation. All in all, I’m still underwhelmed by this beer.

12-11-2005 04:36:13 | More by Suds
Photo of maddamish


3.33/5  rDev +0.3%

I amgoing to have to modify my Newcaste review. I had this on tap tonight and I have to say it was a much better experience than last time I reviewed this beer.

I had this beer at the same place I had the last one and it was more flavorful. Quite buttery for a brown ale which I love. There was a sugary sweetness and just a hint of caramel and hops.

Overall a solid brew and a step ahead of the regular macro. The only bad thing I can say about this is it was a bit watery but still solid.

12-10-2005 03:36:11 | More by maddamish
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

3.45/5  rDev +3.9%

The old brown bomber, I remember when this was really difficult to find although now its everywhere and well known. It is one of the few dark ales that has a popular following among beer plebes and also one of the few macro European beers that isn't pale and hoppy. I always liked the label and bottlecap design too. A twelver of this is almost always sure to make you welcome at a party in case you don't have several attractive females in tow.
Pours a clasy looking mahogany with a thin head but gaudy lacing. Smell is malty but mild with faint hints of caramel.
The taste is likewise low key but does have a pleasant sweet malt flavor that follows a brief hop assault. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I like in a brown ale but not damagingly so. Generally it has more life on tap and it has more bite on its home soil as well. Solid but not a superstar.

12-09-2005 22:26:30 | More by daliandragon
Photo of kkipple

South Carolina

2.85/5  rDev -14.2%

Well well, English Brown ale. Curious to compare this on the heels of a Sam Smith Nut Brown.

Newcastle pours a nice amber into my glass, with a small bubbly head that settles to just cover the beer in a few minutes. Smell is rather plain, seems to be barley and malt with a tinge of... licorice?

Tastes remarkably similar to the smell... barley, malt, caramel, and again, licorice. Maybe it's something else but that's what my brain keeps going back to... Mouthfeel is rather thin, leaves you with a dry finish that doesn't taste half bad. Rather watery... I wonder what all is in here? A curious brew.

Newcastle is on the cheaper end of the Brown Ales, I must admit being a lot more impressed with the Sam Smith, but again, this stuff is fairly cheap. Not an impressive beer at all, but I would drink it again for free. Surely beats the heck out of many American macros. Unsure if that's an endorsement or not...

Bottom line: If you like brown ales, try this, it's cheap.

12-09-2005 03:06:46 | More by kkipple
Photo of soulgrowl

United Kingdom (England)

3.38/5  rDev +1.8%

I went to the new Union Cattle Co. in Pasadena tonight hoping to try their own brews... but they said they didn't have them in yet. Can you believe that? Oh well.

Appearance: An orange-tinged brick-red, transparent brown. No head at all, but I think that was the bartender's fault.

Smell: Smells of chickory, cherries, and a bit of chestnuts. A fine roasted malt aroma with a merlot-esque vinous character. Couldn't detect any hops at all; a very sweet smell.

Taste: A little phenolic and just a touch of skunk, but overall, the beer is nicely sweet without being syrupy or sugary in the least. A friendly fruit character, like dark cherries comes through. Finish is quite nice, bitter and toasty. Definitely lacking in the hop department, but enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for the style, with tingly carbonation.

Drinkability: I really enjoy this beer. Doesn't get old too quickly and has a refreshingly candid flavor. Certainly recommended, and I think it would be a good crossover beer.

12-08-2005 10:54:19 | More by soulgrowl
Photo of scooter231

New York

2.65/5  rDev -20.2%

I expected more from this beer- I've heard it used to be better... ah well. Clear bottles- it's expected. Sorta pretty, though. Deep red color with a lightly tan head and a bubbly layer on top. After the pretty, though, it all went downhill.

Smells sweet- almost an iced coffee thing going on... malty, and baaarely lightly caramely. Subtle vanilla. You really have to dig for it though. Taste is even more lacking... I was so unimpressed I barely wrote anything whilst taking notes- and I'm an avid notetaker. Just didn't do anything much for me.

Mouthfeel is watery, boring, and blahhh. Drinkable? Not so much. I didn't really want another. Yes, better than Bud, but... I didn't really dig it. Better than some, not nearly as good as most.

12-06-2005 07:05:22 | More by scooter231
Photo of cheers2beers


3.15/5  rDev -5.1%

Served in a pint glass from tap

Appearance: The color was burnt brown with minimal head and no laceing at all.Low-carbonation.

Aroma: I could detect some wood and nut notes, but were very weak.Smells like the average brown ale.

Taste: Much like the nose, the taste is woody and a little nutty.I even got hints of tea flavors.Old style malts not much hops was noticed.Vague traces of grape too.Not,a bad brown ale taste just not impressive.

Mouthfeel: Thin to meduim body.Smooth easy drinking beer.

Drinkability: I paid five dollars for a pint of this.It wasnt bad, but for the price its a one hit,quit, beer.


12-02-2005 15:11:28 | More by cheers2beers
Photo of Hoves

New York

3.65/5  rDev +9.9%

I'm reviewing the bottle here not the draft, I find the difference is amazing. (Draft being better)

The bottle almost has a hint of the "skunky" smell that a Heineken bottle possesses. The flavor of the beer isn't as potent as the smell suggests at first. The brown ale has a full flavor but seems to be a bit overcarbonated for what I'm used to liking.

This beer on tap is much better, less carbonation and it has no contact with the sun (the bottle being clear has this problem) which I think is what gives it that skunkier smell.

Overall this is a good beer to sit down with a friend and have 2 or 3 of, definitely better than mass-produced american beers.

12-01-2005 01:41:55 | More by Hoves
Photo of ypsifly


3.38/5  rDev +1.8%

Clear, undated pint bottle poured into an imperial pint.

Dark ruby brown with steady carbonation that holds two fingers of light tan that falls rather quick leaving a thinly veiled ring with minimal lace.

Sweet malts that have a toasted edge and generic english hops that are hiding way in the back. Weak overall.

The taste starts off with sweet malts that have a slight toffee character, a suggestion of walnuts followed by just enough hop bitterness to lean towards balance.

The mouth is just short of medium, quaffable and I prefer the bottle to the draft version.

11-26-2005 05:54:33 | More by ypsifly
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

2.95/5  rDev -11.1%

This beer poured with a decent head. It is brown in color with a hint of red when held to the light. The smell is similar to pecans. The taste is fairly bitter with a aftertaste of smoke. The mouthfeel is fairly smooth. I could drink this beer again but I don't think I would have many at one time.

11-25-2005 17:04:26 | More by Enola
Photo of metallistout


3.98/5  rDev +19.9%

Of course it pours a brown color and a reddish tint about it. Tan, thick head that seemed to stay a little in the glass for a decent duration. Smells of caramel malt and mild hops. Very sweet caramel with a mild hop flavor. I do like this ale, but would prefer a little more hop bite to it. I guess that since it's such a big beer, it has to appeal to many masses.
I would recommend this to most anyone wanting to try a brown ale. For the price it ain't bad.

11-20-2005 16:29:42 | More by metallistout
Photo of nota


3.78/5  rDev +13.9%

I really cannot understand the poor rating of this beer, but I guess to each its own. This is my first brown ale I have ever drank. Maybe after trying some others I might come back and have to rerate this.

Appearance: Pours brown/amber. Produces nice head with a vigorous pour, fades fast and leaves rings on glass.

Smell: Pleasent

Taste: Toasted nuts and slight smokey flavor. Nice change of pace to what I've been drinking.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat dry, but leaves pleasent aftertaste in mouth

Drinkability: Very good. I drank an extra one from what I normally do in a setting.

Update: My opinion has not changed even after trying some other Brown Ales. This beer is unique.

11-19-2005 13:00:05 | More by nota
Photo of danielharper


2.95/5  rDev -11.1%

Purchased from Target on University, Huntsville, AL.

Into the pint glass it goes, thick and dark, white a nice foamy white head. Transparent but dark body, almost as dark as a porter, but with a brownish tinge. The head sticks around for awhile -- nice presentation.

Aroma is okay, mainly some nuts and some woody scents. Not a whole lot that I can pick out -- this one just smells, well, like a Brown Ale.

This has a very malty flavor, with no real hops in the flavor to speak of. Nice notes of nuts and with a roasty flavor that keeps the beer pleasant. Nothing spectacular, but nice enough.

Overall this is a pretty good beer. I'm not the biggest fan of Brown Ales, but this one is pretty much spot-on to-style, and it's a great starter beer for those who need to get into the good stuff.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery, with little-to-no carbonation. Not impressed.

11-17-2005 23:19:18 | More by danielharper
Photo of jmz62565


3.13/5  rDev -5.7%

This pours a dark reddish brown with a one and a half finger head that leaves nice lacing,but disappears quickly.The smell is very slight,but you can make out small amounts of nuttiness and spices.This has a nutty flavor with some spices,nutmeg,cinnamon?,but it is a little watery.The m/f is medium,a little watery,but not terrible.This is an OK brown ale,not great,but I would try it again because it was one of my gateway beers away from the big lousy macros,and it still is available in alot of resturants.

11-16-2005 05:05:11 | More by jmz62565
Photo of atomicbwax


3.7/5  rDev +11.4%

Appearance – Dark. Brown with a slight hint of red.

Smell – Smells like many brown ales. Kind of sweet in my opinion. I like it.

Taste – To me, this tastes better than most brown ales. I would drink more of this.

Mouthfeel – Nice and thick like a lot of brown ales. Good mouth feel is one of my favorite things in beer and this has it.

Drinkability – Not a session beer but I do enjoy this. A nice change of pace from the standard beer.

11-13-2005 04:32:21 | More by atomicbwax
Photo of Ricochet


3.58/5  rDev +7.8%

This is the brown that I feel is the standard other browns should be compared with. When I think "Brown Bottled Beer" I think Newcastle.

Of course, I never really liked browns, and since I can find a few american browns that I've tried that make this one pale, but as a whole, this is pretty good.

Brown, with slight head, smells malty and sweet with a little alcohol and very appetizing. Mouth is a little bit thicker than average, and feels like a better quality beer when going down.

Taste? Slightly better than average, malt and slight hops, slight burn from alcohol and typical brown aftertaste.

Drinkability: I say this is a better than average beer for the price, if you like brown beers, it should do you well, but a little shorter on taste for way cheaper, I'll take an american like JJ Wainwrights EE HB.

11-08-2005 04:50:58 | More by Ricochet
Photo of Mitchel


4.38/5  rDev +31.9%

First and foremost, this is one of my all-time favorite beers. I always find my way back to the blue star from across the pond. I think that a lot of people underrate this beer and I can’t seem to find a general opinion as to why.

This beer has one of the best heads that I have seen in a while (off white color). It holds for a long while and it leaves a great lace as well. Everyone else says that it has a ruby color to it, so I will say that it has a crimson brown color, because I have to be different. This beer blends tones of caramel and toffee which could sound overwhelming, but it is done with great skill. It is not excessively sweet.

What makes me come back to this beer time and time again is its light tastes and even balance. Hardly an aftertaste though. I would like more of that, but you can’t have everything in life now can you? It, at times seems a bit watery. Which is why I gave it a 3.5 on mouthfeel, but the 4.5 on drinkability is due to the wide range of availability and its smoothness when drinking. Great session beer.

11-07-2005 21:19:17 | More by Mitchel
Photo of jimbotrost


3.98/5  rDev +19.9%

Sampled at a beer tasting 9/7/05, tasted many times previously and since. The pour is of a deep ruby color with a whisp of an off white head. The nose has carmelly sweet tones and is nice. The sweetness carries on to the flavor, sweet malty, almost toffee-like. It is drying in the mouth and carries some chalkiness to the finish. Nice beer.

11-02-2005 21:44:33 | More by jimbotrost
Newcastle Brown Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
76 out of 100 based on 4,042 ratings.