Sleeman Honey Brown Lager - Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

Not Rated.
Sleeman Honey Brown LagerSleeman Honey Brown Lager

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BA SCORE
71
okay

138 Reviews
THE BROS
39
awful

(Read More)
Reviews: 138
Hads: 279
rAvg: 3.03
pDev: 16.83%
Wants: 6
Gots: 25 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sleeman Breweries Ltd. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Lager |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: canadianbarman on 08-22-2001

Smooth Sleeman Honey Brown Lager is brewed in the tradition of cottage breweries at the turn of the century. Some might think the tradition is outdated; we just think we got it right the first time.
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Reviews: 138 | Hads: 279
Photo of DaveBar
3.1/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Purchased at the LCBO as a single for $2.00 for a 341ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high white head that films out within a minute. Dark gold color and filtered clear

S- Kind of funky nutty scent

T- Not bad. For some reason people are giving this brew a bad rap and it's pretty good overall. Nice malty base and slight hops

M- Creamy and dry

O- Not a bad brew. Not a great brew but not a bad brew

Food Pairing

This nice blended brew went well with...... Korean BBQ. Short ribs with a sticky sweet sauce.

Enjoy (563 characters)

Photo of kevofficiel
2.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sleeman Brown. One of the most popular beer in Canada.

So the look of it. I was a bit disappointed about te look. Very light. Without the light on the glass it looks brown but when u put it on the light it's looks like amber.


The smell of it. Disappointing. Not much it's coming through my nose. A smell of hops it's coming at the end

The taste of it. A bit watery. I would like to have more character to have more ouch on the taste. Presence of hops is there but nothing much on the after taste. It is a pleasant beer to drink, don t get me wrong, goes down very smoothly. But would like to have more flavours to it.

So overall would I recommend it? No, for a brown beer there is much better. I was a bit disappointing. I wish the beer would have more flavour but overall is it not a bad beer at all, it goes down dry smoothly but if you wanna drink a Sleeman get something else. (889 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.28/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Date code is F0214 so canned June 2, 2014.

A staple of mine in my younger days. Delivers on its namesake color and has a solid 4 finger head to show for itself. Nutty flavor with some sweet caramel. Decent and good though tame to be sure. (239 characters)

Photo of souvenirs
3.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

500 ml can bought at a liquor store in Port Moody on the way to Sasamat Lake. I ended up bringing it home and drinking it at the end of the day, out of the fridge and poured into a glass. This is probably the kind of beer that's appropriate to drink in the sun on a hot day.

A: Clear dark amber with lots of head that dissipates fairly quickly.
S: Maltier than I would have expected for a macrobrew lager. Sweet. I definitely pick up the honey.
T: Not bad. I'm not sure why the ratings are as low as they are. I've had much, much worse beer!! This is better than drinkable. I certainly wouldn't seek it out, but it's really not that bad. Malty and fairly sweet.
F: Watery. Could definitely stand to be crisper, too.
O: The one thing that's really off on this beer is the mouthfeel. Other than that, it's much better than I expected. (834 characters)

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.27/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I should probably credit Sleeman for helping me to graduate beyond Molson Pilsener, Saskatchewan boy elixir of choice, to a much wider world of beer styles and legit quality-focused breweries, but a) that doesn't mean one can't turn an "objective" eye towards these Canadian standbys now and b) do not presume that Sleeman is necessarily one of the latter breweries. Sleeman was a transitional step. I likely consumed a disturbing number of honey browns and cream ales during my grad school days, so this trip back into Sleemanland, Onterrible was tinged with some nostalgia. Oddly enough I used to think this was an ale despite the term "lager" being right there in the name ... I suppose the goal of drinking back then wasn't to pay close attention. Also, Woody's Tap House only has so many wares to sample. It was this or something from a clear glass bottle that rhymes with "Borona". In any event, Sleeman honey brown on tap is a very light burnished bronze color, looks quite watered-down, with traces of white foam skittering on the surface. Aroma is sweet boiled grains, ephemeral brown sugar or caramel, lemon rind, a sourish apple fruitiness, and perhaps a hemp seed nuttiness. Palate is a blend of different malt and hops-generated effects, I get sweet white bread, sour vines candy, play dough, dilute citrus iced tea, and interestingly enough some cooking molasses. More dark malt character than expected! Nice! Less optimistically, however, the whole watery package is flavor-anemic, everything interesting is ramped down in favor of enough gas and bubbles to launch a hot air balloon. Crisp and dry finish does include a pleasant hay-like sweetness. Not fantastic but there was enough interest here to make me masochistically wonder what the cream ale would taste like now ... Stay tuned! (1,802 characters)

Photo of Dolanmcduk
1.75/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Sleeman has really increased the amount of advertising here in Canada, and many fellow Canucks seem to believe this is a fancy beer probably because of the clear bottles...right?

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Comes out of the gate with a big building head. Doesn't hang around long, leaves a ring with a couple nebulae. Dark amber, doesn't look as clear as it should. Lots of carbonation.

S- Mealy, gassy, a syrupy sweetness.

T- Watery brown sugar/corn, subsides quickly to a slightly off bitterness, not a positive bitterness, dry and metallic.

M- Fizz, fizz, fizz, as much fizz as good old Dr. Pib. As the beer sits it gains the slightest amount of weight, at that point your teeth are thankful for something that isn't giving them the Oxyclean once-over.

O- I recall in my younger days Sleeman being better, but all of their beers had this strangeness to them you can't quite put your finger on.
My only reason for reconnecting with this beer was someone gave it to me for raking the leaves our adjoining boulevard. I do not recommend this beer at all.

gooby pls (1,075 characters)

Photo of Mountainmanbrewing
4.02/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This poured a clear, dark amber colour finishing with a nice foamy two-finger head which lasted throughout with fairly good lacing. The aroma is mostly that of honey and grainy malts. This is a sweet beer with a faint hint of hop bitterness and a medium level of body. (268 characters)

Photo of PorterPro125
3.77/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Although I really enjoy all of the beers that Sleeman produces, this one really stands out from the pack.

A- A very nice, honey like reddish-brown hue. Quite enticing to say the least. It poured with a 1/2 finger head that dissipated fairly quick. Minimal lacing on the glass.

S- The smell of this lager is very dark in nature. A little bit of roastiness with some bread notes mixed in.

T- Despite the fact that the bottle is completely clear, there is no skunky notes to be found here. The taste is bar none the best, most sessionable beer that Sleeman makes. It displays some beautiful brown sugar notes with a slight hop characteristic that makes it that much better. If you aren't into sweeter beers, I would shy away.

M- Very smooth beer with excellent carbonation. You know its good stuff when it doesn't feel like a soft drink in your mouth : P

O- If you seek a very well rounded session beer that pleases the palate, don't hesitate; pick this one up and chances are you won't be disappointed. (1,009 characters)

Photo of Olek4374
3.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Of the "Big 3' Sleeman beers, this is probably my favourite. It's still just slightly above average as a beer, but it has a lot of nice characteristics to it for a very efficient price.

It pours with an inordinate amount of head, maybe 4 fingers' worth. It is a great orange-brown colour and despite being served in a clear bottle, it doesn't have a lick of skunkiness to it.

It smells is a little nutty and smells of some dark malts, interestingly enough. Tastes much of the same - although the mouthfeel is very light, a bit more body would be nice.

it's an average beer, but this is a tasty one. (602 characters)

Photo of AlexDuMond
3.73/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I can remember having this beer in Monteal New Years eve when I was 19. Overall I felt it was a pretty good beer but I think everyone here is missing a huge and hilarious characteristic of the beer...it smells exactly like weed. Like spot on, I really dont understand how no one else has commented about that.

S- Ganja (319 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

thanks to my Aunt for sharing this bottle given as a gift through my mom, enjoyed chilled in a tulip.

The color is dark amber bordering on bronze with good clarity and thin white head with fine bead. The smell has a malt presence with sweet aroma of honey and mild yeast scent with touch of caramel. the feel is decent with slight sweetness and medium high carbonation level with subtle toasted texture and dry almost crisp finish.

The taste has a bready character with light honey sweetness up front and mild yeast in the taste with perhaps a slight diacetyl smoothness and caramel in the malt as it finishes with some grain and honey flavor but generally mild as far as overall taste goes. This is a pretty standard take with decent taste, yet not exceptional -just a ordinary vienna/red/amber lager easy to enjoy and smooth (831 characters)

Photo of bacabuck
3.31/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As other reviewers have noted not certain why the brothers rated it so low. Of course it is sweet. It has "honey" in the name. I was not expecting something like a Dead Guy Ale. I was actually impressed with this and many other local beers on a recent trip.

A- deep amber. Gentleblace. No head
T- crisp apple. Remarkably smooth. No after taste. Slight hoppy finish.

Had this on a recent business trip to the Cambridge Ontario area. Really pretty good beer that goes well with most any food. Paired this time with schnitzel and braised cabbage. (546 characters)

Photo of jaslesp
3.35/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer looks and smells really great with a caramel honey brown bred smell. It is good. It is not amazing but really good in winter because I don't like it in summer. The mouthfeel isn't amazing but it isn't bad too. Overall it is ok but I don't like it that much too. In fact it is a very little over average but if you can't find it don't go crazy. (353 characters)

Photo of BCJoly
4.46/5  rDev +47.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. I dont understand why it gets such a low mark here on BA. It has a very good tast goes down easy and could drink them all night long. Best served ice cold with a bit of slush.

smell: subtle, sweet, honey, faint hops.

look: golden amber, ok head that will go away after a minute

mouth feel: cold, wet, well carbonated.

taste: refreshing, honey, brown sugar, slight hops, good after taste

over all: simply awesome, doesn't taste like lager (better). I usually drink micro brewery beers, but this one is fine by me and my wife. This is a must try if your in Canada. (587 characters)

Photo of cambabeer
1.61/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This is a joke. This beer is not worth buying, thankfully I was given it. I guess the color is alright, ruby and golden, but the head is nonexistent. Smells like bad cream soda left out in the sun that someone poured bud light into. Taste is watery, way to sweet, and then at the end there's a little taste of malt and hops that give you a slight clue that what you're drinking is supposed to be beer. Don't buy this, please. (425 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
2.11/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sleeman Honey Brown Lager/Euro Dark Lager into a pint glass.

The liquid appears light brown, maybe a few shades tanner than that, the build looks light and the bubbles are big and off white with a semi tan look, dies down no lace. Smell is caramel forward and sweet smelling with some grainy background. Taste is grain up front with caramel backing with what I would call sweetners, that's all I really get. Feel is a step up from other sleeman beers and matches the style, a light crisp carb but smooth beer none the less. Drinkability is low because, well, it's pretty one sided. (582 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
3.23/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle served in a standard pint glass.

pours a crystal clear amber tone with a fizzy, quickly diminishing off-white head; patchy lacing.

not getting a tone in the nose, mostly a caramel maltiness, maybe a muted hops presence loitering somewhere in the background. flavor is a welcome improvement. sweet and toasty; notes of honey open up mid-palate. malt-forward but some hoppy undertones, especially in the finish. by no means is this memorable, but all in all it's a pleasant, unassuming, serviceable brew.

crisp, light/medium bodied mouthfeel. drinks well; a good football-watching beer.

originally reviewed: 12-14-2010 (633 characters)

Photo of NV9
2.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Very nice deep colour with a little bit of head that looks great at first but unfortunately doesn't last long.

Honey/molasses smell, with some typical macro-ish hop smell as well.

Pretty smooth tasting, goes down easy for a dark-ish beer.

Overall, a pretty solid beer, not one I search for but often is the best thing on tap in a sea of molson/labatt. (354 characters)

Photo of SebD
2.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: It has a nice golden/orange color to it. It has an off-white head that dies down fast and leaves very litte lacing.

Smell: The aromas give out hints of honey, caramel, grains, corn and some grassy hops.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a sweet caramel and honey character to it with some light grain, corn and hops.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium/high carbonation with a somewhat light overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with bland flavors and aromas. (515 characters)

Photo of JohnnyBarman
2.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Running low on cold beer in the house, and the Thanksgiving weekend totally destroyed the stocks at my local liquor store. This was an old high-school favourite of mine, and it was one of the few cold six packs left. So there you go.

Poured into a little Hoegaarden bucket. The very definition of amber, with a sticky 1/2 inch head that dissolves into a little ring.

Nose is sweet and one dimensional, no hops or grain to speak of. Just...honey brown. Maybe a bit of molasses or brown sugar.

Tastes about the same. Overly sweet, not the faintest trace of hops or anything interesting, as if the brewmaster forgot to add them in the brewing process. Finish is just diminished sweetness. Thin bodied, sharp cola carbonation.

Now, having said all this, I don't tend to mind sweetness as a general rule, and I would probably drink this instead of a lot of macro Euro lagers. Also, I'm about 20 minutes from the brewery, so this is a brew that tends to show up a lot at parties, so it's in my best interest to cultivate a taste for it. Fortunately, I rarely get stuck in this situation, and when I do, I drink it as cold as possible straight from the bottle.

In summary, unless you like overly sweet, overly carbonated honey lagers, avoid this. (1,246 characters)

Photo of joemcgrath27
2.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

have had this on a few occasions over the years but mostly just at pubs getting shitfaced
A - clear bronze, off white shiny head with decent retention, some lacing
S - corn adjunct, grains, light brown sugar, not as expected
T - corn graininess up front with a strong syrupy sweetness that lingers along with some metallic, nothing special about it
M - medium weight with a solid carbonation kick, sticky sweet for a second but quickly moves to a bitter finish
O - for a run of the mill mass consumption brand its decent, but a pretty average honey brown all told (563 characters)

Photo of Antikythera
3.88/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: light brown, fine cream coloured head

Smell: nondescript. Weird. Fizzy? A little honey.

Taste: the honey and caramel really come out in the flavour, over top of pale malt. Sweet without being candyish.

Mouthfeel: thin without being too watery. Refreshing but flavourful.

Overall: easy-drinking but more interesting than most budget beers.

Yeah, I love it. When I was younger the first beer I drank was probably Coors, and I was not impressed. SHB was the first beer I had that I thought was actually interesting, and I still have a soft spot for it. It's not boring but it's not pretentious either. (616 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
2.43/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Served from the bottle into a strange glass at Edgewaters Tap and Grill in Niagara Falls

A- Poured a clear amber color with a two finger fluffy head and left good lacing. Lots of fizzy carbonation.

S- Honey and some indistinct maltiness

T- Some honey, caramel maltiness, slight bitterness, and water. Pretty bland and watery

M- Thin, very watery, and fizzy carbonation

O- A pretty bland and watery lager with an undesirable mouthfeel. (439 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
3.2/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Ruby/brown color with no head. Doesn't look extremely exciting.

S: Smells pretty sweet. Some berry and pale malt notes here.

T: It's drinkable, but I don't know it's something I would want to drink a ton of. Smooth malts and some honey on the finish. You're probably better trying something else. (301 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
3.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear, dark amber colour with a foamy two-finger head with fairly good retention and decent lacing. A soapy film is left behind, once the head finally fades away (half-way through the drink). I noticed this film with their Cream Ale too - at first I was worried I haven't been rinsing my glasses well-enough, but it seems to just be a trait of something in the heads of their beers. Looks heavily carbonated. The smell is very sweet; mostly honey and grainy malts.

Sweet, sweet, sweet. That's all this beer tastes like. There are definitely some grain and bread malt flavours going on, but honey and brown sugar are pretty dominant. There isn't really a finish to this beer, the sweetness just sort of fades. There's a faint echo of hop bitterness, I guess, but it's fleeting and is easily missed amongst the cloying sweetness. Decent body and much heavier than your average macro, but for the style it's a little watery. Carbonation prickles the tongue but isn't too overpowering.

This used to be my 'old standby', and even though it's clear my tastes have changed, this is probably still one of Sleeman's better brews. It is better than your average macro, but due to the cloying sweetness it's really something you have to be in the mood for. Not really anything special... but a highly drinkable option if you're looking for an easy-to-find beer that will satisfy your sweet tooth. The bottles generally taste better, but only if you live within a reasonable distance of the brewery, and are buying it at a store that moves decent volume.

[Updated Feb. 23 2014]

I picked up another can to compare this past favourite of mine with a few other amber lagers (Creemore, Barking Squirrel and Faxe Amber). Sleeman Honey Brown looks great in the glass, but as far as flavour goes I think I have to say that my palate has moved on - the malt backbone is weak, there's no hop presence, and it's really just sweet... nothing else. Early in my beer-drinking career I was a fan of the macro ambers, and the best I can say of this one is that it has aged better than Rickard's Red and Keith's Amber, in that I don't avoid it completely. The craft/imported ambers I am comparing it to all compare favourably.

Final Grade: 3.05, a C+. (2,237 characters)

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Sleeman Honey Brown Lager from Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
71 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.