1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sleeman Honey Brown Lager - Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

Not Rated.
Sleeman Honey Brown LagerSleeman Honey Brown Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

255 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 255
Reviews: 135
rAvg: 2.94
pDev: 20.07%
Wants: 5
Gots: 11 | 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:
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 Some might think the tradition is outdated; we just think we got it right the first time.

(Beer added by: canadianbarman on 08-22-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sleeman Honey Brown Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 255 | Reviews: 135 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Derek
3.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber-brown, slightly off-white head; not much retention, but it initially leaves a little lace.

S: Sweet amora with an underlying spicyness.

T: Modest bitterness allows the sweetness to come through. Slighty nutty, with a pleasant spicyness (Willamette?).

M: Moderate body; residual sugars have a hint of syrupyness.

D: Easily approachable, but too sweet for me to session.

Derek, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of kdoc8
3.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this before - it comes in stylin' clear glass bottle with raised images of Canadian paraphanelia - beavers and maple leaves and all that. It didn't really have a head, the color was golden-brown. The smell was faintly like sweet malt but it's very faint. The taste isn't much of anything actually - just light and tasteless. It's not my first Sleeman's choice - I'd probably choose their Cream Ale over this one.

kdoc8, Apr 09, 2007
Photo of pootz
3.43/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle snagged from the "singles" bargain bin at the LCBO.

Poured a light amber lager in the stein with a decent 2 finger head . Poor cap retention but the surface foam laces the glass well.

Aroma is better than most Sleeman products...at least you can smell some bready sweet grains in this with a light wisp of hay.

Nice chew of malt up front, fair body, some sweetness, some bready toastiness , some woody-herbal tones from hops...mmmm decent...and that damnable Sleeman signature corn dextrin taste show up to ruin the finsh.

This was a decent take on a Vienna lager until that corny dextrine sweetness showed up ( no honey to speak of) ... too bad, they had something going here.

Having put this off because I never felt compelled to buy a 12 just to taste this bland brewers full line, I am somewhat surprised this beer came so close to being a real vienna lager then crashing and burning so badly in the final moments....to bad. We need a good Vienna around here, but this isn’t it....

BTWI I have no idea why the site would list this as a dunkel when it is so obviously trying to imitate(badly) a Vienna. Style dyslexia?

pootz, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of biegaman
3/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A fairly attractive colour, deep brown with lighter yellow highlights a top and ruby amber underneath. A fine level of suds for head. Some macro starchy aroma but with a touch of sweetness. Flavour contains a surprising amount of brown malts with a touch of 'cola' taste to them. No depth however. Odd copper metallic taste. Past that ounce of nice flavour there is nothing but adjuncts. Still drinks fairly clean, little aftertaste.
No mistaking it, this is macro and far from quality craft brewing - but I still prefer it to MolBatt.

biegaman, Mar 18, 2007
Photo of Shadman
3.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

clear copper color from a can as I'm spooked by clear glass bottles. The head goes as fast as the local Maple Leafs leave the playoffs. Sweet malt smell. Nice smooth beer with a malt sweetness and a touch of bitterness that keeps it interesting. Very decent and very easy to drink.

Shadman, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of mdagnew
3.53/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle bought from Gap Wines, Belfast..

Poured a nice deep coppery colour. Creamy head poured quite thick and foamy then faded to light layer. Barely any carbonation... some faint sticky lacing...

Aroma - Quite sweet caramel malts, a little toasted bread, spicy fruits (oranges, apples, some figs), honey, some biscuity notes, pretty nutty, some leathery traces, some graininess / corn notes, peppery...

Taste – Nice caramel maltiness, strong nutty sweetness, fruity (definite orange notes, figs), nice toasted breadiness, some light corn notes, spicy hops just cut through the sweetness, some grassiness, creamy vanilla..

Feel - Pretty smooth... light / medium bodied... Pretty drinkable although the sweet malts might be too much for some...

Overall - A decent lager... nothing groundbreaking but probably worth a try...

mdagnew, Jan 23, 2007
Photo of terrabyte
2.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear, dark-orange color with a short head that quickly disappears.

Smell has a caramel lager before turning a bit skunky. In fact it smells exactly like bottled Heineken. I'm wondering about the all-clear bottle now.

Tastes just like Heineken too, without as much carbonation. Actually, not as bad, but the clear bottle (without even labels) just can't be helping this bottle while sitting on the shelf. Before the overwhelming skunk type flavor, there is a caramel base with honey sweetness.

Mouthful is smooth but slick with less than average carbonation.

Drinkability is low due to skunking. Would have a much better from tap. Despite that, it still has something going for it.

terrabyte, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle bought in Madison Wisconsin. I drank this alongside some Molson and Labatt, and thought this beer a very pleasing surprise. It isn't craft beer exactly, but it doesn't deserve comparison to the Molson & Labatt's of the world either.

Color is an orangey-brown. Aroma is pretty macro-smelling, but the taste is really quite pleasant. It is a not very filling, lightly carbonated, rather sweet beer. Many beers have honey in their names, but this is the first where I can actually taste it. I won't be a regular purchaser of this brand (it's not sold in my neck of the woods anyhow), but it is decidedly not bad.

BeerBelcher, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of aychbomb
3.58/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: deep amber/copper color creamy head with little retention.

smell: malty, toffee like, mild hop aroma, almost flowery. (clover?)

taste: moderatly malty, slightly toffee like. (again clover? is there actually honey in this honey brown lager, i'd be interested in finding out for shure) lightly hopped.

mouth feel: smooth, medium bodied, little carbonization, sweet finish

drinkability: nice, smooth, tasty althoe to sweet for a lager. (imo)


aychbomb, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of Rudgers73
2.55/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Just like all of the other sleeman's products. Thin.

When I randomly chose a beer I was glad to see something not so pale yellow. Maybe this has potential with its smooth caramelly color.


It's really too bad about this beer. I really like the taste of it, but there isn't enough taste for the amount of beer in the bottle. If I could boil this down into some sort of beer espresso maybe it would rank higher.

C'mon sleeman's, I really thought you had something here.

Rudgers73, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of Absumaster
3.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was not the best beer I ever had, but I was a nice beer. The biggest problem is it's lack of character.

Color was brown, the head was very small and carbonation was low.

Smell was slightly smoky with some caramel notes, but I had to smell for a while before I came up with this.

Taste was OK, with some caramel, some smoke and a slight bitterness. All not very outspoken. It is a lager, so not very fruity or yeasty. Actually it was more like a dark lager and if I would have been blindfolded, I would probably not notice the difference between this one and a sweet lager.

Absumaster, Aug 23, 2006
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.33/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not what comes to mind when discussing a Dark Lager, but I digress. Pours out to an amberish / brown color with a short lived head of foam. Some notes of lacing, and a medium low level of carbonation. Aromas of medium bodied malts, roasted adjuncts, some hops, a touch of buttery sweetness. Not bad. Taste is middle of the road, and goes down quite smooth. Honey maltiness blends with mild earth and grain, and a definite note of toastiness and sweetness toward the finish. Mouthfeel was unremarkable. Drinkability is average. Not bad, but far from exemplary.

Frozensoul327, May 21, 2006
Photo of allergictomacros
2.9/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Clear copper with a smallish head. Bad retention and lacing.

S - Sweet malts mostly. A hint of some grassy hops.

T - Slightly roasty flavour. I guess this is the honey I'm tasting now. Wierd slightly cloying taste. A bit of bitterness in the finish and a mild aftertaste. Overly sweet.

M - Medium bodied. Harsh carbonation. Ouch.

D - Not bad, not great. I've had worse. I've had better.

allergictomacros, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of trevorwideman
2.9/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The colour of Iced Tea, pours with a medium fizzy head and looks like a soft drink with the bubbles sticking to the glass a bit. Goes flat pretty quick though. Smell is very much roasted and malty, quite sweet. I'm sure a lot of people are drawn to this beer because "Honey Brown" sounds "different".

Taste is very much as predicted, some roasted malts and a cloying caramel sweetness. There's a bit of hop bitterness in the back though. Not complex at all, mouthfeel is a bit bitey. Still though, I find the sweetness a bit too much, and the beer comes off as rather unbalanced toward the toothache-inducing. Some bitterness would have been very welcome. Drinkable, but boring and average to be sure.

trevorwideman, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of Noxious26
3.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

341ml clear bottle poured in a dimpled mug. I like the relief on the bottle of a beaver and maple leaf as well as just the neck label, but I still don't understand the clear bottle. I guess it's just their gimmick on the Canadian market.

Pours out a nice clear brown-copper colour with some carbonation streams. Head foams up nicely to 1/2 inch on the pour, but quickly disappears to just a thin ring around the edge.

Aroma is mild, but predominantly sweet. A bit of malt, caramel and honey in the background.

Taste is very sweet. Very sweet malt at the start with honey coming in after the carbonation rush. Undertones of floral hops to go with a mild malt bitterness at the finish. Practically no aftertaste, just a little mild malt bitterness.

Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Leaves a bit of a sticky feeling after the swallow.

You have to like sweet beers to really enjoy this one, but overall it's not bad. Smooth without any harsh qualities, this beer is meant for mass consumption. The best of the Sleeman products that I've tried. Also the best Honey Brown in Canada, or atleast better than Rickard's and Big Rock.

EDIT: Tried again May long weekend 07. Thanks to Mike & Jen for the brew. I stand by my statement that this is the best honey brown on the market, and the best Sleeman's brew.

Noxious26, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of nortmand
3.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An above-average beer actually not too bad, maybe others are drinking skunked bottles.

Amber pour with a white head, no lacing.

Smells like sweetgrass, a hint of chlorine at the end.

Sweet honey flavor with the barest hint of roastiness on the edge.

Nicely carbonated, not too thin mouthfeel. Pretty good "just drinking" beer.

nortmand, Oct 26, 2005
Photo of BigRedN
3.4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From Notes. Consumed during trip to Calgary from 9/27 - 10/1. Purchased expecting somthing similar to JW Dundees Honey Brown. I was not disappointed.

Appearance: Poured for me into a pint glass, this beer is amber in color with a thin off-white head. Left minimal lacing.

Smell: Mostly malt, aroma of caramel and slightly sweet, but no honey.

Taste: Tastey with a good malt backbone and some hops, but mostly malt. Slight sweetness to it. I did find it somehat like the JW Dundees, but not exactly, which is good.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body, just enough carbonation, so as to keep it not overly light and bubbly.

Drinkability: A good beer that is easily sessionable. I wouldn't mind having more of this.

BigRedN, Oct 05, 2005
Photo of GClarkage
3.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

09/14/05- Had on tap at Angus MacToogle's Pub in Invermere, British Columbia.

Presentation- 20oz pint pour from the tap into a pint glass.

Appearance- Amber pour with a nice 3/4 inch creamy head. Quite nice lacing as well.

Smell- Smell...what smell? This guy was almost scentless. Maybe a touch of dark malt and a bit of sweet honey...if that.

Taste- Medium dark malt flavor with a touch of honey extract. Has a bit of that macro flavor.

Mouthfeel- Lighter carbonated than expected. Goes down fairly smooth.

Drinkability- Not great, but it served it's purpose. Wen't decent with the shepards pie I had.

GClarkage, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of jayc333
3.33/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice orange copper with a 2 finger head. The head ended up turning minimal, but left behind good lacing. Doesn't appear to be too carbonated.

Smells extra sweet, and maybe a tad citrusy.

Tastes of sweet honey...thats about it. Bare in mind it is a honey lager.

Mouthfeel was perfect for this style. Very limited carbonation, and a thin, but not too thin feel on the palate.

Definatly my favourite Sleeman beer. Perhaps I'd even say my favourite honey lager or ale. I recommend this as a good, and not too expensive session beer.

jayc333, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.15/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Medium orange with a sparse number of fine floaters. Thanks to the clear glass, labelless bottle, I was able to tell that much when I pulled it out of the fridge. The smallish head of orange-tinted beige is fair-to-middlin' looking and persists for a reasonable amount of time. While there isn't a whole lotta lace, some manages to stick.

The nose is weak. It's minimally grain-like with a fruity overlay, but I'm reaching even then. There are no off-aromas because there's barely any aroma at all.

My first impression is 'nasty'. My second impression is a little more kind and is more along the lines of 'odd and artifically sweetened'. It turns out that honey, like the name suggests, is the natural flavor listed on the neck label. Why not just say 'brewed with honey' and leave it at that? In any case, the beer tastes like artificial caramel flavor and artificial honey flavor were added in significant quantities.

Honey Brown Lager is insufficiently malted, as evidenced by a thinner than thin mouthfeel. Why use malt when you can give your beer flavor by adding extraneous crap that's less expensive? Something else besides honey is in here, I'll bet. I know what honey-flavored beer tastes like and this ain't it. It's actually not that sweet and favors bitter by the time the finish rolls around.

The finish is brief (a blessing) and brings nothing new or interesting to the table. As noted, the mouthfeel is irredeemably light with a cheaply carbonated feel. At least it doesn't allow the flavor to sink in, but rather washes it away as soon as the beer is swallowed.

Sleeman Honey Brown Lager is my first Sleeman beer. I'm less than impressed. A brown lager (Euro dark lager?) flavored with honey sounds like a good idea, but this rendition leaves a lot to be desired. Rarely have I sampled a beer that tastes as artificially flavored as this one does. No thank you.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of Tang07
3.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The honey ale looked very appealing when it was handed to me. It is a nice amber/brown color, and a nice thick head on it.

The smell is a bit sweet and malty.

The taste is a bit too sweet for my taste, but it was by no means bad, just not to my taste.

The brew has body and a great mouth feel. Others I was with liked more than me and continued drinking it.

The head never died and laced the glass all the way to the bottom

Tang07, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of BigBry
3.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Draft, not comfortable with clear bottles. Amber colored, small white head, thin lace left on glass. Smell of floral and sweet honey, hops is there but not overpowering. Taste is well balanced between the sweetness of malt and honey, and hoppiness. Nice sweet/bitter combination. Continued carbonation gives a smooth finish and appropriate mouthfeel. Bit of a metalic aftertaste I find in all Sleeman products. Overall a pretty good beer. Personally prefer Big Rock Honey Brown for this style.

BigBry, Dec 11, 2004
Photo of CortexBomb
3/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

What I would call the essence of an average beer.

Poured out a "beer" colour, with some minor red tones and a sweet nose. The flavour was mainly..."generic beer" flavour with a strong sweet tinge to it and some vague, vague rememberence of honey in it somewhere. The mouth was light and bubbly, as I would expect for a beer like this, while the drinkability was middle of the road as well.

The thing about this beer is that it does nothing particularly wrong, or particularly right. I wouldn't be offended to have one given to me, but I wouldn't ever seek it out either.

I ended up having one of these while I was in Montreal, and the other choices at the place I was eating were such luminaries as Molson EX and Labatt...which I would take this over any day. That said, the best thing I can say about Sleeman's is that they saved Unibroue, my favourite brewer, though if this is any indication of the product bearing their own name, well, I certainly won't be seeking it out in the future.

CortexBomb, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer decamps the clear 330ml bottle a luminous copper color with a medium sized head that frothy and light tan in color, the left over lace a thin veil upon the glass. Nose is sweet malt, crisp and clean with the start sweet and nicely malted, top is light in its feel to the palate. Finish is benignly acidic and the hops apropos to the style, a crisp refreshing beer.

Gusler, Oct 05, 2004
Photo of AtLagerHeads
2.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On an easy pour this lager poured out a clear copper topped by 2 fingers of off-white head. Moderate lacing ring down the glass was noted.

The nose is straightfoward and gives small indications of both the malt and light hops. The flavor is a tad sweet with minor balance from the hops. There is a slightly astringent aftertaste noted. The body is medium and lacks crispness. Overall it is an average lager beer.

AtLagerHeads, Sep 20, 2004
Sleeman Honey Brown Lager from Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
69 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.