ACME California Brown Ale
North Coast Brewing Co.

ACME California Brown AleACME California Brown Ale
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Brown Ale - American
3.66 | pDev: 11.48%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
ACME California Brown AleACME California Brown Ale
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Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 104 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug, the appearance was a murky brown color with a finger’s worth of white foamy head that fell off at a decent pace. Stringy sliding lace. The aroma had some roasted nuts, light caramel/toffee malts up front and then had some sweet cherry wood coming out as it warmed. Light toast and then some butterscotch softened the edges. Light earthy hops. The flavor blended all of the previously mentioned aromas together for the most part and lightly touched the aftertaste. Finish is malty and lenient on the cherry wood. Seemed more like cherry sweetness on the finish. The feel was about medium bodied and punching the carbonation with a little bit of those earthy hops I smelled earlier. ABV felt as projected. Overall, nicely done brown ale worthy of having again.

Jun 06, 2017
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

There's those weak ass brown ales that come in clear bottles from across the pond, and then there is a more sturdy appearance. This is the more sturdy version. Small off white head, 1/5". Aroma had that brown malt and wood vibe.

Taste hits the usual brown malt notes, smooth, light roast. Toffee. Some hops to it giving it around 30ibu of bitterness. Crisp and earthy at the same time. Chewy. Not a big mover style wise, but it was a more than competent beer.

Oct 31, 2016
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour was decent enough, amber color with a few hints of copper sprinkled in throughout the glass. Nice carbonation could be seen coming up to the top of the glass through the good clarity. A smallish head of maybe a half an inch in height settled down to all but nothing after a few moments.

The aroma was nice as well, nothing earth shattering going on here for sure, but still decent enough. Light piney hops with a hint of a balanced, earthy grain in the middle. More of the same in the flavor, again nothing blowing my socks off here. Taste was a bit light for me, not so much watered down, well maybe actually. Started with some light hops that were just enough to perk my head up before they faded and were washed clean by a rather muted profile that just left me looking for something more to drink. Just did not have that kick I would like it to have, Crisp and clean, refreshing with a light body that did make it rather nice to drink.

Overall I would chalk this one down to nice, but forgettable. An average pale ale with a touch of hops that were too faint to really make a difference. Not the worst by any means, but don't think I would be at a loss if I did not have it again.

May 03, 2011
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.26/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A sturdy looking brown, good viscosity. Head didn't form so well, but what was there had nice lacing and retention. Woody brown ale smell.

Taste, rich, smooth as advertised. Does what a brown ale is supposed to, just not my thing. Someone else could probably rave about the mellow complexity, mild qualities, but you know he's probably a pasty nerd. This one is a little more than average hopping.

Not bad, just expensive for my enjoyment level.

Aug 21, 2010
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ThreeWiseMen from California

3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The following is a collective review from several tastings.

Appearance: One finger of rich, foamy, tan head sat perched atop a cloudy auburn body. Decent head retention, but hit-and-miss lacing: creamy, notch-like pattern one time; weak stringing smatterings another.

Smell: Cardamom, rum-like alcohol, real maple syrup, caramel and chocolate. The first time I had this, it smelled like straight Milk Duds. The second time I got lots of cardamom, maple, and other spices, though chocolate and caramel were still apparent. Each time the aroma was sweet and interesting. Very interesting. I even got hints of red currants and the occasional pecan. Very sweet and strong. I liked it, but I didn't get much hop character. There might - MIGHT - have been some citric hops lurking in the background, but that was it.

Taste: Not nearly as sweet as indicated by the smell. This taste was very nutty with a touch of caramel. Grassy hops and some mild spiciness (including a pinch of salt) rounded out each sip, and I got some mild chocolate undertones, too. The aftertaste was malt-focused each time, and on one occasion quite stale. Grassy, salty hops - tasted like a mix of Amarillo and Chinook - came through stronger in some bottles than others. Once again, this was interesting; but all-in-all it was just alright. Finished flat, boring, and even a little stale at times.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, nicely carbonated, malty, and chewy. Hops added some light bitterness that could be felt along the sides of the palate, but make no mistake: this beer is all about the malt. Finished boring and flat, and the aftertaste wasn't very good. Luckily, that aftertaste didn't linger for any longer than a couple of seconds. Meh.

Drinkability: I feel like this brown ale has a lot of potential, but as it stands it certainly needs improvement. I was very unimpressed with the finish, and it didn't have the balance I was looking for. Still, I'm not upset with my purchase. I'll gladly have another at a later date. A pretty effortless drink.

Sep 20, 2009
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SurlyDuff from Oregon

3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slight hazy with some amber colors. Weak little head but ample carbonation.

Some grainy and nutty sweetness, but not really much complexity. Slight molassas and some whole-grain bread. A slight bitter citrus twang in the finish.

Decent drinkability and smooth mouthfeel. Overall a good beer, but forgettable.

Aug 11, 2009
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tmoneyba from Ohio

3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Poured hazy brown color with an average creamy light brown head that was lasting with good lacing. Good balanced sweet malt and nutty aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Moderate sweet malty flavor with a small bitter finish.

Drinkable but not great.

Nov 16, 2008
Photo of nick76
nick76 from Florida

3.44/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma has toffee, caramel, nuts and toasted malt. The appearance is rich amber brown with a medium head. The flavor has all the elements of the aroma plus a little fruit, wood, and coffee. There is more bitterness here than expected or should be for that matter. Thin palate. Overall it's good tasting but the taste profile is not like a Brown Ale should be.

Nov 11, 2008
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark amber when held up to the light with a light beige head that settled to a slight foamy layering.

S: bready with a nice nutty aroma (almonds), with a sweet dried fruitiness.

T: starts out with a nice smooth and light roastedness with some nutbread and sweet caramel/brown sugar. There was a nice nuttiness as well a spicy hoppiness.

M: light with a smooth texture, slightly creamy.

D: A light drinking brown making for a decent pub session drink.

May 20, 2008
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz from the basement cooler.. I think it's from Cost Plus.. price tag says $1.40.. poured into my New Belgium tulip.

Off white head.. nice chesnut/lite walnut ... slightly hazy..minimal lacing.

Toasted malt and low caramel malts.. some vanilla.. a little bready.. reminds me of cookie dough.

Flavor is toasted and slight roasted.. low hop bitterness and a light bourbon finish.. better as it warms.. sorta like an amped up English brown. some cocoa and nuttiness as it approaches room temperature. Medium body and low but ever present carbonation.

I've always liked this beer and wish the Coop still carried it.. not overpowering in anyway, but still not watery.. A good session beer when you don't want either a malt or hop bomb.

Jan 18, 2008
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adammills from Michigan

3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper body, hazy, with a sligh creamy head. The head left a touch of patchy foam on the sides of the glass. Smells and tastes of toasted malt and nuts, pleasing. This is a nice solid beer. Drinks easily and has some nice complexity too, not a wower, or a snoozer. Just a hint of hops in the back, citrusy, but it does not linger. The carbonation is appropriate, soft. The bitterness seems to come out a bit more toward the bottom of the glass. I drank this beer over about a half hour time period and did notice this as the beer warmed. I do like a nice malty beer, and this one fits the bill.

Nov 27, 2006
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tattooedtolley from Virginia

3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light brown in color, decent head retention and some lacing.

Smell: Mild aroma of hops and malts, nothing jumping out screaming at me but I wouldn't really expect it to with a brown ale.

Taste: Good balance on the hop and malts, the bitterness is just enough to balance the sweet somewhat caramel malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body.

Drinkability: Sessionable, especially if you like a brown ale.

Overall not bad, worth a shot. I wasn't huge on it, but I wouldn't run away from it either, middle of the road for me.

Sep 14, 2006
Photo of EvilKeith
EvilKeith from Alabama

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

This one poured into the glass lightly hazed and the color of rich dark caramel. The head began as light beige foam which fell to a thin cap. The lacing was spotty.

The smell was sweet roasted malts, faintly grassy hops and a mild nuttiness. The taste was very much in line with the smell. Mild hop bitterness brings a very nice balance to the mix.

A medium-light bodied brown ale with a gentle carbonation.

The appearance could have been a bit more impressive, but this is a very sessionable offering from North Coast. Well done in that respect.

Sep 11, 2006
Photo of JBStith
JBStith from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acme Brown Ale from North Coast Brewing...

A: Pours a clear, medium brown with a solid off white head and decsent retention.

S: Balanced aromas of hops and malt. Nothing stands out in particular, but a nice smell none the less.

T: Follows smell. Balanced between malt and hops. On target for an American Brown ale style. Good bitterness and slight sweeteness. Solid taste, but not exceptional.

M&D: Medium body and mouthfeel. Quite drinkable and good overall example of Amercian style brown ale. I would have this again.

Aug 17, 2006
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Gueuzedude from Arizona

3.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a hazy, dark ruby color when held up to the light, otherwise it is a deep amber brown color. It is topped by a frothy, brown-tinged, tan colored head that quickly disappears to a wisp. Sweet caramelized malt notes great me up front, but quickly move to notes of toasted grain, nutty malt notes, and a touch of roasted grain character. There is some soft, yet sweet, fruit notes here as well; I get notes of figs and raisins that have been just lightly roasted.

The taste is lightly sweet, accentuating a fruitiness that again reminds me of figs, raisins and even a bit of sweet, concentrated plums. The finish has a nice low, at least relatively, hop bitterness to it as well as some lightly roasted grain astringency. This is definitely a light, quaffable brew. It does linger on in the finish though; remaining fruity, plus a touch bitter, and a definite notes of toasted grain.

Quite a nice easy drinking beer, again it is not aggressively flavored, but the flavors it does have are well integrated and make for a pleasing session brew.

Aug 17, 2006
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henrysunset from Washington

4.37/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

look is very good, deep clear brown with small head of fine tan bubbles.
smellis awesome - sweet but not too sweet, very nutty.

tastes really good too.. malty flavor, biscuitty tones, very dry and pleasent barely sweet grainy aftertaste.

enjoyable, would definitely like to have it again.

Jul 18, 2006
Photo of Zorro
Zorro from California

3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In the glass this is a red colored ale more than a brown one. Weak head formation.

Smell is sweet and malty with a good amount of fruitiness. Fruitiness is mostly fig to my nose.

Taste is neutral and woody at the beginning. Fruitiness kicks in from the second sip onwards. Fruity like a British ale the roasted nature is rather minimal in this beer. Bitterness is also minimal.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Certainly an easy to drink ale but this isn't much more than average.

Jul 02, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11 from California

3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew by North Coast pours a nicely managed tan head that leaves behind plenty of lace. Brown to amber in color, medium carbonation.

Nice spicy hop presence in the smell, It lays down and takes a back seat the rest of the way. slightly roasted malts are soft on the palate and really give this beer its form. From start to finish this is a very delicate, easy drinker that is easily consumed. It doesn't have a "wow" factor, and to be perfectly fair that is exactly what I believe this beer is trying to be. Hops do make an appearance late just enough to give it a lasting twinge.

Notes: Another good showing from a damn fine brewer, and a welcomed addition to the stable. Want a nice easy drinker thats complex enough to keep your interest, this could be the one.

May 03, 2006
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rustymoore from Tennessee

4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber color with a decent-sized head and a good amount of lacing. Smells strong with hops and a pine aroma. Taste is acidic and hoppy somewhat watered down for my taste. Not as sweet as most brown ales. Mouthfeel is somewhat bitter and unpleasent. Overall a decent ale that I could drink semi-regularly.

Apr 04, 2006
Photo of Liquids
Liquids from Connecticut

4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Surprisingly red for a brown ale. Transluscent dark amber, with a creamy two finger head and healthy carbonation. A creamy dolop of foam remained in the bottom of the glass after the last sip. Love that. Smells floral, piney. Taste is good--caramelly and hardly brown, lighter on hop taste than I expected from the aroma, mild. A slight note of darker roasted malts somewhere in there and gives it a little more complexity to what would otherwise be a straight ahead amber taste. Hops are here but speaking softly. Sweet yet balanced, this has mass appeal. Excellent mouthfeel, fills the mouth but a lighter carbonation keeps it from feeling too light or burning the tounge...perfect. Excellently drinkable. I'd go elsewhere for a more robust brown, but I may stock this now and again for a few of my newcastle-devotee friends. Superbly acessible and drinkable.

Mar 24, 2006
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macpapi from Oregon

3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper-brown color with a decent sized white head and minimal lacing.
Has a nice nutty aroma. Malty, with bread tones and some mollases present. Pretty crisp on the nose.
Tastes sweet and somewhat bitter. Nut flavor is there but muted. Also hints of caramel. Not terribly full.
In the mouth it is sharp, bitter and a bit light.
Overall this is not a bad effort. It misses the fullness that I associate with a good brown ale. Malt presence is minimal. Still it is relatively enjoyable if not terribly memorable.

Mar 21, 2006
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pjwilson from California

3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: this is brown? more like a marzen like see through red. vigourous carbination keeps a thin film on top.

smell: some chocolates malts and water. not bad, but even more subduded than Downtown Brown, which was subduded. However, more than newcastle no doubt.

taste: well again, less flavor than Downtown brown but more than New Castle, but that's not saying much. there's a nice chocolatly taste, it just taste's watery. However it somehow still holds together to make a decent beer, just mediocore.

mouthfeel: watery anyone? yeah it's defiantly cut with water.

drinkability: good stuff for macro drinker's, or situations. I'm actually enjoying this beer ok but it sure is average. which makes it not really worth the price. the best you say is that it's better than newcastle.

Mar 02, 2006
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NJpadreFan from New Jersey

3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ACME- California Brown Ale

Appearance- light copper brown with a thin soapy head.
Smell- light roasted hops. Slight assorted nut aroma like the basket of nuts you have around the holidays. (brazil, hazel, walnut, and almond)
Taste- very light roasted nut mixed with a fruity peach/ grape flavor.
Mouthfeel- slighty bitter with a fruity aftertaste.

Overall- not a bad brown ale, but why does ACME subdue every 1 of their beers? If they could just boost the flavor a tad!

Mar 01, 2006
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objectivemonkey from Minnesota

3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty copper with a good head to begin with but not much after, and has little head. Not really much smell to speak of, but its nicely nutty and some toasted malts. Nuttiness trasfers well into taste, and is bready and the malts led some sweetness to it that balances things out nicely. Also is a bit toasty too. Through the middle the hops peep through for a little citris surprise. It ends up finishing pretty well too, ending a bit grainy, nicely. Mouth is good, and all in all this is just a pretty good brown ale, even though its not my favorite style.

Mar 01, 2006
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Da1nonlyBD from California

3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm kind of new at Brown ales, but this one wasnt bad. I had a good appearance and smell, but the taste was something unique. At first it tasted like it smells when I steep grains (Homebrewer). With each following sip, the flavor seemed to improve. I started to taste hints of chocolate and caramel towards the end.

I will defenetly get them again.

Feb 25, 2006
ACME California Brown Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 104 ratings