Organic Dread Brown Ale
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing

Organic Dread Brown AleOrganic Dread Brown Ale
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Brown Ale - American
Ranked #697
Ranked #47,119
3.26 | pDev: 19.02%
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
California, United States
Organic Dread Brown AleOrganic Dread Brown Ale
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 31 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of charlzm
charlzm from California

3.05/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Consumed June 30th, 2012 at the brewery. Reviewed from notes.

Slightly hazy caramel color. Long lasting off-white head

Aroma is dark caramelized malts.

Flavor is a little sweet. Caramel and a touch of molasses. Low bitterness. Not much going on here.

Properly carbonated with just a little tingle.

A relative win for this brewery, sadly. This is the best beer they had on when I visited the tasting room; faint praise.

Jan 07, 2013
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flexabull from California

3.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a decent off white head, and pretty good lacing.

Aromas are quite nutty, roasted malts, toast, and mixed spices.

Taste is a lot like the nose. Light roasted nut flavors, some light cola, mild creamy sweetness, and a little bit spicy. Finish has a dry like crispness, as well as an earthy hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Full, with good carbonation, but this feels slightly thin.

Drinkability is good. Pretty good brown ale all in all.

Oct 11, 2010
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Offa from California

4/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interestingly, I found this beer to be really very good, although I had it very fresh on tap (unlike almost all the other reviewers so far), and slightly on the warmer side.

Anyway, it was very dark brown with hints of reddish, nice, medium creamy tan head slowly shrinking to a foamy ring and leaving a little nice lace.

Aroma is light caramely, strong toast, leafiness, hints of coffee, and overall very nice, firm, well-rounded, and very pleasant.

Taste is strongly caramelly with firm toast, light winey-plum character, and plenty of light but well-rounded leafy-peppery-toasty bitterness coming on at the finish and lingering. It is very easy to drink, but pretty characterful, well-rounded, and with good flavour, if perhaps slightly on the sweetish side and not overly complex.

Sep 15, 2010
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htomsirveaux from Texas

3.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle tried 17 Jan 2008. Courtesy of my brother, thanks again (I think).

Medium sized lacy tan head. Opaque dark brown color. Aroma is a bit roasty with hints of licorice. Tastes a bit chocolatey, some roasty sweetness followed by a slight bitterness. Aftertaste is somewhat sour and smoky. Touch of clove and nutmeg as well.

Like all of the bottled offerings from SCMB I have tried to date, can't really recommend this.

Jul 11, 2010
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tyanow from California

2.87/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an unspectacular beer in every sense. That being said, it's also not a particularly offensive beer - as long as it's cold. Once mine warmed up a bit I lost all desire to drink it.

Looks like a diet coke.
Smells like a watered down Newcastle.
Tastes like a tamed down and bland Sam Smith Nut Brown.
Feels kinda like a fizzy Newcastle.
If it's cold and your hot its very drinkable, otherwise not so much.

It is Organic, so kudos for that, but this is not SCMB's finest. They have a lot of other good brews.

Jul 20, 2009
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ibbjamin from California

1.68/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Paid $4.59 for a bomber from BevMo in San Jose, CA. Shared with my girlfriend. Poured my half into a pint glass. There is what I believe to be a date stamped on the UPC of this one; 052708.

Leaves a frothy, massive head of light tan large sized bubbles. Head retains VERY well. Opaque and very cloudy dark brown color. Good lacing.

There is a different aroma to this beer. I'm not fond of it, but it is unique nonetheless. Reminds me of something chemmy, like a cleaner or something. Now I'm making it sound terrible...well it's not that bad. It's hard to get past that to figure out what else is going on here.

It is funny to me that this is an organic ale that has a chemmy smell and taste. I hate to bash a beer, but this just is not very enjoying.

Mouth is rather watery and lighter bodied. Good carbonation. Luckily there is a crisp finish.


Jan 14, 2009
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magictrokini from California

2.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Not bad, but, as with all organics it seems, its missing something. Pours clear brown with a small bubbly head. Musty, earthy caramel malt and nuts. Taste is watery caramel, nuts, some roasted malt, and cola. Mouthfeel was average... for an organic. Watery, loose, sad. Below average.

Dec 16, 2008
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hopdog from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Stamped over the UPC is 040308 (just bought this a few days ago).

Poured a deeper brown color with a huge sized off white head. Aromas of roast, chocolate, and somewhat earthy. There was something else there I just can't put my finger on. Tastes of roast, chocolate, caramel, and 'root beer'. Maybe that rootbeer'ish is what I was also getting in the aromas.

Dec 05, 2008
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

2.76/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It isn't tying himself to one woman that a man dreads when he thinks of marrying; it's separating himself from all the others."

--Helen Rowland

Black cherry with thick slices of tangerine at the edges of the glass. While it isn't opaque, this is one of the darkest brown ales ever. That *should* be a positive thing. The golden beige cap looks like mounds of sticky bubbles piled nice and high. An extensive array of lace that follows the beer down the glass helps as well.

Although the aroma isn't spectacular, it gets the job done. The more I sniff, however, the more the negatives begin to surface. Underneath the brown malt there's a spicy, phenolic character that just might ruin things if it's a major part of the flavor profile.

The good news is that Organic Dread Brown is at least as good as Organic Devout Stout. The bad news is that ODS isn't that good. I might have to give the edge to this offering since its flaws are more easily overlooked. It isn't enough of an improvement to earn a higher score, though.

There are two main things going on. One is a thin brown ale with a flavor profile that isn't anywhere near as rich as its dark color would suggest. Some cocoa powder, a handful of roasted nuts, a few drops of lemon juice... that's it. The second is peppery, medicinal phenols that are just prominent enough to infect every mouthful. Not literally, but you get the idea.

The website says that the mouthfeel is 'surprisingly light'. Did it surprise them... or is it supposed to surprise us? If it's the latter, I don't like those kind of surprises. In the final reckoning, the beer is too light (taking both style and ABV into account) and is decently bubbled.

Even though I don't dread finishing this bomber of Organic Dread Brown Ale, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery should be careful when using words with negative connotations when naming their beer. Especially when that beer struggles to be considered average. On the other hand, if they'd improve the quality of their products, the name wouldn't matter a bit.

Oct 15, 2008
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illidurit from California

3.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sample flight on tap at the brewery. Dark brown color with a tan head that leaves some appreciable lacing. Aroma is pretty weak, earthy maltiness (obviously organic) and some nuttiness. Flavor is average, bready malt, some caramel sweetness, nuts, and an out of place over-roasted finish. Not bad on the palate but I wouldn't want any more of this.

Aug 09, 2008
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watchnerd from California

3.53/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, obtained from Draeger's in San Mateo. This is only my second beer from this brewery.

Good appearance, fairly good head. Aroma is mostly of alcohol esters, not picking up much else in the nose sensor. Taste seems to be missing some of the caramel notes I usually expect with a brown -- they're there, just not as front and center as I usually expect. Hops are barely noticeable. Smooth, if alcoholic finish, a bit thin on the mouthfeel, but pretty darn quaffable.

It's okay, but not blowing my doors off. I'd try it a second time to see if it improves.

Jul 05, 2008
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TheLiterati from California

2.95/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Loved the rich, velvety brown color of this ale as I poured it into the glass. Not much of a head, though.

Roasted malt, nutty nose, with notes of burnt caramel or vanilla translates to the taste. Detected some mildly spicy undertones as others have noted.

All in all quite malty, and very smooth.

Hard to describe, but for some reason this beer seemed to be somehow incomplete - as though they're still working on it, or that it needs to "mature" somehow.

Mostly drinkable, though I'm not sure I'd ever have more than one.

May 25, 2008
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x35068 from California

3.53/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I came across this beer at a local store, and decided to try since I usually like brown ales.

The appearance is very dark, almost black, with only a small head that dissappears shortly after pouring

Smell is not very noticeable.

Taste is smoky with a crisp afterfeeling.

Mouthfeel is thin.

This beer is highly drinkable, but I have had better ones of its type. I am glad I came across it, but not sure if it is striking enough to buy again.

Nov 03, 2007
Photo of theopholis
theopholis from California

3.59/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Fairly dark for a brown. When held up to the light, it has a nice, deep, failry clear ruby color. Head is a off-white, failry tight, creamy 3 finger concotion. Has a bit of retention, but leaves no lace.

Aroma- Nice blend of chocolate and light coffee. Some roasted malts. Smells much better than most browns, which means it probably ain't to style, but it does smell great.

Taste- Starts out nutty on the front of the tongue. Melds into nicely roasted, malty taste that ends with a chocolate but somewhat harsh lingering.

Medium- Medium body with appropriate carbonation. Unusually velvety smooth for a borwn.

Drinkability- Smooth and very drinkable. A tad harsh in the finish, but it's interesting enough to overcome that.

Apr 19, 2007
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blitheringidiot from Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cartoon pirate on the label and a blurb that explains a legend about a beer that saved the town from pirates when the beer got 'em drunk and drifting. 09 22 06 printed in the UPC code.

5.4% ABV and it's Organic! Hmmmm...

Pours as a standard dark dark mahogany brown hue topped with a splotchy tan head cap that instantly deflates to leave traces of lace down the glass. Head cap could have been a tad more sturdy.

Nose wafts up with a cocoa and toasted malt, similar to a light porter with some spice cake from the malts. Some light wheat bread hints.

First swigs: Caramel candy front with a toasted malt and honeyish grain. Some middle of molasses and caramel apple. Red apple mostly. Quite drinkable, although just hanging in there as a standard brown.

Medium bodied with a 5.4% ABV makes for an easy brown style drinker. Because this is a basic versio of a basic style, (not to mention cheap at ~$3 a bomber, this is a beer friend.

Last swigs: Since the Santa Cruz Belgian Pale Ale was a total shocker of a great beer at just 4% ABV, Santa Cruz had me at "Hello." So far, Santa Cruz makes solid sturdy brews at moderate ABV with welcome flavors. Go Santa Cruz!

Beer is good. Happy new, different beering.

Jan 19, 2007
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Zorro from California

2.4/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Regular pour in to the pint glass gives me a clear coca cola brown colored beer with an OK light brown head.

Smell is sweet and quite hoppy, smells a lot like raw carrot. Sweet chocolate and coffee aromas that are heavier. Little bit of candy caramel and vanilla in the scent but not too much.

Taste begins metallic and BLEH! Unbalanced hand with the dark roasted malt! Taste sour and burned and metallic.

Mouthfeel is a spit.

Yuck! Didn't care for this at all. Tastes like a home-brewed frankenbeer. Avoid!

Dec 02, 2006
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DogFood11 from California

2.13/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bomber poured into a pounder glass it forms a mountainous brown head that stands strong throughout. Dark brown to black body.

Smell is roasty and toasty. Starts out with some soft and smooth toasted malts. There is quite a load of bitterness and of that 90% or more is astringent, bordering on Tart. It was a bigtime distraction and overshadowed the smoothness of the malt bill. Carbonation is sharp. When the tart and carbonation combine it is harsh. Lingering aftertaste goes on for a few minutes after each pull.

Notes: Of the browns I've had they are usually smooth and easy drinking. This was off the mark, and my palate says "avoid". Hell yeah! to the appearance and smell but thats where it ends.

Nov 03, 2006
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Westsidethreat from California

3.41/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bit darker than rootbeer, bit lighter than cola. Scores and scores of bubbles birth from the bottom of the glass. This beer is carbonated just to the point of perfection, anything more would have been too much. Head is like a mound of whipped cream blended with caramel.

S: Dried cocoa, hazelnuts, plums and rendered caramel.

T: Begins with a sweet nutty profile which transitions to minor sour grape notes. Gently roasted grains mixes in then fades leaving some praline sweetness and a lingering mellow chocolate moment.

M: Medium body, fairly smooth.

D: Smooth and very drinkable. Not overly complex but browns usually aren't. Not as refined as I would like but not bad.

Oct 01, 2006
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TheLongBeachBum from California

3.97/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 ounce Bomber. My God, yet another Organic SoCal brew but this time from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing. Labeled as “Organic Dread Brown Ale” above the SCM Brewing circular decal with a picture of a Pirate in the middle of it. Listed at 5.4% ABV. Has a Date of 04.04.06 printed on the bar code.

Left portion of the label states:
“On a dreary autumn day in 1818, notorious pirate Hypolite de Bouchard sailed his ships into Monterey Bay intent on burning Santa Cruz to the ground. Legend says that a free-spirited brewer stole aboard one of the ships, offering the pirates casks of his special ale to leave in peace. The next morning the ships had drifted south to Capistrano where the crews awoke with a furious hangover. Now, we at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing are proud to share the brew that saved our town. Satisfy your inner pirate with our Dread Brown Ale, which features the darkest organic malts, roasted to levels that will conjure up notions of swashbuckling adventures. One taste will make this your grog of choice.”

Appearance: Smoked Chestnut body with a deep dark brown appearance, but held to the light this has clarity. Pale tan colored head resides throughout and leaves a clinging lace on the glass walls. Misses a 4.0 by the merest smidgeon because when the head breaks it soon rescinds to nothing.

Nose: Coffee beans and a hint of smoked kippers with some peat and a dried out pair of soiled Boxers laden with a 20 Pint of Guinness crusty Map of Japan the day after the accident. Pig Iron!?

Taste: Smatters the entrance with a peppered magnesium flare of coffee, gently roasted malts and a little dark chocolate. Middle settles down with some toasted peat and an earth laden soil finish. Bitter with a caramelized tone as it dies off exponentially after the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Easy going, not quite soft enough to be classed as light but middle of the road for sure. Clean and crisp with a distinctive bite in the finish. Defined with a solid coffee Brown Ale mixed with a thin Porter like body. Hard to describe but very easy to get to grips with!

Drinkability: Lots of Coffee in this one makes it an appealing drink on a warm afternoon when I feel like napping after three World Cup Football Matches in a row. Porter like with a hint of Stout proportions. Dare I say it reminded me of Stone 8th early on……maybe, maybe not!

Overall: This brew is quite the ticket, by far the best of the four Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing brews that I have had to date. Wow, I’m quite impressed with this beauty. Well worth a try!!

Jun 18, 2006
Organic Dread Brown Ale from Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 31 ratings