Bonfire Brown | Saugatuck Brewing Company

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Bonfire BrownBonfire Brown

Brewed by:
Saugatuck Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TMoney2591 on 10-03-2012

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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 212
Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown, damn near black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is nutty, dark breads. Taste is dark breads, cocoa, light hints of coffee. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a little different for the style, but a decent beer.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look - great drown color with a lasting skim sticky head
Smell - toasty cola malts
Taste - just like the smell, toasty cola malts
Feel - medium light body and carb
Overall - easy going but just ok

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Photo of classixIII
2.57/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured a decent, clear dark brown little to no head. A very faint malt aroma, not much else. No matter how hard I tried, I got little no flavor. Feel is very thin and watery. Maybe I had a bad bottle. Very disappointing.

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Photo of Vetbidder
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Decent dark look but the tan colored head dissipated pretty quick. Slight aroma of malt, slight cola smell with some sweetness in there, maybe a hint of roasted coffee. Flavor is a good bit better than the start. Fairly well balanced with a slightly bitter chocolate element including roasted malts with sort of a smoked aftertaste. Not watery with medium/low carbonation.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

on draft, in a shaker pint glass

dark brown in color, fairly clear. off-white head. aroma is caramel and bready malts, a little toast. taste is well balanced, not too sweet. medium bodied.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am now in the Saugatuck B.C. phase on the Bottle Backlog eradication here at Chez Woody. We have recently gotten distro of their beers here in PA, providing me the opportunity to do a horizontal tasting & review of their beers.

From the bottle: "World Beer Cup Gold Award [2014] for American Style Brown Ale"; "Made in Michigan".

Upon Pop!ping the cap, I could think of no reason to be gentle in my pour & so I employed a heavy hand. Man, did the foam rush up! It began with three fingers of foamy, fizzy, light-tan head that dissipated fairly quickly into wisps. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27, albeit closer to 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had an interesting husky nuttiness, kind of like roasting nuts in their shells, if that makes any sense. It was not exactly smoky, but it was evocative of that sort of scent. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, big in my experience for the style. The taste was malty, very bready, like fresh brown bread, I have not baked bread in a long time, but if you need an example, inquire at your grocery store for B&M Brown Bread. It comes in a CAN, believe it or not! I looked at this site's "Styles" page, but it was kind of light on descriptors. I usually think of Brown Ales as being rather sweet, but this one was tending more towards dry. Warming, it had a maple syrup flavor with a light smokiness, but without being overly sweet. Finish was in the twilight zone between semi-sweet & semi-dry. It retained that breadiness throughout, but the sweetness was held in check while still evoking a maple syrup flavor. I can understand why it was awarded so highly, if it was identified as an American Brown Ale going into the competition. I am not sure that I would have identified it as such on my own. Still, it gives me renewed hope for the style.

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Photo of Suds
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy brown color with a tan head...malty, roasted, engaging and enticing. The aroma has a bit of malt, with a bread and earthy, almost woody scent. The taste is balanced, if not a little dry and lots of malt flavor. Roasted and flavorful. Complex and layered. Full in body and enjoyable.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
2.12/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Was quite disappointed by this.

Pours a dark cola-colour with not much of a foam head to speak.

Smelled lightly of roasted malts, not very strong in aroma.

Tastes of a watered down brown ale with a lightly roasted malts flavor.

Felt thin, watery, not much of a body to it.

Overall, disappointing. I like Brown Ales, Scotch and English ales but this was a downer.

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Photo of 57md
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brown color with about a finger of head. The nose is bready and malty. The flavor and body are pretty basic for the style.

The name led me to believe that there might be some smoke to this offering but that did not pan out. Decently sessionable but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of CernMatt
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good solid brown ale. It is not like chewing on a log out of a bonfire pit. I am normally stout and Porter drinker, and this fit in well for a thinner beer on a hot day. Also mixed it with a Kentucky Bourban Ale, and it was an excellent mix.

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Photo of Big_Neezy
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, easy drinking brown ale.

Decent look out of the bottle with a brown/amber hue, almost like a cream soda. Rich aromas of biscuit and chocolate if you really stick your nose to it. Taste is malty and nutty with toasted caramel even buttery tones. Nice regular brown ale drinker.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, bottled on 02/23/16 printed on the label. A new one to me from Saugatuck; acquired a single bottle of this stuff as part of a mixed six pack at the local Binny's.

Poured into a Duvel tulip snifter.

A - Pours a tawny dark brown; dark mahogany with ruby highlights when in the glass. One finger of frothy soapy off-white head that lingers as a nice cap. Some good spotty lacing. Appears aptly carbonated. Very nice color on this one. Looks good.

S - Nice aroma on this one: lots of roasty, toasted dark malts. Coffee bean roast, hazelnuts, milk chocolate, mild notes of hops & yeast. Toasty & nutty. Very traditional & nice stuff.

T - Dark, roasty, toasty, chocolatey, & nutty. Very nice malts on this. Semi-burnt / charred, roasty, toasty, nutty, & chocolatey. Again, slight earthy hop note near the end.

M - Feel is smooth, crisp, & creamy. Very easy-drinking, balanced, & true to the style.

Overall, a good example of the style from Saugatuck. I enjoy a good brown ale, and this is one of them.

Saugatuck Brewing Bonfire Brown Ale -----4/5.

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Photo of Tone
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, dark brown color. One inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight pale malt, slight caramel malt, hint of nut, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hint of hops, hint of pine, sweet malt, slight caramel malt, and a hint of yeast. Overall, decent appearance, blend, and aroma.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear dark amber body with mahogany tinges, light tan soapy head. Aroma is leaves something to be desired in potency, but contains toasted malt, mild hop bitterness, and an unexpected but perfectly wonderful note of smoke, true to its name. Flavor is great, with lots of toasty caramel and toffee, mild nuttiness, and a crisp bitter finish with more of that smoke observable upon retro olfaction. Feel is full and nearly creamy, but the effervescence is a little harsh.
Solid, deep range of flavors with good balance. Makes me long for a campfire to enjoy it by.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the bottle in a snifter. This nice brown pours a clear dark mahogany with a nice off white head of foam the dissipates to a thin layer and thick ring with nice lacing. Nose of brown sugar, toasted malts, and roasted nuts. Flavors follow the nose with sweet candied / roasted nuts followed by a touch of smoke that is pleasant. Aftertaste is sweetish and roasted that finishes slightly dry. Very quenching with good carbonation. A very nice brown for those who are not a fan of the standard brown ale and want some more roasted points to it.


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Photo of Cheeseboo
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer, but not a great one either. The taste was a little too hoppy and bitter for me, and it was not very smooth. I know a lot of people who like their beer to be active on their tongues, but that isn't my thing.

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Photo of Raime
3.22/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Part 2 of 4 on my 4th of July party stragglers.

Here's hoping somebody at least had some decent taste..

A - Pours a clear brown with a finger and a quarters worth of slightly tan head. As the beer goes down the gullet only a bit of lacing remains around the brim of the glass.

S - Smells nutty as is typical of the style. Some toasty malts and a bit of burnt meat

T - Nuts come through moderately and the taste lingers on the tongue with a bit of a nipping sweetness that comes out of a Brown Ale. Bit smoky and ashy in the finish. The sweetness may bother some.

F - Medium-thick bodied with a moderate amount of lightly prickling carbonation.

O - Not too shabby. Will probably be the best of the straggler conquest. Brown Ales have never really big all that big too me, but this is better than the average.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, from the current Saugatuck mixed-pack.

This beer pours a clear, dark orange-brick brown colour, with two slim fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and mildly bubbly beige head, which leaves some swooping, low-lying hilly lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, a funky nuttiness, further wet ash, a tame black fruitiness, subtle anise nuances, and earthy, weedy, and kind of musty hops. The taste is semi-sweet bready caramel malt, a toasted graininess, oily and faintly salty nuts, ethereal cold coffee, and more plain earthy, leafy, and kind of straw-like hops.

The carbonation is rather understated in its meek and yet somehow still mirthful frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and quite smooth, with a small, aspiring creaminess. It finishes well off-dry, the caramel shedding most of the toastiness, and the blithe nuttiness carrying on and on.

An adequate brown ale, lots of sweet malt notes to be had, if that's your thing. Me, I can dig it, but it would be better if there was a more challenging hop off-set, one that could keep the various sugars in check, as the initial smoke falls off the job way too soon. Yeah, not something to settle down and get cozy with for the night, I gotta say.

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Photo of mchegash
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 3.5/5
Pours a nice red, muddy brown, with about a finger of moderate beige head.

Smell - 3/5
Hoppy, roasty, slightly funky/earthy malts.

Taste - 3.5/5
Very nice roasty malts, with notes of caramel, earthy hops, and a tiny bit of smokiness.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Light amount of medium intensity carbonation, medium-full in body. Fairly crisp.

Overall - 3.5/5
Overall this was an okay beer, not something I plan to get again.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.04/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cola brown with decent clarity. Aroma of toasted malt and caramel, a hint of bready grain. The taste was malt, faint roast, hop and spent grains. Just a touch of what might be smoke rising to the surface. Thin body but carbonated alright. Overall this is a decent brown nothing special.

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Photo of Todob_50
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label- I hate labels that just state the name of the beer. C'Mon Saugatuck BR! This beer deserves more! Really struggled here.

Taste- I was not expecting much from this brown ale, but wasn't pleasantly suprised! One of the better brown ales I've had. Great flavor and great malt taste that lingered.

Overall- if you you like brown ales this is a must try. Label blows, but get over it and drink this beer. Liver likey and will continue to enjoy this one for months to come. Well done Saugatuck.

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Photo of Omnium
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Medium brown with a thin finger of fizzy tan head, no real lacing
S - Aroma is there, but its kinda weak, lots of toasted toffee, roasted malt, nuttiness, just a standard kinda aroma.
T - Good flavor, especially reaching around 45, lots of big huge roasted flavors, lots of nutty quality, some burnt woody kinda flavors too, bonfire is an appropriate name.
M - Medium body, not much else to day.
O - Good brown ale, I'd definitely have this again.

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Photo of bwood06
3.69/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Reddish brown in color with a 1 finger dark khaki colored head. Head is fairly creamy but dissipates quickly.

S - Chocolate and a roasted malt predominate. Roasted malt has a bit of a roasted marshmallow aroma reflecting a somewhat sweet malt. Somewhat of a wheat bread undertone as well.

T - Very carbonated and acidic. Very earthy and toasty. A hint of soy. Not quite as sweet as I expected based on the aroma. Toasted bread flavor upon swallowing that is somewhat brief but is a nice final flavor. Slight bitterness on the finish that lingers. Bitterness is almost a cocoa powder bitterness.

M - More viscous than it is dry. Nice body without being overly thick or crisp.

O - I feel like this beer leaves something on the table. The aroma and appearance are very good but the taste does not quite live up to what the aroma promises for me. Overall a good beer that I would buy again.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Looks very good a deep shade of brown. Little head just a 1/4 inch that settles to a mild ring.
S - Caramel, toasted malt, brown malt, and mild smokiness.
T - Well I wouldn't say it's a "bonfire" but it is a decent brown. Semi sweet, toasted malt flavor, and somewhat herbal brown malt profile. Really no smoke though. Disappointing.
M - Light to medium. Somewhat chewy. On par with the style.

Overall I only paid $1.99 for it so I didn't expect much. It's a decent brown but nothing special.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My first impression of this beer was, "Wow," but that has subsided more quickly than I expected to a lesser superlative. Its still great.

It initially opens and puts a nice dark brown with loads of nice foamy head. The aroma carries just a tad of some smoke.

The taste is that of a full bodied brown with a little smoke. It's sweet and has almost no hops taste. Just right for the style. The aftertaste liners nicely. It would be nice to see variations on this with more malt and other flavors. I look forward to trying others from this brewer.

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Bonfire Brown from Saugatuck Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 212 ratings.
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