Wynona's Big Brown Ale | Voodoo Brewing Company

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Wynona's Big Brown AleWynona's Big Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Voodoo Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
his is named after a song that sparked the idea to make this ale. Brown ales seem to be there, but not really there, do you know what I mean? Well that won't be the mistake with Wynona! Voodooed out this style and add more that's what we say. Hoppy and smooth hints of chocolate and tons of brown malt to let you know it's there. Try the brown, You'll be Happy You Did!!

Added by WVbeergeek on 07-05-2006

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Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 309
Photo of Sammy
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on cask at Cole's cask festival. A malt job, not overally drinkable cask when others are available, but would drink a pint if thirsty and only water, coffee, and prune juice would be my alternatives.Simcoe, Amarillo and Northern Brewer, chocolate malt.
Had again in 2010 fest and it was a lot better. An attack of hops and then sweetness overwhelms.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.73/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer has a lot of coffee going on in it. The beer is a deep brown color, as it should be. The beer didn't have much of a nut flavor to it because the coffee strongly over powers it. The sweetness that a Brown Ale has is also muted for the same reason. This beer is now on the bitter side like cold black coffee.

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Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is cloudy dark amber in color and poured with a quarter finger high head that died down but left a thin layer of bubbles consistently covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of chocolate and dark malts in the nose.
T: The overall taste is very similar to the smell and has also has some hints of toffee.
There are some metallic flavors in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: This is an easy drinking brown ale that would make a good accompaniment to food, particularly a burger.

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Photo of brentk56
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Like other reviewers have noted, this one is way overcarbonated, so the good news is that the head lasts forever and the lacing is excellent; the bad news is it is hard to find the liquid right away, but when it appears it is coffee brown

Smell: Rich milk coffee aroma with a burnt brown sugar and butterscotch aspect

Taste: Opens with a roasty, almost smoked flavor that has elements of milk chocolate developing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the surprising hop presence kicks in to announce that this ain't your father's brown ale; piney finish mingling with the brown ale elements

Mouthfeel: There is so much carbonation that it is a struggle to taste the elements of this beer; I guess you would say that the mouthfeel is medium but it is hard to say

Drinkability: If it weren't for the overcarbonation, this would be a fine drinker

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Photo of mothman
3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass.

Pours 1 finger of light brown head. Color is a dark brown.

Aroma: Chocolate and roasted malts. The chocolate is fairly rich, but sweet. It has some creamy flavors and cocoa. Chocolate milk comes to mind.

Taste: Cocoa powder and milk chocolate. Again, it tastes like chocolate milk. Some roasted malts. However, I do get some grassy hops providing some bitterness. A touch of caramel as well.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and bitter. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very dry.

Overall, it is a decent brown. A bit roasted, but I like the chocolate and cocoa. Decent drinkability. Fairly solid brown in general.

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Photo of superspak
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle date. I got a gusher. Pours crystal clear dark brown color with a nice dense 2-3 fingers of light tan head with great retention that reduces to a fairly thick lacing cap that lasts forever. Some nice lacing clings around the glass as well. Aromas of roasted malt, caramel, bread, apple skin, light dark fruit, chocolate, and some molasses. I think it is safe to say my bottle might be a bit infected. The apple skin aroma just throws everything off. Taste quite a bit better: big caramel, toasted malt, biscuit, chocolate, bitter coffee, molasses, nuttiness, and spiciness. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, molasses, bread, nuttiness, and spices. Nice balance of flavor and bitterness. A bit of a metallic flavor is present as well. Medium bodied with big full carbonation; with a fairly creamy mouthfeel with big prickly carbonation. Overall for probably being infected, this is an ok brown ale. I will definitely give it another shot sometime, the bomber is only 6 bucks.

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Photo of mactrail
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite a lovely golden walnut brown in the glass. Some swirly foam and a nice carbonation in the mouth. Fairly light bodied but full of flavor. Aroma of oats and toffee.

Sweet and grainy is the first impression. A vast amount of roasted malt, though the beer is not so thick or sugary. It's just quite richly flavored with a tang to it. It even tastes like there is a touch of the barrel and a hint of macaroons. Dark caramel, too. The hops are well balanced with the malt, and give bitter. Ends on a more herbal note with some roasted barley.

This is certainly a superior Brown Ale that should give other brewers something to shoot for. The nuttiness with just enough richness, and a good dose of hops is totally drinkable. From Food and Friends in Philadelphia, in the 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.22/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not sure when or where I've first had this, but it's been a while, and I figured I'd review a bottle.

Poured into a Voodoo bell tulip, dark brown in color, with a finger of tan head that retained as a thick collar and laced the glass. Aroma of chocolate malts and caramel, some dark fruit notes going on as well. This beer can be a bit inconsistent I've found. This particular bottle I think may have been off. There was the typical characteristics of a brown ale here, dark malts, somewhat roasty, caramel sweetness, but also an underlying fruity taste that was sort of in the acetaldehyde / cidery range. Not really sure what was going on here, and it's been a while since I've had this beer, so I can't really compare it to past tastings. Medium body, pretty smooth, but again, a bit messy, off, inconsistent. Worth a try, but definitely not one of Voodoo's best.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Stone Grille in York, served in a goblet chilled.

the color is dark brown translucent with light tan head with very fine bead.
The smell is malt with caramel and toasted odor with light fruity yeast aroma with mild toffee-like scent. The feel is very good lots of malt complexity and medium carbonation with subtle dry finish and mild alcohol.

The taste is very good with malty toasted taste with sufficiently toffee-like and caramel sweetness with light coffee/cocoa and hint of dried fruit in the light woody realm with mild roast in the finish. Overall a pretty enjoyable brown, plenty of malt and a nice amount of alcohol. Very easy to quaff.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours a dark brown color with an off-white head.

S: Lightly roasty with some coffee notes and a nice toasted malt aroma. Quite a bit of toasted nuts, maybe a bit of chocolate, too. A bit sweet with some toffee notes.

T: A fairly strong coffee flavor, a good amount of roasted malt, too. Some toasted malts and chocolate, maybe a bit of dark fruit flavor, too. A light earthy hop flavor and a hint of bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Maybe a little bit too roasty for me, but not too shabby.

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Photo of stakem
2.67/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a bottle with no indication of freshness poured into a shaped pint glass. This brew appears dark brown in color with lighter brown and ruby clarity when held to the light. I only got about 8 ounces down the side of the glass before I have to wait for the head to reside. Slightly more than 3 fingers of darkly tanned head forms atop this brew and slowly recedes leaving thick patches of lacing on the glass. The retention of the head is fairly solid and laces in a complete wall around the glassware.

The aroma of this brew is chocolate malt as soon as the cap is popped. As it sits in the glass and more whiffs are taken, the chocolate aspect drops off and it smells a bit musty with herbal hops and a touch of mineral character. There is a slight bit of "greenness" to the nose with a scent of alcohol and citrus.

The taste is a dry touch of dark malt upfront tasting lightly roasty and smoky with a bit of coffee-like bitterness and a faint amount of residual sweetness. The roast of the chocolate malt provides it's own level of bitterness before the hops come into play with an herbal flavor and bitterness. The taste of this brew is a bit perplexing in a not-so-good way. Some sips are roasty malt which is enjoyable, other sips are more mineral filled, green and tasting a bit off.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a higher than expected amount of carbonation that is a bit prickly on the tongue. I could not finish the glass and don't think I would risk trying another one if I had to pay for it. This just doesn't taste much at all like the Wynona's Big Brown I had before that inspired me to recently pick up this bottle to review. The sample I had before had much more residual sweetness and a much brighter hop character to it. Perhaps this is just an old bottle? Who knows, there is no way to tell how fresh it is since there is no date code. However, the excess carbonation and off character to this brew makes me suspect something might be off with this bottle. I don't know if it provides any benefit since there is no bottle/date code, but this particular bottle had a gold cap.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank god for the Big Pour, on tap in the Burgh!!! I didn't even know they kegged their beers but Bocktown is pouring Wynona's Big Brown Ale and Pilzilla right now. this one pours a deep mahogany brown hue with some ruby highlights peaking through, dark cola like head reflects well through the somewhat dimmed lights of Bocktown. Aroma has the dark semi sweet cocoa and coffee blend with a nut bread edge to it. Herbal hops reach out and grab your senses as well. A touch of anise black licorice grabs ahold as well. Flavor carries it out nicely with complex black roasted malts and chewy brown ale notes, mild coffee with herabl rolling hops and again more of the black licorice kick in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied tight even carbnoation this is much better than the carbonation issues they've had in some of their bottled offerings. Drinkability is all around excellent one of the best brown ales I've tasted in the past few years of getting deeper into beer.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We got a gusher here. Pours dark brown with a ruby hue and a massive tan head. Nose is muted. Flavor is very hearty. Lots of malty goodness and some roasted aspects in there as well. Feel is nice. Drinkable, yes. The over-carbonation definitely is a kill-joy as it takes a long time to get this thing to settle where you can take a sip of it. Nice and robust though.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Great big caramel light brown head forms with some soapy character but with much staying power. Body is classic brown dark chestnut with red hues, slightly clear.. great looking brown here. Nice clumpy island of retention head too.

Nose is a great milk chocolate, and ripped husky like grain and malt. Real enjoyable.

A mild grain taste with a slow lingering malt on the swallow. The flavor really punches in the aftertaste to linger so nicely. Mild hop sting it seems on the finish too. Great solid texture mixing with the palate all over.

Overall a fantastic brown ale end of story.

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Photo of jwc215
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a nice tan, bubbly head that stays. Rings of lacing stick to the glass.

The smell is of roasted caramel and nuts - Rich maltiness with a touch of roast.

The taste is of caramel/toffee, roasty (slightly burnt-ish). Darkish maltiness and light smokiness make it go towards porter-ish, but it stops just in time to fit clearly in brown ale category. An earthy bitterness comes through to balance the semi-sweet finish.

It has a creamy, medium-body.

This is a nice brown ale that is on the roastier, darker side of the style spectrum, with a nice nutty character mixing in and a nice amount of balance. Had the second half with some roast beef - worked nicely with the charred edges and medium-rare juiciness of the meat.

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Photo of Gavage
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a clear reddish brown color with a short 1" head falls quickly. Nice lacing paints the glass during the session.

Smell: caramel and chocolate tones are mild but pleasant.

Taste: caramel, chocolates, prune sweetness, and some soft roasted nuttiness are the main flavor components. Nice bitterness brings the sweetness back in check.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Smooth from start to finish. Aftertaste is brief as the flavors leave the mouth quickly.

Drinkability: nice flavorful beer that several pints can be consumed in a session. I enjoyed two bombers in one evening with interest level high at the start and the end.

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Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA. Oh man, this is a brown ale for brown ale lover, big rich, and just drinkable enough to get you in trouble. We're talking milk chocolate, caramel, and toffee also with a balance of bread roast that reminded my of dark toast and crust. Surprisingly smooth. Really, watch out for this beer.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Wegman's in State College and poured in to a Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown during the pour and almost black once it settled in the glass. Half a finger of off-white head formed and slowly receded.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, a touch of coffee, hazelnut.

T - Roasted malts, hazelnut, coffee, chocolate. Somewhat reminiscent of a stout. A very robust flavour profile.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

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Photo of WesWes
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful caramel and roasted malt scent as well as some hop aroma in there as well. The taste is decent. I like the concept here; a big malty beer with a shit ton of hops to boot, but it's a bit scattered and unbalanced. It's a very bitter brown with excellent malt character. I almost wish it wasn't so hoppy. Anyway, it's bold and in your face. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a full bodied beer with too much CO2. I can't say Les Claypool and the boys wouldn't like this beer, but it's like their music, some love it, but most can't stand it. I'm somewhere in the middle.

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Photo of tone77
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of coffee, some brown sugar. Taste is malts, brown sugar, light coffee, not nearly as much as the aroma indicated. Feels medium/light bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

Pours a very nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, very nice thick, creamy, one-finger tannish head, which leaves some nice thick/creamy sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, nice roastiness, toffee/caramel. The taste is malty, slightly bitter, roasty, with nice notes of toffee/caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, Thanks Joe.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a brownish color with a tan head. The aroma if full of cinnamon, hazelnuts, toffee and caramel. A nice, semi-complex aroma that hits all the things I look for in a brown ale.

The flavor is similar. I get a lot of toffee and cinnamon, as well as some very light smoked notes. There is also a little bit of alcohol noticeable in the flavor, but it is fairly well hidden.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky brown with a short livid khaki head. Some particles are floating but not excessively so, an unfiltered brown ale by the looks of it.

Smell: Malty, some piney hops. Caramel, light espresso.

Taste: A robust beer with a strong roasted presence. Caramel, coffee, toffee and chocolate nibs are all there for the taking. Hops are there lending an earthy bitterness to round everything out. Intensely flavorful and satisfying, the best tasting brown ale I've had.

Mouthfeel: Fuller bodied, smooth and somewhat crisp with a small hop bite.

Drinkability: A nice big brown ale that could be a staple for me. Excellent beer.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Wynona is brown and dark and has a thick like look to it. A nice dark tan colored cap sat on top of the liquid for a while as it warmed up. Minimal lace once again off the tap. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate candy and a dose of hops which are not drowned out by the darker scents. Taste like a big bold brown with a good amount of flavoring hops. Getting some nuts and grain as well plus some chocolate and even less coffee from the roasted malt bill. The body is even bolder than I expected for a typical brown ale so there is no problems there. I had a small sample of this and I could of went for more easy. Delicious off the tap.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Cole's, in Buffalo.

The beer has a dark brown base colour, highlights that glint like tinsel and a head that fits like the ugly, oversize sweater your relative got your for Christmas. It's a promising looking brown ale and the fact that it is so dark, the odd ornamental bursts of light brown and dark red notwithstanding, suggests this is a particularly hefty brown ale as well.

If you're at all familiar with the music of Primus, Wynona's Big Brown Beav.. err, Ale, is a lot like Les Claypool: technically and fundamentally very sound whilst at the same time unconventional and even a little eccentric. The toasted and nutty malts of a classic brown ale are thorough but squawking over them is a distortion of hops and heavy-roast coffee.

So who said anyway that this had to be a mild style? Holy crap this has a lot of flavour! Maybe not in content, but in form this resembles very much higher gravity stouts and porters in having a tremendously rich and heavy maltiness with a prominent hairline roastiness and flavours suggestive of chocolate, hazelnut and (lots of) coffee.

All the nutty and malty sweetness meets a rather premature end at the hands of a fairly tyrannous bitterness. That hoppiness, despite its obvious presence, might be overlooked because of accompanying notes of dark berries and chocolate, both of which leave a resoundingly flavourful taste in the mouth. There is never any mention of the alcohol.

Voodoo has crafted a historic ale at a weight for contemporary palates; it lumps all the habitual hoppiness and monster maltiness now so in vogue and rallies it into the framework of an old timey classic. And, in doing so without compromising the style's traditionally agreeable, quaffable nature, it serves as a resounding example of the craftsmanship and intuition of this brewery and the American craft scene in general.

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Wynona's Big Brown Ale from Voodoo Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 309 ratings.
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