Sierra Nevada Brown Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Brown AleSierra Nevada Brown Ale
Very Good
241 Ratings
Sierra Nevada Brown AleSierra Nevada Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, 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 BeerAdvocate on 03-19-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 241 |  Reviews: 210
Photo of HardTarget
2.23/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle Inspection: Brown 12 oz twisty lists 2006 and a marketing blurb mentioning East Kent Golding hops, but no other useful information (date, abv., etc.)

Aroma: Firm malty base is a bit earthy, with only a slight fresh green hop smell.

Appearance: Brown (duh), some ruby highlights and a thin off white cover that gives some lace

Flavor: Earthy is kind; it actually tastes a lot like dirt. The mild hop finish brings some pleasantness to the experience, but I’m fairly under-whelmed. There is a nuttiness that isn’t bad.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall Impression: I’m shocked at how much I don’t like this. There isn’t anything drastically wrong; I guess I just don’t like the choice of recipe. I have to give honest scores reflecting my experience, but I can see how others might enjoy it.

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Photo of nlmartin
2.49/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer was served in a pub glass. This is the current 2006 vintage.

Appearance: This beer is a clear chestnut brown coloration. The head is a light tan coloration approximately 2 fingers high. The head resolves into a thin foam.

Smell: A wet hay smell melds into a vaguely chocolatey nutty smell.

Taste: The taste is dominated by bitter wet hay flavors. The beer has a flash of toasted nutty chocolate flavors.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is on the thin side. This review is based on drinking two bottles of beer. I didnt enjoy this beer at all. Unfortunately I have 4 more bottles to go in the six pack. I will try to pass on a few of these to friends and family.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Sierra Nevada- Brown Ale

Appearance- Heavy carbonated cola brown with a small quick fizzing head.
Smell- Light nuttiness with sweet sugary malt.
Taste- Sweet molasses malt with barely a touch of earthy hazelnut.
Mouthfeel- High carbonation, like a soda, with very little flavor.

Overall- Expecting so much more here. Very little flavor and bland at its best.

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Photo of WonderWoman
2.6/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a dark amber with a rim of head and minor visual carbonation.
The smell was appalling much like an infection. Cheese curls and band-aids mixed with coffee beans.
The taste was a touch better but not much. Quite a bit of hops was all I could taste with a metallic after taste.
It was medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.
I wouldn’t rush out to get this one again, but I’m glad I tried it.

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Photo of beerthulhu
2.63/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark cola/brown with a thin quickly dissipating creamy tan head.

S: Not much on the nose , a very soft nuttiness.

T: For flavor there was a semi-sweet roasted malt palate with light floral hoppiness.

M: thin, watery and very slick on the tongue, perhaps a tad overcarbonated.

D: An easy drinking brown but doesn't impress. A drink and not think type of beer that doesn't intrique. Much better examples out there.

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Photo of lehows
2.66/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 2006 bottle a dark mohogany color with a two finger off-white head. Very light aromas of sweet malt, not much else. Taste was...really pretty funky....very metallic taste and some sweet and fruity malt. Not much hop presence at all and left a pretty unpleasant aftertaste. I feel like I should assume this was a spoiled/funked batch and disregard it because I was extremely dissapointed in this brew and I know SA is typically better than this.

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Photo of MaxxDaddy
2.71/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured brown from the bottle with quite a bit of frothy head. Nothing special in the aroma, which was disappointing. I really couldn't detect much of anything, and as this was only my second brown ale (Newcastle), i was expecting something like my first. Medium-bodied and again, nothing too special about the taste. Maybe I missed something...

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Photo of Floydster
2.71/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle purchased from a liquor store in San Marcos for a little under two dollars

2006 vintage

Poured into my Flying Dog glass with a medium brown color, looked more like iced tea than beer, had a extremely small head that was off white but faded fast, left pretty much no lacing

Smell was not impressive, some nutty accentds and roasted malt but very subtle and nothing else going on

Taste was smooth but light and one dimensional, had a sweet aftertaste probably because it is more than year old now, taste did not last long, dry beginning but very mellow finish, would have rather had this one fresh

Not much carbonation and the body was pretty weak as well

Could drink severla of these if you can handle the bland taste for a long time, not heavy and low in alcohol content

Not too worried about Sierra Nevada not bottling this in the future, definitely not one of their best, hopefully they keep doing their Anniversary Ale for good now, probably would not have this again even if I came across it on tap someday

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Photo of big_kevin
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Cujo65
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of leroybrown10
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of CU570M
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This 2006 edition poured with a medium head that hangs around for a few seconds. Very dark brown color. The smell was a little sweet, but i can't pick out what it is. Taste is a little too bitter in my opinion. Not one of my favorites. I enjoyed the Moose Drool Brown Ale better. Mouthfeel was a little dry on the mouth. Drinkability is OK, but I have yet to be wowed by this company.

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Photo of sstackho
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light malt aroma. Clear light brown with little carbonation, but lots of lacing. Taste is pretty basic. The malts aren't all that strong, but there are a bit of hops in there to give it a little character. To be honest, I'm not really sure why I still bother with brown ales...

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Photo of mjc410
2.94/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This ale raised a light tan head under one finger, which left sparse lacing. The body was a murky dark brown with hints of orange. The nose was quite nice: sugary, light malt, soft floral hops. Taste began with a nice biscuity, dark bready flavor. Sweet in the middle, extremely fry in the finish, which really hurts the score. The mouthfeel is just average: medium, with low carb. I will revisit this, as I have a sixer, but first impressions are tough to change.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a soapy, beige-colored head.

Smell: Lightly toasted, nutty aroma with a touch of grassy hops. Sadly, the smell is rather lifeless.

Taste: An uninspired flavor of caramel malts, grain husks, and some grassy hops that show up in the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Sharply carbonated. Chalky mouthfeel. It could stand to have a more body to it.

Drinkability: I am going to take a pass on the Sierra Nevada Brown Ale. This beer pretty much solidifies AndoBrew's idea: that a beer with nothing to offer is not a beer worth drinking.

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Photo of LarryV
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yawn. That pretty much sums up this brew for me. Pours a dark, clear brown. Smell is light caramel. Taste is uninspired, malty, not much else. Tasted a little green to me, I didn't care for it at all.
I could have been drinking a glass of water for the enjoyment level I got from this brew.

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Photo of jimdkc
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours medium brown with a decent looking off-white head. Head fades pretty quickly and leaves very little lacing.

Slightly sweet aroma with hint of floral/earthy English hops. Taste is dominated by hop bitterness, not because it's over-hopped... but because the malt backbone is not there to support it. The hop flavor is good... but there is only a bit of toasty malt behind it. Way too dry for a brown.

Mouthfeel is pretty thin and watery. Drinkability is average at best.

A somewhat dissapointing effort from a brewery that normally earns high 3's and 4's from me.

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Photo of charlzm
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 bottle, consumed 02/11/08.

I think this bottle must have lagered during the 12+ months it sat in the cooler at the liquor store, as the flavors are very subtle and clean. So, with that in mind...

Beer pours a very dark brown with a thin white head that becomes a ring of foam that stick through the whole tasting.

Typical brown ale aromas present: nutty, sweet, malty. Something off in there, too: a little sour.

Mouthfeel is thicker than expected and there is a moderate parching effect on the tongue. Flavors are almost too subtle to pick up: dusty malt, a hint of hop spice and a touch of bitterness on finish. Some sourness in background.

Sadly, it didn't age as well as I had hoped.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown in color, with a nice thick antique white head. Head dies to nothing about halfway through the beer. Great sticky lacing, forming a ladder effect as you drink.
Aroma is surprisingly hoppy, given the beer's brown ale status. Solid maltiness, but the hopping is way over the top for my tastes. Citric northwest hop aroma is dominant, with some caramely maltiness cowering beneath. A bit of plum and apple, with a touch of buttery diacetyl. Smells like a darker version of an american pale ale.
Flavor is malty and mild, with generous hopping. Malts come in first, a bit weak, with some caramel and light floral esteriness. Hints of plum and apricot. Hops come in around the middle and finish the beer with a rough citric, piney hoppiness. A touch of breadiness in the finish, with some grain. Carbonation is on the high end of moderate, with a rather full bubbly mouthfeel.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given that this is Sierra Nevada. A good beer in and of itself, but I think it's a fairly loose interpretation of the style. Definitely a brown ale for hop heads. Tasty, but it's like their pale ale with a bit more caramel malt.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a light tea brown with red highlights. It had a frothy white head that quickly diminishes and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet doughy malts, some toffee, nuts and tea and a little hoppiness.

The flavor is sweet roasted malts, some nuttiness and tea and a little english hop bitterness and some fruitiness. The mouthfeel is light bodied with some sharp carbonation.

Overall, a decent brown ale, but nothing too exciting.

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Photo of terrabyte
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, medium brown with a large, beige head.

Aroma is a very faint, toasted malts, sweet caramel, and a nut brown smell.

Flavor is smooth and sweet with caramel. Less nut flavor than the aroma hinted at. Otherwise, a lackluster toasted maltiness. Quite a high level of grapefruit bitterness dominates the beer. And that's where I lose interest. Maybe if the other flavors were stronger, I could enjoy this finish, but it seems to be the highlight of the beer, and I dislike it.

Mouthful seems too foamy. Otherwise, quite light.

It's drinkable, but nothing exciting. A brown ale should be able to woo me any day of the week. This one just doesn't. I also find its predominate goal (bitter grapefruit) to be a negative, not a plus.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Brownish cherry color with a smaller head of fluffy brownish foam. Some lace. Medium low level of carbonation.

S: Big notes of roasted nuts and grain, with some dry malt backbone. Some caramel and herbal notes as well.

T: Appropriate for the style, but very lackluster considering the big name brewery. Roasted malt and grain with light smoked wood notes, earthy oats, mild hops, and minimal caramel. Enough complexity, but not enough overall flavor.

M: Kind of light, but in line with what most would expect from a brown ale.

D: Fair. I could take it or leave it. Won't likely seek this one out again.

Notes: Bland. Not a big fan of this one... Every time I drink a Sierra Nevada, I get really curious as to what their Rauchbier was like, and think of what i'd do to try it... I digress. Oh well.

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Photo of walleye
3.16/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured a reddish brown, with a small beige head. aroma, brown sugar, malts, with just a hint of hops, some sourness, citrus. flavor, nutty, molasses, malts, hops. a nice dry bitterness at the finish. not too bad of a beer. going to get more

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Photo of asabreed
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. 2006 on the label on the neck. 5.5% ABV.

Appearance: Billowy off-white head due to, I think, the right chilled temperature and a fairly vigorous pour. Body's dark amber with a moderate amount of carbonation and some brown hues depending on the light going through it.

Smell: Bread crust, maple, slight caramel, mild chocolate aromas, nuts, faint metallic aroma in the nose too. Enough to discern but pretty average.

Taste: Again, not anything too thrilling. A nice balance between the sweeter malt flavors with some caramel, chocolate, and some bread crust and nuts. Finishes clean, slightly sweet at first, then a bit dry with the finish giving the only real evidence of hops.

Mouthfeel: A bit watery and sprawling in some ways, but there's not as much carbonation as I'd like, which contributes to the watery mouthfeel.

Drinkability: The ABA style's really not one I've ever been too thrilled with, and this is no exception. I wish some breweries would be more adventurous with the style; this is the typical thing I'd expect, though for SN I wish it was something much better.

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Photo of Scoats
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

If you like standard English brown ales, you're in for a treat.
As a rule I don't usually care for brown ales and this one is no exception. Maybe, unlike SN Stout, this one is true to the style, which would explain why I don't care for it. It has the standard brown ale middle and aftertaste, but without the hoppy finish of brown ales that I do like, such as Troegs Nut Brown. From a brewery that hops up eveything, this was suprising, and for me disappointing. Not a bad beer by any stretch.

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Sierra Nevada Brown Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 241 ratings