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:
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Ratings: 241 |  Reviews: 210
Photo of Southernbrew
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Summits Wayside Tavern in Cumming, GA.

Pours dark brown with a decent sized head.

Aroma full of malt with a citrusy hop and some bitterness.

Medium body, toasted malt flavors are very apparent with a citrusy hop bite showing up as well. Some sweetness comes through as well as does a light bitterness.

An exceptional brown ale. Too bad they don't bottle it. Very session worthy.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lucky to try this one on tap at the Blind Tiger/NYC at their SN evening. Pours dark brown, able to see through it. Tan head, leaving well developed lacing. Chocolate malty nose. This is advertized as being almost Porterlike, and it lives up to it. Lots of chocolate and coffee noted, nice creamy mouthfeel and a typical snappy/hoppy finish. tasty stuff, give it a try if you get the chance!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft up in Erie at Oscar's Pub. Appearance: Caramel amber brown hue nice silky texture tan head, leaves tons of even lacing it literally coats the pint glass. Aroma: Slight pine cone citrus quality to it very nice usage of hops with a crisp malty backbone touch of chocolate caramel like tones coming through. Taste: Brown ale characteristics darkly toasted malts smooth sweetness with a splash of hops coming through with an effective level of bitterness I like me a hoppy American brown well done brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bdoy generously hopped evenly carbonated nice smooth texture going down. Drinkability: One of the best brown ales I've ever tangled with enjoyed it very much so, will try to get some more in the future hope to see in the Burgh.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I first tried this at Portland's Spring Beer & Wine Fest, and was thoroughly impressed, with fresh gummy hops and a balanced malt profile. If I was reviewing that sample, I would have given it a solid 4. But I'm not. This review is based on a recent sample at the Horse Brass Pub, and it's not quite as good as I remember, but this could be due to time, treatment, environment, or my mood. Dark brown, with small wispy head and good lacing. Toffeeish aroma, somewhat bland, but the HB is a smoky bar and I couldn't really get a good whiff. Roasty, nutty brown with trademark SN hops, not as blatant as they are in their other beers - which is true to the brown ale style. The dark, roasty malts are noticeably more robust than in your prototypical English examples, but they certainly aren't over the top. Very little yeast character (i.e. no butter). This is the most restrained and mellow Sierra Nevada beer that I've tried, and all the more authentic because of it. If you see this on tap, it's well worth trying, but you shouldn't kill yourself attempting to find some.

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Photo of bditty187
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, shiny chestnut brown with ruby highlights, it is a lovely color, the off-white head was served at about a half finger in height. The retention was good, it lasted a long while before fading to a foamy cap. The subsequent lacing was very prevalent; it was similar to dilapidated wallpaper. The nose is inviting with its toasty maltiness and hints of nuttiness too but the hops are the show-stealer, it is a great combination, they are earthy and flowery. The potency of the aromas is strong enough. I really enjoyed the flavors of this alleged Brown Ale, the hopping is West Coast influenced, crisp bitterness with distant citrus notes, some flowers, the malt is clean, some toastiness, some nuttiness, overall the malt is well rounded. The finish is very dry and curt; it is biting and very firm. This is a tasty beer without much flash. It does lack the roasty hints I love in many Brown Ales but the hops profile makes up for that deficiency. Medium in body with firm carbonation, the mouthfeel is a little rigid and lackluster but I can’t stress enough how dry this is! I found this to be very drinkable and equally likeable, it was a treat to find this on-tap in Omaha. It is a very good beverage, I’m sure I’ll quaff it again.

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Photo of Jason
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: On Tap at Bukowski’s Tavern, Boston MA in a 16 oz pint glass.

Appearance: Thick creamy finger of head lasts most of the way down the glass, the clarity showed a stunning brassy brown hue.

Smell: Nutty toasted malt with hints of citric hop and faint roasted grain tones.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp with an ideal amount of carbonation in the moderate body. Lots of fresh toasty malt on the palate, a hidden citric hop jumps out with an ample hit of bitterness. Nice rounded malty and toasted grain finish.

Notes: A treat finally to try this brew, without a doubt this is the standard for the American Brown Ale and delicious at that.

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Photo of watermelonman
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This arrived in a good-looking brown color with minimal head. It left a very nice set of rings down the glass as I drank it.

The smell was decent, but the flavor wasn't anything special. It felt fine in the mouth and went down well, but the taste was almost of fake nuts. It was good, but I liked the others from that session much better.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick light tan head held for a couple of minutes and left a good amount of lacing. The smell was malty with a touch of hoppy coffee. Beer was mahogany in color, with a moderately thick body and a nice bubble mouthfeel. The taste was smooth,malty and creamy, with a solid amount of hops. The aftertaste was lightly bitter. I would be drinking this more often if I could get it locally.

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Photo of DagFishHead
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Classic brown ale chestnut body. Tightly-bubbled pilow head with great retention and lacing.
Smell: Underwhelming. Subtle whiff of hops...not much else.
Taste: Nutty, grainy, characteristic SN dry hop finish.
Mouthfeel: Light, reltively low carbonation feel.
Drinkability: A highly enjoyable brown... one that sets standards fo the style IMO.

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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 canoehornpoint
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light brown with hints of red. This was lighter in color than I expected. Little head but was unsure of glass quality. Nice hop nose mixed with a slight roasted malty sweetness. Starts with roasty maltiness and finishes with a citrus-like hop punch. This seems very much like SNPA with some more emphasis on the specialty malts.

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Photo of far333
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Didn't even know this existed until I spied the tap handle yesterday. What a great discovery. Nice mahogany color topped with a small head of soda-esque bubbles. The aroma is slight, and is mostly of light hops. The mouthfeel was very smooth and inviting, and the flavor was a tremendous roasted malt with a hint of mocha. A slight hop bitter aftertaste. All that keeps coming to mind is smooooth. I will go back to this often.

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Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another treat sponsored by the fine people at the “Papago” brewery, have never had the chance to sample SNBA, as it rarely makes it this far. Shame “ON YOU” Sierra Nevada!

A transpicuous bruin color on the pour, the head pythonic in size, frothy in textures, light chocolate in color and the lace a fine covering sheet upon the glass. Nose is quite aromatic as the hops are up close and personal, sweet malt underpins this clean and fresh nose, start is thickly malt and somewhat sweet, top middling in feel. ZAP! The hops pop your palate like a jab from Mohammed Ali, crisply acidic, dry and a great beer as most all Sierra Nevada products tend to be, just irritates my colon, that its not more readily available in Arizona.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Quite surprised to see this on tap, was I! Darkish brown in color with ruby highlights, and topped by a thin, very light tan head. Great lace down the glass. Aroma is malty, slightly nutty, with the signature Sierra Nevada West-coast hop kick. The flavor manifests a really really nice toffee-like toasted maltiness, develops a light an unobtrusive fruitiness mid-palate, and finishes with a citric hop flavor which balances the overall sweetness of the beer and lends a nice crispness to the mouthfeel. Medium-bodied with a dry finish, this beer doesn't disappoint at all.

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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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Photo of John
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A delicious though lesser known offering from Sierra Nevada. Medium bodied, obvious brown color, chocolate malt aroma. Smooth chocolate malt flavor and just enough of the trademark SN hop profile to make this one rise above most others in this style. Hopped with East Kent Goldings.

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