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 1759Girl
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the source. Gotta love business trips to Chico.
Appearance> warm dark brown color. lively. small head dissipates quickly. good lacing.
Smell> sour mash. huge toasty nose!
Taste>tangy, big hearty burnt toast taste, almost ashy hang, that immediately smoothes out. Complex. Great Brown.
Mouthfeel>V. pleasant. just right.
Drinkability> very much so.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of honey, maple, caramel, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with sweet flavors of honey, caramel, maple and nuts. There's a mild hops presence that provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easy, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, it might not be the best brown ale out there but it's worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of Offa
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was fortunate in being able to try a cask version of this and it was very tasty and enjoyable.

It's slightly amber brown with a pretty dense tan head that slowly diminishes and leaves a little lace.

It has a chocolatey caramel character with a dried, stewed fruitiness. It has no real coffee or burnt-bitter character but a light fruit hop bitterness to back up the sweetness. It's lihgt, but has a full, silky feel.

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Photo of Pencible
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was drunk from a bottle, so I have no notes on the appearance or smell. It tasted a lot like their pale ale, but with more malt in the flavoring. It still had a decent amount of hops in the aftertaste. It had a smooth and clean taste, and was overall one of the better brown ales I've had.

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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 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 Halcyondays
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, 2006 Edition, let's see how it holds up after 2 years, only $1.59 at Walnut Liquorette, in Walnut, CA,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a boatload of head which shocked me, with great retention, leaving lots of sticky-type lacing.

S: Smells sweet, with toffee candy, caramel, and brown sugar/molasses.

T: Caramel malt runs the gambit starting out dry and toasty, finishing with a brown sugar sweetness, with clearly evident piney hops, very good and tasty brown ale, even after 2 years of aging.

M: Light on the palate, needs more heft, a bit of oxidation there.

D: A good beer, it held up, try it again if it's in your area.

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Photo of matty
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Darker red colored beer with aroma of coffee and cocoa.Taste is the same with coffe and chocolate with a slight bitter aftertaste.It is a decent beer but not worth the 31.00 I shelled out for it.Worth trying but I will only drink again if it was available for free!!

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

A coffee brown color brew with a fuzzy off-white head and very solid lacing. It smells of coffee, molasses and even some licorice with a touch of malt and wheat. The taste is bitter coffee mellowed by a hint of sweet chocolate malt and molasses. Pretty tart in a good way. Shows medium carbonation with very fine bubbles. The body is somewhat acqueous, quite drinkable. I sense a little charcoal in the finish. Very decent, not spectacular, but I would be happy to drink more of these. Would prefer a creamier body myself.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2006 Bottle: Pours a deep mahogany color with a medium off-white head that has decent retention. Stringy lacing. The aroma is hoppy and nutty. Medium-bodied with a straightforward flavor of nuts, hops and malt. The finish is moderately bitter and short. This beer is like the majority produced by Sierra Nevada, well-made if not earth-shattering in any way.

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Photo of ericj551
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Brown Ale pours a deep ruby red/brown with a thin head. Aroma is dark caramel with an odd vegetal smell to it, almost like unripe tomatoes. The flavor mimics the aroma but with an added, roasty, chocolatey flavor as well as some bready, biscuit taste. The finish is very slightly bitter, no hop flavor really to speak of.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.16/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a new Sierra Nevada six-pack (other than the classic colors) I get excited. I felt that way about the India Pale Ale, and I felt the same flutter when I saw this new and appropriately brown sixer-carrier.

This pours out of the bottle a deep brown with reddish highlights. It possesses an impressive poof, meringue, and lace, pretty much par for the Sierra Nevada course.

The nose is rather tentative and minimal as many SN beers are; bread, torched brown sugar, husky and nutty malts. Touch of earthy English hops make this one interesting and not just another (generally poor) brown ale.

Smooth and malt with a definite and pleasant hop bitterness. Some of the SN house flavor intrudes into the style of the beer which knocks it down a little. Still, much better than 95% of brown ales out there in that I actually like it and would have another.

Drinkability and mouthfeel are intertwined; its smoothness and low alcohol content make it an appealing choice and break from the monotony of the green, red, blue, and yellow portfolio.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Monger: Poured a deep brown color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramel malt with light hops. Taste is dominated by caramel and light molasses malt with a clean dry finish with some light hops. Body is pretty full for the style with some good carbonation. I thought this was very good for a style, which is too often boring.

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Photo of brewmaster411
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a classic version of an American Brown Ale. The appearance is a nice dark brown with a tight tan colored head that coated the glass as I drank. The aroma is a wonderful blend of malt sweetness, hazelnut/cashew, and toasty bread with subdued hop aroma.

Mouth is well-bodied, good up-front carbonation and a nice finish, and its just a well balanced and very drinkable beer.

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Photo of Gavage
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: brown in color with some amber highlights on the glass edge. A wispy head disappear quickly, and some lace spots develop.

Smell: malt and brown sugar sweetness.

Taste: caramel, hints of brown sugar, light nuttiness, and a decent bitterness makes up a nicely flavored ale.

Mouthfeel: smooth throughout. Medium bodied beer. Little aftertaste which was surprising.

Drinkability: very smooth and easy to drink. A clear session ale where you can have several pints without batting an eye.

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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 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 rayjay
4.55/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery. I loved every drop of this beer! Small layer of foam that laced the whole glass. Pretty moderate carbonation, but on par for a force-carbonated beer. Very fresh and clean ale. Medium brown clear beer. Excellent pale ale malt backbone meets delicious chocolate malts, some light carmels, and mild but loud hops. Very refreshing, dry finish; almost no residual sugars. The malt body is just right, never too much, but firm enough to carry the beer. Thirsh-quenchingly light, hoppy, bitter, and slightly tart aftertaste. Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, with a hard water feel. Perfect drinkability. Would be excellent from the firkin. Highly recommended, and my favorite brown ale anywhere. Cheers!

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Photo of uwmgdman
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This Brown Ale pours exactly that, a nice chocolate brown with deep amber highlights and sparkling clarity. A thin off-white developed after an aggressive pour and diminished to a skim with a few specs of lace. The aroma of the beer is moderately sweet, has moderate-low roasted tones, a little floral hop aroma, and a bit of metallic smell. The flavor is moderately sweet, a little roasty, and then a moderate hop bitterness balances and smoothes the finish. There is also a little hop flavor toward the swallow, which I appreciated. The carbonation is moderate, body is medium to medium-light...rather refreshing.
Overall I think this is a solid brew. I like how this one is a bit more refreshing and not cloyingly sweet like some browns. I can’t find anything really to pick at with this brew, yet nothing really to go on about, I’d drink it again. Might be good to convert some to the microbrew scene.

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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 Brad007
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown color. The aroma is strong and malty with faint hints of coffee. The taste is a bit strong but the hints of coffee are still there. Seems nice and smooth, albeit somewhat bitter on the aftertaste. I would say it's very drinkable for a brown ale, even if it's not the best representation of its' style.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

350ml bottle bought from Tucker's Maltings..

Poured a nice deep dark rusty brown. Creamy mocha head poured very tight, thick and meringue like then faded slowly to nice light covering. Very sparse carbonation... light lacing creeps up the side of the glass...

Aroma - Nice strong toasted biscuity malts, toasted bread, light chocolate notes, some light fruitiness (figs, oranges, some raisins), some peppery / grassy hops, toffee / nutty sweetness, some brown sugar traces, leathery, faint woodiness...

Taste – Toasted caramel maltiness, bready, nice light spicy / peppery hop bitterness, cookies, toffee / honey sweetness, some sweet nutty notes, light woodiness, faint herbal notes, creamy, some dark fruits (figs, raisins)...

Feel - Pretty smooth and creamy... Light / medium bodied... Extremely drinkable - i could happily knock back a few of these in a session...

Overall - A superb example of a brown ale... so well balanced and drinkable... definitely recommended...

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Photo of gmfessen
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a medium brown color with a huge, off-white, bubbly head. The smell is slightly toasted, a bit of nutty malt and hint of light hops. The taste is similar to the nose, with the toasted, bitter notes coming out a little more. Overall, well balanced and smooth. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a creamy carbonation. Drinkability of this beer is very good, enjoyable and sessionable.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

10/20/06- Purchased at Safeway in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info, but has the year of production on the neck label (2006). Poured into my Sierra Nevada pint glass.

Appearance- Brown as it gets. 1/2 inch large bubbled head with nice sticky lace patches left.

Smell- Sweet dark caramel malt with a pretty good sugary note. Mild hops play in the background.

Taste- Very sweet for a brown ale. Candied caramel malt with a decent nutty aspect. Light fruited hops come through in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Thick with a sugary mouthcoating. Medium mouthfeel with a higher carbonation level.

Drinkability- Taste stronger than it is. A bit overly sweet for a traditional brown, but pretty tasty. Would like a few more hops as well.

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