Sierra Nevada Brown Saison | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Brown SaisonSierra Nevada Brown Saison
96 Ratings
Sierra Nevada Brown SaisonSierra Nevada Brown Saison

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Belgian Saison

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.85%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by MisterClean on 04-24-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 81
Reviews by Douglas14:
Photo of Douglas14
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at the Blind Tiger. It is a clear brown color with a nice, off-white head. The aroma is very much like a Saison but with slight caramel note...almost the same as the flavor that comes from the caramelization that comes from boiling the wort. The flavor is sweet, no hops, and some spices. It not nearly as light tasting as traditional saisons, but nevertheless very good even lthough it's not "to-style.". Somrwhat of a low carbonation makes it heavier in the mouth. Overall awesome.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Solid brown in color, slightly cloudy, with a light brown foam head of about 2 fingers or so. Head dissipates very quickly, leaving just a ring around the glass. Lacing was moderate to light.

Smells were a little... odd. There are some definite and familiar notes of a brown session style brew - the malts, minimal hops, and the like. Then there are the other notes, the hops and spices of the saison poking through. Just not something I had experienced together before.

Taste was also a bit different. Plenty of the moderate complex malts mix with so many other flavors: nuttiness, yeast, grassy earthiness, and spices. Finish is long, malty, with a bit of spiciness in the linger. Different, yes. Good? It wasn't bad.

Carbonation is light, persistent, and provides a nice moderate base for the overall mouthfeel. The overall drinkability is better than average but not awesome. I think I could do one of these at a time, but really, it's not for me.

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Photo of generallee
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was served in a tulip glass from tap at the Pizza Plant Italian Pub.

Appearance: Looking into the glass it had a deep reddish brown colored body with a creamy light tan head. The head was long lasting, thick and it left tons of sticky lacing to cling to the sides of the glass in thick rings. (Very Impressive)

Smell: The aroma hits first with a bit of boozy alcohol. This has a slight sting but it quickly fades into some nice fruity Belgian style yeast notes. Apple, pear, and some faint tropical fruit notes slowly come out as it warms up.

Taste/Palate: I got a little more balance here on the tongue then its aroma was suggesting. It has big bready maltiness fading into fruity yeast notes with a mild layer of boozy warmth just underneath adding an extra level of complexity and character. It is pleasantly sweet overall and it finishes fruity with just a light touch of hop spice. The texture is lively and well carbonated but yet still smooth with a nice full mouth feel.

Notes: My overall thought was that it is a very solid brew. It’s visually appealing and it brings a nice blend of flavor to the palate.

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Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a growler purchased at DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. Pours dark brown and cloudy, moderate light tan head, that slowly fades and then leaves respectable strands and webs of lace. Malty and chocolate on the nostrils, then more chocolate on the tongue, along with darker malts and moderate dose of earth. Mostly on the sweet side, with continued slight mustyness. I dont pick up much in the way of Belgian yeasties nor spice. More on the brown ale side, with limited "Saison" characteristics. Tasty though and certaintly worth a try.

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Photo of standardcherry
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of kingcrowing
4.31/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First thing, wow. This came in a 12oz snifter-like glass, and it really looked like a glass of brandy or even really dark red wine, that's how ruby color it looked. It was really stunning, with a slight bit of head around the rim bur almost none to speak of.

The taste was exceptionally smooth, and it was a little strong (7.8% ABV) but very crisp. I have to say I was very impressed, grab a glass if you see it on tap!

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Photo of SPRichard
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

small off white head leaving patchy lacing over the glass....dark hazy brown body...carbonation can be seen but the hazy brown body makes it hard to pick out

dark fruits....rains, figs....some caramel malt sweetness

while it was drinkable i thought there was too much going on in the glass to really figure out what i was drinking....everything doesn't mesh together

body isn't that of a typical saison...don't know if that is what they were going for at SN...still has the dryness in the finish, but there is too much of a sweetness before the drying finish....body is on the full side

went down fairly easy but really didn't do anything for me... somewhat boring...maybe i'm more of a fan of the hoppier SN offerings....i had 1 and moved on, but i gave it a fair shake

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Photo of glid02
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a clear brown color with light ruby highlights and a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with hints of grass and lighter hints of spices. As it warms the toasted malts become more predominant and very slight chocolate aromas waft out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lightly toasted malt flavors up front are joined by nondescript fruit and grassy flavors. As with the smell, slight chocolate flavors come out as the beer warms. The finish is sweet.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass but I'm not sure I'll have another.

Overall this is an odd amalgamation. If anything I'd say it was a brown ale on the lighter side with hints of a saison. There are plenty of other beers I'd put ahead of this one, but it's worth judging for yourself.

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Photo of turamarth
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a globe.

Appearance: Served with a good sized off white head. Leaving excellent lacing. Has a crystal clear reddish-brown body in colour.

Smell: Some earthy maltyness in the notes. Has the nice grassy saison smell. Coriander.

Taste: Has a really nice malty base for a saison. But all the familiar saison flavors are very present. There is a very nice w/ subtle spicyness. There is a hint of hops. Overall a very interesting tasting beer. I like it!

Mouthfeel: Fairly silky. Goes down nicely. Also, has a very nice aftertaste.

Drink: If this were more wildly available i would drink this regularly!

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 100th review! So glad I picked this one for it.
Poured from a growler into a Hennepin flute.

A--Pours up two fingers of white creamy foam that lasts well and laces down the glass. Super head retention. The body is the color of almonds, just a tad lighter than most brown ales, with maybe a blush of deep rep in there. It's almost maroon when held away from the light. Very pretty beer. Clarity is unfreakingreal==looks almost like wine.

S--Complex, perfume-like. I can sniff out the sweetness of oranges, which almost smells like orange blossoms, combined with the more spicy back-end that's not pepper--too sweet--but does lend a kick to the nose. I'm also catching some wet slaps of breadiness, of dark bread crusts, though it's not as nutty as a brown. This is subtle and strong at the same time, and very enjoyable.

T--Holy crap. There are at least four levels to this beer, distinct and each one surprisingly compatible with the other. The first layer is the fruit and spice of the nose, with a little less of the pepper and more of a deep damp pine taste which isn't bright and parching like hops. Definite orange, definite anise in there. Second comes dark fruits, namely plums and figs. Combined with the sweetness and spice it almost drinks like a dubbel. Third layer is all malt, rich nutty roasted character that's almost cocoa-like at the end, but absolutely billowing with fresh dark made with molasses breadcrust. The cocoa happens when the nutty roasted slips into the fourth layer, which is hops. But not your usual Sierra Nevada hops--this is bittered but not flavored so much, and the restraint is impressive. Still, I could see Belgians calling this a saison IPA, or a strong dark IPA, or an IPA-dubbel-brown ale with a twist of lime, or some crap like that. To me it's an American brown with a Belgian character to it.

M&D--Mouthfeel's great, as the carbonation softens and distributes the flavors well. The drinkability is also good, as the flavor is interesting and complex without being heavy, and the 7.8 ABV, while high in the grand scheme of things, is well within range for the style. I mean, six of the top ten saisons are 7.4% or higher, for God's sakes.

Drinking this is like smelling a wet tulip or daffodil after a storm clears. A wonderful rainy April day beer. One disclaimer: drinking this may transform you into a Japanese poet. In any event, it's different and challenging, but the craft is so well-honored and so much in the spirit of the best of American brewing, it's well worth a shot.

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Photo of cclark67789
1/5  rDev -73.3%

Photo of cokes
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark tanned hide bodied with a close-cropped beige dome with decent lacework and retention.
Toasted grain nose, pushing darker with cocoa and anise, with backing spiciness of orange, coriander, and black pepper. Some juniper-y notes of gin occur, only partially due to the alcohol.
The toasted grain malt profile pushes into the mouth first. Bready and static for a while, with some minor spice incursions of blood oranges and coriander and blck peppercorns. Turns a tad tarter with pink grapes and liquorice. Hops are lowly and add only a spicy, herbal dryness. Alcohol is present in a background gin-fueled, juniper-laden flare.
It's sort of like a fattened, toasty witbier more than any sort of saison. And lacks any true yeasty farmhouse character.
It carries medium-plus body with a subdued carbonation. It drinks smaller than it is, and drink enjoyable, but it doesn't drink all that interesting.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cole's. Aroma of spice, yeast and malt, pleasing. Dark mahogoney brown colour with lots of white head that leads lace. Served too cold, its still good drinkability, full mouthfeel. Spicy brown, Hops and spice in the finish, with pepper remaining on the tongue. Had this again 5 weeks later at Hopcat, but it was sourish here, so I will ignore that one.
Draft at Delaney's, was not as good. Peppery edge. Lacey, no aroma, sour highlights.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at birreria paradiso in georgetown

cell phone notes

appearance: served in a tulip from the upstairs bar - light mahogany body with no head

smell: very light funk, wheat loaf, light yeast aromas, dry toasted malt

taste: an enjoyable beer but a really tame saison - at least its a different interpretation. very light funk presence, a touch nutty, bready malts

mouthfeel: a little thin

drinkability: good

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Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Liberty St. Tavern for $3 a goblet. I had such high hopes for this beer, but it fell for the style and compared to other saisons. The beer was just too clean, there didn't seem to be any subtleties. There was just a bit of dry roasted toast and big fruity yeast character flavor with bubblegum aroma. It's a very drinkable beer, but it lacks the complexity of a good saison. This beer isn't even really that different from a dark Belgian ale.

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Photo of Gmann
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear brown color with an average off-white head, that settled into a sparse cap. The aroma is of light bubble gum, clove, and hay. The tastes starts off with a lemony sweet & sour, followed by some bubble gum and cloves, finishes with a traditional brown ale lightly roasted malt and light hops. I can taste the saison flavors, mostly sour and tart, and can taste the brown ale flavors. I would like to see some more farmhouse flavor. Moderate body with prickly carbonation, ranges from sweet to sour to dry/bitter. I think I would like to see this a little more yeasty and sweet and not such a range of senses on the palate. A different take on the saison. Seems to be bit all over the place but has some nice flavors.

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Photo of bonbini26
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ d.b.a Manhattan 04/30/2009

Served into a tulip glass, pours a medium brown color with a touch of ruby red in, very clear, small head. A lot of aromas but the scent is a little on the light side, really have to sniff hard on this one, sweet and spicy mix of orange, coriander, pepper, breadiness and malt. The taste has a lot going on too, sweet fruity spice, peppery, and a suttle bitterness from the hops at the end. Figs, roasted notes, molasses. The mouthfeel is pretty good, minus a metallic finish i am getting. Drinkability isn't as smooth as most saisons, but this beer is really in its own catagory, the ABV doesn't show that much either. Overall I like the Sierra Nevada is trying something new, worth a try

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Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap into pint glass.

Sort of an opaque brown, but light can get through. I'd say it's hazy (murky seems to negative). A solid one finger head that slowly settles to a thick cap, and contributes to solid lacing all the way down the glass with each sip. The aroma is very musty (a good thing), very Earthy. The taste is both sweet and sour, with some very tart flavors mixed with a little bit of caramel. Full bodied, slightly sour and acerbic.

I didn't realize this was such a strong beer until I checked this site. Even with that, this is still very drinkable. Maybe a little off for the style, but that's intentional. Recommended.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

huge thanks to nate for the little growler of this one. set my sunday off to a great start!

Settling down after a few moments it left quite an impression on the sides of the glass and really left some nice, intricate lacing all along. Aroma is light grassy notes, pears, apples, touches of a light peppery spice and lots of grain that seemingly brought it all together. As I take the first sip, a wave of light, well carbonated and crisp, clean flavor washes across the palate. Light grasses, heather, herbal flowers, touches of spiced apple and a light tartness that cleans the palate quite well. some nice caramel backing in here to provides a good bit of depth, again really very nicely done. Very smooth as each sip is seamless and very easy to finish. Long, dry ending leaves you thirsty, yet satisfied and allows the subtle fruit notes to really pop.

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Photo of blackie
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: served in a thistle glass at Bierria Paradiso, the beer is a clear, deep brown color and sports a thin white head

s: lightly toasty brown sugars with undercurrents of yeasty esters, spices are mild - I do get a touch of the coriander and juniper but the anise is hidden, enough going on here to satisfy

m: light to medium bodied, sugars a bit slick, with a moderate level of carbonation

t: toasted brown sugars dominant, fruits and spices upfront give way to a crisp hop flavor in the finish, a nice alternative take on a saison

d: perhaps a little heavy on the sugars for the style - I thought it tended towards dubbel territory - but it drinks reasonably well

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Photo of Proteus93
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on draft at Beer Run in Charlottesville.

A: Mahogany brown, sporting a modest but creamy offwhite head. Lacing is nice, woven and fairly tight.

S: A rather complex scent that takes a few deep smells to really get a grasp on. Warm malts, caramel scents, some fruity aromas - both green apple and green grape stand out, with a spot of hay kind of buried in there.

T: Like the aroma, it's an interesting and complex flavour. An even blend of malts and a tart fruity flavour, most like apple, but tart rather than outright sour. A bit of a pungent barnyard flavour and a little bit of earthiness round it out.

M + D: Sparkling and richer bodied, with a spot of alcohol on the finish. Even though the body is a little more bold, it finishes refreshing - it's not sticky, thick, and yet not dry either. Just 'wet' and assertively carbonated. An interesting offering, do make a point of giving it a try.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear brown body with off white head that emits aromas of phenolic spice and sweetish malt. The aroma is faint, but there nonetheless. The flavor is way more Belgian quality than I expected from reading other reviews. I guess I went in expecting more malt quality and got more Belgian yeast quality than expected. The mouthfeel is somewhat of a letdown as well since it is the lighter side of medium and at 7.8... why? Maybe I went in with too high of expectations, but I won't be going back to this beer anytime soon.

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Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of weeare138
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Union Jacks on the Manatawny.
Appears a dark brown russett with a small white cap that fades into a gentle film. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of funk, citrus, ripe melons, caramel, and toasted nuts.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a tart, astringent flavor.
Mouthfeel is tart and medium bodied with astringent grain. Chewy bubble gum esters in there.

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Porter two nights ago and although I usually don't go straight for the saisons, I figured a brown one from Sierra Nevada was worth a try.

Attractive nut brown-reddish color with a light head. Smell was exceptional - all the spice you would expect, complemented nicely by the malts. I found myself pausing to concentrate on the aroma much more than I typically would with a good beer.

Delicious beer. Everything here - a full body with the right level of sweetness, plenty of spices, and true to SN style, a little more hops than your average saison.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability for the ABV and flavor intensity.

Highly recommended if it's on tap!

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Sierra Nevada Brown Saison from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 96 ratings