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: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 81
Photo of ljbrisson
4.57/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Ten Stone in Philadelphia, 21st and South St. Poured a dark brown into a pint glass with a finger-wide sandy-colored head. Aroma was grass, earth, dark fruit. Mouthfeel was a very refreshing medium-body with good carbonation. Taste was earthy, herbs, some chocolate and a lot of caramel sweetness in the front, fading to a tangy sharp herbal hop bitterness at the finish. Drinkability was extremely high - I had two but would have had more had I stayed longer. I could have sipped on this brew all night. I don't know much about saisons but I do know this is one of the best brews I have had in a long time.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.56/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at the Flying Saucer.

This beer pours a dark ruby amber, with a nice 2 inch head that dissipates into just a thin rim around the glass leaving no lacing. This is a odd looking Saison. It's really dark, not much head or retention and no lace. Kind of off to a bad start. Wow, this nose is all saison. Spicy notes invoke cardamom, clove, tart pie cherries and just a great earthy dampness. This beer really invites you in with the nose, but it kills you with its flavor. Tart pie cherries up front, with almost a Geuze like tartness suck you tongue dry, leaving the Belgian spices, grass, and earth to lash your palate. This is the driest Saison I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Absolutely great. This is one of the most dangerous session beers I've ever had. Great job Sierra Nevada. This is hands down the best beer I've had from this brewery. Great stuff.

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Photo of biggiesmallz
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

brown with a finger or so of off-white head. smell was a nice balance of sweet caramel and dark malt a la brown ale, with equally nice sweet fruit, spice, and citrus. the taste followed suit. the fruity sweetness is very much like apricot, but it's not syrupy or cloying as the spice and malt balance it well. alcohol was well covered. compared to other saisons in my so-far limited experience with the style this was less tart and less dry, probably a result of the darker, more full-bodied malt character. mouthfeel, not too thick and not too thin. especially considering the alcohol content this was certainly quaffable enough to merit having more than one in a sitting. i'm planning on trying this again at the next opportunity.

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Photo of coati858
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Brown as a brown should be, light tannish head that lasted for a little while.
S: Very nice. Almost gingerbready smell from all the spice notes.
T: All the good parts of a classic brown ale and a nice saison working together here.
D: Drinkable enough to be a "desert-island" beer, where you could only have one kind to drink.

Great beer. Best thing I ever tasted from Sierra Nevada. I wish I could get this in bottle form. Got this one on tap at the Solana Beach Pizza Port.

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Photo of Godot
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this at the Distillary on a recent trip to Savannah. I had not heard of it before so when I saw it on the menu I was pretty excited. Sierra Nevada has never really disappointed me before and they did not with this beer either. Rather dull and hazy brown color with a one finger off white head, which given that its a brown saison I guess would be expected, but nonetheless it appeared rather unremarkable on the table. The smell was good though, with sweet malt up front and a sour bite in the back of the nose. No real hop presence in the nose, but the smell definitely got my hopes up. The taste was exactly what I was looking for out of a brown saison. None of the flavors were over the top but all worked together to make an extremely enjoyable and refreshing beer. Malt sweetness up front with a sour belgian flavor followed by just the right amount of hops to cause it to finish clean an invite you into another sip. Mouthfeel was a little heavier than I would have expected but it works well to coat your whole mouth with delicious flavor. Drinkability I would list as dangerous. These go down remarkably smooth with zero hint at the rather elevated alcohol. I would definitely order one of these again, and it went great after an almost autumn afternoon spent walking around Savannah.

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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 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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Photo of mdwalsh
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Thinnish Head, but active, large bubbles. Dark brown center fading to a golden edge.

S: Very light, not much hops for a Sierra Nevada Beer. Some Malt, the smell reminds me of a bag of DME

T: An underlying fruity malt, some sour but by no means a Belgian "funk" like you get in most saisons. Mild hops, but not something I would define the beer with.

M: Crisp and clean, this beer has a good weight to it. No alcohol burn and some good fizz. It is mildly biting

D: Superb, I would not have guessed this was as high in alcohol as it is and almost called it a session beer. I'd love to see more of this beer.

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

Got this on tap at the Brickseller, what a find.
An oddly clear brown beer with a minimal head that laces quite nicely.
The smell and taste are both this sweet and sour caramel raisin thing that I can't quite get enough of, simply delicious.
The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but really lets the interesting esters take the forefront, alcohol is slightly present and welcomed, carbonation is minor, not a problem at all. I could drink quite a few of these without a problem. Very nice.

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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 OneDropSoup
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at D's in Monroeville.

Pours a dark rust color, murky, with amber highlights. A smooth finger-thich head, beige, with very little lacing.

Smell is complex: sour fruit (cherries, apples), citric hops, just a tiny bit of sugary sweetness, like cotton candy.

Taste is also rich & complex: bitter & floral herbs, some earthy flavors (hay, root veggies), dark breast crust, & a dry & sour finish.

Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with an alcohol bite that creeps up through the middle of the beer.

This is probably my favorite saison right now, with some very interesting & unusual flavors. I'd probably stick to only one or two at a time for fear of flavor fatigue.

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Photo of spointon
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on tap in Chicago at Binny's South Loop on 8/1/2009. Serves in a DFH contoured pint glass.

A= Poured a light cola brown colow rith a nice 3/4" creamy tan head. Lots of sticky lace left behind on my glass.

S= Smelled of sweet malts with just a hint of "brown ale" maltiness. There were also notes of caramel, treacle, and spice. The yeast lent a nice Belgian fruitiness, with just a hint of funk. Very nice.

D= As in th earoma, the flavor started off with the malts. Definite bakery-sweet chewy malts as you would find in many fine Belgian ales, but there was also a hint of husky brown ale malt astringency through the middle. No overt hop presence really, just an earthy note in the background. The yeast profile was a real star. The yeast gave off nice fruity esters (apple & pear mostly with a slight hint of banana) as well as a great spice character. Finish dried out quite a bit but still carried a nice complexity of sweetness and yeast.

MF= Lighter side of medium bodied, with a moderate carbonated level and sort of slick tongue feel.

D= This was my first ever brown saison and as the bartender described it to me, it's a rock star. Very drinkable and sessionable despite the ABV. Tasty and I want more!

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Photo of neenerzig
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review being written from notes as I had this one about a month and half ago or so now. Served to me in a pint glass. this beer is a clear brown/dark amber color. nice highlights. White head that settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass and good lacing. Has a mice roasted brown sugar and caramel malt aroma along with some nice spices as well. has a sort of sour and sweet tart flavor with a slight hop bitterness. Has a slight roasted nut, maple and brown sugar taste as well. More funky flavors come out toward the end as the beer started to warm up. Interesting combination of flavors. Crisp, smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink in a good way. Good, but not something I'd want to drink an entire 6 pack of.


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Photo of dudemuskie
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scored a pint on special (only $3!) at the Landlocked Restaurant and Bar in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Thoroughly enjoyed this brew with a big spicy bowl of green chile stew!

Appearance- Burnt topaz, slightly hazy, with soft ruby highlights. Cream colored head at about 1 finger fades to thin, whispy residual. Some light lacing.

Aroma- Sweet/fruity/floral notes with an almost powdery aroma. Very floral with a solid background of caramel and nutty maltiness. Subtle kick of citrus (tangerine) hops. Soft spiciness rounds out a wonderfully complex nose!

Flavor- Starts with tangerine citrus hops, slight yeasty spice and opens up to complex malt flavors of burnt sugar, caramel, and dark overripe cheries. Powdery flavor (similar to aroma) and citrusy acidity throughout with a moderately dry, slightly earthy finish. Quite nice and very fitting for a saison. Nice balance between subtle hops, yeasty spice, and complex malts.

Mouthfeel- Moderate to high CO2, medium bodied with moderate residual sweetness. Polished nicely with a moderately dry finish. Complex yet thirst quenching. I'll have another.

Overall- Almost like a hybrid between a dry, acidic, spicy saison and a malty complex American brown ale. Very drinkable and thirst quenching.

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Photo of porterwoobie
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from tap into a standard pint glass.

A: brown colored. one-finger off-white head.

S: malty, yeasty, slightly spicy, some caramel sweetness.

T: the spiciness is what hits me first, kind of rises above the malt backbone. it has some fruity elements to it, crisp.

MF: medium bodied, medium carbonation.

Drinkability: this is a good beer. easy drinking for a higher ABV beer. little more subdubed than other saison's i've had, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of Swimsum
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes that I just recently found. On tap at the brewery on 7/21/09

Poured a nice red brown/copper color with reddish highlights around the edges of the glasses. A small, loose off white head sits atop this and eventually settles to a thin layer. There is some slight lacing left on the glass as the beer goes down.

A little bit of funk is present here (sort of surprised by this). There are some spices that emerge as well but can't pick out any certain ones. Very interesting smell to be sure.

Wow, this taste great. The spices that were in the smell come forward in the taste. Coriander and orange peel with a bit of juniper possibly. Tart finish. The alcohol is hidden nicely and it goes down incredibly smooth.

I really liked the mouthfeel on this. Medium carbonation that leads to a medium body. Not to thin and not too thick, very nice.

Another great beer from Sierra Nevada. It is definitely different and if you find this you should give it a try. If Sierra Nevada was doing growler fills at the time I visited the brewery I would have gotten this to go for sure.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hollingshead's in a half-liter mug. On to the beer:

Toffee brown color, topped by a thin head with thin lace sticking to the glass as it's consumed. The beer has a fruity aroma. Think of plums and grapes. The this really a saison? Very tasty, to say the least. Grapes, plums, dark fruit skins. There is a mild tone of yeast, with gives it an addtional fruity accent. Slighty tart as it slides down the palate. Okay, so it may not really be a traditional saison, but it's a great beer to sample regardless of what you classify it as.

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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 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 ClockworkOrange
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Craft Ale House. Served in a shaker glass and appears a fairly clear medium chestnut color with about half an inch of bubbly foam. Aroma and flavor are full of notes of spicy, peppery yeast, licorice, coriander, dark fruits such as black currants, a touch of sweet caramel, molasses, and green apples. Tasty stuff. The ale is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. I'll be seeking this one out again.

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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 GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 16oz pint glass at Hopleaf 5/20/09

A: Served a surprisingly dark ruby-brown color with a thin, light-tan head on top that left a little lace.

S: Aromas of tangy citrus, spices, musty Chicago basement, dark chocolate, and toasty malt.

T: A fair amount of sweet malt and spicy chocolate that are balanced nicely by earthy hops, bright & tangy fruit, and musty/funkiness.

M: Dry and spicy with just the right amount of fruity tang and oiliness.

D: I couldn't put this down for more than 10-15 seconds. A very interesting beer from SN, who are doing a great job of expanding their portfolio as of late. I'll definitely re-visit this if opportunity allows!

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Tyler's Taproom In Durham:

The logoed shaker pint glass showcases a sparkling dusky garnet body capped with a half-finger of persistent pale ecru foam. Each sip is marked by thin hash marks that chronicle the passing drink.

The aroma is quite fruity with a musky melonlike sweetness, and the taste is a melange of soft, mellow medium-kilned malts and sweet-tart fruit enhanced with spice. Peaches, a twist of lemon, and a splash of ripe plum are sprinkled with orange zest, crushed white peppercorns and a pinch of evergreen juniper. A mild yeasty banana nuttiness accents a crisp dry finish.

Medium-bodied and deceptively non-alcoholic in flavor, SN's Brown Saison is darned delicious and highly quaffable given the ABV.

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Photo of kasper
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful mahogany with amber and ruby highlights. Tan head was subdued out of a 32oz swing-top but left some wet lacing.

S: Picking up faint woody and sweet maple aromas. There's also some tanginess, a bit of Apple peel in the background and some spice.

T: Flavors follow, such as sweet fruity malt, but not really carmel malt. The anise gives off a rusty, earhty/woody taste right before a tightly composed dry finish that leaves some residual bitterness. There's not much in the way of hops.

M: Thin, semi dry and fairly low on the carbonation, but it certainly works for me.

D: This is high alcohol sessionable brew. You don't ever taste much of the 7.x% or so ABV. Could have a few of these.

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