Sierra Nevada Brown Saison | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
81 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 96
Photo of DNICE555
2.76/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the B. What a fine local establishment.

A - Light brown body. Off white head. Very carbonated. Lots of lacing. Pretty.

S - There that dreaded Belgian yeast. That banana wheat sugary stank.

T - Banana bread, malt, not much in the realm of hops. Not impressed.

M - Heavily carbonated. Overpowering.

D - Not feelin it. This sample glass will be enough thank you.

 379 characters

Photo of Cakanator
2.82/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap @Sierra. Pours a red/brown hue with thin head. I got a really strong banana aroma which is a little off putting, but alas no funk at least in the nose. Thicker mouthfeel with an almost dried almonds finish and very bitter. The finish is what really did me in, but seemed too rough on the palate with not enough flavor.

 325 characters

Photo of Floydster
2.92/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Mug at Hollingshead for around six dollars yesterday, reviewed from notes, heard rumors that Sierra Nevada might be bottling this one shortly, color is medium to dark brown with orange mixed in, 1/2 inch bubbly off white head, not much retention or lacing, aroma consists of brown sugar, slightly roasted malts, caramel, light spices, and berries, flavor starts off with fruity like flavors that are pretty dry, sweet malts that are mostly caramel in the middle, finish has a bit of spice but is dominated by the malt still, sweet, fruity, and malty mouthfeel, thin to medium bodied, too much carbonation, taste lingered for a few seconds, not easy to drink and far from smooth, alcohol out in the open, too sweet once it warms, seemed too strong for what it is, odd flavors and while I like the uniqueness this beer did not really wow me, would skip in the future, might be worth trying

 887 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Served up a clear, dark mahogany-hued body with a thin, wispy, off-white head.

Smell: Fairly spicy, herbaceous aroma with notes of everything from cloves to peppercorns leading the way. Lesser background hints of brown sugar, toasted malts, and banana.

Taste: Dry malt character with darkened toasty tones and light touches of brown sugar and nuts. Mild banana fruitiness. Then, the tongue gets a blitz of zesty herbaceousness and pops of black pepper and cracked cloves. Modest hop bitterness. Furthering of spice flavors, a touch of alcohol, and some crackling crispness (it's like Pop Rocks in my mouth!) on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-high, sharp carbonation, giving this one a really snappy carbonic bite to it.

Drinkability: I was curious to sample this blending of styles, but this was a beer that, well, I just didn't care for from sip one. I fought my way through to the bottom of the sixteen ounces, through all the aggressive carbonation and felt totally exhausted.

 1,009 characters

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.16/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

 526 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Served ontap. Pours a rich brown in color with an off white head.

Smell: Bready malts and some sweetness lurking.

Taste: A blending of styles and the first "brown saison" I've had. Lots of malt sweetness almost to the point of being cloying. Little to no hop profile which was interesting, light citrus coupled with some sourness. Restrained funk which dissappointed me slightly. All in all, its alright.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and chewey.

Drinkability: An odd-ball beer from Sierra Nevada Co. It has its moments, but left me wishing for the pale ale instead.

 586 characters

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

 986 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Growler from Big Z's. Pours a clear amber with a small off-white head. Aroma of spices, yeast, melon. Flavor of yeast and bready malts initially with some sweet fruit in the finish. Palate is a bit weak, very sweet, especially as you continue to drink. Just kind of weak overall, nothing special here. It was a bit disappointing.

 329 characters

Photo of vurt
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on tap at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

Crystal clear orange-brown with amber highlights, capped by a thin head of cream-colored foam which lingers. Leaves good lacing.

Sweet malt, toasted wheat bread, some banana and clove phenols, hint of gingery spiciness, and a bit of wet earth. So far this isn't very much like a saison, more like a rich dunkleweizen or maybe even a dubbel.

Plenty of dark malty sweetness and phenols-- bananas in brown sugar. It loses much of the sweetness through the middle, and gains some significant herbal bitterness. Goes bready and tart (sourdough!) at the end. Earthy and mildly spicy finish.

Medium-bodied, round, and smooth under generous, finely-textured carbonation. Almost frothy in the mouth.

This is an odd one. There are many voices in here (sweet, spicy, tart), but they aren't singing together very well. Possibly the sweetest saison I've ever tried. Interesting, but not really successful. I would only have this again if it would help Naja's clear a tap for the Sierra Nevada Empire Strikes Black which is apparently "on-deck."

 1,136 characters

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap last night at Spike's in San Luis Obispo.

Served in a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Deep, clear, crimson-brown body filled with streams of carbonation. Ooooo, purrdy. Head isn't much to speak of: an off-white film that holds it's shape for the entire session. Light lacing.

Smell: Sweet malty aromas and sugar, with a touch of sourness and alcohol.

Taste: Brown malt, red currants, spicy hops, and a touch of saison sourness. Finishes dry and sour; aftertaste is light yet prevailing. Alcohol is noticeable but not offensive. Not getting a whole lot of saison in this one; it's more like a weird brown ale.

Mouthfeel: Spicy, dry, and medium-bodied. Carbonation feels a little rough, and body is a little watery-feeling. A tad warm, and possibly filling (though I ate a massive burrito about an hour beforehand). Was hoping for a little creaminess, though it was nowhere to be found.

Drinkability: I was hoping for something a little more saison-like. The flavor is okay, but as stated above the brown aspect dominates. I might order this again, but only to give it a second chance. Still a decent brew, but that's all - decent.

 1,152 characters

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

A: Murky, earthen brown body, medium sized off-white head with little lacing left behind.

S: Figs, oranges, raisins, dates, lots of malt. Slight pepper present. Not much in the way of the funky, yeasty, tart, earthen flavors typical to the style.

T: Rich caramel malt, figs, raisins, and orange. A little yeast comes through here, but not much else stands out.

M: Sweet. Medium body brew. Well carbonated.

D: While enjoyable, this doesn't fit the saison profile (nor the profile of specialty noel saisons or dark saisons). The earthy, yeasty, farmhouse funk just ain't here. This beer could have been marketed a dozen other ways that would have made more sense then calling it a brown saison.

 696 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.51/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass. This beer has eluded me ever since it was released a few months ago, I was excited to try it.

Brown Saison is a brown saison, that pretty much sums it up. It has a light brown color that you cant see through plus some tan head on the top for a nice appearance, extremely minimal lacing. The smell was that of a lot of malt with some yeast and a light basket of fruits, not alot going on, not very pungent. The taste is a tad better with the malts taking center stage giving off some baked bread with some apple slices and other lighter fruits. The belgian yeast is apparent. I did not get much in the way of hops, I guess they faded in the time spent in the keg, they would have made this a bit more full in terms of flavor. Perhaps I should try this again if it's ever released again fresh. The feel was a bit fuller than your average saison with a big medium feel and light carb. I enjoyed this and finished my pint with some ease, but it's a tad one sided.

 991 characters

Photo of mhatters
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap, same day I had this at the Craft Ale House and TJs.

Pours chestnut brown with a nice, effervescent head.

Lots of interesting notes in the nose, - caramel dominates, then chocolate, malt, and some spices.

The taste is a bit less than the nose, the spice and chocolate come through a bit inconsistently. A bit complex, and not bad, just not what I was expecting.

Thin ans dry, easy and fun to drink - not sure if I would call this a Saison, but worth finding.

 477 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.57/5  rDev -4%
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.

 728 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 7/10/09 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of bananas, caramel, Belgian yeast, wheat, some spice, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is bready up front with flavors of wheat, bananas, maple, caramel and Belgian yeast. It's not overly sweet and the malt character is hearty. There's a decent hops presence that brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style while blending in some of the brown ale attributes, it's a pretty good beer but since I usually don't find myself thinking "I wish this Saison was darker" or "I wish this brown ale had more wheat flavor" I find this beer to be mostly a novelty.

 981 characters

Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

 452 characters

Photo of SPRichard
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
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

 802 characters

Photo of joe1510
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Goblet

Sierra's new Brown Saison is served in a goblet with a dirty white head that hit one finger at its peak. The head slowly fell to a respectable crown while leaving patchy, slippery lacing here and there. The body was a surprisingly dark muddy brown with some ruby tinges. A few carbonation bubbles can be seen through the glass but for the most part the body is hazy and muddy.

The nose is full of fruits both dark and citrus with solid malty sweetness. Orange zest mingles with dates, raisins, and figs while a dank, musty scent wafts through all the fruitiness. There's a solid dose of caramel maltiness and a touch of lightly toasted breadiness. Some peppery spiciness and hints of coriander come from the yeast used. While the nose is good I have a hard time seeing how it will work into a good saison.

The flavor follows all the guidelines the aroma laid down but unfortunately is somewhat of an undefined mess. Now mess may be too strong of a word but the flavors just don't come together very well. The flavor shows more yeast spiciness while juicy raisins and figs run around all over the place. The caramel and toasty qualities mix with mild chocolate that I'm not to fond of when introduced to the spiciness.

The body doesn't fit my conception of a saison either. It does have some dryness on the finish but has a coating sweetness before the late dryness comes along. The body is on the fuller side of medium.

I drank this down easy enough but I actually got bored about half way through the glass. This brown "saison" is a one and done for me.

I was a little disappointed with this new Sierra brew. It was enjoyable but got boring rather fast. My description may sound a little harsh and it wasn't totally that bad as you can see by my score but it's nothing I would search out again. As a matter of fact I'd pass this up for numerous other saisons and spicy Belgian-styled ales.

 1,927 characters

Photo of cokes
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

 903 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
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

 415 characters

Photo of allboutbierge
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$6 a pint at D's in Regent Square last night.

Color is a light and pale off brown with ample head and moderate lace retention. Aroma is tangy and yeasty. No real strong nasal presence.

Flavor is buttery and sour, but significant sweet elements are present. Some yeastiness shines through. Flavors are delicate and mild. No suggestion of alcohol whatsoever in taste. A mild blend of yeast, sourness and butter.

Body is moderately carbonated and easy to drink.

 461 characters

Photo of glid02
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 992 characters

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on-tap from the SN event at sunset grill and tap, in allston, ma, on april 23, 2009, during the week of the craft brewers conference.

almost dark brown with amber tint. clear. head fades to creamy wispy layer. great webby lacing.

aroma of ripe apple and pear. hint of banana? caramel maltiness, with... slightest hint of roast? grassy and herbal hop mixes with fruity esters, spice hints (clove and something else...), with trace phenols.

taste: fruity sweetness and caramelized brown sugar maltiness, then spice (mild clove, cinnamon?), meeting up with grassy hops and mild to moderate bitterness, with an almost coffee roast hint, lingers. some acidity to clean out the estery and gently phenolic finish.

*note: i was told in person by steve grossman at the event that there was coriander and ginger used. ah - that's what i couldn't exactly pin down!

medium body. touch of acidity and astringency. moderate carbonation is tingly, almost gives fluffy body, but is a tad fizzy.

a touch on the sweet side, and somewhat too clean. i'm looking for a little more farmhouse character in my saisons. still, this is a pleasantly quaffable attempt, especially considering the departure from SN's comfort zone of APA and IPA territory.

 1,233 characters

Photo of donniecuffs
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(taken from notes on napkin from a Sierra promo at Rattle N Hum a few months back)

Poured a nice brown color, with a thin beige head, and fair lacing. The smell was dominated by spices, including coriander, black peppercorns, and a little ginger, backed by a malty biscuit aroma. The flavor was edgier, with the aforementioned spices leaping about; no real progression in the palate, just a big mix of spices swirling about. The mouthfeel was medium as expected, with very little carbonation, if any, making this a decently sessionable brew, if not for the intense mix of spices.

 580 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I never knew this brew existed until I spotted the tap handle at The Flying Saucer in Columbia, SC. Served in a weizen glass.

Clear with a light mahogany hue and a thick crown of light tan mousse that falls away slowly, showing bits of thick sticky lace on the glass.

A mild aroma enters the nose, malty with slight notes of toffee and caramel, some faint fruity esters reminiscent of apples or pears, and a bit of a spicy quality.

Light-to-medium in body, with a smooth, mild-to-moderate carbonated prickle on the tongue. A sweet malt-oriented entry with notes of caramel and a touch of milk chocolate, moving into a spicy, hoppy middle that is rather bitter and shows just a bit of yeasty spice character, balancing the sweet malt base and drying things out, leading the way into a dry finish with just a bit of lingering sugary sweetness.

A brown saison is something of an oddity; a nice description would be a "dunkel-saison," as it is highly reminsicent of a Dunkelweizen with a Belgian twist. Overall tasty and fairly drinkable, though its alcohol content makes a half-liter serving show through in the head. Interesting.

 1,131 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sierra Nevada Brown Saison from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.72 out of 5 based on 96 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!