Sierra Nevada Brown Saison | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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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.

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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 96
Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
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 generallee
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
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 Swimsum
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
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 Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from interesting very interesting beer; I liked it in the end. Pours a bit of a rusty brown color with a nice off white head. Nose brings some interesting combinations with brown malt and brown sugar plus some pepper and clove. Taste isn't quite as spicy and the yeast doesn't play as big of a role. Feel is nice with pretty decent carbonation and body. Definitely a fairly unique brew.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store Pub. Pours a nice dark brown with good clarity and a fluffy off-white head. No real lacing. The smell is a little on the lighter side, with some light aromas of apple, coriander, roastiness, and malt. A dose of clove at the end. The taste is pleasant enough, with some slightly sweet brown ale roastiness combined with some light slightly sour saison flavors with some coriander and pepper, but primarily lots of chocolatey roastiness. Kind of an odd combination, but Fantome has done similar beers and this works to a degree. Tangy, slightly sweet, and with some banana and spice on the finish. Quite smooth, and fairly interesting. I enjoyed it as a passing experiment.

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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.

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Photo of CHickman
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Gramercy Tavern in nYC.

Pours cloudy ruby red brown with a creamy beige 1/4 inch head that lasted for a while; good lacing that sticks to the glass. Carbonation was flowing up the glass very rapidly, which is reminiscent of champagne bubbles.

Smells of sweet malt, light spices, yeast, caramel, light hops and grass and/or herbs; it's a strange smell that's kind of saison and kind of brown ale, but not distinctive on the nose to classify it as either, which I guess is the point of this beer.

Tastes of sweet malt up front, with cherry, light spices, yeast, caramel, grass, herbs, bread, toasted grains, raisin or plum, syrup, floral and citrus hops, and some light pepper. Very tasty, smooth and well balanced considering the earthy feel to this. The alcohol was not a factor in the taste at all, and I was surprised to learn that it was 7.85%.

The brew has a light feel, with a medium body, very light carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel that leaves a slight sour pucker in the finish. Overall it was easy to drink, and I might even say refreshing and smooth.

A very, very enjoyable hybrid that I will definitely seek out again as I love the Sierra Nevada signature flavor injected into this saison, which kept enough of the brown ale character to make this a unique brew.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Quite a medium-brown hue, fairly translucent, with a frothy off-white head.

S - Smells a little grainy, a bit sweaty-funky, a bit sweet, and tempered with seemingly continental hops; not exactly Saison to me, but it smells both good and distinctly Sierra Nevada.

T - Following up on the aroma, this beer has some of the basic tenets of a Saison, bit is very much stripped-down as well as re-interpreted through the Sierra Nevada school of simplification, plus it is a Brown Ale at heart. I am not slagging SN; I hold them in high regard, I enjoy nearly all of their beers and this is no exception. In fact, I enjoy this one so much that I am sorta bummed it is not readily available. If they bottled this, they would sell the hell out of it in grocery stores nation-wide. That wouldn't be such a bad thing in the grand scheme, would it? The taste, for posterity's sake, is of banana-clove-peppery-spicy fused with a sweet malt, tempered with a continental hoppiness, with a well-hidden ABV.

M - Medium-bodied, but very refreshing. Nice balance between bitter and sweet on the finish.

D - Excellent

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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.

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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.

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Photo of dudemuskie
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
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 CampusCrew
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: dark copperish coloring

smell: light earthy aroma, didn;t pick up on much

taste: earht tones and the typical belgian yeast flavor. lacked complexity I thought, a tad sourness

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: solid saison and another good one for SN

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

A: Pours a light brown with amber hues. Provides a small tan head. No lacing.

S: Some notes of molasses, clove, spices and dark fruits. Also some burnt pepper smell. Needs to warm up more for the scents to come out.

T: There is a combination of sweet malt character with spicy undertones. Get a decent amount of pepper taste as well. The alcohol is also tasted.

M: A highly carbonated medium body beer. Leaves a spicy taste on the palate.

D: It is a very nice offering from Sierra Nevada, not my favorite style, but a worthy beer to try and enjoy.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"We will go then, you and I, with the evening spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table..."

Such strange inconsistencies, such an uncategorizable beer. Amber-brown, as it were, fair enough, and a pillow of cream head, alright, as well as some lace. But the clarity? For a saison? IS there such a thing as a transparent one? No one. Not even one. We all have our secrets.
So then, breathe deeply, there's a good fellow, and in moments you'll be dead to the world. Breathe deeply and catch the intricacies: Cardamom, to be sure, and orange peel, but far more of a hefe note than anything, what with the bubblegum-chewing-skipping lasses around the playground, and the fairies dancing in your head, stardust trickle, the sound of bells... back to it. You must concentrate. Bubblegum, and banana, and clove, and orange peel, and honeysuckle, and rose blossom.
And at first the wheat-sugar sweetness, but then a sour note that flashes on the tongue but fades quickly into a dry, a brie rind bitterness, the orange peel, and spicing that produces strange wave after strange wave as you contemplate how to get out of the straps they have you in, and why your tongue feels wooden...
But there again, not wooden, but light, prickly, then full and sticky, and then dry and bitter. The cycles go with each sip. Light, full, bitter. Prickly. Lingering.
It's a strange feeling. A unique one. We must remember to concentrate. Don't be wanderous.

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Photo of grayburn
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
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 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.

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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.

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Photo of Godot
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
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 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.

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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

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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.

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Photo of porterwoobie
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
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 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.

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

(From notes)

A - Almost clear coppery-brown color; with a very light tan half-finger of head

S - Tart, a little citric; touch yeasty. Fairly muted overall

T - Sour and tart at first like unripened dark fruits; decent enough and fairly tight package

M - Thinner; prickly carbonation

D - Nice enough and refreshing, even if it does take some liberties with what I would associate with the style

Not bad at all, and a nice summer brew. Worth a look.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at 1702, July 2009
The beer arrives from the tap a clearish, dark amber - brown color. The head is about half a finger in height and is a full tan color. The aroma has notes of cardamom, clove and perhaps a touch of plum. As the beer sits in my glass it begins to open up a bit more with aromas of pear, apple, black pepper, ginger and some sweetness that comes from esters more than actual sugar.

The beer tastes dry and spicy with a sharp, spicy phenolic note in the finish. Turpene like clove notes in the finish are joined by an herbal, even menthol leaning, hop bitterness. This has a nice high level of carbonation, more than one would expect from a tap offering, but it works well with this beer as it provides a prickly texture and a peppery bite. Phenols add a perceived sweetness to this beer that tastes quite a bit like clove.

My second pour of this beer is noticeably more fruit oriented, the spiciness actually gets quite a bit cleaner and it isn't as muddled as it was initially. There is a touch of toasted malt character to this beer and there is even a touch of tartness that starts to come out. The tartness nicely accentuates more of the fruit notes in this beer. This is actually quite a bit more characterful than I was expecting. The yeast choice was clearly spot-on and Sierra Nevada fermented this in such a way as to contribute a lot of flavor to this beer. I hope to be able to try this a couple more times.

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Sierra Nevada Brown Saison from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.72 out of 5 based on 96 ratings.
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