Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Sierra Nevada Brown Saison | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 81
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.

 1,245 characters

Photo of CampusCrew
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
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

 270 characters

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.

 551 characters

Photo of khiasmus
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 1,456 characters

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.

 482 characters

Photo of donniecuffs
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
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 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.

 903 characters

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.

 1,296 characters

Photo of allboutbierge
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
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 Floydster
2.92/5  rDev -21.9%
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 BARFLYB
3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
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 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.

 447 characters

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.

 986 characters

Photo of Nickls
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 452 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 1,451 characters

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!

 1,234 characters

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.

 674 characters

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 taste....is 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.

 555 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
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

Photo of MaxBrews
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada Brown Saison:

Presentation: on tap in pint, poorly poured no head. Dark brown in colour. Hardly any lacing. Slight soapiness upon agitation

Smell: A barrage of fruits citric fruits, apples & bananas. Most likely from the presence of the hops

Taste & mouthfeel: Slightly floral with phenol/acidic notes. A little bit citrus, bananas & apples . A bit of dark malt mixed with fruit. Large carbonation tingles the tongue, takes from the taste. Beer leaves with a very feel.

Drinkability: a little less drinkable then your average saison due to the bitterness and acidity. Not all that refreshing I have had better. I dig the idea of this beer, kinda porter kinda sason. Would try again because I'm debating the the quality of this beer due to the fact that it was on tap. Biggest problem making this a session is the acidity and bitterness. Lacks clove, Belgian yeast & spiciness taste. I really dig the hennepin by ommegang.

 941 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a cloudy brown (shocking) with a nice small cap of white foam.

S: Notes of molasses, apples, malt, moderate intensity.

T: Really tastes like a mix between a dubbel and a saison, it very much tastes like how I though it would by the name. The dubbel-type side brings loads of sweet malt, thought not over the top - molasses, some banana and holiday spices, the drier saison portion brings Belgain yeast complexities, white pepper, notes of candied pear and mild earthy hops.

M: Smooth, medium-bodied, good balance between the sweet and bitter portions of the beer, never cloying with sugar.

D: Similar to what I've found with pretty much everything Sierra Nevada makes - a very tasty, drinkable brew, I'm certainly glad I got to try it out.

 779 characters

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.

 526 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
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 TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
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 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.

 447 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.