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 spointon
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
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 OneDropSoup
4.22/5  rDev +13.4%
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 DoubleJ
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
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 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.

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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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Photo of atsprings
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Saucer in Raliegh served in a tulip a crisp brown with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is an intiguing blend of brown malts and spice with slight hop presence. The taste is a nice balance os sweet bown malts, spices, and that classic SN hop kick. The beer has all the refreshment I expect from the style with well hidden alcohol. This is a very interesting and enjoyable brew, bottle this, please!

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Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI.

A - Brown with good clarity (as best I can tell) and a small beige head. Good lacing.

S - Fruity with some candy sugar and sourness coming through. Very nice.

T - A nice sour, funky flavor with a mild sweetness. It finishes with a lingering sour and bitter flavor. A good Saisson for an American brewery.

M - A creamy consistency and a nice low carbonation.

D - A very nice beer. It's great to see Sierra Nevada branching out and trying something out of their comfort zone.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip for a dark leather couch brown with a frothy one-finger head that left sheath lacing. A rather subdued aroma of some sweet malts and a little bit of fruit - sour apples in there (maybe). A great fruit taste bursts on the tongue and the smell doesn't do the taste justice. Medium-bodied with grape, apple notes and good carbonation, along with a slightly sour/tart strain, balance the smooth and creamy body with a dry backbite. Nice bit of sweet malt in this beer as well. A real fruity, sweet/light on the sour effect saison that makes it very drinkable and the ABV is nicely hidden.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
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 neenerzig
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
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 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."

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Photo of chinabeergeek
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.

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Photo of blackie
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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

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Photo of hopdog
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's.

Poured a deeper amberish and copperish color with an averaged sized, frothy off white head. Lacing left on the glass. Aromas of spices, bananas, and toasted caramel. Tastes of bananas, fruitiness, spicess, toasty/roasty, and citrus.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
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 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.

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Photo of weeare138
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of 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

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

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Poured into a snifter. Clear reddish brown, creamy tan head with good retention. Peppery lemony aroma, orange peel, a touch of roast. Flavor is bright lemony tartness with an earthy finish. Hints of bread crust and roasted malt. Body is medium in heft with an airy quality. Carbonation is fine and lively. Good drinkability.

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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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