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 BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap into pint glass.

Sort of an opaque brown, but light can get through. I'd say it's hazy (murky seems to negative). A solid one finger head that slowly settles to a thick cap, and contributes to solid lacing all the way down the glass with each sip. The aroma is very musty (a good thing), very Earthy. The taste is both sweet and sour, with some very tart flavors mixed with a little bit of caramel. Full bodied, slightly sour and acerbic.

I didn't realize this was such a strong beer until I checked this site. Even with that, this is still very drinkable. Maybe a little off for the style, but that's intentional. Recommended.

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Photo of 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of number1bum
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler from Sabatini's in Exeter.

Pours a reddish brown, a medium brown I'd say, with about a finger and a half of beige head. H

Smell has fruity, earthy and spicy yeast aromas on top of caramelized malt sweetness. There's a tangy lemon quality that comes through and it's also pretty floral.

Taste is also quite fruity, with some lemon zest in particular giving it a bit of a tang. Also some tart green apples and a bit of sweeter dark fruit. I like the slight tartness because it's complemented nicely by the caramel malt sweetness and some brown sugar. Without the sweetness it might be overly tart, but it has nice balance. It's got a pretty good amount of spice, more than the nose, with some coriander and a bit of pepper. Pepper really comes through in the finish especially. There's also a bit of a musty quality to the yeast.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with above average carbonation. It's slightly dry in the finish but it has a bit of a chalky quality to it as well.

This is quite good and an interesting twist with the caramel sweetness. It really works well with the tart fruitiness. I can't believe it's almost 8%, as well, because it drinks very easily. I'm glad I had a chance to try this. Very nice and worth seeking out.

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

Had this on tap at Sierra Grille in N'Hampton last night.

Pours a murky, muddy, brown with a thin white head.

Smells a tad spicy, a tad malty. Nothing too crazy in the nose really.

Taste is lots of fresh sweet fruit, bartlett pears are what I really tasted right away. The spiciness is pretty subdued compared to some of the more funky Belgian saisons. It does however have that complex yeasty taste that saisons bring with them and it goes well with the malty backbone. I really dig it.

Very, very drinkable. I had no idea the ABV was near 8% until I just looked. Wow.

I really liked it and would love it if they put it in a corked and caged bottle so I could put one away for a few years.

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Photo of gford217
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear brownish amber with a big off-white head that shows good lacing and retention.

I found the aroma to be a little less spicy than most saisons. There is plenty of fruity sweetness and a tiny hint of spiciness from the yeast. There is also a big caramel malt sweetness that comes through.

The taste is much more tart than the aroma would suggest with some lemons up front as well as hints of other light fruits. There is a hint of the sweet caramel malts base as well.

The mouthfeel is bubbly and medium bodied with a bit of dry spiciness on the palate.

I'm not sure if this falls squarely in the saison category, but it's a decent beer overall. It's interesting and has a good bit going on.

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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.

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Photo of biggiesmallz
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of ljbrisson
4.57/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of GeezLynn
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Porter two nights ago and although I usually don't go straight for the saisons, I figured a brown one from Sierra Nevada was worth a try.

Attractive nut brown-reddish color with a light head. Smell was exceptional - all the spice you would expect, complemented nicely by the malts. I found myself pausing to concentrate on the aroma much more than I typically would with a good beer.

Delicious beer. Everything here - a full body with the right level of sweetness, plenty of spices, and true to SN style, a little more hops than your average saison.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability for the ABV and flavor intensity.

Highly recommended if it's on tap!

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

From a growler purchased at DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. Pours dark brown and cloudy, moderate light tan head, that slowly fades and then leaves respectable strands and webs of lace. Malty and chocolate on the nostrils, then more chocolate on the tongue, along with darker malts and moderate dose of earth. Mostly on the sweet side, with continued slight mustyness. I dont pick up much in the way of Belgian yeasties nor spice. More on the brown ale side, with limited "Saison" characteristics. Tasty though and certaintly worth a try.

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Photo of Douglas14
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at the Blind Tiger. It is a clear brown color with a nice, off-white head. The aroma is very much like a Saison but with slight caramel note...almost the same as the flavor that comes from the caramelization that comes from boiling the wort. The flavor is sweet, no hops, and some spices. It not nearly as light tasting as traditional saisons, but nevertheless very good even lthough it's not "to-style.". Somrwhat of a low carbonation makes it heavier in the mouth. Overall awesome.

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Photo of kasper
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.31/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First thing, wow. This came in a 12oz snifter-like glass, and it really looked like a glass of brandy or even really dark red wine, that's how ruby color it looked. It was really stunning, with a slight bit of head around the rim bur almost none to speak of.

The taste was exceptionally smooth, and it was a little strong (7.8% ABV) but very crisp. I have to say I was very impressed, grab a glass if you see it on tap!

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Photo of 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.

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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.

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Photo of Reaper16
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on-tap at Flying Saucer KC

Poured an attractive, translucent brown. The tan-ish lacing formed an impenetrable, solid wall. Very cool.

Lots of spice, so much so that, in tandem with the color, one could pass this off as a winter warmer. The spice bill does fit both saison and brown ale, somehow. The coriander and grass are up front, but the toasted and roasted biscuit malt forms the spine of the aroma.

This is one interesting beer; tastes the way that the name suggests in many ways, but remains surprising throughout, too. The spice bill starts off the drink, combined with some burnt coffee maltiness. The finish, though, is all juicy raisins and hay. Curious brew, this.

This is too spiced for me personally to want to drink a lot of, but it would be right up the proverbial alley for others. Its smooth, balanced. Could stand for a bit more carbonation, but that is nitpicking. A splendid one-off from Sierra Nevada that deserves to be produced again in the future.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of hwwty4
4.56/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed on tap at the Flying Saucer.

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

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

Sierra Nevada Brown Saison, on tap at Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA. Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Arrives a transparent reddish-brown, capped by a relatively sparse-looking quarter finger of tan head. Nothing too outstanding about the appearance, though it is full of very fast, medium-sized effervescence, very Saison-esque. Lacing leaves a little to be desired, with only a few thin sparkles of lace sticking on the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Saison-esque + brown. Makes sense. Spiciness, a few sweet fruity notes, and a reasonably well-roasted backbone, sort of caramelly but in a very earthy, wholesome fashion.

Taste: My notes say "way tart," which is kinda cool. Overwhelming notes of tart cherries, though accompanied by a definite Saison spice presence, which is interesting and nice. Other stray fruity notes, grapes and perhaps apricots and a few grassy, green notes are accompanied by lots of sweet but slightly roasted notes - caramel, brown sugar, honey notes. I guess that's why they call it "brown."

Mouthfeel: Beer's best feature. Very soft, medium bodied, with the tartness providing a slightly cleansing feeling. Just nice, big and fluffy, and very pleasant feeling.

Drinkability: A very interesting beer. Perhaps a little too tart to really knock my socks off, but it was very unique and enjoyable. Sierra Nevada continues to impress with its once-offs and small batch series brews, bending the envelope ever so slightly (the Double DeBockEl comes to mind) while still staying true to style. Recommended if you see it.

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Photo of coati858
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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Photo of turamarth
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a globe.

Appearance: Served with a good sized off white head. Leaving excellent lacing. Has a crystal clear reddish-brown body in colour.

Smell: Some earthy maltyness in the notes. Has the nice grassy saison smell. Coriander.

Taste: Has a really nice malty base for a saison. But all the familiar saison flavors are very present. There is a very nice w/ subtle spicyness. There is a hint of hops. Overall a very interesting tasting beer. I like it!

Mouthfeel: Fairly silky. Goes down nicely. Also, has a very nice aftertaste.

Drink: If this were more wildly available i would drink this regularly!

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