Sierra Nevada Brown Saison | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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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
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Ratings: 96 |  Reviews: 81
Photo of atsprings
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
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%
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 +5.1%
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 +9.6%
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 +12.3%
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 -7%
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 -2.1%
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 +0.3%
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 -2.9%
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 +4.8%
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 +15.5%
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 -7%
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 -0.5%
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 -3.2%
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 -1.6%
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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Photo of BeerSox
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
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 -4.5%
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 -3.7%
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 -24.6%
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 -6.4%
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 +5.6%
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%
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 -1.6%
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 -3.2%
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 +20.3%
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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Sierra Nevada Brown Saison from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 96 ratings