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 ljbrisson
4.57/5  rDev +22.2%
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 +9.6%
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 +15.5%
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%
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%
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 +9.6%
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 +15.2%
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 -2.4%
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 -5.1%
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%
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 +10.4%
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 +21.9%
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 +7.5%
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 +18.2%
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 +16.3%
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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Photo of bonbini26
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ d.b.a Manhattan 04/30/2009

Served into a tulip glass, pours a medium brown color with a touch of ruby red in, very clear, small head. A lot of aromas but the scent is a little on the light side, really have to sniff hard on this one, sweet and spicy mix of orange, coriander, pepper, breadiness and malt. The taste has a lot going on too, sweet fruity spice, peppery, and a suttle bitterness from the hops at the end. Figs, roasted notes, molasses. The mouthfeel is pretty good, minus a metallic finish i am getting. Drinkability isn't as smooth as most saisons, but this beer is really in its own catagory, the ABV doesn't show that much either. Overall I like the Sierra Nevada is trying something new, worth a try

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Photo of Proteus93
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on draft at Beer Run in Charlottesville.

A: Mahogany brown, sporting a modest but creamy offwhite head. Lacing is nice, woven and fairly tight.

S: A rather complex scent that takes a few deep smells to really get a grasp on. Warm malts, caramel scents, some fruity aromas - both green apple and green grape stand out, with a spot of hay kind of buried in there.

T: Like the aroma, it's an interesting and complex flavour. An even blend of malts and a tart fruity flavour, most like apple, but tart rather than outright sour. A bit of a pungent barnyard flavour and a little bit of earthiness round it out.

M + D: Sparkling and richer bodied, with a spot of alcohol on the finish. Even though the body is a little more bold, it finishes refreshing - it's not sticky, thick, and yet not dry either. Just 'wet' and assertively carbonated. An interesting offering, do make a point of giving it a try.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A slightly translucent brown body with a small white head that leaves a little bit of lacing behind.

The aroma comes with a ton of sweet, caramel malt, some citrus and some peppery scents.

This beer tastes exactly like what I expected from the name: half brown ale and half saison. Up front comes the brown ale characteristics, with lots of sweet malts, followed by a slightly fruity taste. The beer finishes like a saison, peppery and dry.

Definitely some body to this beer, but not too heavy. Well carbonated, rather crisp. Finishes dry.

Overall a pretty good beer that I could drink again.

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 100th review! So glad I picked this one for it.
Poured from a growler into a Hennepin flute.

A--Pours up two fingers of white creamy foam that lasts well and laces down the glass. Super head retention. The body is the color of almonds, just a tad lighter than most brown ales, with maybe a blush of deep rep in there. It's almost maroon when held away from the light. Very pretty beer. Clarity is unfreakingreal==looks almost like wine.

S--Complex, perfume-like. I can sniff out the sweetness of oranges, which almost smells like orange blossoms, combined with the more spicy back-end that's not pepper--too sweet--but does lend a kick to the nose. I'm also catching some wet slaps of breadiness, of dark bread crusts, though it's not as nutty as a brown. This is subtle and strong at the same time, and very enjoyable.

T--Holy crap. There are at least four levels to this beer, distinct and each one surprisingly compatible with the other. The first layer is the fruit and spice of the nose, with a little less of the pepper and more of a deep damp pine taste which isn't bright and parching like hops. Definite orange, definite anise in there. Second comes dark fruits, namely plums and figs. Combined with the sweetness and spice it almost drinks like a dubbel. Third layer is all malt, rich nutty roasted character that's almost cocoa-like at the end, but absolutely billowing with fresh dark made with molasses breadcrust. The cocoa happens when the nutty roasted slips into the fourth layer, which is hops. But not your usual Sierra Nevada hops--this is bittered but not flavored so much, and the restraint is impressive. Still, I could see Belgians calling this a saison IPA, or a strong dark IPA, or an IPA-dubbel-brown ale with a twist of lime, or some crap like that. To me it's an American brown with a Belgian character to it.

M&D--Mouthfeel's great, as the carbonation softens and distributes the flavors well. The drinkability is also good, as the flavor is interesting and complex without being heavy, and the 7.8 ABV, while high in the grand scheme of things, is well within range for the style. I mean, six of the top ten saisons are 7.4% or higher, for God's sakes.

Drinking this is like smelling a wet tulip or daffodil after a storm clears. A wonderful rainy April day beer. One disclaimer: drinking this may transform you into a Japanese poet. In any event, it's different and challenging, but the craft is so well-honored and so much in the spirit of the best of American brewing, it's well worth a shot.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Sunset as part of the Sierra Nevada Artisan Ale Experience. Served in a 13 oz tulip glass. Leather brown color. Thin white head. Faint smell of grass. Taste was really refreshing. A bit malty at the beginning, then it fades into dark seedy fruit such as fig. Finishes with a bit of a citrus tang on the palate. There is a bit of body to this beer, but it was quite light and drinkable. The high abv was a noticeable, which was a bit out of style for a saison. Overall a nice one-off beer from SN, and I would love to order this beer again if it were to re-appear to better beer bars in the area.

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Photo of MisterClean
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Sac Brew Company's Sierra Nevada night.

A - Poured a light mahogany, with a 1-fingered white head. It dissipated slow and left little lacing.

S - Wow! Chocolate, toffee, caramel, and coriander.

T - Chocolate, caramel, pepper, and bitterness. Um, the smell lied to me.

M - Well-balanced, thin, and dry.

D - Good, but beer could be more consistent.

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