Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8
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California Common / Steam Beer
3.79 | pDev: 11.08%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8
Reviews: 312 | Ratings: 468 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden pour, lots of clarity, 1/2" white head. Aroma wasn't hoppy, the hybrid yeast situation yielded sweetness.

Taste was a bigger than usual common (6.5%), but it was relatively disguised by the yeasty sweetness to the beer. Good stuff, definitely comparable to Anchor Steam. Good for summer weather. One of the sweeter SN beers I've ever had.

Mar 10, 2016
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WastingFreetime from Wisconsin

3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out an orangish-golden color with light amounts of hazing and a two finger head that lasts for about a minute and a half, leaving behind minimal lacing on the glass. Medium body and carbonation levels, with a touch of crispness to the texture.

Smells of light cereal graininess and a touch of herbal hopping, that's about it for the nose. The flavor is a bit stronger : I get a biscuit sort of malt tinged with a bit of sulphur, plenty of grassy, herbal, and hay hopping with an earthen / light apple skin garnish on the finish. Drinks easy, yet complex enough to be a sipper if you want it to be.

Sep 05, 2012
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This sticks pretty well to the style. A little tangy and bitter with some mild spice tones. This is a good execution of a style that I don't ever seem to really appreciate. Even though this is nice, it still isn't my cup of tea. Good job on overall, though.

Aug 05, 2012
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bsp77 from Minnesota

3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Note: I reviewed this on 5/8/11 under the old listing for this beer before everything was fixed.

Best of Beer Camp #8: California Common (Nothin in Common)

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Bottled on 1091 (April 1, 2011)

Appearance: Clear golden-amber with initial frothy white head, leaving slight lacing behind.

Smell: Biscuit, cherry and citrus (lemon and orange) predominately. Light caramel and spiciness.

Taste: Somewhat sweet malt backbone of cherry, toast and caramel. Tastes like a German lager, but fruitier and with more citrusy hops on top of the malt backbone. Not much bitterness; just a spicy (noble?) hop kick.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, semi-dry finish. Really smooth but somehow slightly boozy.

Overall: Overall, it seems a little too malty and boozy for a California Common. As a result, it comes across like a bigger, fruitier German lager. This is not really a bad thing, as it is quite tasty, but I expected more.

Jul 15, 2012
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 5/2011 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a clear orange amber, thin head and no lacing. Very light sweet malt aroma. Light sweet malt, a hint of light fruit with a spicy hop flavor and finish. Flavors are subdued, but the progression works nicely. Much more interesting than other steam beers I've had.

Mar 21, 2012
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gkunkle from Oregon

3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouts a hazy golden orange color with a 1" white head from a slightly aggressive pour. Head recedes to a thick film with a few tiny spots of lacing in my glass. Smell is of grains and floral hops, a touch of citrus too. Taste highlights the citrus more than the taste, taste is smooth from the grains, I get some coriander, orange, A touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium with a tickle of carbonation as the beer crests the tongue. This is a good beer, not very much like anchor steam, but I think I like this better.

Jan 24, 2012
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jwhawkins81 from Ohio

3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on 6/11/11

Aroma - Sweet malts with a hint of herbal like hop aroma

Appearance - Golden yellow clear with good carbonation and a nice white head that dissipated to just a collar

Taste - Smooth sweetness malts with not much hop presence. A well rounded malt flavor that is pretty much unique. However I may have discovered Cal-Common isn't my kind of style.

Dec 25, 2011
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vfgccp from New York

3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A – Solid orange gold. Light white head settles quickly with low lace.

S – Light citrus, floral rose, and malt. Twang of herbal thyme.

T – More bitter than I expected. Lightly sour Clementine fruitiness and an herbal hop character of rosemary and fresh oregano. A smooth, semi-sweet finish leaves your palate with a lingering bitterness.

M – Light body with ok carbonation.

O – Prominent hop character on an otherwise mellow profile. Nice drinkability.

Dec 23, 2011
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HalfFull from California

3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. Pours a clear deep golden/amber with half an inch of foam and a strange lingering array of tiny bubbles suspended in the pour. Retention is somewhat light.

Neutral grainy aroma of pale malts, clean and pilsner like in quality. Light noble hop aroma with lemon notes and showing a bit of huskiness as well. Flavor follows the nose with a citric graininess and full texture. Finishes with a light bitterness and a bit of fruity sweetness. Carbonation seems to dissipate but the beer remains quite spritzy on the tongue.

Dec 22, 2011
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spinrsx from Canada (ON)

3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance – Clear golden yellow colour with an average size fizzy white coloured head. There is a below average amount of carbonation showing and there is a fairl amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Grains, bread, corn, malts, hops, lemons

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation. I can taste grains, lemons, and some hops. There is also a touch of corn and some herbal grass/leaf taste. It finishes with a lemony/hoppy aftertaste.

Overall – A nice drinkable beer that to me is a Helles lager. It has quite a bit of herbal taste to it. Not my favourite style of beer, so I won't rush out to get more, but it was nice to try.

Dec 07, 2011
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CampusCrew from Florida

3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was one of the beer I had at the Sierra Nevada beer dinner at Kickbacks. not favorite style but it was well done. big body for style, apple and nice malty flavors. Was a great night. Had amazingly paired food with one of my all time favorite breweries. I would love to have this beer again as well as others from the night.

Dec 06, 2011
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blackcompg from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pourd from a 12oz bottle from their beer camp sampler -

Appearance - Poured a quick 2 fingers of eggshell head, color of the beer is a slightly haze lite orange amber. Nice lacing left after this session.

Smell - Apples, pears, floral hops, a touch of wheat, and lite spices, really smells good.

Taste - Wow, this is delicious and very refreshing. Starts out with crisp slightly sweet spiced apple, spice seems to be coriander and some nutmeg, dries to crusty well done apple fritter, then joined by some really nice grassy floral hops - the hops do not replace the sweetness, but complement the semi-sweet fruits and biscuits.

Mouthfeel - Nearly medium, as there is a slight creaminess going on here, but the carb keeps everything crisp on the sides of the tongue, and the finish is pleasantly clean and a touch dry.

Overall - I'm really impressed by this beer, and really enjoyed this years beer camp sampler. My favorite was the DIPA, but all were great beers. I totally agree with another reviewer that this would be a great spring/summer beer. A 6.5% ABV makes this a pretty sessionable beer, I hope to see this one again.

Nov 30, 2011
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Popp24 from California

4.55/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer and it was my favorite of the Beer Camp choices. This beer has a nice creaminess to it that makes it an easy beer to drink. I really feell like this should be a year round beer for Sierra Nevada or at least a beer that comes out in the Summer or Spring.

Nov 22, 2011
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GbVDave from Illinois

3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A: Pours a crystal-clear, dark honey gold color with 2 fingers of shortlived foam on top. After about 20 seconds all that remained was a thin collar.

S: Initial aroma was of caramel apples. After it settled for a bit some spicy and herbal hops crept out to look around.

T: See above. Caramel apples that led into some crackery malt and/or toasted bread crusts. Caramel flavor runs through the whole time.

M: Spicy and prickly and easily the best thing about this beer. Takes the edge off the caramel which could've devolved into a overly sweet and slick mess.

O: Pretty impressed. I wasn't expecting much at all and ended up being sufficiently suprised.

Nov 05, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000 from Texas

3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a light orange color with a white head. The aroma is full of bread and graham cracker. I also get a little bit of honey in the aroma. The flavor has the same malt component as the aroma, with the addition of some toffee and grass from the hops. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. I am not usually a huge fan of this style but this beer was pretty good.

Oct 31, 2011
FeDUBBELFIST from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to stein. Beer Camp #8, sampled 6/22/11.

A: Frothy and airy, the off-white, yellow-tinged 3 finger head lasts for a respectable amount of time. The body is perfectly clear and is light golden orange in color. Lacing is spare to none.

S: Somewhat toasty, the aroma is not malt heavy, but the balance leans far from the hoppy end of the spectrum. A little bit of caramel and a touch of grass if anything. There is almost nothing going on in the nose, although this improves as the beer warms.

T: The flavor is among the best of what California Commons have to offer. A rustic earthiness is balanced by light fruity esters, although the latter is quite subdued. Very grainy and mildly papery. The alcohol content is higher than usual, so as the beer warms, it's no surprise that it rears its head on the nose and palate. For that reason, I enjoyed drinking this beer more on the colder side.

M: Medium-full body with a fizzy carbonation that is fine and expansive, bordering on lively. Minerally texture and a light bitterness on the end to keep things clean.

O: I'm not so surprised, honestly, that I enjoyed this beer as much as I did. If Sierra Nevada will put their name on it, it's always worth a try. And a lot was done right with this one.

Oct 30, 2011
Photo of foles
foles from Australia

4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper colour, with a thin modest head without looking creamy. Citric/lemony/robust hops on the nose with a slight metallic edge. Bitter lemons, mint and slight creamyness (in a creaming soda sense) as well as some background caramel on the palate. Dry hop bitterness, an imaginary sweetness, and a creamy mint like finish on the back of the palate as it goes down. Very moreish!

Solid beer.

Oct 28, 2011
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oriolesfan4 from Maryland

3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the new Beer Camp series and I love Sierra Nevada so had to get it. Have only tried one other California Common (Anchor Steam) and really liked the style and the subtleness to it. Appearance is a little bland not too appealing, but the nose is nice and aromatic. Taste is super smooth and light to medium bodied, nice balance of the hops and the classic 'steam' beer taste. Great drinkability, hides the ABV well. Nothing fancy, but true to the style and a solid session beer.

Oct 11, 2011
Photo of Jugs_McGhee
Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

2.49/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz. brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired as part of the beer camp pack. Purchased at Wally's Wine.

A: Pours a four finger head devoid of cream, of slight thickness, and good retention. Colour is a transparent dark copper-gold.

Sm: Smells of pleasant barley with light floral and cream tones. Very nice albeit light.

T: Maltier than expected. The cream goes flat in the third act, which I really don't like. The barley foundation is understated and bland. I only have one other beer (Anchor Steam) in the style I can compare to, but going by that, this is poorly executed. Simple, bland, boring, and imbalanced.

Mf: Smooth, wet, light, and thin.

Dr: It's very easy to drink and hides its ABV well, but the low quality and bland character will turn most consumers away. Are there even true fans of the style to buy this?

Oct 10, 2011
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carolinabeerguy from North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a honey amber with a 2 finger frothy egg-shell colored head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt and grains with a hint of hops in the background.

Taste: Bready malt and a hint of citrus up front followed by grains and sweet malt in the middle and ending with a nice hoppy bitterness that isn’t overpowering at all. Aftertaste is a nice blend of malt and hops. Very well-balanced.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied with a fairly high amount of carbonation. Goes down very smooth.

Drinkability: You could knock back several without much trouble. The slightly elevated ABV is very well masked.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. While this is only my second California Common/Steam Beer, I’ve always loved Anchor Steam. I dare say that this is may be better than Anchor Steam, which is quite a statement. I would love to see this in six packs year round.

Oct 09, 2011
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brewdlyhooked13 from Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours a light orange/amber. A solid cap of flat white foam with great retention. Leaves layered rings of lace behind.

Aroma - kind of a standard grainy start, but the hops emerge after a moment. Slighty citrusy, slightly floral, very nice and with good resilience.

Taste - light biscuity grain, the hops follow with some light orange and pine notes. Excellent balance, a mellow bitterness on the swallow. A good pale ale flavor, but in handy, smoother lager form.

Mouthfeel - smooth, good crispness. Nice body without being too heavy.

Drinkability - excellent camp/fireside beer. I'll hate to see the last of these go.

Oct 07, 2011
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bushbeer75 from Michigan

3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle part of the 2011Best of Beer Camp Variety Pack

Sierra Nevada California Common Camp #8 poured clear light amber producing a small off-white fizzy head that left fizzy lacing. The aroma is of light toasted malts and light flora grassy hops in the background. The taste follows the nose with malt upfront and at the finish a light hoppy lingering bitterness. The mouth feel is light-medium with a generous and active carbonation, clean and crisp.

Overall, California Common #8 is an easy drinking brew nice for the spring and summer.

Oct 05, 2011
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Heatwave33 from Florida

3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Copper with a white head.

Smell: A good hop with a yeasty aroma.

Taste: Same as the smell. Nice hop with a yeast flavor.

Mouthfeel: Lightly coarse and dry.

Overall: A decent brew to have but I wouldn't go searching for it. Enjoyed with some friends. A pretty simple beer. Nothing out of the ordinary. Cheers!

Oct 05, 2011
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CrazyDavros from Australia

3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a large, fading head.
Nose shows floral and spicy hops, sweet resinous notes, lots of sweet clean malt as well as some light fruit (apples, white grapes, pears). Very nice!
Flavours are quite different, with toasty, nutty malt, bready characters, industrial alcohol, cardboard notes and spicy hops. Quite a mix. Unfortunately the industrial character is really quite prominent.
Too much carbonation, which only serves to emphasise that off-flavour.

Oct 04, 2011
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JednoPivoProsim from Maryland

3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on day 91 of 2011 (April 1). "2011" California Common. From the 12 pack box: "Our take on California's native style. It is a unique hybrid brew with complex aromas from the use of specialized ale yeast, combined with the smooth and clean flavors of a refined lager."

Appearance: Pours a clear copper with a thick white head.

Smell: Smells of yeasty booze. Somewhat bready in the aroma.

Taste: Very bready and boozy. Reminiscent of a strong lager or bock. At 6.5% ABV, I guess that is to be expected, but other high ABV SN brews hide the alcohol better. I like the flavor, but this is definitely far from a session beer.

Mouthfeel: Appropriately, crisp and refreshing. Not too heavy, but definitely not thin whatsoever. Not a ton of carbonation. I get a bock sensation in the aftertaste as well.

Overall: A good, albeit not great, beer. Interesting indeed. Based on the description above concerning the specialized ale yeast, does this qualify as a California Common/lager? Does it matter?

Sep 30, 2011
Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 468 ratings