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

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Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Brent on 05-11-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 312 | Ratings: 469
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good summer beer though drying finish, correlated with the dry hopping.Neutral aroma, light amber coloured body with generous retained white head. A hint of lace. Above average mouthfeel, quality malts and a low but crafted bitterness Cascade and Hallertau Magnums hops. Very drinkable. Let's see more of these,

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A decent representation of the Steam beer style. Small foam head which dissipated quickly. This may have been more a function of the glass utilized than the beer itself. Full tasting with crisp feel. The typical comparison will be made to Anchor's Steam beer which this falls short of but a solid member in the category.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a orange yellow color, The head was fizzy and faded quickly. The head quickly faded and doesn't leave any lacing. The smell of the beer has a little bit of caramel on the nose and some other grains. The taste of the beer has an interesting sweetness to it with a good balance of grains and malts. There's just a touch of hops in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is crisp and sharp feeling. Overall this beer is really good and found that it went really well with food.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.49/5  rDev -34%
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?

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Photo of oline73
3.39/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a half finger of off white head that fades to a ring at the edge of the glass.

Smell: Very mild smell. There is some grain sweetness along with mild hops and a floral note.

Taste: Not much sweetness if any. There is a grain/bread flavor along with some hop bitterness. There are also some floral and slightly fruity notes in there as well. Crisp and mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. The beer kind of just goes away, so I'm not sure what else to say about the finish.

Overall: Not a ton going on here. A nice beer to have a few in the warm weather. I would have liked the beer to stick around longer after taking a sip.

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Photo of zeff80
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, golden-orange color with a two-finger, off-white head of foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace.

S - It smelled floral and malty sweet. Nice but subtle aromas.

T - It had a sweet bready maltiness. There was a subtle spicy bitterness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied lager with a dry finish.

O - This is a very nice California Common. I enjoyed my first of the 2011 Beer Camp.

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Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of off-white foam on top of a clear, dark golden colored body. The head settles down fairly quickly and leaves light lace on the glass.

S - Musty, earthy hops with a bit of bread and light toffee malt qualities.

T - Herbal hops and red apple yeast notes up front. Some bready malt comes out in the middle with a hint of honey. More spicy hops in the finish as the malt is balanced by moderate bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Not bad, this is a pretty average example of the style. The malt seems a bit overly thick with perhaps more grainy sweetness than necessary and this hurts the drinkability a bit.

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Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I actually poured a bottle and a half into a 1/2 liter stein,a brilliant bronze color with a large fluffy white top,great definition and great lasting power to the head.The hoppiest steam beer I have come across at least aroma wise,to go along with herbal/grassy hops came a big sweet caramel base.Herbal hops again make a presence on the palate but the sweeter side kinda wins out,caramel and drunken fruit with an iron tinge overtop of herbal hops.This a brash steam beer with big sweetness and a healthy dose of hops,its brash,would you expect anything from this series?

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Photo of jlindros
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light fizzy and bubbly head of almost 1 finger that fades quickly over clear toasty straw golden color.

Nose brings light toasty malts, pilsner like, straw, slight sweetness, very light lager like fruit, touch of grassy mild hops.

Taste is crisp, a nice lager like flavor with touch of lager fruit, some pilsner malts, light straw, toasty sweet golden malts, with a touch of light grassy hops. Finishes dry and crisp, a bit bitter and starts to get a bit astringent, light lingering toasty malts too.

Mouth is slightly lighter bodied, good carbonation.

Overall not bad, the hops get a little too much on teh back end bringing a touch of astringency, sweetness is OK, nice crisp flavors, good on a hot day aside from the finish.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The yeast strain used for "steam" beer or "California Common" is the Christian Schmidt strain from Philadelphia. Does that really fit with the true history of the style? We don't know. (Possibly, yes, there are some thing that would point to something along those lines considering that John Wagner brewed the first lager beer in American in Philadelphia in 1840). But what we do know for sure is that the current ideal of "steam" beer was created by Anchor Brewing Company and that's the strain that they're using. So, what about that? Well, it gives the beer a bit of sulphur along with some fruitiness. It has a bit of a bite to it, and a touch of character. That's what distinguishes it from either a straight-forward ale or lager. The question then is, does Sierra's "Beer Camp California Common" have it? And the answer is yes. There's a touch of sulphur and a nice, wide fruitiness that's mainly reminiscent of juicy apple. (If you don't find the sulphur at first, you should find it in the burp - it should remind you of a lager). The rest is easy: pulling together the malt bill with a little bit of caramel; and focusing the bitterness level - both achieved! Overall it's quite pleasant, and it's got a lot of character to it despite its being basically a malt and yeast beer as the hops are kept in check. It's nicely done; and well worth checking out given the fact that the other beers in the "Beer Camp" 12-pack are quite nice as well.

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Photo of chinchill
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 12oz bottle served in pint glass.

Pours a clear amber with a durable and dense bone head. Plenty of visible carbonation.

Aroma of a relatively strong Pils; hops with a touch of sweet malt. Higher ABV all too evident after warming.

T - Some sweetness initially, but bitter in the end. Finishes mildly bitter and sour with hoppy aftertaste.

M- Medium-high carbonation; crisp with a semi-dry finish

O - Decent, mildly hoppy beer, and rather refreshing. Slightly bolder but not as good as Anchor Steam. Changes complexion with warming.

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Photo of mactrail
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well-rounded mellow lager.

More body than you'd expect from a light beer. Attractive head and lacing in the glass. Nice floral aroma. Biscuity barley flavor. The hops give it a really good balance without any overabundance. Crisp with the slight bitterness and the touch of acidic, lemony flavors. Overall, it is on the rich side.

This one from Sierra Nevada should do a lot to popularize the style. I"ll have to try the Anchor Steam again by way of comparison, but I don't have fond memories of it.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Pack - $16.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, light copper-amber body with a moderate, white head.

Smell: Fresh lemon peels overlaying lightly toasted, lightly grainy malts with a background sniff of spice and alcohol.

Taste: Pilsner and delicately toasty malt base with a very slight grainy accent to it and a modest sweetness. Lemony, lightly spicy hops with a grassy flourish to them instead of the downright woodsy NB hops. Amply bitter. Maybe a teensy hint of yeast and fruity esters. Semi-dry, crispish, zesty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium level of carbonation, though there's some lightly prickliness to it at times.

Overall: It really isn't your prototypical steam beer at all, but, then again, maybe that's why they opted for the "Nuthin’ in Common" name for the beer camp brew.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes:

A: Poured a clear golden color with a one finger bone white head on top. Nice retention with little bits of lacing.

S: Not a lot going on in the aroma, some light fruit and citrus hops, pale/grainy malt, and a little bit of doughy malt.

T: On the sweeter side, not as much floral/fruit/hops as expected based on the aroma. Heavy malt base with some bread/dough, a little bit of toffee, and some lemon peel.

M: Light to medium bodied, medium carbonation, but there are some small bubbles that roll across when drinking.

O: Nothing really stood out, but it wasn't bad. Not a ton in the style to compare it to, but it works.

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Photo of russpowell
4.52/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours honey colored with 3 fingers of fluffy cream colored head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Slight floral hop notes mix with breadyness & grassy/hay notes

T: Grassy & lemony hop notes up front along with a touch of pear & faint biscuitty malt notes. Dryness mixes in as this warms along with more grassyness, slight bready notes & lemony hops. Finishes crisp, slightly dry with nice lemony notes, could be a touch fruitier though, but that's a nitpick

MF: Light/medium bodied with firm carbonation & great balance

A stellar example of a Cali Common IMO, This one I wish this would turn to a year rounder or seasonal. The best of the four hands down

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice golden amber in color with a two finger head of white on top that really just sat there wonderfully, settling slowly and yielding a wonderful amount of light lacing down the sides of the glass. Aroma was a touch light for me. Light bready grains, hints of muted herbal hops. Nice touch of light caramel sweetness and a healthy dose of fresh grass coming in on the nose. Crisp, clean, refreshing and light flavor, just what I would have wanted in a lager. Nice medium to light feel just really hit the spot quite well, leaving me refreshed and pleased at the same time. So clean of a flavor, buttery, sweet and bready, just a very well done and nicely session able lager.

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Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smallish head that leaves absolutely no lace.  Golden color and nearly clear.

Unusually sour, slightly barnyard aroma. Grainy to the nose.

Creamy and quite malty without any raw grain flavor.  The finish is dry, but short lived.  For a Sierra Nevada, this is very low hopped.  The body is neutral while the carbonation is pretty high.  It's a pleasant summer beer because it's so innocuous.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks very much to abru17 for giving me this bottle -poured chilled in a willybecker and shared with octopus87(my wife).

The color is ruddy hued golden with great clarity and a 1/2 khaki cap. The bead is average sized and streams of pin sized bubbles are rise rapidly, lace clings spottily. The smell is nice -a slight bready nose with a lager-like aroma, slight noble hop tinge which gives a light lemon scent, with mild fruit ester from the yeast. The feeel is decent with somewhat hop focused with moderate bitterness and slight creaminess from the yeast which accent the malt slightly giving a more toased bready feel and the finish seems semi-dry and mildly bitter, yet clean.

This California common is very tasting w/ tea and apple skin-like notes indicative of Northern Brewer hops with a slight yeasty tanginess which blends well with the piney elements in the hops which also display some noble lemony/herbal accents. The only thing is the yeast and hops seem to lean away from the malt even though it is balanced well overall. I like the dry refreshing quality and the semi-bitter hopping is right in line. Overall I enjoyed the heck out of this. I could drink this style year round and this is slightly better then the classic Anchor Steam beer.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a clear golden amber color with a finger of white head.

S: A rather mild nose with most of the aroma coming from bready and pale malts. Lightly yeasty with some slight toffee sweetness. Minimal hop aroma, mostly citrus peel with a light floral quality.

T: Sweet bread and biscuit malts up front with a hint of toffee and caramel as it warms up. A subtle spiciness which is nice, and some yeast to it as well. Not terribly bold, but good.

M: Medium in body and carbonation.

O: Nothing about this beer really stood out, but for some reason I enjoyed it.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.96/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of this at Stateline today. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip while I watch my Giants beat the Eagles.

a - Pours a clear golden orange color with high carbonation evident and 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Few minutes of retention and lots of lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells a bit musty, and of fruit malts, spices, and light bready malts. Not bad, but pretty average and not a ton going on.

t - Taste follows the nose with the fruity and bready malts, but there is a little bit of a weird taste to it as well that I can't old musty fruit. A step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty average beer. Nothing really stood out about it and I wouldn't seek it out again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

And here the Beer Camp experience ends. Shame, really. It pours a clear brass topped by a finger of soapy white foam. The nose comprises wheat, coriander, sweet flowers (I'm leaning toward violets on this one), and even sweeter honey. It's not the most flamboyant aroma around, but it is definitely pleasant. The taste holds notes of wheat, light toffee, grass, sweet flowers, and a touch of orange rind. The body is a hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a nearly crisp finish. Overall, a very nice steam beer, something easily drinkable, especially for those who like the lighter things in the summer.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.62/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is transparent and golden hued, with a steady ascension of bubbles emanating from the depths of the pint glass. A quarter inch or so of white head floats on top and leaves some random lacing on the glass.

The aroma is of malt and grain, and smells akin to a pilsner.

The flavor brings grain and a light bitterness. Simple but effective.

The body is thin to medium, with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol content is masked well, and this beer is pretty easy to drink and joy.

Overall, a nice simple beer, and only the second example of the style I have enjoyed. I would have it again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear amber color pours with a beautiful thicket of off white head, forms fine even speckled lacing. Aroma has a hint of citrus hops with a nice fruity caramelized malt profile. Fairly sweet wave of malts with barely any noticeable balancing hops, really one dimensional that actually finishes with a bit of booze. There's not much besides the malts to cover up the 6.5% abv, overall not my favorite California brewed steam beer but a solid effort from a mixed 12 pack with such a diverse group of beers. I really wouldn't want this beer in number, overall I'm happy with it but it lacks the great thing that Anchor Steam has going...drinkability.

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Best Of Beer Camp: California Common - Beer Camp #8 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.77 out of 5 based on 469 ratings.
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