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

very good
312 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 312 | Ratings: 469
Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasting sample- pours yellow-orange.

Nose is a nice mix of pale malt and caramel with some estery apricot and hoppy hints of orange and flowers.

Palate is med-bodied with a big carbonation and a very sizable bitterness that really took me by surprise. Flavors of toasted grain and bitter walnuts pick up a bit of fruity orange and finally some caramel on the still bitter finish.

Definitely one of my favorites from the Beer Camp pack. The bitterness surprised me for the style, but then again the only other steam beer I've had is good ol' Anchor. But also, the bitterness doesn't surprise me from this producer. Good take on the style.

 640 characters

Photo of spicelab
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mulder1010 for hooking this up.

Orange gold, clear and bright, with a decent off-white sudsy head. Good lace trails, a slightly raised ring and a slow bead remain.

Starts with a lagery grainy character that I always fail dismally to place. Underlain by decent amount of candied citrus, mainly tangerine. Touch of banana and pear and a certain je ne sais quoi.

Rich malt character dominates, treacle and toffee and some more rustic earthy and nutmeg notes. Don't get much citrus hop character. Dull metallic character comes through later and tends to deaden the flavour profile.

Syrupy and vibrant in the mouth - sticks to all points of the palate. Only flaw is the slightly prickly micro-carbonation. Deceptively dry finish.

The presence in the mouth is by far the best characteristic for mine. Unfortunately the dirty grain action reminds me too much of bad Aussie beer and drags down the other characteristics.

 927 characters

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

Pours a metallic gold colour, very light bead in the clear body. Head is slightly off-white, fluffy and dense, retaining a finger of clingy lace. Looks good.

Smell is fairly pleasant. Plenty of hop character - some citric notes but largely resinous and slightly metallic edge as well. Hint of golden syrup underneath and a whisper of toasted muesli at the back. Good California Common aroma.

Taste is sweet to begin with, with lots of cereal grain, oats and barley that develops slightly earthy hop notes midway, even as it becomes sweeter, with a real caramelised grain note late-mid that goes along with the mildly resinous hop character. Finishes a little sweet, with a cloying, sticky yeast note not quite cleaned up by the hops, which add a tartness without cleansing.

Bit of fizz is noticeable through the insufficient body. Not offensive, though, just a bit too much tingle.

As the result of a Beer Camp, this beer leaves me very slightly disappointed. But as a brew, it's very good.

 994 characters

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.

 783 characters

Photo of beerdown77
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a nice orange with large fluffy head. The lacing and retention are superb. The smell is pretty mild…light malt and sweetness. There is a refreshing bitterness to this that is almost lager-ish. The malt is pretty dominant, but there is a decent balance of hops to make this a summer refresher. The beer is well crafted and good, but I don’t see myself craving this style in general. I prefer Liberty Ale to Anchor Steam too, I just lean toward the hops. However, I like a curveball now and then, and this beer tickled my fancy.

 541 characters

Photo of match1112
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: light yellow in color. head was like dish soap but didnt last long.

s: bread, sweet malts and a hint of spice.

t: very sweet, not at all what i was expecting.

m: a bit rough, yet still drinkable. little alochol burn on the back end.

o: my favorite of the beercamp series, but not as good as anchor. oh well s.n. still has a lot to be proud of.

 350 characters

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a dimpled mug. Relatively pale colored body, with lots of sediment floating around. Bottled on the April 2nd according to the bottle code.

Lot's of sweet flavors going on here...Ranging from toasted bread to honey graham crackers to sweet like fruit pears. Alcohol definitely presents itself as well. Surprisingly, there is barely enough hop bite at the end to keep everything in check. Semi-hot alcohol hit makes the finish a bit harsh.

I am probably not alone when saying that Anchor Steam sets the standard for this style. In my opinion, SN's Camp version is decent, but it lacks the body and overall smoothness I generally look for in the style. I believe this brew would greatly benefit from some addition of caramel malts and a lower attenuation yeast strain as well as higher mashing temperatures, as the alcohol is too assertive. A decent effort, but certainly my least favorite from this year's Beer Camp releases.

 956 characters

Photo of ADZA
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So stoked to see the beer camp brews finally hit our shores and this one pours a see through fluro copper hue which leaves a two finger head and clingy lacing,the smell is sweet malts,candy,brown sugar and ripe peaches,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and has tastes of sweet pale malts,a touch of candy,bready malts,ripe fruit and finished with a mix of sweet malts and stonefruit and overall its a nice steam beer thats easy to quaff but not a fan of the smell as it borders on macro but the taste doesnt and neither does the mouthfeel which is nearly spot on for style cheers.

 577 characters

Photo of cjgator3
2.76/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

A- Pours a clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is grainy malts and not much else. Not a whole lot to note in the aroma.

T- The taste features some slightly toasted malts along with some sweetness and a touch of hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, this is a decent beer but nothing I would probably have the urge to drink again. 

 430 characters

Photo of treehugger02010
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle from the Beer Camp variety case from Bryn Mawr Beverage in Rosemont, PA. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: The body is a dark straw light amber color. The head is a bright white color, 3 fingers tall, small sized bubbles, good retention, abundant thin lacing.
Smell: The aromas are yeast, green apple, and earthy hops. The might be some grape fruit. The flavors are rather muted.
Taste: The flavors citrus hops (grapefruit), yeast, and some earthy hop notes.
Mouthfeel: The body of this beer is medium, with a crisp clean finish.
Drinkability: This beer is pretty good.
Don't drink and review.

 620 characters

Photo of ms11781
3.04/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 05/13/2011. Bottled on 04/01/2011. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a completely clear, golden color with a minimal, fizzy head and no lacing. Carbonation is evident by appearance alone. The color and clarity of the beer are fantastic but they don't make up for the lack of head retention, or even a head, for that matter.

The nose is somewhat sweet. Sweet malts and some bready/biscuity malts are present. Perhaps a touch of citrusy aroma, more of a lemon or orange zest than a hoppy citrus aroma. There is a touch of what seem to be floral hops but not much at all.

The taste follows along with the nose. The malt stands out the most. Some sweet malt along with some bready malt characteristics. The hops show up a bit more in the taste with some floral notes but aren't relatively strong. There is also definitely a lemony taste that almost has a slight spice kick to it.

Crisp and clean. The mouthfeel is medium with carbonation to match. The carbonation tends to look much higher when judged on appearance alone but that's probably due to the clarity of the beer. It makes it seem as though the beer feels a bit heavier than it is.

Overall, this is a decent beer. Almost pilsner-like with the crisp and clean flavors and aromas. That being said, none of them really assert themselves, leaving the beer feeling a bit bland.

 1,358 characters

Photo of bonkers
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a SA perfect pint glass, light yellow pour, moderate white head. The aroma was light and pretty, IMO typical for style. The beer was hoppier than I expected, grassy and herbal. It has a lingering light hop finish. The carbonation was good, light body. My favorite from the mixed 12 pack, a very surprising brew, hope they make this into a 6 pack.

 383 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fantastic golden body, exceptional clarity, topped by a softball of snow white micro-bubbles. Terrific thick lace.

Pleasant, inviting light juicy fruity aroma.

Sweet caramel beginning dances across the tongue. Plenty of juicy fruit leading up to a crisp hop nip at the swallow and a clean finish with a mild lingering bitterness.

Firm middle of the road mouthfeel carries everything along smoothly and lightly.

A great take on California Common, a nice salute to that other pioneering California brewery that I always pair with SN in my head.

 549 characters

Photo of zhanson88
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a golden color with exceptional clarity. Not a lot of carbonation seems to be prevalent. About 3/4" of eggshell white head forms, which has okay lacing and retention.

Smell: I get some bready and biscuity malts. Some lemon and orange zest in there as well, with very minimal hops; perhaps a touch of florals in there.

Taste: Lots of bready malts on the palate, along with some citrus notes, mainly orange and lesser lemon zest. Some light noble hop character on the back end.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Over light bodied but not quite to medium, with low but still apparent carbonation. Not bad. Overall, a decent steam beer. Nothing offensive, but nothing to make it stand out a lot either. Reasonably well done though.

 734 characters

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

A: Pours a clear orange-gold color with some rather active carbonation initially. The off-white head is fairly tall, with a densely frothy and foamy texture. Retention is sturdy, leaving some above average lacing on the glass.

S: Light toastiness, with some mild doughy/bready notes. Faint caramel. Some fruity and spicy hop notes work well with the lightly sulfuric and fruity yeast characteristics.

T: Some toasty, doughy malt notes up front. Minor sweetness. Hop bitterness is medium, with some spicy and perhaps lemony flavors. Some sulfur and mineral character from the yeast, with some lighter notes of fruit (golden apple?).

M: Medium body. Quite smooth and creamy. Carbonation is prickly but generally lighter than average.

D: This is a good version of an unusual style. Toasty, bready, and pleasantly hopped with just enough unusual character from the atypical yeast. Quite well done.

 901 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass. Just a slight bit of head, not even ¼-inch. Lacing was light on the top. Honey golden color.

First smell was citrus hops. After digging a little deeper, I got grapefruit, lemon zest and honey. Not really what I was expecting.

Initial taste was honey, but then immediately to a strong bite of alcohol. Finished with a citrus bitter taste. Reminded me a bit of rubbing alcohol. Also a metallic taste.

Medium body with low carbonation. Still a bitter finish with an alcohol bite, but was pleasantly refreshing.

I am on the fence about this beer. It wasn’t really what I was expecting, but it really hit the spot.

 662 characters

Photo of thain709
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured a clear, honey-gold body with two fingers worth of white, foamy head...there was a lot of carbonation bubbles in this one...slow retention finally gave way to a thin cap...nice lacing

S - Pretty one dimensional here with malts leading the way...some light caramel and breadiness come through

T - The flavors present themselves as grainy up front with a bit of breadiness coming through as well...this actually goes on throughout the whole beer...caramel flavors add some nice sweetness to the beer...there is a nice hop bite as the beer finishes

M - Medium's crisp, but the caramel adds more body...would have liked it a bit lighter

O - This was a nice summer time beer but as I said before, I would have liked it to be a little lighter in the mouth...not the best of the bunch nor the worst

 818 characters

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

Light copper, little head. Slightly sour, lactic taste, metallic malt background, balanced with a light malt sweetness. Slightly syrupy feel, but effervescent carbonation cuts down on that. Interesting beer all around. Steam Beer is not a very common style (pun intended), but it is a combination somewhere near a marzen and german lager style. It has plenty you will recognize, but it is definitely its own animal.

 415 characters

Photo of AdamBear
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A-orange gold, transparent, thin tan head

S-smells like a honey biscuit. some alcohol. medium strength

T-comes in with mostly a warm and bitter taste. there is some honey and some tangy grains. there's an odd bitterness that sticks through the after-taste of honey and biscuits. the tastes aren't too strong. its a weird beer, its not wonderful but i do appreciate its subtle complexities.

M-watery with low carbonation and a watery finish

O-at first it tasted awful. but as i drank this, i noticed that i was enjoying it. its not exciting, but it seems to be very refined. this was a very impressive attempt at the style.

 626 characters

Photo of BigPlay1824
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass

A: Pours a golden color with a very slight amber hue, pours perfectly clear with no carbonation bubbles, a finger of bubbly white head that dissipates immediately, leaves nice lacing
S: nice scent of hops with underlying earthy tones
T: tastes different from the last time i had it, not bad just different, hits with initial hop bitterness then mellows out with a slight maltiness and finishes with an aftertaste like a bock, not sure why there's so much going on here
M: strong carbonation tingle, falls off the back of the palate relatively quickly
O: i enjoy this brew, but i did enjoy it much more the last time i had it, it was more mellowed out and crisp, if i can find it again ill have to revisit

 728 characters

Photo of doopydoogle
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - darker than a pils, tight bubbles, light lace that didn't last
S - Banana, honey, caramel, spices, old Budweiser
T - Rounded malts, honey, spice, good bitterness that is mild but lingering
M - Decent carbonation but kinda droopy
O - Good malt and bitter combo but fairly non-descript

 287 characters

Photo of JamnesCameron
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Le Cheval Blanc pint glass. Pours a clear, deep golden color with a rocky head of about two fingers. Very slow to drop, leaves a nice lacing.

Aromas of fruity yeast esters, grainy malt, earthy hops.

Flavors of rich, grainy malt, caramel sweetness, nice balancing bitterness, and fruity esters, like juicy fruit gum. Finish is short with grainy malt and a mild astringency lingering.

Mouthfeel is light, round, smooth; drying astringent hop bitterness. Good level of carbonation.

Overall nicely done. A new take on Steam beer, more malty. Astringent bitterness is a little off-putting. Almost metallic.

 619 characters

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

another review of the beer camp beers this time the california common.
poured from the bottle into a pint glass
appearance a hazy orange with a nice head.
smell slight sweet with some grains.
taste some pear and apple notes and some grain ,a little bit of alcohol presence.
not to bad

 284 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a clear golden orange with a smallish white head that goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is subdued - slightly sweet grains with some fruits.

The flavor is crisp grains with some sweet fruitiness and a dry noble hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with some sharp carbonation.

Overall, not my favorite style, but a good representation of it.

 390 characters

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

AKA Nuthin' In Common. Pours a pretty golden amber with a nice fluffy white head. Aroma is strong and malty with a firm fruity undertone that is mainly apple with pear and banana notes. Mouth-filling malty flavor has a firm fruity undertone, almost equal to the malt, a mixture of apple, pear and banana. Smooth texture has nice thick body and just a little bit of fizz.

 370 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.