Brown Bear Brown Ale
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Brown Ale - American
not listed
Ranked #31,980
3.75 | pDev: 12.27%
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States
Very Good
View: Beers
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 36 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of RoamingGnome
RoamingGnome from Wisconsin

4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brown Bear India Brown Ale 6.3% ABV

From 4/3/13 tasting notes. Enjoyed on tap after dinner. Arrived in tulip style pint glass. Served chilled.

A) A nice rich brown brew with a good finger of a tan colored head. Excellent retention on the head and ample lacing. Looks tasty...

S) Dark malt, roast, a little nutty, not too sweet. Actually, this was really piney with a hint of citrus.

T) Follows the nose... This packed a lot of flavor. The brown ale base was there, with deliciously piney hops. This really reminded me of a Black IPA. Nice aftertaste...

M) Medium body with pretty lively carbonation. A piney tingle coated my mouth.

O) Perhaps this was a variation of the regular Brown Bear??? The hops utilized in this brew was very enjoyable. I would definitely order this one again. Glad to recommend.

Apr 06, 2013
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Rootdog316 from Virginia

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogony brown beer with a light tan head. Rich malt aroma. Caramel malt flavor with light frutiiness. Medium bodied. Caramel malt lingers with a bit of dark fruit. This is definitely one of the better brews at Rock Bottom in Bethesda, MD. Highly recommended.

Mar 28, 2011
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. On tap at the Rock Bottom in Bethesda, MD.

Pours a moderate brown color with some caramel coloring to it. The nose brings forward a moderate amount of sweet malt and a tad bit of brown sugar. Some light fruits and toffee there as well. Hints of roasted smoke. Good flavor with some sugary sweetness and some roast. Moderate body with lower levels of carbonation. Pretty good flavors but nothing really carrying them through.

Oct 24, 2010
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drabmuh from Maryland

4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is classified by the brewer as scottish ale at 4.9%. So far I'm 5 for 5 with mistakes on here. Beer is served in a shaker pint. Beer is brown / dark red with a thin white head of small bubbles that completely coats the glass with lacing.

The aroma is almost spicy and has a mild malt character to it.

Beer is caramel and sweet. The sweetness comes up later than the caramel. Its an interesting mouthfeel. Slightly thinner than I expected on the palate. Beer is smooth though, with a high mouthfeel. No aftertaste and some nice biscuit in there as well. Its a pretty good beer.

Jul 13, 2010
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RunDWP from California

3.22/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Went to one of my local brew pubs, and had this one with some fried salmon and chips. Rock Bottom is one of the more corporate brew pub chains, and while this is not in of itself a bad thing, this beer came across to me as pretty much indistinguishable from the standard Newcastle brown. Perhaps it has a better carbonation level than the over carbonated Newcastle, but that was about it.

My shaker glass was served with a slight amount of residual fizzy foam floating above the deep brown brew. The aroma was slightly nutty, the taste was a little nutty and a bit thin, and not much else. It just didn't have a lot of strong or complex flavors to merit more of an OK rating.

Unobjectionable brews are sort of by definition drinkable, and it did play a role in an enjoyable dinner at the brew pub.

Feb 01, 2009
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Redrover from Wisconsin

3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Rock Bottom Mug Club mug... The beer is a dark brown with a tan head. It's hard to tell lacing with these mugs as the walls are not smooth.

The nose is of brown sugar, dark fruit and lightly roasted malts.

The taste tracks very close to the smell. Sugared plums, a bit of smoke, a hint of tobacco, bakers chocolate and some hearty whole wheat bread. Some bitterness is there for balancing.

The mouth seems a trifle thin for the style, but it is a very minor quibble as it is smooth and almost silky.

Good beer to pair with their tasty chili. I will have another!

Dec 09, 2008
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botham from New York

4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at the brewpub in chicago. pours a deep chocolate brown with a creamy tan head with no lacings and great retention. aroma is of dry roasted malts with up front coffee and chocolate notes with a touch of burnt malt in the background. taste is very smooth and mellow with notes of roasted malt and coffee with chocolate and caramel forming a base. mouthfeel is full bodied with a creamy smooth texture and a smooth and satisfying finish of coffee and toasted malt. drinkability is great. this is an excellent brown porter with great proportion and very smooth profile. cheers!

Nov 01, 2008
Photo of Gavage
Gavage from Nevada

3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: brown in color with a nice 1" off white head. Nice lacing developed during the session.

Smell: malt sweetness is mild but pleasant.

Taste: nice malt profile with caramel, bits of chocolate, and a soft bitterness. There is a hint of earthy quality to this too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Smooth throughout. Caramel and chocolate last briefly on the tongue after swallowing.

Drinkability: nice sessionable ale here. Being in Seattle this was a decent drinking beer amongst all the great ones in town.

Sep 17, 2008
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JDV from Texas

3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown to black with a light tan head. Smell is really nice and roasty with light coffee and chocolately notes. Taste is roasty and coffee like maltiness but thin, like most of the regular offerings. Light bitter roasty cocoa powder finish. Still a good brown, all around.

Jun 30, 2008
Photo of monkeybeer
monkeybeer from California

4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark ruby brown, with nice tan head and good lacing

S- Smell is sweet malt, caramel, and chocolate

T/M - Taste is of roasted malt and a sweet caramel as the beer warms the flavor profile seems to shine and becomes and the roasted malt comes through even more. None of the flavors are overpowering and it is a well balanced beer.

D- Good brown ale very drinkable, a lot heavier than other browns, but very good with the chicken fired chicken.

Feb 28, 2008
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barleywinefiend from Washington

3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There was not much of a nose on this. It poured light brown, watery, much like a New Castle. It went down very smooth and finished clean. No aftertste, very malty and surprisingly hoppy. My friend swears by it and bough a growler. I myself thought it was a little above average for a chain beer

Dec 25, 2007
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tapman from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kudos to Rock Bottom for making a beter brown ale that Goose Island. If you disagree you can beer mail me you bunch of marys.

Appearence is a dark brown/amber with a tan head that dissapates at a medium pace. Looks like a decent, hearty brew.

Smells of the three main roasts, caramel, chocolate, and roasted. Not much hops to speak of in the nose, but there is a thin character of some sweet tanginess in there that I think to be hops. Still the malts smell so good, like a liquid beer brownie.

Taste is more akin to a sweetened Guiness. Very caramely and chocolatey. Hops do get a bit overpowered in the mix, but there is just enough bitterness and tang in there to give it there signature beer bite and an experienced drinker can find them. Definetly for the malt-mouths out there.

Mouthfeel is quite good. Not a nitro tap yet creamy and smooth. Once again this reminds me of a Guiness in texture this time, though without a metalic nitro aftertaste. Good medium/thick body that goes down surprisingly easy.

Lately this has been my session brew since my friends always want to go out to eat and I always want to go out for a beer at a good bar. Its sweet that it is brewed on premesis and of all the waitstaff I've talked to this is usually the favorite. Kicks Goose Island's Brown Nut Ale in the, well, nuts. I've also tried it in kegs and growlers which leads me to my upcoming re-review which delves into some experimentation of its quality. Excellent malty brew!

Sep 03, 2007
Photo of pmcadamis
pmcadamis from Illinois

3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brown brew with a purplish red cast when held to the light. A thin cap of light tan foam tops this brew. I've noticed that all of the beers that I had at Rock Bottom had small heads, but I suspect that If I pulled my own beer that would be a different story....I'm sure most patrons appreciate a draft beer that isn't half head so they probably pour slowly to minimize foam and spillage.

S - Thin sugary malt with some slightly roasty and caramely notes. No complaints here.

T - Caramel, brown sugar, and bready malt with some grassy hop flavors too. Sort of roasty and stout-like. Very well balanced.

M - I wish this had a bit more body! It tastes pretty damn good, but I like my browns to have some heft to them, and this one is just a bit thin. Carbonation is moderate with enough zing to clean the palate between bites of the wonderful food.

D - A basic session or meal beer that isn't very memorable, but it's good enough.

Aug 03, 2007
Photo of DaveFL1976
DaveFL1976 from Florida

3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A turbid brown body (almost cola brown) with a light tan head that lasts a while. Smell is roasty, with a bit of dry chocolate malt in the taste. A pretty smooth taste overall, but with a bit of breadyness at the end. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, but drinkability isn't as strong as it could be.

Aug 21, 2006
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasty brew. Very standard of other good Brown Ales, but nothing that would make it stand out above the rest. Looks,...well, brown with a low-level head retention and lacing. Smells sweet with toasted malts, chocolate, and with a milky fermentation, souring aroma; but not to deter. Tastes quite sweet with chocolate and malt with a mild nutty, molassas flavor. Moderately round and full textured and flavored. Finishes with a sweet chocolate / malt flavor and a light hop / grin bittering.

Aug 07, 2006
Photo of TheSarge
TheSarge from Virginia

3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

When this brew was presented to me, it had a slight head which was tan in color. The head disappeared rather quickly, and had practically no lacing. The body of Brown Bear Brown is very dark with an amber hue. This brew produced aromas of a chocolate caramel character, and tasted toasty and sweet from the darkly roasted malts. Very little hops character. This brew was decent, one of the better Brown Ales I've tried.


Jun 23, 2006
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DaPeculierDane from Wisconsin

2.35/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Deep but transparent brown with a thin and quickly disappearing white head. Smells lightly of nuts and lightly roasted malts. Tastes and feels very macro like and kind of mixed up. No hops to speak of. Quite dull and a bit of a chore to finish a pint.

Nov 22, 2005
Photo of jaluria
jaluria from Connecticut

3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown with a light tan head and good lacing. Smells of roasted malt and a bit of toffee. Very appealing. The taste is suprisingly refreshing and smooth. As the brew warms, a nutty flavor becomes more pronounced and blends elegantly into the toasted character of the beer. After a few sips, I taste the remnants of bittersweet chocholate. Only enhances my desire for more; great drinkability. This brew goes very well with flavorful dishes since it is not overly powerful.

Sep 20, 2005
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granger10 from Wisconsin

3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from Notes:
Deep brown color with a really nice, roasty and nutty scent. Flavor however is a bit muddled in malts. The roastiness is there but weak with the body. There's a nuttyness but it's also understated. Hops seem to be missing. This one actually does seem a little dumbed down and made for the masses. I guess they can't get the brewer here can't get all of the right.

Nov 24, 2004
Photo of hungryghost
hungryghost from District of Columbia

4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fluffy tan head. Deep, dark brown but not opaque.
Smells of roasted malts.
Hand pulled and room temp helps bring out the flavors in this one.
Not watery, decent medium bodied beer. Lacing winds down the glass.
Roasted malts stand out, maybe some caramel. Pleasant nutty finish.
Good with food. I imagine drinking this by a roaring fire.
A consistently good one in Bethesda.

Aug 12, 2004
Brown Bear Brown Ale from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 36 ratings