Brown Bear Brown Ale | Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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36 Ratings

Brewed by:
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by hungryghost on 08-12-2004

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 20
Reviews by botham:
Photo of botham
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.35/5  rDev -37%
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.

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Photo of ajkiser12
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of monkeybeer
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of Loveyourbeer
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of pmcadamis
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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Photo of Rootdog316
4/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

 259 characters

Photo of PowDay
3/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of West_Chester_Ale_Tester
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Rod_J
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of NathanCoke
4.04/5  rDev +8.3%

Photo of DaveFL1976
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.22/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.13/5  rDev -16.1%
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.


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Photo of Thorpe429
3.82/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of granger10
3.37/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of Gavage
3.91/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of Spaceman_Jer
3.47/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Redrover
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
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!

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of KyleStanton
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of tapman
3.88/5  rDev +4%
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!

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Photo of jaluria
3.88/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Brown Bear Brown Ale from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 36 ratings