Pandan Brown Ale
Northwest Brewing Company

Pandan Brown AlePandan Brown Ale
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Herb and Spice Beer
Ranked #139
Ranked #34,432
3.67 | pDev: 15.53%
Northwest Brewing Company
Washington, United States
Pandan Brown AlePandan Brown Ale
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 26 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jc911s
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great taste, fair head, poor visual, but your want to drink your beer, not look at it.
Excellent with Chinese food, tempura, and BBQ. Must be kept cold, so use a frosted mug, and I usually keep mine in the freezer, upside down with extra water in the bottom base, so the mug is colder for longer

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Photo of animal69
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a deep reddish-brown color w/ a thick off-white cap tahat dissipates quickly leaving a decent lace in my nonic

S- smell is mild, a bit of metallic grain, some sorta rotting fruit leans toward an earthy musty almost moldy note overall

T- taste is a bit acidic and contains that same "sweet mold" fruity floral note, some caramel/toffee bounces around with nuts but this one starts off big & drops off quick leaving only a slight puckering dryness in the finish

M-a very dry brew, the mouthfeel is much lighter than a 6% should be, plenty of co2 may help that

D- actually pretty darn drinkable, it's gone before you know it

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Photo of Billolick
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First, gotta love getting a quality micro bomber for $3.49 for a bomber ($3.49! nice and affordable). I've never heard of Pandan leaves, but the gentle, yet exotic note it adds to this beer is quite enjoyable. Pours typical brown ale brown, thick, frothy and retentive khaki head, leaving ample fine bubble light sheeting and then loads of spotty lace. Nose is malty with a hint of asain spice ( I suppose its pandan leaf, but not sure), smooth and malty, with sweet medium dark roast malts in control. Interwoven is the aforementioned slight asain, herbal note. Nicely done, quite drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of tpd975
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours a light brown hue no real head. No retention or lace.

S: Tons of sweet malt aroma. Mostly brown sugar, with hints of caramel and toasted malt.

T: Malty malty goodness. Bold brown sugar, caramel, and light roast. Hints of nuttyness with a dash of earth.

M: Light in body, smooth, with light carbonation.

D: Easy drinking, pretty tasty.

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Photo of blackc5
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting too much since I have a few of their other spiced/flavored beers and was never too impressed, but this one had a nice combination of flavors and actually worked quite well. Appearance-wise, it poured a deep brown and actually had some great lacing as I polished it off. Aromas coming off were fairly mild - roasted malt being the most prevalent, and some sugary caramel as well. Flavor actually was nicely balanced between the roasted malts, nuts and the touch of sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and moderate carbonation. Drinkability is quite high actually - between the pleasant taste and low ABV, at least on-tap, I could have a few of these easily.

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Photo of WesWes
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a translucent brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a nice roasted malt scent along with a bit of chocolate malt sweetness. Apparently, there is a Pandan leaf aroma as well, but I'm unfamiliar with the plant. The taste is average. It has a weak, roasted malt flavor with some herbal character as well. The palm sugar adds some unique character, but I'm not sure it's a good contribution. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. These guys certainly create some interesting brews. This one is quite drinkable.

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Photo of Gavage
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a clear dark amber / almost brown color with a one finger head.

Smell: malt sweetness and some hint of earthiness provides a very mellow aroma.

Taste: nice malt profile with caramel tones, hint of toasted nuts, and a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: crisp to start, smooth and lightly dry at the finish. Very brief aftertaste here. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: this was an easy to quaff beer. Nice flavor profile keeps it interesting for several glasses.

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Photo of indiapaleale
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pandan Brown Ale a rusty brown color with a fizzy head that is sort of loosely packed together. Sort of reminds me a bit of cola.

Aroma is caramel and brown sugar, I still don't really know what the aroma of pandan should be so I am not sure I can pick it out. Overall the smell of this beer is rather bland and reminds me of Newcastle.

The flavor profile of this beer is pretty much that of an average brown ale with some sweeter than average components. Its definitely got some brown sugar stuff going on and a very malty finish but no real complexity. I wish the pandan offered up more so that I could brag about how much I enjoy pandan and people could assume I know a lot about its use in cooking but alas that is not the case. Nonetheless I respect the brewery for doing something new and innovative.

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Photo of collander
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unique in many ways, the beautiful color and slightly sweet nose gives you a good presentation of what's to come. Pandan leaves and palm sugar lent them selves to a lightly sweet and nutty flavor. This brew would lend it's self well to spicy Thai, and heartier meats. Stay away from aged goudas and sweetness

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Photo of brentk56
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an ice tea brown color with a thick head that leaves a few splashes of lace

Smell: Nuts, palm sugar and cocoa tones, with an hay and wood aspect that I will chalk up to the pandan leaves, not having a very good idea what a pandan leaf should smell like

Taste: Earthy, at first, with a developing palm sugar sweetness that is accompanied by underlying cocoa and fruit aspects; after the swallow, the nuts, hay and woody herbal (pandan?) flavors enter the profile, adding a balancing element; the finish is dry and woody

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Glad I had a chance to try this again as my first experience was with a bottle that soured

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Photo of brewercraig
3.22/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Part of our shipment from Liquid Gratitude. Beer was a deep brown with a slight haze; head was low. Aromas were earthy and dark, musky. Flavors of dark sugars, some earthiness, some spiciness in finish plus some exotic flavors. Body was light and carbonation was good. A drinkable beer, however not a session beer. I think it would go well with food.

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Photo of Gmann
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a chestnut brown color with a sub-par off white head that settled into a very small ring, has a flat appearance. Has a bit of a nutty and sweet aroma, nothing too distinct. The taste is nutty and sweet. Not much depth to this brew, no real malt character and I don't seem to pick up any of that pandan leaf. Has an enjoyable flavor but seems a tad shallow. The feel is light to moderate with fizzy carbonation; finishes sweet, tad dry. Yes it is brown in color and does have some nutty flavor but lacks the soul of a brown ale. The palm sugar is a nice touch and adds to the drinkability

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Photo of canucklehead
2.94/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I,m not sure this one is up to snuff. The colour is a kinda nasty brown shade that has lots of unfiltered stuff floating in it. The nose is malty and kinda sugary. The taste is the traditional malty notes you expect for the style but the sweetness of the finish is slightly cloying. The mouthfeel is on the thin side and after half a bottle I found the beer to be taxing on the tastebuds.

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Photo of cdViking
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle reviewed on 4-17.

Pour dark into pint glass, with quickly evaporating off-white head, leaving ring of carbonation around edges. Smells pretty decent, sweet with hints of pandan and plum. Taste is pretty sour and hardly impressive; not much special to it other than the pandan leaves. Feel pretty mediocre and leaves a bad taste. Still smooth and drinkable, and not terrible. Something I wouldn't terribly look forward to having again, but also something I wouldn't hate consuming if it were provided to me.

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Photo of froghop
2.58/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a dark mahogany with a medium size khaki head, some lacing.

smell is of plum, hay, brown sugar, some nuts, and spice.

taste is sour, grassy, a strange taste in the back, and some spice, ends dry and leaves the mouth sour.

overall a very strange brew.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest russet with borders of orange-bronze. At least the beer looks dark brown when not backlit, which is more than can be said for most brown ales. The golden ecru colored cap is on the small side and doesn't have outstanding texture. It's almost featureless as it melts and leaves no more than a few token sheets of sudsy lace.

With the addition of pandan leaves and palm sugar, the nose was bound to be interesting. It's also abundantly aromatic. The base brown ale smells rock-solid and is complemented by a sweet, earthy, exotic aroma that is impossible to describe accurately. For me, anyway. If it works as well on the palate, we'll have a winner.

Pandan Brown Ale is good beer because it stays close enough to the brown ale blueprint to be recognizable, while adding a twist that is both delicious and is different from anything that I've had before. I love Thai food (which uses pandan leaves on occasion), but don't really recognize the flavor.

The grain bill consist of crystal, chocolate and honey malts. There's almost a doppelbock-like dark caramel vibe that supercedes any sort of chocolate or coffee flavor. Cocoa nibs appear as the beer warms, as does a sugared pecan nuttiness. Modest hop flavor and bitterness (Galena) keeps the malt sugar and palm sugar sweetness from taking over.

The mouthfeel isn't too shabby given the style and the ABV. However, I need a little more substance and a bit of creaminess to grant the next highest score. More malt and more bubbles would have helped.

Laughing Buddha Pandan Brown Ale is one of those beers that tastes good and is great fun to drink because it's so all-fired different. Far from a gimmick, the addition of pandan leaves makes this ale stand out from the crowd and makes it a worthwhile purchase.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clean and clear dark brown in color. Bright violet/ruby highlights when held up to light. Big, foamy light brown head. Slowly fades but leaves very little lacing.

S - Nutty aroma dominates with some roasted malt mixed in. There is a unique smell mixed in as well that I do not recognize at all. My only guess is that it is the pandan leaves.

T - Rich nuttiness initially with a nice touch of sweetness. The same smell I could not recginize is present in the taste, but not as dominant. Still guessing that is the pandan leaves.A nice earthiness is present throughout providing good balance to the sweetness.

M/D - A little thin on the feel, but still a good feel. Easy drinking.

An interesting brew, but the pandan leaves arent really my thing.

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Photo of ccrida
1.59/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Cola like with creamy small head that leaves scattered lace.

Smell is an assertive, acrid nuttiness that is way to strong for me.

Taste is, whoa, even more of the same, amplified. Yuk, this is not something I wanted to work through, the deep roasted nuts are to strong for me. This reminds me of some kind of weird flavored Jone's soda, and is probably the worst tasting beer I've ever had, at least craft beer.

Mouthfeel is thin and crisp.

Drinkability was terrible, I didn't even bother with more then a few oz. of the bomber, which was luckily only about $4.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very rich dark nutty brown with a rich amber ruby glow up to the light. clear with a steady effervence that keeps the one-finger caramel colored head going for a good while before fading to a thin collar leaving bits of lacing.

aroma is striking. Rich malt with an almost overpowering pandan aroma - something like hazelnuts, pistachios and burnt sesame seeds with a hint of gingerbread. earthy, nutty, freshly baked bread. malt, almost malt-bally. impressively strong and enticing. The use of pandan really enhances this brew. I'm already sold, and I haven't even tasted it yet.

Taste follows the aroma, surprisingly, although not quite as powerful. Reminiscent of a nut brown, there's a pleasant nutty bitterness on top of a pleasant earthy sweetness. A bit of fruit... apricots and golden raisins... with a pleasant sourness that's a bit hoppy and a bit earthy-nutty. A bit of dark berry and a bit of lightly charred wood. diggin' it. As it warms, a bit more of the sourness comes through... almost citric.

mouthfeel is full and well rounded for the relatively low abv. Creamy and smooth. There's an interesting play between nutty bitterness and smooth sweetness (from the palm sugar?). A touch drying. Ample carbonation, but not in your face bubbles.

I'm really digging this one, more than a few other attempts from Laughing Buddha that I've tried. The pandan earthy nuttiness really comes across beautifully. The palm sugar is questionable, but I can't really fault the choice. if it works, it works. The beer is pretty drinkable... I wish i had another bomber in the fridge. Complex enough to be interesting, but not over the top and weird. Really suggest giving this one a shot.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to thethrone for including this with my Secret Halloween 2008 package. Bottle states: "Experience the dark, smooth. and fragrant brown ale, brewed with palm sugar and pandan leaves-- two essential ingredients used in Asian delicacies." OK, I'll let the experience begin... Poured from a 22oz. bottle the color of cola with about a finger of fizzy tan foam that quickly dissipates to a thin layer. The aroma is very nutty and sweet - I'm getting a mix of hazelnut and toasted sesame - very inviting. The nutty qualities are evident with the first sip. Again, there is the sesame coming through as well. Certainly not as sweet as the aroma (or the mention of palm sugar on the label) would suggest. Finishes dry and clean with a slightly thin body and somewhere between medium and moderate carbonation. A big bowl of spicy sesame noodles would really hit the spot while enjoying this one. This is a beer that begs to be paired and enjoyed with food. I would seek this out again. Thanks for the chance to try this Adam.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clearish, dark brown body with a small, wispy, off-white head.

Smell: Mild aroma of dark malts, chocolate, and discarded nut shells.

Taste: Dark malts rounded out by a sweet nutty character. A few well-placed drops of chocolate. Vague dark fruitiness. Lightly spicy, earthy bitterness. Then, it's back to the nuts, baby! Sweetish finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: I've been waiting for so many long years for a pandan beer the hit the market, and Laughing Buddha really delivered!

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Photo of ChrisCastillo
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: deep chestnut brown pour, off white head. Beer foam is quite persistent, leaving spotty sticky lacing down the sides of my tulip glass. This ale is clear when held to the light, and exhibit a extremely dark cherry brown color.

aroma: a little mettalic at first, which subsided. very nutty and grahm cracker-like. green tea/grassy (not in a bad way), probably from the pandan leaves im guessing. The aroma is indeed inviting.

Taste: lively carbonation. I taste fresh roasted peanuts and wheat bread. Not a sweet brown ale in my opinion, more dry and thirst quenching. Chewy and thick body makes this brew satisying and enjoyable. The malty nutty flavors stick around and coat the tounge making a great finish.

overall: very impressed with this beer from one of Seattle's newest craft breweries.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A vigorous pour produces an fat-two finger thick, lightly browned tan colored head in my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass. The beer is a very dark, burnt brown color, but shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby hue when held up to the light. The aroma is quite interesting, it has a really rich nuttiness to it, though that might not be the perfect adjective. Whatever it is (obviously the Pandan leaves, because palm sugar does not contribute this to beer), it is quite savory and gives the nose quite a savory character. It really accentuates the browned malt notes (toasted bread & cracker like aromas) and serves as a nice offset to a sweet, caramelized undertone that is just a bit fruity (raisin and a light berry note).

Fairly sweet, though complexly so, and it has a thick, chewy body for a beer of this strength. Soft and fruity tasting up front, it picks up some cola notes and a peanut-butter flavor as it moves towards the finish. The flavor is not as distinctly influenced by the Pandan Leaf; if I had been told this was a plain brown ale, I would not have guessed that it was spiced with anything, but given that I know it is here, the flavor has definitely been influenced by it. What does the Pandan Leaf contribute, well if I had to guess I would say that the nuttiness is quite distinct, with some supporting berry-like flavors and a bit of spiciness towards the finish that is reminiscent of cola. This is a very quaffable brew, and remains fairly light, despite having a viscousness and a chewiness to it.

The Pandan Leaf is definitely much more noticeable in the aroma than in the flavor, but it still contributes nicely to the overall experience of this brew. This is a really nice Brown Ale, one that I would be happy to have regular access too. I really do like that neither the palm sugar or Pandan was over-played here, the use is clearly supporting and not so much that you would say that something other than typical beer ingredients were used here, yet there is certainly a distinct, pleasing character to this beer that is a result of how all of the ingredients meld together. I really like this, but then again I am a sucker for a tasty brown ale.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.34/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pandan is a tropical shrub with fan-like leaves native to southeast Asia, commonly used as a flavoring agent in traditional southeast Asian cooking. With its nutty, fragrant properties similar to aromatic rice, pandan contributes a logical flavoring compliment to the nut brown ale recipe at the base of this specialty beer.

To brew Pandan Brown, a brown ale is first prepared using traditional ingredients and techniques, but with the inclusion of palm sugar. Palm sugar, another Asian specialty ingredient, is made by boiling the sap of the palm tree and dehydrating it into a compressed, granular sugar comparable to a crystalline maple syrup. It is used in the preparation of many Asian delicacies and tastes similar to brown sugar, but Laughing Buddha's brewer has discovered it can be used in brewing in a manner similar to Belgian candi sugar.

After a week of fermentation, fifty-six pounds of fresh domestic pandan leaf are ground, then brewed to a tea-like extract and added to the young beer. The ale is then allowed to further condition and carbonate. The result is a clear, chestnut brown ale with a light rimmed head, bursting with an exotic yet complimentary aroma reminiscent of hazelnut. The flavor is similarly profiled with only minimal, complimentary bittering from Galena hops. The nutty properties of an English-derived brown ale are smartly accented by the pandan. Yet the total experience easily transcends ordinary browns and enters a realm of exotic spice heretofore unknown to the northwest brewing community.

Pandan Brown is intriguing and immediately embraceable as a taste sensation worthy of sustained appreciation. Laughing Buddha recommends it as a companion to Thai curry dishes.

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Pandan Brown Ale from Northwest Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 26 ratings