Common Sense
Upstate Brewing Company

Common SenseCommon Sense
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Upstate Brewing Company
New York, United States
American Amber / Red Ale
Ranked #378
Ranked #28,180
3.46 | pDev: 12.14%
Jan 26, 2023
Jun 16, 2013
Common SenseCommon Sense
Notes: This beer is a revival of a beer style that was one of the most popular beers in America prior to prohibition: Kentucky Common Ale. It has a dark color with a rich flavorful taste and a decent hint of hops (22 IBU), but it is light and easy drinking.

Many people today mistakenly think that this style is supposed to have a sour taste, but our research led us to the over 100 year old "American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting & Auxiliary Trades" (see page 818) which makes no mention of it having a sour quality or using a sour mash to brew it.

Instead, it was just a dark yet refreshing beer that the working class people of the time loved to drink very fresh, which was around 2 weeks after being brewed. We also serve up Common Sense 14 days after brewing it. It is a great resurrected beer for all modern beer lovers!
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.25/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
Taster flight at Brewery. Copper colored pour, ring of foamy head. Malty aroma. Taste is malty, light carmel, faint sweetness, a touch of dryness. Seems thin
Jan 26, 2023
Photo of vette2006c5r
Reviewed by vette2006c5r from Minnesota

3.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
Common Sense pours a darker, clean brown with a small head. The aroma has a nice cereal note and hints of coffee. The flavor is light, but some dark cereals and grains have fresh malt flavors. A bit weak and a bit flat. Overall, it's a nice flavored beer; very simple.
Jan 09, 2023
Rated: 3.79 by Shantzak from Pennsylvania

Nov 11, 2022
Rated: 3.67 by robotic_being from Florida

Jul 23, 2019
Rated: 3.47 by Curt3 from New Jersey

Nov 09, 2018
Rated: 3.52 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Jun 24, 2018
Rated: 3.24 by hozersr from Pennsylvania

Feb 19, 2018
Rated: 3.33 by deonreds from New York

Jul 03, 2017
Rated: 3.12 by dar482 from New York

May 19, 2017
Rated: 3.63 by digitalflood from New York

May 06, 2017
Rated: 3.64 by epyon396 from Pennsylvania

May 03, 2017
Photo of tone77
Reviewed by tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.51/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of caramel malts. Taste is well balanced malts and hops, a light woodiness, smooth and easy drinking. Feels medium/light bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.
Jan 02, 2017
Rated: 4 by GFD400 from New York

Aug 12, 2016
Rated: 4.1 by Ultra-Plinian from Connecticut

Jul 22, 2016
Rated: 3.74 by Gkruszewski from New York

Jul 20, 2016
Rated: 3.23 by garyloveman from Massachusetts

Jul 06, 2016
Rated: 3.5 by papat444 from Canada (QC)

Jun 19, 2016
Rated: 3.88 by colonia25 from New York

May 10, 2016
Rated: 3.73 by T-34-85 from New York

May 03, 2016
Rated: 3.62 by plowe70 from New York

Apr 26, 2016
Rated: 2.62 by redbarnbikes from New York

Mar 24, 2016
Rated: 3.5 by twillingthenoz from New York

Mar 20, 2016
Rated: 3.25 by monkeybeerbelly from New York

Dec 06, 2015
Rated: 4.21 by AckAttackk from Texas

Nov 24, 2015
Photo of dgmirelli
Reviewed by dgmirelli from New York

3.74/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
in a pilsner glass out of a can, look was deep brown not quite opaque, poured little head and not much lacing, smell was of malt and caramel, taste mid strength light on carbonation a caramel presence and little alcohol, feel again was smoother and mid grade, overall not bad would drink again.
Nov 17, 2015
Photo of DavoleBomb
Reviewed by DavoleBomb from Pennsylvania

2.24/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2
Poured into a pint glass.

3.0 A: Clear light amber color. One finger of fizzy beige head that falls quickly and leaves no lacing.

2.75 S: Lots of toastiness with nearly as much metallic aroma. Mild earthy hoppiness and caramel. Perhaps a touch grainy as well. The nose is somewhat weak and what is there isn't all that great.

2.0 T: The taste is exponentially more metallic than the nose. Moderate bitterness with plenty of toastiness and mild caramel. This is very superficial and unbalanced. It's overly bitter, dry, and metallic without any balancing malty sweetness.

2.0 M: Light body and super watery. Carbonation is on the lighter side, but within the range of acceptable. Lacking all creaminess.

2.0 D: Piss poor beer. Totally unbalanced. I can see why no one else is brewing a "Kentucky Common Ale."
Nov 16, 2015
Photo of tigg924
Reviewed by tigg924 from Massachusetts

3.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours clear, light brown with 1/3 inch head. Taste is grain, toasted malt, toasted white bread, and slight earthy hops. Sweet with a touch of bitterness. Very clean, sessionable ale. Not the most complex brew, but very tasty. I will look for this one again.
Nov 15, 2015
Photo of JerzDevl2000
Reviewed by JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

3.52/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Picked this up recently at Top Hops in New York, having never had this before nor seeing anything from Upstate available locally. I loved the design of the can and the idea behind this beer and while this was a bit thinner than I would have liked, it was still flavorful enough to enjoy from start to finish while standing out from other examples of this style that I've had before.

Decent pour to this as the beer had a bright nut brown hue and and frothy head to it, which left behind a few rings of lacing along the top third of my pint glass. Lots of caramel in the nose which was reinforced by a herbal undertone and strong hints of bread. Felt a bit like tea and as indicated by the IBU, hardly any hops could be discerned here. Somewhat grainy in the aftertaste, this reminded me of one of the Yards beers and this even felt like a more aggressive take on Yuengling. This just had a bit more body and a lot more nuance to it as the leafy tobacco notes and blood orange bitterness raised this above the ordinary.

Not too strong on here alcohol here but there was enough to be had without detracting from the beer at all. Not as hoppy as other examples of this style and this reminded me of a Vienna Lager more than anything else. With a light body and clean finish, this went down easily and smoothly while never feeling weak. Nothing out there is quite like this and for a near-session beer, this would be a wonderful choice to crack open and pound down!
Oct 15, 2015
Rated: 3.82 by fishguyac from Virginia

Sep 04, 2015
Photo of scootny
Reviewed by scootny from New York

3.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
A lovely white head and a lot of retention and decent lace. Moderate carbonation and a very clear dark garnet amber color. Nose is malty with some sourdough yeastiness. Light floral bitterness. An almost lager like bitterness atop an ale malt and test bill. Fruity and bready with a light sweetness. Tight dry finish with a light pucker. Smooth and easy feel that has a tingly carbonation and crispness. A solid craft beer that lends itself to session drinking.
Aug 25, 2015
Rated: 3.78 by JoeMans from New York

Aug 23, 2015
Photo of SLeffler27
Reviewed by SLeffler27 from New York

3.74/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Fills a Cisco fisheye pint glass with clear deep copper beer (SRM 16-17). A short off-white rocky head leaves little lace.

The aroma is dominated by caramel, with a slightly metallic and soapy background. Bread dough and a hint of cocoa powder are also discernible.

The flavor follows the nose while fairly sweet with light bitterness. Bitterness lingers throughout a long finish. Crisp and clean with toasted malt and faint sourness. However the sourness was only noticed in two of the cans I sampled. This one is best at temperature and becomes undrinkable with warmth.
The body is light with no alcohol and a satin texture. Slightly metallic with light carbonation.
Common Sense seems to be fairly close to what I was able to research about the style of a Kentucky Common. I could easily see this as a lawnmower beer or suitable for a tailgate party. Common Sense is an enjoyable beer but it lacks any real depth of interest.
Aug 23, 2015
Rated: 2.97 by American_Hawk from Massachusetts

Jul 12, 2015
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Reviewed by RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

3.54/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25
I don't get this beer. The clarity is really superb, but it tastes like an amber ale and something really boring and middle of the road mixed together.
Jun 06, 2015
Rated: 3 by Justindemino from New York

May 30, 2015
Rated: 3.53 by Fastwalker19 from Maryland

May 08, 2015
Photo of guidom2
Reviewed by guidom2 from Virginia

3.44/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Look: Clear brown with hints of amber in the light. No head, very little lacing
Smell: Faint malt notes
Taste: Initial sweet malt with slight hops throughout, cascade notes. Fairly well balanced with earthy finish. Lingering bitter.
Feel: Overall smooth, slightly creamy with very low carbonation.
Overall: Easy drinking with pub food.
Apr 12, 2015
Photo of auswild
Reviewed by auswild from New York

4.14/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Incredibly drinkable. Crafty and complex just enough for the connoisseur yet the flavor is not overpowering to scare away the average Joe. It's simple and good.
Mar 21, 2015
Photo of BeerAdvocate
Reviewed by BeerAdvocate from California

3.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
From BeerAdvocate Magazine #83 (Dec 2013):

A resurrected style from a pre-prohibition era around the Louisville, KY area. Great choice packaging this beer in 16oz pounder cans as it is super drinkable, just enough flavor and a pinch of complexity too boot. Offer this one up to a novice beer drinking friend with the story behind the beer and they’ll probably want more.

STYLE: Kentucky Common Ale
ABV: 5.3%

LOOK: Dark copper hue, healthy looking lace

SMELL: Spice, faint tartness, dried grass, toasted bread crust, herbal hop, orange zest

TASTE: Deep smoothness, dry graininess, crisp, mild twang, lasting breadiness, light hopping, leafy, herbal, dried hay, faint broth, clean, dry and grainy finish
Mar 02, 2015
Rated: 2.76 by goosemop

Feb 11, 2015
Common Sense from Upstate Brewing Company
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 106 ratings