Common Sense | Upstate Brewing Company

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Common SenseCommon Sense
102 Ratings
Common SenseCommon Sense

Brewed by:
Upstate Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by tviz33 on 06-15-2013

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 |  Reviews: 23
Reviews by Oakenator:
Photo of Oakenator
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

More User Reviews:
Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear medium ruby reddish amber in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some garnet red highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall creamy off-white head that reduces to a large patch of very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted malts with a light amount of sweetness.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toasted malts with a light amount of grainy sweetness. That is followed by a light amount of earthy hops that impart a light amount of bitterness which fades pretty quickly.

M: Light to medium bodied with a little more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Lightly creamy.

O: This beer is very easy to drink and enjoyable. Considered a Kentucky Common Ale (whatever that is) by the brewer on the can packaging. If this is really a cream ale, I wish it was just a little creamier. Definitely worth a try.

 1,054 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
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

 734 characters

Photo of Jefe25
2.6/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of csmartin6
2.5/5  rDev -27.5%

Photo of Billolick
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 ounce can purchased as part of a four pack for $9.99 at peekskill Beer and soda, Peekskill, NY

Pours near clear chocolaty amber, supporting aa creamy and slowly morphing darker khaki head. Leaves decent amounts of low sheeting and then fine webs and spots of lace on the glass.

Sweet malt nose with powdered chocolate on the nose.

On the sweet side with more nice tasting lite chocolate and malts carrying this one forward.

Easy drinking and pleasant enough. Respectable take on the style.

(BTW they call this a "Kentucky style common ale" on the notes on the can)

Not really my favorite style, but this one would do fine helping to marianate some pork or in a pot of chili, or a decent choice to help expose a newbie to better beer.

 743 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.72/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

 262 characters

Photo of mjtiernan
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of butters_mcgee
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of Griffith
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of KenC
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Ralphs66
2.75/5  rDev -20.3%

Photo of scootny
3.69/5  rDev +7%
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.

 461 characters

Photo of tone77
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

 255 characters

Photo of twillingthenoz
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of logicalparadox
4/5  rDev +15.9%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Bar Louie in Greece, NY.

Pours a darker clear amber, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like toasted malts, but not strongly. That's about it.

This is a bare-bones, basically unexciting amber ale. There's some slight hop bitterness, with stronger flavors of toasty bready malts. Nothing to get too excited about.

This one is medium bodied, with a higher amount of carbonation, and a crisp doughy mouthfeel.

Second beer from these guys, not as good as the IPW I had from them.

 513 characters

Photo of campfirebrew
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of goosemop
2.76/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of eddsan
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is crystal clear reddish amber in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving patches of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of sweet toasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has light flavors of toasted malts, but the sweetness is mostly replaced by a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied and a little creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and doesn't seem to be over the top with any of the flavors so it would probably be a good choice for a novice beer drinker.

 750 characters

Photo of bilhelm
2.25/5  rDev -34.8%

Photo of pknyc
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of DoubleMalt
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

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Common Sense from Upstate Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 102 ratings