Northumbrian Brown Ale | Federation Brewery Ltd

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Northumbrian Brown AleNorthumbrian Brown Ale
19 Ratings
Northumbrian Brown AleNorthumbrian Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Federation Brewery Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by NeroFiddled:
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.16/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

"The only surviving clubs brewery in England was set up in 1919 in Newcastle by workingmen's clubs because of a postwar beer shortage. The co-operative opened a brewery at Dunston on the south side of the Tyne in 1980". - The Ultimate Enclyclopedia of Wine, Beer, Spirits & Liqueurs.
Clear, light russet body topped by a creamy off-white head that holds exceptionally well, maintains a creamy 1/4" head throughout the glass, and leaves some lace as well. The nose is very softly fruity with a mild toasty maltiness - not alot going on, but very clean. The body is medium with a very fine carbonation that's lightly crisp in the mouth. The flavor is a delicate blend of soft fruit and lightly sweet malt coated in caramel with a light touch of chocolate. It's balanced by a firm bitterness that finishes dry, toggling between lingering sweet malt and dry bitterness. After a few, however, the sweetness starts to dominate. A true session beer at 4.5% ABV with a really good drinkability!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the cool looking bottle a nice dark reddish-brown. Small head fades away pretty quickly but leaves some nice lacing along the way. Smells of malty and bready...but not much else. A nice smooth sweet malty taste upon first sip, with a hint of hops in there as well. Tastes good, but it could use a little more character. Overall this is a pretty good brown ale and it definetly scores some points for drinkability. Plus the bottle and label are also quite unique.

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Photo of ADR
3.08/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear clove brown with a nice pillowy 1/4 inch head that hols some rocky shapes. Slight cotton-candy malty smell, some honey. The tastes are markedly subdued, an overall sense of brown sugar with a trace of nuttiness thrown in. Floral hops are slightly apparent, but aren't called upon anyway -- as the maltiness is fleeting at best. So far, as imported beers with relatively "fancy" prices, these Federation brews are little more than drinkable and forgettable to my tastes. "Session" brews are better obtained locally, to me. Average beer in an average style.

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Photo of zjungleist
3.15/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got a good deal on this beer, 550ml bottles for like $1.50. Not bad though, not great either. Dark amber color, slighly thin. Lousy head. Smell is mainly malt, slighly sweet.Taste is roasty malt, a touch hoppy for a brown ale, with a little yeasty flavor and a kinda funky after taste. Could be worse I guess. Just not my brand.

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Photo of beerluvr
2.98/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out with a nice and rocky light beige head over light brown colored liquid, with a slight hint of redness. Nose is fresh and grassy smelling with a suggestion of light roasted maltines behind it. Taste is first and formost quite sweet..which was unexpected. Once the sweetness subsides, a vaguely nutty character is tasted along with biscuity maltiness. A hoppy dryness follows but is beaten down by the sweet maltiness. Finishes light and sweet, seems a little unbalanced for my tastes. At least it was fresh.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A small sized tan head with fine-small bubbles that quickly dissipated.The body was clear with fizzy carbonation.The hue was reddish-brown and there was only a fair amount of lacing with this beer.I had a difficult time trying to figure out the nose of this beer.The flavor was slightly bitter and the mouthfeel was smooth, slightly tingly on my tongue and light bodied.All-in-all there was not anything very special about this beer; however, it was an enjoyable beer to drink.

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Photo of Brent
2.43/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Up front this has sweetness that reminds me of a canned malt/cane sugar homebrew kit brown ale. Initial sweetness dries out quite a bit, and is replaced by a slightly sour astringency. No real depth or complexity, and saying this brown ale is inoffensive is about the best I can do.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours with a three finger, light tan head that leaves a lot of lace. Nice clear amber color. Distinct malty nose. Carbonation is light. Medium bodied. Starts sweet and gets sweeter as it warms but finishes sweet with a faint metallic hint. A very good brown, definitely better than Newcastle. 550ml - $3.94.

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Photo of silenius
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 550ml clear glass bottle at the Hopleaf. The bartender says that the distributor delivered the wrong sized bottles and that they were selling the larger 550ml bottles for the price of the 12oz bottles. Score!

The beer pours a clear ruby brown that mimics iced tea. The head is tan and coarse and short-lived.

The smell is the faintest of spicy hops and fruity malt.

Taste is a wonderfully mild spicy hops and drying nut-like finish. Bready malts round it out. Subdued, but nice. Thin or weak did not enter my mind. A great sipper.

You won't go WOW from this beer unless you are excited by mild flavors, but this is nicely balanced and worth a try.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side with some carbonic bite.

I will consider this when I'm looking for something subdued, but well put together for the most part.

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Photo of jahred
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed at Goose Island "Beer Academy." Pours a reddish brown color with a thin, whiteish head. The scent is sweet, malty and with hints of caramel.

The taste is fruity and winey (?) and very sweet. There's a very slight malty, hoppy aftertaste that leads into final lingering notes of, once again, wine.

The sweet wine notes surprised me, but this otherwise fairly refreshing.

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Photo of yen157
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, reddish amber brew with a slightly toasty nose. Very clean tasting and very lively mout feel with active, tiny bubbles. Crisp beer with decent hop flavor and bitterness and a very short finish. Malt flavor definatelytakes a back seat to the hops. Slightly sweet and tasting of honey and light brown sugar. I would have liked to see more malt in this one.

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Photo of mschofield
3.13/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper brown with a full tan head that dissipated quickly.
Malty smell and flavor, with just a touch of hops. A bit of caramel on the tongue, nutty flavor in the back. Becomes slightly sour as it warms.

A middling brew nothing terribly good or bad to remark on, I wouldn't seek it out, but it's a good alternative for Newcastle, Sam Smith is better.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a rich dark brown, with an almond colored head of some density. Sticky, clumping to the side of the glass.
Aroma is very british. Malty and sweet with some mild english hopping. Smells like goldings.
Flavor is very smooth and clean. Well done. Malty and smooth with a light hopping towards the back providing for an altogether great example of english brown ale. Slightly lagery tasting somehow, with little fruitiness and a dry finish, considering the style. Carbonation is moderate, small bubbled and doesn't hurt the flavor. I like it a little better than Newcastle, but I'd have to try it on tap for a real comparison.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.25/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear caramel brown color with a soft creamy beige head that maintains its presence well at just under a pinky high, lace is blobby. Aroma is quite complex, yet soft, delicate light fruityness, dullish banana with a mild toasty breadish maltiness and underlying bagel dough nuttyness. Well rounded taste and flavors blending together soft fruity sweetness and light sweet malt coated in caramel with a light touch of chocolate bread and nuts. Well balanced by a steady easy bitterness that finishes slightly dry, playing between a lingering sweet maltiness and slight dry bitterness in the finish. Mild and pleasant. Feel is lighter then medium with a thinnish creamyness. Big time session brew, goes down with a nice ease. The sweeter factions begin to overwhelm though after a while and become tiresome. Still liked it though. One of the most sweetish browns I've had, nice twist on the style.

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Photo of Viking
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark amber body. Minimal visible CO2. Initially pours to a big, bubbly head which quickly fades to a sticky lace on top of the beer and along the side of the glass. Subdued smell of caramel malt and herbal hops. Taste is rahter bland until the beer warms nearly to room temperature when the slightly toasted caramel malt becomes pronounced. Finishes oily with a light herbal hop flavor. Smoth and light bodied. Not a bad beer once it warms up. Pretty much a waste fresh outta the fridge (and my fridge is barely cool enough to keep food from spoiling).

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Photo of ybnorml
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark amber/brownish color. Good head of beige foam that left some lace. A light grainy aroma. It has a light grainy cereal flavor. Not very malty not very hoppy but a light and smooth balance of grain and bitterness. Not a sweet as a Bass or a Newcastle. An ejoyable session beer for sure.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.07/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good representation of the Brown Ale style, it's a dark brown leathery color with a beige head that vanishes to a thin coating and rim at the top. A malty and faint milk chocolate aroma mix with a light tea smell. The full malt body has a nice herbal quality to it and is nearly oily. Butterscotch and a hint of pears comes forward as does a tea-like flavor and mild lime citrus bitterness. Very gulpable!

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Photo of ZAP
4.1/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This screams out "session beer" from first sip....easy drinking, but also considerably more tasty than Newcastle...much more flavor....pours a reddish borwn...with a nice white head....nose is nutty and sweet...a nice sweet flavor with a good nuttiness..body is on the thin side of medium...Brown Ales aren't a favorite style of mine but this is quite enjoyable...I'd drink this any day over Newcastle..

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Photo of feloniousmonk
2.36/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber/ brown in color, clear, creamy tan generous head. Aroma: metallic, piney, medicinal, with a hint of nuts and butter. Light body, thin palate, sickly twang in the finish. I guess this could stand in as an inoffensive "session ale", except that I can't imagine why you would want more than one of these sorry bastards. It's an 18.6oz. bottle, and I'm bored less than 1/2 way through. That's the point, though, something to slug down in between turns at darts.

At the end of the bottle, those initial off-flavors had disappeared and the beer became more mellow, the finish more pleasant, and I didn't hate it quite as much. Didn't like it any better, though.

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Northumbrian Brown Ale from Federation Brewery Ltd
Beer rating: 3.47 out of 5 with 19 ratings