Sleeman Honey Brown Lager | Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

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Sleeman Honey Brown LagerSleeman Honey Brown Lager

Brewed by:
Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Smooth Sleeman Honey Brown Lager is brewed in the tradition of cottage breweries at the turn of the century. Some might think the tradition is outdated; we just think we got it right the first time.

Added by canadianbarman on 08-22-2001

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Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 298
Photo of thehyperduck
3.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear, dark amber colour with a foamy two-finger head with fairly good retention and decent lacing. A soapy film is left behind, once the head finally fades away (half-way through the drink). I noticed this film with their Cream Ale too - at first I was worried I haven't been rinsing my glasses well-enough, but it seems to just be a trait of something in the heads of their beers. Looks heavily carbonated. The smell is very sweet; mostly honey and grainy malts.

Sweet, sweet, sweet. That's all this beer tastes like. There are definitely some grain and bread malt flavours going on, but honey and brown sugar are pretty dominant. There isn't really a finish to this beer, the sweetness just sort of fades. There's a faint echo of hop bitterness, I guess, but it's fleeting and is easily missed amongst the cloying sweetness. Decent body and much heavier than your average macro, but for the style it's a little watery. Carbonation prickles the tongue but isn't too overpowering.

This used to be my 'old standby', and even though it's clear my tastes have changed, this is probably still one of Sleeman's better brews. It is better than your average macro, but due to the cloying sweetness it's really something you have to be in the mood for. Not really anything special... but a highly drinkable option if you're looking for an easy-to-find beer that will satisfy your sweet tooth. The bottles generally taste better, but only if you live within a reasonable distance of the brewery, and are buying it at a store that moves decent volume.

[Updated Feb. 23 2014]

I picked up another can to compare this past favourite of mine with a few other amber lagers (Creemore, Barking Squirrel and Faxe Amber). Sleeman Honey Brown looks great in the glass, but as far as flavour goes I think I have to say that my palate has moved on - the malt backbone is weak, there's no hop presence, and it's really just sweet... nothing else. Early in my beer-drinking career I was a fan of the macro ambers, and the best I can say of this one is that it fares better than Rickard's Red and Keith's Amber, in that I don't avoid it completely. The craft/imported ambers I am comparing it to all compare favourably.

Final Grade: 3.05, a C+.

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Photo of atigerlife
2.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a creamy white head. Very little carbonation rising. Decent lacing.

Aroma is non-descript.

Taste is of light malts, sweet [like artificial sweetner]. Not heinous, but it seemed to lack depth throughout the profile.

Mouthfeel has a nice body, decently cleansing.

Overall, it is quite drinkable due to a relatively low ABV, but there are much better beers out there to drink.

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Photo of ChrisCage
2.72/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Pours an amber color that is mostly clear, and also contains a slightly reddish hue. Lots of carbonation is rising to the top, which seems to be typical of Sleeman. The head is decent, starting out thick and creamy looking, before settling down to a thick layer of puffiness over the brew. Lacing is also decent, with moderate stringy whips of foam clinging to my glass.

S- Unfortunately, the aroma doesn't lead on that this is a honey brown, but rather starts out with a dry grainy and/or adjuncty phoniness about it. A little bit skunked and a tinge of alcohol don't help matters. There is a hint of bitterness right at the end, but it's not enough to save the smell of this one!

T- Hints of malt sweetness and honey flavoring, but otherwise this actually tastes somewhat boozy and synthetic. There is a metallic flavor that comes through, even though this was poured from a glass bottle! There is no real hop bitterness on the finish. The aftertaste isn't too bad, if not a little cloying in sweetness. I know this section sounds bad, but strangely enough, my palate gets used to the flavors as I drink more and it does get a little better!

M- It's light bodied, that's for sure, but it is surprisingly smooth...the carbonation is fine, which provides for a creamy texture that allows that honeyed sweetness to come through well.

O- I remember a time when this was among my favorite brews, but now it just doesn't hold that same pizzaz! I've moved on I guess to bigger and better beer...still, it was interesting to have one of these again and though I'd still drink this, it's not what I remember...I know I've had this on tap from time to time and think it's much better in that form....maybe that's what's wrong here! This is a good one for those who are just breaking into beer or new styles for that matter, but trust me, there are much better takes on this style.

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Photo of uno99
3.25/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the brewery. A style of beer I typically don't like. Only really ever order one at a low rung brew pub with little choice.

A: A clear bottle, twist off cap. attractive. Pour into a stella glass gives a bright white one finger head and a clear amber body.

S: quite sweet but pleasant. definitely a good whiff of honey and brown (yes, brown is a smell as well as a color)

T: sweet and malty. decent hop finish. Honey is kickin around there. sort of unpleasant finish.

M: pretty good mouthfeel. not too sticky, kinda over carbonated, and thin... hmmm, maybe not that good.

O: Not exactly a great beer, but certainly not an F like the Bros. say!

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Photo of marty21
2.74/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear golden/light brown with one finger worth of white foamy head. Settles to a thin cap and left a decent amount of lacing.

S: A little bit of light malt but otherwise there isn't much there.

T: The taste there's some sweetness but otherwise not a whole lot there either.

M: Medium carbonation with a light body.

O: Either my palate has changed a lot or this is way better on tap. I don't remember this beer ever being so bland. Atleast it tastes better then any adjunct lager.

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Photo of evlu1441
2.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a very clear amber/brown. There is a thin soapy head that quickly dissipates.

The smell is boring. Slightly bready and slightly skunky, but generally faint.

It actually tastes decent. Sweetness at the beginning, followed by a little hoppy bite. The finish is kind of like brown bread.

Very easy to drink, and better than many other beers at the same price point. Not crazy, but I would rather this than a lot of other macro lagers.

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Photo of Rutager
2.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance. Pours a clear copper with a finger of bubbly, slithtly off-white head.

Smell. Sweet light grain. A little metal or chemicals something ...can't quite place it but not very appealing.

Taste. Sweet malt and light grains. Metalic aftertaste with a hint of hop bitterness. Not not as bad as most mainstream lagers, but still meh.

Mouthfeel. Strong carbonation seems a little exadurated. A bit thin.

Drinkability. Pretty sweet without offering much else. Not a great drinker, but would pick over most mainstream lagers.

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Photo of CrazyMike
3.71/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark brown appearance with decent head that sticks around. Smell is vert sweet, picked up a hint of honey.

Picked up a syrupy brown sugar taste as well as caramel and grain. Thicker bodied with decent carbonation. Aftertaste is bitter and sweet.

Overall, not a bad dark beer. It is thick with lots of taste to go with it, a bit to sweet at times though. Would recommend over other sleeman beers.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.68/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served in a standard pint glass.

pours a crystal clear amber tone with a fizzy, quickly diminishing off-white head; patchy lacing.

not getting a tone in the nose, mostly a caramel maltiness, maybe a muted hops presence loitering somewhere in the background.

flavor is a welcome improvement. sweet and toasty. notes of honey open up mid-palate. malt-forward but some hoppy undertones, especially in the finish. by no means is this memorable, but all in all it's a pleasant, unassuming, relatively tasty brew.

crisp, light/medium bodied mouthfeel. drink well; a good football-watching beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

473ml can. The beer pours a light amber color with with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the toffee without too much else. The flavor is toffee with a light amount of bitterness and flavor from some grassy hops. Still, this is a very malt-forward beer, Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.13/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a clear amber/red colour with a fair size frothy/creamy off-white head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing. There is also some pretty good lacing and the head lasted for a few minutes time before it dissipated.

Smell - a grassiness, breads/grains, roasted malts

Taste & Mouth - There is a low to average amount of carbonation and the beer fees slightly watery. I can taste apples, corn syrup, light caramel, and breads/grains. The beer finishes with a faint bitter aftertaste.

Drink - Definitely the best beer in the Sleeman lineup. If there are no better beers available, this is a fairly decent choice. I'd drink it again.

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Photo of case4816
3.13/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Very clear golden brown in colour. Foamy head that dissipated very quickly with little lacing.

S- Roasted malts smell with some hints of toffee and molasses. Not very sweet smelling, though a little honey smell is there.

T- Fairly light malts with little flavour. Hints of sweetness come out after, but not much other flavour than that. A little molasses and sweetness, some bitterness, and that's about it.

D- Not a very good beer. Drinkable id it's all there is, but other than that I won't seek it out.

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Photo of kwjd
2.56/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was at an event and this was the best beer (Canadian and Coors Light were other choices) so decided to go for it since I haven't had a Sleeman Honey Brown in year or so. Pours an amber brown colour with thin off-white head without much lacing. Smells really sweet, like caramel and honey, without much else. Flavour is pretty muted, just sweetness comes through. No trace of any hops or bitterness. Carbonation is a bit aggressive, but wasn't bad. I had a couple, so drinkability can't be that bad, but I'll never get this unless I'm in a similar situation again.

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Photo of scott451
3.15/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap. Served in a pint glass. Clear amber brown. One finger creamy tan head. Good head retention. Good lacing.

Mild grapefruit and citrus malt notes in the smell. Mild smoky notes in the taste. A mild hop finish.

Creamy. Moderate carbonation. Drinkability is OK. No major flaws in this nice fresh glass of draught, just not a lot to come back for.

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Photo of rarbring
2.75/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The color of the beer is light amber, a rather white head that leaves little lacing.

It actually smells of honey and some malty tones.

The taste is also sweet honey on a slice of bread, a slight acidity and some rather faint bitterness.

Medium carbonation, rather simple body.

Not really a high mark, a bit too light for being a Euro Dark Lager.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.3/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a crystal clear, dark copper colour, thin layer of head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Scent is mild and sweet, but overpowered by bready caramel malts.

T - Much like the scent, the flavour is mild, but the sweet caramel malts do come through. Touch of honey, and the finish is a much like a graham cracker.

M - Good carbonation, light bodied, and goes down quite smooth.

D - This one is easily drinkable, non-offensive, but not overly memorable. I would never turn one down, but there's plenty of other offerings within this style which offer more robust flavours.

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Photo of BBP
3.18/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Amber brown with slight head that ran away almost before I could sip it. Fairly carbonated.

S- Honey butterscotch and malts.

T- Sweet malts. Caramel and honey notes. slight hops.

M- Fairly smooth and crisp. Average Carbonation.

D- A smoother Sleeman creation. Could down a few in no time.

The name pretty much sums it up. Honey Brown. Expect a sweeter beer with it's share of malt.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.08/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml can poured into pint glass july8 2010

A clear light copper with plenty of bubbles feeding a thumbs width of head that quickly falls to a 1/4in film leaving a partial ring of lace

S more sweet malts then honey and some slight candied fruit

T much more honey but almost a fake kind of flavor that seems synthetic and unnatural

M thick for a macro and slight sticky on the lips

D nothing offensive but nothing worth bragging about, decent beer for a macro

every no and then I sip a honey brown at a bar that has nothing better up for grabs, sadly this would be most bars here in Calgary

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Photo of WakeandBake
2.8/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A brownish amber color pour with a small foamy offwhite head , short lasting , medium carbonation . Aroma of corn ,peanuts and and a hint of metallic hops . Flavor is lightly bitter with corn lager , nuts and very sweet honey , a bit too sweet for me . medium body, thin mouthfeel, with a short corny finish . Drinkable but not my cup of tea .

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Photo of mwa423
2.46/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Poured a clear dark brown color with a slight haze. A beige finger and a half of head quickly disappeared but left a good lacing around the glass.

S - Smell is a mixture of macro lager, saaz hops, and honey. Not exactly a pleasant combination.

T - The taste is complex, but not in a good way. First you get hit by macro lager and saaz hops, then you get the honey sweetness and the aftertaste is simply just the skunky flavor of a bad euro lager.

M/D - Mouthfeel is week and punctuated by the different flavors, all of which you want to choke down as fast as possible. This will be a hard one to get through, thus the low drinkability.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.38/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gotta love all the tallboys in the Great White North. Picked up a 16 oz at the local LCBO. Poured into a handy glass yields a well, honey brown, imagine that, color. Nice head at first but fades quickly. Taste is sweet as expected. It starts with honey sweetness upfront then moves into a brown sugar-like sweetness matched with very slight bitterness. The finish stays sweet but fades to a tarty aftertaste. Mouthfeel is great, good carbonation then even a flavor fizzy finish. This is a very highly drinkable brew. Not sure about the style it is listed as, I don't think it is, but I like it. Goes great with many foods, Korean barbecue to name one.Better a little warmer than cold.

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Photo of ericj551
3.11/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sleeman Honey Brown pours a light amber orange with a thing head. There is some sweetness in the aroma as well as some skunkiness. There is a hint of caramel toffee in the flavor and some sweetness, but it finishes dry and muddled. The body is on the heavier side. I would say this could be a slight step above your average macro, if it wasn't a bit skunked.

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Photo of Richter35
3.28/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a thick tan white head. Colour is honey-brown [really] and looks decent.

Smell is like any other lager. Nothing special.

Taste is slightly above average. Minimal bitterness, with more malty goodness than your typical light/pale lager. Some biscuit tastes, more reminiscent of a brown ale. Pretty good for a high-volume Canadian offering.

Mouthfeel is good. This beer is light to medium bodied with just enough carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. Nice beer on a hot day, but not something I'd serve if I wanted to impress. Just average.

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Photo of tjd112
3.45/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Why Sleeman would put this in a clear bottle is beyond me!!!

Appearance - Pours a hard amber with lots of head, but little lacing

Smell/Taste - Like honey and caramel, with some bready malts

Mouthfeel - A little uneven and watery

Drinkability - Only if the bar didn't have many other options

Overall - an average beer

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Photo of ludachris
2.01/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Sadly, this is the last beer in my fridge. I figured I'd finish it off before I haul in the next load.

Pours a deep golden/light amber with a 1 finger white head. Decent retention, but minimal lacing. Lively amount of carbonation is clearly visible.

Strong scent of overly sweet honey and caramel in the nose with a touch of grain, buttery malt and a metallic presence.

Artificial honey and caramel right upfront that only becomes more pronounced as the beer warms; almost to the point of cloying. A hint of grain, grassy hops and metallic character cap off the finish. The few flavours that are going on here are less than decent.

Mouthfeel is light, very wet and completely unbalanced. This sucker is going down the drain.

It's sad to think that I use to like this stuff. The last time I had it was Thanksgiving and I had to pour it in the grass when no one was looking. Too sweet, awful mouthfeel and extremely overpriced. If you can, stay away, but if not, don't judge Canadian beers based off of this.

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Sleeman Honey Brown Lager from Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
2.98 out of 5 based on 298 ratings.
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