North Country Brünette
August Schell Brewing Company

North Country BrünetteNorth Country Brünette
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Sour - Berliner Weisse
4.13 | pDev: 10.65%
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
North Country BrünetteNorth Country Brünette
Notes: Also known as Märzen Weiss
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 138 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle. Pours deep clear brown. A few bubbles but no real head. Smells of toasted malts and bread. Dark fruit acidity. Tastes pleasantly tart. Cherry. Bready malts. A little vanilla. I feel like I get some of the wood tank, but maybe I'm making that up. Light body with low carbonation. So I found this in my fridge and it definitely should have been consumed... 3 years ago? But this is simple, well made, and has no signs of degradation.

Aug 24, 2017
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this series has almost single handedly forced me to reconsider what a berliner can be. this one is a berliner style marzen lager, which i think is a brilliant move, combining a couple of disparate but classic german styles. nice amber color to it, but surprisingly clear for what it is, especially compared to the other murky bathwater looking beers in the series. lots of carbonation too. the nose is malty first, unlike the others, which have been a major lacto punch right off the get go. nutty and sweet malts make it smell like an octoberfest from the top, and the lacto doesnt come in until the end, with a lemony aroma and decent acidity. the flavor is just like the nose, but the malt never gets cut off, it carries all the way through, with a red apple flavor for a second, toffee sweetness, and an overall autumnal vibe. the lacto is pretty aggressive too, sharp and hot, cutting the sweetness way down, and leaving a citrus bitterness on the palate as it swallows. ive always thought the marzen lager was the final evolution, like it couldnt be taken any further, but here schell has done exactly that, and the result is a wonderfully complex and unique brew, well worth what they ask for it. i need to get my hands on the rest of the series! berliner lagers are pretty cool these guys have proven...

Oct 26, 2015
Photo of hardy008
hardy008 from Minnesota

4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a small head which vanishes quickly, leaving no lace. Has a tart cherry aroma with vinegar, some lemon, and barnyard funk.

Tastes much like it smells with tart cherries, lemon, barnyard funk, and some bread malt. There is some sweetness to balance the tartness.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Lightly acidic, and finishes dry. I'm glad I had a chance to try this.

Apr 09, 2015
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow from Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Still plenty of this around a year after it came out. Probably a price issue, I'd think. I'll purchase one just because, but for a multiple purchase it is not quite meeting it for me. Having said that, here goes.
Aroma is a little bit of funk and little dust, light on the fruit with a touch of sour. In time can catch a bit of the grain that would go into a Marzen.
Head is an inch but settles out quickly. Slightly cloudy and little light for a marzen with a brown amber with highlights of red and orange.
Well the berliner appears in the taste. Definitely a sour beer with more fruit here than in the aroma, but still not big or prominent - more light with a sweetness to the citrus sour. A little funk but the certainty the malt is a little hard to find. It's clearly not a wheat, but I'd have a hard time distinguishing it from an Oud Bruin. Mild drying with more tartness on the finish. Notable acid but not excessive.
A bit of slickness to the feel and a more moderate in size. The increase in heaviness is noted and this seems where the malt is most apparent, and the slight size increase.
I like sours, so this fits the bill. Not as interesting as the others of this series, but still enjoyable.

Mar 22, 2015
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.66/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tart lemony malty nose – clean malt aromas with some kettle sugars. Pours a slightly hazy light brown to chestnut under a quickly dissipating 2” off-white foam cap. It enters the palate with malt and kettle sugar but by mid-palate it gets tart and lemony and finishes tart and dry. Has some suggestions of a Flanders brown but the malt here is lighter and the tartness is more acidic. The malt rises up out of the tartness in a very mild way every now and then. The bigger malt gives it a touch more body than the traditional Berliner Weiss buy the extra malt provides a welcome balance to the Berliner Weiss tartness. The carbonation is borderline prickly. Very refreshing.

Feb 15, 2015
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Georgia

3.61/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Brown and slightly murky, decent head, short lived.

Tart and oaky aroma. Cherries, bread, bit of funk.

Nice sour flavor, with big oak notes, sour grapes, a hint of bread and raisins, and some wheat.

Lively feel, but there is something oily and thin and not great about it.

This is an interesting, decent beer, but it couldn't live up to my expectations.

Feb 01, 2015
Photo of doucmehu
doucmehu from Oregon

3.89/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

9 months in the cellar next to its Noble Star bros.

Pours a nice orange-amber, good clarity, head and retention. Lively mouthfeel without being prickly. A little tart cherry and hint barnyard funk, a bit of caramel sweetness on the nose. Nothing overwhelming. Big time tartness is immediate but not necessarily sharp or harsh, doesn't have that acidic or lactic bite of hardcore sours. As you get into it, the sourness stays right on the cusp of being puckering but never crossing the line. This keeps drinkability higher than might be expected. Taste is heavy is on the red wine and malt vinegar with some cherry, toasted oak and wheat. Dry finish.

Overall, this is a really nice take on the Berliner style. Very reminiscent of a Flanders or Oud Bruin, but with less aggressive vinegar and more smooth and silky body. Very high quality, I think many would be shocked to find out these NS sours are from August Schell.

Dec 31, 2014
Photo of SportsandJorts
SportsandJorts from Virginia

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a chestnut hue with some reddish highlights. two to three fingers of a tannish head forms but doesn't stick around too long. little to no lacing is left behind. opaque and very hazy.

Smell: lots of fruits, ranges from cherry to green apple (skin and flesh.) fruitiness ranges from sweet to tart. some vinegar

Taste: opens up with some barrel character, oak and a little bit of funk. some tartness and acidity comes through with some lemon juice. fruitiness really opens up with notes of dark cherries and green apple. slight vinegar.

Mouthfeel: light and tart. not quite refreshing as I'd like. slightly funky

Overall: a good bigger version of the berliner. I like the incorporation of the barrel adding all the extra fruity characteristics. I think it loses just a couple of key characteristics of the style (drinkability and refreshing qualities) that keep it from being a top tier of the style

Dec 30, 2014
Photo of gory4d
gory4d from Texas

4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jon for this one.

Pours a clear rusty tan with a loose white head. Smell is wood and tannins, some vinegar. The taste is clean minerals, some vegetal dankness, something mildly floral, and a good crisp tartness. Clean and crisp in the mouth. You could have told me this was an oud bruin and I'd have believed you. A very nice beer.

Nov 10, 2014
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

3.62/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown bottle with a bottled on date.

Ruby hued brew, minimal lacing. Good clarity. Mildly tart nose with hints of dark cherries and shortbread. Mouth puckering tartness for the first sip, earthy, wood and bread crust-like as well. Has some body from the Marzen side of this beer but the crispness of a Berliner-Weisse. Suggestions of tart cherries and faint caramel in the middle. Mild spice and a linger tartness in the finish.

A lot of fun to taste, one glass is enough though.

Oct 27, 2014
Photo of joe1510
joe1510 from Illinois

3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hayward CO-OP

March '14 Bottling

North Country Brunette is chestnut brown and glowing. Red hues highlight the body overall and when backlit it looks like an effervescent, unfiltered apple cider. The foam is dirty white, snap, crackling and popping from the second it's poured until it falls to a shallow ring around the glass. wispy lacing is left in its wake. She's a good looking beer.

The nose is very interesting, with that said I can't say I've ever come across a Berliner weiss with a malt bill of this sort. A toasty, bready maltiness is first from the glass thanks to the Munich malt while Vienna adds an all around earthy, damp graininess. It's all very interesting and festbier-esque but what's really the backbone of this beer is the standard wheaty twang of your typical Berliner. It's doughy, metallic tart, and slightly wild. The metallic tones were more robust on the pour but burnt off as the beer sat.

Munich and Vienna combine for a malty front end but while the typical bready, grainy, earthy flavors are there they are in no way rich like they are usually presented to me. They're softer, well integrated, and slightly soured. The wheat remains tart, bright, and slightly acidic like Berliner's should be. The Marzen malts add a touch of sweetness while the wheat and lacto bring the tart. Each play off the other well with a give and take of sweet and sour. I like this guy. Interesting.

The body, like all of the Schell Berliner releases, seems to be spot on. It's light on the feel with a luxuriant effervescence that's like a Shiatsu for the tongue. Tart bites at the sides of the tongue slightly but is well balanced with a soft sweetness. Acidity lingers after each swallow and the drinkability is ridiculous. This is a beer, that if you're so inclined, could be put down quickly with no problem at all.

North Country Brunette is an interesting, welcomed take on your traditional Berliner Weiss. The addition of Munich and Vienna malts add a bready sweetness to a wheaty acidity and while it doesn't sound all that appetizing to me it works surprisingly well. I assume Schell hit their mark on this beer because I'm impressed. It's not something I would reach for very often but the concept and execution played out well.

Sep 28, 2014
Photo of ONovoMexicano
ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

4.02/5  rDev -2.7%

A- Pours thick and yeasty with a fizzy, rapidly dissipating head. Tannish brown in color with blonde hues. 4.2

S- Reminds me of the aroma of an oud bruin, complete with barynard funk. More sour than tart in the aroma and a heavy malty, caramel-like thing going on. 3.9

T- This is a unique flavor. It kinda reminds me of crispy fries, or certainly a burnt, crispy grain. It's definitely rich on the malt. There's some tart, kind of cherry-like flavor and fruitiness that adds to the medley. 4.05

M- Heavier and with a thicker mouthfeel than most berliners, plus there's a maltiness and charred feel to the beer. The tartness is light and pleasant and the beer still drinks pretty easily. 4

This is quite unique and I like it. I like the experimentation and the results. 4.02

Sep 03, 2014
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

North County Brunette pours a dark amber color with a small long lasting lacing head. There is a soury and vinegary aroma. The taste has a nice mild sour flavor, with a creamy sweetness at the end. The flavors are present but not over powering. Overall a very nice drinkable yet flavorful beer.

Aug 29, 2014
Photo of SD-Alefan
SD-Alefan from South Dakota

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%

The beer pours a hazy brunette with a light tan head with spotty lacing.

The aroma is of sour apple and berries, a slight hint of vinegar acidity and some sweet malt in the background.

The taste is sour apple and cherry with a hint of sweetness at the end. As it warms, I also taste a bit of blueberry and lemon as well. This one will make you pucker!

The mouthfeel is light with lots of carbonation, almost champagne-like.

Overall, another wonderful entry into the Noble Star series. Great beer.

Aug 27, 2014
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim from New York

4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jeff for getting me addicted to this brewery. 750ml corked and caged bottle into Tired Hands stemware. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a foamy 1 finger light cream colored head with great retention. Beer is a dark, semi-clear mahogany. Lacing is spotty and sparse with little cling. Color is really dark for a Berliner. But otherwise solid.

Nose is vinegar, dark red fruit, cherry stem, peat, and oak with a mellow tartness. Really nice but a bit too subtle.

Opens tart cherry, raspberry and other dark red fruit. Some soy sauce, vinegar and peat. Very sour with a touch of lemon and more red fruit in the middle. Just a bit of wheat at the end that leaves a slightly sweet aftertaste. Really nice.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down foamy and puckering. Finishes accented with a slightly lingering, filmy aftertaste. Awesome!

This is a combination berliner and oud bruin... a very unique concept and its pulled off perfectly here. Another huge winner from August Schell. Definitely seek this one out!

Aug 12, 2014
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a fizzy head that fades down to nothing. Color is a ruby amber with a slight caramel hue to it.

Flavor profile: Sour cherry and fruit flavors. Fairly tart. Very funky with barnyard notes. Lemon and vinegar flavors. Lots of wild yeast flavors.

Mouthfeel: Tart with acidity. Light bodied. Decent carbonation level. Kind of spritzy. Ends a little dry.

Overall, a very enjoyable b-weisse. Very complex and very enjoyable. Easy to drink.

Aug 03, 2014
Photo of TheSSG
TheSSG from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a soapy, tan head with good persistence. A yeasty, sour aroma. A hazy brown color. Starts EXTREMELY sour and builds into a nice, malty backone.

This is amazing. It's sour, malty, and slightly toasty with a great effervescence. Easily one of the best Berliner's I've ever had.

Jul 09, 2014
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a tall New Glarus Signature Pilsner Glass. Bottled in March of 2014.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Big three finger off white head which slowly fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell: A tart, funky, and sweet aroma with good hints of fruits, Brett, and yeast. Tart and sweet hints of fruit including some cherries, green apple, berry, prune, and lemon. Big funky presence of Brett yeast giving some cheese like barnyard aroma. Bready malt hints with some wheat, grains, biscuit, and cracker. Fairly acidic. A pretty interesting and good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a funky, tart, and fairly sweet Weiss taste with big notes of fruit, Brett, and wheat. Nicely tart and moderately sweet taste of fruit with notes of cherries, berries, green apple, lemon, and dark prune and plum. Fairly acidic and dry. Good presence of funky Brett yeast with notes of funky and grassy cheese. Bready malt with notes of wheat, biscuit, grains, and cracker. A pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Nicely tart, drying, and smooth.

Overall: A pretty good twist on a Berliner Weiss beer. Good balance of funk with the tart fruit notes.

Jun 18, 2014
Photo of bsp77
bsp77 from Minnesota

4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Cloudy orangish-brown with decent off-white head.

Smell: Tart apple, lemon and cherry. Some sweeter dark fruits as well.

Taste: Very malty with bread, biscuit and lots of semi-sweet dark fruits. Nice tart counterbalance of lemons, apples and cherries. The wood aging is very noticeable on the finish.

Feel: Light to medium bodied and fairly effervescent. Exceedingly dry and tart finish.

Overall: Definitely more malty and balanced than a standard Berliner Weisse. There is almost a Flemish quality to this one. This is my least favorite of the three Schell's Noble Star beers so far, but that just shows how stupendous this lineup has been. Another great job overall.

May 11, 2014
Photo of morimech
morimech from Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown with amber tint. Hard to say if it is cloudy, hazy, or clear because of the darkness of the beer. One finger of head forms before quickly settling to a thick film. Very little lacing is left down the glass.

Funky aroma of mostly lactobacillus. Funky cheese and sour fruit. Just a hint of brett and its barnyard smells. Plenty of wheat in the aroma. Not getting much from the darker malt.

A little bit rich malt flavor that differentiates this from the previous Noble Star beers. The funkiness and sourness does not seem to be at the same level. A little bit sweeter but still a dry beer. Some funky cheese and sour apple with the addition of some caramel and chocolate notes.

Effervescent carbonation if a little bit bigger body. Maybe it is my imagination that I think the body is larger because of the more robust malt.

A really good Berliner Weiss but probably my least favorite of the three released to date from August Schell. Keep brewing them and I will keep buying them.

May 10, 2014
Photo of darky
darky from South Dakota

4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A - A dark honey-brown with a lively white head that quickly dies down to nothing

S - Tart fruit, wheat.

T- Tart jam-like fruitiness that is followed by a pronounced wheat backbone. This beer is very much akin to lightly toasted brown bread with a tart jam spread on it. I can't think of a better way to describe it. The wheat finish is quite similar to a Wheat Thin cracker and is perfect balance with sour front-end.

M - Medium-light in body with ample carbonation. Refreshing.

O - A very unique berliner weisse beer. Schells calls it a 'Berlin-Style Märzen Wheat Ale. I've never had anything similar to it and I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anything truly similar. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommended.

May 05, 2014
North Country Brünette from August Schell Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 138 ratings