Janet's Brown Ale
Russian River Brewing Company

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Brown Ale
Ranked #187
Ranked #17,949
3.87 | pDev: 12.14%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 116
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brown ale with a small 2/5" white head on it. Hit the chocolate malt notes, some citrus, has those citrus and chocolate notes that ladies are into sometimes.

Taste was the same, this is already a 1st tier brown ale in my mind. Hits nutty stride as well. Hides the alcohol amazingly well. Well done.

 303 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at O'Brien's Pub in San Diego, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and herbal hops. Taste is much the same with a toasted bread flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

 543 characters

Photo of litheum94
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From undated notes.

Dark brown body with ruby highlights. Off brown head that settles out. Good lacing.

Aromas of roasted caramel malts and piney hops. Soy sauce/umami aromas pop up as well.

Very roasty flavors. Some caramel sweetness. Bready malts. Fairly bitter floral and pine hops on the finish, with a touch of alcohol. Lively carbonation

A very good brown ale, which is a style I don't always enjoy. Refreshing for a darker, high alcohol ale.

 452 characters

Photo of nrbw23
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a very deep reddish brown color with a very nice foamy off white head. Head has great retention and leaves nice layered lacing.

S- Smell is really nutty and roasted malts. Quite a bit sweetness here too, toffee, coffee and a touch of chocolate. A bit of hop spice in here too.

T- Wow not even close to my favorite style, but this is a great beer for sure. Nuts are everywhere, a hint of coffee, a good amount of sweetness, toffee and the hops make themselves known with just about the perfect amount of bitterness. A touch of chocolate and a very solid roasted feel to this one.

M- Medium in both body and carbonation.

O- Very impressed try this one for sure if you get a chance.

 695 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler poured into SN tulip pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown with reddish highlights with a billowing dark tan oily head that slowly faded into a thick layer that left tons of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Huge notes of hops, fruity hops, with a touch of pine. I can almost taste a hint of malt, but damn this is hoppy for a brown ale.
T: The flavor is much more balanced. Well, actually it’s mind blowingly hoppy with big flavors of citrus, but there are also notes of sweet caramel malt. The finish is sweet and a bit fruity, but the aftertaste is bitter, slightly grapefruity, and super hoppy. I get a faint note of tobacco in there as well.
M: Body is on the lighter side of thin, and it could be thicker. It’s really easy to drink, but the mouth really falls off, especially in the finish. For how hoppy this is I’m surprised it’s not more viscous and oily. The carbonation is good though.
O: Really good beer, more similar to an ipa than a brown, but really good. Not the best from Russian River by any stretch, but I’d buy this again.

 1,065 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard brown ale, maybe a little cleaner looking than some, minimal head. Good chocolate and citrus hop aroma here, enjoyed the juxtaposition of aroma you don't normally find.

Same neat meld of flavors you don't normally come across together. Nice carbonation buzz at the back of the throat. Nutty, toasty are good descriptors. Something complex, yet pretty easy to drink. Still not going to be something I clamor for given so many awesome options at RR, but nonetheless, when you can make a brown ale so complex and tasty, damn, its like they can do no wrong.

 563 characters

Photo of jethrodium
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler. Pours a reddish brown with a two finger light tan head that has very good retention and leaves a huge amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy for a brown ale. Orange, grapefruit, and some floral notes. There is some sugar cookie and a light almond nuttiness as well. The initial taste is sweet sugar cookie and a distinct nuttiness. A bit of orange comes through as well. The finish is clean with a light bitterness. Medium body. Slick mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Overall, a quite enjoyable beer.

 523 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub. Beautiful clear pale mahogany brown with a thick off-white cap.

Lot of toasted malt on the nose. Some fruitiness, toasted nuts and licorice. A bit of raisin.

There's a surprising amount of licorice on the palate, along with toasted malt and light nuttiness. It's too sharp and dry for a brown, and quite bitterness in the finish. A clean beer, but I didn't care for the malt profile.

 408 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River

A: The pour is a beautiful dark chestnut brown with a finger's worth of creamy off-white foam.

S: Lots of nutty and toasty maltiness to begin followed by lots of sweet and smooth toffee and chocolate. A fairly roasty nose as well as quite a bit of floral hop aroma.

T: A big nutty character along with a surprising amount of bitterness. A hint of smoke followed by bitter-sweet chocolate and a moderate roasted malt quality.

M: The body is medium with a smooth, low carbonation.

D: I remember watching a youtube video about this beer and thinking: I want to try that. It didn't disappoint. A nice and nutty brown ale with a few "different" qualities to it.

 685 characters

Photo of popery
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tap, City Beer Store. Delicious brown ale. Pours a deep auburn with an ecru head. The aroma is muted, at least compared to the flavor. Smells of brown sugar, dark malt and notes of minty, citric hops. On the other hand, the beer has a ton going on when it reaches your mouth. There's rich chocolate, brown ale nuttiness and ashy roast. It starts pleasantly sweet and rich but finishes with a mix of hop and roast bitterness. Great aftertaste. The feel is smooth and full. Goes down easily. Booze is nowhere to be found. Awesome stuff.

 534 characters

Photo of kaseydad
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. Brought to the table in a pint glass and I see a dirty brown ale with tints of burgundy and a small tiny head with nice lacing. Sticky sweet candy aroma with some nice hoppiness and a nutty peanut-like aroma. The taste has some coffee charachteristics, roastiness and a tangy finish. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. Drinkability is very good and though I am not a huge brown ale fan, this one really hit the spot. Unfortunately it is only available at the brewery at limited times.

 529 characters

Photo of bulletrain76
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught at the brewpub. The server told us that this was the pro-am beer that they are entering in GABF this year, and the recipe is by a local homebrewer who came in a brewed the beer with Vinnie. Everything about this beer really does taste like an "Imperial American Brown Ale" as the brewery claimed in the board. The color is dark chestnut brown with a thick and lasting creamy light beige head. The aroma is rich dark toast, light coffee and subtle spicy hops. The flavor has a rich malt profile but avoids being too sweet with a nice hop balance and very toasty character. Almost like drinking toast actually (in a good way). There is a faint warming that lets you know this is no session brown, and the finish is dry. Medium bodied and clean on the tongue. A nice balance of flavors, but as tasty as this was, I don't know ow into an imperial brown I can get. I just think I would have dug this more at 4.5% if they could get a nice of a malt flavor in it.

 964 characters

Photo of Offa
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I just had this on tap at Russian River. It's a bit rough and flat in character, not bad but not great, either, and not even remotely one of their better beers. Called an "Imperial American Brown Ale," it really is nothing more than a somewhat rough winter warmer.

Very Dark red brown, it has a smallish, creamy pale tan head that lasts, slowly thinning to a lasting wispy top and leaving the usual nice rings of lace typical for Russian River.

The aroma is mostly toasty malty and earthy with a hint of chocolate.

The taste is quite malty up front, but rather vague and one-dimensional. It's mostly just lightly roasty malt with stewed, slightly burnt prunes, and earthy with overly noticeable warm, spicey alcohol. It has definite sweetness with increasing bitterness and warm alcohol taking over by the finish. It's not bad, and has definite, strong character that holds up well, but the character isn't great, it's uninteresting and fairly one-dimensional, it's a bit rough, the alcohol is too obvious and too rough, especially by the finish, the finish is a little too bitter, and it's mostly vague burnt-earthy malt with bitterness and alcohol. It's uninteresting, lacking in subtlety or complexity, the experience is flat, and the elements are not married very well. It's slightly oily but not very.

The strength of what character it has, and especially the over done alcohol detract from drinkability.

 1,414 characters

Photo of MiScusi
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler purchased on 8/29, kept cold and consumed 9/12.

A- dark dark brown- but the liquid itself is clear on closer inspection. A light tan frothy head forms nicely.
S- Hops hit immediately. They are of the woodsy variety.. a bit of pine, grassy, leafy... earthy but green is how I would describe this hop aroma. Lightly roasted malts of the chocolate and crystal variety accompany all this.
T- A great mix of strong and bitter hops and a toasty body. Some chocolate character is present but it doesn't reach the roasty level that you can detect in porters or stouts (good). Green aggressive hops shine just a bit more over the dark body.
M- This growler was still around 80% or so of it's normal carbonation and the body felt medium and slick. Definitely in the right zone for this beer, it was thin enough to drink easily but not too thin.

Overall- a good beer that combines two great flavor profiles, one from an aggressive hopping, and another from the chocolate and caramel of a traditional brown ale. Nicely done, no wonder Mike McDole says this is one of his most popular beers.

 1,088 characters

Photo of bryroger
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at The Trappist Bar in Oakland. It was poured in to a 33 cl Goblet. This Beer was a contender in the Pro-Am Competition at the Great American Beer Festival this year (2009). This competition fosters collaboration between amateur and professional brewing communities. In this case the Am was Mike "Tasty" McDole and the Pro was Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River. Mike named the beer after his late wife.

A: Pours a deep dark opaque liquid. The head poured rather bubbly thick but had dissipated by the time I got to my seat leaving patches of dark liquid seeping through and nice lacing on the side of the glass. It was very inviting and I immediately longed for a taste.

S: I took a whiff of the beer and it had light nutty chocolaty sweet aromas. I could also smell some stronger malted roast and citrusy hoppy notes with a hint of mint.

T: I took in a gulp and was immediately surprised at the extent of the hoppiness in the beer. The Northern Brewer hops really plowed through leaving almost a double IPA strength bitterness. It was also rich and malty roast. The Beer is well built but what I really enjoy was how they explored the style; pushing the hops and the alcohol content to the limit. It finished a slightly yeasty alcohol bitterness that you could taste in your nose but altogether welcomed.

M: The beer was smooth and somewhat watery but felt thicker at times too. Medium bodied and chewey that you could feel in the cheeks. You could also feel the carbonation bubbling. It felt great and comforting on the palate.

D: I thoroughly enjoyed every gulp of this beer. I found it surprising and fun and I would definitely have another but not until my taste buds recover.

 1,696 characters

Photo of mjl21
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Toronado. Poured into a 13 ounce tulip. No abv info given.

A-Pours a dark brown with lots of reddish hue when held to the light. The bartender filled the glass to the rim so there is a minor white head. A few streaks of lace cling to the glass.

S-Lots of malt. Roast malt and chocolate are ample in the nose. Also get both citrus and earthy hops.

T-Bitter chocolate and roasted malt hit first followed by some nice citrus hops and some earthy hops. It finishes with some roast flavor and some orange. There is also a touch of booze at the end. The roast flavor stays in between sips.

M-It falls on the lighter end of the medium spectrum. It has that velvety smooth RR mouthfeel. There is some tingly carbonation on the back of my mouth.

D-About as good as a brown ale is going to get. The citrus flavor is a nice touch.

Brown ales are a style that I typically avoid. I liked the spin Vinnie and Tasty used on this one. I wouldn't seek it out, but for the style it is very good.

 997 characters

Photo of cptierney
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at the brewpub.

Deep chocolate brown to this beast. Real sexy darkness to this beer that lets you just barely see through it. Minimal two finger white head that yielded to leave little trace.

The nose to this brew is just as a brown ale should be. All sorts of nuttiness meets the sniffer reminding me of roasted chestnuts.

Solid mouthfeel. There's a substantial body to this beer that I really appreciate. I almost want it to be served a bit warmer and at a cozier pub- with say, a fireplace instead of TV's showing NASCAR.

Newcastle, this is not. A powerful flavor to this beer deserving of its "imperial" name. Lots of malt character with a little more bittering than I'm used to in a brown ale. That high ABV is hidden real well.

It would be tough to session this brew, but it makes for an excellent sipper. Another solid RR offering.

 850 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap very recently at the pub in Santa Rosa. Billed as an Imperial Brown on the board with 60 IBUs and an original gravity of 1.074. Pours really dark brown, but well short of being black. Slightly grainy looking pancake head that sticks around and leaves some excellent lacing. Smells roasty and with a good dose of earthy hops, cookie-like malt with a heavy whiff of molasses, but relatively dry overall. Tastes like a rich, thick brown, quite cookie-like, slightly roasty, and fairly hoppy with earthy and piney hops. Fairly thick in the mouth, but not sweet. Tasty and satisfying.

 595 characters

Janet's Brown Ale from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 116 ratings