3.8AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012 If you know me you know I love brown ales and I’m also a big fan of the Samuel Adams line of beers. Therefore Sam Adams Brown Ale must be the best beer ever, right? I wouldn’t go that far, but it definitely is good and is probably one of the better American takes on this unique English style.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Brown ales have a tendency to pour very smoothly and the Sam Adams take on the style fell right in line. It has a brownish-red, cloudy complexion. I was surprised to see how much carbonation action was evident. Brown ales are traditionally lightly carbonated and eventually become totally tepid, yet this beer was quite lively throughout the life of the drink.
The beer formed an average-sized, tan, soapy head which never completely dissipated and left some lacing on the glass. It certainly smelled like a traditional English brown ale with a roasty, malty character, but the aroma was restrained.
I cannot stress this enough: the darker the beer, the warmer the temperature it should be drunk. A lot of Americans have a tendency to be turned off by dark beers because they mistakenly drink them too cold and miss out on the flavor. I noticed this was absolutely true of Sam Adams Brown Ale as I drank the first one cold but the second one significantly warmer (although it was still good even at the wrong temperature).
This is a tasty beer at the right temperature. It has a nutty, roasty, very malty palate that is quite sweet. Caramel seems to be a significant component to flavor with the slightest amount of toffee also noticeable. Brown ales are often so sweet they drink like soda, but Sam Adams isn’t quite that flavorful, it’s much more subdued.
I know a lot of people who are turned off by the Sam Adams line because their beers tend to be so full of flavor they’re actually difficult to drink for the non-connoisseur. In the case of Samuel Adams Brown Ale the everyday drinker has no reason to be intimidated because it is extremely smooth and goes down like water or juice.
Surprisingly, the alcohol content and amount of calories to this beer are not listed on the Samuel Adams website. However, I would take and educated guess and say that both are lower than you would think they would be (probably 5% ABV and 150 calories). This is not a heavy beer by any means and does not fill you up nor overwhelm you. It would be an ideal drink to accompany even the heaviest of meals.
I have a feeling a lot of American beer drinkers will be underwhelmed by this beer because they’ll mistakenly drink it too cold. If you just let it sit for about 10 or 15 minutes the improvement in taste will be significant. It’s not as flavorful as Newcastle, but for an American brown ale, it’ll do.