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English Brown Ale

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English Brown Ale is probably one of England's oldest beer styles; the less-intense precursor to Porter features rich, often sweet malt flavors. The term is often used almost interchangeably with Mild Ale; some brewers actually sell the same beer as mild in a cask or on draft but as brown ale in bottles.

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[edit] History of English Brown Ale

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[edit] Types of English Brown Ale

Brown ales have different regional characters based on the part of England where they are produced. The best-known styles are the northern style, brewed in the area around Lancaster, and the southern or London style. However, these style differences are mainly based on the most popular commercial examples; regional breweries around England are much more diverse than these terms would suggest.

[edit] Northern English Brown Ale

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[edit] London Brown Ale

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Also known as Southern English Brown Ale.

[edit] Historical or Throwback English Brown Ale

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[edit] Brewing English Brown Ale

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[edit] Competition Styles

The BJCP recognizes two styles of English Brown Ale, and the GABF combines both into one style definition.

[edit] BJCP Style Guidelines

[edit] Southern English Brown

11B. Southern English Brown Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 12-20 SRM: 19-35 OG: 1.035-1.042 FG: 1.011-1.014 ABV: 2.8-4.2%
Aroma: Malty-sweet, often with a rich, caramel or toffee-like character. Moderately fruity, often with notes of dark fruits such as plums and/or raisins. Very low to no hop aroma. No diacetyl.
Appearance: Light to dark brown, and can be almost black. Nearly opaque, although should be relatively clear if visible. Low to moderate off-white to tan head.
Flavor: Malty-sweet, often with a rich, caramel or toffee-like character. Moderately fruity, often with notes of dark fruits such as plums and/or raisins. Very low to no hop aroma. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, but residual sweetness may give a heavier impression. Low to moderately low carbonation.
Overall Impression: Malty-sweet, often with a rich, caramel or toffee-like character. Moderately fruity, often with notes of dark fruits such as plums and/or raisins. Very low to no hop aroma. No diacetyl.
History: English brown ales are generally split into sub-styles along geographic lines. Southern English (or "London-style") brown ales are darker, sweeter, and lower gravity than their Northern cousins.
Comments: Increasingly rare. Some consider it a bottled version of dark mild.
Ingredients: English pale ale malt as a base with a healthy proportion of darker caramel malts and often some roasted malts. Moderate to high carbonate water would appropriately balance the dark malt acidity. English hop varieties are most authentic, though with low flavor and bitterness almost any type could be used.
Commercial Examples: Mann's Brown Ale (bottled, but not available in the US), Tolly Cobbold Cobnut Nut Brown Ale


[edit] Northern English Brown Ale

11C. Northern English Brown Ale Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 20-30 SRM: 12-22 OG: 1.040-1.052 FG: 1.008-1.013 ABV: 4.2-5.4%
Aroma: Light, sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty and/or caramel notes. A light but appealing fresh hop aroma (UK varieties) may also be noticed. A light fruity ester aroma may be evident in these beers, but should not dominate. Very low to no diacetyl.
Appearance: Dark amber to reddish-brown color. Clear. Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.
Flavor: Light, sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty and/or caramel notes. A light but appealing fresh hop aroma (UK varieties) may also be noticed. A light fruity ester aroma may be evident in these beers, but should not dominate. Very low to no diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Medium to medium-high carbonation.
Overall Impression: Light, sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty and/or caramel notes. A light but appealing fresh hop aroma (UK varieties) may also be noticed. A light fruity ester aroma may be evident in these beers, but should not dominate. Very low to no diacetyl.
History: not specified
Comments: English brown ales are generally split into sub-styles along geographic lines.
Ingredients: English mild ale or pale ale malt base with caramel malts. May also have small amounts darker malts (e.g., chocolate) to provide color and the nutty character. English hop varieties are most authentic. Moderate carbonate water.
Commercial Examples: Newcastle Brown Ale, Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, Tolly Cobbold Cobnut Special Nut Brown Ale, Goose Island Hex Nut Brown Ale

[edit] GABF Style Listings

[edit] English Style Brown Ale

52B. English Style Brown Ale
GABF Style Listing (2007)
English brown ales range from deep copper to brown in color. They have a medium body and a dry to sweet maltiness with very little hop flavor or aroma. Roast malt tones may sometimes contribute to the flavor and aroma profile. Fruity ester flavors are appropriate. Diacetyl should be very low, if evident. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.040 1.050 (10 12.5 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.008 1.014 (2 3.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 3.3-4.7% (4 5.5%)
Bitterness (IBU): 15-25
Color SRM (EBC): 15-22 (30-44 EBC)