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Notes on beers in the style

English Brown Ale

Fat Squirrel Ale

12 oz single, thanks to Kevin for the chance to try this one. Always delighted to try a New Glarus beer, and this is no exception. Pour provides a body that is quite clear and has a reddish-copper pour with a somewhat small head. Not much retention or lace. Good malty nose, but unfortunately the nose does not really translate into much depth in the taste. Quite honestly, it tastes really quite weak. This is disappointing to me because if this were a really good example of an English Brown Ale...

Bolita Brown Double Nut Brown Ale

750 mL from Broudy's Liquors in St. Augustine. $8.99 for the capped, dimple-bottomed, thick brown glass bottle. Now under the name, "Bolita Double Brown Ale" (the "nut" part of the name is missing from this bottle). Impressive, dark chestnut brown color with a really creamy, espresso type head that has nice retention and some very creamy, coating lace. Looks like the proverbial dark chocolate milkshake. Plenty of malty, bready alcohol in the nose. Creamy mouthfeel with a hint of acidity and...

Pub Brown Ale

16 oz stubbie as per usual from Sprecher - there's something really substantial about these bottles that I like. Apparently, now called, "Pub Brown Ale". Pour gives a good dark brown color, and importantly a decent clarity with good carbonation. The head is well formed (and white) and the lacing is better than expected. Solid appearance. The thing that i like about Sprecher more than anything else, is the fact that they generally make simple beers, to style in many of the somewhat...

Chocolate Starfish

A bit of background to this review. I ordered the beer at The Porter in Little Five, Atlanta, GA, ‎USA. A few minutes later I was joined by a friend of mine who knows very little about beer and ‎started engaging the barman about what to order and drink. As part of this conversation the ‎barman started offering advice about brown ales but he did NOT mention the Starfish in that ‎category. I was curious since it was a CLASSIC brown ale, and it was sitting in front of me,...

Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale

On tap at Taco Mac, Douglasville, GA, USA. Very expensive at either $6.50 or $7.00 a pint! Pour gives a very nice, chestnut brown pour with some decent (if short-lived) head but some nice lace. Above average in terms of looks. Nice malty nose with little nut character but nevertheless sweet and in line with the style. Simple, tasty, well-crafted a no-nonsense, no frills beer and that's a GOOD thing. In the USA, FAR too often these days it is difficult to track down quality examples of simple,...

Southern Pecan

Thought I would crack this 12 oz bottle in celebration of the FTH, AL bill passing on Friday. Not an AL beer, but you get the idea! Only MS to go! A little lighter in the body color than I expected. Good, dense, white head and surprising carbonation for the style. A little lively in the mouth for a Brown Ale. Lace is disappointing. Nose and tastes have the good, nutty, moreish character I was expecting. Malt based (obviously) it drinks above a broken, spotty head. Nice as a one-off, but the...

Old Hooky

Absolutely delighted to come across this 500 mL bottle at Bruisn' Ales in Asheville, NC, USA. $5.00. Tall thin brown bottle in the USA, NOT as shown in the BA database. In my opinion this is incorrectly categorized as a English Brown Ale - it simply isn't. This is a classic English, ESB in my book. Body is light and produces a small head with little lace. English Pale Ale color. Majestic bottle. Hell Yeah! Nose and tastes are incredibly fruity with tremendous presence. The malt nose is bigger...

Bald Eagle Brown

12 oz single, Total Wine, Atlanta, GA, USA. Dark amber body with disappointing lace and head. Colour is strong, but the rest of the appearance lacks much presence. Nose seems to be the strongest suit for the beer and has a touch of boubon or liquor. I have ABSOLUTELY no idea where that is coming from but the source seems to be an exaggerated malt profile. Although the liquor is an odd thing to be picking up, I am glad to have a large malt note in a style that SHOULD be exhibiting such traits....

Flying Shuttle

500 mL bottle from Greens on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. Part of the new wave of Thwaites available here in the USA. Here is an excerpt from my review of another of this range (Wainwright) which also applies here; "The presentation looks good and some thought has gone into this. They seem to be retailing for $4.99 across the board. I am worried about a couple of things about the range in general. These beers tend not to travel well, and in any case they are simply beers that are infinitely...

Tröegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale

12oz single. New label compared to the BA database. Very dark brown pour with plenty of head and some lace. Not much light passing through this one. Obviously a yeasty and malty nose. Taste reveals much more of the sweet nut character than the nose. Medium body that keeps this in sessionable country. Close to a really good sessionable beer (it could be argued that the ABV is still a little high), but it has all the other desirable factors for a session brew. Finishes smooth and sweet, and stil...

Deep Cover Brown Ale

12oz bottle as a single from my recent trip to NC/SC - probably from Total Wine. Pour is a dark orange and lacks the brown clarity that I look for in a Brown Ale - a bit murky for my liking. Head is short lived and lace is pretty much absent. A little flat. Nutty nose with high caramel content. Nuts re-appear in the taste. Average malt taste and the mouthfeel is rather thin. Unimpressive, somewhat weak all the way around I thought.

Black Toad Dark Ale

12 oz single from Trader Joe's purchased just before they cut off the single sales in their GA stores. Bit of a murky brown pour, but held up to the light I get some VERY distinct red tones. Small head that disappears quickly and very little lace. Nutty and lightly fruited nose and similar tastes. Very light mouthfeel and not really Porter like at all. I would call this a Brown Ale as much as anything EXCEPT for the very slightly smoky finish. Tiny bitterness in the ending too. Up to that...

Brown Ale

Extremely interesting. $3.99 Green's, Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA, 22 oz bomber. I like the label - simple and very informative, mentioning Ibsen, "spicy hoppiness of the new world" (which I take to mean American hoppiness in a Brown Ale) plus some other info. First off this is most definitely NOT an "English" Brown Ale. It is clearly an American version of the style with a LOT of extra hops added to the original style. Emphasis on the hop profile rather than the malt, unlike the English style...

Old Man Ale

Updated notes 11/19/23 (pictured) NOTE: Scores on this fresh bottle would be; 4.5, 4.0. 4.5. 4.5. 4.5 Note: This is labeled as 4.8% these days as opposed to the previously recorded 5.0%. This has been classified as an English Brown Ale in some places, but I don't see it that way at all. It's more of an English bitter or ESB, even if it's a little hoppy for that, and a little drier. Another beer that I thought I wouldn't see again in the USA, but here we are, over 16 yers later. Great clear,...

Warm Welcome
Nut Browned Ale

Additional notes 06/27/23 (pictured) 500mL bottle as usual, from Jungle Jim's last weekend. L24 222. I stand by everything written below. This is one of those beers where notes from 16 (gulp!) years ago seem to be precisely what I would say today. Still not a 'brown ale' to me, still ESB-like and still beautifully balanced with grace and strength. Lace is still a nice feature, so pleasant on the eye and on the palate. Oh for cask versions of beer like this one. Original notes 01/07/07 500mL...

Nut Brown Ale

12 oz bottle bought as a single at Liquor Barn, Lexington, KY, USA. Solid offering of the style. Pour is really dark brown. Small head with very little lacing. Plenty of mild, smoky malts. Delicious. Good caramel malts apparent too. Good bitterness and malt balance with some chocolate and some mild coffee notes.

Bell’s Best Brown

12 oz bottle bought as a single from Liquor Barn, Lexington, KY, USA. Very lively and loud pour produces great lacing and a lovely, deep, pillow like ivory head. Body color is a cloudy orange amber, but perhaps not quite as dark as I would like to see. Very nice sweet, malty and nutty aroma. Tastes are true to the style with plenty of malt and noticeable sweetness and tangy nut taste. Very easy to drink and rather tasty. If you like Brown Ales (as I do) I think you will probably enjoy this...

Bluegrass Nut Brown Ale

Good stuff. On-tap at Mellow Mushroom, Lexington, KY - around $2 a pint! Dark brown pour that suffers from being served too cold, but after the beer wams all the attributes start to be enhanced and come through nicely. The temperature affected the pour making it look rather flat. After warming and with a little agitation we get what the beer should resemble Lovely deep color and excellent head and lacing. Lovely nutty sweet nose. A little edgier than say, Rogue Hazelnut, but it has any of...

Downtown Brown

Purchased as a single from Riverside, Chattanooga, TN, USA. 12 oz stubbie. One of my favorite styles and this is better than average. Excellent brown color with minimal head but better than average lacing. The color makes up for the lack of head. Woody and nutty it its initial aroma, and then the sweet malts back up everything in the taste. Really rather nicely rounded and tasty. Like the style? Get some soon.

Cottonwood Low Down Brown Ale

Dark conker (horse chestnut) brown with an espresso type film and some meagre lacing. Fine streaming bubbles make up the carbonation. Aroma is malty and nutty. Tastes are in the dry category with an emphasis on cooking chocolate bitterness. As it warms increasing nut flavors come through to accent the malt. Mouthfeel perhaps a tad thin and I'd like a little more sweetness, but it's nothing to get too distressed over. No the best Brown Ale, but a decent enough attempt and I would certainly...

East Bay Brown

In my opinion by far the best beer that Southend puts out. Excellent brown body with a small head that although it fades quickly, it still gives some nice lacing and some spotty cream on the surface. Some nutty alcohol in the aroma. Nicely in line with the style with some decent malts and a little hop bitterness in the short finish. Clean taste and a hint of alcohol.

Bar Harbor Real Ale

Nice color to the body, with some head, but this is gone way too soon to leave a little spotty head on the surface of the beer, but no lacing. Color is a deep red mahogany. Nose has some caramel malts but not much at all. Dryish and really quite bland. This drinks like a watered down brown ale, but without the malty, nutty flavors that one might expect. Flavor is just not quite there. It does improve somewhat on warming, but still lacks body and character. Too thin for me, with a little...

Samuel Adams Brown Ale

The beauty here is the simplicity. Very easy drinking with a full flavor but not huge. Definitely a complex, layered malt backbone, biscuity and then a lovely hop finish. Mouthfeel is really full, and thirst quenching. Simply put, a simply built beer that satisfies and is very flavorful to boot. The subtlety is as refreshing as the beer.

Nut Brown Ale

Some confusion on BA over St. George's Brown Ale's? This was definitely the Nut Brown, since it had "Nut Brown" on the label! Part of the mixed sixer, Dragon Pack. Light brown body, small head and some lacing. Good nose with plenty of malts and some bready character. Lots of refreshing traits, with a nice bite in the finish. High drinkability. The finish is the most interesting aspect with a sweet, caramel dry ending that rounds the drink out nicely.

Saranac Nut Brown Ale

Not a great beer but a decent effort. Color was much too light for my liking in terms of the style but on the upside it did come with a nice spotty head and some decent lacing. Yeasty type aroma, average mouthfeel. Bitterness is upfront and lasting and there is a lack of noticeable malts which serve to give the beer a metallic and sharp edge. I like a maltier base to my Brown Ales, and a little more sweetness. I miss the nuttiness that others speak of. Drinkable despite the slightly odd...

Grog

Decent Brown Ales are difficult things to get right in my opinion, and this sort of fell between two stools. The malty sweetness is there in the nose and the taste (which is a good thing), but the mouthfell let it down somewhat. A little too thin and watery for my taste. Nice deep brown appearance, but lack of head and lacing definitely detracts form the look. There was a little chocolate in there, but I didn't feel there was as much as some others have noted. The light drinking does mean that...

New South Brown Ale

Like Loki, this did remind me a bit a Newcastle Brown Ale, but rather than being "a better glass", I thought it was a poorer version. Decent color, but a lifeless pour lacking head, lacing or any kind of carbonation or character. Certainly some sweet malt taste, but it fades quickly to give a bland drink that didn't merit any further investigation. Perhaps nearer the source this would be better, but this did not travel well from Myrtle Beach down the coast to Hilton Head, SC. Update: Came back...

Sweet Magnolia Brown

Very classical type appearance with a deep chestnut color and decent head that leaves some lacing. The color is excellent and makes the beer appear to have some depth and body. Malty aroma is backed up by a sweetness in the taste. Very little hop character or bitterness here, this is a simple, malt based brown ale that really hits the spot in terms of the style and drinkability. Very easy, light drinking on this one. A tiny bit of milk chocolate in there too. Goes down easy, and before you...

Samuel Smith’s
Nut Brown Ale

Additional notes 02/05/23 (pictured) Still not a beer that gets me excited. There's a lack of depth for my palate which may have been spoiled by almost 2two-and-a-half decades in the USA (I accept that), but it always feels a bit thin. I have this on draft many times too, but I just don't recall much about those experiences, most of them were years ago. Original notes 11/19/05 My interest in brown ales was recently revived by Tommyknocker and Rogue Hazelnut, which both proved to be really...

Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale

Amazing clarity, with a crystal clear, deep amber/red body, a lovely head and excellent lacing. Nose is very malty. In fact, very malty all the way through, but not with an overbearing sweetness, more of a creamy malt. There is an unusual combination of malt with the sweet, plus an overall dry experience. This beer drinks very easily with a dry finish too. Mouthfeel is very nice, with mildly sweet creams coming to mind. Highly drinkable.

Downtown Trolley Brown

Extremely ordinary, and I suspect a long way away from the Carolina Brewery's best offering. Standard color, but seemingly flat appearance with little or no head or lacing. Ordinary maltiness up front, but very vanilla in every respect. Some hop in the finish, but a disappointing effort all around. Perhaps this varies from batch to batch but I was somewhat let down. Lots of better offerings avaialable here - choose one!

Charleston Brown Ale

Chestnut brown highlights on the pour, but overall darker than I expected, when it was sitting in the glass it looked exactly like a Coke! Some sweetness in the aroma, a hint of chocolate too, but very subdued. Light on taste and quite thin in the mouth, this was not as chewy as I was expecting. I expect a little more body in my brown ales, but the upside was that I found it really quite refreshing. Not bad at all, nothing to write home about, but I'd certainly drink it again.

Sweetwater Georgia Brown

Very clear, red-copper brown colored pour with a nice head that disappears quickly. I didn't get much of the nuttiness or the honey malt that is mentioned on the bottle. Aroma is malty with what seems to be a real alcoholic tinge. The alcohol is not carried through to the taste in any significant way though. It certainly seems to me to be a very light example of a Brown Ale, perhaps I'm used to thicker "English" Brown Ales. Quite watery in the mouth, but this makes it refreshing and drinkable....

Turbodog

A nice Brown Ale. Pours a very attractive red/brown color with a nice amount of carbonation to give a decent head that hangs around a bit. A tasty little number with plenty of maltiness and a bitter finish in just the right amount. Drinkable, good example of the style. Lots of information about the hops and malt on the label. Makes me curious about Abita's other brews, I'll be following up with them later.

Newcastle Brown Ale

Another beer that seemes to have changed a lot since I first drank it. There are certainly two factors that are influencing this. Firstly the American insistence on serving this stuff at temperatures which are simply too cold. Then (to add insult to injury) serving it in frosted mugs! Why oh why this obsession? This is much better enjoyed at room temperatures, or at least removed from the fridge for some time before consumption. Once it's up to a decent temperature this is a sweet brown ale...

Hobgoblin

Nice. Poured a caramel red color with a large foamy head that subsided quickly. Lots of lacing. This is what I would call a full flavored English Ale and nice to see it in the clear bottle. I always associate these bottles with real ale that I've usually drunk on draught before trying it in the bottle (e.g. Old Speckled hen). The bottle gives it an authentic "Ale" feel. I think this would satisfy somebody looking for a tasty beer but who was still looking for something that wasn't too heavy. A...