BROWN ALE is a style of beer with a dark amber or brown color. The term was first used by London brewers in the late 17th century to describe their products, such as mild ale, though the term had a rather different meaning than it does today. 18th-century brown ales were lightly hopped and brewed from 100% brown malt.
Today there are brown ales made in several regions, most notably England, Belgium and America. Regular bruin (brown) or Brune beers such as Grottenbier are darker than amber ales, less sour than Flemish brown ale, (Oud Bruin) and less strong than Dubbel.
Text used from Wikipedia articles: “Beer In Belgium” and “Brown Ale”
Other commercial examples from Belgium: Brasserie Caracole Nostrodamus, Abbaye des Rocs Brune, McChouffe, and Corsendonk Brune. It should be noted, that many beers in Belgium naming themselves “Brune” are closer to the Abbey Dubbel style. Commercial examples from the USA: The Bruery Autumn Maple, Karl Strauss Full Suit, and many others.
Brown Ale Characteristics
AROMA / BOUQUET:
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.
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 / TASTE:
Deep, caramel- or toffee-like malty sweetness on the palate and lasting into the finish. Hints of biscuit and coffee are common. May have a moderate dark fruit complexity. Low hop bitterness. Hop flavor is low to non-existent. Little or no perceivable roasty or bitter black malt flavor. Moderately sweet finish with a smooth, malty aftertaste. Low to no diacetyl.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium body, but the residual sweetness may give a heavier impression. Low to moderately low carbonation. Quite creamy and smooth in texture, particularly for its gravity.
A luscious, malt-oriented brown ale, with a caramel, dark fruit complexity of malt flavor.
RELATED BROWN ALE BREWVIEWS:
December 1, 2014: THE BRUERY- AUTUMN MAPLE
Brown Ale characteristic descriptives from 2008 BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) style guidelines. (http://www.bjcp.org)