Style Profile: Brown Ale

American brown ale may be considered a hoppier and more robust version of northern English brown. It is light to very dark brown with a moderate, off-white to tan head. The nose is malty-rich with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and toasty qualities. Roasted malt character is more robust than in the English versions, but stops short of porter intensity. Some examples may include prominent, citrusy American hop aromas. Malt dominates the palate as well, with caramel, toasty, and chocolate flavors. Hop bitterness is medium to medium high and accentuated by a medium-dry finish. Moderate hop flavor may be evident, usually with a citrusy, American profile.

About Brown Ale

Vital Statistics

Southern English Brown

OG:        1.033–1.042        FG:         1.011–1.014

ABV:      2.8–4.1%              IBUs:     12–20

SRM:     19–35


Northern English Brown

OG:        1.040–1.052        FG:         1.008–1.013

ABV:      4.2–5.4%              IBUs:     20–30

SRM:     12–22


American Brown

OG:        1.045–1.060        FG:         1.010–1.016

ABV:      4.3–6.2%              IBUs:     20–40

SRM:     18–35



Southern English Brown: Mann’s Brown Ale. I am unaware of any examples currently available in the US

Northern English Brown: Newcastle, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, Wychwood Hobgoblin

American Brown: Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale, Surly Bender, Bell’s Best Brown, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Lost Coast Downtown Brown, Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale



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Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint About Michael Agnew, A Perfect Pint

Michael has a passion for beer. He is Minnesota's first Certified Cicerone (think sommelier for beer) with the Cicerone Certification Program, and a National Beer Judge with the Beer Judge Certification Program. In addition, Michael is himself an award-winning brewer. He writes a monthly column on beer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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