Style Details

Bri­tish Brown Ale
Brown Bri­tish Beer
BJCP Style Code
13 B
Dark amber to dark red­dish-brown color. Clear. Low to mode­ra­te off-white to light tan head.
Light, sweet malt aro­ma with tof­fee, nut­ty, or light cho­co­la­te notes, and a light to hea­vy cara­mel qua­li­ty. A light but appe­al­ing flo­ral or ear­thy hop aro­ma may also be noti­ced. A light frui­ty aro­ma may be evi­dent, but should not dominate. 
Gent­le to mode­ra­te malt sweet­ness, with a light to hea­vy cara­mel cha­rac­ter and a medi­um to dry finish. Malt may also have a nut­ty, toas­ted, bis­cui­ty, tof­fee, or light cho­co­la­te cha­rac­ter. Medi­um to medi­um-low bit­ter­ness. Malt-hop balan­ce ran­ges from even to malt-focu­sed; hop fla­vor low to none (flo­ral or ear­thy qua­li­ties). Low to mode­ra­te frui­ty esters can be present.
Medi­um-light to medi­um body. Medi­um to medi­um-high carbonation.
Over­all Impression
A mal­ty, brown cara­mel-cen­tric Bri­tish ale wit­hout the roas­ted fla­vors of a Porter. 
Typi­cal Ingredients
Bri­tish 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. 
Brown ale has a long histo­ry in Gre­at Bri­tain, alt­hough seve­ral dif­fe­rent types of pro­ducts used that name at various times. Modern brown ale is a 20th cen­tu­ry crea­ti­on as a bot­t­led pro­duct; it is not the same as his­to­ri­cal pro­ducts of the same name. A wide ran­ge of gra­vi­ties were bre­wed, but modern brown ales are gene­ral­ly of the stron­ger (by cur­rent UK stan­dards) inter­pre­ta­ti­on. This style is based on the modern stron­ger Bri­tish brown ales, not his­to­ri­cal ver­si­ons or the swee­ter Lon­don Brown Ale. Pre­do­mi­na­te­ly but not exclu­si­ve­ly a bot­t­led pro­duct currently.
A wide-ran­ging cate­go­ry with dif­fe­rent inter­pre­ta­ti­ons pos­si­ble, ran­ging from ligh­ter-colo­red to hop­py to deeper, dar­ker, and cara­mel-focu­sed; howe­ver, none of the ver­si­ons have stron­gly roas­ted fla­vors. A stron­ger Dou­ble Brown Ale was more popu­lar in the past, but is very hard to find now. While Lon­don Brown Ales are mar­ke­ted using the name Brown Ale, we list tho­se as a dif­fe­rent jud­ging style due to the signi­fi­cant dif­fe­rence in balan­ce (espe­ci­al­ly sweet­ness) and alco­hol strength; that doesn’t mean that they aren’t in the same fami­ly, though.
Com­mer­cial Examples
Maxim Dou­ble Maxim, New­cast­le Brown Ale, Riggwelter York­shire Ale, Samu­el Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, Wychwood Hobgoblin
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.040 - 1.052 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.008 - 1.013 SG
12 - 22 SRM
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
20 - 30 IBU