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American Brown Ale

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A diverse category, American Brown Ale encompasses American versions of English Brown Ale and Porter. These beers usually feature more hop character than their English counterparts, and often higher alcohol content as well.

Contents

History of American Brown Ale

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Brewing American Brown Ale

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Competition Styles

Both the BJCP and the GABF recognize American Brown Ale as a style separate from the English originals.

BJCP Style Guidelines

American Brown Ale

10C. American Brown Ale Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 20-40+ SRM: 18-35 OG: 1.045-1.060 FG: 1.010-1.016 ABV: 4.3-6.2
Aroma: Malty, sweet and rich, which often has a chocolate, caramel, nutty and/or toasty quality. Hop aroma is typically low to moderate. Some interpretations of the style may feature a stronger hop aroma, a citrusy American hop character, and/or a fresh dry-hopped aroma (all are optional). Fruity esters are moderate to very low. The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short of being overly porter-like. The malt and hops are generally balanced. Moderately low to no diacetyl.
Appearance: Light to very dark brown color. Clear. Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.
Flavor: Malty, sweet and rich, which often has a chocolate, caramel, nutty and/or toasty quality. Hop aroma is typically low to moderate. Some interpretations of the style may feature a stronger hop aroma, a citrusy American hop character, and/or a fresh dry-hopped aroma (all are optional). Fruity esters are moderate to very low. The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short of being overly porter-like. The malt and hops are generally balanced. Moderately low to no diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. More bitter versions may have a dry, resiny impression. Moderate to moderately high carbonation. Stronger versions may have some alcohol warmth in the finish.
Overall Impression: Malty, sweet and rich, which often has a chocolate, caramel, nutty and/or toasty quality. Hop aroma is typically low to moderate. Some interpretations of the style may feature a stronger hop aroma, a citrusy American hop character, and/or a fresh dry-hopped aroma (all are optional). Fruity esters are moderate to very low. The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short of being overly porter-like. The malt and hops are generally balanced. Moderately low to no diacetyl.
History: not specified
Comments: A strongly flavored, hoppy brown beer, originated by American home brewers. Related to American Pale and American Amber Ales, although with more of a caramel and chocolate character, which tends to balance the hop bitterness and finish. Most commercial American Browns are not as aggressive as the original homebrewed versions, and some modern craft brewed examples. IPA-strength brown ales should be entered in the Specialty category.
Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt, either American or Continental, plus crystal and darker malts should complete the malt bill. American hops are typical, but UK or noble hops can also be used. Moderate carbonate water would appropriately balance the dark malt acidity.
Commercial Examples: Brooklyn Brown Ale, Great Lakes Cleveland Brown Ale, Avery Ellie's Brown Ale, Left Hand Deep Cover Brown Ale, Bell's Best Brown, North Coast Acme Brown, Lost Coast Downtown Brown, Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale

GABF Style Listings

American Style Brown Ale

53. American Style Brown Ale
GABF Style Listing (2007)
American brown ales range from deep copper to brown in color. Roasted malt caramel-like and chocolate-like characters should be of medium intensity in both flavor and aroma. American brown ales have an evident hop aroma, medium to high hop bitterness, low to medium hop flavor and a medium body. Estery and fruity-ester characters should be subdued; diacetyl should not be perceived. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.040-1.060 (10-15 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.010-1.018 (2.5-4.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 3.3-5.0% (4-6.4%)
Bitterness (IBU): 25-45
Color SRM (EBC): 15-26 (30-52 EBC)