American Brown Ale

Glassware: Shaker pint
  • USA
  • Ale
  • ABV = 4.3 – 6.2% (Normal)^
  • IBU = 18-35
  • SRM = 20-30

A brown American ale with chocolate and caramel malt flavours and a balanced, complementary hop character.

More chocolate and caramel type flavours than American Pale or Amber Ale, typically with less prominent bitterness in the balance. More bitter and generally hoppier than British Brown Ale, with a richer malt presence, usually higher alcohol, and an American/New World hop character.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Dark amber to black
  • Clarity = Generally clear

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Moderate; malty-sweet to malty-rich, with chocolate, caramel, nuts, and/or toast
  • Yeast = Very low to moderate; fruity
  • Hops = Low to moderate; typically citrusy, fruity or tropical (Optional: a fresh dry-hopped aroma)
Flavour
  • Malt = Moderate; malty-sweet to malty-rich, with chocolate, caramel, nuts, and/or toast
  • Yeast = Very low to moderate; fruity
  • Hops = Low to moderate; typically citrusy, fruity or tropical
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Moderate
  • Balance = Even (the hops complement and enhance the malt, rather than clashing with it)
Aftertaste/Finish

Medium to medium-dry finish with an aftertaste of both malt and hops

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Medium to medium-full
  • Carbonation = Medium

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = 2-row or pale ale malt base, plus crystal/caramel malt and darker malts, like chocolate
  • Yeast = American ale yeast
  • Hops = American hop varietals are typical, but Continental or New World hops can also be used as long as they complement the malt

Historical Development:

An American style from the modern craft beer era. Derived from British Brown Ale, but with more hops. Pete’s Wicked Ale was one of the first and best known examples, and inspired many imitations. Popular with homebrewers, most commercial American Brown Ales are not as aggressive as the original homebrewed versions.


Commercial Examples:

Anchor Brekle’s Brown, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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