American Brown Ale in a Mug

Overview for the American Brown Ale Beer Style

The American Brown Ale is similar to the English Brown Ale but has greater alcohol strength and more hops. However, it’s still a malty brew with flavors of chocolate, caramel, and nut. Its darker malt character is more robust than an Amber Ale but doesn’t quite reach the strength of a Porter.

Style Expectations

The American Brown Ale is a malty but hoppy beer frequently with chocolate and caramel flavors. The hop flavor and aroma complements and enhances the malt rather than clashing with it.

Appearance

Light to very dark brown color. Clear. Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.

Aroma

Moderate malty-sweet to malty-rich aroma with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and/or toasty qualities. Hop aroma is typically low to moderate, of almost any variety that complements the malt. Some interpretations of the style may feature a stronger hop aroma, an American or New World hop character (citrusy, fruity, tropical, etc.), 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.

Flavor

Medium to moderately-high malty-sweet or malty-rich flavor with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and/or toasty malt complexity, with medium to medium-high bitterness. The medium to medium-dry finish provides an aftertaste having both malt and hops. Hop flavor can be light to moderate, and may optionally have a citrusy, fruity, or tropical character, although any hop flavor that complements the malt is acceptable. Very low to moderate fruity esters.

Mouthfeel

Medium to medium-full body. More bitter versions may have a dry, resiny impression. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.

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