English brown ale is a category of malt-focused beers with prominent toasty notes and yeast character. The category is similar to English pale ales, but with more prominent roasty and nutty malt qualities.
Mike's Mild, courtesy of Mike Volpe, is a standard ale with a malty palate. The East Kent Golding additions add only the bare minimum bitterness needed to balance this malty ale out; roasty malt lovers are sure to be pleased if you stick to the recipe on this one.
In 1995, AHA founder Charlie Papazian penned a reflection of microbrewing history as it might have appeared in the 21st century. Charlie was looking forward to the new millennium, what it would bring for homebrewing and the beer industry, and how beer patrons would view the burgeoning new beer scene of the late 20th century.
With Charlie doing a bit of prediction for the remaining 5 years of the '90s, it seemed appropriate to develop a recipe that payed homage to a people who were also forward-thinking innovators: the Aztecs.
This Aztec-inspired beer recipe brings together ingredients customary to the native American culture with modern beer ingredients we use today. The resulting beer is a delicious brown ale with American character that stretches throughout history!
Truck Stop Honey is Back Forty Beer Company's flagship which won a Great American Beer Festival silver medal the same year it debuted in 2011! The wildflower honey gives this close to traditional English brown ale a slightly sweet finish.
The following recipe was featured in the January/February 2019 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Six issues of Zymurgy magazine are included with an AHA Membership; see all the benefits of membership here!
In addition to taking silver at the 2018 GABF Pro-Am Competition, this beer by Jim Todd has won gold medals at the Urban Knaves of Grain’s 2018 Drunk Monk Challenge, the 2018 BOSS Charlie Orr Memorial Chicago Cup Challenge, and the 2018 National Homebrew Competition first round.
From AHA founder and recipe creator Charlie Papazian:
"I recently formulated a new beer called Visionary Mild. Its a mild light brown ale brewed with a relatively new type of crystal malt made by Simpsons called Double Roasted Crystal (DRC) malt, 120°L. It's a crystalized caramel malt of a similar genre as Belgian maltster Castle Malting's Special B and U.S. maltster Briess's Roasted Caramel Malts. All of them add a degree of mildly sweet, dark caramel along with raisin, prune, and dried fruit-like complexity to beer.
"Also significant in the recipe is the traditional English brown malt, which lends an unusual toasted, but not sweet, dryness to beers. If you are formulating beers that tend to head in the direction of sweet and fruity, a bit of brown malt has a good counter-balancing effect on the overall impression of drinkability.
"Traditional English hops are used in order to not overshadow the malt character; in other words, I'm not trying to overpower this beer with American citrus and fruity hop character. I personally have access to home cultivated transplanted wild hops, which with late hopping lend a mild protein-like deliciousness to beer (umami). American Crystal hops or UK East Kent Goldings are also good options for dry hopping. Avoid some of the traditional English ale yeast strains that tend to create diacetyl; it will collide with the malt complexity in this beer. American Ale yeast is a cleaner and better option."
Lori Ertl of Plymouth, MN, member of the Primary Fermenters Brewers & Vintners, won a gold medal in Category #12: English Brown Ale during the 2017 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Minneapolis, MN. Ertl’s English Brown Ale was chosen as the best among 179 entries in the category. Read More
Charlie Papazian has done his fair share of reminiscing about his beer adventures, and—we must admit—they never get old. This recipe comes from an article he wrote in response to a request for more content on sessionable beers. Charlie raved over an English-style bitter he had in Britain that was 4% ABV and exploding with flavor. Spectacularly fresh and relatively low in alcohol, the beer inspired Papazian to produce his own wonderfully complex 4% ABV ale bursting with hop flavor and malt personality. This beer is refreshing, moderately floral, and spicy, with notable malt character that makes having more than one just too easy.
This recipe was originally featured in the March/April 2006 issue of Zymurgy.
Red Hydrant has earned Las Vegas’ Big Dog’s Brewing three Great American Beer Festival medals: gold in 2006 and 2010 and silver in 2012. Big Dog’s describes this beer as rich with caramel malts and a hint of English hops with notes of toffee and toasted malt.
This classic English mild from Cedar Rapids’ Lion Bridge Brewing has taken home two gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014 and 2016. This biscuity chocolate mild is easy and smooth—sure to be crowd pleaser.
John Gladden, Daniel Owens, and Matt Peterson of Alameda, CA won a gold medal in Category #25: Smoke-flavored and Wood-aged Beer during the 2016 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Baltimore, MD. The trio's northern English brown ale was chosen as the best among 183 entries in the category.
Tre Haydel of Baton Rouge, LA and member of Bicycle Brew Club won a gold medal in Category #12: English Brown Ale during the 2016 National Homebrew Competition Final Round in Baltimore, MD. Haydel’s British brown ale was chosen as the best among 185 entries in the category.
In London, the brewing industry is growing quickly, just like ours here in the United States. New breweries have transformed London's beer scene, and many of their brewers share a significant trait: they started as members of the London Amateur Brewers (LAB) before going pro. Graham O'Brien, along with other friends from LAB, launched Pressure Drop Brewery at the end of 2012. They started on a 13.2-gallon (50-liter) system in O'Brien's house but soon began to look for a location that would host a 6 to 10 barrel system. Stokey Brown, one of their flagship brews, combines the maltiness of a brown ale with some added hop punch.
This recipe was featured in "London Area Brewers Go Pro," written by Mark Dredge, in the September/October 2013 issue of Zymurgy.