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The Brown Note - Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

Not Rated.
The Brown NoteThe Brown Note

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

22 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 22
Hads: 166
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 5.29%
Wants: 3
Gots: 37 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse visit their website
Kentucky, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mrfrancis on 04-23-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 22 | Hads: 166
Photo of Caveworm
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Brown Note - Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse. Poured from the bottle into a nonic tumbler, this brew's head is two fingers thick with lateral lacing, and a dark brown transparent body.

I smell nicely toasted malts and heartier grains.

Tastes like a nice balance of the roasted malts, to where the caramel taste is just on point here. Not too heavy on the senses, right on the money.

Mouthfeel here is smooth and clean.

Overall, I'll give The Brown Note - Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse a 4.5 (523 characters)

Photo of snowmageddon
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: pours dark brown with a full, off-white head.
S: herbal hops, nuts, chocolate
T: chocolate, nuts, cocoa, raisin, fruity esters. Finishes quite dry with a herbal hop finish.
M: somewhat creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation
O: excellent English brown, worth trying. (274 characters)

Photo of Marcus_Erroneous
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Like many have said, I bought it because of the can art, but really enjoyed he beer. I've had it several times since, still tasty! Another winner from Against the Grain! (171 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours fairly crystal clear deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toasted oats, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toasted oats, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy herbal/toasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toffee, toasted oats, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt and moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent brown ale style. All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/bready malt and moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering. (1,520 characters)

Photo of a0lbudman
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L-Clear brown color with a large off white head that leaves a great lace
S- roast,sweet chocolate, nutty, with a citrus back note
T-roast with a blend of the nose in all the other flavors that had a great finish
M- light body and medium carbonation
O-this was a great beer in many ways. the smell had many powerful aromas, yet the taste was a smooth mixture of all the flavors and none where overpowering (404 characters)

Photo of dd43
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like this brown ale, as unappetizing as the label might be. A juvenile approach to a grown man's beer. Love the combination of whole wheat bread crust and cocoa on the nose, then coffee and more bready toasted malts in the flavor. Improves as it warms up. Slightly thin mouthfeel, which might catch some folks off guard given the rich dark appearance and taupe colored head. Very easy drinking brown and another solid example of the style that many beer drinkers are still foolishly ignoring. (501 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No bottling date.

A: A medium brown, can just see through it a little. Good-sized and fizzy, frothy light light brown head. Minimal lacing but decent retention at least.

S: Very nutty. Very bready too. Gives it a pretzels and peanut butter aroma. A little caramel sweetness. Lightest hint of cocoa. I really like this aroma.

T: Flavor is surprisingly bold too. Lots of cocoa mixed with lots of nuts. Bread crusts for malt. Just a hint of caramel sweetness sometimes but not much. Finish is dry with light earthiness and more bread crusts.

M: Light bodied, a touch watery and a touch dry.

O: A nice brown ale. Lots of nice nutty and bready malt notes. It's quite light and dry with higher carbonation. Nice drinkability but surprisingly bold flavors for the ABV. I enjoyed this one a lot. (793 characters)

Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought for the can blown away by how good the beer inside was one of the better brown ales I've had in a while. Thicker mouthfeel and a nice roasted malt profile. (162 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours slightly hazed light brown. A thin, fading tan head leaves some lacing.

The smell is of brown sugar, cocoa powder, caramel/toffee. Robust malty nose.

The taste is of brown sugar, cocoa, nuts, toffee/caramel. Sweet malt balanced by a subtle sour-ish earthy tone in the finish.

Malty smooth. Soft to medium carbonation.

A rich malty brown ale. Pricey (over 15 for the bomber).

I didn't care for the label on the bottle. I really don't want to picture feces as I'm drinking a brown ale. (494 characters)

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok, WHO comes up with some of these beer names and labels? Seriously? LMAO! :D Anyway, comes in a 16 ounce can and paid $3.49 at the local Hy-Vee. Can chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a .5L "ROCK BOTTOM MUG CLUB" handled-glass stein.

This 'American Brown Ale" style brew pours a deep dark amber brown with ruby-red highlights with a good 3-finger foamy creamy beige head. LOTS of sheet-like lacing is seen which each sip, like a good German brew actually. Aroma is of roasted malts, chocolate with a hint of hazel nuts (?). Bit more going on with the taste besides following the nose there is some dark fruits and caramel also. Very good taste and mix of flavors. Does finish a bit dry with a slight hoppy finish. Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Overall, a decent brew of this style besides the disturbing high school artwork. LOL! (868 characters)

Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, ruby-tinted mahogany with a tight, clinging beige head.

S: Aromas of dark chocolate, coffee, cocoa powder, roasted nuts, leather, and earthy English hops fill the nose.

T: Notes of roasted almonds, chestnuts, and hazelnuts are apparent upon entry. Notes of dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, cocoa powder, minerals, heather, leather, and earthy English ale hops follow. Hints of lemon, dried black cherry, and orange zest emerge just before the finish. This ale finishes on a decidedly roasty, toasty note, with flavors of coffee, chocolate, leather, and roasted nuts dominating.

M: Medium in body, smooth, firm, and dry. Carbonation is generous, imparting a mineral mouthfeel that I typically associate with English ales. Very drinkable, but slightly too strong to be a true session ale.

O: This is a very nice English-style brown ale that should delight fans of malty ales. While it's a bit pricklier than some of the more established English takes on the style, The Brown Note manages to display a depth of flavor that is admirable. Highly recommended for fans of English ales. (1,100 characters)

Photo of mynie
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If the bottle art were less gross this beer's score would jump about fifty points. I mean, seriously guys, it's good to take design risks and I'm not saying you need to focus group this or anything, but do you know a single person who finds poop appetizing?

Anyhow, once you get the glass away from the bottle, you get a nicely sessionable brown. A nutty, lightly sweet start gives way to a finish of more sweet malt balanced out by medium-strength hops. Nice.

Brown ales used to be craft brew staples, but they've become rarer and rarer these last few years. I'd love to see a resurgence, especially my go-to brown (Rogue's Hazelnut) costs 12 bucks a sixer. But why the awful marketing? Are brown somehow not considered edgy enough, and so we have to make them appear more Xtreme by making poop or semen references? A good beer is a good beer, guys. (853 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the rather twisted art covered can in a snifter. This fine brown ale pours a medium dark brown with a moderate light tan head of foam that dissipates to a thin ring and light lacing. Nose of medium cocoa, caramel, light coffee, and darkly roasted malts. Flavors follow the nose with rich roasted malt flavors on all sides featuring coffee, caramel, light cocoa flavors and a subtle spicy hop flavor on the back. Solid rather than sitting broken hearted, this ale delivers good flavors and a lightly bitter aftertaste from malt and light hops in a carbonated package.

While the art is warped this is a good example of the American brown ale from a solid brewery.

Cheers (689 characters)

Photo of Extol
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The smell is not so good. I get a metallic sort of smell. Like iron... well, blood.

The flavor is on point. Pretty good, solid. Would drink again but wouldn't bend over backwards for it. (187 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into sample glass a deep, dark, murky brown, with very little hint of ruby highlights around the edges. Pleasant lace.

Nose says malts and roasted nuts. Typical and representative for a brown ale, and hits the nail squarely on the head with me.

Tastes nicely nutty, with a near-perfect balance of earthiness and hazelnut maltiness. Roasty, sessionable, and very enjoyable.

Re-reviewed in August 2015 (rating unchanged):

Appearance: Deep ruby amber with a thick head of off-white suds from the pint can. Attractive spider web lacing.

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, some caramel. Nice and exemplary brown ale.

Taste: Nicely roasty here, with hints of cocoa and even a little bit of smoke. Body is light, making this a prime session brew for fans of dark malts. Big on flavor, this one’s pretty tasty and I’d revisit again no problem! (843 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The color is less brown and more a dark or brassy copper, thin in the pour, with a relatively thick foam.

Nice strong scent of chocolate malt, barley, grain, some nuttiness, a little smoke, dry cocoa powder and even some light coffee.

The flavor is far more weak than the nose and not nearly as complex. Dry chocolate maltiness, light roasted nut, touch of barley and some mint, anise or carraway.

The feel is overly thin and watery, dry and even a bit flat; despite its freshness and obvious carbonation.

I had this a second time in a can and found it much better. (569 characters)

Photo of buschbeer
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

650ML bottle
Served in a becker glass

I would call this beer very dark amber in color. It is clear and topped with several inches of tan head that leaves streaks of lacing along the glass.

I get a nutty cocoa aroma from this beer.

The taste is similar to the smell. The nuttiness is there along with the cocoa, but I also get some chocolate and even hints of floral hops from time to time.

A little thin on the mouthfeel, but it is consistent with an English brown.

I only sought this beer for the label art. Inside I found a well crafted English brown ale. I really enjoyed the beer. It was everything I hope for in an English brown with with an awesome label. I may be 40, but I am a sophomore at heart. (713 characters)

Photo of thebeers
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Solid brown color and about a finger of tan-tinted head with a vigorous pour. Nutty, roasted-malts aroma, which carries over to the taste. There's also some hops bitterness and a little astringency. Fairly thick-bodied, with plenty of carbonation despite the modest head. Pretty one-dimensional, but it delivers as a middle-of-the-road brown. Might drink more of it if it were local, but it sells for a premium around here. (428 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Against the Grain actually goes with the grain while brewing this charming Northern English-style Brown Ale. Covering the bases where beers like Newcastle trail off- the taste captured in this true-to-form ale are playfully bold and surprisingly refreshing.

Like any other Brown Ale, the beer pours in a not-so-shocking brown hue. Cast upon a mild haze, the ale releases a creamy off-white head to top the beer sparingly but with a steady collar of lace. Its dainty foam character is in stark contrast to the masculine beer underneath.

Medium aromatics of toast, light chocolate, roasted nuts, caramel and mild fruit rise from the glass and shows off its slight robust nature. To taste, the sweeter malts greet the front of the mouth with deep caramel, brown sugar, and light chocolate. As the beer traverses across the palate, it leaves behind its initial sweetness and favors a toastier, light coffee, walnut-type earthiness with slight floral and herbal bitterness. Its pleasant taste trails with the taste of malt but not all the residual sweetness that's normally expected from those malts- this yields a semi-dry taste that's as crisp and refreshing as it is bold.

Medium bodied from head to tail, the beer's early but albeit terse carbonation lays on the tongue with cask ale-like effect. But as the bubbles vanish, it leaves the beer thin and waning heading into a woody-toasty finish of mild minty warmth.

The Brown Note is as classic as they come, if we're talking about Brown Ales. Though it's somber in complexity, it more than makes up for it in effortless and ease of consumption. (1,598 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Sweet caramel malt, with a nutty and toasty aroma

Very nutty flavor, extremely toasted, and fairly dry in comparison to the promise of the aroma. A little one note. (165 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright copper color with a white head. The aroma is malty and lightly nutty. The flavor is balanced with tea like hops and a light dry malt finish. Mild and easy drinking brown. Pretty average for the style. (219 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to GRG1313 for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a clear honey brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, and nut aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, nut, and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with interesting nutty qualities all around. (591 characters)

The Brown Note from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
88 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.