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what is/was THE standard for brown ale?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by tronto, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. tronto

    tronto Savant (270) Kentucky Dec 22, 2010 Beer Trader

    Not necessarily a great brown ale, but what is the brown ale you think many are fashioned after and has somewhat set the standard for a brown ale? Thanks.
  2. DFH Palo Santo Marron! After that, it's all down hill.
  3. Santo Marron or even DFH Indian Brown, thats my go to
    Lantern and hogansct like this.
  4. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,420) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Beer Trader

    I'm still partial to Samuel Smith's Nut Brown. A hoppy Brown? Dogfish Head Indian Brown. If I went and checked my reviews, I'm sure there would be others.
    Lantern, Prospero, FosterJM and 8 others like this.
  5. No way is it anything DFH. Those are great beers but definitely not 'the standard' of brown ales. For Americans I'd point to Smuttynose. English - definitely Sam Smith Nut Brown Ale. No question.
  6. gatornation

    gatornation Poobah (1,285) Minnesota Apr 18, 2007 Beer Trader

    Surly Bender and Dark horse Boffo
  7. Steve_Oldrati

    Steve_Oldrati Advocate (635) Pennsylvania Nov 1, 2012 Beer Trader

    I'm gonna go with Hoya and say Smuttynose Old Brown Dog.
    Duff27, palma, jcb7472 and 4 others like this.
  8. fredmugs

    fredmugs Poobah (1,270) Indiana Aug 11, 2012 Beer Trader

    Yeah - I have to agree those are the best I've had. Since I can't get those locally I'm going Bell's Best Brown.
    BrownAleMale and 5thOhio like this.
  9. lic217

    lic217 Advocate (630) Connecticut Aug 10, 2010 Beer Trader

    Well said.
  10. Hockey_Fan

    Hockey_Fan Advocate (710) Maryland Jan 13, 2013

    The standard has to be Sam Smith's Nut Brown Ale. It is a pure unadulterated brown ale.
  11. tronto

    tronto Savant (270) Kentucky Dec 22, 2010 Beer Trader

    Funny, that's what I'm drinking that spawned this question...its a great beer but it doesn't taste like any brown sled I've had. Are nut browns and brown ales different?
  12. Dtapeski

    Dtapeski Aficionado (230) Colorado Oct 26, 2012

    For me it was Newcastle, because it was the 90's.
  13. ABisonEgo

    ABisonEgo Savant (300) Illinois Jan 31, 2012

    I wouldnt use this as a classic example of a brown ale. While it is fantastic, it is also oak aged and because of this doesnt make it more of a standard for that style. Having said that, in conjunction with bjcp guidelines and the recent styles classes I have taken... I would go with big sky moose drool.
  14. denver10

    denver10 Poobah (1,055) New Mexico Nov 17, 2010

    Rogues Hazelnut Brown Ale for me.
  15. I'd say Avery's Ellie's Brown Ale is pretty solid and a good representative of the American style.
  16. Actually, it's Palo Santo wood aged. ;) I understand it's not the standard. Plenty of killer Brown ales out there that are more traditional than any DFH brown. This is just the best of the best of brown ales imho!
    RichardMNixon likes this.
  17. chocosushi

    chocosushi Savant (460) Oklahoma May 1, 2011

    THE standard is Samuel Smith Nut Brown

    American Brown Ales I'd go w/ DFH IBA & Sierra Nevada Tumbler.
    tronto likes this.
  18. ScottieD

    ScottieD Savant (470) Connecticut Jul 30, 2011 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Sam Smith Nut Brown for an English traditional but I adore Pretty Things St. Botolph's Town.
    tronto likes this.
  19. mattafett

    mattafett Savant (485) Iowa Mar 9, 2009

    I have always enjoyed New Glarus' Fat Squirrel.
    misterid likes this.
  20. robboyd

    robboyd Savant (305) Indiana Aug 7, 2011

    I'm sure this is not going to be a popular opinion but the Brown Ale I judge other against is Abita Turbodog. It's very accessible in my part of the country, is fairly sessionable, and is extremely tasty, well balanced, and drinkable. I've had plenty that are better but it is my measuring stick. I tend to think of a brown ale as an easy drinking beer and one that is a great gateway beer for future craft drinkers. Turbodog is that in spades.
    kingofhop and Mediczod like this.
  21. gory4d

    gory4d Advocate (610) New York Apr 14, 2007 Beer Trader

    Pretty Things' St. Botolph's Town, whichever side of the Atlantic you're on.
    Providence and Mandark like this.
  22. ScottieD

    ScottieD Savant (470) Connecticut Jul 30, 2011 Subscriber Beer Trader

    My feelings exactly!!!
  23. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Gotta throw Moose Drool in there, too.

    But, yeah, Samuel Smith's has probably had more influence.
  24. travisdiener32

    travisdiener32 Savant (355) Florida Mar 31, 2009 Beer Trader

    Everyone is afraid to say it but I bet their first brown was Newcastle, it is big beer that was craft beer, before craft beer. That being said, I'll drink a CCB Maduro all day, any day
    HOMEPL8, SammyJaxxxx, tronto and 2 others like this.
  25. tkelley

    tkelley Savant (285) Massachusetts Sep 23, 2010

    Agree with those who say Smuttynose Old Brown Dog.
  26. Nectar

    Nectar Savant (310) New Jersey Jan 17, 2013

    DFH will never be the "standard" of any style, and I think they prefer it that way...
    ESeab likes this.
  27. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Savant (430) Minnesota Apr 23, 2007

    I gotta say:
    Best Brown
    Hazelnut Nectar

    Any of those are what I think of when I hear "Brown ale".
  28. TicoCali

    TicoCali Savant (460) California Jul 25, 2010

    Downtown Brown
    SN Tumbler
    --Dom-- likes this.
  29. RochefortChris

    RochefortChris Champion (850) North Carolina Oct 2, 2012 Beer Trader

    Wychwood Hobgoblin. One of my first craft beers and still one of my all time favorites.
    BEERchitect and tronto like this.
  30. ChefBergo

    ChefBergo Initiate (0) Illinois Nov 9, 2011

    Moose Drool was awesome!....before it started getting distributed everywhere...since then its just not the same.
  31. Right on. I love DFH Indian Brown, but it's too hoppy to be a standard Brown (in my opinion). Sam Smith brown on the other hand is what I would say is the quintessential brown.
    ESeab and SammyJaxxxx like this.
  32. BB1313

    BB1313 Poobah (1,010) Ohio Jul 16, 2009

    I'd say Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale is the best traditional example of the style. But Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar is easily my favorite example of the style and one of my favorite beers ever. Also, Mt. Carmel Nut Brown Ale is probably the best unknown brown that's bottled, it's so good..
    ESeab, SammyJaxxxx and tronto like this.
  33. LieutenantDan

    LieutenantDan Disciple (50) Texas Nov 18, 2012

    Id have to say my standard choice brown ales would have to be real ale brewhouse brown, santa fe nut brown, dogfish palo santo. I dont mind a hazelnut nectar from rogue every now and then either. I have yet to find a brown ale that really blew me away.
  34. kingofhop

    kingofhop Advocate (565) Oklahoma May 9, 2010

    Samuel Smith, Moose Drool, SN Tumbler. All great browns. But none have been immortalized like Newcastle, in the great Humble Pie song "30 Days in the Hole".
  35. Matynich

    Matynich Aspirant (25) Virginia Feb 8, 2013

    Newcastle was one of my first stepping stones in to craft beer years ago and I'm grateful for it. Sam smiths was my next step and have always judged other Browns based on it. Just recently had alesmith nut brown and loved it. Give it a try if you get a chance.
  36. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    Mann's Brown Ale. It's the original.
  37. Oskars Blue "The Deuce" is really good. Its a coulab beer but can't remember with who right now.
  38. tai4ji2x

    tai4ji2x Advocate (665) Massachusetts Aug 10, 2007 Beer Trader

    for everyone citing samuel smith, keep in mind that many (perhaps even most) UK beeradvocates do NOT consider them exemplary of british brewing. it's only the facts that they have been imported to the USA for a long time and that they were one of the few "small" or "craft" breweries who even did export to the USA, which grew their reputation amongst non-UK drinkers.
  39. But it comes in 500ml bottles and hence is not true to style. A proper brown ale should come in returnable brown half-pint bottles, well scuffed.
    billlang675 likes this.
  40. Abita tends to get the short straw, and I wish it wasn't so. It is also very accessible to me here in NY, and Turbodog is a very consistent, easily obtainable beer, and it is very inexpensive as well. It isn't the best brown out there, but it is by no means a bad one, and you can't go wrong with it. And it is one of the best for the money.