The Brown Note
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

The Brown NoteThe Brown Note
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Style:
Brown Ale - English
Ranked #31
ABV:
5%
Score:
85
Ranked #26,221
Avg:
3.8 | pDev: 10.79%
Reviews:
102
Ratings:
467
From:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
 
Kentucky, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  14
Gots
  129
SCORE
85
Very Good
The Brown NoteThe Brown Note
Notes: The brown ale to end all brown ales. Enjoy it, because there is no longer any reason to drink another. You’ve reached the pinnacle. A healthy blend of traditional British malts give this popular style a semi-sweet, biscuity, slightly roasted flavor. Oats thicken the mouthfeel, and a handful of specialty malts add complex chocolate, toffee, and caramel notes. The hops are mostly traditional, earthy British hops, but we cocked it up a bit with some Cascade late in the boil just to show those snooty Brits that we don’t approve of that Constitutional Monarchy crap.
Reviews: 102 | Ratings: 467 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.31/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Nick's in Clemson.
Pours with a clear dark reddish-brown body with a semi-durable off-white head.
Aroma: a mix of caramel malts and earthy hops... Not my favorite mix.
The flavor works better. It's more bitter and hoppy than average for style.

Nov 28, 2019
Photo of Nass
Nass from Florida

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This can artwork is just downright awful, I mean what the heck was the artist thinking? In addition to, there is no date on the can. The pour is brown with a khaki head. I'm not getting much on the aroma just maybe some roasted malt. On the taste I get some caramel, molasses, a little bit of nuttiness, & char leaning towards the finish. Cheers! B

Oct 06, 2019
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Junior from Michigan

4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a pint can into a shaker pint.

L - Very dark amber/brown with a huge foamy mocha head.
S - Roasted malt, caramel and biscuit.
T - Roasted caramel and malt.
F - Highly carbonated. Thicker than you would think for a 5.0% ABV brown. Not watery at all.
O - Very good (especially once you get past the can art). Well balanced and easy to drink. Very enjoyable.

Aug 22, 2019
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smbslt from Illinois

4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L - clear auburn with red and orange highlights. beige/khaki one finger head, no lacing
S - bready/yeasty/old store
T - some complexity - tobacco and grass, no sweetness. Upon warming no real change.
F - a bit over carbonated on the tongue

Aug 15, 2019
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Against The Grain Brewery "The Brown Note"
1 Pint can coded "17 07 1317 07 13 FL 464 FL 464" and sampled on 10 July 2019
$3.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: Let's not discuss the label and just move right on to the beer. The beer is the only thing that really matters anyway, right? It's a hazy dark chestnut brown in color beneath a full cap of foamy yellowed off-white. The head retention appears to be good so far. The aroma is chocolatey, nutty, and earthy. There's also a slight bit of a floral note. The flavor follows with some additional leafy and mildly grassy hop flavor. It's initially a touch sweetish but after a few sips the palate adapts and it appears drier. The malt lingers gently in the medium-bitter finish but never becomes more than nutty and chocolatey - i.e. it's not sweet. It's nicely rounded and balanced, and seemingly done in the southern English style. In the mouth it's medium-light in body and delicately crisp. Overall it's hard to find a flaw to it, and yet it somehow lacks that certain je ne sais quoi that makes some beers remarkable. Still, it's nicely done and enjoyable.

Review #6,618

Jul 10, 2019
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poopshipdestroy from Illinois

4.83/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Simply one of the best brown ales I've ever had. I'm guessing this is not reflected in the overall score due to the can art. Not overly sweet with a complex mouthfeel and flavor profile. Wonderfully done.

May 24, 2019
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HorseheadsHophead from New York

4.7/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Clear light brown in color, topped by a rocky white head with excellent retention and sheets of lacing.
Smells immediately of dark chocolate, toast, peanuts, toffee, and damp earth. Very pleasant.
The taste is a perfect balance of creamy dark and milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, peanuts, golden-browned toast, and a touch of fertile earthy bitterness on the finish to balance things out. Beautifully crafted and delicious.
The mouthfeel seems a bit thin, but that allows for perfection sessionability. Medium carbonation with a very clean finish, save for a hint of momentarily lingering stickiness.
This is hands down the best American English Brown Ale I've ever had, and easily one of the best brown ales I've ever had. Splendid!

Jan 12, 2019
Photo of VoodooBear
VoodooBear from Puerto Rico

3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Presentation: 16 oz. can without dates. Served in a Samuel Adams pint glass.

Appearance: It pours with authority to create a thick, three finger head. It has a deep, dark amber color.

Smell: The smells are sweet, malty, caramel and toffee a hint of hops in the background.

Taste: Malty and sweet with low bitterness. The main notes are of caramel, mixed nuts and grains.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with high carbonation. It goes down smooth.

Overall: The high carbonation takes away from the sweet and smooth experience; which is a bummer because this is a pretty good brown ale. Not "the brown ale to end all brown ales", as the can claims, but good.

Oct 13, 2018
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dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Can into pint glass. Pours a clear. dark cola color with a thin light tan head. Initial impression is bitter chocolate, roasted malts, maybe some burned acorns too. Mouthfeel is dry and astringent. Carbonation is medium. Finish is dry and bitter. Brown Note is a good example of an American Brown Ale. Not my favorite style, but this was pretty good.

Jun 27, 2018
Photo of Amendm
Amendm from Rhode Island

4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a 20 oz. mug from a 16 oz. can so I can swish and swirl. Does not require a strong pour, good carbonation.
Very dark brown, almost opaque. Dark amber when held up to a light. Frothy tan head that does not last to long but comes right back with a little swish. Some lacing.
Roasted malt dominates the smell, coffee, roasted nuts and bitter chocolate are more present in the taste plus some pumpernickel.
Sweet round mouth feel thins and dries out towards the middle, medium hop bite at end.
This is a very malty semi-sweet brown ale which balances the hop bitterness almost perfectly.
The label art is off the wall, and the braggery--there are better brown ales out there but this is way better than average.

Jun 11, 2018
Photo of SaltofOH
SaltofOH from Ohio

4.9/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can, dated 1-15-18, I believe. Nonic pint.

A: pours a medium brown, barely translucent, with a thick and foamy two-finger head and highly active visible carbonation. That head lasted to the end of the glass. A giant sheet of lacing on the opposite side of the glass.

S: I can tell this is still too cold, but even with that I can smell loads of chocolate, nutty, goodness. There is a strong dose of Englishness to this; can’t chalk it up to yeast, so it must be the fuggles. This smells exactly right for an American take on an English nut brown. Perfect, did you hear me?

T: chocolate, Colombian coffee, bready middle, dry, earthy, woody hop finish. Not sweet. This is outstanding.

M: lightest possible end of midweight. Fluffy ale texture. Pretty clean finish, actually. Dare I say, a refreshing brown ale?

O: maybe I was just in the mood for a brown ale, but it is one of my favorite styles, and although there are lots, I think there are only three or four really good ones, and this is one of them. An absolute must try for lovers of brown ales or English-style beers. I’d love to do a side to side with Samuel Smith’s - it is that good. Low ABV and big cans mean this would be a great one for fall tailgating. Will buy again as soon as I can. My only detraction is the tasteless can art. Apart from that, this really is the epitome of what I look for in a brown ale.

May 06, 2018
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GrumpyGas from Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz draft pour into a pint glass shows an opaque brown with an orange-ish tint in the light. A 1/2in cream colored head falls to a thin cap and leaves sheets of lacing.

Aroma is strong roasted malt with a coffee bent.

Flavor is all coffee.

Mouthfeel is light with the carbonation leaving a cola feel and has a wet finish.

Overall a nice brown, just not my flavor.

Mar 31, 2018
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Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a clear, brownish color. The head is off white, 3 finger, frothy, but retention is poor with no lacing on the glass.
The nose is malty, slightly sweet. Some chocolate notes.
Taste - creamy, with a hint of bitterness on the backside. Some caramel, some chocolate. The bitter part is hard to describe. Crisp tasting, maybe.
Feel - crispness to it. Decent body for the ABV.
I'm not the biggest fan of brown ales, but this isn't bad at all. Yeah, I got it for the name, but I do like it.

Mar 03, 2018
Photo of dacrza1
dacrza1 from New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

DATE: January 6, 2017... OCCASION: letting the annual post-Christmas dinner at Ss. Peter and Paul Church... GLASSWARE: HopDevil nonick... pours a heady, two-fingered clump of brown snow that sits atop a ruby-brown body full of effervescence... aroma reeks of lactose, tobacco, weathered leaves, woody pulp, chocolate, roasted malts, and sweet biscuit--a veritable panoply the opposite of the can's artwork... sips a creamy, textured start and approaches a full-bodied finish... this eschews the usual flat cola/butter consistency, in a favor of a lactic, thickening, substantial mouthfeel... continuing its narrative, the flavor strikes with chocolate, tobacco leaf, caramel, Fuggels-driven grass and herb, light citrus, mint, and mild tea... a truly enjoyable beer that unfortunately may be panned due to its crude can--in fact, I bought it as a gag Christmas gift for my brother.... in his generosity, he left me one of them, and quite a regifting...

Jan 07, 2018
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PittBeerGirl from Ohio

3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can.

A really nice looking beer. Body is a transparent brown hurt that pours with a finger off white head.

Nose is quite welcoming. Brown sugar, molasses, caramel malt.

Flavor is good but a bit of a let down after the nose. Lots of roasted malt with a hint of sweetness in the back.

Medium carbonation and a smooth yet slightly watery body.

This is as advertised a good brown ale. Nothing fancy or complicated just a good beer. I would like a little more balance and a little less roasted malt.

Dec 10, 2017
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jjamadorphd from Florida

3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

How I've wanted to try this beer, I'm so glad I did...

Obviously, at least to me, the art on this beer is the most eye-catching aspect. Quite possibly, it's the most eye-catching aspect of any beer I've ever had or will ever had. I mean, c'mon, look at the can carefully, it truly is entertaining on so many levels. Anyway, as far as the actual beer is concerned, it is, for the most part, solid. A burnt-caramel look with weak foam presents itself to the eyes, while a very malty, grassy smell meets the nose - unique in my book. The mouthfeel has a spicy tingle to it, highly carbonated to the point it almost distracts and a tad astringent to the tongue. The taste was as complex as the smell - roasted malts, lemongrass, and a touch of cinnamon - an interesting combination. Certainly a solid brew to go with the exceptional (and entertaining) art on the can.

Nov 22, 2017
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jakecattleco from California

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can into a nonic pint. Love the disgusting logo.

L: Pours partially translucent chocolate brown with 2 fingers of variable density khaki head with good retention and left some spotted lacing.

S: Mostly malt, lots of roasted and chocolate malts, perhaps some subtle caramel malt undertones.

T: Follows the nose but not overly dynamic. Finishes with a hint of bitterness and clears the palate quickly.

F: Thinner bodied with moderate carbonation, incredibly smooth and easy drinking.

O: I enjoyed the beer and the logo. It's a solid brown ale, when they're becoming harder and harder to find.

Oct 08, 2017
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The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania

4.36/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It pours a chestnut hue of brown with three fingers worth of head. The aroma is nutty and with notes of freshly ground coffee. There many be some notes of fecal matter but that's probably because I'm staring at the label. The taste is bready upfront with some lingering sweetness and a nice bitter finish. Medium body and a barely noticeable carbonation. This is a truly amazing brown ale.

Sep 17, 2017
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q33jeff from New Jersey

2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

**
05/27/2017

Can to snifter, memorial weekend picnic.

LOOK: dark walnut brown, small beige head, fades.
AROMA: barley, oats, wet sidewalk.
TASTE: mostly mild barley, touch of grape/wine.
FEEL: medium carbonation. Medium body.

Ok, but nothing special. I do love the reference from "The League".
**

May 28, 2017
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Antg8989 from New Jersey

3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown with a light brown head. Aroma is toasty. Taste is sort of coffee-ish. Feel is medium bodied and medium carbonated. Overall, I wouldn't say "there's no longer any reason to drink another brown ale", except that nothing about this style has really excited me thus far.

May 03, 2017
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Wasatch from Colorado

4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 oz. Can

Pours a pretty nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy one-finger plus off-white head, which also leaves some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some chocolate/toffee, nice nuttyness, roasty. The taste is really nice, malty, roasty, very nice touch of chocolate/toffee. Medium body, with a very nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, this is my first from this brewery, and it surprised me, very nice brew.

May 01, 2017
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a tallboy can into a Dogfish Head tulip. Hilarious artwork... rather disgusting

L: Clear dark brown pour. 1.5 fingers of off-white head. Solid lacing.

S: Toasty malts and earthy. Faint toffee and coffee.

T/F: Follows the nose... flavors are mellow, toasted malts and grains give a bit of sweetness... a bit nutty/earthy. Very mild hops for bittering at the finish. Body is medium to thin. Decently carbonated. Clean finish and a bit roasty on the aftertaste.

O: Reasonably good English Brown ale... the most exceptional characteristic is probably the ridiculous artwork. Easily drinkable... but honestly not all that memorable. Very inoffensive.

Apr 28, 2017
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kitschiguy from Hong Kong

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Vigorous pour from the 500ml can produced a nice fluffy off-white head. Some retention and lacing.

Nice deep malty aromas but nothing too distinctive - ok

Palate is well-rounded and balanced but nothing sticks out.

Mouth is quite nice.

Quite enjoyable - pretty good for the style.

Can design is straight-up retarded.

Mar 28, 2017
Photo of leantom
leantom from Indiana

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's a very enjoyable beer, minus the can's vulgar design art. Here goes:

A: Lovely color, but needs more in the way of head retention time and lacing. Beautiful, clear brown with an alright head. Little to no lacing, though. Still, very lovely color.

S: Very, very light. Couldn't really smell too much - maybe some toffee notes, but these are really faint.

T: Taste is very good. Mild hope bitterness succeeded by toffee, nuts, and caramel at the back of the palate - a very balanced brown ale. I would definitely have this again. It's quite enjoyable.

F: Nice and light; great to drink it you want to just kick back and relax.

O: Nice beer. Very little discernable scents, but the taste and mouthfeel make it very enjoyable.

Mar 13, 2017
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papposilenus from New Hampshire

3.34/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From a 16oz can, date-stamped 22 12 17 which I guess means it's just over two months old. Purchased unrefrigerated at Spirit Haus in Amherst, MA. Served in a nonic.

Pours thinly, the colour of a strong cup of tea, with a three-finger head of soft, poufy foam. Retention is very good, leaving lots of loose, spotty lacing.

The nose is relatively uncomplicated, pretty much just roasted maltiness. A little floral, a little bit of leather.

Tastes of sweet roasted malt, cinnamon and leather, orange peel and ashtray. Starts with dry bitterness but finishes with sweet malt syrup tackiness.

Feel is medium-light bodied and slick, aggressively carbonated. Mouth-coating soapiness.

Overall, thin bodied for the style and not a heck of a lot of character. Not awful?

Feb 27, 2017
The Brown Note from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 467 ratings