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The Brown Note | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

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The Brown NoteThe Brown Note

Brewed by:
Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Kentucky, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by mrfrancis on 04-23-2012

For Trade:
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Reviews: 74 | Ratings: 372
Photo of teromous
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a 16oz can. I don't see any canned date.

Appearance: Dark opaque brown allowing no light through except just on the edges. It has a huge off-white head that stands for a good while before fading out to a ring and some rafts. Pretty decent lacing on the glass.

Aroma: There is just a pretty strong roasted note on the nose but there is this faint unpleasant burnt rubber aroma in there as well. This starts to fade a bit and the aroma does welcome the drinker into taking a sip.

Taste: I get a lot of roasted character with some bitterness on the sides of the mouth. A bit of alcohol comes through which is a bit strange for a low 5.0% beer. It has a bit of a stale taste to it as well. It has a higher hop bitterness and flavor than you would find in other English Brown Ales. After a while the beer starts to develop a bit of a monkey bread flavor. I don't think the hops work well with this beer, they just take it in a direction away from the malt that is distracting.

Mouthfeel: It has a nice smooth creamy easy to drink body that is light on the palate with a dry finish. It starts out much better than it finishes.

Overall: If you can get it on tap it's probably worth drinking to see if you like it, but even from a can it just doesn't have that fresh of a flavor. I wouldn't recommend it on this drinking experience. The mouthfeel finishes much lighter than I would expect, the hop character doesn't go well with the beer, and at best it was an average drinking experience.

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Photo of mlockman
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I found this canned pint to be pervasively "meh." Not much going on and the mild flavor hints at malts but does not showcase them. Perhaps it is the unsavory image on the label that is bossing my opinion, but I remain nonetheless unimpressed.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Vibrant brown, kind of like the tiger eye stones I had as a kid, almost glowing garnet at times, with a very large, beige head whose mounds jiggle like a cake just pulled out of the oven.

Smell is toast, toffee, brown sugar, milky nuttiness and black olive.

Taste is a faint cinnamon with milk, toast, root beer, toffee, and bittering coffee.

Light bodied, fizzy, frothy, and semi-dry.

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Photo of beerme626
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Well, this lives up to the picture, but not to the can. I liked it better as it went, but still not enough to say it was good. It was just ok. Thin brown flavor and thin brown look. Not impressed.

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Photo of avalon07
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Poured from a tallboy can to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a hazy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. No real lacing to speak of.

S: A decent, but not spectacular, aroma of malt, nuttiness, and a slight smokiness.

T: Tasted of a little bit of chocolate, the brown ale nuttiness, light caramel, a fair amount of malt, a light bready quality, and a hint of toffee as well. Didn't get any of the smokiness in flavor (almost think I imagined it). The main problem here is that the flavor is drastically thin. Its ingredients are never as powerful as they should be.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a watery finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

O: This beer has its good points, but it fails where it counts - the flavor. Kind of disappointing.

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Photo of tone77
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well this is it. The last beer from a large box given to me by woodychandler before I left PA for the winter back in November.Many thanks to him, and he is a great trader. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smell is nutty, dark bread. Taste is the same, considerable nuttiness, dark breads, some toasted malts. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Brickhouse BBQ in Madison, Wisconsin. Served in a shaker pint glass. Pours a dark brown body, quite dark, nearly black, one finger brown head without much retention. Some lacing. Smells of nutty brown ale aromas, toffee, mild roast, a little bit of chocolate and espresso. Fairly straight-forward brown ale nose. Flavour is fairly robust, with roast, plenty of nuttiness, toffee, caramel, moderate earthy bitterness on the backend. Again, standard, but not weak in terms of the flavour. Mouthfeel is medium-lighter bodied, a bit too bitter for a standard brown ale fare. Overall, it's essentially a slightly ramped up brown ale with a fair bit of bitterness. Certainly not worth the price they charge for this close-to-average beer.

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Photo of horshack7
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Well it's certainly brown with a light beige head only one finger thick.

Aroma: Some coffee, oats, toffee, bready malts. Lightly roasted hops with earthy undertones.

Taste: Sweet in the front with a crisp mouthfeel. Hops have a bit of a floral bite. Coffee, light chocolate notes, toffee and oats. A light stickiness on the palate with wisps of caramel towards the finish.

Notes: Well it's drinkable and I would probably get this one again. The can artwork well it's sophomoric however it does strike a funny chord with the inner ten year old. Cheers.

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Photo of Jraiona
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Let me first say I am no stick in the mud and enjoy a bit of whimsy as much as anybody but the marketing/label on this offering is terrible. That aside, if you can get beyond the "art" there is what I feel is a pretty good product. I'm not overly familiar with English Brown Ales but this one poured a beautiful chestnut brown with a 1-1 1/2 inch tannish head that was fairly stable. The smell and taste both were malty and sweet slightly reminiscent of fermenting bread with some coffee and slight cocoa notes. It was very light and pleasant on my tongue with a nice level of carbonation.

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Photo of OmahaKF
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Smell is of roasted nuts and a hint of chocolate. Taste is nutty, toffee, and a slight bit of smoke. Overall, a solid but somewhat underwhelming brown ale.

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Photo of beergoot
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, brownish mahogany hue makes up the body; full, frothy, off-white head. Light nut and roasted grain aroma; notes of toffee. Roasted grain flavors; nutty; brown sugar; fair hop bitterness arising at the finish. Medium body yet it feels weak and thin; gently sweet with a powdery, yeast-y feel at the finish.

A fair brown ale that really does not stand out in any unique way other than its disgusting label art. The beer itself does taste fine and emphasizes quality aspects of dark grain brewing but nothing to set it apart from any other decently brewed brown ale.

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Photo of mr-jj
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from a 22 oz bomber.

Color is brown, mahogany with a thin tan head. Aroma is roasted malt with a hint of chocolate. Flavor is roasted malt and nutty. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. It's a good brown ale, but I'm never excited by this style.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

subtracting appearance points for the worst label in beer. i dont care whats in the bottle, can, or keg, you have to take yourself more serious than this. there is something endearing about the cheeky names and all, but this label goes too far for me, its just not appetizing, even if some idiot that laughed at bevis and butthead gets a chuckle, its not cool at all. the beer is better than the label thank goodness, but its not without some flaws in my book. the first one is the price. you cant be serious with bottles and cans this expensive, thats way off, i mean a full order of magnitude. the beer itself isnt bad, a nice chocolate base, eglish on the yeast from, american hoppy, and pleasingly dry for the style. however, it just doesnt warrant such an arrogant price, and the yeast left in it is unflattering too. i think as a brewery, this is one of the most excessive and irrelevant and subpar beers they have done, although i still enjoyed a glass. maybe a testament to their other beers, maybe a commentary on the gimmicks losing their appeal, but save your coin on this one.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of russpowell
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very effervescent auburn/brown with 3 fingers of tan head. Great lacing & average head retention

S: Toasty & nutty

T: Toasty, nutty, a little dry, some leafy & herbal hops up front. More nuttiness as this warms, slight astringency, plus a little brown bread once warm. Finishes toasty, dry, nutty with some slight sulfur & astringent notes

MF: Light/medium body, fairly aggressive carbonation, mellows out as it warms

This is pretty good, but there are better at half the price

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Photo of thebeers
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Really don't see the allure of this one I guess people just buy it for the silly cover art. It is quite quaff able with some nut and toffee notes but its just too light tasting to be "The brown ale to end all brown ales" like the cover suggest. Would need more body and some chocolate notes to pull that off. Still its not bad.

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Photo of JayQue
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice Brown Ale. Pours from a pint can into a pint glass, a mostly clear light brown color with a lot of golden highlights. Aroma is slightly sweet and biscuity malt and some coffee. Flavor is slightly sweet malt, coffee, a little toffee and a hint of chocolate. Mouthfeel is light, smooth and creamy. A little hops bitterness at the end but mostly a malty beer. Nice take on an English Brown Ale

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Photo of 57md
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Got a can of this in a beer club case. I mention this because I cannot imagine that I would voluntarily buy a beer with a shit stain as the focal point of its label. For the record, I was not "offended," I just think that it is stupid marketing.

Pours a standard brown color with copper edges and a finger of head. The nose is bready. The flavor follows the nose with a decently semi-dry finish.

This offering is incredibly OK. The flavor is somewhat flat as it lacks the nuttiness or mild sweetness found in the top notch examples of this style.

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Photo of Stevem68
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a caramel Amber color. Aroma is light of roasted malts. Flavor is caramel and roasted malts. Has a very nice mouthfeel and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Presumably kegged at IMBC
Bevis Maun is drinking The Brown Note by Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse (Kentucky) at Independent Manchester Beer Convention (IMBC) 2015

More a shy coffee porter than a brown nut hey, good stuff any how

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 16 oz. can into a J. Wakefield OG teku glass (ignoring the advice printed on the can).

A: Translucent rich brown, with low carbonation after the initial blush fades after the pour. Forms a big 2 1/2 finger cream-colored head with decent retention.

S: Rich toffee, toasted malts, notes of chocolate and coffee, and a warm nuttiness. Nice aroma.

T: Warm brown malts with nice caramelized notes, toffee and Heath Bar with a touch of mocha. A low amount of the cardboard flavor I get from most brown ales. A light hop bitterness briefly just after the swallow.

M: Medium body for an American brown, and alcohol presence is well-hidden. The carbonation sensation is on the low side, but rather than coming across flat, it somehow makes the beer seem richer.

O: A decent brown ale. Getting around the lowest common denominator packaging (though I found it amusing), it's a solid product. But nothing I'd actively seek out if it wasn't on the shelves. Pretty standard craft brown ale offering. If that's what you're in the mood for, though, you could do worse.

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The Brown Note from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
3.84 out of 5 based on 372 ratings.
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