The Brown Note | Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse

very good
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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

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 388
Photo of leantom
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of kculrich
3.34/5  rDev -12.8%
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?

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Photo of citizencane
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks translucent brown red with ok head. Smells of roasted bready malts, like a less roasted lighter bock with maybe a touch more hops. Taste follows as same. Mouthfeel is slightly creamy and very drinkable. Not exceptional, even among those I've had of the style, but not bad m. You could drink a few of these in a row if you wanted to.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.21/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unknown vintage; drank 1/2/16 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the can into a glass.

Semi-opaque brown appearance.

A violent pour yielded a huge tan head; a curtain of tree-rung lace.

Peanut butter, acorn & coffee notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Acorn, caramel & coffee flavors up front; a hint of smoke on the finish. Flavorful; sessionable. A fine brown ale.

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Photo of josanguapo
3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From Cervezalandia. In Teku glass. Reading JHTP11 Ch16. Roasty, a bit nutty and a bit sour. Doesnt unplease but nothing to chase apart from the funny can picture.

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Photo of JayQue
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
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 Sabtos
3.27/5  rDev -14.6%
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 avalon07
3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
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 DrDemento456
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
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 DrinkThemAll
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16 oz can told me to enjoy from the can, so I did just that. I did pour a few ounces out to see it's color.

Pours almost like a watery Coca Cola. Almost dark brown, with nice light penetration that's shows hints of Ruby. Smells off light toffee, sweet chocolate and oats. British malts are present as well. Smells light and sweet.

Very balanced sweet roasty oats, and malt front. Chocolate and toffee with a Slighty bitter finish. Very crushable

Highly carbonated, malty semi dry finish that lingers.

Overall a solid offering of the style. Would definetly enjoy again.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
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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Photo of woodychandler
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It is indicative of my (sometimes frustrating) backlog of beer here at Chez Woody that my local, in-person trader, tone77, is thanking me for a hook-up back in November! The CANQuest (tm) is really on a roll right now & I am happy to be unearthing so many old friends.

From the CAN: "Oh, the Shame. This is the brown ale to end all brown ales. Enjoy it, because there's no longer any reason to drink another brown ale. You've reached the pinnacle. The Disco Bump. The Brown Note. Drink this beer or shit yourself trying. PHFFRRTT! Uh oh."

Between the verbiage and the depiction on the label, I CAN't believe that this made it through the Liquor CANtrol Board! I shall celebrate with a Crack! & inverted Glug. It came out and up in a powerful rush to the point that I had to back off. I got two-plus fingers of puffy, rocky, foamy, deep-tan/light-brown head as a result which slowly fell back to wisps. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled like a liquefied milk chocolate bar. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, lacking solid depth. The taste was very milk chocolaty with a bit of nuttiness thrown in for good measure. I kept flashing on a Mr. Goodbar. It has been a while since I have had a beer this sweet and still enjoyed it! Chocolaty is the word that applied here, from start to sweet finish. One was plenty for this self-avowed hophead, however.

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Photo of johnnyd10vt
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfect brown like an English brown with a light off white head. The smell is sweet malt and coffee notes. The taste is a great balance of sweet malt and bitter/sour hops. More complex than most Browns because of the sour notes. A great beer all around

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Photo of tlema1
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: brownish-red color, thick, lacing tan head
S: caramel and malt
T: roasty, malty, with some caramel
F: medium body, dry finish
O: hate the can, like the beer

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Photo of BrewAskew
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours to a thick beige head and deep brown color. Aroma is nutty, toasty, chocolatey malts. Flavor is rich and malty/nutty/ biscuity with a crisp, dryish finish. Not too sweet, just right. Feels great. This brown ale is the SHIT!!!

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Photo of spelingchampeon
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

And now, the soiled skivvies beer!

My 1st try was out of a 8oz paper cup. This time is a fresh pour from a bomber into a pint glass.

Pours to a med/light brown.. small beady head, little lacing. Smells of roasted malt and dough, with a touch of caramel. Tastes pretty much follows the aroma, with a touch of nuttiness thrown in. Mouthfeel was a tad bit more than the aroma, but not into the porter/stout range. There is not a hell of a lot going on here, just a very solid beer from pour to finish. My 1st impression from an 8oz cup was no different from the pint glass. A very nice experience!

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Photo of BARx3
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a very good black ale. I drank it out of a can poured into a pint glass. Don't usually like my beer from cans but no choice. The can art is funny and probably increases my rating

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Photo of Jraiona
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
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 Kendo
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the 16 oz can into a nonic-style imperial pint glass. Body is chestnut brown with a small khaki-colored head that retains well. Mahogany edges when backlit. Good foamy lacing on the glass.

S: Definitely caramel malt and toffee, plus a nuttiness in the nose. Touch of citrusy hops.

T: Relatively light malt - grainy, toasted bread and some sweeter, fruity notes. Some hazelnut as well. Finishes with a bit of lemony hops, which provides decent balance to the malty sweetness.

M: Relatively light in heft, fairly active, but pretty fine, carbonation.

O: This is a good Brown Ale. Not worth the price they're asking, but a good, easy-drinking Brown Ale.

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Photo of AngryDutchman
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - drank it out of the can, which is horrific.

Smell - sweet, malty. Very promising...

Taste - really great, smoky-malty, not too hoppy, not overly sweet. Balanced and that isn't always the case with brown ales. No fruitiness, just very clean.

Feel - pleases my tongue. Not overly carbonated, which I prefer.

Overall - I would definitely seek this out again. Cudos to Kif for picking this for the variety case. Just keep the ugly side of the can turned away and you'll be fine.

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Photo of delta490
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium-dark brown with a big light tan head, foamy and lasting throughout. There is also some small amounts of small sticky lacing. The aroma is good, very good even, offering some nice dark sugar sweetness and a little nutty hint. The taste matches up with the aroma but just adds a little malty depth with a slightly earthy quality on the finish. There's a good bit of carbonation, but the body is light but full and an easy drink.

All this is good because the marketing is asinine.

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Photo of 57md
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
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 Dunkelganger4
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice brown color with some ruby hues with a rocky light tan head of 1" sitting atop.
Aroma: Toasty with a hint of chocolate, a general nut note, and a faint hint of vanilla
Taste: Toasted malt with a background of caramel, hint of chalk, general earthiness, with cracker on the finsih
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with medium carbonation and fairly dry
Overall: A very good English brown which falls a little short on the flavor, which if stayed consistent with the nose, would be a top contender.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - A good looking brown (notwithstanding the horrid label), with a dark brown body, semi-opaque, bright tan head, very persistent and lacing is some the richest I've seen.

S - A toffee and caramel hit, with a hint of chalk, and a slight funkiness.

T - Solidly built English, with nice bready malts, caramel and molasses, then a bit of earthiness, closing mildly bitter.

M - Clean and bright. Very easy on the tongue.

O - Tried it. Hate the label, but appreciate the craft of the brew within. A very well built English Brown, with excellent balance and ultra crisp, clean execution.

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Photo of Stevem68
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
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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The Brown Note from Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
3.83 out of 5 based on 388 ratings.
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