Brown Ale | Capital Brewery

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Brown AleBrown Ale
70 Ratings
Brown AleBrown Ale

Brewed by:
Capital Brewery
Wisconsin, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-15-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 68
Reviews by beveragecaptain:
Photo of beveragecaptain
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Capital Brown Ale pours out a partially transparent brown color toppped with a large, off-white head. Doughy malt aroma with a light brown sugar-like sweetness. The flavor is very nutty with doughy malt and a touch of cocoa. Hops are light but come through more as the beer warms. The flavor is cleaner than most brown ales. Medium mouthfeel. Good drinkability. This is not a particularly interesting beer, but I suppose it could be a "gateway beer" for your non-craft brew drinking friends.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of skybluewater
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown color, with cherry highlights. Smells a bit sour (hmmm....). Taste isn't all that bad, with a nice toffeeish maltiness, and a touch of sourness. All in all, not the best brown I've ever had. Servicable, but just barely. I'd drink again, but only if I had to.

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Photo of ADR
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big head, pretty ordinary brown color. Smell is just vaguely sweet. Taste has an interesting cinamon spice to it, a little more oomph than your average brew of this style. Its too carbonated for me, letting it wait twenty minutes improves the mouthfeel. It is still on the thin side however. An OK warm-fermenter from a mostly cold-fermenting brewery.

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Photo of cokes
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber-brown below a skimming of beige cream.
Mellow whafts of dusty chocolate, bread crusts and English hops.
Begins with an easy-going earthy nuttiness dusted with cocoa powder. Toasted, crusty white bread body with a light caramel topping. Floral hops gradually build, and become featured by the finish.
Shy of medium bodied, but sessionable
Not an exciting Brown, but not a bad one.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Riley's here in Madison.

Pours an amber-brown with a decent 1cm off-white head with no lacing. Smells primarily of sweet malts and diacetyl butteriness. Nothing outstanding. Taste pretty much follows suit. Sweet, but not too sweet malts, balancing hops, and a diacetyl sourness at the end. Not usually a huge fan of diacetyl-sour browns, but this one isn't too offending. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, and drinkability is solid as well. Sessionable, but unremarkable, as my man battlekow said below. Wouldn't turn one down by any means, but wouldn't seek it out either.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz single, Riley's

appearance: pours a dark amber mahogany, fairly clear body...a bubbly beige head forms on top with a fair amount of beige lacing left throughout...decent looking english brown

smell: delicate but pretty restrained...fairly nutty, sweet well toasted malt structure in the aroma, a touch of vanilla, buttery, fair amount of smooth caramel...not very strong but a nice delicate aroma

taste: smooth malts (marzen/okt style) right up front, caramel throughout, walnut and general nuttiness, slight grassy hops...pretty decent

mouthfeel: smooth, medium body, medium carbonation

drinkability: easily drinkable

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Photo of cliff1066
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is probably the best of the beers I've sampled from this brewery, which otherwise hews too closely to style. A nice malty smell greets me when I pop the bottle, then it pours a nice thick head over a dark brown body. I get a taste of roasted coffee, maybe even chicory atop a bed of caramel. A sharp hop sting gives it a little fruity note like… all I can come up with is blackberries. Carbonation enhances the delivery of flavor. This is close to being a nut brown ale. Capital could really cut loose if they wanted to.

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Photo of bditty187
2.96/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber/tan hue, translucent, smallish white head, soapy retention, minimal spotty lace. The nose was hollow… nutty, malt was detectable as was chocolate powder; this combination wasn’t inviting. The palate had mixed success, it started off quite tasty: the malt foundation was solid, nicely nutty with caramel and floral hops too. But the sudden and flavorless ending diminishes the quality of this beer greatly. It was empty and lacking… only the carbonation seems to holdup. The mouthfeel is thin and inadequate. Overall this Brown Ale is below-average for the style, maybe Capital should stick with lagers.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.27/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I tend to group breweries into "countries of inspiration" categories, and Capital is a down-the-line German brewery. So it should come as no suprise that their "Brown ale" tastes more like a vienna lager. After all, that is the vibe they rock.

The beer pours a nice light brown, almost a deep gold with a nice white head. The head manages to survive the best efforts of my whiskers to destroy it, and it leaves some lacing on the way down to boot!

The beer smells like toffee and fresh cooked bread. There is also a vague estery presence from the yeast but I can't quite put my finger on it. It is very fruity, but not overwhelming.

The fresh, crusty bread note carries over into the taste. But the toffee is strangely absent and has been replaced by a nice, light chocolate. The fruit medly also makes a nice showing here, taking backseat to the malt but in doing so it compliments them.

The mouthfeel is nice a light. The beer has a nice, knacky, dry Germanic finish that I relish. The carbonation is light and doesn't get in the way, hardly noticable.

I dig this brew. But I think it suffers from being between worlds. The English esters get in the way of the overall Germanic quality of the brew, while the name of the beer leads one to expect more of an English malt character. I really like it, but it is a style bender in an area where styles are rarely bent.

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Photo of morimech
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A very large head formed over this light colored clear brown ale. The head does settle down to a thick cap and a thick ring of lacing is left at the top of the glass.

I don't get much from the smell. Just a touch of roasted malt. Rather weak.

The taste is not overpowering. It delivers a nice malt flavor with chocolate hints. No bitterness and rather neutral in the sweetness department. Carbonation is active and the body is light. I can see this is a beer that could be drunk in large quantities. Goes down nicely. I could see myself buying this in the future.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

When poured, this beer had a medium sized ivory creamy and smooth head with fine-small sized bubbles.The body was carbonated and clear with a reddish-brown hue.The nose was malty and caramel.The flavor was caramel, malt and a hint of coffee with a very smooth mouthfeel that made this beer very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours light brown with a half inch off-white head that went away pretty quickly. Lacing is good. The aroma is toffee, toasted malt, bread, and nuts. It's a sweet and malty aroma. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like toasted malt, caramel, toffee, nuts and bread. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, with average carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. I could easily have this as a session beer. Overall it's a good enough brown ale, it won't blow you away but it's definitely enjoyable. I'd try it again.

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Photo of MJR
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a brilliantly clear light brown with red highlights. It's tan head starts out rather small, then shrinks down to a simple ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is very malty and a touch sweet, with nutty and bready notes. I detect a hint of chocolate, but it's really buried.

Taste: Starts out sweet and malty, with a warm baked bread graininess. Mid-palate, a touch of spiciness that almost gives the impression of rye appears. That same ghost-like, chocolate hint from the smell is present as well. After the spiciness subsides, a huge burst of nuttiness takes over through the finish. There's a bit of hop bitterness on the tail end, bringing some balance into the picture.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, with a mouthfeel that's on the lighter side of medium. Finishes with a touch of dryness.

Drinkability: While a brown ale from this well-known lager brewer is a bit of a surprise, this is a decent brew. It's not as interesting as some of the better browns out there, but still drinkable.

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Photo of Ragingbull
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark gold in color with little to no head. The nose is decidedly malty. Fresh and clean attack with a smoothness to the flavor and the mouthfeel. Almost a cream ale type of flavor coming through for me. It finishes clean, but with a rising sensation brought on by the combination of lighter body, and the effervescence of carbonation. Dries quickly in the mouth at the finish.

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Photo of nickynick
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The appearance of this beer was ok. A nice brown color. I alway thought that brown ales had to be sweet, however this one has pretty good balance making it drinkable. As it warmed a bit more flavors showed up. Not overly sweet, and not overpowering hops. Would not be my first choice, but would not turn one down, and would probably buy this beer again.

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Photo of marc77
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark bronze / light brown hue w/ brilliant clarity topped by a light beige head that readily recedes into a thin, spotty layer. Assertively spicy and herbal noble hops hits the nose upfront, then is ensued by mellow chocolate, medium caramel and biscuit malt. Rich, toasty continental, perhaps Vienna malt adds richness in aroma. Flavorwise, this brown doesn't quite deliver on the aroma's promise. The strong hop flavor, although a trait I usually savor, cuts into the malt profile, and partially overshadows the chocolate malt. Dark caramel thus becomes the dominate malt character, w/ toasty base malt present as an undertone. Hop bitterness is secondary to malt, but provides sufficient contrast to caramel sweetness. Full bodied for a brown, w/ a agreeably smooth mouthfeel. Finishes relatively clean, w/ a combination of light residual sweetness and herbal hops quickly fading. Capital's Brown Ale is an odd, unique, yet enjoyable brown. It is akin to a Dunkel / American brown ale hybrid. Overall, it's quite lagerlike, partially due to the virtual lack of esters.

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Photo of sweethome
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color with decent white head.

Nose is rather boozy, with maple. Flavor profile is quite full - starts with a vanilla flavor, nuts, and then some of the maple I got on the nose. Silky mouth feel. Alcohol present.

A flavorful beer, the taste fell off a bit as it warmed up, lacked the charachter of the first few tastes when fresh out of the bottle. A decent beer.

This brewery's strength is their lagers - particularly those with heft.

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Photo of Shiloh
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very nice offering from Capital Brewery. It poured a nice deep amber hue with a full but short tan head which quickly was replaced by a minor glass ring.
Nose was persistantly bready but not heavy or over powering.
Body was medium and carbonation light.
Nice malty start with a very slight bitter finish.
Malts slightly edged out the hops on this one.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.2/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another brew forced on me by The World Beer Tour at The Winking Lizard Columbus. Decent brown color with a slight beige ring around the top. Small amount of oily residue left with the lacing.
Barely any smell save for a few roasted nuts.
Rich nutty, good malt charisma with a mild presence of hops. An average mix for a brown ale.
Smooth and creamy, light and oily. Decent overall.

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Photo of Reneejane
3.84/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a dark orange color (not quite brown) but about as brown as Newcastle brown. The aroma is mildly hoppy and it is very drinkable due to it's low alcohol level. I enjoy this beer anytime I can get it because it's so refreshing. It's a fairly balanced beer, a good standard brown.

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Photo of battlekow
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So far, my experience with Capital Brewery has given me the opinion that they make solid, unexceptional beers. This Brown Ale does nothing to change that opinion. By no means is this a bad beer; it's simply a rather boring one. It looks pretty, a nice medium-dark brown with a creamy, off-white head. It smells good, slightly nutty and roasty, but nothing especially noticeable. Doesn't really taste like much, but it feels good in the mouth, a little bite from the carbonation. Easy to drink, easy to forget.

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Photo of granger10
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours into three color beginning with a deep dark brown at the bottom, a normal brown in the middle, and almost an oragish brown up top. Medium off white head is rather small. Not much lacing.

Aroma is on the weak side. Some caramel and bready yeastiness. Maybe a little hoppy spicyness.

Very good taste though. More chocolatey than I thought it would be. A nice toasty toffee sweetness under the dark chocolate flavor. Yeast is noticeable underneath and gives this beer a slickness. A nuttyness, which seems to be from the malts and not the yeast, comes in. Hops are more assertive towards the finish but never really stick out. They do provide a nice balance though.

This is for sure great session beer material. Especially for the late fall/early spring Michigan weather. Capital has failed to disappoint me yet.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted on 5/12/05 at Bricks (Beer Bar) in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Light brown with a nice beige head and decent carbonation. Pretty much down hill from there as this one is a pretty non-descript lightly sweet example of the style.

A bit weak in my mind but I've come to expect that in English Style Brown Ales...

Per Label : "English Style"

Per CB website: An ale with a deep brown tone, this is our version of a traditional British style, balanced toward the malt (three of the varieties used are imported), this ale exhibits classic ale smoothness.

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Photo of hopdog
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle.

Poured a medium, see through brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of nuts, caramel and light chocolate. Tastes of pretty much the same - nutty, caramel and chocolate. Semi-sweet and tastes a little like maple syrup.

Notes from: 10/18/05

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Brown Ale from Capital Brewery
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 70 ratings