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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 70 |  Reviews: 68
Photo of malcontent
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not much head, uneven but foamy lacing. A very pale brown ale but not transparent like a Newcastle.

Sweet malt, honey, and hazelnut are the primary scents I pick up.

Very even-keel taste ; toasted/sweet malt and subtle nuttiness (closer to peanuts than the traditional hazelnuts). Exceptionally clean finish.

Crisp but not over-carbonated, some slickness but not viscous. Great in this area.

As far as browns go, this isn’t the best one I’ve had but it is absolutely one of the easiest to drink and totally satisfying.

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

12oz brown bottle

Capital Brown Ale was brown in color with a small off-white head. Retention is alright and some lacing was left behind. There was sweet malt in the nose. The taste was mainly malt, slightly sweet, but not overly so. It was fairly light bodied with medium carbonation. This is a pretty tasty, easy drinking beer. Would make a good session beer.

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Photo of demcorhip
3.74/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chonyr for this one.

Pours a deep amber colour, not quite brown. Nice lasting off white head.

Cream, nuts, with bitter spice. Floral, fruity and caramelly notes as well.

Nutty malty grainy flavour. Some sweetness, brown sugar? and hints of toffee. Mild yet bitter spicy hop finish.

Decently balanced brew with creamy nutty sweetness balanced by spicy hop notes. Could have a little more substance to it from my point of view, but is certainly a tasty, refreshing and easy drinking beer.

Goes down easy, wish it was a little bolder all around. It is a nice tasting brew however, and i could see it being pretty easy to polish of a good number of them. Would also be a good beer to challenge the tastebuds of real beer rookies to break em in without worrying about scaring them off. Ill drink this again, a decent summer almost brown beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that goes slowly leaving a little lace. Almost clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose. Starts malty, nutty but hops are balancing, smooth, clean finish. Nice brown. $1.79 for a 12oz bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, IA.

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Photo of hero27
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Light brown color, relatively small head that holds it's ground decent enough. Nice combination of roasted & toffee malts. Nutty character takes over from there and carries it ok with a slight hop bitterness, but nothing to get too excited over. Pretty smooth and I could imagine drinking several of these if I was so inclined.

I'd take this over something like Newcastle any day of the week, but then again, it's not often that I eagerly reach for a brown ale from the fridge.

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

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a dry nutty aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth crystal and bisquit malt flavor that is a bit sweet and earthy with breadlike notes. There also seems to be a light hop presence. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good beer, but it isn't really a brown ale. It's too light in color and has more of an amber/red ale feel.

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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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Photo of Oxymoron
3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

What a capital idea. Pours a clear brown color with some brighter amber hues throughout. A decent pour with a frothy white head that hides to the edge of the glass but eventually disappears. Limited lacing as well.

The smell is noticeable but lighter per style. A touch of malty esters with light roasted and good bready notes. A sweeter side of browns with some brown sugar-like smells.

The taste is a good malt flavor but sweet and not much on the graininess I would have liked to see. There are some roasted qualities but the breadiness is lacking. There are some nice pluses with no real off flavors and a smooth taste. Some nutty and a light hop to finish the taste.

The body has a mid feel. Could use more texture but still easy to drink.

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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 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 objectivemonkey
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber to brownish color with good head shrinking to light film and has good lacing. Though a little weak, can still pick out some of the malts, a little nuttiness and I think i pick out some chocolate, which I thought was a little odd. With taste, again some chocolate along with the malts, carmel and good enough body. Good session beer, unremarkable but definitely not bad, a good local beer to have after work.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear reddish amber color with about a half inch of thick tan bubbles at first pour. There are some sporadic bubbles lingering about on the side of the glass. There is some lacing.

Aroma: Some roastiness with some reserved hopping in the nose is the first thing that I notice. There are also some nutty malts in there

Taste: There is a nutty and slightly caramel malt presence that greets you when you first sample this beer. This allows a bit of hops to peek through somewhere in the middle of the profile. Finally there is a slightly bitter and bubbly finish from the mouthfeel.

Opinion: I think that this is a pretty good brown ale. It isn't too assertively hoppy and manages to retain a malt balance. It is a bit light, but still a very drinkable beer.

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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 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 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 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 TastyTaste
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear brown in color, just a little creamy off-white head. Brown sugar and roasted malt smell, maybe slight coffee. Taste is surprisingly hoppy, very dry, and roasted through and through. Body could be thicker, but overall this is a pretty good brew. Not an elite brown ale , but highly sessionable.

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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 mynie
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark for a brown ale. Red with a nice, tight head.

Smells more hoppier than all the other English Brown Ales I have had. Sweet caramel malts mix with a very nice nutty smell to give this beer a wonderful complexity.

And it tastes good, too. Malts like a marzen upfront, bitter, sweet, and smooth, caramel and dark chocolate. These give way to a light, bouncy hop bitterness in the back, followed by a very nice, distinct nuttiness.

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Photo of mentor
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz screw-top bottle obtained from John’s Grocery (Iowa City) in January 2005 and consumed the next evening. Pours a half-finger cream colored head that settled very quickly. Nearly clear copper-orange beer. Smells of nuts and caramel with chocolate beneath. Tastes malty sweet and smooth. Nutty and chocolate arising late. Toffee and caramel. Hop bitter is present but is perfect for the style. The bitter is clean and blends smoothly into a cohumulone woody. Medium light body with a nice carbonation. Fizzes off the flat tongue at the swallow and then there is a more gentle and finer carbonation after the swallow that adds a bit of acidic and sour to the aftertaste.

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Photo of longarm
3.94/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with little to no carbonation. The color is decent and occasionally glints flashes of dark amber.

Aroma is sweet with nice hints of nut, carmelized malt, and just enough malt complexity to keep it interesting but not out of style. I notice a dash of vanilla too, but that could also just be coming from the sweet malts. I find nothing wrong with the aroma.

The flavor seems to flow in four stages. First to arrive are the same nutty tones noticed in the aroma, followed by a very slight touch of hops included in a mildly alcoholic bite. The finish is simple and clean. Not bad, but not a lot going-on.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin, but it coats better as it warms.

I like this better than Newcastle.

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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 BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brown ale isn't. It's more of a clear reddish copper with golden highlights. The head is light toasty tan and decently sturdy. It's taking its sweet time deflating and deposits a respectable amount of lace when it does so. The nose is rather ho-hum, nothing much there to spark my interest. Standard aroma of caramel malt, a little spicy perhaps.

The flavor is just okay. Again, pretty simple stuff here, but that's not always a bad thing. Lightly toasted malt with notes of caramel and carob, accented by a gentle spiciness and a hint of hoppiness. The finish is increasingly, although still only slightly, bitter and is dry. I know that it's an ever-present complaint of mine, but the body could stand to be beefed up a bit. It isn't thin in the mouth, but it's damn close.

Capital Brown Ale is a brown ale 'by the numbers'. Nothing about it really stands out for me. I could drink a few if I was otherwise occupied, but I'd forget them as soon as they were gone. Much like I've forgotten... now what was the name of this beer again?

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

This beer poured a dark amber color. Light tan head that didn't hold and left only a little lace. Slight aroma of malt and nut. It had a flavor of honeynut and malt. It had a nice, slightly sweet finish. Not as sweet as nut browns, but very similar.

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