James E. Pepper 1776 American Brown Ale
Georgetown Trading Co.

James E. Pepper 1776 American Brown AleJames E. Pepper 1776 American Brown Ale
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Style:
Brown Ale - American
Ranked #34
ABV:
10.2%
Score:
90
Ranked #5,397
Avg:
4.07 | pDev: 9.09%
Reviews:
51
Ratings:
206
From:
Georgetown Trading Co.
 
Kentucky, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  30
Gots
  75
SCORE
90
Outstanding
James E. Pepper 1776 American Brown AleJames E. Pepper 1776 American Brown Ale
Notes: Like most whiskey aficionados, we also love a great beer. And in particular we became very fond of barrel aged beers, which from time to time had been aged in our whiskey barrels! So, we decided to have some fun and make our own beer. We partnered with a great brewery (the Beltway Brewing Co. in Sterling, VA) and began "working" with their master brewer to create a unique recipe with a flavor profile that would develop best in barrels that previously held our award winning James E. Pepper 1776 Rye Whiskey. No more than 30 days after our whiskey barrels are dumped in Kentucky, they are at the brewery being filled with beer. This ensures that every batch gets a big, boozy Rye whiskey finish and notes of toffee, chocolate, oak & vanilla.
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Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 206 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TerryMills
TerryMills from Tennessee

4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Feb 2016 bottle ... Smooth as silk ... I can't even tell it has alcohol in it it's so smooth ..

Not sure what a fresh one taste like but after almost 5 years its perfect

Nov 20, 2020
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

-Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels 12.5%.

A: A viscose dark hersey chocolate pour slurps from the bottle with a thick viscose nature producing a dark, tawny brownish-orange tint colored head. Creamy at one half inch the head was well standing for a beer of this abv%. A very dense fury of golden-micro beads of carbonation rush within to the surface. A dark rich beautiful textured head and color gives this a dark and menacing nature in the chalice. Thin sheet lace milky coating.

S: Strong wiff of whiskey-oak and spicy caramel with some coconut cream dominate the nose. Toasted vanilla and waffle like malting has sweet vanilla and toffee with some rich chocolate. Overall a good strength while the alcohol is very well handled.

T: Huge first impression has a very deep and rich chocolate burst, that was sweet and creamy with some vanilla and a spike of whiskey-oak that demands and keeps your attention from the very first sip. Dark fruit of sugary plums and figs along with some coconut and vanilla cream. Roasty oily coffee beans add an earthy bitterness along with some buttery caramel and spicing of cinnamon. Toffee and toasted coco-almond nuttiness and a sweetness of candi-brewing syrup, burnt brown sugar and a sweet honey depth. A soft and silty smokiness of charred oak barrels round out.

M: Lots of carbonation, milky thick depth and feel with a creamy roasted malt base gives this a great all around feel.

O: Lots of strong whiskey-oak are the highlight here with an abundance of secondary spicing and sweetness that is widely varied and individually defined with a deep richness. A huge drinking experience, oily rich roastiness, silty charred notes and a huge spike of whiskey soaked oak with coconut-caramel sweetness best describes this deep rich experience.

Apr 29, 2020
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pianoguy from Washington

4.69/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

What with Covid-19, Sheltering in place, and everything else that we're ALL going through these days I'm going to drink this 2017 beer that I've been saving .

Let me add a toast to you my beer drinking brothers and sisters...And to better days ahead ! May we all see each other on the other side of this...

22 Oz bottle May 2017

Pours a solid brown body with a small tan head that dissipated quickly. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles noted when held up to the light.

Oak and rye whiskey jumped out at the pour. Scent was fairly prominent for a beer that's been aged 3 years. Boozy and lightly astringent.

Taste follows with some nestles milk chocolate notes that were nowhere to be found in the scent. But the rye whiskey and booze still dominates.

Slightly watery feel..but it is 3 years old.

Overall a very nice sipping beer! Don't know if the aging made a difference. But if I had a time machine I'd go back and buy a couple more of these... and put down a few different sports book bets !

Apr 12, 2020
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A wonderful ale.
Specifically, I wondered how many ABAs I'd Had that were stronger than this. Answer is: two of 47. Not surprisingly, they are both highly-rated (from Dogfish and Firestone.) These are 2nd Generation masters (grew-up in the 1990s) and were so accomplished that they were bought by larger companies (Boston and Duvel respectively.)

Specifically, Georgetown is recent and is not diversified outside of its two whiskey barrel renditions. Nor does it seem to have a taproom or website presence. But, they are accomplished because Georgetown and 1776 still has matched these two masters in quality.

1776 is one of those handful of beers I have a month that I feel privileged to drink. It pours a syrupy dark brown with an attractive espresso foam. Smells are chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Tastes are a melange of this, plus just enough alcohol kick to tell me that this is a sipper. It is dessert, also; and one to be appreciated.

Oct 16, 2019
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mmilyko from Nevada

4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Agree with other reviews that it’s great to have a very well done barrel aged brown ale as opposed to another barrel aged stout (not that there’s anything wrong with that)....seems like there’s less competition for what dominates and it really lets the barrel aging take center stage. The fact that the whiskey distillery drove this creation, rather than the brewery, just shouts out “unique” and “different” to me. If you appreciate a good rye (or “whiskey” if you’re not from the East Coast) find this and really, really enjoy.

Jun 19, 2019
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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan cap. Decent legs on the glass when swirled. Aroma is roasted caramel malt and bourbon. Flavor is caramel, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and dark fruit. Feel is thin to medium bodied. Overall a fantastic brown ale.

Nov 18, 2018
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Harrison8 from Missouri

3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark burgundy with a finger of khaki foam that fizzes away pretty quickly. Aroma is toffee, plum, caramel, whiskey, char, oak, and a little yeast ester. Plum is bright, sweet and apparent. Flavor profile is caramel, toffee and plum to round out the sweet characteristics. Whiskey, char, and oak are a second thought, but linger for a long while. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a smooth, watery consistency that thins out at the finish. Overall, very sugary and sweet, but still bold.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 12oz bottle.

Oct 18, 2018
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Tone from Missouri

3.94/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Decent retention and good lacing. Smells of strong sweet malt, wood, yeast, and alcohol. Fits the style of an American Brown Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong sweet malt, wood, alcohol, yeast, hint of liquor, and a hint of spicy hops. Overall, great blend, strong body, simplistic, and weak appearance.

Jan 12, 2018
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Lucular from Maryland

4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap and fresh at the source (Beltway Brewing). Big, boozy brown ale. Really nice vanilla, oak, and whiskey flavors. Nice spicy notes from the rye barrels. I wonder whether any stores in my area carry this? I'll keep an eye out for this one.

Oct 02, 2017
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Rockjocknroll from California

4.31/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vintage '15.

This beer does not get enough street cred; it smells, tastes and looks like the best out there for BA browns. (Note: 3 years was turning; 2 years is perfect for cellaring).

A: Rich, brown malt with the best subtle fine tan carbonation that lasts forever. Maybe deserves a 5?
S: Caramel and whisky for days. Rich malt with no off-aromas
T: Whiskey tones up front holding on tight through a medium-depth brown. nuff said.
F: The fineness of the carbonation cannot be overstated. Sharpness from the whiskey but overall pleasurable.
O: At 2 years this is up there with the best BA browns on planet earth. Go for it.

Jul 09, 2017
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DavidR_9 from California

4.57/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber (bottled Dec 2016) into snifter on 6/19/17.

Dark brown-black body with a hint of red and a surprising amount of larger particulate already (not something I like seeing not too long after bottling date). Fine bubbly off-white head that recedes to the outer ring of the beer glass, foamless spots in the center. Smells of rich malts, chocolate, oakey rye whiskey, vanilla. Taste includes all the above but with much more toffee. Mouthfeel is pretty nice - decent carbonation for the sytle. I enjoy this brown ale aged in the oak barrel. It's refreshing to have a tasty brown ale instead of a full on stout with the barrel-aged twist.

Jun 20, 2017
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jmasher85 from Maryland

3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm honestly by shocked by some of these reviews that say this beer is "smooth," or that there's little barrel character. Considering I've been cellaring this for over a year, this is one of the most barrel-forward beers I've had, and the rye whiskey smell hit me as soon as my nose was even close to the glass. The flavor too starts with whiskey, and only after does your palate acclimate and begin to pick up notes of vanilla, nutty, brown malts, toffee, licorice, earthy wood, a bit of char. It starts off hot from the booze content, hints at sweetness towards the middle, and finishes with a dry, slightly tannic and oaky bitterness. It's more the whiskey barrel than the malts that follow you into the aftertaste, and lingers hotly enough that this beer is a definite sipper. It's quite strong, more so than many beers of this abv have been for me. It's not super thick in body, but the carbonation definitely lets it fill your mouth nicely, and guarantees each sip of this will be a powerhouse.
Overall, this is a beer for people who like whiskey. If you don't, don't even bother. A bit too intense for me to fairly call great, but it's in the upper echelons of what I'd call a good barrel-aged beer.

May 28, 2017
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CMEG from Maryland

4.37/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Excellent Brown Ale. Clear, moderate brown in color - minimal head on the pour from the bottle. Great aroma. Slightly nutty, hints of date or raisin, with a subtle rye whiskey odor. Mouthfeel is satifying - weightier than most Brown Ales. The alcohol content gives it a nice boozy, rye whiskey barrel taste - exactly what you'd hope for. slightly sweet, but not syrupy. Easy to drink.

May 13, 2017
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akolb from Colorado

4.29/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber dated 2015. So roughly 2 years old. 10.4% ABV. 1.5 inch tan head with thin, creamy bubbles. Aroma has toffee, heavy chocolate, raisins, and bourbon. Smells sweet, like a rich chocolate cake. Bourbon, more chocolate, candied sugar, sweet dark fruit, earth, rye spice, and a bit of bitterness underlying all the sweetness. A pleasant alcohol burns begins at the back of the throat early on. The rye whisky really comes through strong in this beer and is balanced by a decadent malt base to make for an unexpectedly wonderful beer.

Apr 13, 2017
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darktronica from Indiana

3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with moderate head that leaves a trace of lacing. Plenty of rye spice on the nose, accompanied by significant bready yeast, caramel, and gummy sweetness. Good rye notes on the flavor profile, but not much barrel character; I wonder how long it's actually aged.

Apr 09, 2017
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown pour with a tan head. Whiskey, oak, caramel, chocolate, toffee, nuts, and a hint of rye in the nose. Taste does well to capitalize on what makes a good brown ale, and then adds the whiskey barrel elements seamlessly. The malts and barrel seem destined for each other. Feel is the right amount of boozy, warm, smooth, and surprisingly clean.

Mar 25, 2017
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Rogerlb from California

3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/15, enjoyed 2/17, a year later. Pours dark, almost black although I'm seeing light through the edges of the glass. Head is slight, half a finger and moon-scape bubbly.

Aroma is raisins, coffee, chocolate, and a little woody whiskey in the b.g. More stout than brown ale. Taste is the malt ale I expected, with malts, vanilla, candied Barleywine-style sugar. Also tangled up in there is coffee, and the rye whiskey from the barrel is coming through now.

Boozy without being "hot", the 10.2% is pretty well hidden. Smoke and wood the silent partners here that make this unique and worthwhile. I'm even a Belgian spice as it warms. Toffee, or is that the rye? Someone's calling it "nutty." I'll go with that.

This is complex, the sweetness of the whiskey makes it drink close to spirits. Not exactly what I expected. Quite a thing.

Feb 09, 2017
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TruePerception from California

4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

James E Pepper's 1776 Rye-barrel aged Brown Ale. 10.4% ABV.

A: A bit over a finger of tan head. Black in the glass, with a red-brown inner glow. Honey brown in the dimple. Solid sheeting; decent lacing.

S: Rich chocolate cake and rye. Slight oak and faint tobacco. Slight toffee. Not overly complex, but nice.

T/MF: Taste is very different. It's a weird conglomeration of coffee, sweet char, licorice, and a slight graphite note. Toffee backing. Slight chocolate cake. Not I would expect of a brown ale, even rye-barrel aged, but good none the less.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Jul 24, 2016
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.04/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, bottled December 2015. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours a very dark brown color with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like vanilla, brown sugar, rye whiskey, oak, and some toffee. For the most part I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some dark fruit, smoke and nutty flavors noticeable too. It's a sweeter tasting brown ale for sure. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. It's also smooth and goes down easy enough. I liked this, it's definitely worth buying if you've never had it before. $10.98 a bomber.

Jul 23, 2016
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stortore from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled December 2015.

Pours dark, opaque, fizzy looking. Small head with a good amount of lacing. The smell is malt, whiskey, vanilla, oak, toffee, dates. The taste is lead more by the rye whiskey- and more so as it warms, malt, vanilla, raisins, dates, some oak. Smooth, a bit light bodied, the taste lingers.

This was good, flavorful, enjoyable to drink, but a little thin to support the pretty big barrel presence. But, it was a really nice job of barrel aging a brown ale, and with a decent price point, it's worth a purchase.

Jul 09, 2016
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Specules from California

3.91/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

I like this one definitely but my main complaint is the thin mouth feel. Imo, a beer of this strength should have the syrupy, thick mouthfeel that you come to expect from +10% beers. Aside from that everything else was pleasant - the smell was of caramel, vanilla, grains, and some brown ale-fitting malts, along with the obligatory whiskey barrel smell. The taste reflected the smell even more so with dark fruits and barleywine-esque burnt candy flavors in there. Did not disappoint on the rye whiskey flavors, but again I wish the mouthfeel was thicker.

Jul 01, 2016
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Poured a semi-opaque, dark brown color with a small, tan head of foam. It smelled of bourbon, oak, chocolate and toffee. Boozy and sweet with toffee, caramel and a mild bitterness.

May 12, 2016
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Zorro from California

3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown colored ale with a small tan colored head that doesn't last.

Smells strongly of coconut and caramel. Big scent of vanilla. Strong scent of oak. Smells sweet and has a strong butter scent. Scent of ethanol and whiskey is quite apparent but it doesn't smell boozy.

Starts out sweet and tasting of caramel and vanilla. Coconut and mild toffee flavors. Faint taste of ash and a mild bitterness. Whiskey flavor isn't over powering.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall an OK whiskey beer.

May 08, 2016
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Biggiekrock627 from Maryland

3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in summer 2014 and opened May 2016. Rye and whiskey notes tie through the deep caramel and roasted malt flavors that hits many areas of the palette and builds as you drink. If you like rye whiskey and brown ales pick up a bomber of this beer

May 05, 2016
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Wasatch from Colorado

4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. Bomber
Bottled In: Dec 2015
ABV: 10.4%

Poured into a chalice a pretty nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, with a small thick/creamy light tan head, which does leave a very nice big island, and some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, sweet, lots of chocolate/toffee, slight roasty/nuttyness, nice little touch of whiskey/oak. The taste is pretty nice malty, very nice sweetness, chocolate/toffee, slight roast/nutty, very nice touch of whiskey/oak. Full body, ABV is hidden very well, still a sipper though. Overall, this one is really surprising me, very nicely done. Recommended!

Mar 14, 2016
James E. Pepper 1776 American Brown Ale from Georgetown Trading Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 206 ratings