Nut Brown Ale: How many contain nuts?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by vortmaxx, Nov 9, 2013.

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  1. SoCalBeerIdiot

    SoCalBeerIdiot Defender (651) Mar 10, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    The Dudes' Brewing here in Torrance use Georgia pecans in their Grandma's Pecan English-style Brown Ale (it's pretty damn good and chock full of pecans). They are an up and coming brewery here in SoCal that just started canning recently. Here is a one-minute video they have posted on their web site showing how they make it. Pretty neat.

    I've had Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar, too, that jesskidden mentioned earlier. It's a really great beer (FWIW, I don't like many other offerings from Rogue). Definitely no lack of hazelnut flavor in that one.

    I know this thread started because the OP is allergic to nuts, but these two beers are really great and make me want to seek out more nut brown ales, a style I have (until recently) been overlooking.
    Geuzedad likes this.
  2. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    I'm still waiting for you to come up with any real evidence. Or find me a beer called Nut Brown before 1910. Oh, and any brown Victorian beer other than Porter and Stout.
    Geuzedad and StuartCarter like this.
  3. TruePerception

    TruePerception Defender (636) Aug 30, 2013 California

    That's the point. You will not find a beer called Nut Brown as old as the poem because it was not a style designation or trade name. Even if you have a 300+ year old bottle of beer, it won't say "nut brown" (lower case) because it was not the name of the style. But, this does not mean people didn't refer to it as nut brown. You can't assume that, just because that poem existed before the style used the name in sales and labeling that no one called them nut brown as a sort of slang. You are using faulty logic. And, perhaps, choosing to ignore possibility because you don't know about it. Not very open-minded.
  4. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Brown ale (the description meaning) existed along with brown beer until about 1700. Brown beer morphed into Porter and Stout which became so popular that brown ale disappeared.Around 1910 the name began to be used again though Martyn Cornell has reservations on the subject.Already posted but worth repeating;
    Regarding nut brown ale , until 1880 it would have been illegal to incorporate nuts (the law was stricter than the Reinheitsgebot) and after that date there appears to be no record of it happening.
  5. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2006 Alabama

    the comments on this article with someone calling out Ron for "proof" reminds me of the post wherein some USian home brewer insisted that ALL Scottish beers have smoked malt.

    Hilarious, but still utterly wrong and somewhat stupid.
    Bouleboubier and azorie like this.
  6. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    wow, you need to read some real beer history besides the tasting beer book. I like to for what it is, but its not a history book. Ron and Martyn are the experts. In fact they are in the BA mag from time to time. But experience is the best teacher and being wrong makes you learn. :grinning:
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  7. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,021) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Pattinson vs. Mosher… I pick Pattinson.

    And research? How about publication?
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  8. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    Yea and there is a new IPA book out and I still pick Patterson. But they keep trying to prove those IPA myths.
  9. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    Great book I have a lot but not quite all of Ron's great books, learn something new everyday, sadly I cannot remember it all, but then I have the book to refer too.
    steveh likes this.
  10. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    As youi have no evidence of any kind to support that, your theory is nothing more than a wild-arse guess. As I've pointed out several times, Brown Ale disappeared completely for around 100 years. And you've still failed to provide one example of a dark brown British beer from the 19th century that wasn't Porter or Stout.

    You can keep ignoring my requests for actual evidence and trying to attack my logic, but you're never going to convince me.

    Where's the evidence that people did actually refer to a certain type of beer as nut brown?

    I've probably looked at 19th-century British beer in more detail than anyone else. There are no references I've found to Nut Brown Ale as a name, either colloquial or used by breweries. And I've looked in a huge variety of sources: magazines, brewing manuals, brewing records, newspapers, novels and all sorts of archive documents. I'd actually be pleased if you could find one, as it would entail a radical overhaul on my thinking about 19th-century beer.
  11. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Zealot (540) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Dude do you even have ANY idea who you are arguing with? Check out this link:
    Don't feel too bad. I once made the same
    azorie likes this.
  12. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Well, as TruePerception couldn't find any evidence about Nut Brown Ale in the 19th century, I went and had a look for it myself.

    And I found plenty of uses of the phrase from around the middle of the century. I'd probably not found them before because I hadn't specifically looked for them.

    It was only used in certain specifric circumstances.

    First, in poems or when people were wrting in a florid style.

    Second, when they were trying to conjure up images of Merrie Olde England.

    Third, as a way of describing the beer served at particular celebrations: Christmas, Harvest Home, the majority of an heir. Often it's how the beer provided by the master to his tenants is described. Whether or not it's really a specific type of beer, or just a poetic name given to beer consumed on certain occasions, is unclear.

    This is an advert from a newspaper:

    Christmas Ale.
    THOMAS BERRY has received supply of STRONG NUT BROWN ALE, from 15s per nine gallons, of extra superior quality.
    Lewes, 15th December, 1851.
    Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 23 December 1851, page 1.

    Which makes it pretty clear there was something sold as Nut Brown Ale. But note that it's a beer especially intended for Christmas. What sort of beer it was is unclear, other than pretty damn strong. That works out to 60 shillings for a 36-gallon barrel, which implies a gravity of around 1090º.

    Whether or not it was really brown as in a modern Brown Ale is also a mystery. Though given its strength, even brewed from 100% pale malt, it would have been darker than a standard-strength Mild.

    Which has got me very confused. Because I've never come across a beer in a regular price list described as any type of Brown Ale. And I've looked at hundres of the things. Nor is there any beer called Brown Ale in the thousands of 19th-century brewing records I've analysed.

    It looks like it was a poetic way of decribing a celebratory beer. Interesting. Doubtless inspired by the song I originally posted, whcih was a popular Christmas carol.
  13. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Poo-Bah (2,816) Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico
    Beer Trader

    Lazy Magnolia out of MS has a pecan beer, as does De La Vega's out of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
  14. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Just a caveat. The concept of styles was 150 years into the future when this was written. What we called beers were simply names ( often enough the beer might be called different names at different times and in different places). People called beers pretty well what they wanted.I well remember Luncheon Ale being popular , that was never a style as far as I know.Quite likely the article in question was a Strong Ale which was a particular colour.I would say that a single mention does not imply a style; with tens of thousands of brewers at the time one would expect large numbers of mentions if it was a specific style of ale.
  15. BeerLover99

    BeerLover99 Poo-Bah (1,607) Dec 13, 2008 Illinois

    Just picked up another 1 gallon beer-making kit from
    Brooklyn Brewing Co @ Bed Bath + Beyond. It was
    "Chestnut Brown Ale" (English Brown Ale style).
    The recipe says I can add actual roasted chestnuts, may
    give it a go.
  16. TruePerception

    TruePerception Defender (636) Aug 30, 2013 California

    So I need proof, but you do not. You claimed that the name came from the poem. But, there is no proof of that. That is all that I'm saying. I could be wrong, but that seems ridiculous. I don't need to provide the "proof" you are asking, because it is irrelevant to what I am actually saying! Now, if you had said "The earliest known reference to nut brown ale is...", that would be one thing; but you said "It comes from an old English song.". Remember correlation is not causation. Just because you have found no earlier reference (regardless of how knowledgeable you may be), it doesn't mean that it is the earliest reference. If people were colloquially referring to brown ales as "nut brown" at his favorite bar for 10 years before hand, we would have no evidence from that poem, unless the author intentionally subscripted such information (which was rarely done in old poems). All I'm asking is a little common sense, here.
  17. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,185) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Lazy Magnolia Pecan, Rogue Hazelnut, and Abita Harvest came to mind immediately. Love all three.
  18. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Part of Ron's work is going through old brewery records , tens of thousands of them from around 1800.If there were such a style as Nut Brown Ale or even Brown Ale it would surely have appeared.Like Wee Heavy , it simply isn't there and he is free to reasonably draw his own conclusions.He also works through old newspapers and journals.Again, a recognised style would have come to his attention. I'm not sure how much more you can expect as it is of course impossible to prove a negative. As Bertrand Russell said, prove to me that there isn't a teapot orbiting round the Sun.
    Did you mention common sense ?
    Bouleboubier likes this.
  19. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    yea like dinner ales, that was new to me until i read amber, gold and black
  20. StoutSnob40

    StoutSnob40 Poo-Bah (2,017) Jan 4, 2013 California
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    This is just hilarious. Some dude arguing with a professional beer researcher about the historical usage of the term "nut brown".
  21. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    Also author of many books and LONG time Beer Blogger, might even predate BA
  22. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,185) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I don't think a lot of folks know about Ron. His findings don't always jive with the common beliefs many of us have before learning that we were wrong :stuck_out_tongue:
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  23. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    yes and even current web sites have wrong beer style info. Not to mention many beer myths get repeated over and over. Wrong as they are.
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  24. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Read my last post. Then you can see how the term was used, at least in the 1840's and 1850's.

    My basic point was: don't claim things without evidence.

    I'm glad we had this discussion because it prompted me to go and investigate the term Nut Brown Ale. What I found is intriguing. The term seems to have been used in a ritualistic way, a bit like the phrase "wine dark sea" in Homer. Really quite odd. The term obviously evoked certain feelings, not really directly connected with the beers brewed at the time. More interesting, in many ways, than if it had existed as a standard type of beer.

    In another way, I curse you. The quest to discover how, why, where and when "nut-brown ale" was used is going to eat up weeks of my time.
  25. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    I'm starting to slightly modify my views on 19th-century IPA, too. But that's another story.
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  26. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California

    There aren't any nuts in Pullman.
  27. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    ok use some and stop arguing with an expert. You are wrong its happens learn from it and go on.:grinning:
    are you going to blog about it?
  28. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    Sometime. I'm really trying to concentrate on Strong Ale.
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  29. marquis

    marquis Crusader (762) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    Sadly, a lot of it written by well known beer writers who really ought to know better.
    azorie likes this.
  30. rgordon

    rgordon Crusader (792) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I would like to politely add that lots of things are called "nutty" throughout many folk and colloquial usages in many divergences of the historic spread of the English language. I think of "John Barleycorn" and his nut brown bowl. Usually nutty refers to a specific flavor component, but as Time and language have evolved, it increasingly refers to people. Whether or not there are real nuts in a nut brown ale or beer, no matter which nomenclature first appears in human conveyance, I personally drink them with gusto with a respectful nod to historians and word fools everywhere. Cheers everyone!
  31. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Zealot (540) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    I for one cannot wait to hear it.
    azorie likes this.
  32. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,948) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    While I might mull a brownish ale with some nuts, I'm no expert on any of this! :grinning:

    (And your post did indeed make me laugh-out-loud -- well done!)
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  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,493) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Ron, please share with us your latest view on 19th Century IPAs when you feel comfortable. Historical research (and interpretation) is an activity that never comes to an end.

  34. iggysoccer20

    iggysoccer20 Initiate (0) May 11, 2011 Ohio

    The Christmas carol and subsequent usages of the descriptor 'nut-brown' you have provided are his evidence.

    His (initial) claim was nothing other than that the adjective noun pair 'nut-brown ale' did not "come from" that Middle (nit-picky, but Old English is far more foreign looking than that, even when transcribed into the Latin alphabet) English christmas carol but rather the fact that the phrase appears in the written record, or rather even just that it became imbedded into cultural idiom through songs and poems tells us that it's highly probable people were calling stuff 'nut-brown ale' in their casual, day to day speech first. The same claim would be valid for your Homeric example (ignoring the oral tradition which would complicate this example). It would be incorrect to say that the original Greek phrase which some translate as 'the wine-dark sea' "comes" from Homer. No, it comes from a whole bunch of 'Ancient Greek' folks speaking their language and it is transmitted to us through the manuscript tradition of the Homeric poems.

    Indeed TruePerception will never be able to provide you with an audio recording of some centuries-old English folks talking about 'nut-brown ale,' but the written evidence itself is quite strong. It generally holds that a linguistic unit comes about in the spoken language and subsequently is written down (we might point to something like Carroll's Jabberwocky as an exception). This is less true now because of the internet, but even more true for earlier times when a tiny fraction of the populace was even literate, let alone writing down poetry.
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  35. patto1ro

    patto1ro Zealot (526) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    It still wasn't a type of effing beer before 1890. Try looking at my blog.
    StuartCarter likes this.
  36. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,440) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Haha you just told Ron Pattinson to do some research.

    Maybe email Tyson now and tell him he ought to look through a few telescopes? Or Stamets and tell him he needs to go pick some mushrooms? Too funny.
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  37. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,354) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    The IPA book that I recently read had been research using primary sources in Britain, did not repeat the usual myths, and had tables of data from Ron Pattinson (used with permission). That was by Mitch Steele, and was pretty legitimate. Is there another IPA book out?
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  38. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,493) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Jeff, you are indeed correct. Mitch Steele's IPA book is a scholarly book.


  39. rgordon

    rgordon Crusader (792) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl and his "brandy" in the glass
    And little Sir John and the nut brown bowl proved the strongest man at last
    The huntsman he can't hunt the fox nor so loudly blow his horn
    And the tinker he can't mend kettle or pots without a little barleycorn

    An ancient song and poem that exists in many forms, but I know this is about beer, but not necessarily brown beer or nut beer. Nut brown is a descriptor of many beverages from brandy to whiskey to beer. Listen to the version by Traffic. (John Barleycorn Must Die)
  40. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    No that is the new 1, some were saying it had corrected a few newer myths. Its just I trust Ron more, and when and if he does an IPA book, I figure I will trust him first. Now bear in mind if facts change ie things are discovered that dispute other things, then its one of those deals where there has to be some agreement among beer history researchers.

    TBH I love all this stuff but its really just history its nice to know, and I rather have the truth, still at the end of the day no one really gives a hoot. I enjoy reading about it. I still like the fact that inventions some times occur spontaneously in more than one place. Usually because things like making beer evolve over time.

    Also history is a funny thing, not ever story gets written down. You know?
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