Aroma: Moderate malty-sweet to malty-rich aroma with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and/or toasty qualities. Hop aroma is typically low to moderate, of almost any variety that complements the malt. Some interpretations of the style may feature a stronger hop aroma, an American or New World hop character (citrusy, fruity, tropical, etc.), and/or a fresh dryhopped aroma (all are optional). Fruity esters are moderate to very low. The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short of being overly porter-like. The malt and hops are generally balanced.
Appearance: Light to very dark brown color. Clear. Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.
Flavor: Medium to moderately-high malty-sweet or maltyrich flavor with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and/or toasty malt complexity, with medium to medium-high bitterness. The medium to medium-dry finish provides an aftertaste having both malt and hops. Hop flavor can be light to moderate, and may optionally have a citrusy, fruity, or tropical character, although any hop flavor that complements the malt is acceptable. Very low to moderate fruity esters.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. More bitter versions may have a dry, resiny impression. Moderate to moderately-high carbonation.
Impression: A malty but hoppy beer frequently with chocolate and caramel flavors. The hop flavor and aroma complements and enhances the malt rather than clashing with it.
Comments: Most commercial American Browns are not as aggressive as the original homebrewed versions, and some modern craft-brewed examples. This style reflects the current commercial offerings typically marketed as American Brown Ales rather than the hoppier, stronger homebrew versions from the early days of homebrewing. These IPA-strength brown ales should be entered in the Specialty IPA as Brown IPAs
Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt, plus crystal and darker malts (typically chocolate). American hops are typical, but continental or New World hops can also be used.
Commercial Examples: Anchor Brekle’s Brown, Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Bell’s Best Brown, Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, Telluride Face Down Brown