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Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale

Nøgne Imperial Brown Ale

Brown ale is a style of beer made with a dark or brown malt[1]. The term brown beer was first used by London brewers in the late 1600s to describe their products, such as mild ale[2]. Today there are brown ales made in several regions, most notably England, Belgium, and North America. Beers termed brown ale include sweet, low alcohol beers such as Manns Original Brown Ale, medium strength amber beers of moderate bitterness such as Newcastle Brown Ale, malty and hoppy beers such as Sierra Nevada Brown Ale, and the brown beers of Flanders such as Liefmans[3] Oud bruin[4].


There have been brown beers around for hundreds of years. The term "Brown Ale" was first used commercially at the beginning of the twentieth century in England as a bottled beer since the diffusion of bottles was increasing. North American brown ales trace their heritage to American home brewing adaptations of certain northern English beers.


English brown ales range from beers such as Manns Original Brown Ale[5], which is quite sweet and low in alcohol, to North Eastern brown ale such as Newcastle Brown Ale, Double Maxim and Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale.

They range from deep amber to brown in color. Caramel and chocolate flavors are evident, due to the use of roasted malt. Brown ales from northeastern England tend to be strong and malty, often nutty, while those from southern England are usually darker, sweeter, and lower in alcohol. North American brown ales are usually drier than their English counterparts, with a slight citrus accent and an aroma, bitterness, and medium body due to American varieties of hops. Fruitiness from esters are subdued. When chilled to cold temperatures, some haziness may be noticed.

North American commercial examples include Pete's Wicked Ale, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale, Abita Turbo Dog, Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale, and Brooklyn Brown Ale. Based, in part, on the definition published by the Brewers Association.

See also[]


  1. Brown Ale: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (Classic Beer Style Series, 14), Ray Daniels and Jim Parker, 1998, Brewers Publications
  2. David Sutula, Mild Ale, 1999, Brewers Publications, Page 26
  4. Michael Jackson, The Great Beers of Belgium, 1997, MMC, Pages 143 - 146
  5. Manns Brown Ale website
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