History of Brown Ale


Many of the earliest English ales were likely brown ales, as most malts were kilned over hardwood fires leaving a distinctly brown color as well as a smoky flavor.

The formal use of the term “Brown Ale” is tied to the introduction of Porter in the early 1700’s. Brown ale was likely known simply as “Ale” before that since almost all English ales would have been brown prior to 1700. The term “Brown Ale” was also used interchangeably for the next 100 years to describe both Porters and Stouts. Brown was in fact a generic term used to describe the insanely popular Porter of this period.

In the early 1800’s, some distinction was being made between Stouts, Porters and Milds. In many cases Brown ale was produced by making a Stout or Porter with the first runnings and then collecting the second runnings of the Mash to produce Brown ales. However, throughout the 18th century “brown” was still used extensively to describe Stouts, Porters and other dark beers brewed primarily around London.

The distinct style of “Brown Ale” we know today is a relatively recent invention, though the close relative “Mild Ale” was very popular in the late 1800’s and early 20th century. Brown ale emerged in the 20th century as a stronger and sometimes darker version of English mild.













Castle Rock Homebrew Supply has one of the largest and growing selections of beer, cheese and wine-making supplies in the Denver and Colorado Springs area. We started the businesses out of our own passion for home brewed beer and decided to teach others for to brew as well. We are proud to be able to offer a diverse ingredient list and packaging sizes that allow the beginner extract brewer to make very diverse beer. Stop by our store anytime! Or contact us online we’ll be happy to help you get a piece of equipment or answer your questions.

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