So Brown

I opened up the 2012 brewing system with a sub-style that I had never tried to brew before, a Southern English Brown Ale.  What is that, you might ask?  Well, like its cousins Mild and Northern English Brown Ale, when you drink a Southern Brown you are going to be thinking about malt.   In the case of the SEB words like “caramel” and “toffee” are thrown around a lot.  Hints of biscuit and coffee.  No hop flavor.

According to the BJCP style guideline, what differentiates the South from the North, in England anyway, is that Southerners are darker and sweeter and little lower in gravity.  Examples of Southern English Browns are hard to come by, so if you have ever had a Newcastle Brown (a common Northern Style) then just imagine it darker and sweeter, I guess.

I formulated this recipe myself.  The two dark crystal malts will hopefully give it sufficient sweetness, and the combination of chocolate, carafa, and special roast will hopefully give it some roasty toasty and maybe coffee like character.

The brew day was uneventful.  I love my little 5 gallon cooler and heat stick, and the brew came together with little fuss.  I probably did not start until 10 am or so, and I had the beer in the fermenter with plenty of time to get ready for a 6:30 pm party.  I even had time to wash the car and take down Christmas decorations.

So Brown

Volume: 14.0 liters
OG: 9.4 °P / 1.038 sg

  • 61% Munton’s Maris Otter
  • 14% Breiss Two Row (see note)
  • 9% Breiss 120 °L Crystal
  • 4% English 160 °L Extra Dark Crystal
  • 3% Pale Chocolate (210 °L)
  • 3% Carafa I de-husked
  • 4% Breiss Special Roast

Mash 60 minutes at 67°C, 3 liters water per kilogram


  • 21 grams Northdown at 45 minutes

Yeast: Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire

Fermentation Temperature: 19° C

Note:  I would have used 100% Maris Otter malt as the base, but I did not have enough in stock, so I just made up the difference with the Breiss two row.  No one will ever know.

Added 17 January 2012:

This beer finished at 2.6 ºP / 1.010 final gravity,  for 74% apparent attenuation and 3.7% ABV.  It was in the primary fermenter for one week.  I transferred about 10 liters to a keg and also made ten 12 ounce bottles.  It tasted promising, and with the relatively low ABV it could be a really nice beer to keep on tap.

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