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My Favorite American Brown Ale Recipe!

American Brown Ale is a classic craft beer style that has gained popularity in recent years. This beer style originated in the United States in the late 20th century as a variation on the English Brown Ale. The American version is known for its rich maltiness, moderate hop bitterness, and a subtle nutty or caramel flavor.

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The key characteristics of an American Brown Ale include a medium body, a deep amber to brown color, and a smooth and balanced flavor profile. It typically has a moderate to high carbonation level and a moderate alcohol content, ranging from 4.5% to 6.2% ABV.

Recipe Ingredients

To brew a delicious American Brown Ale, you will need the following ingredients:


  • 8 lbs American 2-row malt
  • 1 lb Crystal 60 malt
  • 8 oz Chocolate malt


  • 1 oz Cascade hops (60 minutes)
  • 1 oz Willamette hops (15 minutes)
  • 1 oz Cascade hops (5 minutes)
  • 1 oz Cascade hops (dry hop)


  • American Ale yeast


  • 5 gallons of water
  • 1 teaspoon Irish moss (optional)
  • 3/4 cup priming sugar for bottling

Brewing Process

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to start brewing your American Brown Ale!

Step 1: Mash

Begin by heating 3 gallons of water to 165°F (74°C) in your mash tun. Add the crushed grains and stir well to ensure they are fully submerged. Let the mixture rest for 60 minutes at a temperature of 152°F (67°C). This process, known as mashing, will convert the starches in the grains into fermentable sugars.

Step 2: Sparge

After the mash, it’s time to sparge. Slowly add 3 gallons of hot water at 170°F (77°C) to the mash tun, allowing it to flow through the grains and collect in your brew kettle. This will rinse out any remaining sugars and extract the flavors from the grains. Be careful not to rush this process, as it can affect the final taste of your beer.

Step 3: Boil

Once you have collected all the liquid in your brew kettle, it’s time to bring it to a boil. Add the Cascade hops and let the mixture boil for 60 minutes. This will extract the hop bitterness and aroma, giving your beer a well-rounded flavor.

Step 4: Add Willamette Hops

After 45 minutes of boiling, add the Willamette hops to the kettle. These hops will contribute a slightly earthy and spicy flavor to your American Brown Ale.

Step 5: Add Irish Moss (Optional)

If you want your beer to have a clear appearance, add 1 teaspoon of Irish moss to the kettle during the last 15 minutes of the boil. This natural clarifying agent will help to remove any haze-causing particles from your beer.

Step 6: Chill and Ferment

Once the boil is complete, it’s time to cool down the wort. Use a wort chiller or an ice bath to bring the temperature down to around 70°F (21°C). Transfer the cooled wort to your sanitized fermenter and add the American Ale yeast. Seal the fermenter with an airlock and let the yeast work its magic for about 7-10 days.

Step 7: Dry Hop

After the initial fermentation is complete, it’s time to add the dry hops. This step is optional but can add an extra layer of hop aroma to your American Brown Ale. Add 1 oz of Cascade hops to the fermenter and let it sit for 3-5 days.

Step 8: Bottle

Once the fermentation and dry hopping are complete, it’s time to bottle your beer. Dissolve 3/4 cup of priming sugar in a small amount of boiling water and add it to your sanitized bottling bucket. Transfer the beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket, being careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom. Fill your bottles, cap them, and let them carbonate for 2-3 weeks.


Brewing an American Brown Ale is a rewarding experience that allows you to create a delicious beer with a rich maltiness and balanced flavor profile. By following this recipe and paying attention to the key points, you can brew a beer that will impress your friends and family. Remember to be patient throughout the process, as good beer takes time to develop. Cheers and happy brewing!


What kind of yeast do you use for brown ale?

The most commonly used yeast for brewing brown ale is an English ale yeast, such as the Wyeast 1968 London ESB or the White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast. These yeast strains provide the desired flavor profile and characteristics typically associated with brown ale styles.

How do I choose a base malt?

When choosing a base malt, there are a few key factors to consider. First, determine the desired flavor profile of your beer. Different base malts offer different flavors, ranging from light and crisp to rich and malty. Second, consider the color you want for your beer. Base malts can range from pale to dark, so choose one that aligns with your desired beer style. Finally, think about the brewing characteristics of the base malt, such as its diastatic power (ability to convert starches into fermentable sugars) and its extract potential (amount of fermentable sugars it can yield). These factors will help you choose a base malt that suits your brewing goals and desired beer style.

What is the flavor of American brown ale?

American brown ale is known for its rich and complex flavor profile. It typically has a malty backbone with notes of caramel, toffee, and chocolate. The hop bitterness is usually moderate, providing a balance to the sweetness of the malt. American brown ales can also have hints of nuttiness and roasted flavors, making it a versatile and enjoyable beer style.

What is the best yeast for American brown ale?

The best yeast for an American brown ale is typically an American ale yeast, such as Wyeast 1056 or White Labs WLP001. These yeast strains are known for producing clean and neutral flavors, allowing the malt and hop character of the brown ale to shine through.

What is the best base malt for a brown ale?

The best base malt for a brown ale is typically a combination of pale malt and a specialty malt like Munich or Vienna. This combination provides a rich, malty flavor and a deep amber color, which are characteristic of a brown ale.

What gives a brown ale its flavor?

A brown ale gets its flavor from a combination of factors including the malt used, which contributes to its caramel and toasty notes, as well as the yeast strain used, which can add fruity or spicy flavors. Additionally, the brewing process and any additional ingredients such as hops or specialty malts can also impact the flavor profile of a brown ale.

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