Brown IPA

Hey there hop head! Let’s chat about Brown IPAs – the best of both malty and hoppy worlds.

As the name suggests, Brown IPAs blend attributes of American Brown Ales and IPAs. You get caramel, chocolate, and nutty malt flavors paired with citrusy, piney American hops.

They pour a beautiful copper-brown color. Flavorwise, expect notes of brown sugar, toasted nuts, orange, grapefruit, and pine. There’s usually a nice dry, bitter finish. ABV ranges from around 5.5-7%.

Great examples of the style include Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, Grand Teton Bitch Creek, and Brooklyn Brown Ale.

With their blend of roastiness and hops, Brown IPAs pair wonderfully with beef, burgers, bbq, grilled veggies, and semi-sweet chocolate. They walk the line between maltiness and hoppiness!

Sure, here’s a list of 10 popular commercial examples of Brown IPA, each with a brief description to give you a taste of what they offer:

  1. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale – A hybrid beer that combines the characteristics of a Scotch Ale, an IPA, and an American Brown. It’s known for its well-balanced malt sweetness and hoppy bitterness.
  2. Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale – This beer features a blend of malts that gives it a nutty, slightly smoky flavor, complemented by a subtle hop presence. It’s a great example of a Brown IPA that’s perfect for autumn.
  3. Brooklyn Brown Ale – A blend of six malts gives this beer a rich, complex taste, with a mix of caramel, chocolate, and coffee flavors balanced by a gentle hop bitterness.
  4. Newcastle Brown Ale – A classic and one of the best-known brown ales. It has a unique blend of bittersweet malt and subtle hop flavors, making it a staple in the category.
  5. Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale – This beer is famous for its rich, nutty flavor derived from dark malts. The hop presence is mild but contributes to its overall balance.
  6. Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar – This American Brown Ale is enhanced with natural hazelnut flavor. The result is a nutty twist to the traditional European brown ale style.
  7. Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale – Named after the founder’s dog, this beer has a sweet, malty backbone that pairs well with its hop profile, creating a balanced and drinkable Brown IPA.
  8. Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale – This beer offers rich, caramel, and toffee flavors with a hint of chocolate and espresso, balanced by a mild hop character.
  9. Founders Sumatra Mountain Brown – This unique beer combines the richness of a brown ale with the robustness of a coffee beer. It has a complex profile with layers of chocolate, caramel, and coffee.
  10. Surly Coffee Bender – This variant of Surly’s Bender Brown Ale is infused with coffee, giving it a rich, aromatic coffee flavor that complements the chocolate and caramel malt profile.

Today, we’re diving into the world of Brown IPA, a style that’s as intriguing as it is delicious. Imagine this: you’re sitting at your favorite craft brewery, and the bartender hands you a glass of something new.

It’s dark, it’s hoppy, and it’s unlike anything you’ve had before. That, my friends, is a Brown IPA.

This beer style is a unique fusion of the hoppy bitterness of an India Pale Ale (IPA) and the rich, malty flavors of a brown ale. It’s like a musical duet between two distinct genres, creating a harmony that’s music to your tastebuds!

Now, let’s get a bit historical. The Brown IPA isn’t just a random invention; it’s a product of the ever-evolving craft beer scene. Born from the love of experimentation and the desire to push boundaries, this style has been winning hearts (and palates) across the globe.

But what makes it so special? Stick around, and we’ll dive into the delicious details!

Understanding Brown IPA

What Exactly is a Brown IPA?

So, what’s in a name? In the case of Brown IPA, it’s a tale of two styles. It’s the offspring of the traditional IPA and the classic brown ale.

Picture this: you’re in a beer lab (aka a brewery), and a mad scientist brewer decides to meld the citrusy, piney hop profile of an IPA with the nutty, caramel notes of a brown ale. Voilà! You get a Brown IPA.

This beer is all about balance. It’s a tightrope walk between the bitterness of hops and the sweetness of malt. But it’s not just about throwing ingredients together.

The magic lies in the brewer’s skill in achieving that perfect harmony. The result? A beer that’s robust, complex, and absolutely delightful.

Brewed to Perfection

Now, let’s put on our brewer hats and peek into the brewing process. Crafting a Brown IPA is like being a chef. You need the right ingredients and a keen sense of timing.

The basic components are similar to any IPA – hops, malt, yeast, and water. But it’s the selection of malts and hops that sets it apart. Brewers often opt for darker malts to achieve that signature brown hue and rich flavor.

As for hops, it’s a balancing act. The goal is to add enough hops to be noticeable, but not so much that it overshadows the malty goodness.

When it comes to flavor, think of a Brown IPA as a symphony of tastes. It’s not just one-note bitterness or sweetness. You’ll get layers of flavors – maybe a bit of citrus or pine from the hops, followed by a smooth, caramel-like sweetness from the malts. It’s like a flavor dance party in your mouth!

Aroma: The First Impression

Before you even take a sip, your nose is in for a treat. The aroma of a Brown IPA can be quite the teaser. You might catch hints of floral or fruity notes, mingled with the warm, comforting scents of roasted malt.

It’s like walking into a kitchen where someone’s baking bread and making fruit salad at the same time – intriguing, right?

The Rise of Brown IPA

From Obscurity to Limelight

Remember the days when IPAs were just… IPAs? Well, those days are long gone. Brown IPA is part of the craft beer revolution, a movement that’s all about experimentation and pushing boundaries.

It’s like the craft beer world’s response to a rock band going acoustic – unexpected but totally awesome.

This style has gradually made its way from the experimental batches of homebrewers to the tap lists of some of the most innovative breweries. It’s a testament to the adventurous spirit of the craft beer community, always thirsty for something new and exciting.

Not Your Grandpa’s IPA

Comparing a Brown IPA to a traditional IPA is like comparing an electric guitar to an acoustic one.

They’re similar, but each has its own distinct vibe. Traditional IPAs are known for their strong hop character and lighter color. Brown IPAs, on the other hand, bring in the complexity of dark malts, adding depth and richness to the hoppy profile.

This isn’t just another IPA; it’s a genre-bending brew that challenges your expectations. It’s for those who love the hop punch of an IPA but crave something a little different, a little more… mysterious.

Riding the Trend Wave

If you’re wondering whether Brown IPAs are just a passing fad, think again. This style has been steadily gaining popularity among craft beer lovers who are always on the lookout for something new.

It’s like discovering a new genre of music – once you get a taste, you just want more.

Brown IPAs are a reflection of the ever-changing, ever-innovating world of craft beer. They’re a reminder that

in the realm of brewing, there are no limits to creativity. And that, my friends, is something to raise a glass to!

Brewing Brown IPA at Home

Homebrewing: The Ultimate DIY Project

Ever thought about brewing your own Brown IPA? It’s like being a chef and a scientist rolled into one!

Homebrewing is not just a hobby; it’s an adventure. And brewing a Brown IPA is a fantastic way to explore the depths of this unique style.

How To Brew Brown IPA

How To Brew Brown IPA with Recipe

The Brewer’s Toolbox

To embark on your homebrewing journey, you’ll need some basic equipment: a brewing kettle, fermenter, siphon, sanitizer, bottles, and, of course, patience.

It’s like gathering your gear for a culinary expedition – each piece plays a vital role in your brewing success.

Crafting Your Brown IPA

The key to a great Brown IPA lies in the balance of ingredients. You’ll need a selection of dark malts to achieve that rich, malty backbone, and a thoughtful blend of hops to provide the right amount of bitterness and aroma.

Think of it as creating a recipe where each ingredient complements the other, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors and aromas.

Tasting and Pairing Brown IPA

The Art of Tasting

Tasting a Brown IPA is an experience in itself. It’s like being a judge on a cooking show – you need to pay attention to every detail. Start by observing the color and aroma.

Then, take a sip and let it linger on your palate. Notice the interplay of hoppy bitterness with the malty sweetness – it’s a flavor journey!

Perfect Pairings

Wondering what to eat with your Brown IPA? This beer is surprisingly versatile. Its robust flavor pairs well with hearty dishes like grilled meats, stews, or even a spicy curry.

It’s like finding the perfect dance partner – when the flavors are in sync, it’s a match made in culinary heaven.

Expert Recommendations

If you’re still unsure, don’t hesitate to ask your local brewer or beer expert. They can guide you to the perfect food pairings, just like a sommelier would with wine.

Remember, beer and food pairing is an art, and there’s always something new to discover!

Pros and Cons of Brown IPA

The Bright Side

Let’s start with the pros. Brown IPA is a celebration of complexity and innovation. It’s a style that challenges the norm and offers something different from your standard IPA or brown ale.

For beer lovers who crave variety, it’s a refreshing change of pace.

A Matter of Taste

On the flip side, Brown IPA might not be everyone’s cup of tea (or pint of beer, in this case). Some purists argue that it strays too far from traditional beer styles.

And for those who prefer either a straightforward IPA or a classic brown ale, this hybrid might seem a bit overwhelming.

The Bottom Line

Like any beer style, Brown IPA has its fans and critics. But that’s the beauty of the craft beer world – there’s something for everyone.

Whether you fall head over heels for this style or decide it’s not your thing, exploring Brown IPA is a journey worth taking.

Ratings and Reviews of Brown IPA

The Digital Beer Sommelier

In the age of the internet, what’s a beer without its online ratings? Think of web ratings as your digital beer sommelier – guiding you through the vast world of brews.

Brown IPA, with its unique character, has certainly made waves in this digital realm.

Sifting Through the Reviews

When you dive into the reviews, you’ll notice a spectrum of opinions. Some beer aficionados praise Brown IPA for its innovative blend of flavors, while others might find it too adventurous. It’s like reading movie reviews – everyone’s got their own taste!

Comparing with the Classics

How does Brown IPA stack up against traditional IPAs or brown ales in online ratings? Generally, it holds its own, especially among those who appreciate a twist on the classics.

It’s like the indie film that gets rave reviews for its originality, standing out from the blockbuster crowd.

FAQs about Brown IPA

What’s the ABV range for Brown IPA?

Typically, Brown IPAs have an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) ranging from 5.5% to 7.5%. It’s potent enough to make a statement, but not so strong that it’ll knock your socks off.

Can I find Brown IPA at any brewery?

While not as ubiquitous as standard IPAs, many craft breweries have embraced this style. It’s always worth asking your local brewery if they have a Brown IPA or something similar on tap.

Is Brown IPA a seasonal beer?

Not necessarily. While some breweries might feature it as a seasonal special, many offer it year-round. It’s like that surprise hit song that ends up becoming a classic.

What makes Brown IPA different from a Black IPA?

While both have darker hues, Black IPA is more about the roasted, almost coffee-like malt character, whereas Brown IPA focuses on balancing the hoppy bitterness with the nutty, caramel flavors of brown malt.

How should I store my Brown IPA?

Like most IPAs, it’s best to store Brown IPA in a cool, dark place. Keeping it refrigerated is ideal, especially if you’re planning to keep it for a while.

What’s the best glassware to use for Brown IPA?

A tulip glass is a great choice. It helps concentrate the aroma, enhancing your tasting experience.

Can Brown IPA be paired with desserts?

Absolutely! Its malty sweetness can complement desserts like a rich chocolate cake or a caramel apple tart.

How long does Brown IPA last?

If stored properly, a bottled Brown IPA can last for about 3-6 months. But for the best flavor, it’s recommended to enjoy it sooner rather than later.

Is Brown IPA gluten-free?

No, Brown IPA is typically brewed with traditional barley malt, which contains gluten.

Can I use Brown IPA in cooking?

Yes! Its rich flavor can add depth to sauces, stews, and marinades. It’s like adding a secret ingredient that brings a unique twist to your dishes.


As we wrap up our journey into the world of Brown IPA, it’s clear that this beer style is a fascinating blend of tradition and innovation.

Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or new to the craft beer scene, exploring the complexities of Brown IPA is an adventure worth taking.