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Head to Head: Porters vs Brown Ales

By Edited Oct 27, 2016 0 0

Well it’s fall and that means darker beers are coming into season.  Not necessarily thicker, but darker… and nuttier.   Two beers that go well with the crisp air and turning leaves are the Porter and the Brown Ale.  

The English Porter originally was a mix of three types of beer (aged, new, mild) and thus so was very much a crowd pleaser back in 18th century England.  However, not having the tap system as bartenders do now it did create headaches for those pouring them and the transportation workers in which Porter gets its name had to wait a bit longer for their beverage.  Because of this the popularity of the Porter waned.  Nowadays with the age of microbrew, there has been a rebirth of this dark roasted malt beer.

The English Brown Ale was originally a mild ale brewed with brown malt which died out around the 1800’s because brewers began using pale malts, as used in Porters, because of cost.  Then the brown malted brown ale was revived in the 20th century. 

These two beers are rather bold and flavorful.  The Porter uses roasted and chocolate malts and with that comes a smoky, dark flavor, and sometimes a bit spicy. The porter is often confused with the stout although the Porter has a lower alcohol content.

The Brown Ale too can have chocolate tendencies and at times you’ll note a bit of caramel.  Yet, these ales lean more towards a nutty, dark flavor.  

London Porter

Suggestions for Porters:

Fullers London Porter – Robust, coffee and dark chocolate flavor.  Smoky, chocolate smell. 

 Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter – Sweet and chocolaty plus toffee and caramel malt flavors.  Creamy with little carbonation.

 Sierra Nevada Porter – Dark brown in color.  Burnt malt and coffee flavor with a hint of chocolate and a hoppy bite. 


Brown Ale(68208)

Suggestions for Brown Ales:

Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale – Deep amber in color.  Smells of toffee and almond.  Taste is a nutty caramel, slight butterscotch and a light finish.

    Goose Island’s Naughty Goose – Dark brown, caramel and chocolate roasted malts.  Full-bodied.

      Bell’s Best Brown – Caramel sweet that lingers, creamy, burnt bready malt, toffee notes. 



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