Brown Ale. Yet another topic I like to bang on about. (That makes 3,229 and counting.) You know that stuff about "Northern" and "Southern" Brown Ales. I'd like to know where Whitbread Double Brown fits into that simplistic scheme of things. It was too strong to be a "Southern" Brown and too dark to be a "Northern" Brown. And it was brewed in the South.
In the 1950's Whitbread brewed two very different Brown Ales. Double Brown and Forest Brown. The former was Whitbread's first Brown Ale, introduced in 1926. Below are the recipes for both. The originals were, coincidentally, brewed on the same day.
Double Brown's gravity had changed little since its birth. The 1926 version was 1054, the 1955 one 1051. With a base of PA malt, its grist was quite different to Whitbread Milds of the period and was similar to that of PA or IPA. Forest Brown, on the other hand, had a base of Mild Ale malt and very closely resembled the grist for Best Ale, Whitbread's Mild. Though it is not identical. Forest Brown is slightly stronger at 1033 as opposed to 1031 for the Mild.
I've just taken a look at which ingredients the BJCP claim go into a Southern English Brown Ale:
"English pale ale malt as a base with a healthy proportion of darker caramelAll I can say is that the malt stuff is total fantasy. The weaker types of Brown Ale I've seen recipes for all got their colour from dark sugar or caramel. And the base malt was mild not pale ale malt. Where do they get crap like this from? Just make it up?
malts and often some roasted (black) malt and wheat malt. Moderate to high
carbonate water would appropriately balance the dark malt acidity. English hop
varieties are most authentic, though with low flavor and bitterness almost any
type could be used."