Mann’s Brown Ale and a call for suggestions

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UPDATE APRIL 2013: Apparently, ASDA and Morrison’s sell it, if you’re looking to buy some, as apparently many of you are!

Mann’s Brown Ale is not something you see many people drinking in its own right. Traditionally, it’s used in a ‘brown split’ with ordinary bitter — in other words, to give a bit of oomph to that half a pint of flat, brown keg beer you’ve been thinking about abandoning for fifteen minutes.

But Michael Jackson lists it in his 500 Great Beers book and, at 2.8%, we wondered if it might not fit be just the trick for school nights, when a hangover is simply not an option.

As you can see, it looks nice in the glass — very dark brown, almost black, with an off-white head. The body is remarkable for such a weak beer, and there are some nice aromas of malt and roasted grains.

The taste… well, nice in some parts of the mouth, if that makes any sense. Too sweet at first, with a harsh burnt treacle flavour, but rather pleasant going down, when the slightly bitter chocolate flavours come through. Reminiscent of the sweeter variety of mild, we thought.

On balance, I suspect this would taste wonderful with chocolate cake, which tends to make most beers taste too dry, but it’s not something we’d drink too often.

So, over to you. Any suggestions for other beers under 3% which are worth a go…?

Bonus feature: here’s an old post with an advert for Mann’s featuring Sherlock Holmes.

17 thoughts on “Mann’s Brown Ale and a call for suggestions”

  1. Stonch wrote a piece about BrewDog Edge 2.7% back in January. “A cross between a Scottish 60/- and an English mild ale.” Not known anyone to try it yet but surely a good contender if you can get your hands on it.

    Maybe the pleasant chap at realale.com in Richmond could get his mits on it? They were stocking most of the BrewDog range before xmas.

  2. The other obvious candidates that spring to mind are:

    Badger Harvester’s Ale

    and at slightly over 3%

    Cains Dark Mild
    Thwaites Dark Mild

  3. When we had our beer shop we had a steady string of retired customers for this beer. I tried it and thought it was awful. Too sweet and very little else to it.

  4. Brew Dog Edge is a cask beer only, I believe.

    If people are interested in trying it, I can probably arrange for some firkins to come down and let you all know where they end up….

  5. Andy — just read your review of Harvesters. Sounds interesting, but I note that you found that sweet too.

    Stonch/YCC — Brew Dog Edge sounds interesting too. If it’s on somewhere, we’d love to know. Keep us posted!

    Beer Nut — I’ve never seen the Heineken Oud Bruin on sale in the UK, but will keep my eyes peeled. Another comparison in terms of taste might be Pelforth, which is more than twice as strong, but nearly as sweet (from what I recall).

    Paul — by the time I got to the bottom of the glass, I was detecting quite a bit of complexity, but I needed to adjust to the sweetness first which was, as you say, totally overwhelming.

  6. Monty Python is one of those exports that seems to be more loved abroad than in its homeland! Personally I’ve never found it funny…

  7. I thought 60/- was Dark Mild?

    I have some brewing records for Heineken Oud Bruin somewhere. Oud Bruin is one of my favourite styles. Mostly because it’s my stock answer when someone says “Tell me a style that isn’t brewed in the USA.”

  8. I used to drink it with the lads from work in the 1960s it was cheap and easily downed, and tasted between creosote and demerara sugar but brilliant, you cannot get many brown ales anymore and it was a pleasure to recently find some it brought back many memories.

  9. Quite a few supermarkets stock it (I’ve seen it in Sainsbury’s and ASDA, I think). Failing that, anywhere that has Wychwood or Brakspear ales ought to carry it, too.

  10. I know this is very late but I know Asda and Booths sell it.

    I drink it in its own right and I’m 21. Which definitely makes me an oddball. :-D

  11. Anybody who has a Home Bargains store near them should be able to pick up a 500ml bottle of Manns for a very reasonable 95p as i do here in Birmingham. A lovely brew which slips down easy and doesn’t leave you wishing you didn’t have work in the morning!.

  12. Its a very nice beer to have, and at the prices you can buy it for, unbeatable. It’s very suppable, acquired taste, but i’ll drink it, its a gorgeous smooth taste

  13. It’s changed! Has anyone noticed the new shape bottle, and change of brewery from Ushers to Marstons. It now has a nasty bittery aftertaste which lasts for ages, like most bottled beers….it’s been ruined! I’m so sad now, this was my perfect pint, and 95p from home bargains too. Am going to bitch to Marstons with presumably no effect. Still have a couple of old bottles to keep for best.

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