“Breakfast Brown” Nut Brown Ale Recipe

Beer: of mankind’s greatest achievements, and an important part of a healthy, balanced breakfast. I am a big believer in drinking homebrew (responsibly, of course) during brew days, but it can be hard for me to put down my go-to styles of beer at 10:00 am. I struggled to find a style that I felt was perfect for the first beer of the day. So began my quest to design the perfect breakfast beer: the “Breakfast Brown” Nut Brown Ale.

I wanted to make sure that I chose a style that had low bitterness and a balanced flavor with slight sweetness. Most importantly, I wanted something with a relatively low alcohol content (no more than 5% ABV). If you’re going to be drinking all day, starting off with stouts and porters makes sense at first, but it can make for a rough brew day. After much deliberation (and “research” in the form of tasting several styles repeatedly), I settled on a simple English nut brown ale and decided I would add flaked oats in the mash (oatmeal is breakfast food, after all!), and then do an addition of coffee and maple syrup later in the process. I figured that if I was going to design the perfect beer for breakfast, it may as well contain everything I would have eaten for breakfast on brew day in one convenient glass. After all, brew day is all about efficiency.

Brewing Tips

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This is an easy beer to brew, the ingredients are inexpensive, and it’s very forgiving for new brewers. I will admit that it is much easier to make if you keg, as I decided to do the coffee and maple syrup additions when kegging rather than during active fermentation. One of our awesome members on BrewTogether, @rogkenn, recommended that I not add it to secondary when I was originally planning to, as maple syrup doesn’t retain much of its flavor after fermentation, and I wanted the beer to come out slightly sweet. I think he was right! If the syrup had fermented, I would have lost the sweetness, and it would have pushed the ABV up out of the “I can drink this in the morning and still function throughout the day” range.

One other point of caution. I did not like the first pint or two of this beer. First, I probably needed to clear some of the syrup that did not dissolve completely into the beer. Second, because I think it needs to sit for a month or so in the keg before the nut brown ale flavors really blend. After I let it sit for a while, it was delicious! It has a deep copper color, although the clarity is affected slightly by the coffee and maple syrup additions. Flavor notes include coffee and maple syrup (obviously), along with caramel and toasty, chocolate notes that bring together a slightly sweet beer that is perfect for starting the day off right. The oatmeal adds a wonderful silky smooth body that perfectly compliments the nut brown flavor. 

I’ll definitely be making this again (and again, and again) and will continue to tweak the recipe, but here it is for anyone who wants to try it! If you brew it, let me know how it turns out and if you have recommendations on how to improve it!

“Breakfast Brown” Nut Brown Ale Recipe

Single Hop Recipes at MoreBeer.com

Brewing Process

New to all-grain brewing? It’s easier than you think! Check out our simple step-by-step guide to all-grain brewing! 

The night before you’re planning to brew, treat all water with campden tablets at the rate of ¼ tablet per 5 gallons to remove chlorine and chloramines. Leave the water uncovered overnight to allow the chemicals in the water to dissipate. Other salts or mineral scan also be added now if desired.

1: Mash for 60 minutes with all of the grain and 3 gallons of treated water for a desired mash temperature of 154 degrees. Assuming your grain is room temperature, your water should be 168-169 degrees. Check out our brewing calculators to determine your water volumes and temperatures.

2: Mash out at 170 degrees for 10 minutes. You should need about 2 gallons of boiling water to achieve 170 degrees.

3: Assuming you don’t have a recirculating mash, you’ll need to do some vorlaufing to establish a solid grain bed to filter your wort. Check out our simple step-by-step guide to all-grain brewing for more information on vorlaufing.

4: Sparge to achieve your pre-boil volume (usually about 6.5 gallons on my system) with about 2.65 gallons of water at 168-170 degrees.

5: Boil for 60 minutes with the following additions:

  • 1 oz. Fuggle (60 min)
  • 0.5 oz. East Kent Goldings (15 min)
  • 1 tsp of Irish moss, rehydrated (15 min)

6: Cool, transfer to fermenter, and pitch yeast.

Note: I used a Catalyst Fermentation System from Craft-a-Brew for this beer and it made the process so much easier! It’s easy to clean and made no-transfer secondary fermentation a breeze. I recommend it!

7: Primary fermentation for 1 week to 10 days.

8: Secondary fermentation for 1 week (optional – leave in primary for an extra week if not doing secondary).

9: Cold crash the beer, add cold brewed coffee and maple syrup to keg, and transfer beer to keg. Immediately place keg in kegerator at serving temperatures to prevent continued fermentation. Bottling is not recommended for this recipe because of the unfermented maple syrup. No one likes bottle bombs!

vorlaufing the breakfast brown nut brown ale
Fermenting the breakfast brown nut brown ale
Breakfast Brown fermenting in the Catalyst Fermentation System.

This beer will improve steadily over about a month. It’s a bit harsh at first as the flavors blend together. I also found that I needed to pull about 2 pints out of the keg before I got to the good stuff. Some of the syrup doesn’t seem to mix all the way in and needs to be pulled out. After a couple of pints have been pulled from the keg the beer is much more clear and the flavors improve significantly. 

Enjoy! If you make this nut brown ale, leave a comment below or post in the forums on how it turned out! Recommendations on recipe changes? We want to hear about that too! Join the discussion now!

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    1. It turned out even better than expected! It’s a twist on the Jug-O-Brown with some malt/hop addition changes to reflect a more souther-English style, but it’s not exactly married to the style guide either. I always say I’m not really into the homebrew competition scene, but this is one I might be interested in having a few BJCP judges score.