Is Manns Brown Ale A Decent Beer

A beer tagged as The Original Brown Ale, and invented by Thomas Wells Thorpe head brewer of Manns Brewery in 1902. Supposedly brewed to the original recipe today. So how does it stand up in todays beer market. Is Manns Brown Ale a decent beer?

Although tagged as the original brown ale, I am sure it was not the actual original as there is evidence of brown ale way before 1902. However this is not the only tag this beer earned, it was also given the title ‘The Sweetest Beer In London‘ back in the day. Anyway, what is it like?

Is Manns Brown Ale A Decent Beer?

Manns Brown Ale is a decent beer, and better than I expected with its low ABV. It is sweet, but it is also complex with more flavour than I thought it might have. It pours a deep brown, almost black with a light tan head. The nose is light with roasted malt biscuit and toffee. The taste hits with rich malty caramel and toffee. There is a creamy roasted feel with hints of chocolate. It gets a solid 3.5 – 5.0 rate my beer score.

There is more depth of flavour than you would expect from the low 2.8% ABV. It is nothing special, but having said that, it takes you back to when beer was simple, and gives you a little bit of the old days. So that is a little special.

Manns Brewery

The original Manns Brewery was Albion Brewery on the Mile End Road in Whitechapel, London, England. The brewery was built in 1808 and owned by Manns, Crossman and Paulin.

They also built another brewery in Burton On Trent, England. Over the years the brewery merged with Watney, Combes Reid and acquired many other breweries and pubs.

1902 saw the introduction of their now famous brown ale created by head brewer Thomas Wells Thorpe.

After numerous take overs throughout the years, the Manns Brewery no longer exists. It seems the only thing that remains is the brown ale, which is owned and brewed by Carlsberg Marston’s.

At least we still have the beer.

Is Manns Brown Ale A Decent Beer?

You have to take this beer for what it is, and enjoy the history. It won’t blow your head off with its hoppy character. Mainly because there is little evidence there are any hops.

However it just takes you on a journey back in time. A time when the working class finish a long days graft and hit the pub for a refreshing beer. This beer must have been perfect back then, and because of its low ABV, you can fill your boots with several and still be standing.

Even the label on the bottle looks old, plain red with white writing and a gold George and the Dragon emblem.

It’s simple brown beer with decent flavour for its low ABV.

Drinking Manns Brown Ale

Is Manns Brown Ale A Decent Beer

Once poured and settled the beer sits a proud dark brown, almost black. An off white slightly tan head sits on top of about two fingers depth. This does fade a little, but leaves enough to cap off the beer below.

The nose is mild, but slight notes of malty biscuit and toffee waft from the top of the glass.

The taste is a little more involved with a prominent rich roasted malt biscuit carrying a little caramel and toffee. A light carbonation lends a creamy mouthfeel with a hint of chocolate lurking in the background.

I am waiting for a little bitterness to kick in, but it doesn’t come. This beer is all about the sweetness, a sweet malty caramel experience from start to finish.

It is smooth and mild, easy drinking and pretty good on flavour. It doesn’t compete, it just sits knowing what it is, and for that its a little special.

For me it gets a solid 3.5 – 5.0 rate my beer score.

M’Lady Likes it too, mainly because not being a fan of bitter beers, there wasn’t any bitterness. Easy on the palate and easy on the strength. Lou scores it a higher 4.2 – 5.0.

Manns Beer Range

Whenever I review a beer, I normally feature a few of the other beers in the breweries range. However the brown ale seems to be the only Manns beer left today.

So if you want to try a Manns beer, then brown ale it is, and its worth a try.

Final Thoughts

There are many old breweries that have fallen victim to large companies, and Manns is one of them. However at least we still have one beer from the fallen brewery.

And its a beer to be savoured and respected, a little bit of history that hides among the vast beer market of today.

I love the variety of the beers we can enjoy today. All the beer styles and the different takes on those styles, it’s exciting and wonderful. However now and again it is nice to try something a bit ordinary, a beer that is just a beer.

Manns Brown Ale is exciting and wonderful in its own way.

2 thoughts on “Is Manns Brown Ale A Decent Beer”

  1. Manns brown anytime,I have drank it since the 70,s u can still get it in certain pubs and older type clubs,like our lady’s of the assumption in chilldwall liverpool,I drink brown mild, tetleys and manns,my score would always be,5out of 5.

    • Hi Henry,

      It is good to see that these older beers are still loved by many, it’s just a decent honest brown beer that delivers on flavour. I wouldn’t hesitate to have a pint on draught if I come across a pub that has it.



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