Use a good nutty base malt like Maris Otter. My 5-6 gallon basic recipe is:
8 Lb (80%) Maris Otter
1 Lb (10%) 40-60 Crystal Use English if you can get it
.5 Lb (5%) biscuit or Victory malt
1/4Lb (2.5%) Chocolate malt. Use English if you can get it
1/4 Lb (2.5%) Torrified Wheat
18-22 IBU of Fuggle or East Kent Goldings
A good English ale yeast. I like 1968/WLP002, 1028, or 1469 West Yorkshire.
O.G. 1.043-48 F.G 1.010-12
You can use a .5 Oz of aroma hop the last 2 minutes of the boil if you want a Northern style brown. This is one of my favorite styles, but my friends prefer hoppy beers so I don't brew it as often as I would like.