Best Brown Ale
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Brown Ale
Ranked #185
ABV:
5.8%
Score:
86
Ranked #17,667
Avg:
3.85 | pDev: 11.17%
Reviews:
957
Ratings:
3,220
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Fall
Wants
  110
Gots
  550
SCORE
86
Very Good
Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale
Notes: A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown is a mainstay in our fall lineup. With hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 957 | Ratings: 3,220
Reviews by Jennz906:
Photo of Jennz906
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy, rusty auburn brown with a khaki colored head.

S- chocolate, brown sugar and toasted, hint of caramel. And definitely kind of fall like or earthy.

T- Follows the aroma . Slightly chocalately and toasty with a hint of caramel. A light leafy and earthy undertone, with a strengthen after taste.

M- Medium in body, fairly carbonation. Goes down nice, very smooth but thick.

O - A solid, straight forward brown from Bell's. Nothing fancy, just a great example of the style. I defiantly like it.

 515 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

This is a nicely done Brown. Poured into pint glass, pours a shade of caramel, and the taste just follows along.
Excellent full body, Bells Brown leads with a supreme maltiness exemplified by notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, with some roasted barley hitting toward the end.
A touch of hops signify it's time to take another pull. VERY drinkable. I'm really liking this style lately, and Bells Best Brown Ale is one I'll be coming back to.

 447 characters

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy chestnut brown to amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down a bit, but never completely faded away.
S: Light to moderate aromas of cocoa nibs are present in the nose; nutty malts become apparent after the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is more complex with additional flavors of chocolate, roasted and nutty malts. A very slight amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink and has quite complex flavors when compared to other beers in the style.

 692 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled tonight on 2/20/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner tulip glass.

Pours a pretty dark brown with ruby highlights in color with a a 1-finger beige head that lasts for a while then settles down to a thin head. Decent lacing was seen with each sip that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of sweet maple, malts with a hint of spice. The taste is even better with a toffee and caramel hint as well. Perfect carbonation. Goes down easy with no bitter aftertaste. One of the BETTER brown ales.

 554 characters

Photo of gogreen99
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite beers. Medium carbonation and medium body dark beer. I wish this beer wasnt seasonal. Small notes of cocoa characterize the flavor of this dark beer and allow for the caramel flavors to be recongized. Overall a must try for any beer drinker!

 260 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nabbed a 12 fl oz bottle at a Trader Joe's in Austin, TX for $1.59 USD plus tax. Has an orange-red label depicting an owl in a forest. Brown glass with a pry-off crown cap. Packaged 08/23/2017 and has a shelf life of 6 months per the label.

5.8% ABV. Brewed with American hops. "American brown ale."

Served cold into a shaker pint glass (it was all I have on hand!).

APPEARANCE: Pours more an auburn coloured body than a brown, and it's not horribly vibrant to boot. Head is better than the body, offering a nicely frothy pale khaki. Creamy and soft in appearance, helping compensate for the underwhelming body.

Appears well-carbonated. Head retention is ~7 minutes (rather good!).

AROMA: Caramel. American hops are evident, throwing out floral aromatics that blend wonderfully with the amber malt aromatics. I'm going to guess Centennial, Cascade, and Perle? Consulting Bell's website doesn't give me an actual answer, but I'm sure I'm wrong. It's slightly herbal as well.

Hints of nutty aromatics are present, but the hops are certainly more prominent, putting this beer firmly in American brown ale territory - not English. Toasted chestnut. Applewood. Call me crazy but I get a hint of a berry-like fruitiness as well along with some unexpected albeit subdued bubblegum phenol. I think I'm finding wheat malt too...am I crazy? This has strange German leanings based on what I'm identifying, hitting on some notes I'd sooner expect to find in a weizenbock than an American brown ale.

Aromatic intensity is above average.

TASTE: Bubblegum phenol is there, as crazy as that may sound. Floral and herbal hop flavours are evident, but I think my earlier hop guess was completely off. Malt backbone is strangely not emphatic of brown malts, instead hitting on pale malt/2-row, caramalt, crystal, and maybe caraMunich (and probably specialty chocolate). Caramel tones are obvious, but I'm not finding the cocoa hints suggested on the label.

Slightly toasty, slightly evocative of chestnut, but by no means a nutty brown ale compared to many in the style.

TEXTURE: Medium-bodied, smooth, wet, refreshing, and even-keeled with a mellow approachable mouthfeel that hints at hop oils without being oily. Well-carbonated. Has no faults (e.g. booziness, astringency).

OVERALL: It honestly doesn't drink like a brown ale to me, but I don't care...regarded loosely as an "Autumn ale" (if you will) it's nice fare that I could drink year round, balancing a caramel/nutty flavour with moderately assertive hopping. I'll definitely be picking up a sixer of this in future if only to dig into it deeper and resolve its mixed signals to my satisfaction. There's adequate complexity here but also good balance, though it doesn't conform neatly to brown ale style conventions.

High B- (3.46) / WORTHY

 2,794 characters

Photo of GuyWithGuitars
2.11/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This swill is NOT, I repeat NOT a nut brown. This is yet another disgusting IPA trying to -disguise- itself as a nut brown ale. What in the HELL is the hipster obsession with hops? If I wanted this much stank I'd lick a skunks asshole. I've been drinking nut browns since I was a wee lad and made the mistake of trusting this yet un-tested American nut brown ale (a paradox) just to give it a go. Bitter, overbearing hops dominate what traditionally is supposed to be a coffee/chocolate/malt in a nut brown. I could say more, but if you're looking for a good nut brown, find yourself an icy 6 pack of Old Chub. Ok. Bye.

 619 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an ice tea brown color and a modest head that leaves some intermittant lacing

Smell: Nutty roasted notes

Taste: Bready, up front with a bit of bitterness for balance

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink with enough character to make this generally insipid style interesting

 361 characters

Photo of gutbuster
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Thick off white head that dissipated quickly. Medium lacing. Dark brown in color.

S- Roasted nuts and hints of caramel. Slightly earthy.

T- Slight hop bitterness up front with plums, toasted bread through mid palate and finishing with roasted nut and caramel sweetness

M- Light bordering on medium body, creamy and dry.

O- Overall a very enjoyable brown ale that will always be welcome in my glass!

 406 characters

Photo of Brewseph77
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only thing wrong with this beer is that is seasonal it comes out in the fall and is gone by the beginning of winter. From the smell to the taste I can't find anything wrong with this beer. It has the perfect hint of coacoa and open up your taste buds enough and you get the caramel. I've also had it out of the mini keg but still prefer the bottle.

 352 characters

Photo of daddypatstacks
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bell's has sort of special place in my heart. They were one of the breweries that helped me transition into my love of craft beer, and their brown ale really opened my eyes. It has been a couple years since I drank this one so I figured I owed to them to try it again. Personally, I think brown ales are some of the best (and overlooked) beers of the fall season. I'm not really sure what the real difference between "American" and "English" brown ales are, but I find myself preferring the English variety. The toasty malts are that are present in this beer are more delicately balanced than the similarly rated American versions. It's darker- sort of a mahogany color- but doesn't border on stout levels like some of its counterparts. Their isn't much complexity, but that's a good thing. This beer tastes exactly like the label looks and makes me excited to welcome the pleasantly cool nights that come with the season.

 922 characters

Photo of MoreBeer4me
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Decent and enjoyable brown ale. Could use a bit more bite to it. Has a somewhat stale nut aftertaste but nothing to put one off from drinking it. Overall, its okay and would buy again as I'm suffering from IPA fatigue. LMAO!

 228 characters

Photo of Extrajoker00
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed: 5/13/14
Best Brown Ale by Bell's
poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a beer mug

P-beautiful fall colors and owl design l 4.5

A- ruby red to murky brown with a orange-ish full head 4.0

S- malt caramel and sourdough bread 4.25

T- caramel malt along with some yeast, chocolate and faint hop for balance 4.0

M-medium to full body mild carbonation and a reasonable balance 4.0

D- very agreeable beer, just enough flavor to draw and interest you 4.5

O- good good beer 'nuff said 4.0

part of a mixer sixer, bells has some great styling and this one is a great example
(1 of 16 special reviews for my holiday)

Highly recommend ---- J

 641 characters

Photo of MN_Beerticker
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of instinct2
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of -Andrew-
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of D-18V
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of higherbrow
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Warm malts and slightly sweeter caramel notes really make a delicious fall beer. Almost no hop taste, which makes the beer very smooth and clean, but a touch bland. Not quite Sammy Smith quality, but a great fall beer that I am always going to be happy to drink.

 262 characters

Photo of MaddoJay
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Photo of Dogbrick
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at MoJoe Lounge in Easton. Clear dark brown color with a medium tan head and thin sticky lacing. Sweet toasted malt and caramel aroma. Medium, smooth body with dominant malt flavoring. Sweet caramel and a bit of hops and coffee is also present. The finish is roasty and sweet at times. A great session beer that is enjoyable all around.

 343 characters

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker cloudy brown with copper ruby hues. It looks lighter in color than most brown ales. A small off white head dissipates and leaves some slight lace.

SMell is mainly malt with some caramel sweetness.

Taste is interesting and pleasing. Up front there is a crispness from slight carbonation that leaves sweetness from the malt. Caramel flavors are more abundant than any brown ale I've had before. Earthy hop flavors underly the finish and allow the beer to be pretty unique and flavorful.

Brown ales never really explode with flavor, but this one shines in an understated maturity of flavor.

 605 characters

Photo of THEOPTIMATOR88
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Rick0685
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of TheBigBoy
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of single bottle. One of the better brown ales I've tasted. Not like Newcastle but more like a Hobgoblin or Americanized brown with good brown beer taste that works for my palate. Not overpowering, not sweet, but very smooth with a hearty brown ale taste.

 259 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Best Brown Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 3220 ratings