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

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Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale
Very Good
3,199 Ratings
Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,199 |  Reviews: 948
Reviews by kustard:
Photo of kustard
5/5  rDev +30.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +11%

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.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of Jennz906
4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of Brewseph77
5/5  rDev +30.5%
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.

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Photo of gogreen99
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
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!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
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 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

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Photo of GuyWithGuitars
2.11/5  rDev -44.9%
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.

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Photo of MoreBeer4me
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
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!

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Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
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

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Photo of Extrajoker00
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
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

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Photo of gutbuster
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

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Photo of daddypatstacks
4.21/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown with a decent off white head that leaves some light lacing,smell is of roasted malt with a light sour smell in the background(Iam not sure where that comes from) with some light chocolate hints.Nice flavorful beer with a nice roasted malty taste with some underlying earth tones that keep it from being to sweet.A nice beer drink it each time I go home to Michigan when given the chance.

 407 characters

Photo of DanGeo
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of Turbo
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Fear4Beer
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a glass mug.

Look: Nice reddish brown juice with lacing that sticks around in your glass.

Smell: A medley of sweet roasted notes.

Taste: This is quite a pleasant beer to drink. I get a lot of malt with a nice sweetness like caramel. There's a very small hint of bitters (hops) to balance the sweetness (malt). I'm not a fan of bitter beers and this is by no means a bitter beer. Just a small hint of it for balancing the sweetness. It tastes like a really good Italian crusty bread, caramel, and a little bit of hops.

Feel: Somewhere in the middle. Not watery but not heavy and thick. A perfect balance I'd say.

Overall: I'm not a big fan of brown ales but this one is really good. I actually enjoyed putting this one away. I'd certainly drink it again. I think this would qualify as being a great session beer. Good job Bell's this was a good brew!

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Photo of tectactoe
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium brown color with a nice translucency and a fine-bubbled, light-tan head that leaves minimal lacing on the way down. The aroma is wonderful, hits heavy on the chocolates and roasted coffee beans. The taste begins with a warm, malty and bready flavor that quickly turned into a swirl of bittersweet dark chocolate and nuts. Slight coffee beans and maybe even hazelnut in the far background (maybe I'm imagining things, here). I'm also picking up a slight milky flavor, perhaps from the texture. Very nice. Caramel and toffee finish the beer strong with an ever-so-slight but necessary hint at bitterness along the final seconds just before the sip is completely swallowed. Medium body, creamy with lots of carbonation.

Very, very solid brown ale. Perfect for the days transitioning from the fall to the winter. This beer tastes like the holidays.

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Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of brownbeer
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours brown amber with thin off-white head. Good retention, thin lacing. A lot of sediment though, whiched knocked the appearance down a bit for me.

S- Malt forward, caramel and biscuit. Subtle hoppy background.

T- Sweet and caramely up front balanced by slight minerality and hops leaving the finish slightly dry.

M- Just enough heft to be satisfying and soft enough to be encouraging.

D- A little heavier than most browns but tasty and smooth enough to session through.

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Photo of woodchipper
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Andnkuhn
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Bitzer
3.24/5  rDev -15.4%

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Best Brown Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 3,199 ratings