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

Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Brown Ale - American
Ranked #199
Ranked #19,387
3.85 | pDev: 11.17%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
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.
Reviews: 970 | Ratings: 3,259 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mikalveli:
Photo of mikalveli

4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Mar 30, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of beerdedking
beerdedking from Pennsylvania

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.

Sep 11, 2014
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

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.

Dec 16, 2012
Photo of BeerWithMike
BeerWithMike from Nebraska

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.

Feb 21, 2014
Photo of gogreen99
gogreen99 from Michigan

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!

Apr 23, 2014
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

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 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

Jan 29, 2018
Photo of GuyWithGuitars
GuyWithGuitars from Georgia

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.

Sep 12, 2018
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

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

Oct 19, 2006
Photo of gutbuster
gutbuster from Kentucky

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!

Jul 26, 2014
Photo of Brewseph77
Brewseph77 from Michigan

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.

Feb 09, 2014
Photo of daddypatstacks
daddypatstacks from Georgia

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.

Sep 23, 2015
Photo of MoreBeer4me
MoreBeer4me from New Jersey

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!

Nov 12, 2018
Photo of Extrajoker00
Extrajoker00 from Ohio

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

May 14, 2014
Photo of Jennz906
Jennz906 from Michigan

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.

Apr 09, 2014
Photo of MN_Beerticker
MN_Beerticker from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +3.9%

Nov 08, 2012
Photo of instinct2
instinct2 from Indiana

4/5  rDev +3.9%

Aug 07, 2013
Photo of -Andrew-
-Andrew- from Texas

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

Sep 24, 2017
Photo of D-18V
D-18V from District of Columbia

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Mar 28, 2014
Photo of higherbrow
higherbrow from Wisconsin

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.

Sep 24, 2014
Photo of MaddoJay
MaddoJay from Texas

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

Feb 06, 2018
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick from Ohio

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.

Nov 21, 2005
Photo of rtratzlaff
rtratzlaff from North Carolina

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.

Jul 15, 2008
THEOPTIMATOR88 from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Apr 21, 2014
Photo of Rick0685
Rick0685 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +3.9%

Nov 23, 2011
Photo of TheBigBoy
TheBigBoy from Pennsylvania

3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Out of single bottle. AVG+ brown ale. 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.

Nov 28, 2011
Best Brown Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 3259 ratings