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

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Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale
BA SCORE
3.83/5
Very Good
Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#20,558
Reviews:
952
Ratings:
3,203
pDev:
11.23%
 
 
Wants:
109
Gots:
550
Trade:
5
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 952 | Ratings: 3,203
Photo of yuenglingfan101
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this brown ale. It isnt my favorite but a close 2nd and you will understand why if you had koko brown by kona. Simply the best that Bells has to offer. Nice brown color and a nice tan lace. Taste is irresistable only the koko brown hais more of an addictive flavor and i consider best brown and koko brown in the same category. the taste is so similar its uncanny but i love coconut. i want to people to know thiese two beers are almost hand and hand and bells in my area is big. I live in Indiana. not too far from the Michigan line. Kudos, Kudos, Kudos

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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 TastyTaste
4.95/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer. I would rank this one up with any other EBA that I have had. Deep brown color, that is murky and slightly maroon. Smell is nutty malt and hoppy, reminiscent of hazelnuts. Taste is very malt and full, again very nutty, like a EBA should be. Versus the style, i think this is almost the perfect beer.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.88/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bell's Best Brown Ale is a clear, dim red ale with a dense, frothy coffee-cream colored head that's elastic and retains its form well. It coats the glass. The nutty chocolate aroma has a light floral note. It's a little roasty. It smells great. It's pretty full bodied and incredibly smooth with a clean, dry finish. It feels soft and fluffy. It tastes dry, roasty, nutty and chocolaty. There's enough wooden, leafy bitterness to balance it out perfectly. It's incredibly drinkable-- an excellent beer.

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Photo of Hackattack
4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My first taste of a malty sweet beer some time ago. I am now a huge fan of this type of brew. Nice hints of chocolate and caramel. Price is not too bad either for Bell's stuff (3 bucks a 6 pack cheaper than "2-Hearted Ale") ........ which is always a treat! UPDATE: having one now..it's only 12 days old. It's better than the last time I got some. I now am a bigger fan of hoppyness, but this stuff is hard to beat if you are a malt fan.

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Photo of aficionado224
4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It might not be the best brown ale ever, but it might be their best, and that's not bad. Every beer of theirs I ever tried was way above average to great. Full of flavor, and no "off" flavors or funny aftertastes, this beer is smooth, tasty, and refreshing. I'll buy more of this.

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Photo of Regulator
4.84/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Cloudy brown with rising bubbles
Smell: Caramel and chestnuts roasting over an open fire.
Taste: The tears of heaven.
Feel: Frothy
Overall: Best Brown truly is the Best Brown ale available in the United State of America. Bell's delivers again.

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Photo of taint67
4.82/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

To me this is a prime example of an American brown ale. Chocolatey, rich malty and balanced. A touch of sweetness balanced out by bittering hops. Slight fruitiness from the yeast. Very clean and rich but not heavy, one of my favorites of this style. Bells is one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of Anthony88
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Nice deep brown colored beer with a nice two finger foamy head which is tan in color. As the beer is consumed the head laces down the glass perfectly

S - What you would think of on a wintery day. carmelized malts, a bit nutty and joy

T - Similar to that of the smell, a bit of a caramel and nutty taste with an extremely smooth finish.

M -Carbonation is perfect, body is great..

D - Easily one of the best beers I've tasted out of a keg in a long time. The beer falls down your throat. The only bad part about this brew is the empty glass when your finished. I definitely recommend trying this one, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of kevinjosephlee
4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a glass.

A: A clear, dark, mahogany (coppery red, when held to the light) with a thick, off-white head with intense lacing.

S: Malty, caramelly, grainy notes. Also a rich chocolate-y sweetness. Another pleasing scent that I can't quite place but may be butterscotch.

T: Malts dominate this beer (as expected). Nutty, molasses sweetness, finishes dry and smooth. Moderate bitterness.

M: Some roasted astringency. Lighter body with some carbonation tingle.

Notes: This beer hits all the right marks for the style. Very drinkable. I am a fan of Bell's offerings. Cheers!

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Photo of thefingluke
4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

just bought a "mini-keg" of this years batch and, kaboom! cocoa biscuity caramelized goodness. i love this beer for it's beautiful brown color and rich maltiness.
it is always a fall/ early winter fav, for a cold afternoon when you have a hour or two to kill before dinner, it's heartiness will tide you over till its time to eat and then goes great with any meal. bells has always done right by me, and i wouldnt expect anything other than great from one of my favorite home town breweries this years batch is just as great as years past. thanks Bells.

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Photo of Jammin_comedy
4.71/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is delicious! It has a great dark Amber taste and the caramel and oaky flavors really shine through. It's dark but not too heavy! Great choice for all seasons!

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Photo of becktone
4.71/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To the eye this beer is just about perfect. Pours a deep reddish copper with a huge tannish head. We're talking at least three fingers, had to sip some of it up to keep ir from overflowing out of the glass. As it receedes (sure some of this is due to the oil on my lips) it leaves beautiful lacing. Retention is at about one and a half fingers' width.

To the nose this brew has a warm, malty carmel aroma. No hop aroma so to speak of. Smells great, though I'd be much happier with this brew's aroma were it more potent.

Very strong malt backbone, with a nice simple yet refined flavor. Sure there's a bit of complexity, though its pretty straight forward. Carmel and malty flavors dominate this brew, quite good. Hop presence-flavor- is low, there is a small amount of bitterness to help offset this brew's infectiously good malty profile.

In the mouth this brew is full bodied with a creaminess to it. Lower carbonation levels are well within the boundaries for this style's accepted profile. All-in-all this is a great brew that I could drink all night long. I recommend this brew to anyone who just wants to kick back and drink a good brew. I'll definitely be buying this one again next time I see it. Its a good anytime beer, perfect with lunch.

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Photo of merlin48
4.69/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yup. The 12 oz bottle with the inquisitive owl on the label. This is one of the few reviews I've written without knowing anything about the beer, or reading other reviews. It pours a muddy, dark, iced tea color with a tan head that likes to hang around and mingle, and sheds some lasting, patchy lacing. Nice aroma of dates, and a few other dark fruits....followed up by a shower of floral hops and some soothing pecan pralines. Wow...! Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, nutty, well carbonated, and has a mild hop bite. Taste is out of this solar system. Bittersweet spices smeared onto some banana nutbread, chocolate fudge, some smoked kalamata olives, and some pleasant bittering floral hops. Geeez..I wasn't expecting much to write about here, but this one has blown me off the planet. Beautiful and complex, it finishes with a bitter cocoa taste accompanied with a touch of mandarin orange rind burn. Also, there is a smoky, wood aged feel that is difficult to explain, but adds to the surprisingly noble character to this Bell's offering. Wow!

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Photo of Schimms
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours russet brown with thick 1" head. Clear

S: Sweet and malty. Slight hops.

T: Smooth, delicious toasty malt with a nice slight hop bitterness at the end. This is a great brown.

F: Very smooth, very nice.

O: Love this one - definitely one to buy again. I don't say that too often.

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Photo of nrpellegrini
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I haven't reviewed a beer in months and I'm doing this from my phone so that right there says something about this beer.
Traveled from Baltimore to Philly to get some beer from The Foodery.
Dark caramel color with and thin tan head and smells of sweet caramel malts.
The taste is amazing. For a while brown ales where my favortire style but over the past year or so I haven't been able to find the right one that caught my attention. This is it. The smoothest, rich flavor... Sweet caramel flavors with some biscuity flavors in there too.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

L: Hazy, very dark reddish brown, almost black. The head is creamy and tan, moderate retention, and sheets of lacing.

S: Toasted brown bread, roasted nuts, milk chocolate, hints of cherry and raisin, earthy hops.

T: Toasted brown bread, milk chocolate, malted milk balls, caramel, toffee, peanut brittle, cherry, fig, raisin, earth. Lightly sweet, but extremely balanced.

F: Medium-light. A bit watery on the mid-palate, moderately carbonated. Balanced between sweetness and dryness, lightly bitter on the finish. Very drinkable.

O: This is essentially the perfect American Brown Ale. Simultaneously deliciously flavorful, and yet endlessly sessionable. Remarkable in its unremarkability, and to that point, it's the perfect brown ale.

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Photo of gmfessen
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of bottle into a pint glass, beer is really more of a deep crimson-amber color than brown. Beer had a very nice overflowing off white four finger head, with small amounts of lacing. Smell is of caramel and nutty chocolate. The taste is exceptional; pleasing with a malty start, perfectly balanced with a slightly hoppy and smooth finish. Never offensive throughout the taste, wonderfully balanced. The mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy and delightful. Overall I would have to say that this is an extremely drinkable beer and have to toast this one to Bells!

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Photo of welldigger888
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, this little ditty was gravity poured from the cask into a 1/2 gallon growler
Very nice reddish hues on this purt clear elixer
minamal head with a huge difference in bubble size (pin piont to 1 cm)very minamal lacing but it has some that disapate fast
Very approachable malty aromas with nice light hop and sweet black bread notes
This is a very unasuming brew, blue collar to the core. My grandfathers would be proud!Nice malty up front graininess that yields to a very delicate mild hop. Earthy grain with hints of sweet elixer and hop balance, well done!
Very soft on the palate, I love this about the cask. Cask carbonation, meaning minamal but very pleasant. leaving the brew to stand on it's craft not hiding behind the bubbles.
Pours down the neck like honey dew vine water.

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Photo of carlborch
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Supposedly a seasonal fall-winter beer, but available mid-July. The brown ale pours a beautiful clear brown with a tan-colored, thick, mousse-like head. The head persists and leaves intricate Belgian lace when sipped. The nose is both delicate and noticeable with hints of toasted bread, toffee, malt and ginger. The malt notes are light and sweet but not cloying. On the palate the ale has a medium body, perfect balance and a wonderful lingering finish that wants you to go back for. This ale is totally moreish! The carbonation pleasant and the alcohol is not noticeable.

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Photo of UnderPressure
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A medium brown colored beer. Particles suspended throughout. Otherwise, relatively clear. Nice, rocky white head. Great lacing.

Chocolate and roasted grains in the aroma. An overall sweetness in the nose.

Fantastic flavor. More complex than I anticipated. The malt brings a sweet, chocolatey, roasted flavor. The hops provide a little bitterness, but this beer is very much on the sweet side. Yeast is clean.

A silky, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Medium bodied with a crisp, dry finish. The bitterness lingers, the sweetness does not.

Great beer. Definitely buy some if you have the opportunity.

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Photo of qua17
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer poured into a pint grass with a nice two inch head. It's a translucent brown.

S: Nice and malty

Taste: The name of this is the Best Brown Ale and the taste almost proves the point. Delicious. There is a lot of balance to this beer - not too malty and very flavorful. Nice carbonation.

Overall: I like Bell's but this might be my second favorite next to Two Hearted Ale.

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Photo of drperm
4.57/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

You know, here's a beer that's neither flashy, nor pretentious, nor arrogant, nor boastful, nor rude. And so I give it quite a high score, because a) I love a good English Brown Ale, especially on a windy autumn night, and b) I could have this again and again when in a session mood and never complain a bit.

Appearance: It's brown. It's uncomplicated. It's lovely in the glass. It has a warm copper glow that says, "Come, be my guest."

Sm: Autumnal. Rich, malty, toasty with a hint of molasses and treacle, and perhaps even mild marmalade is hiding out in there as well. Take a further breath and capture wet autumn leaves, moss, and laurel blossoms.

T: It's beer. Everything the nose hinted at, plus a warming, comforting, easy-going sessionable taste with some nice hop notes turning up as well. This is a taste to associate with sociable evenings in front of a pub fireplace...or in front of a nice roast beef.

M: At first, I was afraid it would be a mite too sticky and sweet on the palate. Then I had some food with it. Problem solved. Mouthfeel excellent.

D: Perfect, as far as a simple, uncomplicated, sessionable ale is concerned. This is one to be admired, not in spite of, but because of, its simplicity.

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Photo of ichorNet
4.54/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I've been very impressed by Bell's darker side of ales so far. That might sound a little silly in 2018, especially when it comes to this beer which was first released thirty years ago, but I'm just now having it for the first time and place it above Tumbler when it comes to Fall seasonal browns. I consider this my new favorite in that little sub-section of beers (even when pitted against my previous favorite, the rather local/regional Henniker Flap Jack) and consider it one of the best browns I've ever had. In other words, it lives up to its name.

The pour is a beautiful deep amber color with brownish ruby highlights when held up to light. If this is poured a bit too quickly, as I did when I excitedly cracked my first bottle open, an intensely cascading head can occur and overtake even the largest drinking vessel. If poured more moderately, however, the head is a beautiful corona of beige foam atop the deep brown liquid. Some slight lace is noted, for sure, but the legs are the real feature here... this beer's head just lasts and lasts. Really great pour.

The nose is rich with caramel and Belgian chocolate elements along with light/medium-roasted coffee. The herbal and slightly pine-y American hop note definitely comes through a bit as a foil to the deeper maltiness present here, which I appreciate. It doesn't crowd out the proceedings at all, but it does lend some helpful balance.

The flavor is really intensely detailed with a multi-layered grain bill that delivers waves upon waves of sticky toffee goodness backed up by subtle roastiness and light flavors of cocoa, coffee and herbal hoppiness. Some people actually seem to find this too hoppy for its own good, but I think it's right where it needs to be for the style as it is in the modern day. As someone finally having this after it's been out for thirty years, I'm sure it's more than a little different than it was back in its heyday, but I respect Bell's for keeping it fairly well updated for the modern palate without sacrificing what it is.

The feel is silky-smooth and super detailed, with velvety maltiness and a detailed, subtle carbonation. Body is pretty light for a brown, but it's not weak by any means. Quite the opposite, honestly... I think this is one of the most well-constructed brown ales I've had in years. It's an easy drinker that masquerades cleverly as a session ale despite being almost 6%... deviously drinkable and really, really good!

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Photo of Brent
4.54/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If there is a beer equivalent of "comfort food" - this is it. Brownish amber color with light tan head that quickly faded. Aroma of Hershey's chocolate milk wafts from the glass. Pronounced milk chocolate notes in the flavor, with deeply toasted malt flavors. For all the chocolate character, the beer was surpisingly moderate in sweetness and finished with a sharp bitterness that cleared the palate. This is a fairly subtile beer, and if you were drinking a variety of beers during a session, this would be the lead-off.

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Best Brown Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 3,203 ratings