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

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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown
Very Good
3,111 Ratings
Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

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 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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 3,111 |  Reviews: 918
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rough pour brings up a full creamy light tan head but rouses the yeast sediment leaving it fairly hazy. The head then holds exceptionally well and leaves some nice lace. The body is an appropriate russett brown. A rich but soft aroma welcomes you with softly sweet cocoa. The medium body is accentuated by a very fine and moderate carbonation from bottle conditioning. At first it caresses the tongue, but soon becomes more creamy as it warms. The flavor starts softly chocolatey with an underlying fruitiness from the yeast and a lightly spicy and grassy hoppiness. It's sweetish, but well balanced by a firm bitterness that becomes quite apparent in the lingering dry finish (it is, after all, a Bell's beer)! The residual chocolatey malt combines with the bitterness and takes on a coffee-like character. Very nice! It's quite charming, well brewed, balanced and enjoyable. Well worth trying.

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Photo of cretemixer
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cloudy brown with some floaties. Decent caramel colored head that stood up well and left a nice lace. Roasted malts & nuts come to the forefront on the aroma. First sip is slightly spicey and nutty. Not much hoppiness but still balances well. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a medium/heavy body. Overall very drinkable.

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Photo of budgood1
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out a cloudy, very deep amber/dark copper color. aromas of sour fruit and roasted caramel malt. not being familiar with bell's, the belgian profile (tart and fruity with a lively mouthfeel) seemed odd in a brown ale. medium bodied, with a much slicker feel to it if you add in the dregs. after a few sips the complexity struck me, as i picked up a lot of subtle nutty and roasted flavors. nice hoppiness too. a very spicy aftertaste. still the overall experience (and knowing i had only one bottle) left me puzzled. i really wanted another one. a very tasty brown!

thanks to BA kennywoodbrew for providing me with this sample as part of his BIF venture!

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Photo of maxpower
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky brown color, has a small off-white head, nice fruity malty aroma. Mild nutty and malty flavor, has a nice hop bite in the finish. A bit of a watery mouthfeel, not bad for the style, a little on the hoppy side.

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Photo of Realale
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly murky brown. Nice head settles slowly to thin rocky cap of foam that sticks it out through the whole glass.

Nose is toasty/chocolately/grainy. Little hop presence. The palate is slightly biased toward malty sweetness, and the chocolate is prevalent on the palate. Nice complexity to the grain. Again, hops not a major player.

The finish is long with a minerally component which keeps the malty palate from becoming too much, and really helps this beer have a very good drinkability. A very nice example of a style that is simply not one of my favorites. This bottle was purchased at the Brewery on the day of review.

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Photo of MJR
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Has a deep brown body with a touch of garnet under a small, light tan head. It's cloudy as hell, due to the fact that all of Bell's beers are unfiltered. This is a bit different from the norm for brown ales, which are usually clear, but so what...

Smell: The strongest aroma to me is spicyness. Not hot or anything like that, more like a Belgian-like spiciness. Does that make sense? There's a bit of roasted malt in there as well. Very little hop aroma to be found.

Taste: The first thing that hits me, again, is the spicyness. Checking out their website, I find that they use all Belgian malt to make this one. That explains it. There's a touch of malt sweetness, but I don't pick up on it near as much as some other reviewers here...maybe they 'want to' detect it 'cause it's usually there in other examples of the style. There's a nice balance of flavor here. It finishes with a little hop twang.

Mouthfeel: Quite full for a brown ale. Thicker in body than all of the other standard browns I enjoy. Nice...

Drinkability: High for the style. While some might like a more restrained flavor profile for a session-style beer, I like my brews to have a more assertive personality. I could drink this all night.

All in all, a very solid brown ale. One that bucks tradition a bit and gives a bit more to the drinker's tastebuds. A good beer from one of my favorite brewerys.

 1,398 characters

Photo of putnam
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks good. There is a wild, sour gaminess on the nose that reminds me of some lambics. Nutshell, used coffee grounds, fur and metal weave together there as well. The flavor is frankly sweet with a heavy dose of roasted grain flavor to balance the sugar. More stale coffee emerges on the finish. Overall a thoroughly rustic experience. One to drink while on a hunting trip, decked out in flannel, sitting at a campfire, gnawing on a turkey bone.

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Photo of ADR
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mostly opaque brown color, slightly garnet with the trademark yeasties floating around. Good head of almost a 1/2 inch, holds some shapes well. Nutty aroma. This is seriously one of the best Browns I've ever had, bolder caramel and maple flavors and a nice, if not huge, amount of hop bitterness at the end and in the swallow. In some ways, it starts a little slick and ends dry -- an impressive feat for a brew.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color, with a tint of orange. The head is a beige color, rocky, creamy, and long lasting. On the nose there is aromas of roasted malts and hints of caramel. On the palate there is a nutty flavor, slightly grainy, dark toasted bread, and just a hint of molasses. Not as good as the brown ale I had from smuttynose a couple of days ago, but still very enjoyable.

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Photo of Wildman
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy, reddish brown color and formed a huge nice light tan bubbly head that left some nice latticed lace. A heavy amount of carbonation is present. A slight aroma of malt, hops and caramel. A flavor of hops and caramel. A farily light finish but dry finish with a touch of caramel sweetness. Another good beer from Bell's.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer's a ruby color with a nice rocky head that has great retention. Very nice nutty/caramel tones on the nose with sticky molasses making its presence known also. A bready yeastiness is present on the palate. Some of that trademark lactic sourness as well. Seems to fit alright however. Some slight chocolate tones also. Very subdued roasted nut taste is also making an appearance. Pretty unique tasting Brown.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 3,111 ratings