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

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Best Brown AleBest Brown Ale
Very Good
3,164 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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,164 |  Reviews: 936
Photo of DigitGrowler
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BWED
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into a Pilsner Urquell mug.

A- Solid brown with some light shining through, suggesting some good clarity. Head is light tan in color, but doesn't retain very well. About at a thin pad.

S- Rich sweet malt, caramel, some vanilla, very light cocoa. I notice the lack of roast, which is just fine.

T- Sweet malt once again. Caramel and vanilla.

M- Body medium-light, and smooth. Sweet throughout, with hardly any perception of the hop addition. Clean finish, just faintly crisp. Really drinkable.

O- Really well done. Borders that malty rich Scottish style, but the faint crispness in the finish really balances this one out.

 645 characters

Photo of m_hall
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. longneck into a nonic pint. Slightly hazy garnet color, some floaties, topped by a two finger khaki head that falls to a film.

Aroma is sweet malts and yeast, reminiscent of baking bread, with a touch of slightly herbal hops.

Flavors bring dark bread-y malts, caramel, and toasted nuts up front. Rhe nuttiness lingers through to a slightly dry finish with hop bitters that nicely balances out the sweetness of the caramel front end.

Mouth-feel is medium-bodied, rich but not too heavy. Has presence without being too heavy to drink with a meal. Alcohol is undetectable.

Bell's has another winner here with a wonderfully balanced Brown Ale. While there's no one trait that's completely distinctive here (and it is a touch less sweet than many Browns) it does everything quite well and should please a wide range of palates. I certainly wouldn't be upset if Bell's chose to make this a year-round brew... it's satisfying anytime.

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Photo of Korymiller
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of shrimply_pibbles
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of CobraDC23
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GreenBayBA
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of nunitn
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A nice heavy(very heavy tasting) brown ale definitely not like New Castle great appearance and head though it fades quite quick I really don't buy beer this expensive but it was on sale a little pricey but a great beer would probably taste really good fresh off a tap. well done.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MaddoJay
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Photo of Vandelay1863
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

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

 2,794 characters

Photo of Fatty_Mccracken
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of bigedal60
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chitoryu12
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Very dark brown with a creamy tan head.

Smell: Surprisingly for a brown ale, a lot of citrus on the nose. Backed by rye bread and malt.

Taste: More subtle than I was expecting. Toasted malts without the bitterness, very bready and surprisingly sweet. The flavor comes out gradually in gentle waves over your tongue rather than hitting you. Very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Not too thick or thin, not really carbonated. Right in the middle.

Overall: Extremely easy to drink and pleasant overall. The only thing I would want is some more boldness.

 548 characters

Photo of BKotch
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BenHoppy
2.92/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Photo of archero
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of cheefdaddy1
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of 1971bernat
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TomTrocc
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 AyatollahGold
3.42/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Best Brown Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 3.83 out of 5 with 3,164 ratings