Short's Bellaire Brown Ale | Short's Brewing Company

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Short's Bellaire Brown AleShort's Bellaire Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bellaire Brown is our flagship Brown Ale. Full-flavored with notes of sweet caramel, chocolate, and toasted malt, Bellaire Brown is balanced with a mild and earthy hop quality. This ale is dark and rich with a medium body. It’s hardly classifiable as a brown, but is certainly considered a delicious masterpiece.

Bellaire Brown was originally created to appeal to people who enjoyed drinking coffee, and to beer drinkers who are not interested in hoppy options. When Joe Short was creating the Bellaire Brown recipe, he desired a beer that was meatier and burlier than most browns. Bellaire Brown is a great gate-way beer for drinkers to be introduced to darker beer varieties.

19 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2005

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Reviews: 267 | Ratings: 750
Photo of Emnmarko
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Chestnut brown color nice and deep but clear. Small head that disappears quickly.

S- Strong cocoa and roasted caramel. Delicious.

T- Cocoa, chocolate, roasted caramel. Lots of roasted malt backbone around. Smooth finish

M- Creamy, smooth. Paves the way to the gullet with a feather bed like feeling.

O- Very good example of a brown ale. Well suited for a late fall bon fire. One of my favorite Shorts brews.

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Photo of biegaman
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Brown Ales are beautiful specimens. Their earthy brown tones and dimmed burnt cinnamon highlights can in a glance put you in an autumn frame of mind. Bellaire Brown has a colour something like that of a grizzly bear and is light enough to be transparent against the light but not away from it. Its head is thin and sprawls out into a spiderweb-like pattern on the surface.

Bellaire Brown is a beer I'm content just to smell for a good while before tasting. No need to rush something like this. It has almost enough enticing sweetness to mask its subtle smokiness; it smells like inside of an oven just used to roast coffee beans and hazelnuts.

English Brown Ales tend to taste like coffee cake whereas American renditions lean towards just plain coffee. The malts in this one have an appreciable sponge cake-like flavour, toasted nuttiness, and sweet toffee glaze. Mind you, it's not without some roast, but we're talking instant decaf level. The hoppiness restrains sweetness but doesn't impart any flavour.

Munich and Chocolate malts give the mouthfeel plenty of substance. It is thick as a chewy oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie and has a healthy serving of melanoidins (which resemble the tasty dark brown bits of toasted bread). This is a style in which brewers can introduce more character at no risk of losing the casual agreeableness that appeals to the masses.

The way that some people talk about Short's Brewing you'd think that getting your hands on a bottle would warrant running through the street naked in celebration. But in my experience their beers aren't *that* good (and the readily available stuff is rather pedestrian). Nonetheless, all the ones I've tried have been well-made and true to style - and worth buying.

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Photo of Brenden
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is, as advertised, a medium brown color. It lets plenty of light in at the borders and even just a hint in the middle, where it shines with some orange and red hues. The khaki-colored head is smallish and a little unstable; it doesn't last very long, but some stays for the long haul and does leave good lacing behind.
The aroma really nails the style, and with decent strength. It shows an earthier sort of undertone with lots of nuttiness and plenty of toast in the malts, which do add hints of cocoa powder and caramel.
The taste shows the same earthy and nutty character with just a very slight floral quality from hops that adds balance but keeps it malt-forward. There's a clean but rustic quality overall, and particularly as a note of wood comes through. it's not as strong and dry as oak, but a little softer and more elemental, so to speak. Cocoa pulls out into the finish and lingers a little, dry with just a hint of sweetness to it.
The body is on the lighter side of medium, and the prickle of the crispness on the tongue prevents it from being as smooth as it could be. Otherwise, there's pretty good depth in the feel.

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Photo of joeseppy
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cola brown with decent head and lacing.

Smells of toasted grain and malty. Aromas of semi-sweet cocoa.

Hops add a nice touch to the sweet malt. Finishes with a toasty nut and cocoa.

A brown that is ever so bright with decent carbonation. Quite seasonable.

I feel this brown flirts as the beginning of a good porter. A splendid brown to say the least.

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Photo of Powerturn11
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer was drank out of a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass. Cloudy appearance but the beer tastes great. If you like brown's please don't hesitate to try. Has a coffee like undertone but Definitely not to strong. I like beers that finish light this time of year and this beer delivers. Could also be enjoyed as a cold weather favorite.

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Photo of LCB_Hostage
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "perfect" glass

A: Rich dark brown with a hint of reddish coloring. Not quite opaque. Modest head and lacing.
S: While the aroma screams "sweet" it's remarkably un-cloying. Yeasty, bready malt dominates with some caramel and a bit of chocolate. I'm not getting the coffee others mention, but there is something else going on I'll get into later
T: Given the sweetness in the nose, this is an exceptionally well-balanced beer. There's definitely burnt sugar and caramel up-front, but it's effectively cut by a subtle sourness more than bitterness. All-in-all it's a great combination. As it warms, the flavors continue to intensify, but remain in balance. A true tribute to the brewer.
M: This is probably the only weakness I found in this beer. Initially, when still cold, there was sufficient carbonation to give this a nice zing. It's not at all oily or syrupy as the sweetness up front might suggest. However, as it warms and the carbonation dies (which it does rather quickly) it does begin to thin out and get just a bit watery by the end of the glass.
O: While this is dramatically different from my favorite browns (DFH Indian Brown and Smutty Old Brown Dog) which tend toward the hoppy side, I really, really like this beer. It has a unique flavor profile that suggest bourbon barrel aging to me. I know it wasn't (if it was, I'm sure they'd pump that up) but I do wonder if they threw in some barrel chips, or otherwise infused some bourbon flavoring. That would explain the slight sourness and the whiff of boozy brown liquor I caught in the aroma. Just a theory. In any event, I highly recommend this brew.

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Photo of scotorum
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Yet another of my Michigan purchases. Shorts came with the highest recommendation at the Frankenmuth Lager Mill as a northern state brewery I should check out, so I brought a half dozen of their brews home from my early June trip. Have not seen them ouitside Michigan, and the admonition on all the bottles and cases to "keep refrigerated" suggests the makers consider the importance of freshness greater than developing a wider distribution network. I had to violate that of course, but if the beer suffered in transit, it has not been obvious so far.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

a: Red-brown with clear deep amber highlights when held to the light. Finger wide tan foam head descended to an even foam film, heavy foam ring and good lacing.

s: Sweet cold coffee. I suppose it is really the result of the chocolate and other elements, but that was my impression.

t: Similar to a light porter but with more dark chocolate/coffee-like notes. Definite hop presence, but seems nicely balanced. A lingering mocha coffee-like taste at the back of the palate. The coffee-sense declined in favor of a more general hop bite as it warmed.

m: Light to medium. Smooth and refreshing.

o: A brown ale quite suitable for warmer weather due to its light qualities, yet with a solid flavor. Enjoyable to the last sip. Wish now I had bought more than one. Would even be nice as a light breakfast stout in summer actually drunk at breakfast or brunch time if one were so inclined.

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Photo of Dave_in_GR
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance is a dark reddish brown with a small amount of tan-colored head.

Smell is a mix of malt, chocolate, and sweetness.

Taste is really pleasant, the chocolate and malty sweetness balanced by a slightly sour and bitter hop finish. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nicely balanced through the light carbonation.

Overall one of my favorite brown ales.

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Photo of Roman5150
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

bottle into tulip

appearance: beautiful dark amber brown with slightly off white 1 finger head with aggressive pour

smell: hay, oak, earthiness, heavy malt presence

taste: sweet oak flavors with a hint of rye, tastes like maris otter malts, very english and has that sweet funkiness to it. Earthy resinous tones throughout.

mouthfeel: not very carbonated, medium bodied

overall: A highly drinkable brown ale, probably in my top 3 for the style. I could drink this all day.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

We pour a brew of dark mahogany, giving up a one and a half finger head of creamy, sandpaper colored bubbles. This shows nice retention, with mountainous sheets of lacing left around the glass. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appears to be active. The aroma gives sweeter brown and nicely roasted coffee malts. Sweetness comes from raw honey, melted chocolate nibs, white sugar, fruity red cherry, and juicy ale yeastiness. Balance comes in the form of mineral earthiness, metallics, peanut dust, and soured lactics. With warmth comes light booziness and rotting fruit, but in a good way. Our first impression is that the malts give nicely contributory sweetness, but otherwise show a cheaper, overly light, adjuncty, and metallic side that doesn’t quite do the beer justice. As we sip, the flavoring opens with freshly soaped plastics, amber and brown malt sweetness, soy sauce saltiness, tinny metallics, English yeastiness, and light cinnamon spiciness. The peak comes with granular white sugar sweetness, bittered roastiness of the darker malts of the bill, light coffees, almond skin, mores soaps, and a sweeter Belgian caramel maltiness. The end finishes with a wash of fusel booziness out of nowhere, light Tootsie Roll sugars, light floral hoppiness, herbed honey sweetness, bittered chocolates, hazelnut, metallics, and garbage bag plastics. The aftertaste breathes of musk and dust, earthy mineral, standard browns and toasty ambers, sweeter pink bubblegum airs, fusel booze flavoring without any of the offensive punch, plum sweetness, walnut, citric hop gas, and mildly soured dried cranberry. The body is medium and chewy, while the carbonation is medium. Each sip gives nice slurp and smack, with slightly lesser cream and froth. The mouth is initially coated with an oily bite, to be left chalked and bone dry by the end. The abv is appropriate, and the beer glugs rather easily.

Overall, the most enjoyable thing about this brew was its flavoring. The look started things off nicely, giving good color and a nice head. The aroma is where we lost points, as it lacked general robustness and let the malts fall too far to the back in their inherent aromatic contributions. To contrast, the taste showed every side of the grain, with bitterness, bready sweetness, caramels, roast, and earthiness, giving a little something different at each turn, and with each sip. The drying roast on the feel was the icing on the cake, helping to keep that nice flavoring flowing.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice ruddy brown tone. Head is creamy, slightly tan . Almost like a Flemish bruin color.
Smells bready. Black tea, a touch of sour cherry-like flavor. Bit of a nutty character.Brown ales have a distinct nutty aroma about them I really enjoy and this one is a dead ringer. The slight sourness adds another great dimension to the bready malt and sweet tones.
Flavor is delicately balanced with grains, touch of fruit, good addition of bittering hops.
Really nice caramel in the finish.
Let this beer warm, the flavors develop exponentially into one of the better browns I've had.
Mouthfeel is a great balance of medium body meets near perfect Carbonation.
Excellent Brown!

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Photo of breakingbland
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured a deep reddish brown with some cloudiness. The head was slight and settled down to a ring of foam rather quickly.

Smell: The aroma was basically sweet with some hops but also with a sour component that combined with the sweetness in a way that was a little disconcerting. However, after the first sip, the sourness seemed to recede.

Taste: A fairly rich, deep flavor profile. A slight amount of the sourness came through on the taste, but the main impression was a nice malty sweetness, well balanced by slight hoppiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and light, fine carbonation.

Overall: A very enjoyable beer that I'll definitely have again. (Curious to see if the sourness in the aroma is characteristic of this beer.)

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.04/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

A 12oz bottle with no visible BB date. Purchased from a webshop quite a while back and stored in my garage.

Poured into a straight pint glass. Bottle conditioned. A dark reddish-brown hue with floating sediment and low carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy white foam with decent retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of sweet, grainy malt with notes of caramel, chocolate, mild roasted malt, dried fruit, faint brown sugar, tea and earthy yeast. There is also a strange sour overtone that seems out of place.

Tastes of caramel malt with a sour character and a dry finish. Notes of lactic acid/mild vinegar, caramel, dried fruit, brown sugar, faint biscuity grain, mild roasted malt and earthy yeast esters. Surprisingly acidic - I assume this is infected or has deteriorated. A mild, dry quality upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly with good body, but flat and undercarbonated. Lacks texture, though slightly astringent. Aftertaste of sourness and caramel malt.

Meh - not brilliant, although the aroma gives the impression that it could have been. There are some nice malty hints that suggest a decent brown ale lurks underneath the acidic off-notes. Not sure what happened here; the sourness is quite clean, almost like yoghurt. Bacteria perhaps? Or maybe it's just age - without a BB/bottled-on date it's impossible to tell. Oh well, I review it as I find it (though I'll re-review if I get a fresh one someday). Disappointing.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I know I'm thinking of this beer much higher than most of the people on this site, but I can't help myself. This is a great example of why I love me some dark beers (that aren't stouts or porters).

Appearance: Pours a deep brown color -- almost black if it's not held up to light. The head is about two fingers and it's nice and creamy. The lacing is phenomenal and holds up til the bottom.

Smell: Meh. I don't get much of an aroma out of most browns, and this one's no different. It has that typical malt, cereal, grainy aroma that you'd expect. Not bad, but average.

Taste: Awesome beer. The taste has a wallop of malts, but also consists of chocolate and coffee notes in there as well. The finish has a dash of spice and a tiny bit of bitterness, but it's just about perfectly balanced against the sweetness. The feel may be the beer's highlight -- very smooth but not too thick or cloying, and satisfying. This may just be my favorite "drink anytime" Fall seasonal, and my favorite "normal" beer from Short's overall.

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Photo of CMUbrew
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a Sam Adam's pint glass

A: Couldn't get much head on the pour, but what was there was white and quick to fade. Brown and clear in color, which has lots of lighter brown and ruby accents in bright light.

S: Toasty, bready, and caramely malts work together and actually give a much better nose than I was expecting on this brown.

T: Bready maltiness, slightly sweet, with some toastiness in there somewhere. Aftertaste shows a little sweet caramel maltiness.

M: Perhaps just a little too thin. Nothing wrong here, just not exactly what I wanted.

O: A good brown ale, but nothing that really blew me away. Enjoyable overall.

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Photo of TheBigLebrewski
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to pint glass; color is impressive, solid head that quickly dissipated, decent lacing. Smell is sweeter than I'd prefer but is certainly prominent in respect to the style and overall quite pleasant.

Malt heavy flavor. Toffee on the nose but once it's in the mouth the flavor becomes less refined - a more lightly burnt caramel swallow. While mentioning those flavors, however, the beer is arguably more drinkable and a bit more clean than the standard brown. The sweetness, which is prominent, is not overpowering. And while my personal taste favors a stronger hop presence (especially in the finish), this beer is a favorable version of a malt heavy brew. Overall, and particularly if you're a fan of browns, try this beer! (As always, Life is Short's.)

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mmmm. Man, this is one nice brown ale. Maybe I don't try enough brown ales, but I just don't seem to find many that are on this level. Excellent and oh so smooth levels of earthy wood and leafy stuff, in that brown ale kind of way. Lingering flavor just sits with you and never wavers. This, to me, is what a brown ale should be.

All these beers I've had by Shorts keep advertising all the wide variety of ingredients they are putting in each beer. The label on this one reads: "A classic American brown ale." There's nothing wrong with sticking to the traditional, but there's nothing wrong with making it better through your skill and know how.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this a while ago (thanks michibrew) and just found it. 12 oz. bottle poured into standard pint glass.

A - Pours a very dark brown with just a halo of almond colored head. Some lace left on the glass.

S - Black coffee, chocolate malts, a little bit of pine, and mud. The aroma is decent, but faint.

T - Starts with bitter coffee and some pine. Some bready malts in the middle. Finishes with a sweet milk chocolate aftertaste. Pretty good.

M - Active carbonation and a pretty thin body.

O - A solid, easy drinking brown. If you are in the distribution area, I recommend grabbing a six pack for a full flavored session beer.

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Photo of BennyL1
2.18/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Found a leftover single of this in the fridge so even though its a bit warm out for a brown I figure why not. No freshness date - poured into a perfect pint glass.

This brew pours a nice chestnut brown color with a thin off white head. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Pretty malty aroma, caramel mostly. Some other kind of odd roasty scents in there as well. Not really feeling this so far.

Taste is not what I expected at all, and that isn't a good thing. Caramel malt and dark fruits but overall a watery feeling to it. This beer just tastes off - maybe because of age but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Medium in body but watered down. Not much carbonation which leads me to think that this beer is past its prime. Oh well, that's why breweries need to put some dating info on the bottle. So it goes.

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Photo of GPHarris
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick creamy tan head into a snifter that left nice sheeting throughout. the body was very dark brown.
s - caramel and toffee dominate.
t - toffee with some chocolate sweetness.
m - slick and medium.
o - one track mind brown ale. doesn't mess around. really tasty.

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Photo of beagle75
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Clear, light brown color with less than one finger of diminishing light beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Caramel and cooked mixed fruit are at the center of this beer's smell. Lesser chocolate is also detected, as well as very discreet carbon dioxide.

T: Begins off-dry, with mixed fruit and mild roasted malt that is made unfocused by carbonic acidity that shows up almost immediately. The latter half of the flavor profile is saved by intensely toasty Munich malt that follows the eventual decline of the acidity. Hop qualities, including bitterness, are largely absent although a phantom of acidity lingers on the palate.

M: Thin viscosity, watery and slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This ale is a mediocre effort from a brewery that is known for putting quirky and unique twists on traditional beer styles. Although the texture is unconvincing in general, it is the early acidity that holds this beer back from being a better example of its style.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the most exciting of styles, but this was an above average brown ale for sure. A great nuttiness and toffee taste, medium bodied, with nice dark brown color.. this been finished clean and smooth and was more tasty than most for the pretty generic style. Won't knock your pants off, but definitely worthy of a try.

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Photo of Mavigo
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

An old time favorite. Served in a nonic.

A: Pours a hazy medium chestnut color with almost no head and a thin white ring being all there is for lace.

S:Smells of wheat, malts, barley, hops

T: has a rather sweet and woody taste too it, can pick up on yeast, barley, malts, wheat and hops at the finish, although they are faint.

M: Medium bodied with good amounts of carbonation, fairly well balanced

O: Overall this is an excellent, local brown ale that is not too pricey and is easy going and is great for fall drinking.

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2.56/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

355ml bottle. Tumbler glass. From my notes (mar´11). Light reddish brown color. Close & lasting crown. Light aroma profile: toasted malts & herbal hop touch. Sweet upfront. Medium body, watery texture. Quite flat & boring. Smooth bitter finish. Unexpected from Short´s.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a rich deep brown with ruby highlights. Frothy creamy looking light tan head is produced with an average pour. Good head retention but not much lacing.

S- not a huge nose but a pleasant one at least. Mostly toasty malt aromas with notes of caramel and cocoa powder. Simple and straightforward.

T-starts out with toasted crusty homemade bread malt flavors with sweet caramel and brown sugar notes. The faintest touch of balancing bitterness hits mid palate. Finishes with a lingering toasty malt and a hint of cocoa dusted nuts. Nice lingering aftertaste. This is wonderfully crafted beer for a style that I generally do not care for.

MF- full creamy mouthfeel with a medium body. Average carbonation.

D- very hearty brew that begs for burgers and other grilled food. Good drinkability.

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Short's Bellaire Brown Ale from Short's Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 750 ratings.
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