Review of Bell’s Best Brown Ale

07 Oct
For today’s craft beer review I thought I would try the Bell’s Best Brown Ale produced by Bell’s Brewing Inc. located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

This is Bell’s version of a Fall seasonal, so it should fit nicely with the cooler weather we’ve been having around here lately.

Let’s check out the website,

A smooth, toasty brown ale, Best Brown Ale is a mainstay in our fall & winter 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.

Ok.  Let’s pour it.

This brew has an ABV of 5.8% and comes standard in a 12 oz. bottle. 

It poured a burgundy/brown color with some burnt orange highlights around the bottom of the glass.  It appeared somewhat cloudy, with a gargantuan, soapy, fluffy, off white head.  The retention time was decent and the lacing was mostly average.

The aroma brought forth some roasted and toasted malt and grain.  It provided a prevalent nuttiness, which smelled similar to almonds, walnuts and hickory nuts.  I even thought I smelled some oats in there too.  It had a very slight coffee undertone also.  As the brew started to warm quite a bit I began to discern a “woody”/”bark” type of redolence along with a rotten banana fragrance.  Hmm.  I didn’t find that too appealing really.  It started to wane on me a bit as I continued the drink.

The taste brought out more of the roasted and toasted malts and nuttiness.  A touch of caramel sweetness was noted in the taste, of which I did not find in the aroma.  It seemed to have more of a “grainy” characteristic in the flavor than did the aroma also.  To finish the profile I even noticed a mild, faint hop bitterness and bite.  The flavor was “ok”, but I don’t know that it was anything to write home about.

The mouthfeel was medium to medium/thin, smooth, dry and crisp with a touch of chalkiness.  It left less than an average amount of flavor behind on the palate.

Well guys…. this is not my favorite Brown Ale to say the least.  The aroma was a real turn off for me.  I don’t know what it was, but something just smelled off from what I typically find in an Ale of this style.  It’s not horrible or undrinkable and I could probably still have a couple during a session, but after that I would, more than likely, be looking for something else.  If you haven’t had it, I would still say give it a try because you may very well find it to be quite enjoyable, however I could find any number of Brown Ales that would be far more appealing.

Thanks for reading and commenting guys.  Until next time.


Score:  3.25 out of 5
Grade:  C+      

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Bell's, Country: USA


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