jahughey (65) - Franklin, Indiana, USA - SEP 15, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Good brown. Thick head, with roasty/biscuity malt aroma. Firm malty body, hopped enough to avoid sweetness, but still is a malty, rich treat. Good on a cool evening.
peteysmu (63) - USA - MAR 12, 2011
4.1 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very hoppy taste, one of the better ales I have sampled. Not very heavy, could see myself drinking multiple beers
DutchHillbilly (62) - Mattawan, Michigan, USA - OCT 16, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Very good full flavor beer. Quite bitter. Strong aftertaste. Overall a very satisfying beer.
hopsandvines (60) - Asheville, North Carolina, USA - OCT 3, 2009
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bell’s Brown ale is always a favorite of mine that I look forward too each year it’s released. With that being said this years Best Brown was a bit disappointing. Pours dark brown, head small, white, OK. Flavor with a bit thin this year with some chocolate and Munich character. Seems too be missing that special something that Bell’ usually delivers. Hops are present but lacking for the style. Probably will go unnoticed to the unsophisticated palate. Not bad. $9.99 6/pk at Hops & Vines. www.hopsandvines.net
HopKitty (59) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - SEP 23, 2010
3.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark, translucent, burnt sienna color, aroma is malty, with a hint of black olives and chocolate Nestle Quik. Tastes like unsalted mixed nuts with a splash of nail polish remover. Softens with lingering palate.
tlitt2 (58) - Lexington, Kentucky, USA - DEC 7, 2005
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: DEC 22, 2005 Head retention was really surprising, lasted forever. A rich creamy off white head. Aroma slightly nutty, and other roasted things brought to mind. Feels slightly like a stout. Very sweet and creamy. Tasted some notes of milk. My first Bell’s, and certainly not my last.
SpecialBrew99 (57) - grand blanc, Michigan, USA - FEB 5, 2002
3.4 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I am actually drinking one of these right now, and I must say that it was another let down. I like a lot of the Bell’s beers, but this one just isn’t up to par. I would rather have a Newcastle anyday over this. The smell is not even really a brown smell, it is more like a stout.
OberonTheifEMT (56) - Ferndale, Michigan, USA - NOV 17, 2003
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
(Bottle '02)The aroma is overwhelming with roasted malts and a hit of chocolate. Quite unusual for this beer...smells almost identical to a Bells Porter. The pour is beautiful leaving a creamy head that lasts for quite some time, while lacing the glass. A small amount of yeast gives the appearance of cinnamon to the top of this lovely brew. Malt, malt, malt. Age seems to have tempered the bite and bitterness normally associated with this beer. The most outstanding example of Best Brown to date. Note to self, lay some of these down in the future
maxwellplum (54) - USA - AUG 26, 2003
3.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
About like the Dogfish, but I liked the Dogfish a little more. One of the better ones from Kalamazoo. I agree with omhper, the darker ones from Bell's are better. This is far better than any of the other ale's Bell's has to offer. A nice brew(just hoppy enough), only one of two from Kalamazoo I would go back for.
rings (54) - Michigan, USA - FEB 14, 2011
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Most people know this one for the fact that there’s an owl on the label and that it’s a winter seasonal, the opposite of Oberon (Solson, to those of us who remember), Bell’s top selling summer wheat.
Best Brown is an "Amer-English" brown ale with a full and balanced body. It pours relatively heavy, bright-brown in color, with a nice, white chocolate head that lingers a bit on the glass. Served properly between 45°-55°, it opens with a maple, brown-sugary nose and sweet maltiness that rolls into a full mouthfeel. As it goes down, there’s a slight hoppy bite on the finish to balance and clean up the lingering sweetness. The balance is exceptional.
It goes well with spicy foods, although it can get a little filling with a large meal. As a session beer, it can also get a bit sweet over time, although serving it a bit colder can help.
While Best Brown is, for some reason, not as popular as the Winter White or Two Hearted over the winter monthsand not even in the ballpark of Oberon, in terms of sales--it remains one of Bell’s finest and most consistent offerings and is one of my personal favorites among their lineup.