Friday, March 29, 2013

Bell's Best Brown Ale

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (839) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 29, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. It was bottled on 9/13/12 making it six months and 16 days old when I drank it.

Appearance: Beautiful mahogany/chestnut hue. Translucent with visible sediment suspended. Forms a huge, beige, fluffy head which is slow to dissipate and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A mild, muted nose with light malty sweetness but not distinct ingredients or aromas.

Taste: Once again you’ll have to take this review with a grain of salt as it’s based on a bottle that was pretty old at the time. However, much like the Amber Ale, I can tell Bell’s Best Brown Ale is a pretty solid beer on the core. Of course, simply being "solid" doesn’t equal high quality, in fact a more cynical synonym would be "passable." That’s definitely accurate here, though. This is a drinkable beer that conforms to the brown ale style nicely, but no more.

Trying to describe to the taste of the palate is a bit of a challenge. The brewery suggest notes of caramel and cocoa, but these are mostly afterthoughts. It’s probably best described as mildly sweet with just the faintest hint of confectionery flavors that emerge strongly right on the finish. Not much in the way of hops or bitterness, though there is some tang to the palate (I’ll chalk that up to the bottle’s age, though). No repulsive qualities, which is good, though trying to appreciate what’s here is challenging but not impossible. I’d imagine a fresh serving would be pretty amazing.

Drinkability: A lot of people consider brown ales to be acquired tastes, which I’ve never understood because it’s one of the most drinker-friendly styles I can think of. Bell’s Best Brown Ale is very comfortable in the mouth with a soft, smooth texture that’s not too thick and definitely not thin and fizzy. It goes down smoothly and has a mostly neutral aftertaste. It doesn’t seem to take full advantage of its 5.8% ABV weight, though, but at least it’s not overboard in any way. A versatile brew I’m sure, but good enough to enjoy on its own merits. 
Grade: 6/10