Beer 21: a tasty Bell’s ‘Best Brown’ Clone

I don’t make Brown Ale’s often. It’s not that I don’t like them – I like them just fine – it’s more that I don’t want to invest the time to make one. I mean, I can only make so many beers in one year; I could be making something epic like an IPA, Belgian Tripel, Barley Wine, or Scotch Ale. However, we are hosting a retirement party for my father-in-law, and this is the perfect beer. When I think of an excellent Brown Ale, I look no further than the largest craft brewery in my state: Bell’s Best Brown Ale (which, by the way, is located about 2 miles from my house). Brown in color, crisp, malty, slight sweetness, clean water profile, burnt caramel notes, toffee, hints of raisin (I made most of that shit up but I think that’s what I’m supposed to say when talking about a Brown Ale). I cannot remember where I got this recipe from – probably a book at the library – but I do remember it was a credible source.

This beer has a phenomenal aroma. The caramel nose is very impressive, actually. The flavor seems spot on. This beer checks all the boxes: malty, slight sweetness, caramel, raisin, toffee, etc. I like it. I think the water profile could be cleaner and crisper but, other than that, I’m not sure how to improve this beer. It’s a nice Brown. I would like to swap out the 2-row with Maris Otter, and see how that tastes. I also wonder what Safale US-04 would taste like, instead of US-05.


Best Brown Ale Clone
8.5 lb. 2-row
14 oz. Caramel 60L
16 oz. Special Roast
14 oz. Victory
3 oz. Chocolate malt
.5 oz. Magnum (30 m, 30 minute boil)
1 oz. Fuggle (flame out, no chill)
Safale US-05 yeast

May 6th, 2016: brewed 4:00pm
started with 7 gallons of water
mashed for 1.5 hours (picked up Immanuel from day care)
boiled 30 minutues
Let sit on deck for 40 minutes to cool down, then added ice cubes, put in cold freezer/fermentation chamber at 2 degrees C.
6/7: 2:00pm, beer at 75F. 3:00: pitched yeast
6/11: bumped up temperature from 67F to 72F
6/12: hydrometer reading says 1.010
6/15: bottled 26 22 ounce bottles, placed in 70F closet to carbonate for a week.

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