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Bell's Best Brown - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,005 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,005
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 56
Gots: 103 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
A smooth, toasty brown ale 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.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,005 | Reviews: 776 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of breakingbland
breakingbland

Michigan

3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle (marked "11585 PKGD 10/30/12 A") into a pint glass.

Appearance: Poured a beautiful clear brown with ruby highlights. There was only a scant head that dissipated quickly into patchy foam.

Aroma: There was little aroma -- mild hops and caramel malt.

Taste: A roasty flavor with slight malt sweetness, slight hoppiness, and some black coffee. This is not a deeply flavored beer, nor is the profile terribly complex. A sight bitterness lingers after swallowing.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a nice medium body with a medium level of carbonation.

Overall: This is a pleasant, dependable brown ale. I would have preferred a little more character in the flavor profile. But I'll definitely have it again as it's readily available here in Michigan. This beer should go well with many foods. It struck me that this would be a good session beer, but the ABV is a little high (5.8%) for this.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2013 23:55:28 | More by breakingbland
Photo of PaulyB83
PaulyB83

Michigan

3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle in a tulip glass

A- dark reddish brown, nice off-white head

S- Slight sweet malts, light coffee

T- Similar to nose, weak coffee with touch of malt sweetness and light bitterness on the finish

M- light mouthfeel, very easy drinking

O- A good brown ale that fits right in with fall, easy drinking with crisp light roast flavors

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 06:22:49 | More by PaulyB83
Photo of andrewjraab
andrewjraab

Michigan

3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a hazelnut brown with a finger of creamy off white head which reduces to a ring around the glass and leaves some nice lacing.

S - Coffee, caramel, malts, deep woods.

T - This is a medium bodied malt bomb that drinks smooth and creamy. Huge malts, coffee, caramel, hops present on the palate in the back end to leave an astringent like drying finish.

O - Really a solid brew that is a perfect compliment to an octoberfest on a fall day.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2013 00:45:52 | More by andrewjraab
Photo of KeefD
KeefD

Minnesota

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally, after reviewing several beers from quickly scribbled notes, it's time to review beer that's sitting in front of me. Pours a dark amber/brown color, orange highlights with lots of suspended particles and a tan head that recedes slowly leaving some above average lacing. Lightly toasted malt aroma, backed up by some toffee and caramel notes, and slightly fruity. A faint metallic aroma is in the background. Taste is pretty similar to the nose. Some light toffee flavors, light fruitiness, some caramel and faintly metallic. Medium mouthfeel, leaving a little to be desired. Not a bad brown ale, but pretty one-dimensional.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2008 02:42:25 | More by KeefD
Photo of jar2574
jar2574

Missouri

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown ales seem much maligned these days, with all the emphasis on hops. But even a person who isn't generally a fan should recognize this brown ale one as a good one.

Pours with a rather thin head, but the staying power is tremendous. 10 minutes after pouring, it's still standing strong. Color is brown with moderate density. Lacing is perfect, coating the glass all the way down.

Smell is rather faint, a little nutty, and malty, not hoppy. This is the weakest part of the beer.

When you taste this beer, the first impression is the amazing, creamy mouthfeel. Extremely creamy and dense for a rather low ABV beer. Excellent mouthfeel.

The taste itself is extremely mellow. Slightly nutty, less sweet than most brown ales. Makes for a good, easy drinking session beer.

The things that make this beer good are the appearance, mouthfeel, and drinkablity. The lack of complexity in the taste holds it back from being an awesome beer. But it would be a good beer to introduce a new beer advocate to.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 01:49:17 | More by jar2574
Photo of ken3c
ken3c

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big rocky off-white head. Dark amber in color. Hazy in clarity. The head recedes to a layer that leaves beautiful lacing.

There is a strong malt aroma with caramel notes.

Sweet, fruity, grainy tastes. There is a little bitterness in the aftertaste but mostly grainy malt.

Medium body, well carbonated. Astringent in the finish.

This beer looked and smelled so good. I liked the fruitiness but was a little turned off by the astringency.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2004 05:34:26 | More by ken3c
Photo of Zadok
Zadok

Kansas

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a touch of amber and a decent sized tan head and lots of lacing.

Malty sweet aroma.

Also had a sweet creamy malty flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy as stated before, maybe a touch watered down. Low carbonation.

Not a bad beer, not sure I would get again but wouldnt deny a free one.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2008 00:15:40 | More by Zadok
Photo of Star80
Star80

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish red with a two-inch head that dissipated into nice layer on top of the beer. Bottle had a ton of sediment at the bottom and some is still floating in my beer. Not sure if this is good or bad. The store I buy from turns over inventory quickly and I have no reason to believe the sediment is abnormal for this unfiltered brew. Smells is a bit soapy, with a slight leather aroma as well. Taste is a bit subdued but still has that nice nutty, English toffee aftertaste like a good brown ale should. Mouthfeel is fine. Drinkable but not overly so.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2005 01:35:37 | More by Star80
Photo of BeerLover99
BeerLover99

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Tan, light brown/ice tea, deep orange tint, 1 finger head, decent lacing in pint.

S: very subtle nut, mild roast, and toffee.

T: nut, caramel, mild sweet front, hint of bitter in finish

M: light/med body, smooth/no aftertaste, very fresh feeling

D: nice session beer, 1st cask beer and it tastes like fresh fruit just picked from the tree. Solid brown ale, not world class, but worth a taste.

Serving type: cask

01-06-2011 20:46:19 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of association330
association330

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, batch 9382. Bottled Sept. 29, 2009.

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a finger of caramel-colored head. Settles to a half-pinky cap with awesome lacing. Cloudy with yeast.

S - Sweet dark malts, with toffee, molasses, a little dark fruit, and a bit of earthy hops. Everything is very subdued though.

T - A nicely balanced, moderately sweet flavor of roasted malts. A swallow of toffee, nuts, and a bit of dark fruit. Coffee-like aftertaste.

M - This beer is thinner than I remember; almost cola-like. Carbonation is on the low end of moderate.

D - Still very drinkable, but not quite as pleasing.

My third review of this, and first since 10/24/2008. In appearance and flavor it is still a nice brown, with considerable complexity when compared to many other attempts at the style. Unfortunately, it seems that maybe they've been watering it down a bit. It could be a case of this particular bottle sitting on the shelf too long, so I'll have to try and find a more recent bottle before the summer months.

10/24/08 Review:

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a finger and a half of caramel-colored head. Settles to a pinky cap with a nice spiderweb of lacing. Yeast clearly in suspension.

S - A slight yeasty effervescence, with hints of earth and roasted malt; a touch of hops. Not outstanding, but when was the last time you had a brown ale that blew you away?

T - A nicely balanced, moderately sweet flavor of caramel and roasted malt. A tad earthy, with some lingering hop bitterness on the finish.

M - Properly carbonated (not prickly), with moderate viscosity.

D - Very quaffable, doesn't overpower anything. Would pair nicely with a big fall/winter meal and a warm fire.

I decided to re-review several months later, now that I've seriously gotten into the world of craft brews and understand what to look for. That said, it's nice to find a brown ale with some character, but not so overwhelming that it wrecks the easy-drinking reputation of the style. The modest, but noticeable hop finish really does a good job of balancing out a style that I think is often too sweet. This is my go-to brown ale, and I give it a hearty nod of approval.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2010 05:21:40 | More by association330
Photo of meatmallet
meatmallet

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours bark brown yet it is still clear. Thick frothy head with no lacing and lots of suspended sediment and a few small bubbles of carbonation coming from the bottom.

Smell: Caramel and toasted malts with a chocolaty sweetness.

Taste: Starts with some chocolaty roasted malts and finishes with a bitterness from the roasted malts and hops. I also get a bit of caramel and a nutty beady taste.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Medium body with very light carbonation fairly rich and creamy.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2011 03:22:54 | More by meatmallet
Photo of scalffd
scalffd

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy, dark amber brown with 2" off-white bubbly head which dissapates into a smooth 1/4" layer

Aroma: Roasted malts

Taste: More roasted malts with a slight bitter aftertaste

Feel: Smooth, but a little thin

Overall: Good, but not great. From Bell's and the name of the beer, I actually expected more.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2006 23:45:45 | More by scalffd
Photo of delta490
delta490

Virginia

3.64/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A hazy medium brown. The creamy off white head leaves a thin sheen and nice lacing. Aroma is a sweet malt with a little bit of hops in the background. The taste is very malt forward with a hint of nuttiness and hops. Thinner feel is good with the overall sweetness of the beer. A nice brown ale that doesn't overawe but doesn't disappoint.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2013 21:01:23 | More by delta490
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep amber brown hue, we can dub it mahogany with a nice tan fluffy cream head leaves nice scattered lacing as the head dwindles lacing forms a collar.
Aroma: Deep roasted malts give off hints of chocolates and a warming sweetness along with a complementing tone of nut bread.
Taste: The toasted malts form a caramel toasted nut flavor profile and the hops in the finish are very evident, quite bitter for a brown ale not hopped per say just residually bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied brew with a bit of a cloying finish, not as smooth as I was hoping.
Drinkability: Mediocre for the Bell’s lineup but one of the most intriguing brown ales I have taste at the same time, save room for their Two Hearted Ale now that’s a session ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2003 15:56:30 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of BrewIndy
BrewIndy

Indiana

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This had about a half inch of head after the poor but it went away almost immediately. It has a real muddy brownish red color to it. There was no lacing at all probably due to the head going away so fast.

T: This beer has a great taste. When I drink a brown ale this is exactly what I would expect it to taste like. You can definitely taste the malt in this one. Then it goes into a bit of fruitiness if only for a second finishing with a hoppy flavor. Very tasty.

M: I was a little disappointed by the way it feels in my mouth. Not bad exactly but really just average. If it felt a bit better than I'm sure my taste rating would be even higher.

D: I could drink a few of these.. and I just might ;)

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2009 00:21:53 | More by BrewIndy
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep auburn, copper cloudy liquid with an off-white foamy head. The head disappeared quickly, and there was little lacing on the glass. Smells of toasted malt, not much else. Taste of sweetness, followed by a slight roasted caramel flavor. No bitterness. Medium body, nice amount of carbonation. Very easy to drink, very little bitterness at all. Good offering by Bell's. I suppose I would have enjoyed a deeper toasted/roasted flavor, but this one was good.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2004 04:31:01 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of Labeerfinder
Labeerfinder


3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany color, with a very thin white head. Some sparce and spotty lacing. Floral hops come out in the nose. Accompanying that are some sweet malts. Flavors are about the same, but now the hops have an additional citrus to them. Lemons mostly. Smooth palate, medium body

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2012 17:15:42 | More by Labeerfinder
Photo of rtratzlaff
rtratzlaff

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker cloudy brown with copper ruby hues. It looks lighter in color than most brown ales. A small off white head dissipates and leaves some slight lace.

SMell is mainly malt with some caramel sweetness.

Taste is interesting and pleasing. Up front there is a crispness from slight carbonation that leaves sweetness from the malt. Caramel flavors are more abundant than any brown ale I've had before. Earthy hop flavors underly the finish and allow the beer to be pretty unique and flavorful.

Brown ales never really explode with flavor, but this one shines in an understated maturity of flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2008 16:36:37 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of Buggies
Buggies

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Brown and murky with a lot of sediment suspended throughout. Very interesting to sit and stare at.

S: Sweet caramel malt. A very slight toffee and roasted malt aroma as well. Nothing too outstanding.

T: A typical English Brown Ale I suppose. It tastes as it smells though the flavors are mild. It is definitely drinkable, but really nothing that makes it very interesting except the cool owl on the label.

I think the flavor of this would be awesome to give to a BMC drinker as a gateway.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2009 02:54:21 | More by Buggies
Photo of Humulus85
Humulus85

Minnesota

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love me some Sunday afternoon BA...

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my mug. It produced a dense, one-finger head. Solid retention with some surprisingly nice lacing. Deep, slightly hazy, auburn. This is the perfect looking October brew.

The nose is nutty. Some oats and toffee come through as well. There might be some piney hops, but they're covered up by the malt.

Loads of oats, caramel, and toffee. A bit sweet for my taste and kinda watered down. Not as much flavor as I was hoping for.

Smooth, well carbonated and more then drinkable. Could have been a bit heavier for a fall brew in my opinion.

Overall this is a good brown, but far from the best. I love the owl on the label, he/she looks ornery as hell. While I did like this beer, it didn't scream out to me, and I honestly expect something with a little more complexity and depth from such an accomplished brewery. Recommended to any Bell's fan or BA new to malty ales. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 18:01:59 | More by Humulus85
Photo of Dangus
Dangus

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Brown just as one would assume. Fair amount of carbonation, poured about an inch of off white head. Head faded to a cap pretty quickly. There is some sediment in the glass, but that's par for the course with a bottle conditioned beer.

Smell- Toasty malts and sour breadiness. I am not detecting much of a hop aroma.

Taste- Nice maltiness, slightly nutty. There is a twinge of sourness that lingers after I swallow the beer.

Mouthfeel- Nice amount of carbonation. Medium bodied.

Drinkability- Good drinkability. I would prefer this for a colder time of year, but it is still nice and easy to drink. Enjoyable beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2010 03:44:54 | More by Dangus
Photo of zulufactor
zulufactor

Minnesota

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice warm brown color with a half inch white ish head

S- Light smell of hops and nutty malts

T- Malty with a bit of hops and a little sweetness. very well balanced with a nice earthy taste that lingers

M- good carbonation, again feels balanced

D- This is a beer i would pick up again would appeal to many pallets. similar to the Boston logger but with more flavor and complexity.

Due to the balance this beer offers I could be paired with just about any food or meal.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 02:54:27 | More by zulufactor
Photo of Pintofbrown
Pintofbrown

Iowa

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was served in a glass stein.

Appearance- The head is khaki colored and rises to about one and a half fingers of bubbly foam. There are a nice amount of tiny bubbles on top that leave a dappling of craters. The body is the color of raw cinnamon sticks with some darker auburn notes.

Smell- There is a sweet bread malt that is the most dominant, as it certainly should be. I was also surprised to pick up a little grassy hoppiness, and I'm not sure I like that.

Taste- Bread malt leads the way and picks up notes of brown sugar. In the finish, there is a good amount of earthy hop and some more bread malt. This is pretty average for a brown, and I'm glad the grassy hop didn't transfer well to the palate.

Mouth feel- Bells can do mouth feel all day. You know it is Bells if it drinks easy. A great medium body and a rich, creamy finish on this brown ale.

Overall- This is a decent brown ale, but it is hard to say what Bells was trying to do with it. They had some hops in the nose, but they weren't utilized well on the palate, in fact, I"m not sure they needed to be there at all. And the malt they used was far too reserved.

Just because this is a brown, doesn't mean it needs to err to middle of the road flavor profiles. Either bump it up, or put something on the taste buds that makes it interesting.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 21:13:54 | More by Pintofbrown
Photo of Lillenk
Lillenk

Michigan

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was just what onw would expect from a brown. Very nice medium brown color with a nice white/tan head.

Smell was nice. Lots of roasted malts but well balanced with some hop character too.

Taste was pretty average for the style. Nothing crazy but a nice, well put together beer.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied but a little tough to have more than one or two.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2011 21:17:49 | More by Lillenk
Photo of goldennectar
goldennectar

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz.bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Nice thick head & beautiful dark amber color. Not much lacing left behind.

Smell: Sweet Caramel Malts

Taste: Very similar to the smell - Caramel & malty with a slightly nutty flavor.
Well rounded, balanced & smooth
is how I describe this very drinkable ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium body & carbonation

Overall: A very well done & very drinkable offering from Bell's Brewery. Try one

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 18:40:58 | More by goldennectar
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,005 ratings.