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

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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

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BA SCORE
87
very good

817 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 817
Hads: 2,630
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 88
Gots: 277 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 817 | Hads: 2,630
Photo of LittleBug31
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My roommate Lesleigh, and fellow beer-lover just returned from a Brewery Tour across the Midwest. She and her boyfriend brought back quite the haul!
We are starting the night celebrating finals and the semester being over, as well as a successful interview that I had this morning....

Bell's Best Brown Ale

Appearance: Pours a beautiful ruby, copper color. With a light tan head that retains its form for quite a while.

Smell: Really toasty and nutty. Hints of vanilla and caramel.

Taste: Almonds and walnuts. Very toasty and nutty, just like the smell boasts. Brown sugar and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, smooth, tingly--with a pleasant aftertaste that sticks with you for just long enough.

Drinkability: Very nice, could enjoy a few before getting tired of it. (781 characters)

Photo of elgiacomo
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, batch 9980, bottled Aug 31, 2010.

Pours very hazy dark reddish/copper/brown with a one finger off white head that leaves some lacing and holds a good creamy/foamy cap.

The excellent aroma features good toasty, bready, nutty, biscuity, caramel maltiness, quite rich for a brown ale, a little bit of hops underneath.

Flavor is some sweet caramel and toffee malts, a touch of brown sugar, toasted bread, a bit of earthy hops, very little bitterness, and despite the initial sweetness, it manages to finish mostly dry. Pretty robust flavor for a brown ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite creamy, low to medium carbonation.

Excellent Brown Ale, perhaps my favorite of the style! (702 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark brown to near violet with a fine, simmering tan head. Aroma is unique and slightly unfathomable! I'm getting dates, plums, roasted nuts, caramel, sweetness, but on the dark side. Chewy mouthfeel, medium body, great texture. A very substantial brown ale that stands on the opposite end of the ubiquitous Newcastle. Sits proudly on the palate, and lingers on the tastebuds. Low carbonation. Altogether excellent! Bell's does their brewing business with a certain je ne sais quoi, y'knowwhatImean? There's a lift, a beautiful bouyancy that I often associate with the best products of Belgium in almost everything they do at Kalamazoo. (642 characters)

Photo of duffalo
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nothing frilly, just a really well done brown ale. The balance is great - there's no hop smell, but they nicely cancel out the sweetness that could easily be in this beer given the amount of grains they pack in. I think the taste is great, but personally I think it's almost on the verge of a porter in darkness and alcohol content - not quite as light as most of the brown ales I'm used to. Nevertheless, this is a great choice if you're in the mood for a no frills well done brown. (483 characters)

Photo of dorianmarley
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is chestnut brown. Very creamy head that stays forever. Super sticky lacing. This pour could be a model for a magazine or commercial.

Nose is a nice mix of hops and malt. Slightly roasted character with hints of vanilla and chestnut.

The flavor brings to mind a warm fire. The malt is roasted and sweet. There is a defined vanilla flavor, with roasted chestnuts. Mild hop finish. The whole beer is very mild.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth. The head lasts for the entire time, giving each sip a foamy, fluffy texture. Mild carbonation. Truly a pleasure to drink.

Overall, the flavor is good, but that is not this beer's most defining feature. It has super-model looks and divinely fluffy texture. This is as a beer should be, and what makes Bell's one of the best around. (785 characters)

Photo of Caveworm
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bell's Best Brown - Bell's Brewery, Inc. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this beer has got a two finger thick eggshell brown head, solid lacing, and a dark clear brown body.

I don't smell any hops, but caramelized and/or roasted malts. This seems like a mellow, savory brew that I can chill on to break the pumpkin brew rut during the fall months.

The taste nearly identical to the aroma, but its also got a slight nuttiness to it. Very great job done here. Jockey approved! ("Shameless UK" fans?)

The mouthfeel is fairly clean with a slight lingering element, but nothing really chewy going on here.

Overall a 4.25 for Bell's Best Brown - Bell's Brewery, Inc. I'll probably pick this brew up again. (722 characters)

Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

This is a nicely done Brown. Poured into pint glass, pours a shade of caramel, and the taste just follows along.
Excellent full body, Bells Brown leads with a supreme maltiness exemplified by notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, with some roasted barley hitting toward the end.
A touch of hops signify it's time to take another pull. VERY drinkable. I'm really liking this style lately, and Bells Best Brown Ale is one I'll be coming back to. (447 characters)

Photo of EvoRich
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Look: Poured into a tulip because my pints are dirty. Pours light for a Brown ale. Still dark overall. Very dark red in color. A one finger head which fades quickly.

Smell: Right away, chocolate and caramel aromas. Brown sugar aroma.

Taste: A bit of a hop bitterness upfront, Then a touch of caramel, with a chocolate and coffee finish.

Feel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation and easy to drink.

Overall: Not as sweet as I expected, coming from the aroma. The aroma gives off very sweet scent, and you think you're in for a very deep, roasty sweet flavor. I was surprised to see the hop flavor upfront like it is. nonetheless, it's a great beer, just not what I had expected. (682 characters)

Photo of dogfooddog
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

from a trade with MABZ, thanks again for the chance to try all of these beers.

Pours with a nice light tan head, nose is distinctly malty and a bit earthy or heavy.

taste is plenty malty, hints of roasted/smoky malt, and just enough hop character to keep some balance on this. Further into the glass it becomes a bit sweeter and bitter, as the palate adjusts.

I have had a number of english browns I was never really impressed with, but this is the first time I have actually enjoyed a beer of this style. This is well worth trying! (542 characters)

Photo of baos
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Von den Anmerkungen

12 oz bottle into antique green Mason jar.

A: Four finger tan head. Nice looking dark amber with nice clarity. really nice head retention and good lacing as well.

S: Malts with a bit o hops. Raw what and corn mash and a hint of fresh caramel.

T: A bit o hop bite, malts, and the slightest caramel hints.

M: Nice light to medium body.

D: Very good. Yay. (378 characters)

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

A - Brown of course, with 1 finger of head and a tiny bit of lacing on the glass

A - Brown sugar, toffee, malts

T - Light malty, toffee and caramel. Brown sugar, but not sweet. Just perfect.

M - Light bodied, smooth, well balanced.

O - Probably the best Brown I have had, no pun intended. Bells kills it once again! (322 characters)

Photo of rings
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. (1,133 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal clear brown color with a mega fat, creamy tan head. Large tapioca looking bubbles recede at a snails pace to a rocky mountain range of foam. Excellent looking beer.

Great brown ale nose, sugary caramel and milk chocolate malts carry the load here. Smells fresh and creamy.

Of course it is malty...roasty and flavorful, but it has a nice hop balance to it. Very smooth and drinkable...it's crisp with a surprisingly dry finish. Just a hint of fruitiness adds to the complexity. A most delicious session beer. One of the better brown ales I have had. (566 characters)

Photo of charlzm
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed April 30th, 2012.

Pours a medium caramel with orange and amber highlights. Sticky one-finger tan head.

Aroma is nuts and toffee and slightly metallic.

Substantial hop bite right up front. Bitter and resiny. Strong toffee and caramel follows. Roasted and slightly sweet in the middle and then bitter again at the end.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly chewy.

Flavor-packed. Forget Newcastle; my notes say, "This is the shit." (437 characters)

Photo of GossageBrewery
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this English Brown Ale from a bottle into a pint glass. The beer poured a hazy brown color with lots of particles floating around. I might need a spoon! The ale produced a decent light brown head and it has decent lacing. The aroma of the beer was mostly toffee and molasses. The taste of this beer was very nice and I can say that it ranks very high on my list for English Brown Ales. The taste was sweet, toffee, and malty. The body is light. Very good beer- Highly recommend it!

BTW- I skipped using the spoon. (522 characters)

Photo of ADR
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mostly opaque brown color, slightly garnet with the trademark yeasties floating around. Good head of almost a 1/2 inch, holds some shapes well. Nutty aroma. This is seriously one of the best Browns I've ever had, bolder caramel and maple flavors and a nice, if not huge, amount of hop bitterness at the end and in the swallow. In some ways, it starts a little slick and ends dry -- an impressive feat for a brew. (416 characters)

Photo of wmtxbb
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Nice finger sized head on top of a dark amber brew.

Smell: Crunchy crystal malt grains.

Taste: Toasty malts, carmel and some chocolate. Reminds me of a winter warmer, particularly because of the high alcohol content.

Drinkability: The best brown ale I've ever had, which makes the name perfect. (340 characters)

Photo of JayS2629
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very good beer. Slightly murky brown with a one finger off-white head that fades fast but leaves ok lacing.

The aroma is simple with a medium malty blend of chocolate and caramel tones. Mild earthy notes and a light sugary smell.

Great, mild sweet chocolate with some nutty edges and slight bit of roast. Balanced and smooth with a cream like note.

Nice and medium balanced with a smooth edge.

Overall, a nice, easy drinking, mild but full flavored brown. Great! (466 characters)

Photo of Brettster
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a kind of murky carmel color with about a one finger foamy head that fades quick. Has a nice roasted nut smell with plenty of sweetness. Has lots of malt flavor with hints of fruit. This is a pretty smooth medium bodied brown. In fact it is one of the better brown ales I have had. (287 characters)

Photo of jackndan
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bell’s Best Brown Ale: Twelve-ounce bottle. Pours a very hazy brown, underneath a huge tannish head, that lasts. Nice Belgian lacing as well. The aroma is very strong, of roasted malts and weak coffee and cream. Wow, this is the best tasting brown ale I’ve ever had. Very smooth and pleasant, with roasted malts that add a nice rich flavor. Very easy to drink. A slight kick of hops bitterness at the end. I believe that this was well aged, and the tastes have smoothed out, and my somewhat old beer has become very well balanced. Really nice. (555 characters)

Photo of henrichsj
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a 16-oz pub glass.

A- Beautiful dark amber color, an inch and a half of creamy light tan head that sticks around

S- Roasted malts and some caramel

T- Heavy malts with caramel, almond notes; some slight hops keep it more fresh than other browns

M- Goes down creamy and smooth; nicely carbonated

O- This is one of my winter go-to beers. Delicious. (382 characters)

Photo of coryking
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorites during the winter. A perfect balance of caramel, toast, nuttiness, soft sweetness, and soft hops. This beer pairs amazingly with food. Nice frothy head, great aroma, medium to light body, silky mouthfeel, and a pleasant, refreshing finish. A very nice brew! (277 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours caramel with a 2 fingers plus tan head. Good lacing & minmal head retention

Smell: Malt and slight nutiness

Taste: Big sweet maltiness followed by nuttiness & fruittyness. Almost taste a tinge of vanilla. Finishes fruitty & quenching

MF: Light with good carbonation. Shows great balance

Very easy drinking brown, good session ale IMO, a good brown. My 1st beer from bell's, pretty nice (403 characters)

Photo of neenerzig
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass. Theis beer is a somewhat cloudy, somewhat clear amber brown color with some deep red highlights when held tot he light. The fluffy head is a good inch thick when poured. Settles to a nice thick surface coating and eventually to a nice thick white ring lining the inside of my glass. Has a nice sweet malty and slightly toasted aroma with hints of maple and brown and perhaps a bit of spice and nuttiness as well. Sweet, roasty and primarily malty taste with the aforementioned brown sugar and maple/caramel characteristics followed by a definite hop bitterness. good balance of flavor here. Has a full bodied, crisp and frothy mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Pretty easy to drink. A unique offering for this style of beer and quite good too. The winning!

Eric (821 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Cream soda color, somewhat cloudy, with visible carbonation. Two finger head that settles slowly, strong lacing.

Smell: Appealing aroma of caramel and toasted bread. Slight floral hop note at the back end. Very nice!

Taste: Lots of toasty malt character, lightly sweet, mildly bitter, balanced and totally delicious. Big tasty malt, traces of caramel and hints of brown sugar. One of the best tasting browns in recent memory.

Mf: Medium bodied, solid carbonation, but smooth. Easy drinking, low bitterness, finishes dry.

Overall: Really enjoyed this one. Not a super sexy style anymore but so well made and tasty. Memorable, for sure, not something I thought I’d say about a brown ale these days. Another winner from Bell’s. (738 characters)

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 817 ratings.