1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,607 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,607
Reviews: 827
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 82
Gots: 253 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,607 | Reviews: 827 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zoso1967
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best brown pours an attractive reddish mahogany brown with a little bit of sediment floating around. The head is a very light tan color, and it has wonderful retention and strong lacing.

The aroma is pretty laid back with sweet toffee and slightly fruity caramel character mingling with some toasted malt. There is also a bit of a yeasty aroma, and a faint hint of cocoa.

The flavor is a bit more robust with the chocolaty and nutty toasted malt character melding well with nice toffee and caramel sweetness. Bready, hearty flavors meld well with a bit of earthy character to make a well balanced brown ale.

The body is medium with a good amount of carbonation. This beer is more lively than smooth, but it works well. The finish is very clean, leaving a little maltyness and a touch of hops.

This is a very drinkable brown ale that is not overly hoppy, or laden with too many specialty malts. If you are looking for something really robust, this may not be what you desire, but for a nice sessionable and impeccably made brown, Best Brown is definitely a great choice.

Photo of MTNboy
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer has great color very true to the style. It is brown amber with just the right light brown head with lace that has an awesome amount of staying power.

Smell: It has a very sweet aroma with a bit of coffee like tones.

Taste: It taste was extremely malty with pasture like earthy tones. It is a bit nutty but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: It has a nice medium feel with a bit of bit at first but that quickly settles.

Overall: I loved this one. A great beer with a great look.

Photo of techfed87
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice, thick head. Foam has a hint of brown. Color of the overall beer is a dark amber, with very fine particulate circulating around near the center of the glass.

Taste has specific bitter hops qualities to it that of a darker beer. At the same time, the malt remains clean and middle of the road. There's a remaining taste of alcohol that lingers for a moment or two, but never gets out of hand. And while the beer doesn't ever shout out at you as something explosively extraordinary, it always has a consistent quality of flavor.

A great choice, especially for those who are fans of brown ales.

Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid brown ale. Much better than Newcastle...looks better, less sweet and very smooth. Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights, medium size tn head with some lacing. Primary taste is roasted malt, there is enough hops bitterness to kill the annoying sweetness of some brown ales. Mouthfeel is rich and drinkability is very good. A fantastic candidate for a session beer.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. A pretty good looking beer. It comes out a pretty amber caramel color, it's not completely clear, but close. There's a light brown head that sticks around and clings to the glass the entire time the beer is there.

I like the smell a lot. The roasted malts produce toffee and caramel aromas with the slightest hint of coco powder. There is a very feint hop aroma here. It's not very strong and you really have to wait awhile for it to warm up, but it's good.

The taste is probably a slight step up. It has all the features as the smell, but the tongue can pick up a little more than the nose on this one. It's got the caramel and toffee with slight coco, but there's also a a tea like spiciness to it. Again a very slight hop presence to it.

The mouthfeel is good, but it could be better. It's lighter in body than I expected, it could certainly be a little more full, I tend to prefer a slightly more full brown ale. The carbonation level is very good, and it's a very drinkable beer.

I think Bell's did did a stellar job at making a brown ale. I don't know if I'd call this the "Best Brown" ale I've ever had, but it's pretty tasty.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer, long neck brown bottle. The obverse main label is completely different to that depicted in the BA Database. The bottle I have has a much more conservative purple edged gray background label with a beautifully drawn picture of an Owl sitting on a wooden fence post against a winter background. I am not sure what breed the owl is but looks like a Short-Eared Owl of sorts. The reverse label describes the offering as “...Best Brown Ale’s toasty malt character makes it a delicious beer for all types of weather”. Labeled as ‘Best Brown Ale’, but with no discernible freshness date, or even strength listed.

Appearance: Dark brown chestnut body that exhibits a deeply turbid porridge body that is murky and mud like in character. A decent head forms at first, a nicotine stained tan colored creamy cap covering which slips into a broken covering pretty quickly at first but yet it always retains a semblance of head. The first top-up forms a much longer lasting collar that leaves some excellent lacing. The decent conditioning means that a quick swirl always helps to reinstate the head and add to the lacing on the glass walls.

Nose: Nutty with a light warmth. Devon toffee and caramel coated Hops; this has a lovely “nutty toffee” character throughout. Has a light yet dark spicy character in the back end which adds a delicate exotic nuance.

Taste: The start is almost like a Northern English Mild, it has some Dark Mild cum Brown Ale qualities, but for some reason they are reticent to appear at first it seems. It comes into its own in the middle when the toffee and caramel break though in sufficient strength to excite the malty bitterness from the hops to also make a late party entrance in the midnight hour. The strength profile is almost directly proportional to the drink and residence time in the mouth. Light and low profile at first but tasty and wholesome in the back end. Has a dry malty finish. I like this one.

Mouthfeel: The conditioning lends a very smooth creamy feel and supports the malty bitterness that it exhibits perfectly. It does not disappoint.

Drinkability: I say this is most palatable Sir!! A Brown Ale that has an excellent quaffability. This is a seriously great Session Brown Ale.

Overall: On draft, this one would be a serious Winner in the working class areas of Northern England for sure. If it was indeed available, I would most certainly drink it in preference to “that other” readily available version. A jolly decent tipple and one I would most certainly imbibe in 12 ounce sextuplet fashion with little problem or inhibition.

Thanks to the MonkyFeloniousOne for supplying this Bell Ringer of a Brown!!

Photo of kkipple
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask o' this appeared at my local Green's. A no-brainer.

A. Awh shucks, y'know.. it's a brown ale on cask. Low dirty white head, no lace, beer is russet and has a little depth to it. Not totally clear. A deeper red than actually brown, but I'm not complaining.

S. American malts here, easy, some mild roast, brown bread, delicate sweetness, some tame hop character.. it's all very mild and approachable. Cereal-y, hedgerow, damp dirt roads and a shining sun above. Working class and honest.

T. American hops, hopes & malt through and through here. Good blend of gently toasted, biscuity malt that has some sugar left and a slice of bittering, yet reserved cones. A little bit of fruit too, the starchy and sweet kind that makes good juice. This beer isn't one that takes well to picking apart... it just "is". Drinks very well.

M / D. Just a great beer to put back, the very low (cask) carbonation here makes this a Southern Slammer. If you don't know what a Southern Slammer is, don't ask me, I just made it up. Sounded cool. Anyway, this is super easy to drink and enjoy. Really, just enjoy it. Enjoy the delicate and free play of semi-sweet malt that dances with the lightly bitter grassy hops and just put another one back. Enjoy that one too, then call up that friend you haven't seen in 4 months and invite them over to drink with you. I'm going to kill a growler tonight.

Not *quite* as enjoyable as what comes out of the 5-liter mini-keg, this is still the best American brown ale this side of Moose Drool and potentially in the top 5 in the nation.

The kkipple bottom line: (kkbl) : Recommended, no matter the serving type. The next time you see some sucker toting a 6 pack of NewCastle at your booze-dealer, slap it outta his hand and steer him towards the Bell's Best Brown.

Photo of cnjohn19
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Caramel appearance with a slight head which dissipated upon drinking...smell too of caramel, definite toasted malts and a slight chocolate...tough to decipher much more...smooth taste but a tad of bitterness which i wasn't expecting (not sure if it's supposed to be there)...great drinkability with slight characters...nothing too dominating...

Great choice for a fall day...i could imagine myself buying again on a 60 degree night...

Photo of mothman
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9339

Poured into Rare Vos glass

Pours 1 and 1/2 fingers of light creamy tan head. Head fades to a thin layer, but leaves amazing lace walls all the way down the glass. Color is a clear copper brown.

Aroma: Big malty nose with some grassy hops that are in the background but decently noticeable. Notes of caramel, nuts, and toffee present. Some dark fruits are also present.

Taste: Very malty with the grassy hops right in your face. Lots of caramel and toffee with nuts. A big roasted flavor to it. Some of those dark dried fruits are in the background.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly it is bitter and crisp. I really wasn't expecting this from a brown. Gets a little creamy at the end. Ends with a big roasted flavor and lots of hops. Very dry.

Overall, one of the better English brown ales I have had. Very nice flavors to it. Very hoppy as well so it was well balanced. Easy drinking beer. Gotta love Bell's.

Photo of JDK
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark amber, 1 finger head and nice carbonation

Very faint smell, to me,I can pick out more hops than anything. (I'm sure others will be able to pull more out though.)

Very nice taste for an ale, perfect balance of hops and malts.

Could definately drink a few of these in a session no matter the season

Photo of abrand
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pint glass on tap. My local pub just expanded their taps and the additional keg will be a microbrew with Bell's Best Brown being the first.

The Best Brown pours a deep amber almost brown color with a nice frothy ivory colored head with lots of lacing. Very good start to the beer. Aromas are sweet caramel and lots of malts. Taste is well balanced with sweetness up front and a bitter crisp finish. Some earthy tones come out with the warmer of the pint (it was poured much too cold). Very solid sweetness that consists of brown sugar cane. Mouthfeel is crisp while quenching. Drinkability is high. Not an overpowering ale with the ABV being moderate. I must say I drank several pints and enjoyed them but yet drove home safely.

Photo of Turbo
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of sabitu
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Alodnar
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of bronwynbh
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of generallee
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of nstroup
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of elwatt2
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of bellce0
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of TimoP
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of sapples
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of standardcherry
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Bottled 9/07/11.

Appearance: Deep and slightly cloudy brownish amber orange with lots of bubbles. Big five finger light tan head with good retention. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Some bready, lightly toasted caramel malts with lots of toffee. Hints of nuts throughout. Also a light hint of earthy hops in the background. Mostly malt forward in the nose.

Taste: Sweet and bready caramel malts and toffee up front with a little roasted character. A solid presence of nuts throughout. Light hints of dark fruit. A noticeable presence of grassy hops adds a little balancing bitterness to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid brown ale. Well balanced and pretty tasty.

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,607 ratings.