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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.
very good

2,550 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,550
Reviews: 813
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 80
Gots: 219 | 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: 2,550 | Reviews: 813 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of meatmallet
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of scalffd
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Photo of breakingbland
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of PaulyB83
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
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

Photo of andrewjraab
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of bsp77
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Medium brown with a slight orangish cast. Moderate tan colored head that leaves nice rings down the glass.

Smell: Toast, caramel, fruit, English hops and some nuttiness. Smells fairly dry. Most of the rich smell fades, leaving a dry malt smell.

Taste: Slightly sweet caramel and toasted malt countered with a decent level of English spicy hops for a Brown Ale. Some nut flavor is evident but not a lot. A little bit of a fruity aftertaste that I am not super fond of.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, somewhat dry finish (only somewhat because of the aftertaste).

Drinkability: Very solid example of a traditional Brown Ale. If it wasn't for the aftertaste, this would be top-notch.

Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chocolate cabinet brown with creamy head, fresh leaving lace in glass. Caramel, a touch of graininess and roasted barley and molasses and licorice in aroma and in taste. Very easy drink, understated hoppiness and maltiness so just some bitterness and sweetness. Some of each in aftertaste, but more sweet. Creamy mouthfeel. Good example of this style. Thanks Dr. Jay.

Photo of plfahey
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Amber-brown with a slight cast of chill haze. Creamy tan-beige head is moderately large, shows decent retention and some nice lacing.

Aroma-Sweet, bready malt with some toastiness to it. Slight nutty notes and a touch of chocolate to it. The malt profile is quite nice, and supplemented by subtle fruity esters and a faint kiss of earthy hops.

Flavor-Less sweet than the aroma, with toast, and a little bit of chocolate up front. Moderately low hop bitterness comes in at the end, along with a little bit of green hop character. That said, finish is still dominated by the malt.

Mouthfeel-Medium body, with moderate, gentle carbonation. Smooth and a bit creamy.

I've had this beer on cask before, and it was pretty fantastic. From the bottle, it's not too shabby, but nothing to write home about. A standard American brown with some nice malt character in the flavor and aroma, but not too much beyond that. Still, a solid beer.

Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark brown with a good tan head.
Chocolatey, roasty aroma with a hint of vinegar.

Taste shows a smooth, chocolate, roasty, malt flavor. Good hop balance. A sweet, vinegar flavor is persistent throughout and really detracts from the beer IMO. I don't know if this is part of the beer's flavor profile or just a bad bottle. This beer would have scored much higher if the sour flavor wasn't present. It has a lot of characteristics I really like aside from that.

Fuller body and mouthfeel than your typical brown ale.
Drinkability suffers due to the sour notes.

Overall, a good brown ale with a detracting sour flavor and aroma. I'd like to give this one a try again from a different batch.

Photo of santoslhalper
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearence: Pours a hazy brown with a foamy tan head. Head lingers for a while. As with a decent amount of Bell's brews I've had, there are massive chunks of yeast floating. I know it's a result of the bottle conditioning but I think it's a bit overboard.

Smell: Smells malty and creamy, with milk and coffee notes. The hops make a decent presence, and create nice balance.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes very much like toffee. The roasted caramel notes shine through, and the hops are floral and provide a long lingering finish. The mouthfeel is the normal velvety feel most Bell beers have, but I can actually feel the yeast in my mouth. Maybe just a bad bottle.

Drinkability and Overall: This is very nice tasting beer, but the yeast is overboard. Too much. This is a problem that needs fixed. Other than that I loved the flavor of the beer, and it smelled among the best. Hopefully this is just a bad bottle.

Photo of tjlake
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Out of a bottle poured into straight pint glass, briefly held a 1 finger head, laced all the way down the glass. More red-brown than brown, and a little cloudy.

S - Very light on the nose, almost non-existent, save a little malt and caramel.

T - Standard brown ale, nothing to write home about, but not at all displeasing.

M - Feels malty up front but lacks body, instead it finishes a little crisp.

D - This beer scores major points on drinkability! At 5.8%, it's not a heavy-hitter, goes down smooth and still has enough flavor and darkness to it to qualify it as an Autumn beverage. I tore through two of these over lunch, so it's a session beer for certain.

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 11/14/2012. Pours fairly cloudy brown copper color with a nice 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of caramel, toast, light cocoa, brown bread, floral, brown sugar, and light nuttiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance; but are fairly weak. Taste of caramel, toast, cocoa, brown bread, floral, brown sugar, light nuttiness, light pine, and light citrus hops. Lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, cocoa, brown sugar, light pine, and light citrus on the finish for a bit. Nice balance and complexity of flavors with a fair amount of robustness; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a good brown ale. Nice balance with fairly robust flavors; and very smooth to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky dark brown with a reddish tint to it. There was a one finger off white head that dissipated to a thin ring with some slight lacing. The smell is mostly malt with a little caramel and sweetness. The taste is strong for a brown. There is mostly malt with a bitter kick in the end which is carried through by the carbonation. The mouthfeel is creamy but not too thick which coupled with the smooth flavor and great carbonation make this one a great warm session ale.

Photo of Durge
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brown ale has a light mahogany color with a huge light tan head and major lacing. There is only a very mild malt aroma, disappointing. It does follow with a nice charcoal toffee taste though. I detect midland cabonation and find it to be very drinkable. There's a hint of orange and chocolate nuttiness. Bitter grassy hops in the back. The hops tend to dominate toward the end, maybe too much. Sweet malt, a nice blend.

Photo of Eric_Leon
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%

Photo of donteatpoop
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy dark brown with a light reddish glow. Not much head, but what is there is ivory.

Smells of toasted malts, a little coffee-like. Very inviting.

Has a bit of an initial bite to it, fills the mouth with the taste of the toasted malts that were present in the scent.

Carbonation level might be a little high, but not enough to detract from the impact the beer makes on the palate. Goes down relatively smoothly, leaves a slightly dry aftertaste.

I could drink a few of these in a sitting. I don't know that I would actively seek this brew out, but this is certainly not a bad beer.

Photo of willjschmidt
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours a deep brown color with a reddish tint. A tan head quickly recedes.

S: Lots of sweet malts: brown sugar with quite a bit of molasses.

T: It matches the nose... lots of semi-sweet dark malt flavors. A bit of roasted flavors as well, some toffee and some burnt chocolate. Nice balance and very smooth. Dry in the finish.

M: Smooth and medium bodied.

D: A solid, smooth drinking brown ale. A nice beer got the winter months.

Photo of biegaman
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with bounteous head that would becalm into mere bubbles. A sort of glowing, umber colour. I couldn't see my finger through the other side. Aroma with cola-root beer like properties, smells sticky and syropy. Lots of hops too though. Taste far more subtle that aroma. Mouthfeel rounds out nicely, leaving a caramely roast. A lot of malts come through on the finish too. Not so much light nor dark malts, the sort of in between ones - not nearly roasty - maybe 'toasty'. Smooth and very enjoyable to drink. A well made American style brown ale. Thanks HogTownHarry.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a rounded pint glass at McGonigals Pub in Barrington, IL

This beer pours a deep brown color with a nice creamy beige foam head on the surface. The smell is of sweet malts and a tad bit of chocolate in the background. The taste has many of the same sweet malt flavors to the almost extreme. I've actually had milk stouts that were less sweet than this beer. The chocolate flavors do shine through in a milk chocolate fashion with the sweetness. There is a tinge of bitterness on the back-end but for the most part this beer goes down fairly smooth. The problem I have in drinking it is it's far too sweet for me. It's a good thing my father, who's birthday it was, didn't like the Daisy Cutter I recommended he get, so we switched to each other delight. I respect it, but it's not my favorite Bell's beer.

Photo of botham
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a new sam adams glass. pours a caramel brown color with amber highlights and two fingers of tan head that dissipates within a minute or two after a hard pour. moderate lacings.

aroma is malty, with a distinct caramel character, with an earthy base and a lightly roasted character. a nutty character is light in the background, with a hint of alcohol. nicely proportioned.

taste is of caramel malts with a hint of roasted malts and a nutty base. no alcohol present, with a a mild earthy quality in the background.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth and creamy texture. finishes clean with a bit of residual roasted malt.

drinkability is good. this is a solid brown ale, easy going and smooth on the palate. a great offering from Bell's. cheers!

Photo of AMCimpi
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%

Photo of Spica66
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: More red than brown. Nice head with lacing.

S: Smells very malty. Not too complex.

T: This has always tasted nutty to me. It has a nice malt flavor, kind of medium in strength.

F: I would not say that this beer has anything more than average mouthfeel.

D: this beer is very easy to drink, especially in the fall before a football game!

Photo of TheDM
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew has a very nice malty aroma with a light head that disappeared before I could take my first taste. It was lightly carbonated with a caramel taste. It has a nice light brow transparent color and left a good lacing on the glass. ANother fine brew from Bells!

Photo of RedBane
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%

Photo of Luigi
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a lighter brown, with a lot of amber highlights. Has an off white head that starts off about two fingers, then settles down to thin blanket on top of the ale. There is some sticky lacing around the glass and the head retains throughout the life of the beer.

The aroma is notes of toasted malt, toffee, and chocolate.

The first flavor to hit the palate would be the strong toasted malt, followed with some hints of chocolate. The hops are mildly bitter but are just enough to linger of the tongue, paired with the toasted malt.

Medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

Overall, Bell's Brown ale is a switch up from the average English Brown Ale. The carbonation is what threw me off. I guess I am used to the traditional lightly carbonated almost chewy in body brown ales. But, never the less Bell's brown ale is a tasty dark brew.

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,550 ratings.