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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

849 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 849
Hads: 2,808
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 95
Gots: 365 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 849 | Hads: 2,808
Photo of ballz50401
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a medium deep brown with some haziness and little floaties from the bottle conditioning. Good carbonation and head retention. Smells of rich malts with bready/bicuity characteristics rise up. Taste some caramel and coffee tones. Feels creamy with a little carbonation bite at the end. Really like this brown ale.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, cloudy, deep mahogany color with practically no head what-so-ever. What little head there was, quickly dissolved away into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed wispy clouds that gathered in the center of the top of the beer.

Aroma: Nice and malty, like freshly baked bread. Strong notes of black pepper, clover and brown sugar.

Taste: Like the aroma, nice and malty, with strong notes of freshly baked bread, coriander and black pepper. Notes of brown sugar-like sweetness follow the malt and spices, and the beer finishes with some nicely balanced hops bitterness. Delicious!

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.8%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a damn good brown ale! Great balance between malt and sweetness and hops. I’d certainly get it again!

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9981 bottled on 9/16/10 pours a slightly hazy mahogany with a thick tan head that retains impressively. The aroma is pleasant and nuanced with notes of caramel and toffee, dark fruits, milk chocolate, hazelnut as well as toasted bread. The flavor has seriously malty goodness going on, with treacle and brown sugar, as well as plum and fig, mild coffee, milk chocolate, herbal hops and some toasted bread. I've had this beer a number of times before tonight but never really GOT it, but this sucker is smooth and super drinkable with a bunch of malt depth...this is what Tumbler should have been.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16 ounce can poured into a shaker pint

Pours a cloudy dark brown with some slight ruby colored edges, nice creamy, fluffy head, not a lot of carbonation, some lacing. Smells of light roasted coffee, toast, toffee, caramel, smells more roasty than sweet. On the taste, get a hit of light roasted coffee up front, toasted bread, slight caramel, toffee, a hint of light bitterness, finishes dry and roasty, it has a great creamy mouthfeel, very drinkable.

I really enjoyed this, it's light yet tasty, doesn't have a big heavy feel to it, very sessionable, reminds of a light porter, very enjoyable, will definitely pick up more of this as long as its available.

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Photo of karst
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes everything comes together when you create a beer. If you are skillfull, persistent and often just lucky you get a beer like Bell's Best Brown Ale. One of the beers that I wonder if I am worthy to review. Working on the second sixer and still finding more that I like. My overall impression is that all the components are fused into a single entity like an ancient Canadian shield monolithic boulder that has resisted eons of weathering and nevertheless still allows one to enjoy its individual components that have combined to form its crystalline metamorphic structure.

Pours a clear ruddy brown with a dense light tan head that playfully laces my 0.4 L rastal tulip. Aroma that combines Bell's signature esters with earthy and citrus. Its a clean complex aroma that suggest chocolate, medium crystal and biscuit malts. Of all the temperatures I have tried this Brown beauty, 50°F to room temp brings my the most enjoyment. An unique dry finish inspite of a sweet caramel start and fruity middle that features a solid medium body with that dextrine filled mouthfeel you always hope for.

The third attemp to review - guess I will let it stand rather that delete it as I did the previous ones.

A must try!

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Photo of Chugmonkey
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light brown, nice reddish highlights, Big off white poofy head, beautiful lacing.

Nutty, bready, sweet, slight earthy aroma.

Nutty, bready, earthy, finishs a little caramelly sweet for the taste.

Huge bonus points for creaminess in the feel, finishes slightly dry.

Very tasty, nice sweetness that doesn't overwhelm. Don't get one, get the 6 pack. You'll wish you had more than one for sure.

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Photo of tedvr
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear with a small creamy head, light brown with a reddish tint. Has a mild malt smell with a hint of honey or molasses in the background. Has a malt taste with the molasses/honey coming through. Mild carbonation with a nice finish. A very good brown ale with quite a lot of depth.

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Photo of Transatlantic
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A - A very beautiful hazy unfiltered walnut brown color with an okay head with okay lacing. Chunks upon chunks of sediment, might I add.

S - A very nutty and caramel smell with a light floral hop smell in the background.

T - Very nutty and very caramel like taste. Hop bitterness is next to non-existent in this brew. This is a very light but sweet brown ale.

M - Light to medium bodied

D - The drinkability on this brew is off the charts. I should have gotten another 6-pack of this stuff before they're gone.

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Photo of magine
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a cloudy (love that), caramel/brown color with a thick chunky tan head. Nice chunk island head stays throughout, and it has great lace. Nice looking brew.

Brew has a caramel malt smell, bisquit and grain.

The brew is malty; caramel, toffee tastes. Very balanced, some hops and a very smooth finish - sweet, but not overdone. Smooth creamy brew, goes down way, way easy.

This is an extreamly sessionable brew, and a very good one at that. One of the best brown ales I have had. Has a great drinkability, with a great finish and taste.

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Photo of adamette
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken last night at Bspot, Michael Symon's rather new restaurant in Woodmere, Ohio. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass.

A Nice light brown creamy head and a great looking cloudy, opaque brown body that I just loved. I have had too many of those "Brown Ales" that are weak, translucent and boring. This one demands your attention and kind of announces that it is a serious beer. Lacing was not that good. 4.5

S Medium roast malt and not a strong smell. Repeated sniffs revealed a twinge of nuttiness. Nice. 4.0

T Nice classic English Brown, done by people who know and understand the style. Really this is suggestive of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, probably the standard bearer for the style. 4.0

M Nice and smooth but a thickness that I really enjoyed. I can imagine this beer in an English pub. 4.5

D very good with manageable ABV and all of that great look, smell and taste. 4.5

Notes: Everyone reading this review should find and try this beer!

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A hazy, almost clear, dark amber to brown color body with an off white, decent size, creamy texture, head that recedes quickly.

S: A nice balance nose of malts (bready, caramel, & chocolate) and sweet floral hops.

T: An upfront bitter hops followed by toasted malts & nuts, and then finishes with a dry bready long lasting aftertaste.

M: Crisp texture with a medium body and a lot of carbonation that tickles the palate.

D: Overall, a very good brown ale, but I wouldn't consider it the best. This one, in my opinion, would be better enjoyed with food rather then by itself. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of coryking
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
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!

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Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
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

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Photo of neenerzig
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
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!


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Photo of tobelerone
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of dfried
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby brown in color, tan film and ring for head. Rich caramely aroma, brown sugar, some hops linger. The flavor is actually quite tangy from the malt and hops together. A sweet dark sugary base is always there and refreshing but there are some fruity flavors as well, apple skins, pears, raisins. Some bready and biscuity flavors, and some nutty as the style would dictate. Pretty low CO2, sticks in the mouth well, the flavors linger.

Verdict: like eating a caramel apple. Brewed close enough to style to be called a brown, but more fruity and tangy than most I have had.

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Photo of gmcfarre
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch 7227 - 12 oz bottle poured into Sammy Smith pint glass

A - Pours a nice clear (yet dark) reddish nut brown, that proves to be even more ruby-esque when held up to the light. Head was about 1/2 inch but it fades quickly to leave a thin layer for the rest of this little beers life.

S - Not strong, but nicely pleasing. Mild malt combines with a nutty freshness, with just a touch of fruity sweet.

T - A very balanced and drinkable brown ale. Malt is the strongest contender, but the aftertaste leaves some nutty notes behind. Sweet, but not overly so.

M - Smooth, with a nice mouth coating effect. As easy going down as it is throughout.

D - Intensely quaffable. I think I drank 3/4 of it before stopping to think and take notes. A beer that I could drink every night and not be disappointed.

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Photo of Bockrules
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a nice dark hazy brown with a great 3 finger tan head. Very good head retention, staying intact all the way down the glass. Leaves behind moderate lacing.

S - Nice smell of earthy English hops on a caramel malt background.

T - A little bit of alcohol and hop flavor up front followed by a tremendously balanced and delicious body. Chocolate and caramel overtones flow beautifully over a biscuity-maly body. A little bit of English hop presence mingle with sweetness in the finish and leaves a lingering bitter-sweet aftertaste.

M - Moderate bodied and semi-creamy. Moderate carbonation suits the style well

D - A damn good Brown Ale, I could drink these all night. The beer goes easy on the hops, but throws in enough other great flavors to keep the beer interesting. A definite winner which makes me want to try the other Belles varieties, though a little spendy at around $9.00 a six.

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Photo of slyke
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Best Brown Ale pours a pleasing brown color with a little lighter tone around the edges. The head is slightly off-white, maintains a cap throughout the beer and laces nicely.

Smell is roasty and malty with a soft citrus note. Taste pleasantly continues the roasted malty quality. A bit of hoppy citrus in the center of the taste and a nice gentle bitterness in the end.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with an expected bit of "weight" on the tongue. This beer is very drinkable. Try it when you find it.

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Photo of Tschnab
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a great brown pour with a khaki head that is 2 fingers high, plenty of lace trails the glass.

S- very malty, leading to carmel and toffee like aromas, followed by a nuttiness and breadiness.

T- the taste confirms the nose completely. the flavor is quite full for the abv, and the malty sweetness is balanced by a good bitterness and nutty earthiness.

O- a very very sessionable brown ale that goes down the hatch quite well. Not so roasted, not so malty, just a really well balanced beer.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a brown body with an off-white about 2 finger head with not much retention and no lacing.

S: Smells slightly roasty lots of caramel, sugar, and some fruit. smells good, but not very bold.

T: Fantastic! I'm a huge fan of this one. caramel maltiness with hints of brown sugar turning into a small amount of fruitiness and a grassy hop tail. Very nice.

Overall: Mouthfell was good, just as you expect. Quite drinkable, the wonderful flavor makes it hard not to have a few. I can't believe I got a 6-pack for only $3.50...I love 1/2 off sales.

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Photo of jackndan
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of henrichsj
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of daddypatstacks
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bell's has sort of special place in my heart. They were one of the breweries that helped me transition into my love of craft beer, and their brown ale really opened my eyes. It has been a couple years since I drank this one so I figured I owed to them to try it again. Personally, I think brown ales are some of the best (and overlooked) beers of the fall season. I'm not really sure what the real difference between "American" and "English" brown ales are, but I find myself preferring the English variety. The toasty malts are that are present in this beer are more delicately balanced than the similarly rated American versions. It's darker- sort of a mahogany color- but doesn't border on stout levels like some of its counterparts. Their isn't much complexity, but that's a good thing. This beer tastes exactly like the label looks and makes me excited to welcome the pleasantly cool nights that come with the season.

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Photo of ADR
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 849 ratings.