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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

838 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 838
Hads: 2,731
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 92
Gots: 317 | 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: 838 | Hads: 2,731
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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Photo of wmtxbb
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

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Photo of Brettster
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of charlzm
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
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."

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Photo of GossageBrewery
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

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.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite brown ales. Deep shade of brown/english toffee in color, the caramel notes transfer to the taste, with some butterscotch and earthiness in there to balance it out. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft, this beer goes down a treat.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 838 ratings.