Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

817 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 817
Hads: 2,634
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 90
Gots: 281 | 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: 817 | Hads: 2,634
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 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 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 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 PeatReek
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear, a bright, amber-brown color with a decidedly orangey head. The very mild aroma is sweet and bready, with hints of Maerzen-like fruity maltiness and a slight whisp of grass at the end. The sip starts with a significant wallop of bitterness (for the style) and evolves into a bready malt-fest; the Maerzen character is even more prominent here. Followed up by a rather sharp toasty taste that is not exactly the nutty roast aspect that I'm used to in a brown ale, but works nonetheless. The bitterness comes back again at the end of the sip to help it wash down clean. Superbly drinkable, especially as the glass sits out for a bit and the carbonation settles down from its initial overly harsh level - my only complaint.

(Batch 7723, bottled Nov. 15 2006) (770 characters)

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle poured into mug, pours a copper brown with good head lasting a few minutes, shrinking to a thin film for a while, then nothing, with little lacing, mostly following rim of liquid. Aroma, though I found it subtle and hard to define, is nice and of malts, chocolate and toffee, and maybe some brown sugar. Taste is of malts, with chocolate and toffee and brown sugar. The middle has that typical brown ale as I swallow, and has one of the better aftertaste I've observed, smooth and fading to nuts. Nicely carbonated, good body, though a tiny bit pasty halfway through. Forget the session beer ABV cut off at 5%... I'd drink this beer all night long. (663 characters)

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 dbtoe
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz poured into a pint glass
I'm a big fan of this beer. I'm really glad I picked this one up. It is a great brown ale. This is my first one and there will be many more to come. I put this right up there with my favorites.
Look is a nice brownish red with a good tan head.
Smell is mild malt and a hint of spice.
Taste I get a lot of toasted sweet malts, some spiciness and enough of a hop bite to even out the malts.
Feel is smooth and creamy with a very clean finish good carbonation.
Drink is high I could have these all night long. Wish I had a sixer on hand. (565 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - It pours a lustrous brown hue with a smattering of off-white lace, and while it doesn't definitively announce itself as 'Best' on appearance alone, it does look promising.

S - The aroma is fairly sudued, offering only hints of toastiness, herbal hoppiness and a pristine mineral character.

T - This is one of the best plain ol' brown ales I've had. It has a perfect amount of richness, a fantastic melding of toasty malt and herbal hop, and overall is just so sublimely balanced. And while this style may not be laden with frills, any brew that is so comprehensively competent is certainly cause for conviviality.

M - A very refreshing beer, a bit south of medium-bodied. In this case, bigger is not necessarily better; it seems a bulkier body would offer more creaminess at the expense of outright quaffability.

D - This beer is outstanding. I'd even go as far as to suggest that it is worthy of Supertasters formerly from Kalamazoo, suitable for imbibing with Friars, and acceptable to haters of beers with sin and devils all over them. Actually, come to think of it, the owl is a pagan symbol, so scratch that last part. (1,131 characters)

Photo of Ed_Johnson
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark amber in color and a light amount of visible carbonation. Moderate amounts of lacing.

S: Light aromas of caramel with less pronounced smell of brown sugar and molasses. There is also some cocoa.

T: Dark malts with some hints of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and sweetness. Also some nuts with a touch of cocoa. Very light bitterness in the finish.

M: Light to medium bodied. Creamy and smooth.

O: Extremely easy to drink. Enjoyable. Nice in the winter and I suspect year around. (505 characters)

Photo of divineaudio
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass. batch#9403.

color is a deep reddish amber with some sediment particles floating around. a thin tan head forms quick and calms down to a thin film. lacing is spotty at best.

smell is rich with toasted and carmel malts and some mild fruitiness. taste-wise, malt sweetness hits you first with a bit of a nutty character, then mild hop bitterness on the sides and back of the tongue, then a long semi-sweet finish. definitely has some raisin or fig in there somewhere but i can't quite put my finger, err, tongue on it. pretty well balanced for being so malt forward.

mouthfeel is smooth for being a heavier bodied ale. carbonation gives the flavors enough pop without being too fizzy.

very drinkable and a good contender if you're looking for a malty session beer. seems very true to style. yet another quality beer from bells. (860 characters)

Photo of Shovelbum
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Generous thick cramy head leaves good lace. The body is amber brown with good lace and retention. Smells of sweet malt. Tastes of caramel and sweeet malt. Light hop bitterness. Medium body. Smooth finish.

Good balance between the bitter and sweet flavors. An an enjoyable and highly drinkable brown. (302 characters)

Photo of WakeandBake
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

batch # 8749.A brownish amber color with a thick off-white head that slowly dissipates and leaves behind some excellent lacing. Aroma of roasted nuts and caramel malt with a touch of citrus and grassy hops. Taste is smooth, medium bodied, lightly carbonated with flavors of light caramel malt, some citrus zest and a touch of pecans.maybe a hint of grass. Finish is smooth, creamy with a more malty aftertaste than any bitterness.Very quaffable,and quite enjoyable. (465 characters)

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