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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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,604 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,604
Reviews: 825
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 82
Gots: 252 | 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
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Ratings: 2,604 | Reviews: 825 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tvv375ia
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-cloudy burnt orange colored with about a finger on head that fades quickly

S-carmel malt and a very earthy hop smell on the finish

T-much like the smell with some carmel up front and a slight pine hop finish

M-ok carbonation fairly light bodied

O-I had this on tap a couple of weeks ago so I thought that I would pick up a 6 pack so I could review it. On tap definitely a 4+ bottled not so much but it is still good

Photo of spinrsx
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from good ta go beer store in PA for 1.99 - thanks to jfam for this

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a large size fizzy/frothy beige head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes. There are also some particles floating around.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, toffee, chocolate, and a hint of dark fruits (raisins?). There is also a little bit of a molasses flavour. It ends with a malty chocolate and toffee aftertaste.

Overall - Pretty good, but nothing that will blow your socks off. It's very drinkable but the higher abv would keep it from being a session type brew. Worth a shot but I wouldn't pick it up again.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of MSR129
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very nice offering from Bells. Pours a rich amber color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is not particularly strong. The flavor is rich and nutty, similar to Arcadia's Nut Brown. It is pretty carbonated for a Brown Ale, but not overly so.

It's easy to polish off a few of these with out thinking about it. The Northern Saw-whet Owl on the label is outstanding.

Photo of ManekiNeko
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served chilled from a bottle at a Bell's tasting at the Brickskeller.

Appearance: Clear copper color with a frothy offwhite head. Head eventually dissipates to a frothy later. Left some nice fine lacing on the plastic cup.

Smell: Nice caramel and toffee aromas. Slightly sour, grassy hops in background.

Taste: Caramel and toasted flavors. Faint coffee tastes. Herby hops on finish.

Mouthfeel: Solid medium body. Nice carbonation.

Drinkability: A nice quaffer. I liked it, but wasn't overly excited.

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The pour is an inviting auburn, copper colored body with a rich ruby glow. The head is very full and foamy, with a milk shake head consistency.

Smell: Smell is very clean, fresh smell...like moutain air coupled with a sweet plumb and crabtree odor.

Taste: It is very smooth. There is really fruity, sweet presence throughout, and it stays for a long time on the tongue. Surprisingly, this beer lacks much in the way of roasty flavor, which I have come to expect from Brown beers. Closest would be a bit of nut flavor, but even that is pretty sweet - like a cashew.

Mouthfeel: The body is a very large feel. It takes a big weight on the tongue and coats it, allowing you to really get a sense of what this beer is about. I appreciate that it didn't sacrifice body at all here.

Drinkability: The beer is a smooth drinker and great for sessions. It is also moderate in terms of alcohol content, so you can really hand out with a friend...say..over a game of chess, or maybe some Dead or Alive 3, or maybe play Bach fugues and preludes...and still drink lots of them.

Photo of adamhdv
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark down, small tan head that stuck around for a while. No lacing.

Small about of carbonation, medium bodied ale. Mouthful is mostly creamy malts. Maybe a hint of caramel.

Drinkability is not horrible, but I couldn't make this a session beer. Not a bad beer, just not what I had entirely hoped for.

I might pick this up again however to give it another shot.

Had Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale right before, and the Bell's Best Brown seemed way less interesting.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
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 TheDM
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
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 doughanson78
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Thanks to storminspank for this.

A: Medium brown color with good clarity. One finger light tan head with ok retention and alright lacing.

S: Cola and some light chocolate. A touch of vanilla and some nuttiness. Maybe a hint of toffee.

T: Cola and bittersweet chocolate. Nuttiness, caramel and toffee are light. A hint of coffee in the finish.

M: Light bodied, hinting on watery. Medium high carbonation. Lightly fizzy.

O: For a style I really don't enjoy, this is not half bad. I would drink it again.

Photo of Brenden
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a moderate brown with some clarity that gives off a red hue in the light. A tan head pours off the tap at just over one finger with lots of action, leading to a little over-pour. The head diminishes and leaves a stubborn foam that drops ragged curtains of lacing in its wake.
The nose is really very mild. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm just not finding much. What I can detect is good: light caramel, toffee, and perhaps molasses with a touch of barley-like grains are there, but it's a struggle to smell them.
The flavor, on the other hand, doesn't hold out on me. A strong malt base with some sturdy barley and caramelized sugars along with brown sugar notes make up this one. A taste of hops rounds out the finish along with a touch of dark fruits.
The mouthfeel is smooth and there's a nice creaminess in the body, but I'm not getting any crispness off the tap and carbonation is very light.
This is very drinkable; I don't doubt that the nose would really pick up and the body would firm up a little from the bottle.

Photo of cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is a very nice malt dominated brown. The aroma features caramel/toffee, malt and brown sugar.

T- The taste follows the aroma, with a good amount of sweet malt and just a touch of bitterness in the finish to balance out the sweetness.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a very drinkable English-style Brown Ale that is definitely worth a try. Recommended!

Photo of KMcG
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 1 finger head, quite lacey and sticky that topped deep orange-brown ale.

S: The aroma is weak and difficult to capture. I pick up on sweet roasted malts and that's about it.

T: Sweet malty backbone and hints of toffee and berries. There are floral hops come out in the finish.

M: It's light to medium bodied with medium carbonation and a smooth and somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

Photo of damndirtyape
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Shaker pint glass. Batch 10708, bottled 09/20/11.

Appearance: Despite a careful pour some sediment got in. I could see that it was a clear brown/orange, but now when held up to the light it is a hazy to cloudy brown/orange. Some coppery notes as well when held up to the light. Off-white to light tan head very thin across the top, but persistent. Some sheets and strands of lacing noted. With a swirl the foam really comes back to 1/8" and sticks around.

Smell: Toasted malt with just a hint of burnt sugar.

Taste: Wonderful toasted malt, with some mocha notes thrown in for good measure. Finish is piney and bitter, with the bitterness taking on some black coffee flavor. just right against that sweeter malt flavor. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation - a little spicy on the tongue. Past the carbonation it's just a hair thicker than water. A little bit of cling to the teeth noted.

Overall / Drinkability: Quite a tasty beer. Simple in flavor profile and very drinkable. I could easily have another. A little weak in aroma, but this is made up for in taste. Went well with chili and cornbread, and I'm sure it would be good with a lot of other food as well, and of course, by itself after the meal.

Photo of pzrhsau
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice deep/rich brown color with an enormous head to it.
Smell: Nice combination of malt that almost makes it smell like a hearty bread.
Taste: The beer has a great flavor from the malt and it is accentuated by a slight tang that almost gives it a fruity after taste.
Drinkability and mouthfeel: Very crisp and easy to drink. Not too harsh on the palate.

Photo of Dope
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A nice mahogany brown with a huge fluffy offwhite head. Great lacing and retention.

S: Toffee, nuts, molasses and brown sugar.

T: Not too sweet like a lot of brown ales. A nice nutty toffee flavor backed up with a little molasses.

M: Medium body but seems like just a little too much carbonation. Needs to be a little more still in my opinion.

O: A decent brown ale. A little sweeter and a little less carbonation would make this amazing.

Photo of DannyDan
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours a brownish orange color when holding it up top the light. It has a two finger white head that has decent retention and good lacing to it. Carbonation seems good too.
S. The smell is not real strong, but can detect some caramel, malts, and a nutty smell
T. The first thing I taste is a nutty taste, followed by some chocolate, caramel than some hops in the middle and some citrus at the end.
M. The Mouthfeel is a sticky, cling to the tongue and cheeks beer.
D. A medium body beer that is pretty drinkable and would suggest trying this for those that like this style of beer. However, Michigan Nut Brown Ale is the one I prefer over Bell's Best Brown Ale.

Photo of yourefragile
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

A: Cloudy reddish brown (not overly dark) with a cream colored head that quickly dissipates to a ring of large bubbles. Nice lacing.
S: Very mild, nutty, creamy, roasted malt, bread
T: Again, very mild not overly nutty or malty. At first there was a bad slightly bitter aftertaste but that dissipated quickly. A lingering sweetness throughout like brown sugar. Not very hoppy.
M: Medium body, very creamy and smooth. High carbonation but very pleasant. Very nice actually.
D: While most of the aromas and flavors are very mild, there is a still a deep, strong taste that is very persistent in the aftertaste. For me this start off very unassuming and disappointing but became a very nice brown ale.

Photo of rangerred
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy medium brown with a nice 2 finger head. Excellent head retention and lacing.

Smells of caramel and toasted malt. There is also a certain yeasty smell.

The taste is very malty with strong caramel/toffee and also a slight sour yeasty flavor. There is a bitterness that really kicks in at the end that is nutty and hoppy. The mouthfeel is very creamy and pretty thick.

Overall I think this is a very good beer and a good example of the style. I wish it was available locally because I would definitely seek it out.

Photo of tewaris
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy rust brown color with an off white creamy head. Good retention and lacing. Aroma is, well, browned malts ;-) Tastes slightly sweet with a good specialty malt character manifesting itself in caramel flavor and roast. Just a hint of hoppiness at the end with a long, comforting aftertaste. Good body, rather high carbonation. Plenty of residual sweetness. A good brown ale.
4, 3, 4, 3.5, 4

Photo of jayandsheri
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of GregJ
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of heyitsbyron
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a single from Woodman's in Madison into an imperial pint glass.

Poured thin with a quickly dissipating head. The ruddy brown color was nice, but it didn't scream "drink me" like it should.

Smelled boozy and fruity, kind of like bubblegum. I kinda liked it.

Taste was weak and washed out. Nutty and malty and first, but very watery when it should finish strong. Aftertaste is slightly yeasy and boozy.

Nothing special in the mouth. Thin but also overcarbonated a little and doesn't have a satisfyingly pleasant linger.

I wanted to like this beer because I like Bell's and I like brown ales, but there's really nothing here to separate from the masses of mediocre brown ales. Not sufficiently distinct or satisfying to warrant drinking again unless it were free or there were no better alternatives.

Photo of flexinwext
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hazy dark reddish amber color with a thin tan head and nice lacing. Scent of sweet, roasted malt. Nice roasted chocolate taste with a slight bitter aftertaste. Reminds me somewhat of a dry irish stout. All the floaties were somewhat off-putting but overall some great flavor and a quality session beer.

Photo of oakaged88
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,604 ratings.