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

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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,625 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,625
Reviews: 832
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 87
Gots: 272 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,625 | Reviews: 832
Photo of PeatReek
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
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)

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

Photo of LittleBug31
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

Photo of elgiacomo
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
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!

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

Photo of dbtoe
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of Ed_Johnson
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of divineaudio
4.29/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of Shovelbum
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of WakeandBake
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of engagechad
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - bottled Nov 30th 2010 drank on april 21st 2011 - poured into tulip

Pours a light browny amber with a creamy tan head. Beer is clear and pure, perfect lacing and beautiful head.
Smells of licorice and dark fruits, tastes bitter but not from hops and feels pretty smooth. It's an easy drinking brown that is quite tasty, nothing fancy or spectacular though.

*re-review*
11-13-11

Pours nice, murky orange brown, nice head. Smells perfect, brown sugar, deep malty sweets with spice. Taste is effin boss. Smooth and tingley at the end, aftertaste is sweet brown sugar.

I had to re do this one because I loved it the second go around.

Photo of beergod1
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Flows a creamy dark brown then clears up a bit, a light fading head. Nice toasty sweet nutty flavor,smooth mouth feel, I think a slap of hop at the back of my tongue on the finish, rounds out nicely. This is in my top 5 or 6 Brown ales, along with Dogfishhead, Sammy Smiths, Goose Island, Avery and a couple of others.

Photo of KevBrews
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours brownish amber, slightly murky. Not a lot of head retention--mostly a small ring around the outside of the glass.

S: Nutty chocolate aroma, hints of raisin as it warms.

T: Caramel with hints of coffee and toffee; low hop flavor--malt flavor dominates.

M: Moderate--low to medium carbonation.

D: This beer would be great as a session beer. It is smooth and easy to drink. Flavorful, but not overpowering. I only picked up a single bottle, and when I finished, I wished I had bought a sixer. However, given a choice between this and Bell's Porter, I'd go for the porter every time.

Photo of GruvisHops
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 12 oz. brown bottle. 1/2" of light tan head on top of a brown body w/deep reddish hues. Heavy particulate floating around.

S: Toffee and caramel. Not much else, but good enough for me.

T: More caramel. Toasted malt lingers on the tongue with a wonderful balance between malt and hops.

M: Medium. For me, this is the weakest part about this beer. It's just a little too light.

D: Extremely drinkable.

Notes: Excellent brown ale; great representation of the style.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark red-brown, with a creamy tan cap that settles quickly but never quite goes away.

Nose is nice and roasty, nutty, bread crust with hints of brown sugar and cocoa. Delicious but a bit reserved.

Taste is beautifully rich and balanced - nutty and roasty, you get a big dose of the same breadcrusty flavors you get in the nose. But you also get a big, slightly dry brown sugar note that has that Belgian shimmer to it, leading to a nice, dry, roasty finish that balances the body perfectly without being overly bitter.

Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with a crisp but very light carbonation.

Superbly drinkable and delicious beer, I would buy this by the case if I could get it.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnished bronze with loads of suspended particles. I may just have to chew this beer. The light brown head is large, firm and is a very nice lacer. Thick, chunky sheets adorn the glass as I drink.

The nose is of caramel/toffee, brown sugar and light molasses. As someone who prefers those flavors to chocolate, I approve in a big way and hope that the flavor matches the nose. It does. I can tell after the first sip that this beer has rocketed to the top of my 'best brown ales' list. A little more body would make it absolutely killer, but it's pretty damn tasty all the same.

Again, the flavor matches the nose: caramelized sugar-covered toasted malt with a little spiciness for good measure. I'm also reminded of sweet, dark fruits such as figs and dates. The sweetness--neither too much nor too little--fades to a slight dryness by the tail end of the long, lingering finish. I repeat, with a heavier body this would be extraordinary beer.

Bell's Brewery continues to grow on me. Brown ale is an often overlooked style that is sometimes short on excitement, but Bell's Best Brown is phenomenal stuff and has impressed me to no end.

Photo of MarkQ617
4.31/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this out of the bottle in South Carolina, after attempting (and failing) the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. Really just an excellent brown. Smooth mouthfeel with a nutty, burnt caramel flavor. I can't comment on the appearance because I had this straight out of the bottle at night, so I've assumed for the purposes of this review that it probably looks similar to most other browns. Solid after dinner beer.

Photo of archiespeck
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had one of these following a Hopslam last night. Very interesting dichotomy!

A - Poured a dark hazy brown. Very little carbonation on this one.

S - Caramel, nuts, brown sugar with a touch of cinnamon. As a previous poster stated, the best smelling brown ale out there.

T - This is where the caramel and nuttiness really come through. Very nice, and not overpowering at all. Strikes a very nice balance with the maltiness.

M - A little thicker than your average brown ale. Again, low carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. I could easily put away 4-5 of these if I weren't careful.

Photo of Slynger
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer really looks like somethin' else. It's sort of a deep, cloudy, tarnished copper with amber and butterscotch highlights. A fairly creamy dirty white cap leaves some slippery lacing.

The nose is nice and cooly sweet dark fruits and caramel. Lightly toasted aromas mix with a nuttiness and spicy woodsy hops.

Medium bodied and chewy with large bubbled creaminess. Sweet caramel malts are noticed at first, with a light bitterness that lingers throughout the journey. Fruity apple and plum overtones blend well with the light spiciness of earthy woodsy hops.

I like most of Bell's offerings a lot but this one really caught me off guard. It is a great brown and should be recognized among the top few of the style. It is quite unique, incredibly drinkable, and thankfully I picked up more than one bottle as I definitely did not grasp all that there was to experience in this brew. Bell's Best Brown will in fact hold that title in my book until I come across a real rival.

Photo of Finn
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber, with a thin lace that stays on top. Good clarity.

Smell: Bready, toasty, biscuity malts dominate the nose very nicely.

Taste: Rich, smooth bread-like malts, ending with a lingering hop bitterness, caramel flavors. Mild fruitiness present.

Mouthfeel: Medium, smooth body. Medium carbonation compliments nicely. Slight creaminess.

Drinkability: This one really opens up as it warms up. Drinkability is high. One of the better brown ales out there, very well balanced, nothing over the top, but still retains full flavor. Recommended!

Photo of TexIndy
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back from Indy during XMas. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The back label has a 4 digit bottling code that you can type into the website and get the beer and bottling info. I really like that part of the code but the major drawback is that it does nothing for you at the store unless you got wireless with you or the store lets you on the internet - neither of which really happens. Keep the code but add a date to the bottle. Anyway. It was a deep reddish brown color with some yeast bits floating around. Tons of carbonation that resulted in a carb geyser in the center that continuously feed the foam and collar. It started with an average size light brown head that slowly settled.

The aroma was sorta weak even for a brown. What was there was good but would have like it amped up a bit. Biscuity with cocoa powder. The taste was really good. This is probably the best English Brown that I've had. Solid from the start. Good malty bite with a bit of sweetness that leaves a nice finish. This would be a great session beer. Also would be a good beer to convert your friends to good beer.

Overall, a great beer that I highly recommend. Another great one from Bell's. Oh how I wish they were available here in the Great Beer Desert of Texas. Can't wait to try the other Bell's I brought back. Will definitely pick up more of this the next time I'm in Indy.

Photo of mralphabet
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Reddish brown color in color, pretty clear, about 1/2 a fingers worth of head that settles to a nice layer and ring of foam. Very nice lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Sweet malt, little caramel and nuts.. pretty normal for a brown. Just smells right.

T: Great tasting little brown... Sweet malt, caramel and a hint of nuttiness. Everything you are getting in the smell is here. Again the mix is just right.

M: At first it was a little sharp with the carbonation, but it settles down as it warms and gets smoother and less carbonated... Just gets better and better.

D: Man this is just a good beer... a very solid brown. Good ABV, good flavors, smooth (when warm), good session beer. Worth a look at.

Photo of cooch69
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured from the draft an amber brown which was fairly opaque. It had a lovely two and a half finger head which stuck around for the party.
It smelled of caramel and bready malts.
The taste on this beer was realy good. It was a surprisingly fresh brown ale that was definetly influenced by the English. It was slightly roasty and nutty, slightly sweet and only a hint of hops in the finish. This beer has a well balanced carbonation and a medium body with an easy drinkability.
Definately recommended.

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into my favorite beer drinking glass

exp date #10046 ?

Poured a nice nice brown color with two finger head that dissipated into a thin lace quickly -

Smell had hints of toasted malts , light spice ,toffee.

Very nice Brown Ale - Easy going down with a nice aftertaste - Great brew for Autumn evenings sitting around the fireplace.

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,625 ratings.