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

Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,937 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1937
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%


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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,937 | Reviews: 776 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Zadok
Zadok

Kansas

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a touch of amber and a decent sized tan head and lots of lacing.

Malty sweet aroma.

Also had a sweet creamy malty flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy as stated before, maybe a touch watered down. Low carbonation.

Not a bad beer, not sure I would get again but wouldnt deny a free one.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2008 00:15:40 | More by Zadok
Photo of BWH3
BWH3

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep, garnet hued brown with a thin lacy chestnut brown head. Retention holds the lacing but I would have liked to see a bigger head. Fairly still with a fine bubble.

S: I would say almost entirely cocoa aroma. A bit of toasted malt scent.

T: A smooth, slightly creamy and largely chocolate palate that finishes dry with a hearty toasted malt presence. A bit of roasted bitter malt also comes in on the palate in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with a fine moderate carbonation. Fair head retention.

D: I used to drink this on draft when I lived in Indiana and it is nice to see this brown ale out in the Mid atlantic region.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2008 14:47:56 | More by BWH3
Photo of SmithwicksNut
SmithwicksNut

Missouri

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown in color with a tan head. Head retention was pretty good.

S: Moderate malt aroma with some fruitiness. Had some hop aroma to it also.

T: A medium-full bodied beerwith malt and a little roasty sweetness blended in. Had moderate bitterness which blended well.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with good carbonation.

D: a very nice brown ale almost bordering on a porter. I was able to drink a few.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2008 21:13:03 | More by SmithwicksNut
Photo of ncbeermonger
ncbeermonger

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't love most brown ales. This one is one of the best American brown Ales you will find.
It is a dark brown, chocolate colors mix with caramels, and fills the pint glass with anything but light.
You can smell hops in this beer, making it (for me at least) a much more pleasant smell than the sour smell you will find in many brown ales.
The beer is smooth, and has no taste of sour, hops are evident. The mouthfeel is not overly heavy, yet not crisp. It is a very drinkable Brown Ale. If you can find this one, give it a shot, even if you don't like say New castle brown ale.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2008 05:24:22 | More by ncbeermonger
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this on-tap at Axis in Washington DC.

Pours a clear dark brown color with a one-finger light tan head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells good. A good amount of hazelnuts and kind of a buttery smell backed up by a bready malt aroma.

Tastes similar to how it smells. There's a good amount of buttery taste that's pretty smooth, backed up by nutty and malty flavors. There's a tiny amount of bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is good. Maybe it's because the taste is buttery that I think this, but it goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The buttery taste is nice at first, but I could see it wearing on me halfway through another of these.

Overall this is a solid brown ale. It's not as complex as others that I've tried but it does what it does very well. Worth a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2008 22:38:33 | More by glid02
Photo of rtratzlaff
rtratzlaff

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker cloudy brown with copper ruby hues. It looks lighter in color than most brown ales. A small off white head dissipates and leaves some slight lace.

SMell is mainly malt with some caramel sweetness.

Taste is interesting and pleasing. Up front there is a crispness from slight carbonation that leaves sweetness from the malt. Caramel flavors are more abundant than any brown ale I've had before. Earthy hop flavors underly the finish and allow the beer to be pretty unique and flavorful.

Brown ales never really explode with flavor, but this one shines in an understated maturity of flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2008 16:36:37 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of callmemickey
callmemickey

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark chestnut brown... thin tan head

S: Nutty toasted malts...

T: Following the smell, toasted malts are paramount with a nutty character... some hops round out the back end of the flavor

M: Kind of thin for a darker beer... Moderate carbonation is pleasant

D: Easy to drink, not bad over all, I probably wouldn't drink two in a row as the depth isn't quite there

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2008 20:24:33 | More by callmemickey
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a nice frothy covering of light tan head that retained very well and left some great lacing. Aroma possesses deep notes of malt sweetness, bread, and nuttiness.

The tastes is a big hit of bready sweetness, and toasted malts up front but then a nice, tingling hop bitterness comes out amongst all that sweetness and helps even things out. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly creamy carbonation.

With full deep flavors and good balance, this is one tasty and quaffable Brown Ale from Bell's. Solid.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2008 17:22:41 | More by Kegatron
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

2.95/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper/ amber/ brown, with a small white head. In the aroma, a small sweet malt, but somewhat bland. In the taste, a sweet maltiness, yet quite thin. A smooth mouthfeel and a dry malty aftertaste. A bit sweeter than a standard brown, however not a big nose. Easy to drink and non offensive.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2007 13:54:01 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of dedrinker
dedrinker

Kansas

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So much better than in the bottle! Lazy brown color with a head that was rich and creamy and lasted half way through. Aroma of mild juicy caramel malt and restrained nuts and roast. The flavor was slightly fruity with a nice caramel malt middle that finished with more nuts, fruit, and juicy malt. Well balanced - not too sweet, but not too dry either.

Serving type: cask

11-02-2007 05:36:29 | More by dedrinker
Photo of jjboesen
jjboesen

Maryland

3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This sample was a draught tasted at RFD in Washington DC on October 31, 2007.

Appearance

It begins with thin, oatmeal colored head that settles into a cloudy brown. However, it does possess a rather consistent lacing that clings to the glass; it manages to hold on throughout the drinking process until a secondary swirl scatters it into patches causing the head to reconstitute.

Taste

There is an barely perceptible trace of molasses that I found underwhelming and pedestrian. Of course, since Bell’s is an excellent brewery, this might be a result of improper storage. (And RFD has had previous issues with soapy glassware.) To paraphrase Hi from the movie “Raising Arizona,” my palate was a rocky place on which the taste could not find purchase.

Body

I thought that this sample lacked structure and balance - once again, probably due to storage.

Nose

The nose was pretty much undetectable. All in all, a disappointing beer that probably would have tasted better under circumstances. [The following beer was a bottle of Bell’s Porter – and it was delicious!]

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2007 21:34:26 | More by jjboesen
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I dunno, I'm not so impressed with this beer. Although, I've read so many good reviews, I think it must be me. Proly a plugged shnoz or something. Has a hazy brown color. Seems kind of blase to me. Do pick up the typical english brown body and aftertaste. Had a nice head and some lace.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2007 03:02:20 | More by drpimento
Photo of blakesell
blakesell

Ohio

3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the cask at boston's 09/18/07.

Appearance- Beer pours a somewhat clear brown dark amber which is kind of strange considering that it is cask conditioned. A 2 finger fluffy head as opposed to the tap of the same beer with a 4 finger head pour. There is slight lacing on the glass.

Smell- Hops upfront and what I can only call the signature cask scent. It seems that all real ales have a certain smell to them that can be picked out above beers in kegs or bottles. A slight maltiness but mostly the hops and cask scent.

Taste- Just like the smell, casks tend to have a taste to them as well. That creamy real ale flavor comes out first then a lingering light malt flavour. The hops are big in this beer and I sense that they have utilized quite a bit of dry-hopping in the cask.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied and creamy with very little to no carbonation. The beer is not sticky or cloying.

Drinkability- Very nice drinkability here. A bit overly hoppy for a brown ale, but I'll let that slide on the beer this time. I'm a fan of the hops used and it goes down smooth.

Serving type: cask

10-20-2007 18:04:12 | More by blakesell
Photo of soupyman10
soupyman10

District of Columbia

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with some fairly light tan head that dissolves very quickly. No real lacing. Nose is fairly weak, a little bit of a surprise for a Bell's beer. Just a bit of hops and malt, fairly balanced for an English brown. Taste is solid. Lots of sweet caramel malt, but a nice mix of fairly fruity hops as well. This one's pretty sour too, which is unique to most of the English browns I've had. Feel is medium bodied with good carbonation. I like this one a lot. I've yet to have a Bell's beer that I wasn't impressed at. This one isn't there best, but it's a good beer, a little high in ABV to be sessionable, but definitely one I could drink a bunch of.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2007 21:08:20 | More by soupyman10
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a medium brown color with a finger of light tan head. Smells of nuts, caramel malts, and fruity hops. Tastes of sweet caramel malt, tree nuts, a hint of cocoa, and pleasantly bitter, floral hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. This brown ale drinks very smoothly and certainly does not show it's leaning towards almost 7% ABV.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2007 02:20:53 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of cabsandking
cabsandking

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a simple brown color with amber highlights and a creamy, rocky cream colored head that leaves some good sticky lacing to the end. Aromas of dark sweet fruit, nutty malt, and raisons. The echoes the nose with fruity to nutty malt backbone and nice spice that's reminiscent of nutmeg or cinnamon. Really good floral hop esters that fade somewhat towards the bottom. Cocoa powder lurks in the background and is more detectable in the finish along with short lived dryness and some tart dark fruit notes. Thin body and medium carbonation leaves a slightly watery mouthfeel and fizzy edge. Richer malt flavor picks up as it warms with a bigger emphasis on roasted nut character.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2007 22:30:14 | More by cabsandking
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Triple Rock Social Club.

Definately an English brown, as it's a mellow tasting beer. I don't know what's "best" about this. I don't get much complexity of flavor, just some nice chocolate malts. It's nice beer, don't get me wrong, I just wouldn't invest in a 6'er. It is a nice stepup from Newcastle, however. Give it to a friend as a gateway beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2006 07:39:20 | More by tempest
Photo of psinderson
psinderson

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse in a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice dark brown/ruby red color. Off-white head that lasts.

Smell: Caramel notes and malty sweetness.

Taste: Very malty sweet. Very little roasted flavor or hops flavor present.

Mouthfeel: Relatively thin, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable and goes down well.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2006 03:20:07 | More by psinderson
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an ice tea brown color and a modest head that leaves some intermittant lacing

Smell: Nutty roasted notes

Taste: Bready, up front with a bit of bitterness for balance

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink with enough character to make this generally insipid style interesting

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2006 02:20:23 | More by brentk56
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Charlie's Ale House in Wheaton, IL has this beer on tap!

Appearance- A slightly hazy even brown with a one finger head at time of serving that dissipated into a filmy foam.

Taste- A light malt character ende with some hops to even out the bitterness. A feww chocolatey moments were present.

Mouthfeel- A smoothly carbonated, medium body.

Drinkability- This beer would be could for a couple of sessions.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2005 22:40:21 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at MoJoe Lounge in Easton. Clear dark brown color with a medium tan head and thin sticky lacing. Sweet toasted malt and caramel aroma. Medium, smooth body with dominant malt flavoring. Sweet caramel and a bit of hops and coffee is also present. The finish is roasty and sweet at times. A great session beer that is enjoyable all around.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2005 16:22:56 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of whartontallboy
whartontallboy

New York

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a brilliant brown with ruby highlights and a moderately-sized white head. Looks pretty thick and viscous for a brown ale.

Smell is heavy with sweet malts, caramel, chocolate, a little bit of piney bitter hops, and a lot of dark fruit scents, particularly plum and some raisins.

Flavor is quite chocolate-laden. There's a solid drizzling of caramel over some of the same plum/dark fruit flavors. Little bits of nuttiness pull through in other places, along with some earthy wood flavors. Hops are present, but not overly assertive. They temper the chocolate flavors well.

Overall: Not mind-blowing, but a very, very good brown ale that definitely has a legitimate claim to calling itself "Best."

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2005 19:08:03 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahagony hueud slightly ruddy pour under a huge signature Bells cake like foamy storm. Good lacing lafet in the glass.

Slightly metalic plain yogurt scents. Easy nutmeg, but mildly aromatic overall.

First swigs: Cherry coke & butter pecan ice cream. Yummy sweet caramel ice cream topping like Hershey's Butterscotch. Pecan pie perplexingly complex.

Slightly buttery feel to the brew.

Last swigs: Butterscotch caramel ice cream flavored. This is the best brown that I've ever had. Bells continues to prove to be a success. Some fellow BAs of mine kid around that you will rarely ever say, "Wow! This is a great brown ale!" Well, for once the rare saying fits. To be tried again later if it cosses my path.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2005 18:50:24 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep auburn, copper cloudy liquid with an off-white foamy head. The head disappeared quickly, and there was little lacing on the glass. Smells of toasted malt, not much else. Taste of sweetness, followed by a slight roasted caramel flavor. No bitterness. Medium body, nice amount of carbonation. Very easy to drink, very little bitterness at all. Good offering by Bell's. I suppose I would have enjoyed a deeper toasted/roasted flavor, but this one was good.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2004 04:31:01 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of TheDM
TheDM

Indiana

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2003 09:11:31 | More by TheDM
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,937 ratings.