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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 savaship
savaship

Minnesota

2.68/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer was ordered on Tap and served in a special Bell's Pint Glass. It had a beautiful dark brown appearance, I estimated it to be 27 SRM with a nice hint of red. I spent a little time gauging the color with an SRM chart from the Beer Judging Certification Program. The head was foamy off-white but dissipated quickly, leaving slight lacing.

The beer smelled very nicely, the adequate aroma hop usage worked to its benefit, had a very english ale floral aroma to it, I think the aroma hop was likely a Fuggle hop, it definitely smelled the way most good Brown Ales smell.

Taste I had issues with... American Craft brewers like to unbalance their beer with high acid hops such as Cascade hops which I suspect were in this beer, that just leave a drinker like me who's expecting a nicely balanced beer very disappointed. I estimated this beer to be 35-37 IBU, even if it was actually lower, the hop choice just tastes foul, and overpowers the malt.

The carbonation was perfect, had I not wanted to get that beer out of my mouth as quickly as possible, I would have savored it longer.

Overall, I do not like this beer. It seems to have taken the brown ale tradition and forced it down the American Ale Cascade hop road to attempt to make it taste like many of the woefully unbalanced American Craft beers out there that favor bitter over balance.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2013 14:21:50 | More by savaship
Photo of delta490
delta490

Virginia

3.64/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A hazy medium brown. The creamy off white head leaves a thin sheen and nice lacing. Aroma is a sweet malt with a little bit of hops in the background. The taste is very malt forward with a hint of nuttiness and hops. Thinner feel is good with the overall sweetness of the beer. A nice brown ale that doesn't overawe but doesn't disappoint.

Serving type: on-tap

11-02-2013 21:01:23 | More by delta490
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this with lunch at the westwood tavern in schaumburg. Nice transparent brown with good lacing on the pint glass. Smells.of brown sugar and tastes the same. Fairly solid brown ale. Nothing mind blowing. Some nuttiness. Easy drinker. I like a good brown and this is good, but a bit of a let down from a brewery that seems to knock every style they take on out of the park.

Serving type: on-tap

01-24-2013 18:37:06 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of BeardedBoffin
BeardedBoffin

New Mexico

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

Best brown ale pours a cloudy copper to brown color with a nice cap of creamy foam. The nose is light and grainy, fitting for a brown ale. The aroma that it does produce is a pleasant darkly roasted malt with nutty overtones. The brown malt theme continues on the palate with a creamy smooth malt texture. A slight bitterness provides balance toward the end. This brew has all the makings of good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2012 02:47:13 | More by BeardedBoffin
Photo of KickbacksSteve
KickbacksSteve

Florida

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

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Big, fluffy, light khaki head, high retention with soapy lacing. Aroma includes sweet caramel malts and light roasted notes. Taste has a nice caramel sweetness, some walnut and cashew, faint coffee and roast. Crazy drinkable and sessionable. No off flavors at all and very nice.

Serving type: on-tap

12-07-2012 03:43:38 | More by KickbacksSteve
Photo of Alextricity
Alextricity

Michigan

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Holy hell does this look great. It has a hazy, dark brown appearance, with a nice little head, and lacing from start to finish. A very nice looking beer.

Bell's Best Brown is an awesome beer all-around. This being my first Brown Ale, I didn't know what to expect. I feel like this tastes a good bit like a porter, but it doesn't rely quite as heavily on the coffee/chocolate notes. It's just a big, malty beer. I actually really enjoyed this beer. Not surprising... Bell's knows what they're doing.

Serving type: on-tap

11-25-2012 17:06:37 | More by Alextricity
Photo of lewzer99
lewzer99

Georgia

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Brown and translucent, with a touch of ruby when light hits it. One finger head that lasts a few minutes and leave no lacing.
S- The nose has a lot of sugary malts, with a bit of chocolate,and some floral hops.
T- Chocolatey roasted malts at first that give way to a butterscotch like sweetness.
M- Rich and heavy feeling. Can't wait for the weather to cool down so I can enjoy this one in a sweater.
O- Bells always makes some of my favorites, and this brown ale is another good beer from them. Definitely one of the best for the money.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2012 21:19:36 | More by lewzer99
Photo of srv33
srv33

Michigan

2.83/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber pour, light medium-fine frothy head. Little smell, a little bread a little nutty. Tastes much the same, very much a generally pleasing ale. I could see how this would be a crowd pleaser. No notable overarching notes on first taste that aren't uncommon for an ale. Great aftertaste though, a little vanilla and oddly a little melon, very smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2012 04:23:34 | More by srv33
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bell’s Best

Enjoyed in a shaker pint at OHSO.

Well, this doesn't look right. The brew’s the color of a rusted, weathered penny and is clear as mud. The head is about an inch tall, frothy and mountainous, slowly receding to a thick top layer and thick tendrils of lace.

Nutty nose, with a background of tangy apricot. A touch of biscuits, baking bread and some earthy hops.

In the front I get toasted bread and bitter peanut skins with just a bit of spicy hops. The swallow opens it up more, with smoother bread and peanuts in balance with earth. A touch of apricot and apple at the swallow. Well-balanced. A bit of bitterness lingers on the back sides of the tongue.

Soft, medium-light body. Carbonation is pretty high and massaging, breaking the beer into fizz all over.

Meh. This is far from the best. An average nut brown.

Serving type: on-tap

04-30-2012 01:41:11 | More by Phelps
Photo of Gatch
Gatch

Massachusetts

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

On-tap at Flanny's in Tempe, AZ.

A: Medium amber. Decent lace and head retention.

S: Sweet, roasted malt.

T: Dry, sweet, lightly toasted malt and a nice nutty flavor throughout. Some quiet hops in the finish.

M: Great flavor, easy drinking. Sweet, nutty flavor lingers on the palate.

O: Fits the style well. Good English Brown Ale.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2012 07:02:45 | More by Gatch
Photo of spdyfire83
spdyfire83

Ireland

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

170th Review
Served in a half pint
On-draft at the mothership itself in Kalamazoo!

From notes.

A: Simply brown. 0.5 (tan) fingernail head.

S: Nutty, caramel, bread crumbs, and faint hop aroma. Hint of semi-sweet chocolate as well. Interesting.

T: Brown bread malt with caramel up-front followed by dark fruit, almond, touch of the chocolate. Finishes with a touch of brown sugar sweetness, which is a very nice ending. Pretty decent and easy to drink!

M: Medium bodied with even carbonation.

O: Not a huge fan of brown ales, but this one is quite nice. I haven't ever had it from the bottle, but I'd probably only want to drink it on-draft if it were up to me.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2012 14:48:04 | More by spdyfire83
Photo of JackieTH
JackieTH

Minnesota

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

On tap as part of Old Chicago's WBT. Mahogany pour with a persistent half-inch of khaki head that leaves lacing. Light sweetness, nutty and caramel malt nose. Taste is a nice dose of toasted biscuit, nutty malt, light sweetness, creamy, earthy. Nicely balanced and isn't a sweet malt-bomb.. In fact it finishes fairly dry. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Tasty, easy drinking.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2012 04:04:06 | More by JackieTH
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Churchkey, served in a snifter. Beer is brown with a mild haze, thin tan head, lazy, no lacing, low to moderate carbonation.

Aroma is nice, a little malty with hints of really mild roast.

Beer is medium to light in body, a little malty, nice finish, mildly bitter, no aftertaste, a decent little brown for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2012 18:49:16 | More by drabmuh
Photo of KMcG
KMcG

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2012 03:48:13 | More by KMcG
Photo of thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

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

Medium brown colored body with an inch of head.

Bready toasted caramel aroma. Bit of biscuity pale malt blending in. Ok.

Pretty standard flavor profile with a slight emphasis on a less nutty/more estery yeast. Some hints of apricot and some citrus happiness backing the toasted malts. Not bad.

Feels appropriate for the style. My only complaint is actually detecting the alcohol in this one.

Verdict: not my style of choice, although it was in the past. I'd say this one's decent, but not as good as, say, Dogfish Head Indian Brown.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2012 00:56:49 | More by thecheapies
Photo of kzoobrew
kzoobrew

Michigan

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

Chestnut colored body. Great clarity, no haze or sediment noticed. Soft one and a half finger sand colored head. The head recedes fairly slowly. Spotty but thick lacing left clinging to the glass.

Warm bready Brown Ale. The warmth of the malt is really the focal point. Soft brown sugar, hints of toffee and a touch of nuttiness peak out from beneath. A pleasant grassiness from the hops compliments the warmth from the malt very well.

The flavor takes its cues from the aroma. Brown bready malt provides the base. Soft caramel sweetness peaks out from beneath providing some levity. Earthy, grassy hops very complimentary to malt. There is just enough hop flavor to be noticed and provide balance but allows the malt to stay in the forefront.

Medium bodied Brown Ale. Carbonation is moderate, texture is soft and smooth. Medium finish, very appropriate for the beer.

Best Brown is very appropriately named, just an outstanding example of the style. Brown Ales are certainly not the most exciting style but I find them a very comforting, enjoyable style when done well. I am not certain why I do not drink this one more often.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2011 20:26:28 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of mwilbur
mwilbur

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours dark red mahogany with 1/2 inch light tan head. Decent lacing.
S: Nice sweet caramel malt and nutty aroma.
T: Darker nut notes, sweet caramel malt, and grainy hops.
M: Smooth, sweet, creamy feel. Mild toasted grain hop bite in the finish. Quite pleasant.
D: Very drinkable. Excellent sessionability. Wonderful on-tap.

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2011 23:00:05 | More by mwilbur
Photo of thain709
thain709

Pennsylvania

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

A - Served with a clear brown body that had some ruby highlights...the head was tan in color and creamy...it held up pretty well and left some patches of lace on the mug

S - Very malt forward with hints of caramel, toffee, nuts, and some faint fruits...pretty solid for a brown

T - Again, being a brown ale this is very malt forward...the toffee and caramel flavors reign supreme...the nuttiness and fruity flavors are in the middle of the beer and they help to add some character...I would have liked some more nutty nuances...there is a surprisingly high hop presence at the end of the beer...it's earthy and goes well with the other flavors

M - Medium bodied...a little thin and not enough lingering on the palate

O - I would not turn down another one of these...I feel Bell's did a nice job making a classic English Brown Ale

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2011 21:25:14 | More by thain709
Photo of joek440
joek440

District of Columbia

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from tap into a pint glass. Reddish brown body which was cloudy. Head was very thin by the time it was brought to the table.

S - Main smell is citrus hops. Didn't pick up much complexity beyond there.

T - Malty initial taste followed by medium hop flavor. Well-balanced on both ends

M - Crisp and light feel with medium carbonation.

O - A fresh and inviting ale. The hops are noticeable but are well balanced with the malt. Enjoyable brown ale.

(reviewed 10/21)

Serving type: on-tap

11-10-2011 18:14:39 | More by joek440
Photo of xnicknj
xnicknj

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at royal tavern in philly

Pours a semi-clear chestnut brown color with a light layer of tanned head on top. Dissolves almost completely, leaving a few spots of lacing on the glass.

Plenty of toasted nuttiness and bread crust in the nose. Caramel and lighter sweetness with some leafy hop notes.

Malty and nutty up front with light sweetness. Toasted notes of chestnut and some faint oily hops. Malt backbone is fairly thick with some bread crust and caramel. Finishes slightly dry and sweet.

Medium body, decent carbonation, slightly chewy and dry on the tongue. A drinkable, smooth brown ale with a nice nutty flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2011 14:37:22 | More by xnicknj
Photo of jsprain1
jsprain1

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger tan head. Some lacing.
S- Mild aroma of bread, nuts, and a touch of caramel.
T- Fairly bready with a gentle caramel sweetness that lingers, as well as a faint coffee flavor.
M- Decent body, smooth and slightly creamy
O- It's a decent to slightly above average brown ale for me, but it's not particularly anything I need to revisit.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2011 02:38:36 | More by jsprain1
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/light brown color. Light passes easily and the beer appears clear. Modest bar-poured head where there is plenty of blanketing lace.

Classic "brown" smell of darker malts without any burnt elements. Light sweetness and slightly nutty. There's a touch of smokiness.

Some caramel sweetness tempered with a hop spice. Smooth but thin body. High finely bubbled carbonation. The swallow is a superior blend of bittering hop and toasted malts. One of the finest aftertastes I've ever had. An overall top-notch brown ale.

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2011 17:10:44 | More by smcolw
Photo of wingman14
wingman14

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish caramel brown with a white head. The smell isn't too powerful, but is mostly malty with some sweet and nutty notes. The taste follows the smell with the nice malty backbone, some sweetness and a subtle hint of smoke. This one has a nice medium body, and is smoother than most. This is a good brown ale, the flavors are interesting and well done. A nice offering that I would have again, but not seek out regularly.

Serving type: on-tap

10-16-2011 19:27:59 | More by wingman14
Photo of haddon
haddon

Kentucky

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnished bronze with a light brown head that is large. is a very nice lacer.

The nose is of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and light molasses.

Again, the flavor matches the nose: caramelized sugar, toasted malt spice, sweet, figs and dates.

body is a little light but I do tend to experience this with most brown ales. if they added a bit of cream to the feel, it would shoot through the roof in my books.

hard to go wrong with Bell's. I enjoyed this beer and one of the better browns that I've had.

Serving type: on-tap

05-28-2011 19:00:42 | More by haddon
Photo of Lillenk
Lillenk

Michigan

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

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was just what onw would expect from a brown. Very nice medium brown color with a nice white/tan head.

Smell was nice. Lots of roasted malts but well balanced with some hop character too.

Taste was pretty average for the style. Nothing crazy but a nice, well put together beer.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied but a little tough to have more than one or two.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2011 21:17:49 | More by Lillenk
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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,937 ratings.