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

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

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

2,005 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,005
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 56
Gots: 103 | 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:
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: 2,005 | Reviews: 776 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of avaccani
avaccani

Ohio

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

A - Typical brown. A 1 finger head that left a nice lace.

S - Maybe it's my cold but didn't get much here. Some bread, oat, perhaps toffee or caramel.

T - Being a big Bell's fan I was a tad dissapointed here. It is good, but nothing that wows me.

M - Light bodied, moderate carbonation.

D - I had 2 of these in one sitting and it was enough for me. I enjoyed it, but don't know if I'd seek it out again.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 22:48:30 | More by avaccani
Photo of richkrull
richkrull

Wisconsin

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark brown color with lots of creamy tan head on it. Smells like caramel malt with some hops coming through. Taste is pretty good, classic brown ale flavor. Not much aftertaste. Very smooth and drinkable beer overall. Brown ales may not be my favorite style but this one is pretty good as far as they go.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 03:05:08 | More by richkrull
Photo of shand
shand

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a red-brown colour with significant floaties and a finger and a half of head. Laces well. Smell is caramel malts, cocoa, breads, and some roasted nuttiness. Smooth roasty malts roll through first, followed up by a bit of a mineral taste and a touch of cocoa. The aftertaste leaves a nice subtle nuttiness on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and silky, and the drinkability is pretty decent. A slightly above average brown ale, I didn't see anything too special here, but there's nothing bad in this brew as well.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 02:16:56 | More by shand
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi

Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle stamped batch 10178, bottled 1/17/11. not even a month old.

slightly hazy chestnut brown color. cream colored 1/2" head with good retention and decent lacing. sweet biscuity malt aroma. maybe a little hops in there.

caramel and bready malt taste. classic brown ale flavor.

medium body. carbonation is there, but its extremely smooth. quite easy to drink and refreshing for a fall/winter brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2011 04:52:07 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of ncfranklin
ncfranklin

Alabama

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ah, the ole owl. Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A: Pour a deep amber. Nice creamy one finger head that slides back to a solid lace ring. Beer is littered with bits of material floating about it in it slowly. Gives the appearance of being quite thick and syrupy.

S: Strong sweet caramel oder, with some notes of breadiness and yeast. Maybe only a hint of nuttiness.

T: Sugary up front with a bit of bread and nut, the caramel comes in shortly after. Gives into spiciness halfway through that carries it to a slight bitter hoppy finish. Aftertaste of roasty malt.

M: Medium bodied, thicker than most of the style. Some tacky qualities to it, clings to the tongue. A fairly refreshing finish that tickles the throat.

D: A little sweet and heavy to be a session brown. However, Bell's got a good take on the style. Bringing lots of caramel, toastiness and sweet sugar in balance with bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2011 00:35:09 | More by ncfranklin
Photo of mjsheehan08
mjsheehan08

Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fiery reddish hue that fills the glass with a dark brown color that becomes almost impossible to see through. Thick, foamy head sits high on this brew, and it fades after a while.

The only real aroma I'm pulling is weak malt. Not impressed

Nutty, malty, really sweet Carmel malts. Again not super impressed.

Overall, a decent session beer, but not something I would purposely seek out.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 08:35:14 | More by mjsheehan08
Photo of Vdubb86
Vdubb86

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2011 06:08:58 | More by Vdubb86
Photo of rings
rings

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +12%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 21:06:14 | More by rings
Photo of vapodge
vapodge

Florida

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A - mahogany & rich, thin head stays

S - roasty, not smoky

T - lots of roasted malts, not very sweet, a bit nutty

M - normal amount of carbonation for a brown

D - smooth drinking and perfectly fine; nothing wows me -- would not seek this out, but would not refuse; probably be better for a cooler night and a hearty meal (stupid FL "winters")

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2011 02:58:11 | More by vapodge
Photo of sixerofelixir
sixerofelixir

Ohio

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

12 oz bottle with batch code on back label, easily looked up on their website.

Looks very good. Creamy, patchy, tan/eggshell head. Superbly clear mahogany color. Smell is subdued malts and a tinge of mineral. First taste is toasty malts, then abruptly tankard-tasting. Not what I wanted. The aftertaste is still metallic, with a bit of hops, and bit cool-feeling, creamy, and smooth. Drinkability not as good as that of other brown ales. For a beer that looks (and smells) this good, I am disappointed in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2011 05:27:34 | More by sixerofelixir
Photo of jsanford
jsanford

Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9981. 12oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass

A - Pours a hazy dark copper with a 2-inch fluffy off-white head that hangs around for a bit. Leaves some soapy lacing.
S - Very subdued notes of toasted malt, caramel, and nuts.
T - Sweet caramel malt, toasted nuts, and a tiny bit of milk chocolate. More flavor then the nose would suggest, but it's still not knocking my socks off.
M - Crisp, with a medium-thin body and good carbonation. Usually I like my Brown Ales to have a fuller mouthfeel, but the thin body works for this beer.
D - Very drinkable. I didn't think I'd like this at first, given the weird (for me) thin body and minimal aromas. However, I think this is supposed to be a sessionable, entry-level Brown Ale, and it succeeds at that nicely.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 04:40:21 | More by jsanford
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish copper with suspended micro sediment. Intricate lacing, the foam maintains itself for longevity. Really nice color, foam has a brown eggshell hue, with adequate retention. Classic brown ale in the visual department.

Slight malt sweetness and brown sugar in the aroma.

Honey, sunflower seed aftertaste, husky grain and malt sweetness. Light caramel flavor. Creamy and slightly astringent at times, but not a defining characteristic overall. Easily drinkable, seems well suited for cask serving.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 03:40:19 | More by emerge077
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk

Georgia

3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

#79. Bell's Best Brown Ale. Got this in a single 12 oz. for a pretty fair price when I was looking around for decent brews in Athens.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass at room temp

(Appearance) Pours a slightly fizzy carbonated head that does not hold very well. Light coating is left behind on the surface. Color is a dark brown with very red highlights. Speckled pulpy bits litter the entire brew, the beer looks considerably thick. Carbonation is sparse. Beer looks pretty interesting but has its appearance flaws, most notably with the head. 4

(Smell) Bready yeasty aroma. Mostly malty aroma. Not too interesting. 3

(Taste) Significant hop presence, more than the aroma gives off. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Crisp with a dry finish. 3

(Drinkability) Not too exciting, but flavor is complex enough to maintain my interest for a few more. 3

Verdict: A half-decent Bell's brew. B- (3.4)

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 04:00:07 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of JDew
JDew

Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle to a beer mug

A - Deep amber/brown, when poured into the mug the carbonation is steady and quickly stirs the sediment around giving it a lava-lamp look about it. One finger small bubble head leaving a graffiti design in the lace

S - Bread and yeast are strong malts finishes off the deep full aroma

T - Nutty full flavor - the malted barley is in the finish and has a surprisingly hop aftertaste which was overpowered by the malts in the smell

M/D - Has a good medium body to it, sticks to the tongue and has a semi dry finish. One I could drink several of. Enjoyed this one

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 16:12:33 | More by JDew
Photo of NStLincoln
NStLincoln

Nebraska

3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not much head to speak of from my pour, but a deep reddish brown color in the body that's really pretty.

The nose is full of rich malt bread and melted butter.

Falls a bit flat on the palate for me. Not much depth to the flavors which include some nuttiness and a pop of hops bitterness on the back end.

A smooth sessionable beer despite it coming in at 5.8 ABV.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 23:52:32 | More by NStLincoln
Photo of Brunite
Brunite

Illinois

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

Appearance - Poured in a pint glass. A nice amber color with a light tan head. Head starts at about 2.5 fingers and backs off rather quickly.

Smell - Minimal amount of a sweet malt aroma. Not much nuttiness. The hops don't stand out in the nose.

Taste - A bit of hop bitterness in the taste. Not strong, but there. Not as much sweetness as I would have expected. Some lingering dryness with a little sweet after taste. Also some residual nutty flavors and a hint of licorice? Nice but not amazing.

Mouthfeel - Medium dry, semi-smooth.

Drinkability - Average brew. Doesn't blow my socks off. Easy drinker.

Overall: Better than many I've tried but not on par with other Bell's beers as far as "out of the park" performance. Given that I have access to both brews; I would choose a NG Fat Squirrel over this for my go-to brown...until something better comes along.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 17:30:15 | More by Brunite
Photo of zulufactor
zulufactor

Minnesota

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice warm brown color with a half inch white ish head

S- Light smell of hops and nutty malts

T- Malty with a bit of hops and a little sweetness. very well balanced with a nice earthy taste that lingers

M- good carbonation, again feels balanced

D- This is a beer i would pick up again would appeal to many pallets. similar to the Boston logger but with more flavor and complexity.

Due to the balance this beer offers I could be paired with just about any food or meal.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 02:54:27 | More by zulufactor
Photo of aepb1
aepb1

Florida

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown hazy body with a small white head and nice lacing

S- What a brown ale should smell like! Nutty, sweet malts and some nice spices in there too

T- Nutty caramel to start, moves into a bit of a citrusy finish. Not overly well balanced but it's still good

M- Medium-bodied and finishes dry

D- A nice example of the style, easy to drink and return to

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2011 16:17:21 | More by aepb1
Photo of aficionado224
aficionado224

Ohio

4.88/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It might not be the best brown ale ever, but it might be their best, and that's not bad. Every beer of theirs I ever tried was way above average to great. Full of flavor, and no "off" flavors or funny aftertastes, this beer is smooth, tasty, and refreshing. I'll buy more of this.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 15:25:51 | More by aficionado224
Photo of KickInTheChalice
KickInTheChalice

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on cask in a pint glass at Firkin.

Appearance: Best Brown has a walnut ruby color, slightly hazy, with a creamy eggshell head with popped bubbles on top. Eventually this head fades to a ring, leaving layers of lace on the glass.

Smell: Lightly nutty, subdued toasted malt, a touch of caramel, spices without any underlying bitterness.

Taste: The flavor is slightly nutty up front. A hint of cocoa, relaxed caramel and toasted malt flavor is also present. It finishes with a touch of spice. A rounded flavor, but not overly complex.

Mouthfeel: I am definitely not accustomed to cask. There is an underlying creaminess to the feel, but in a lightly carbonated way. The finish dries the tongue. Smooth.

Drinkability: Drinking this a bit warmer lets the flavors loosen up, and I dispensed of my glass relatively quickly, but I am not sure if I would order this again.

Serving type: cask

01-18-2011 20:21:07 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of Meerkey
Meerkey

Virginia

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

A: Dark, hazy chestnut with crimson hints at edges when held against the light.

S: Nuts, spice, toasted malts, raisins? and something sweet -toffee?.

T: Fruity and nutty with a lot of malt and just a little hoppy. Delicious.

M: Clean, smooth, carbonated. Refreshing.

D: I really enjoyed this. I haven't had a lot of Bell's, but I have yet to be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2011 18:01:41 | More by Meerkey
Photo of drewba
drewba

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Day old Bells mini keg poured into my pint:

A - Muddy and hazy brown, khaki one finger tiny bubbled head. It honestly looks a little bit like one of my bottle conditioned brown ale homebrews, which I don't personally think look all that appealing...

S - hints of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, tootsie roll, a touch of raisin and metal. Smells dull.

T - The focus is definitely on the roasted malt which adds a slightly sweet, smoky caramel from the beginning through the finish. Nut and bread fill in the gap, helping round out the flavor of the roast. Flavors are subtle. There is a slightly metallic taste in the end.

M - Thin body, but it is silky smooth. There is a slightl chalkiness to this, which is the only reason it's not gettinga 5/5. I'm blaming the under carbonation on the day old minikeg, otherwise the mouthfeel is solid.

D - Not the best brown (HAHA!!1) I've ever had, but a solid offering and a great bridge beers for non craft drinkers. A couple friends remarked that it reminded them of Leinenkugels Fireside Nut Brown and Fat Tire. Not quite, but at least they're distinguishing flavors. It's worth noting that this would be an unbelievably easy 6 pack (hell, minkeg with some help) to finish; tasty, great mouthfeel, drinks quickly.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2011 03:48:24 | More by drewba
Photo of BrewCrew2010
BrewCrew2010

Mississippi

4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A hazy, almost clear, dark amber to brown color body with an off white, decent size, creamy texture, head that recedes quickly.

S: A nice balance nose of malts (bready, caramel, & chocolate) and sweet floral hops.

T: An upfront bitter hops followed by toasted malts & nuts, and then finishes with a dry bready long lasting aftertaste.

M: Crisp texture with a medium body and a lot of carbonation that tickles the palate.

D: Overall, a very good brown ale, but I wouldn't consider it the best. This one, in my opinion, would be better enjoyed with food rather then by itself. Very easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 13:56:59 | More by BrewCrew2010
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear brown with a 3 finger light beige / off white head which fades quickly. Leaves some spotty lacing. The aroma is nutty with light caramel and bread.

The flavor is lightly sweet, with caramel, bread, and some nut flavor. Light to medium bodied. Proper carbonation. Has a slightly nutty aftertaste. A good effort from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 03:03:11 | More by hardy008
Photo of meatmallet
meatmallet

Illinois

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

Appearance: Pours bark brown yet it is still clear. Thick frothy head with no lacing and lots of suspended sediment and a few small bubbles of carbonation coming from the bottom.

Smell: Caramel and toasted malts with a chocolaty sweetness.

Taste: Starts with some chocolaty roasted malts and finishes with a bitterness from the roasted malts and hops. I also get a bit of caramel and a nutty beady taste.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Medium body with very light carbonation fairly rich and creamy.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2011 03:22:54 | More by meatmallet
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,005 ratings.