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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.
very good

1,937 Ratings
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 PorterLambic


2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich, dark brown. Decent light penetration. Smallish head drops to a ring.
Smell is fairly light with notes of malt and light hops.
Taste is a good mix of malt and hops, a light roast is present.
Finish is somewhat dry with hops coming to the fore. A Slightly metallic hint floats by, a la Newcastle Brown, but just in passing. A good, MOR brown. Certainly sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

03-27-2011 00:57:11 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of Kelly88


3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at bar Louie served in a huge pint glass

A- dark leathery brown with old catcher Mitt orange at the bottom. Resilient beige head that is really sticking around. Layers of lace are surrounding the glass. So much I can't even see through some parts of the glass. Light shade of brown for a brown ale.

S- not much going on in the nose. Some pear type aromas with a sweetness.

T- sweet crisp apple taste. Really unexpected but it is really good. Apple skin and really small hop cones on the back. Really tasty brew.

M- medium to fullish. Not slot of carbonation but that is not hurting the experience. The lack of carbonation sort of enhances the flavors by really forcing them down onto your palate.

Overall a really solid brown ale That has a really unique flavor. Definitely will seek out again if available.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2011 00:31:45 | More by Kelly88
Photo of Vdubb86


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 drewba


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 deebo


4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown with light white head that quickly dissipates
S-Roasted malts with touch of toffee sweetness
T-Very good balance of rich malt flavor, sweet brown notes with hop balance
M-Medium bodied-doesn't linger
D-Very good for this style of beer

Bell's as usual has produced a very good beer that is tasty yet easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2011 03:28:13 | More by deebo
Photo of Anthony88


4.83/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Nice deep brown colored beer with a nice two finger foamy head which is tan in color. As the beer is consumed the head laces down the glass perfectly

S - What you would think of on a wintery day. carmelized malts, a bit nutty and joy

T - Similar to that of the smell, a bit of a caramel and nutty taste with an extremely smooth finish.

M -Carbonation is perfect, body is great..

D - Easily one of the best beers I've tasted out of a keg in a long time. The beer falls down your throat. The only bad part about this brew is the empty glass when your finished. I definitely recommend trying this one, you won't be disappointed.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2010 23:34:36 | More by Anthony88
Photo of champ103


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

On tap at the Pinch Penny Pub in Carbondale Illinois.

A: Pours slightly hazy orange/brown. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Light toasted malt, mostly some sweetness in the nose. Like brown sugar and some caramel. Not much going on.
T: Following the nose, not much is going on. Some toasted malt, but really sweet. Lots of brown sugar and caramel. Boarders on cloying.
M/D: A medium body and nice carbonation. easy to drink. Something I can quaff several of with ease.

Overall, very simple. Mostly sweet, but not bad in any way. Just pretty standard. Worth a try, and a good fall back if this is the only good craft available.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2010 02:44:53 | More by champ103
Photo of TMoney2591


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

Served in a Dogfish Head shaker pint glass at the Schaumburg Whole Foods.

My first brew here at the WF bar. It pours a clear rich auburn topped by a finger of light ecru foam. The nose comprises biscuit, rye bread, toffee, walnuts, flowers, and greens. The taste holds notes of light roasted malts, walnuts, oak, nutty toffee, and a strong hoppy bitterness in the background. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very nice brown, maybe not the "best" around, but definitely tasty.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2010 23:15:44 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of cooch69


4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-24-2010 00:22:51 | More by cooch69
Photo of Liverpool08


3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown with a small tan head that disapears quickly. Aroma is ok, a little toffee and malts, but nothing earth shattering. Taste is also average, Some roasted coffee and malty toffee, but it doesn't really stand out. Its also a bit thin, which doesn't help the flavors build up in the mouth. This is just an average Brown ale.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2010 23:25:15 | More by Liverpool08
Photo of FanofHefe


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

Pours a nice dark brown with a solid one finger creamy head. Good lacing. Very little aroma, a little nutty smell.

Solid flavor and very smooth. Light caramel and nutty flavors. Not overwhelming in carbonation and slight coffee-like bitterness in the aftertaste.

Solid brown that is easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2010 22:34:05 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of DAllspaw


4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Some Guy's pizza, always have two bell's on tap. dark amber, not too dark that you can't see through it. Nice caramel malt in smell and taste. A bit of chocolate as well, but heavy on caramel and toffee in the aftertaste. Very solid brown ale, just what it should be, nice balanced malt profile and easy drinking.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2010 01:28:16 | More by DAllspaw
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

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

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a pilsner glass a crisp light brown with a thin diminishing head that leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is slight sweet caramel malts. The taste is a amount of sweet caramel malts and subtle lingering citrus hops. The beer is quite light and crisp with smooth mild carbonation. This is an enjoyable brown ale, one I would certainly have again.

Serving type: on-tap

10-14-2010 01:05:55 | More by atsprings
Photo of Bouleboubier


3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Different brown than I am used to. Looks a lot like the average English brown you'd come across - dark tawny color - fairly clean through - perhaps a little too clean for my eyes, ordinary-looking finger-width off-white head (slowly dissipated), light-to-moderate lacing. This was served in a classic tulip glass, by the way, which I thought was a little odd.

Nutty (oily) and lightly caramel aroma. Not much of a hop presence, certainly not bitter. Soft toasted touch.

Bold, nutty flavor dominates the taste - masks the malt characters a bit, of which I perceived as slightly weak. Subtle fruitiness, light toasty notes, and a surprising degree of alcohol present as well. Moderately soft, clean feel with a fairly dry finish that reminded me of some Belgian pales.

Overall, a refined, somewhat reserved example of a brown. Looks as though "drier" and "nuttier" aren't all that uncommon among certain browns - suppose I just haven't come across too many of them and/or they didn't make much of an impression. Either way, this was a nice ale but one I don't see revisiting.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2010 20:02:48 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of Spica66


3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: More red than brown. Nice head with lacing.

S: Smells very malty. Not too complex.

T: This has always tasted nutty to me. It has a nice malt flavor, kind of medium in strength.

F: I would not say that this beer has anything more than average mouthfeel.

D: this beer is very easy to drink, especially in the fall before a football game!

Serving type: on-tap

05-18-2010 14:19:48 | More by Spica66
Photo of nrbw23


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

A- Pours a dark reddish-brown with a nice off white head. Head has great retention and leaves some spotty lacing here and there.

S- A touch of coffee and roasted malt. With quite a bit of caramel malt. Pretty much no hops.

T- Taste is dominated by the malts here and mainly caramel malts. Just a bit of a coffee or toffee taste. Very solid and sweet.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and on the higher side of medium in carbonation. Feels really good.

D- Super easy to drink. I've hit this one up a couple times and have no complaints at all.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2010 09:16:57 | More by nrbw23
Photo of teovaldi


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with a huge off white head leaving lots of lacing.

Smell is roasty with a hint of malt and hops.

Taste is of sweet malts with slight brown sugar finishing slightly hoppy.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with decent carbonation.

Damn fine brown ale. One of my favorites and is highly sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2010 07:58:22 | More by teovaldi
Photo of hosehead83


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

Served on-tap at Nick & Jimmies in Temperence, MI. Served in a standard pint glass.
Dark brown/cola in color, with a moderate, off-white head of foam
Aroma-Faint malt and caramel notes
Taste-Roasted malt, caramel, subtle chocolate notes leading to a bit of a zesty, hop-like finish.
Overall, the on-tap version was a bit thin in body, with the overall flavors more subdued, but with a bit more of a hoppier profile than I recall with the bottled version.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2010 14:08:40 | More by hosehead83
Photo of herman77


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

Khaki colored head that flattened out and formed a collar around the glass. Little bit of lacing. Seems a little lighter colored for a brown ale. Nutty smell that is slightly malty. Taste is pretty much as it smells. Pretty average mouthfeel. Nice and smooth drinkability. Pretty light for this style of beer. Not my favorite brown ale, but pretty good overall.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2010 19:43:29 | More by herman77
Photo of abrand


4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pint glass on tap. My local pub just expanded their taps and the additional keg will be a microbrew with Bell's Best Brown being the first.

The Best Brown pours a deep amber almost brown color with a nice frothy ivory colored head with lots of lacing. Very good start to the beer. Aromas are sweet caramel and lots of malts. Taste is well balanced with sweetness up front and a bitter crisp finish. Some earthy tones come out with the warmer of the pint (it was poured much too cold). Very solid sweetness that consists of brown sugar cane. Mouthfeel is crisp while quenching. Drinkability is high. Not an overpowering ale with the ABV being moderate. I must say I drank several pints and enjoyed them but yet drove home safely.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2010 02:03:04 | More by abrand
Photo of hossua34


3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Nutty, dark reddish-brown. A gigantic head, almost too large, that is slow fading. Leaves an outrageous amount of sticky lacing.

S - Very much like coffee and toffee. Has s bit of a sharp, semi-metallic scent that I've smelled in other English brown ales.

T - Toasty, malty. Hints of toffee and biscuits. A tiny bit watered-down tasting. Finishes caramelly. Very English style.

M - Kinda flat. A somewhat watery, "empty" mouthfeel.

D - A friend said, and I agree, that this is probably what Newcastle is meant to taste like (before it is imported and spends months in clear bottles). Not near as good as Oberon, but very easy to drink. A very pound-able minikig.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2010 00:38:11 | More by hossua34
Photo of adamette


4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken last night at Bspot, Michael Symon's rather new restaurant in Woodmere, Ohio. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass.

A Nice light brown creamy head and a great looking cloudy, opaque brown body that I just loved. I have had too many of those "Brown Ales" that are weak, translucent and boring. This one demands your attention and kind of announces that it is a serious beer. Lacing was not that good. 4.5

S Medium roast malt and not a strong smell. Repeated sniffs revealed a twinge of nuttiness. Nice. 4.0

T Nice classic English Brown, done by people who know and understand the style. Really this is suggestive of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, probably the standard bearer for the style. 4.0

M Nice and smooth but a thickness that I really enjoyed. I can imagine this beer in an English pub. 4.5

D very good with manageable ABV and all of that great look, smell and taste. 4.5

Notes: Everyone reading this review should find and try this beer!

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2010 03:53:06 | More by adamette
Photo of ImusBeer


3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of the tap a dark brown with little lacing and no head to speak of.

Aroma was mostly nothing, maybe raisin? Taste was a lot of malt, molassas, raisin and some sweetness, not as much as some Brown Ales I've had like JW Dundees.

It was light with really no carbonation, just too low. It's a nice brown ale, not very sweet like some others but not as bitter as most English Brown Ales.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2009 15:56:15 | More by ImusBeer
Photo of thistle3189


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

This is a very solid brown ale. This is exactly what I think of with this style. Well balanced slight nutty but not much. There is plenty of maltyness and just a little hoppyness, very drinkable.

A: brown, in color good slightly creamy head ok lacing
S: the malt starts right up front.
T: Very solid brown
M: plenty of body
D: I could drink a few of these.

Another great beer form Bell's

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2009 20:07:21 | More by thistle3189
Photo of Brenden


3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2009 20:40:04 | More by Brenden
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,937 ratings.