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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 clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

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

This beer pours a wonderful murky brown color with a small and uneven head that dies off quickly. It has a lot of little floaty things in it, which I am not used to with brown ales. The aroma reminds me of some type of nut - but I cannot figure out exactly what kind - and also malts. The taste is fairly smooth, but slightly watered down tasting - weird because it tastes watered down, but still has a rich flavor. Reminds me a lot of a chocolate stout because the taste has a very strong coffee/chocolate finish to it. This is not your typical brown ale. Not so sure I like this one. Of course, Bells brewery is not one of my favorites ... but I'm still looking for their shining one to make me change my mind - this just isn't that one. This is a decent beer, but I don't think it stacks up to other browns that I've had.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 18:38:19 | More by clvand0
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Muddy brown and cloudy-looking in the glass, nearly as debris filled as the Ohio River... nearly...

Maintains a thick, strong, rocky head, mine had a dimple in the middle where I swirled my last ounce and poured it in. The dimple area was a chocolate brown color as opposed to just the light mocha of the rest of the head. Interesting...

I thought it had a soft caramel, slightly pungent smell, doesn't appear any part of this beer will be over the top.

Sweet, caramel flavors, leaves thick layered lacing down the glass. The mouthfeel is not as heavy as I thought and quite smooth. An appreciable hop finish, which I didn't detect at all in the aroma, balances out this fine beer. Taking into account the varied tastes of the full cross-section of beer drinkers out there, this will come across as drinkable to a large percentage of them.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 11:03:24 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Loki
Loki

North Carolina

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

Pours a deep brown with a good head that lasts for minutes. The nose has aromas of butterscotch, caramel, burnt sugar, and roasted malt. The flavor is more bitter than the nose. This deep brown ale tastes of malt, semi-sweet chocolate, and bitter hops. Good mouth feel, comes across the tongue smooth and finishes slightly dry. Great brown ale, Bell's Best Brown is a fitting name.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2003 19:46:14 | More by Loki
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick and hazy brown body, topped by a creamy, mountainous off-white head. Chocolate mingles with herbal hops in the nose. The taste is somewhat like making chocolate milk, using skim milk, and adding hops sufficient to tingle but not overwhelm the rest of the beverage. A somewhat strange description for a really fine beer. Not a style that attracts much interest, not one of the Bell's beers that generates a lot of buzz, but a brew I can heartily recommend.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2003 21:25:36 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of AudioGilz
AudioGilz

Pennsylvania

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

Thick amberish brown is the liquid. Tons of chunks float about. A small but thick head is ok, but a little disappointing. The aroma is pleasant; nutty/toasty/caramel...and this translates pretty directly to the flavors of the beer. And an awesome bitter kick finishes the beer off, a very awesome surprise for a brown ale. It's no Sammy Smith's Nut Brown, but it's an awesome beer in it's own uniqueness.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2003 13:50:02 | More by AudioGilz
Photo of francisweizen
francisweizen

Arizona

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

A pretty good brown beer from Bell's! This beer pours a nice dark brown colour with a nice head. It smells of bready malts, buttery british 'bell's' yeast and slight hops. It tastes like buttery yeast, bready malts, and hops. This is a very mild, british tasting brown ale. It reminds me of Newcatle but it is slightly better. This is not as good as Sam Smiths nut brown ale, however. The mouthfeel is a bit thin on this beer and the drinkability is hurt by its mild flavor.
A decent brown ale...
Cheers!
-F

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2003 12:24:26 | More by francisweizen
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If there is a beer equivalent of "comfort food" - this is it. Brownish amber color with light tan head that quickly faded. Aroma of Hershey's chocolate milk wafts from the glass. Pronounced milk chocolate notes in the flavor, with deeply toasted malt flavors. For all the chocolate character, the beer was surpisingly moderate in sweetness and finished with a sharp bitterness that cleared the palate. This is a fairly subtile beer, and if you were drinking a variety of beers during a session, this would be the lead-off.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2003 06:44:46 | More by Brent
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

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

Color is a brown with a maroon tint and pours out a medium foam head thats biege in color. Nice roasty aroma with caramel tones in the back of my nose, very nice. Taste of caramel balanced well with roasted barley and gives a sweet malty flavor. Finish is a fresh hop note and kind of earthy with a dark nut sense. Reminded me of a nut brown just a hint darker. Good feel of tangy bite and medium body, not heavy. Drinking it warm apposed to cold favors this Best Brown. This brown would make for for a good chilly evening capper.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2003 08:19:51 | More by tavernjef
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

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

OG=1.060 6.6% ABV.

Ah, my favorite brown. Carefully decanted, this brew pours out to a beautiful clear ruby-amber in color with a firm light tan to beige head atop medium bubbles. Carbonation is mild to moderate, and the head remains decent throughout the glass, with gorgeous lacing (I can tell how many sips it took me to finish this beer by counting the rings...8). Very full-bodied for a brown ale. Aroma is seductive and enticing, with sweet roasted grains, expertly-done caramel, a hint of canned pumpkin (without spices), and sweetened condensed milk. Mouthfeel is bright and tangy with a medium body. Very easy to drink (improves as it warms), but not silken like the stouts. The taste is wonderful, starting out with lots of caramel and biscuit malt and some roasted barley against a lightly sweet malt background, leaving a sweet sensation more in the back of the throat than on the tongue. The roasted grains are very well done here. The finish is earthy, with fresh hops complementing the toasty grains, with a wonderful nutty character towards the middle of the tongue. The alcohol is occasionaly noticeable, but never becomes unpleasant. As it warms, it takes on a whiskey-ish character.

Again, an expertly brew from the wizards at Kzoo. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2003 14:32:50 | More by Mitchster
Photo of BitteBier
BitteBier

Indiana

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

Pours a rusty dark brown color with a substantial cake of light beige foam that clings mightily to the glass. Sweet caramely aroma is quite pleasant and rather strong even when the beer is well chilled. The bitter, dry finish is the most striking component of the taste. Starts somewhat sweet and milk chocolatey. Combination of creamy texture and lingering crispness makes for an appealing mouthfeel and another Bell's success.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2003 15:34:24 | More by BitteBier
Photo of jackndan
jackndan

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bell’s Best Brown Ale: Twelve-ounce bottle. Pours a very hazy brown, underneath a huge tannish head, that lasts. Nice Belgian lacing as well. The aroma is very strong, of roasted malts and weak coffee and cream. Wow, this is the best tasting brown ale I’ve ever had. Very smooth and pleasant, with roasted malts that add a nice rich flavor. Very easy to drink. A slight kick of hops bitterness at the end. I believe that this was well aged, and the tastes have smoothed out, and my somewhat old beer has become very well balanced. Really nice.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2003 15:30:42 | More by jackndan
Photo of TXHops
TXHops

Texas

4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

-Original Gravity: 1.056
-Final Gravity: 1.013
-ABV: 5.75
-Attenuation: 76
-Real Extract: 5.2 P
-Calories: 184

Thanks to Marc77 for the trade! Bell’s Best Brown pours a very murky brownish color that reminds me of the underwater shots I always see on nature shows where alligators are navigating some opaque mire with ease… Luckily, this mire has a tremendous tan head that really fluffed up on the pour and took forever to fade into a lasting blanket of foam. Instantly, a huge aroma of slightly roasted malt filled the area above my glass (perhaps the Belgian malts?) creating a super-enticing aroma. Wonderful to sniff—one of the best smelling beers ever. I also wonder if I can’t smell a touch of sourness underneath the dry, bready, wholesome, slightly fruity maltiness…

The rich body also displays the strong, malty-bready sweetness suggested by the nose. A huge, luscious specialty grain flavor totally envelopes my mouth, with the hops as an aftertaste. Again, there’s the slightest hint of sourness in the tail, but because this beer is lightly hopped, that subtle flavor doesn’t detract much from the overall impression. Underneath all the earthy, fresh bready sweetness is a mild fruitiness that lends a facet of complexity to this hugely tasty, wonderfully rich beer.

I thoroughly enjoyed drinking this beer, but I’m wondering if the sourness so frequently discussed on the forum has crept into the Brown at my house. If so, it’s very slight. Still, it is evident and the resulting tiny hint of twangy green apple is enough to knock a half point or so off a couple of categories. Still, overall this is a great beer and one I'm really looking forward to drinking again.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2003 20:13:42 | More by TXHops
Photo of marc77
marc77

California

3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruddy brown in hue, with a light haze. Thick, bumpy, stiff light tan head leaves fluffy lace. Earthy and citric hop nose coupled with the yeast strain's signature slightly unripe pearish fruity esters dominate the aroma. Mild biscuit malt and medium caramel are secondary, but biscuit becomes more pronounced and almost savory in nature as the beer warms. Tart fruit and toasty grain initially are followed by a leafy, woody, tobacco like hop flavor, which then oddly morphs, becoming more citrusy in nature. Faint notes of chocolate malt. Non descript caramel malt provides the bulk of malt sweetness, since the high attenuation lends a dry finish low in residual sugars. Mild hop bitterness leaves the caramel malt profile unhindered. Medium bodied for style, with a relatively dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes dry w/ notes of biscuit and salt. Certainly a flavorful brown ale. Slightly lacking in overall balance, but tasty and unique nevertheless. Perhaps the most tame Bells beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2003 17:35:11 | More by marc77
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

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

This hazy brwon beer with red highlights pours with a thick tan head that slowly fades. A nice lacing is left on the glass as you drink. The aroma is of caramel, molasses, and malt and is very inviting and smooth. The first taste is heavy on the dark molasses and a husky malt flavor. Smoky brown sugar notes and a nice bitterness follow. Not as much sweetness as the aroma would suggest, this is more of a dry brown ale. The mouthfeel is a bit harsh from carbonation, and the beer has a moderate body. It improves a bit as the beer warms. The drinkability is good, as this would be a good session beer. Another nice beer from Kalamazoo.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2003 09:37:59 | More by aaronh
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2003 15:27:28 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

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

A rough pour brings up a full creamy light tan head but rouses the yeast sediment leaving it fairly hazy. The head then holds exceptionally well and leaves some nice lace. The body is an appropriate russett brown. A rich but soft aroma welcomes you with softly sweet cocoa. The medium body is accentuated by a very fine and moderate carbonation from bottle conditioning. At first it caresses the tongue, but soon becomes more creamy as it warms. The flavor starts softly chocolatey with an underlying fruitiness from the yeast and a lightly spicy and grassy hoppiness. It's sweetish, but well balanced by a firm bitterness that becomes quite apparent in the lingering dry finish (it is, after all, a Bell's beer)! The residual chocolatey malt combines with the bitterness and takes on a coffee-like character. Very nice! It's quite charming, well brewed, balanced and enjoyable. Well worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2003 16:18:21 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of cretemixer
cretemixer

Indiana

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

Pours a deep cloudy brown with some floaties. Decent caramel colored head that stood up well and left a nice lace. Roasted malts & nuts come to the forefront on the aroma. First sip is slightly spicey and nutty. Not much hoppiness but still balances well. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a medium/heavy body. Overall very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2003 11:56:50 | More by cretemixer
Photo of budgood1
budgood1

Minnesota

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

pours out a cloudy, very deep amber/dark copper color. aromas of sour fruit and roasted caramel malt. not being familiar with bell's, the belgian profile (tart and fruity with a lively mouthfeel) seemed odd in a brown ale. medium bodied, with a much slicker feel to it if you add in the dregs. after a few sips the complexity struck me, as i picked up a lot of subtle nutty and roasted flavors. nice hoppiness too. a very spicy aftertaste. still the overall experience (and knowing i had only one bottle) left me puzzled. i really wanted another one. a very tasty brown!

thanks to BA kennywoodbrew for providing me with this sample as part of his BIF venture!

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2002 15:43:33 | More by budgood1
Photo of maxpower
maxpower

Missouri

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

Murky brown color, has a small off-white head, nice fruity malty aroma. Mild nutty and malty flavor, has a nice hop bite in the finish. A bit of a watery mouthfeel, not bad for the style, a little on the hoppy side.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2002 13:49:12 | More by maxpower
Photo of Realale
Realale

Missouri

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

Pours a slightly murky brown. Nice head settles slowly to thin rocky cap of foam that sticks it out through the whole glass.

Nose is toasty/chocolately/grainy. Little hop presence. The palate is slightly biased toward malty sweetness, and the chocolate is prevalent on the palate. Nice complexity to the grain. Again, hops not a major player.

The finish is long with a minerally component which keeps the malty palate from becoming too much, and really helps this beer have a very good drinkability. A very nice example of a style that is simply not one of my favorites. This bottle was purchased at the Brewery on the day of review.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2002 16:59:11 | More by Realale
Photo of MJR
MJR

Missouri

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

Appearance: Has a deep brown body with a touch of garnet under a small, light tan head. It's cloudy as hell, due to the fact that all of Bell's beers are unfiltered. This is a bit different from the norm for brown ales, which are usually clear, but so what...

Smell: The strongest aroma to me is spicyness. Not hot or anything like that, more like a Belgian-like spiciness. Does that make sense? There's a bit of roasted malt in there as well. Very little hop aroma to be found.

Taste: The first thing that hits me, again, is the spicyness. Checking out their website, I find that they use all Belgian malt to make this one. That explains it. There's a touch of malt sweetness, but I don't pick up on it near as much as some other reviewers here...maybe they 'want to' detect it 'cause it's usually there in other examples of the style. There's a nice balance of flavor here. It finishes with a little hop twang.

Mouthfeel: Quite full for a brown ale. Thicker in body than all of the other standard browns I enjoy. Nice...

Drinkability: High for the style. While some might like a more restrained flavor profile for a session-style beer, I like my brews to have a more assertive personality. I could drink this all night.

All in all, a very solid brown ale. One that bucks tradition a bit and gives a bit more to the drinker's tastebuds. A good beer from one of my favorite brewerys.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2002 21:19:17 | More by MJR
Photo of putnam
putnam

Michigan

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

Looks good. There is a wild, sour gaminess on the nose that reminds me of some lambics. Nutshell, used coffee grounds, fur and metal weave together there as well. The flavor is frankly sweet with a heavy dose of roasted grain flavor to balance the sugar. More stale coffee emerges on the finish. Overall a thoroughly rustic experience. One to drink while on a hunting trip, decked out in flannel, sitting at a campfire, gnawing on a turkey bone.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2002 12:34:30 | More by putnam
Photo of ADR
ADR

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mostly opaque brown color, slightly garnet with the trademark yeasties floating around. Good head of almost a 1/2 inch, holds some shapes well. Nutty aroma. This is seriously one of the best Browns I've ever had, bolder caramel and maple flavors and a nice, if not huge, amount of hop bitterness at the end and in the swallow. In some ways, it starts a little slick and ends dry -- an impressive feat for a brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2002 14:14:15 | More by ADR
Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
WilliamPhilaPa

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color, with a tint of orange. The head is a beige color, rocky, creamy, and long lasting. On the nose there is aromas of roasted malts and hints of caramel. On the palate there is a nutty flavor, slightly grainy, dark toasted bread, and just a hint of molasses. Not as good as the brown ale I had from smuttynose a couple of days ago, but still very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2002 13:22:27 | More by WilliamPhilaPa
Photo of Wildman
Wildman

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy, reddish brown color and formed a huge nice light tan bubbly head that left some nice latticed lace. A heavy amount of carbonation is present. A slight aroma of malt, hops and caramel. A flavor of hops and caramel. A farily light finish but dry finish with a touch of caramel sweetness. Another good beer from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2002 16:29:30 | More by Wildman
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,937 ratings.