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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

849 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 849
Hads: 2,807
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 95
Gots: 365 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 849 | Hads: 2,807
Photo of david131
3.39/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- This is how a beer should look. Clear, brown/ ruby/ orange/ amber. Beautiful, thick pancake of a head that never settles down and allows me to see the surface of the beer. Leaves some great lacing.

S- A little bit grassy in the nose with some sweet caramel, nutty malt presence.

T- Same as the smell but with a noticeable bit of cocoa powder taste to it. I can't help but pick up the slightest bit of burning plastic. A lot hoppier than expected.

M- Has a little bite to it and with all the carbonation is pretty light on the tongue.

D- Not really a session beer in my book, but a worthwhile beer to try.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped cap.

Cloudy,hazy reddish/brown color with a 1" off-white to light tan colored head that dissapated a bit quick leaving a constant creamy layer.Some webby lacing turning spottty half way down the glass

A good,clean, light,sweet,nutty,carmelly nose. Grassy with a faint roastyness,some dark fruit notes with some earthiness.

Burnt nutty carmelly tastes,tart, some dark fruitness,very earthy. Finishes dry with tart bitterness,clean not a lot of aftertaste. Lots of english style to this beer has a good balance.

Has a thick mouthfeel,grainy,slightly syrupy,some cloyingness with a tangy feel.
Could drink a few of these not much more,not a bad beer just nothing to get excited about.

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my 2nd beer from Bells.Lets see how it holds up.

Brown body with red highlights to it.The tan head stood for a couple minutes then fell.I really cant smell anything from the beer.The taste is malty and and taste like Tea.the tea tatse is probally the malts and I dont taste any hop flavor at all.The mouthful is creamy and very smooth, carbonation is very inviting.I dont think this is Bells beer by far from looking at the reviews so I didnt expect a "Outstanding" beer but its very solid none the less.Nice job Bells!

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of dfried
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby brown in color, tan film and ring for head. Rich caramely aroma, brown sugar, some hops linger. The flavor is actually quite tangy from the malt and hops together. A sweet dark sugary base is always there and refreshing but there are some fruity flavors as well, apple skins, pears, raisins. Some bready and biscuity flavors, and some nutty as the style would dictate. Pretty low CO2, sticks in the mouth well, the flavors linger.

Verdict: like eating a caramel apple. Brewed close enough to style to be called a brown, but more fruity and tangy than most I have had.

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Photo of MDekker
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a darker brown than I remember, almost mahogany in color. Not much head, but what's there is nice and creamy. Good retention, as well. The aroma consists mostly of dark roasted malt notes, maybe a little banana(?). A little nutty, too. Upon tasting, the nuttiness and a bready flavor comes through. Nice bitter finish, balancing nicely. Finely carbonated and pleasant in the mouth. Goes down pretty easily, as well. Overall, this is just a good beer. Nothing real spectacular, just Good.

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Photo of oelergud
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown reddish body with good carbonation. Light tan creamy head with pretty good retention and lace.
Almost no smell. A little bit of earth and molasses.
Taste is also surprisingly subdued. Earth and very mild malts, Aftertaste has abit stronger hops and some nutskin but still not alot of flavor.
Medium body, very little coating.
A very middle of the road beer. not bad by any means but abit too bland for me.


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Photo of Cresant
2.76/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a becker. Batch 7681. The body was a hazy, honey brown color with three fingers of head. Some lacing remained.

Smell was aluminum. Other aromatic characteristics were faint. Eventually a brown sugar aroma surfaced.

Taste was toasty sweet malts. Lightly syrupy flavor. Light hops lift. Nice interplay of malts and hops (not all malts).

Mouthfeel was smooth, however, the swallow revealed robust carbonation. Medium to light body. This is not one I would seek out again, but brown ales are not one of my favorite styles.

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Photo of BaronVonHawkeye
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich brown color, slightly lighter than Newcastle, but hazy similar to an American Amber. Dark cream head that did not really stay around that long, but did leave nice lace rings.

Smell: I unfortunately have to give this an average. While there is a decently malty smell, it seems bland and ordinary.

Taste: Nice flavor for a brown ale. Smooth malt followed by a hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, but did not have as smooth of a mouthfeel as other brown ales, specifically Dillion Dam Sweet George's Brown.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Would go very well with tailgaiting on a crisp fall day rather than a bitterly cold winter day.

Purchased at John's Grocery, Iowa City, IA

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Photo of terrabyte
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

While pouring, the color is medium brown. However, once the the glass is filled, it seems a quite dark brown, and very cloudy. The trick of swirling the bottom tenth of the bottle before pouring the last out worked in this case, as large white yeasty sediments poured out. Has a very large, white, frothy head.

Aroma is quite mute. Nothing distinctive I could pick up except a normal 'beer' smell.

Flavor is also quite mute. I found this to be a pretty boring brown ale.

Mouthfeel is decent. Medium carbonation. Actually, would have been the perfect base for a better beer.

Drinkability is difficult to describe. Is one bottled water more drinkable than another?

I found this beer to be quite lacking in flavor, a completely worthless review by me (sorry!) and at a loss for words. It'll score better than other (bad) beers I've had, but only because those beers actively sucked for one reason or another. This one had nothing discernibly bad to make it repugnant. Average, average, average.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown hazelnut hue that is transparent, but hazy. A nice one finger head tops the brew, and some nice lacing is left on the glass. The head reduces to a haze within the span of a few minutes.

S - Toasted marshmallows and chocolate covered nuts with hints of graham crackers. Very s'mores-like, but not as sweet smelling.

T - Woodsy, leafy, autumnal, nutty, and very toasty. Campfire flavors abound. Nutty, barky. I'm drinkin this in a log cabin in Galena Illinois, and I find these flavors to be very appropriate.

M - Creamy, medium bodied, and more carbonated than an English brown should be IMO. Silky with a nutty and salty dry finish.

D - An excellent sipping beer, but I wouldn't want more than maybe two.

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Photo of BeerHonky
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fresh bottle enjoyed a few hours ago. Pours a slightly cloudy brownish, red. Faint yellow highlights in a few spots. You can see a bit of sediment floating around. Fluffy white head that didn't hang around for long and left a bit of lace around the glass. Good lookin beer. Aroma is a tad faint, but sweet and malty. I wish there was ust a little bit more pronounced malt aroma. This beer tastes great though. Not amazing, but really really good. Super smooth mouthfeel lets the toasty malt flavor cover your pallate. There's a faint fruit flavor as well, can't put my finger on it. No stringency whatsoever. A really good session beer. Drinkability is perfect. What a brown ale should be.

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Photo of becktone
4.71/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To the eye this beer is just about perfect. Pours a deep reddish copper with a huge tannish head. We're talking at least three fingers, had to sip some of it up to keep ir from overflowing out of the glass. As it receedes (sure some of this is due to the oil on my lips) it leaves beautiful lacing. Retention is at about one and a half fingers' width.

To the nose this brew has a warm, malty carmel aroma. No hop aroma so to speak of. Smells great, though I'd be much happier with this brew's aroma were it more potent.

Very strong malt backbone, with a nice simple yet refined flavor. Sure there's a bit of complexity, though its pretty straight forward. Carmel and malty flavors dominate this brew, quite good. Hop presence-flavor- is low, there is a small amount of bitterness to help offset this brew's infectiously good malty profile.

In the mouth this brew is full bodied with a creaminess to it. Lower carbonation levels are well within the boundaries for this style's accepted profile. All-in-all this is a great brew that I could drink all night long. I recommend this brew to anyone who just wants to kick back and drink a good brew. I'll definitely be buying this one again next time I see it. Its a good anytime beer, perfect with lunch.

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Photo of peabody
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a really dark root beer color with two fingers of off;/white tan suds. Very nice lacing appears around the pint glass as the drink dissapears to the bottom of the glass.
Smell is coffee/caramel with hints of yeast and sugary malts.
Taste is coffee caramel bitterness with a fruity aftertaste like plum or grape. Caramel and sugar are the most prevelant.
Mouthfeel is malty and sugary.
Drinkability is high here because of the nice flavor and the low abv.

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Photo of adammills
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass. As usual with Bell's this beer pours a strong head. It forms a rocky looking surface and the melts in on itself, for a slight head for the rest of the ride. It is a beautiful amber in color with an off white head. I was expecting a bit more malt character in the nose and taste of the beer, but solid none the less. A bit more hop flavor than I expected from the style but not out of order. Low in sweetness, with a solid backbone of both hop aroma and bitterness. For 6.6% there is no trace of additional alcohol. Overall a solid beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight malty nose. Starts sweet with caramel overtones, becomes more balanced with smooth finish but somewhat bitter aftertaste. $1.89 for a 12oz bottle from Chalet Party Goshen, In.

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Photo of PeatReek
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear, a bright, amber-brown color with a decidedly orangey head. The very mild aroma is sweet and bready, with hints of Maerzen-like fruity maltiness and a slight whisp of grass at the end. The sip starts with a significant wallop of bitterness (for the style) and evolves into a bready malt-fest; the Maerzen character is even more prominent here. Followed up by a rather sharp toasty taste that is not exactly the nutty roast aspect that I'm used to in a brown ale, but works nonetheless. The bitterness comes back again at the end of the sip to help it wash down clean. Superbly drinkable, especially as the glass sits out for a bit and the carbonation settles down from its initial overly harsh level - my only complaint.

(Batch 7723, bottled Nov. 15 2006)

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a brownish/red color, with an off-white head. Lacing is pretty good. It smells like toasted malt and nuts. It tastes the same way, except for some caramel and breadiness in the taste, along with a bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is light/medium, with just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's good, smooth and easy to drink, and I think it would be a decent choice as a session beer. Another good beer from Bell's!

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Photo of beerphan
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle -> goblet
code: 7670 -> website -> packaged 9.26.06

Pours a light copper with a generous off white almost tan head, that leaves sporadicly thick lace. Carbonation appears high on the pour.

Nose: Kinda of a spicey yeasty smell along with some faint malts.

Taste: Some sweet malt flavor along with a little nuttiness and spice on the finish with just a tad of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thin and the carbonation seems a little excessive.

Not the best brown ale i've ever had, but not the worst either, i prefer a fuller malt presense.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. with some code on the back - checking the website tells me it was packaged on 9/26/06. It pours an unfiltered deep copper/rust with medium carbonation and a half-inch of yellowed-tan head that leaves light lacing. The bouquet consists of light, toasted malts, chocolate?, and green/piney hops which seem almost oily on the palate. It tastes essentially the same, but with a low bitterness and, although the flavor is a bit mild, it leaves a medium finish on top of a medium and tingly body. Overall an easy to drink brown, but could be more complex.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger head that has good retention and good lacing. Body is a hazy, if not cloudy , garnet.

Smell - nutty, toasty malt bread, a hint of lemony hops.

Taste - some of the toasty malt bread, not much more than that.
Rather one dimensional.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, moderate carbonation, a little bit dry.

Drinkability - this is decent, far from great, but decent enough to drink, and so somewhat sessionable.

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Photo of dogfooddog
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

from a trade with MABZ, thanks again for the chance to try all of these beers.

Pours with a nice light tan head, nose is distinctly malty and a bit earthy or heavy.

taste is plenty malty, hints of roasted/smoky malt, and just enough hop character to keep some balance on this. Further into the glass it becomes a bit sweeter and bitter, as the palate adjusts.

I have had a number of english browns I was never really impressed with, but this is the first time I have actually enjoyed a beer of this style. This is well worth trying!

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Photo of phisig137
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vigarous pours yeilds a nice autumn like brown color, with some red tinge. Two finger head has great retention, and leaves behind nice lacing.

Aroma is malty and toasty. Not sweet or caramel like at all, but more toasty biscuit aromas. Fairly mild, but enjoyable.

Flavor is just as the smell, malty and toasty. Not really sweet, but not quite dry either. Great biscuit malt flavor, like fresh bread. Finish is smooth and lingering. Creamy mouthfeel, and excellent drinkability.

Although I prefer most American browns to British Browns, I really like this beer. Well made, and very drinkable. Nice representation of the "restrained" british style of brewing. Nothing sticks out as being incredible, but I think that's the point. Well balanced and easy drinking, I say once again.... I am VERY happy that Bell's is now in Virginia!

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Photo of scalffd
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy, dark amber brown with 2" off-white bubbly head which dissapates into a smooth 1/4" layer

Aroma: Roasted malts

Taste: More roasted malts with a slight bitter aftertaste

Feel: Smooth, but a little thin

Overall: Good, but not great. From Bell's and the name of the beer, I actually expected more.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 849 ratings.