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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

850 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 850
Hads: 2,811
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: 850 | Hads: 2,811
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.

 325 characters

Photo of hckyfn9999
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark brown color with some orange hues when held to light. A nice light tan, two finger head that lasts for a while and leaves decent lacing.

Aroma is somewhat nutty with some cocoa, toffee and caramel and a faint hoppiness in there as well.

Taste is sweet and toasty. Some caramel and nuts dominate the flavor along with a bitterness in the finish. Pretty decent balance here.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, not very heavy on the carbonation.

Definitely a very drinkable beer. Would make for a great session. Glad I went out of my way to get this beer, it is pretty solid.

 601 characters

Photo of Briarbush
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- It is very dark auburn with a nice copper hue and slightly hazy.Nice head that is light tan.

Smell- very faint with a noticeable bread smell maybe a little toffee/caramel.

Taste & Mouthfeel- Not very complex, It has a nice malt character with only a touch of hops. There is another few flavors that I just can’t place a name on pleasant nonetheless. The finish is crisp and dry. Slightly over carbonated I felt.

Drinkability- This beer is very drinkable. I wish the taste were a bit more complex or bold but it is very pleasant throughout. Good Brew.

 574 characters

Photo of tempest
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Triple Rock Social Club.

Definately an English brown, as it's a mellow tasting beer. I don't know what's "best" about this. I don't get much complexity of flavor, just some nice chocolate malts. It's nice beer, don't get me wrong, I just wouldn't invest in a 6'er. It is a nice stepup from Newcastle, however. Give it to a friend as a gateway beer.

 365 characters

Photo of gmfessen
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of bottle into a pint glass, beer is really more of a deep crimson-amber color than brown. Beer had a very nice overflowing off white four finger head, with small amounts of lacing. Smell is of caramel and nutty chocolate. The taste is exceptional; pleasing with a malty start, perfectly balanced with a slightly hoppy and smooth finish. Never offensive throughout the taste, wonderfully balanced. The mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy and delightful. Overall I would have to say that this is an extremely drinkable beer and have to toast this one to Bells!

 567 characters

Photo of Osiris9588
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with batch ID number 7681, brewed on 10/03/06. It pours a mahogany with bronze, golden, and ruddy undertones. The head is off-white and creamy, receding into a layer of thin foam dunes, before subsiding into a thin one- finger layer--decent lacing.

The aroma is nutty and malty, accompanied by caramel and tree bark. The flavor is also very malty and oaty, wtih a nutty caramel finish, along with some cola and a slight presence of hops.

The mouth is medium-bodied and well carbonated, with enough complexity to keep it interesting. It is very drinkable, not overly sweet. A solid example of the style and overall brew.

 637 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy red/brown, thick tan head, settles to a ring, nice lacing and great retention, head really sticks. Smell is sweet, toffee, grains, roasty chocolate, very rich flavour, little bit of floral. Taste is toffee and chocolate, grainy, some floral and citrus in the finish, nice roasted dry finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, very smooth and enjoyable. A nice brown ale. Thanks biegaman!

 414 characters

Photo of Grundle20
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown into a pint glass. There is little head to speak of and thus no lacing.

There's a very pleasant smell of figs, coconut, and nuts, I think almonds. It really kind of smells like an Almond Joy candy bar.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again it tastes very nutty and again I believe it's almonds. The fig scent has vanished from the taste but I'm still picking up that minor coconut note. There's a mild bitter bite on the sides of my tongue about mid drink but for the most part this beer goes down rather smooth. The aftertaste is slightly poisoned by an apparent alcohol wash on the back of my palette.

Bringing some of the full flavors I would expect from a dopplebock without the alcohol ass kicking makes for a very agreeable "dark" beer. Full enough for a cold night but mild enough for extended drinking.

Bottom Line:
Rich flavors without getting trashed sold me on this beer. Like I've said in the past I usually don't get down with drinking darker beers just for the sake of drinking, but I could certainly make an exception for this beer.

 1,105 characters

Photo of psinderson
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse in a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice dark brown/ruby red color. Off-white head that lasts.

Smell: Caramel notes and malty sweetness.

Taste: Very malty sweet. Very little roasted flavor or hops flavor present.

Mouthfeel: Relatively thin, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable and goes down well.

 359 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a damn good brown ale. One of my favorite styles when done well. Quite underrated, IMO. This beer pours to a nice amber brown color, though when held to the light it looks like a hazy amber ale. The head is cream, tan and stands at a few centimeters before receding to a film. A thin soapy lacing slowly drips back down into the glass. No apparant carbonation.

The smell is the weakest link with this brew. Can't smell much at all. A slight yeast cake aroma. A little nutty with some lightly roasted caramel malts.

The taste more than makes up for the lackluster appearance and near lack of smell. Nice burnt caramel flavor with some bready notes. Quite nutty. Sweet malty heaven. The aftertaste fades away very quickly leaving only a hint of a nutty, bready finish. Very quaffable. I'm going to enjoy drinking this often.

 836 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with bounteous head that would becalm into mere bubbles. A sort of glowing, umber colour. I couldn't see my finger through the other side. Aroma with cola-root beer like properties, smells sticky and syropy. Lots of hops too though. Taste far more subtle that aroma. Mouthfeel rounds out nicely, leaving a caramely roast. A lot of malts come through on the finish too. Not so much light nor dark malts, the sort of in between ones - not nearly roasty - maybe 'toasty'. Smooth and very enjoyable to drink. A well made American style brown ale. Thanks HogTownHarry.

 569 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an ice tea brown color and a modest head that leaves some intermittant lacing

Smell: Nutty roasted notes

Taste: Bready, up front with a bit of bitterness for balance

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink with enough character to make this generally insipid style interesting

 361 characters

Photo of KevBrews
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours brownish amber, slightly murky. Not a lot of head retention--mostly a small ring around the outside of the glass.

S: Nutty chocolate aroma, hints of raisin as it warms.

T: Caramel with hints of coffee and toffee; low hop flavor--malt flavor dominates.

M: Moderate--low to medium carbonation.

D: This beer would be great as a session beer. It is smooth and easy to drink. Flavorful, but not overpowering. I only picked up a single bottle, and when I finished, I wished I had bought a sixer. However, given a choice between this and Bell's Porter, I'd go for the porter every time.

 600 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a hazy oak brown body with a thick creamy light tan head that last and last. This beer is a bit to hazy to see any carbonation.

S- This beer has a light brown malt hint with a spicy hop finish.

T- This beer has a tangy light brown malt taste with a hint of pale malt. The finish is a faint green spicy hop note. As it warms there is a slight nougat taste to the malt.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tiny fizz in the finish.

D- This beer doesn't have a lot of flavor and the malt notes are pretty soft but the hops, all though soft, have a bright fresh flavor.

 646 characters

Photo of quasimoto
2.63/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Light Brown/copper color, w/ a big fluffy head.

S - Strong sour paper and some kind of muddy hop.

T - Muddy chocolatestarts off, but then melds into a chocolate toasty flavor. Too much hops.

M - Smooth all around, Some carbination bite, but easy on the palatte.

D - Not something I would drink all night. Also A bit off for the style.

 352 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, batch 7216 (1/9/06). Pours a murky hazy tea brown with a smallish light tan head that quickly goes to a wisp.

The aroma is sweet sugary caramel and toffee and a little fresh hoppiness.

The flavor is sweet brown sugar, nuttiness, chocolate and toffee with a little acidic fruitiness. The mouthfeel is medium to full and velvety.

Overall, nothing too exciting, but it is a solid, very well done brown ale.

 426 characters

Photo of scott
2.94/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I love Bell's products. They do dark ales very well. I don't care for this beer. So mediocre, I find it hard to rate it without feeling guilty.
Pours so gorgeous, I was excited. Nice copper body with a beautiful white head of almost four fingers! It begged me to drink it.
And I did. Twice. With the same results. Boring. I'm sorry.
Smells of a malt bisquit, and has lackluster mouth appeal and the only reason I'm drinking more than one is because I had to buy six.

 469 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours murky chestnut brown with a great deal of sediment. Large soapy head dissipates to a thin ring.

Smell is big bready toasted malt, hints of earthy hop.

Taste is similiar to the nose. Flavors are balanced and mild, but pleasant. Nice nut profile, especially as it warms. Light fruitiness and a bit of mustiness. Finish is rather clean earthy hop and mild warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall a pleasant and interesting brown ale. A solid brew.

 475 characters

Photo of bashiba
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark dirty brown with ruby highlights and a thin tan head.

Smell had a nice light toasted malt quality.

Big bready toasted malt flavors with a nice bit of yeast and a touch of bitterness.

mouthfeel has a medium body with a dry finish.

A pretty good brown from Bell's, I will drink this again.

 313 characters

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

This is reminiscent of the Hacker-Pschorr that I just reviewd but encumbered with beer-nuts and I do mean cajones. Dense as a Polaroid picture and brown gravy and rye. Hack off some marble cheddar and hot pepper jack and make yourself a feast of post-fermentables and livestock. Please put away your virgins though because Moloch reigns supreme here.

 350 characters

Photo of Fish113d
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mahogany color into a pint glass chilled. Little light gets through the glass. Tan surface layer w/ decent glass cling.

Aroma is mainly of caramel malts; some wheat aroma also. Grainy hops sneak into my nostrals as well. Pretty sugary and sweet aroma overall.

Sweet caramel w/ a slight oak, vanilla, and plum flavor. Some slight floral hops hit my palate also on the finish. A bit of alcohol hints as well maybe. Very nice for the style.

Decent amount of carbonation up front w/ a light to medium body. Some slight alcohol, but nice overall feel.

Thumbs up to drinking this one. It'd make a nice Friday evening growler brew. I'd definitely drink this if I had more access to it on a regular basis.

 722 characters

Photo of rabsten
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another Bell's from the mix case I picked up in PA. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Dark red-brown with thin head. Good lacing.

Toasty malt, no hops in the nose. What I've come to think of as a classic brown ale aroma.

Taste is more toasty malt with slight hop bitterness on top of the palate. Malt finish. Solid flavor throughout.

Dry mouthfeel, start to finish. Flavor makes it quite drinkable.

Bottom line: yet again, a solid effort from Bell's. Worth a try.

 475 characters

Photo of bigdeuce
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, what a great looking brown! I wasn't as impressed with the taste as the smell and appearance. Medium bodied with nice malts just a bit of alcohol thunder to it. This was a pretty good one though, brown sugar and spices! A very filling and drinkable brown, with all kinds of spices floating around in the glass. Worth a shot or two!

 336 characters

Photo of bruachan
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

there's a friendly-looking owl on my beer. he looks a little tipsy, actually

the beer is brown. i believe it is also an ale. so far so good. billowing head and a nice reddish brown. i wish the malt aroma were a little stronger; a nice earthy hop aroma, but the malt doesn't play a huge role, as it does in the flavor. very smooth; very balanced with a slight roasted whisper

 377 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A single bottle from a make-your-own-six-pack purchased at the Bell's general store. Brown with yeasty protein floaties and a small head. sweet, almost fruity malt and toffee smell. Pretty inviting. Mmmmm. this is a tasty beer. no massive amounts of anything, just some sweet toasty malt and balanced hops and a smooth mouthfeel. Very nice. Only complaint is a slight excess of carbonation. Glad i bought one because now i know its worth buying a whole six pack.

 462 characters

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 850 ratings.