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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

2,027 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,027
Reviews: 777
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 56
Gots: 102 | 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: 2,027 | Reviews: 777 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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

Chocolate cabinet brown with creamy head, fresh leaving lace in glass. Caramel, a touch of graininess and roasted barley and molasses and licorice in aroma and in taste. Very easy drink, understated hoppiness and maltiness so just some bitterness and sweetness. Some of each in aftertaste, but more sweet. Creamy mouthfeel. Good example of this style. Thanks Dr. Jay.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2006 04:43:52 | More by Sammy
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

01-10-2012 17:01:11 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

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

First-ever review.

G: Standard 16-oz. pint glass with Indiana University logo.

A: Pours a slightly-cloudy, opaque brown-amber color with a medium cream-colored head. The head dissipates rather quickly, and no carbonation is visible. The beer does lace well on the side of the glass as it's consumed.

S: The malt has a smell of nuttiness with a little bit of grain. An intense sniff brings out a delicate sweetness. The aroma isn't as strong as others of this style.

T: Somewhat sweet with a definite nut flavor; a little tangy and definitely not overpowering. The nut flavor takes up most up with taste, with little or no hop presence. Not much of the cream taste that is available in other brown ales. This tends to be more toward the drier end of the brown-ale spectrum.

M: While not visible, the carbonation is definitely felt in the mouth. Not too much carbonation, and it fades well as the beer sits on your tongue. The mouthfeel is fairly light for the style, and is well-balanced.

D: The taste is a little underwhelming and lacking in complexity, but overall a quite drinkable beer. I would definitely have another, although this is not the best example of the style. Unfortunately I'm having this in February instead of late Fall, when I could see this going well with blankets and a campfire.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2009 17:43:20 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnished bronze with loads of suspended particles. I may just have to chew this beer. The light brown head is large, firm and is a very nice lacer. Thick, chunky sheets adorn the glass as I drink.

The nose is of caramel/toffee, brown sugar and light molasses. As someone who prefers those flavors to chocolate, I approve in a big way and hope that the flavor matches the nose. It does. I can tell after the first sip that this beer has rocketed to the top of my 'best brown ales' list. A little more body would make it absolutely killer, but it's pretty damn tasty all the same.

Again, the flavor matches the nose: caramelized sugar-covered toasted malt with a little spiciness for good measure. I'm also reminded of sweet, dark fruits such as figs and dates. The sweetness--neither too much nor too little--fades to a slight dryness by the tail end of the long, lingering finish. I repeat, with a heavier body this would be extraordinary beer.

Bell's Brewery continues to grow on me. Brown ale is an often overlooked style that is sometimes short on excitement, but Bell's Best Brown is phenomenal stuff and has impressed me to no end.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2004 23:46:04 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

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

A: The beer is hazy chestnut brown to amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down a bit, but never completely faded away.
S: Light to moderate aromas of cocoa nibs are present in the nose; nutty malts become apparent after the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is more complex with additional flavors of chocolate, roasted and nutty malts. A very slight amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink and has quite complex flavors when compared to other beers in the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 23:27:54 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
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

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2006 02:20:23 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

12oz bottle served right out of the fridge and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a very nice and pretty clear hazelnut brown with just the slightest bit of a reddish tint to it around the edges. A very nice amount of carbonation was evident in the streams of bubbles that were chaining up from the bottom throughout the session. A very nice three finger high head of off white colored lace formed on the top on the initial pour and then faded back down to just a thin layer across the top after a few moments. The nice thin layer stayed with it throughout the session and gave off very nice residual side glass lace. Overall very nice and a good classic brown ale look to it.

S - The aroma was very easy to pick up, which was nice as sometimes it is rather light and it can take a minute to pick it out. The first thing I noticed was the nice malt bill attached to this one. A nice mix of cereal grains and bready malts that gave it a very nice base to work off of. As it warmed up I detected some nice light grass like hop notes in there as well some hints of fruit, banana to be more specific that were coming through and giving it a little more balance. The aroma overall was pretty classic, maybe with a little tweak of hoppiness to it, but a good representation of the style in general.

T - The flavor was classic, just a good all around brown ale. Started out with lots of malts, this was completely to be expected. Cereal grains, bready and earthy tones dominating, but then fading under increasing pressure from caramel like sugary notes that seemed to really bring out the best in this one. Deep flavor profile which surprised me to be honest. A nice long dry finish capped it off very nicely and provided that long dry bitter taste that just really is a sign of Bell's in particular.

M - A very nice light to medium bodied ale, this was pretty darn good I have to admit. There was a very nice carbonation profile, bubbles keeping it lively throughout the session and never really letting it get too dull or watery. Very strong finish and a really nice feel overall with a delicate smoothness balanced against a tight crisp profile.

D - Very nice here as I could easily make this an everyday session beer. Light enough in flavor and profile to be easily drinkable, but at the same time the flavors were very well pronounced and made it much better then just another brown ale. Low ABV and great carbonation wee just the icing on the cake.

Overall this was definitely a quality brown ale. I would not say it was the best I have ever had, but it was certainly above normal for sure. I would love to try this on tap, as I really feel it would bring out the best in its character when poured fresh. Definitely a high quality regular rotation offering from Bells here and something I would really like to try again.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2008 14:07:36 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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

This is a very nice beer and quite true to style. Big toasted malt character both in the aroma and flavor. Bittersweet chocolate, caramel, toffee, and a low roasted flavor. Ripe fruits of figs and dates fill the nose and palate. Nicely heavy and creamy on the palate. Nice brown / amber color, almost opaque. Low hop flavor and bitter that adds to complexity. A little more estery than I expect from both hop flavor and sweet alcohol. Finishes lightly malty and lingering. Go get one.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 14:50:22 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4/5  rDev +4.7%

01-22-2012 21:17:40 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

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

Batch 8212.

Appearance: Pours a clear brown body with a lush, though quickly thinning ivory-colored head.

Smell: Nutty, creamy caramel aroma with lighter notes of chocolate, wood, and dark fruits.

Taste: Dark crème caramel and toasted nuts with just the right level of sweetness. Faint fruitiness. Lightly hopped with a mild bitterness and a slight floral character. For all it's sweetness, the beer still manages to finish dry with a lingering toastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A charming, easy drinking brown from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 04:40:47 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

10-26-2013 20:14:57 | More by jaydoc
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

06-15-2013 02:10:28 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

01-18-2013 04:30:36 | More by spycow
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown with a decent off white head that leaves some light lacing,smell is of roasted malt with a light sour smell in the background(Iam not sure where that comes from) with some light chocolate hints.Nice flavorful beer with a nice roasted malty taste with some underlying earth tones that keep it from being to sweet.A nice beer drink it each time I go home to Michigan when given the chance.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2003 23:49:48 | More by oberon
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

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

This brew poured out as a brown color with some red highlights in it. The head doesn't really do too much for the appearance here. The smell of the beer is a little sweet and just a little bit of roasted grains on the nose. The taste of the beer doesn't give off too much of a nutty flavor, it actually had more of a roasted cinnamon kind of flavor in there I think. The mouthfeel of the beer was decent I though nothing too exciting though. Overall it's not a bad brown ale, but I can't say it's my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 01:52:26 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

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 zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

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

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgandy/brown color with a creamy, foamy, small tan head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and sweet caramel notes.

T - It had a biscuity roasted malt taste. Also, caramel and toffe flavors were present.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good brown ale. A nice sweet malty taste.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2008 01:31:58 | More by zeff80
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 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 nickfl
nickfl

Florida

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

A - Pours with one finger of off-white head on top of a clear, brown body with amber highlights. The head fades away slowly and leaves light lace.

S - A light caramel note with a bit of toffee and some red apple. There is also a bit of herbal hop aroma in the background.

T - Dry, caramel and toffee malt up front. More caramel in the middle with some cola notes. Moderate roasted character comes out in the finish with dry, toasty caramel and some brown sugar. Moderate bitterness and some herbal hops balance.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A pretty nice brown ale. A touch on the dry side with lots of caramel and an increasingly roasty character towards the finish. The hop character is light and does not get in the way of the malt but it is sufficient to balance the mild level of sweetness. A nice example of the style, I can't find anything to complain about other than the fact that I'm drinking it out of a bottle instead of a cask.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2010 06:45:04 | More by nickfl
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a slightly fogged ruby hued brown that only gives a small creme head off a firm pour. Nose is very leafy and earthy. Flavor is very full. A lot more vibrant than I had figured it would be. Much more of a sugar-like sweet tone to it. Almost like there was brown sugar thrown in the mix. Feel has a full carbonation and the liquid is well bodied. This is easy to drink. A bit too sweet IMO, but still an enjoyable experience.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2008 18:21:08 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

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

Acquired from diekia, courtesy of the Review This! BIF so a big "Thank You" goes out to her. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, maple, nuts, honey and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of maple, caramel, honey and nuts that are followed by a hearty malt character. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid sessionable beer that is worth drinking for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 03:50:04 | More by TheManiacalOne
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 russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

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

pours caramel with a 2 fingers plus tan head. Good lacing & minmal head retention

Smell: Malt and slight nutiness

Taste: Big sweet maltiness followed by nuttiness & fruittyness. Almost taste a tinge of vanilla. Finishes fruitty & quenching

MF: Light with good carbonation. Shows great balance

Very easy drinking brown, good session ale IMO, a good brown. My 1st beer from bell's, pretty nice

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2006 04:17:35 | More by russpowell
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a dark amber with a nice frothy covering of light tan head that retained very well and left some great lacing. Aroma possesses deep notes of malt sweetness, bread, and nuttiness.

The tastes is a big hit of bready sweetness, and toasted malts up front but then a nice, tingling hop bitterness comes out amongst all that sweetness and helps even things out. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly creamy carbonation.

With full deep flavors and good balance, this is one tasty and quaffable Brown Ale from Bell's. Solid.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2008 17:22:41 | More by Kegatron
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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,027 ratings.