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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

2,135 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,135
Reviews: 781
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 66
Gots: 124 | 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: 2,135 | Reviews: 781 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%

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.

Sammy, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

djrn2, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

Thorpe429, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

zestar, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

metter98, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%

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

brentk56, Oct 19, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%

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.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 10, 2004
Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

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.

BEERchitect, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

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.

mikesgroove, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +4.7%

kjkinsey, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%

ygtbsm94, Tuesday at 03:00 AM
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

spycow, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

kylehay2004, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

jaydoc, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

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.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of Knapp85
3.4/5  rDev -11%

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.

Knapp85, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%

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.

oberon, Sep 24, 2003
Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

TMoney2591, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of emerge077
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

emerge077, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

zeff80, May 08, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

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.

NeroFiddled, Jan 04, 2003
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

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.

TheManiacalOne, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

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.

RblWthACoz, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

nickfl, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.63/5  rDev -5%

Appearance: Deep amber brown hue, we can dub it mahogany with a nice tan fluffy cream head leaves nice scattered lacing as the head dwindles lacing forms a collar.
Aroma: Deep roasted malts give off hints of chocolates and a warming sweetness along with a complementing tone of nut bread.
Taste: The toasted malts form a caramel toasted nut flavor profile and the hops in the finish are very evident, quite bitter for a brown ale not hopped per say just residually bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied brew with a bit of a cloying finish, not as smooth as I was hoping.
Drinkability: Mediocre for the Bell’s lineup but one of the most intriguing brown ales I have taste at the same time, save room for their Two Hearted Ale now that’s a session ale.

WVbeergeek, Nov 14, 2003
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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,135 ratings.