1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

2,053 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,053
Reviews: 777
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 61
Gots: 108 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,053 | Reviews: 777 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

01-14-2008 17:22:41 | More by Kegatron
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

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.

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

Maryland

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

On draft at Churchkey, served in a snifter. Beer is brown with a mild haze, thin tan head, lazy, no lacing, low to moderate carbonation.

Aroma is nice, a little malty with hints of really mild roast.

Beer is medium to light in body, a little malty, nice finish, mildly bitter, no aftertaste, a decent little brown for sure.

02-02-2012 18:49:16 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

05-15-2013 18:36:03 | More by Slatetank
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%

The beer pours a nice brown color with a 1/2" tan head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful bisquit scent that blends well with the burnt toffee crystal malt aroma. It has a toastey feel. The taste is good also. It has a roasted malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes toastey and dry with some bisquity qualities. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking brown ale. I'm a real sucker for brown ales that are dry and bisquity.

03-23-2007 23:44:51 | More by WesWes
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog

Maryland

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

11-06-2013 14:34:29 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +4.7%

11-27-2011 00:04:05 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%

Deep amber/light brown color. Light passes easily and the beer appears clear. Modest bar-poured head where there is plenty of blanketing lace.

Classic "brown" smell of darker malts without any burnt elements. Light sweetness and slightly nutty. There's a touch of smokiness.

Some caramel sweetness tempered with a hop spice. Smooth but thin body. High finely bubbled carbonation. The swallow is a superior blend of bittering hop and toasted malts. One of the finest aftertastes I've ever had. An overall top-notch brown ale.

10-19-2011 17:10:44 | More by smcolw
Photo of DrunkinYogi
DrunkinYogi

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

03-22-2013 03:48:42 | More by DrunkinYogi
Photo of XmnwildX12
XmnwildX12

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

11-22-2013 03:06:45 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of MarkyMOD
MarkyMOD

Colorado

4/5  rDev +4.7%

04-22-2012 01:08:07 | More by MarkyMOD
Photo of imperialking
imperialking

Illinois

4/5  rDev +4.7%

01-09-2012 00:51:35 | More by imperialking
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

3.08/5  rDev -19.4%

Pours a dark chestnut amber color with mahogany edges when held to a light source and a foamy light beige head that slowly fades into a lasting cap and ring.

Slightly smokey aroma with a nice chestnut/hazelnut presence with a nice malt backbone and subtle hop notes.

Slightly watered down with a subtle smoked maltiness along with some oatmeal, chocolate malt, hazelnut and subtle hop notes. Finish is slightly dry. Pretty drinkable session beer but not something I would seek out again.

08-28-2009 22:37:27 | More by corby112
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

12 oz bottle

A: Cloudy reddish brown (not overly dark) with a cream colored head that quickly dissipates to a ring of large bubbles. Nice lacing.
S: Very mild, nutty, creamy, roasted malt, bread
T: Again, very mild not overly nutty or malty. At first there was a bad slightly bitter aftertaste but that dissipated quickly. A lingering sweetness throughout like brown sugar. Not very hoppy.
M: Medium body, very creamy and smooth. High carbonation but very pleasant. Very nice actually.
D: While most of the aromas and flavors are very mild, there is a still a deep, strong taste that is very persistent in the aftertaste. For me this start off very unassuming and disappointing but became a very nice brown ale.

01-18-2008 00:29:03 | More by yourefragile
Photo of InspectorBob
InspectorBob

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

11-10-2013 14:23:11 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

CAN you believe a 5L CAN?!? I not only CAN, but I have one and I have been awaiting a guest or two to help me drink it. The CANQuest (TM) CAN venture into new territory with the idea that a 5L mini-keg qualifies as a CAN for the purposes of this site.

I am a novice with this sort of delivery system, so I had to a) follow the directions VERY carefully and b) decide on the best pour for it. With regards to b), I tried a straight pour, allowing it to run from the tap into the glass, but I ended up with a massive amount of head, which I kept for myself. I then tried angling the glass and allowing the beer to flow into it without letting it impact the bottom of the glass. Either way, I had a buncha head. Allowing it to settle from its original, light-tan state into something more manageable, I still had a good bit of foam and a lot of sticky lacing to go along with it. The color was more of a ruby-red with NE-quality clarity than a brown, but it still looked enticing. The nose was definitely malty sweet with a bit of maple sugar included in the mix. Mouthfeel was slightly thin but I could tell that it was a sweet brown ale immediately. I am not averse to the style, but after a day of sampling hoppy beers, this really stood out from the pack. Tasty. A steady diet of AALs while furthering The CANQuest (TM) has honed my palate to the point that anything and everything tastes good. The finish had a slight smokiness to it, reminiscent of my PapPap burning leaves in his outdoor brick fireplace when I was a kid. Are you even allowed to burn leaves in this day and age? Man, I am getting old. The young lady visitor who just left laid it on me that she was born when I was leaving for Boot Camp. Oy vey!

11-27-2010 03:13:15 | More by woodychandler
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%

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.

11-23-2006 07:39:20 | More by tempest
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

03-08-2013 00:49:00 | More by orangesol
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -1%

Poured from a bottle into my pint glass. Color is deep amber with head that only sticks around for a short while. Minimal lacing on the glass. As noted from other bell's products it has the familiar particles floating in suspension (not just near the bottom of the beer.) Mild but pleasant hop aroma. Slight hop bitterness that is nicely balanced with malt sweetness. Slightly more bitter than it is sweet, it invites you in for the next sip. Very drinkable and a fine beer overall.

06-12-2009 22:46:56 | More by stakem
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.15/5  rDev +8.6%

12 oz bottle, no dating on bottle. NIce soft amber color with an off white head, leaves some lace. Pleasant doughy/malty aroma. Malty/bready flavor profile. Nutty, hints of rye, biscuits, almonds and oatmeal cookies. Moderate hops round things off. This is another tasty offering from Bells. My wife brought a mixed six pack back from Michigan, each beer has been tasty! Wish I could get more of these guy's brews here in NY state.

03-22-2004 00:18:05 | More by Billolick
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

07-14-2014 00:07:20 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

A 12 oz bottle from Al's of Hampden.

A: The brown ale is more of a crimson red color, but who's counting hues? It is translucent enough to see objects on the other side of the glass but I can't distinguish them. A small head, quarter of a finger max, reduces rapidly to a thin white band.

S: Caramel and toffee are strong in the nose. A bit of nuttiness follows in short order with a hoppy citrus backbone (not too strong mind you).

T: A very solid brown ale. The maltiness plants its proverbial flag early and never relinquishes its claim. Caramel and toffee, along with toasted nuts, drive most of the flavor. Coffee and vanilla linger around too, especially when the ale warms. Hops, not a stand-out, still provide a zesty bite. A brown ale that is better than most.

M: The mouthfeel is syrupy, thick and malty. Darker roasted flavors stand out.

D: A very drinkable ale, sessionable even. Makes me appreciate the non-extreme styles.

03-01-2010 01:28:10 | More by akorsak
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%

A: Pours an almost opaque very dark amber in color with some garnet red highlights, moderate amounts of small yeast particles in suspension, and a light amount of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a mottled film of thick and thin areas with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of caramel malts with some less pronounced aromas of brown sugar and molasses. There is also a light presence of cocoa.

T: There is a light to moderate amount of dark malts with some hints of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and a touch of sweetness. There is a moderate presence of nuts with just a touch of cocoa. Very light notes of bitterness in the finish which fades fast.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy and smooth.

O: Extremely easy to drink and enjoyable - one of my favorite beers in the style (which is not all that exciting but is always solid). A very nice offering for the winter and one will likely have again when I find it.

12-07-2012 01:04:44 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -18.8%

(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.

10-17-2006 03:17:52 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%

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.

12-27-2006 23:33:10 | More by jdhilt
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,053 ratings.