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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

838 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 838
Hads: 2,731
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 92
Gots: 317 | 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
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Reviews: 838 | Hads: 2,731
Photo of beerthulhu
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark roasted caramel color with a cherry tan head.

S: nice roasted malt and nuttiness

T: For flavor there is a rich nuttiness and some alcohol warming along with some dark and warming hazelnut. The palate is very warming, yet soft roasted and nutty with a creamy texture and mouthful. There is a touch of molasses but is the lingering dark caramel lacing on the finish that best highlights this beer. There is a slight woodiness, and vanilla bean notes as well . Overall a very nice and nutty brown. The grain bill seemed more American then an English brown along with the hopping but was still a very good beer all around.

M: medium-full bodied, soft, creamy and lustrious.

D: a great drinking english brown by style.

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Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this one before from a bottle, this serving is from a 16 oz. can. And yes, that can is from the legendary woodychandler. Has a mahogany color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of bready malts, some caramel. Taste is malts, nutty, light hops, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of harpus
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nothing special here...medium brown, a pretty rudy color shows through when held to the light. Thin head gone in a flash.

S: Pretty mild...nutty malt mostly. Not any hops to speak of.

T: Like the taste, it's pretty mild and mostly nutty. Certainly nothing offensive, but nothing exciting either. I guess it's just kind of boring, to be honest.

M: Smooth, light to medium carb, mildly dry finish. Again, pretty much mediocrity, although I can't find anything wrong with it either, which suggests a small bumb up from average.

D: This would be great for....I dunno? I'm sure it would be enjoyable in some situation but I can't think of any. It's unexciting, and I probably wouldn't buy it again for the mere fact that nothing makes me say "wow" about it, or even "ooh.

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Photo of DrJay
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown beer with a reddish hue, the dark cream coloured head was very fine and showed a bit of lace. Malty aroma, some nuttiness with a bit of toffee. Same in the flavour along with mild bitterness and muted hop flavour towards the end. Bitterness really lingers in the finish. Dry overall, medium-light bodied and decent texture. A solid brown ale.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is a very nice malt dominated brown. The aroma features caramel/toffee, malt and brown sugar.

T- The taste follows the aroma, with a good amount of sweet malt and just a touch of bitterness in the finish to balance out the sweetness.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a very drinkable English-style Brown Ale that is definitely worth a try. Recommended!

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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!

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Photo of Bighuge
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer's a ruby color with a nice rocky head that has great retention. Very nice nutty/caramel tones on the nose with sticky molasses making its presence known also. A bready yeastiness is present on the palate. Some of that trademark lactic sourness as well. Seems to fit alright however. Some slight chocolate tones also. Very subdued roasted nut taste is also making an appearance. Pretty unique tasting Brown.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a amber-brown with a one finger tan head that fades pretty quickly. Some lacing is left on the glass.

S - Very nutty, and some roasted malts. A touch of sweetness pokes through as well.

T - Roasted malts, raisins, nuts.

D - Good carbonation, and average body. Coats the mouth.

O - A good brown, not sure it is the Best.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Man if this isn't run of the mill I dunno what is. Looks decent enough, a little thinner than what I was hoping for. No detectable aroma.

Taste is a little thin for me. Nutty. I'm just not a brown ale guy. The ones I tend to like have a bigger malt bill, coming closer to being a porter moreso than the actual traditional brown style. A little more gritty than I expected.

Mouthfeel, nothing much, some brown colored beer, so surprises, no letdowns. A little costly for what it is.

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

Charlie's Ale House in Wheaton, IL has this beer on tap!

Appearance- A slightly hazy even brown with a one finger head at time of serving that dissipated into a filmy foam.

Taste- A light malt character ende with some hops to even out the bitterness. A feww chocolatey moments were present.

Mouthfeel- A smoothly carbonated, medium body.

Drinkability- This beer would be could for a couple of sessions.

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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 pat61
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

Primarily malt aromas on the nose with faint caramel.
Pours deep brown under a 2" finely bubbled foam cap that provides rich lacing.
Palate: subtle malt, slightly sweet, grain, no roast, hints of chocolate.
medium carbonation and body.

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

Bottle from good ta go beer store in PA for 1.99 - thanks to jfam for this

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a large size fizzy/frothy beige head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes. There are also some particles floating around.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, toffee, chocolate, and a hint of dark fruits (raisins?). There is also a little bit of a molasses flavour. It ends with a malty chocolate and toffee aftertaste.

Overall - Pretty good, but nothing that will blow your socks off. It's very drinkable but the higher abv would keep it from being a session type brew. Worth a shot but I wouldn't pick it up again.

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

Aromas of subtle toasted malt, caramel, toffee and nuttiness.
The taste follows the nose with sweet caramel malt, toasted nuts and a tiny bit of milk chocolate. It has more flavor than the nose would suggest, but unfortunately it just not that complex or flavorful.
Mouthfeel is crisp, with a medium-thin, borderline watery body and adequate carbonation. I would prefer a much fuller mouthfeel, but the thin body works is a decent change which allows this to finish quite crisp.
Overall this is quite drinkable, but forgettable. The flavor profile is just not on par with other brown ales I have had recently. English brown ales aren't supposed to be as malty and full-bodied as American ones, so I guess they accomplished their goal of creating a fairly tasty sessionable brown ale, but I won't be revisiting this anytime soon.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer from the variety pack. In my opinion the best one!

A - Orange brown in color.

S - Smells of walnuts or pecans

T - Really smooth for the ABV. Nutty and malty goodness. Almost rivals Samuel Smith in taste but this one has more backbone.

M - Sort of thin but highly drinkable.

D - Would pick up a sixer but only the amber is available for an immediate purchase (boo!)

Overall the best the variety had to offer so please give it a try!

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Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this on-tap at Axis in Washington DC.

Pours a clear dark brown color with a one-finger light tan head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells good. A good amount of hazelnuts and kind of a buttery smell backed up by a bready malt aroma.

Tastes similar to how it smells. There's a good amount of buttery taste that's pretty smooth, backed up by nutty and malty flavors. There's a tiny amount of bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is good. Maybe it's because the taste is buttery that I think this, but it goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The buttery taste is nice at first, but I could see it wearing on me halfway through another of these.

Overall this is a solid brown ale. It's not as complex as others that I've tried but it does what it does very well. Worth a shot.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The beer pours a medium clear with a hint of ruby red. The head is, light tan, rises about 2 fingers but gone quickly. It falls to a soapy brown head, with light retention.

The aroma is medium and starts out pretty sweet nuttyness.

The taste starts pretty sweet as well, some nice nut in the middle with a littel bitter finish, pretty nice and complex.

The feel is a little watery with a dry finish.

Overall, a pretty nutty nice brown ale.

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

The beer pours a foggy burnished copper color with the head dinosauric in size, creamy in consistency and a beauteous light tan in color, as it unhurriedly evaporates the lace forms a thick and glutinous sheet upon the glass. Sweet malt with a hint of walnuts, crisp and clean nose, with the start nicely malted and somewhat sweet, top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is stern in its acidity; hops are pleasing and spicy, slightly tart and dry aftertaste, quite tasty.

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Photo of avalon07
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was a huge amount of foamy, long-lasting head, with good lacing. One of the best-looking brown ales I've seen.

S: Had a nutty, malty and sweet aroma.

T: Tasted of malt, caramel, a nutty quality and a bready quality. Very tasty.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

D: I'm not the biggest fan of brown ales - the style is not the most complex - but this is a solid, drinkable beer.

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

12 oz single, from Riley's, batch 7096

appearance: intitial reaction upon pour was that it looked a little thin, almost cola-like appearance, very little in the way of head or lacing...ruby highlights dominate

smell: not a whole lot of action...some caramel, maltys, brown sugar and other general spice

taste: very mild...nothing particularly notable at all. slightly sweet, caramel malts, some brown sugar spiciness...also reminds me of an oktoberfest style.

mouthfeel: moderate body, decent carbonation

drinkability: very drinkable, but why?

Well, I wont be buying this again...definately the most boring Bell's ive had

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Photo of xnicknj
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at royal tavern in philly

Pours a semi-clear chestnut brown color with a light layer of tanned head on top. Dissolves almost completely, leaving a few spots of lacing on the glass.

Plenty of toasted nuttiness and bread crust in the nose. Caramel and lighter sweetness with some leafy hop notes.

Malty and nutty up front with light sweetness. Toasted notes of chestnut and some faint oily hops. Malt backbone is fairly thick with some bread crust and caramel. Finishes slightly dry and sweet.

Medium body, decent carbonation, slightly chewy and dry on the tongue. A drinkable, smooth brown ale with a nice nutty flavor.

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Photo of barczar
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky deep brown with a frothy khaki head that leaves spotty lacing as it slowly dissipates.

Slightly fruity specialty malt notes mingle with toasted, nutty malt and floral hops.

Flavor reveals similar character, with a touch of soft citrus underpinnings. Deeply toasted, lightly chocolatey notes surface in the slightly bitter, earthy aftertaste.

Body and carbonation are moderate, with light alcohol warmth.

Decent malt character, but the bitterness is a little dominant for my liking.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a tulip glass just for the heck of it (this one is a warm up to an imperial stout - why dirty 2 glasses?), pours a rusty brown color topped with a thin, off-white head that recedes quickly leaving a little lacing on the glass. Aromas are malty, brown malt, brown sugar, grain, earthy. Tastes are malty sweetness, brown sugar, burnt caramel, earthy hop, toasted grain. Thin-to-medium mouth-feel, moderate carbonation, finishes with an ample piny bitterness to keep the sweetness in check. Overall, it was just as I remembered: good brown ale, but nothing extraordinary.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a semi-transparent chocolaty brown with a fine-bubbled pale tan head. Aroma is of average strength, malty and slightly chocolaty. Rich malty flavor has cocoa undertone along with nutty and caramel hints as well as just a whisper of fine coffee. Texture is thick, fairly smooth and nicely fizzy.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium brown color with a nice translucency and a fine-bubbled, light-tan head that leaves minimal lacing on the way down. The aroma is wonderful, hits heavy on the chocolates and roasted coffee beans. The taste begins with a warm, malty and bready flavor that quickly turned into a swirl of bittersweet dark chocolate and nuts. Slight coffee beans and maybe even hazelnut in the far background (maybe I'm imagining things, here). I'm also picking up a slight milky flavor, perhaps from the texture. Very nice. Caramel and toffee finish the beer strong with an ever-so-slight but necessary hint at bitterness along the final seconds just before the sip is completely swallowed. Medium body, creamy with lots of carbonation.

Very, very solid brown ale. Perfect for the days transitioning from the fall to the winter. This beer tastes like the holidays.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 838 ratings.