Bell's Best Brown | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
86
very good
858 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
BEER STATS
Reviews:
858
Ratings:
2,872
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
20.31%
 
 
Wants:
103
Gots:
411
For Trade:
4
Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 858 | Ratings: 2,872
Photo of srv33
2.79/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber pour, light medium-fine frothy head. Little smell, a little bread a little nutty. Tastes much the same, very much a generally pleasing ale. I could see how this would be a crowd pleaser. No notable overarching notes on first taste that aren't uncommon for an ale. Great aftertaste though, a little vanilla and oddly a little melon, very smooth.

 355 characters

Photo of RedSpecial1
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark coppery brown with a slight bit of head that lingers on the edges of the glass. Lots of roasty malt and nutty aromas present. The flavor mirrors the smell, lots of nuttiness and lightly roasted malted flavor, and a bit of yeastiness too. There is a pleasant hop flavor at the end of the taste as well that balances the sweetness out well. The mouthfeel is just right, not too light, not too heavy. Good for sipping, this is a great session beer.

 458 characters

Photo of 88caprice
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a glass.

Look: Slightly ruby-toned, mahogany color. Thin creamy head and lots of active bubbles.
Smell: A surprising bright hop smell considering the style. Almost citrusy, but in a good way.
Taste: Some hop overtones on a malty foundation. Mildly sweet and toasty. More initial hop pop that expected for this style, but a nice balance.
Mouthfeel: A medium/light body. Definitely not heavy. Lots of active bubble action on the tongue.
Overall: :)

 479 characters

Photo of dbtoe
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz poured into a pint glass
I'm a big fan of this beer. I'm really glad I picked this one up. It is a great brown ale. This is my first one and there will be many more to come. I put this right up there with my favorites.
Look is a nice brownish red with a good tan head.
Smell is mild malt and a hint of spice.
Taste I get a lot of toasted sweet malts, some spiciness and enough of a hop bite to even out the malts.
Feel is smooth and creamy with a very clean finish good carbonation.
Drink is high I could have these all night long. Wish I had a sixer on hand.

 565 characters

Photo of joek440
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from tap into a pint glass. Reddish brown body which was cloudy. Head was very thin by the time it was brought to the table.

S - Main smell is citrus hops. Didn't pick up much complexity beyond there.

T - Malty initial taste followed by medium hop flavor. Well-balanced on both ends

M - Crisp and light feel with medium carbonation.

O - A fresh and inviting ale. The hops are noticeable but are well balanced with the malt. Enjoyable brown ale.

(reviewed 10/21)

 477 characters

Photo of Roeters
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Rich dark brown with a 1/2" of off white head, little lacing

S: not as aromatic as a lot of browns, but notes of raison, light sweetness, faint alcohol, chocolate

T: chocolate notes with a little bit of hops at the end, slightly roasty finish

M: a little thin for a brown

D: very easy going down, good everyday drinker.

 327 characters

Photo of ncbeermonger
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't love most brown ales. This one is one of the best American brown Ales you will find.
It is a dark brown, chocolate colors mix with caramels, and fills the pint glass with anything but light.
You can smell hops in this beer, making it (for me at least) a much more pleasant smell than the sour smell you will find in many brown ales.
The beer is smooth, and has no taste of sour, hops are evident. The mouthfeel is not overly heavy, yet not crisp. It is a very drinkable Brown Ale. If you can find this one, give it a shot, even if you don't like say New castle brown ale.

 579 characters

Photo of ttroha
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Bottle from Lazy Dog Macon. Pours hazy reddish brown with a tan head. Aroma of malts, brown sugar, caramel and plums. Tastes of dark fruits, caramel and a mellow hops, with a slight carbonation. Great beer to drink while watching football.

 239 characters

Photo of Crundy
3.07/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Hazy Reddish Brown color, off white head, sticky lacing

S: caramel or toffee sweetness and malt aroma, slight hop presence.

T: somewhat flat flavors, subdued malt, very minimal hop bitterness. might be an older beer.

M: flat mouth feel, medium bodied, smooth with a hint of dryness slightly bitter aftertaste.

O: I don't think this beer was a fresh as it should have been. The flavors were all subdued and somewhat flat. It was still quite drinkable but I think if it had been fresher it would have been better.

 518 characters

Photo of cnjohn19
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Caramel appearance with a slight head which dissipated upon drinking...smell too of caramel, definite toasted malts and a slight chocolate...tough to decipher much more...smooth taste but a tad of bitterness which i wasn't expecting (not sure if it's supposed to be there)...great drinkability with slight characters...nothing too dominating...

Great choice for a fall day...i could imagine myself buying again on a 60 degree night...

 435 characters

Photo of brown2cu
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a color similar to cola; a bubbly head came and died quickly. No lacing. Average at best.

S: Brown sugar, caramel, and a touch of burnt malt.

T: Good mix of caramel, brown sugar, and a mild hop bitterness adds some complexity.

M: High carbonation creates a thin a body, however, it isn't necessarily a problem in this beer.

O: Overall, an average beer. Much better on tap.

 385 characters

Photo of clint1019
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Brown in color with a cream colored head.

S - Has a light caramel malt aroma along with a slight fruityness.

T - Caramel malt flavor with a hint, a ever slight hint of hop bitterness in the end.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O - Not a bad brown ale. It just doesn't have a lot going on, but I guess you could say that about most brown ales.

 371 characters

Photo of RyanPoff
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an oak like brown with very little head and little retention. Expected more head.

S: Nuts, roasted malts, coffee. Spot on for a brown.

T: The taste is a good combination of all the smell - it's a malty, toasty, nutty complicated beer. It's smooth and almost creamy.

M: A well balanced, medium body, fresh as can be, and well carbonated.

Browns aren't my thing really, but this was quite good.

 406 characters

Photo of Boitnott
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Probably one of my favorite browns out there.

A: Red brown color, very similar to a brick color. Nice even color.

S: Not really much smell to this one. You can catch a hint of the the nut flavor but you have to really take a deep smell. Browns do not really have a strong smell to them though...

T: Great taste. It is smooth and not full-bodied. The nuttiness is just right to compliment the caramel and spices. Initially you get the caramel undertones but the beer finishes with nice prevailing nut flavor.

M: The beer goes down very smooth and light. The carbonation is pretty high for a brown, which makes the beer lighter.

D: This beer is great to drink on an Autumn night. It goes down very smooth and I could easily see drinking a lot of these. It goes down very smooth and the % and carbonation are low enough that you wont feel full after one. If you bought a six-pack of this then it would be great for a whole night of hanging out.

Serving: I poured it from a bottle to a chilled pint glass. I suggest that the beer be made very cold before consumption.

 1,071 characters

Photo of natemort13
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes

Pours a ruddy brown with a light tan head that dissipates quickly.

Nose gives lots of toasted malt, hint of carmel and chocolate.

Taste follows the nose. Very much a beer of toasted malt.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, I love this beer. When I'm sick of all the spiced winter warmers this malt-balanced beer is where I turn.

 346 characters

Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

This is a nicely done Brown. Poured into pint glass, pours a shade of caramel, and the taste just follows along.
Excellent full body, Bells Brown leads with a supreme maltiness exemplified by notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, with some roasted barley hitting toward the end.
A touch of hops signify it's time to take another pull. VERY drinkable. I'm really liking this style lately, and Bells Best Brown Ale is one I'll be coming back to.

 447 characters

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

A- Amber brown with a thick light brown head that lingers for a while.

S- malty and a little nutty

T- Toasted malts with a nutty flavor, slight sweetness and a little bitterness. Pleasant and balanced

M- Nice smooth mouthfeel, medium body and ideal carbonation for the flavors to come out with.

D- Very drinkable, good brown ale, exactly what the style should be in my mind. Good beer to chill with.

 403 characters

Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into my Warsteiner mug. Pours a clear but dark copper color with a finger and a half of a quickly dissipating tan head, and light lacing is left behind. Caramel and nutty notes come on pretty strong on the nose. Taste is malty, a bit roasty in the middle, and followed up by a small but detectable earthy hop bitterness. This would be an excellent choice for a session beer, I can see myself having a few of these on an autumn evening around a fire. It has a rich malty aftertaste in the back of the mouth that lingers for quite some time.

Overall: This may not be the most exciting Bell's offering, and I blame that on everyone's love of big styles of beer. This is quite the offering for the autumn seasons, made for a crisp autumn evening with friends and loved ones.

 778 characters

Photo of Jammies
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for 8 months

A- pours a deep brown with hints of red. A thin layer of foam retreats to the center and edge of the glass

S- sweet with some light sugary notes. Slightly nutty

T- light and well balanced. A nutty flavor to it.

M- great body. very smooth with a slightly coarse finish

O- Great brown ale, not overly sweet like a christmas ale. Simplicity at its finest

 374 characters

Photo of littleshamrocks
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness dating. Served in an imperial pint.

Pours a medium brown color with a creamy tan head. Has some noticeable carbonation and small particles floating around in this moderately dense looking brew. Head stayed around the whole time and left some streaky lace. The smell is very nice. Dark roasted bready malts, hints of chocolate and coffee, and some faint floral esters. The flavor is pretty much as advertised and is dominated by those dark roasted malts, hints of coffee and pepper, light amounts of spicy/grassy hop bitterness, and traces of semi-sweet dark chocolate in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a creamy texture and just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes very smooth.

This is an excellent example of a solid style. Rich and full of smell and flavor, this one goes great on those cold winter nights. One of the best brown ales that I have tried so far. Another winner from Bell's.

 953 characters

Photo of RobH
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle.

Hmmm, I don't know; were my expectations too high? I'm a malty beer fan and thus I like English and American Brown Ales, and having enjoyed other Bell's styles very much, I bought this one seeking a great Brown Ale. Here's what I got:

A: Nothing extraordinary to speak of. Certainly appeared as a high quality Brown Ale in the glass.

S: Again, nothing extraordinary to speak of that came across to my nose. Smelled rather pedestrian in fact.

T: Here's where the let-down really kicked in. It was NOT at all bad in any way, rather it just didn't stand out against other Browns I've had. What was I looking for? Well, maybe a luscious malt character with a more perfected carbonation and hop balance. It just wasn't there. Again, it came across to me as a rather pedestrian Brown Ale. Not bad, but nothing special either to make me look forward to next fall when this one comes out again.

M: Fine enough. Not bad. Typical for the American Brown Ale style.

D: Fine enough, once again. Certainly a very drinkable beer with I'd say broad appeal. Just not a stand out Brown Ale for me. Perhaps my palate has changed in time as I try more and more beers, and I've moved on from the Brown Ale style? Not sure if that's it. I'll have to try more beers to be sure.

 1,281 characters

Photo of kellyej
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

Bell's Best Brown pours a deep, translucent brown with auburn highlights and very little head. The nose has a full malty caramel note with a hint of toasted wheat bread; there is, however, an underlying bright floral/citrus quality that keeps the beer from being too one note. The mouthfeel is full and smooth. The taste largely mirrors the smell- notes of toasted bread, caramel, sweet malt, and roastedness. Solid beer and great for fall.

 440 characters

Photo of clarkm04
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch number 9980 bottled on 8/31/10

Appearance- A slightly muddy brown/amber. Not super brown or thick looking as some browns can be. Medium carbonation with minimal head retention.

Smell- A slight malty smell associated with it.

Taste- Very clean. Has a nutty profile but delicate. Has a clean and slightly nutty finish. Very light and drinkable. Solid taste and a good example of a brown.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth, almost watery on the palate.

Drinkability- Very high being a brown.

Overall- I enjoyed the beer. I love browns but like a more roasty, nutty flavor profile and finish. This beer was a little light for me. Enjoyable and drinkable. I would recommend drinking a bottle of it but I'm divided if I will buy another six pack. It's a good better, above average beer on its merits and also in the style but I feel there are better products on the market. Like most of Bell's line, they have solid beers and this is one of them.

 944 characters

Photo of davedahl
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this on-tap in Chicago at the Handlebar on North Ave. A pint-pour.

- Smooth medium body, slight caramel aftertaste.
- big brown looking beer. Brown brown brown. Tan head with nice lacing for a brown ale.
- Nutty malt with some biscuit and definitely some browned toast flavor.
- hint of a hop bite in the middle

This was a great drinker. Drinkability is high, and satisfaction is even higher. I went back a couple days later _specifically_ for the Best Brown and they'd rolled the keg already. Drag.

Great stuff - drink it!

 532 characters

Photo of Lillenk
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was just what onw would expect from a brown. Very nice medium brown color with a nice white/tan head.

Smell was nice. Lots of roasted malts but well balanced with some hop character too.

Taste was pretty average for the style. Nothing crazy but a nice, well put together beer.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied but a little tough to have more than one or two.

 400 characters

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 858 ratings.