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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

837 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 837
Hads: 2,718
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 92
Gots: 315 | 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: 837 | Hads: 2,718
Photo of Durge
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brown ale has a light mahogany color with a huge light tan head and major lacing. There is only a very mild malt aroma, disappointing. It does follow with a nice charcoal toffee taste though. I detect midland cabonation and find it to be very drinkable. There's a hint of orange and chocolate nuttiness. Bitter grassy hops in the back. The hops tend to dominate toward the end, maybe too much. Sweet malt, a nice blend.

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

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Batch #9339

(A)- Pours a hazy medium brown color that produced a minimal tan to white head that dissipated very quickly.

(S)- Has a nutty sweet maple smell. Bits of vanilla.

(T)- Very nutty; almond & walnuts. Has a good soft maple/vanilla malt background. Let it warm up a bit; cold really hides what this beer has to offer.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance to it. Nothing fancy, but has a good rustic feel to it with its nuttiness and malt profile.

(D)- A good to solid brown ale for the fall season when you tire of oktoberfests or wet-hopped beers. Nothing fancy, just classic drinking.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a crystal clear brown color with a mega fat, creamy tan head. Large tapioca looking bubbles recede at a snails pace to a rocky mountain range of foam. Excellent looking beer.

Great brown ale nose, sugary caramel and milk chocolate malts carry the load here. Smells fresh and creamy.

Of course it is malty...roasty and flavorful, but it has a nice hop balance to it. Very smooth and drinkable...it's crisp with a surprisingly dry finish. Just a hint of fruitiness adds to the complexity. A most delicious session beer. One of the better brown ales I have had.

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Photo of champ103
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Pinch Penny Pub in Carbondale Illinois.

A: Pours slightly hazy orange/brown. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Light toasted malt, mostly some sweetness in the nose. Like brown sugar and some caramel. Not much going on.
T: Following the nose, not much is going on. Some toasted malt, but really sweet. Lots of brown sugar and caramel. Boarders on cloying.
M/D: A medium body and nice carbonation. easy to drink. Something I can quaff several of with ease.

Overall, very simple. Mostly sweet, but not bad in any way. Just pretty standard. Worth a try, and a good fall back if this is the only good craft available.

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Photo of drpimento
3.02/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I dunno, I'm not so impressed with this beer. Although, I've read so many good reviews, I think it must be me. Proly a plugged shnoz or something. Has a hazy brown color. Seems kind of blase to me. Do pick up the typical english brown body and aftertaste. Had a nice head and some lace.

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Photo of Brenden
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a moderate brown with some clarity that gives off a red hue in the light. A tan head pours off the tap at just over one finger with lots of action, leading to a little over-pour. The head diminishes and leaves a stubborn foam that drops ragged curtains of lacing in its wake.
The nose is really very mild. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm just not finding much. What I can detect is good: light caramel, toffee, and perhaps molasses with a touch of barley-like grains are there, but it's a struggle to smell them.
The flavor, on the other hand, doesn't hold out on me. A strong malt base with some sturdy barley and caramelized sugars along with brown sugar notes make up this one. A taste of hops rounds out the finish along with a touch of dark fruits.
The mouthfeel is smooth and there's a nice creaminess in the body, but I'm not getting any crispness off the tap and carbonation is very light.
This is very drinkable; I don't doubt that the nose would really pick up and the body would firm up a little from the bottle.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed with the man who put Humpty Dumpty back together again (my orthopedic trauma surgeon)! Served from bottle into a flared pilsner. Poured a deep red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, nutty, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, toasted malt, nutty, nutmeg, and subtle caramel. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I was really quite intrigued by this one once I smelled the dark chocolate notes in it. However, to my slight disappointment, this note did not carry over into the flavor. Despite this it did not kill the brew at all. This one was rather easy drinking and quite enjoyable. Definitely one of the better browns I’ve had in awhile as most are hit-and-miss that I’ve had recently with other flavors infused into them. Worth your time trying without a doubt.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – As the name would suggest the beer pours a brown color with a light hint of orange seen when held up to the light. Upon pouring a one finger cream colored head is present. The head fades lowly over time leaving a ton of nice foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a roasted malt, brown bread and molasses smell. Mixed with these aromas are some sweeter fruit aromas of both light and dark varieties with some apple, pear, and a hint of cherry. Rounding out the smells is a lighter earthy hop aromas smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a lightly roasted bready taste mixed with some caramel and molasses. The flavor gets a bit more roasted more toward the middle, but also gets a bit fruitier with some of the apple and pear that were in the nose detected on the tongue. The sweeter flavors start to dwindle however more in the middle, being replaced by some more bitter hop tastes of an earthy and herbal nature. Some more bitter nut like tastes come to the tongue more toward the end of the taste, with the mix of flavors leaving a nicely hopped, slightly drier and lighter roasted bready taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is on the average side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average side. Both were a nice blend for keeping an easy drinking brew, all the while supporting the blend of hop, fruit, and roasted flavors.

Overall – A rather enjoyable brown ale. It has a nice level of sweetness, hop and roast to make for an easy drinking and tasty brew.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at MoJoe Lounge in Easton. Clear dark brown color with a medium tan head and thin sticky lacing. Sweet toasted malt and caramel aroma. Medium, smooth body with dominant malt flavoring. Sweet caramel and a bit of hops and coffee is also present. The finish is roasty and sweet at times. A great session beer that is enjoyable all around.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.94/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper/ amber/ brown, with a small white head. In the aroma, a small sweet malt, but somewhat bland. In the taste, a sweet maltiness, yet quite thin. A smooth mouthfeel and a dry malty aftertaste. A bit sweeter than a standard brown, however not a big nose. Easy to drink and non offensive.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a solid brown color with a nice foamy head. Slowly dissipated with some surprisingly nice lacing.

S - A bit hoppy with some carmel malt smell.

T - Molassas with some nice toffee notes. Only a touch of hops on this, and you really had to look for it. Nice nutty undertones, very fitting for this beer.

M - Kind of thin, with moderate carbonation. Clean finish.

D - Easy to get down, and nice tasting. Could do a few of these, but more a winter than summer beer.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Says packaged on 10/10/11.

A- Pours a dark reddish brown with an 1/8 inch white head that soon disappears to a ring with bubble formations on the surface. Lacing's not bad.

S- Smells fresh and sweet with toffee-like caramel notes, brown sugar and some chocolate. Has a mustiness to it that is quite unique. Not smoky, but musty like a wet basement. I wouldn't call it an off aroma, just something I've never smelled in a beer before.

T- Chocolate and dark toasty bread dominate the flavor profile, both of which not being too heavy...and that's pretty much it.

M- Has a light feel with normal viscosity and medium-high carbonation.

O- Not too much to say about this beer, but sometimes the plain ones can be the most enjoyable to session. Definitely another win for Bell's, although the name doesn't necessarily live up to the execution.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass.

A: About of finger of frothy head atop a clear mahogany-coloured beer with clouds of bubbles (and sediment?). Neat lacing.

S: Nutty and spicy. Malts and something between toffee and coffee.

T: Tasty, but not exceptional. Dry nuts and almost invisible hops balance against sweeter (light) fruits and substantial malt. The aftertaste is neutralish, but slightly sticky. Fruiter than expected. Delicious and worthwhile.

M: Light-bodied throughout. Refreshing and pleasant. Just heavy enough to seem sturdy.

D: Yet another great beer from Bell's. Recommended for fans of brown ales and/or good beer. Still, not one of my absolute favourites -- in the future, I will probably give this a miss and pick up another Bell's instead.

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Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: leather brown in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt

Taste: sweet caramel malt followed by a hoppy, earthy middle and finish that mixes with the malt

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium high carbonation, sweet start with a medium bitter finish

Drinkability: A slightly above average to average English brown. The mix of hops to malts is fine but this beer is indistinguishable from others I have tried. One that I would have again if I am in the mood for a brown, but nothing I search for.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a brown with a maroon tint and pours out a medium foam head thats biege in color. Nice roasty aroma with caramel tones in the back of my nose, very nice. Taste of caramel balanced well with roasted barley and gives a sweet malty flavor. Finish is a fresh hop note and kind of earthy with a dark nut sense. Reminded me of a nut brown just a hint darker. Good feel of tangy bite and medium body, not heavy. Drinking it warm apposed to cold favors this Best Brown. This brown would make for for a good chilly evening capper.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can that I think was $3. Not quite dark brown, sort of reddish, huge head. Malty, toasty aroma. Flavor is full, toast, malts, pretty darn good. I must also compliment the branding because this just felt like a great fall drinking beer.

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

A- Pours out a fairly dark brown with some red hints around the edges where light shines through the beer. A creamy looking three finger, off-white head builds up and retains very well. I am forced to take my first sip with about a finger of the head still present. Light-medium lacing is left at the top of the glass.

S- Three main things come up for me here. There is a pretty good amount of nutty hints to the aroma. Next is a slightly fruity aspect, darker fruits, probably from some sort of English hops. Malts make their presence in the background as a nice base to the smell. The nut hints are slightly roasty as well. A nice balance of these notes. Smell does not fade away through the experience.

T- The taste is a good balance of the same things in the nose. The nutty notes make even more of an appearance in the taste. Some sweetness and roasty hints come from the malts. The fruity aspect is less present in the taste and slightly in the background. One of the better nutty flavors in a beer that I have had. No huge hop presence but there is slight bitterness and grassy/earthy hop flavor.

MF- Fairly light bodied with medium carbonation. The body is right in the middle of watery and creamy. No alcohol warmth. A coat of nutty malt flavors is left on the palate.

DB- A good beer with a very nice nutty aspect to it. The price was not bad but I can't get any of this in MA. The nutty flavors are strong but do not overpower as more of the beer is consumed. Definitely an enjoyable Brown Ale with good, balanced flavors.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this with lunch at the westwood tavern in schaumburg. Nice transparent brown with good lacing on the pint glass. Smells.of brown sugar and tastes the same. Fairly solid brown ale. Nothing mind blowing. Some nuttiness. Easy drinker. I like a good brown and this is good, but a bit of a let down from a brewery that seems to knock every style they take on out of the park.

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Photo of Pencible
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a hazy mahogany with a little light brown head.
S: It smelled like roasted barley and toffee, with some biscuit and a bit of milk chocolate and copper.
T: It tasted like copper hops with roasted barley, and some toffee and coffee and biscuit. It had a bittersweet, clean and wet aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick with some carbonation. Moderate.
D: This was a very nice brown ale, like an English barleywine cut in half. Solid malty scent and flavor, with decent body. It was very easy to drink and was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle stamped batch 10178, bottled 1/17/11. not even a month old.

slightly hazy chestnut brown color. cream colored 1/2" head with good retention and decent lacing. sweet biscuity malt aroma. maybe a little hops in there.

caramel and bready malt taste. classic brown ale flavor.

medium body. carbonation is there, but its extremely smooth. quite easy to drink and refreshing for a fall/winter brew.

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Photo of warnerry
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 9/7/11

A - Pours a clear amber/brown with a lot if suspended material and one finger of tan head. Leaves some lacing.

S - Caramel malt with some nutty aroma. A bit of roasted malt.

T - Roasted malt and nuts. A bit of caramel malt and some sweetness on the finish.

M -- Medium mouthfeel with a mix of sweet and dry roast on the finish.

O -- Pretty good, but I have had much more flavorful brown ales. Wouldn't turn one down, but probably wouldn't buy again.

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

A pretty good brown beer from Bell's! This beer pours a nice dark brown colour with a nice head. It smells of bready malts, buttery british 'bell's' yeast and slight hops. It tastes like buttery yeast, bready malts, and hops. This is a very mild, british tasting brown ale. It reminds me of Newcatle but it is slightly better. This is not as good as Sam Smiths nut brown ale, however. The mouthfeel is a bit thin on this beer and the drinkability is hurt by its mild flavor.
A decent brown ale...

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

Presentation: 12 ouncer, long neck brown bottle. The obverse main label is completely different to that depicted in the BA Database. The bottle I have has a much more conservative purple edged gray background label with a beautifully drawn picture of an Owl sitting on a wooden fence post against a winter background. I am not sure what breed the owl is but looks like a Short-Eared Owl of sorts. The reverse label describes the offering as “...Best Brown Ale’s toasty malt character makes it a delicious beer for all types of weather”. Labeled as ‘Best Brown Ale’, but with no discernible freshness date, or even strength listed.

Appearance: Dark brown chestnut body that exhibits a deeply turbid porridge body that is murky and mud like in character. A decent head forms at first, a nicotine stained tan colored creamy cap covering which slips into a broken covering pretty quickly at first but yet it always retains a semblance of head. The first top-up forms a much longer lasting collar that leaves some excellent lacing. The decent conditioning means that a quick swirl always helps to reinstate the head and add to the lacing on the glass walls.

Nose: Nutty with a light warmth. Devon toffee and caramel coated Hops; this has a lovely “nutty toffee” character throughout. Has a light yet dark spicy character in the back end which adds a delicate exotic nuance.

Taste: The start is almost like a Northern English Mild, it has some Dark Mild cum Brown Ale qualities, but for some reason they are reticent to appear at first it seems. It comes into its own in the middle when the toffee and caramel break though in sufficient strength to excite the malty bitterness from the hops to also make a late party entrance in the midnight hour. The strength profile is almost directly proportional to the drink and residence time in the mouth. Light and low profile at first but tasty and wholesome in the back end. Has a dry malty finish. I like this one.

Mouthfeel: The conditioning lends a very smooth creamy feel and supports the malty bitterness that it exhibits perfectly. It does not disappoint.

Drinkability: I say this is most palatable Sir!! A Brown Ale that has an excellent quaffability. This is a seriously great Session Brown Ale.

Overall: On draft, this one would be a serious Winner in the working class areas of Northern England for sure. If it was indeed available, I would most certainly drink it in preference to “that other” readily available version. A jolly decent tipple and one I would most certainly imbibe in 12 ounce sextuplet fashion with little problem or inhibition.

Thanks to the MonkyFeloniousOne for supplying this Bell Ringer of a Brown!!

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a solid brown color with amber hues around the edges. The head is creamy and white with speckles of tan. The aroma is of roasted malt, chocolate, and nuts. The taste is sweet and nutty. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, this brew lives up to its name, as it truely is the best brown ale I have had.

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Photo of Gmann
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a yeasty chocolate brown color with a tight bubbled cream colored head that settled into a light ring with some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is sweet with caramel notes. Some brown bread and toasted scents from the malt. Nothing outrageous but inviting.

Good nutty flavor from the toasted malt. Some bark and bitter chocolate notes as well. The caramel sweetness comes in and balances the brew and makes it quite smooth; almost tastes as if there is some oatmeal in the mix.

The feel is moderate with prickly carbonation. Good balance between sweet and bitter. Some bitterness in the finish. Probably could use some softer carbonation to help bring out the good flavors some more.

A very enjoyable brown ale, good representation of the style.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 837 ratings.