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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

2,003 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,003
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 56
Gots: 102 | 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: 2,003 | Reviews: 776 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

2.88/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, packaged on 9/13/11, into a La Chouffe tulip. Thanks to vonschplieffen for tossing one of these my way. Is Bell's distributing to CT now? If so, I'm ecstatic.

A: Clear ruddy chestnut body under an inch of soft tan foam. Good retention and some spotty lace. I love the color.

S: WTF. This smells like pure, raw pumpkin. Not pumpkin pie, but the distinctively evocative aroma of carving a jack-o-lantern. There's some more standard caramel and herbal hops, too, but I just can't get past the pumpkin. I might appreciate it if it were supposed to be there, but as it is I'm kind of weirded out.

T: The gourd is pretty much (bot not entirely) gone, replaced by more generic nuttiness, chocolate, and plenty of grassy hop bitterness. It's a little on the weak side, but not terrible. Just a standard brown.

M: Light-to-medium body, highly carbonated. Pretty nice.

O: I'm just confused by this beer. Is it supposed to be a pumpkin ale? If so, then it's pretty good. As a straight brown ale, though, it's quite disappointing. I know Bell's can do better.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 22:21:40 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Humulus85
Humulus85

Minnesota

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love me some Sunday afternoon BA...

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my mug. It produced a dense, one-finger head. Solid retention with some surprisingly nice lacing. Deep, slightly hazy, auburn. This is the perfect looking October brew.

The nose is nutty. Some oats and toffee come through as well. There might be some piney hops, but they're covered up by the malt.

Loads of oats, caramel, and toffee. A bit sweet for my taste and kinda watered down. Not as much flavor as I was hoping for.

Smooth, well carbonated and more then drinkable. Could have been a bit heavier for a fall brew in my opinion.

Overall this is a good brown, but far from the best. I love the owl on the label, he/she looks ornery as hell. While I did like this beer, it didn't scream out to me, and I honestly expect something with a little more complexity and depth from such an accomplished brewery. Recommended to any Bell's fan or BA new to malty ales. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 18:01:59 | More by Humulus85
Photo of tone77
tone77

Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some hops are detected. Taste is mild, some hops, a bit of nuttiness, bitter at the finish. Not bad but rather subdued flavor. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2011 14:45:04 | More by tone77
Photo of jsprain1
jsprain1

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger tan head. Some lacing.
S- Mild aroma of bread, nuts, and a touch of caramel.
T- Fairly bready with a gentle caramel sweetness that lingers, as well as a faint coffee flavor.
M- Decent body, smooth and slightly creamy
O- It's a decent to slightly above average brown ale for me, but it's not particularly anything I need to revisit.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2011 02:38:36 | More by jsprain1
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2011 17:10:44 | More by smcolw
Photo of RHCP313
RHCP313

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a light maple with some ruby and garnet highlights. A thick crown of two to three finger off-white head billows up and sits high in my pint.

S: Sweet caramel and toffee notes, sweet bready malt and notes of brown sugar and slight fruity yeast.

T: Smooth sweet malt supported by notes of vanilla extract and nutmeg. Pastry like breadiness, nutty with dark candied fruit tastes in back.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation, but very drinkable and almost refreshing. Drinks far lighter than it looks.

O: This is a very solid beer. Consistent, too. As far as style, this is a great representation, smooth, sweet and very sessionable. I've yet to try this with food, but it seems like it could be an outstanding pairing.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 01:58:33 | More by RHCP313
Photo of wingman14
wingman14

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish caramel brown with a white head. The smell isn't too powerful, but is mostly malty with some sweet and nutty notes. The taste follows the smell with the nice malty backbone, some sweetness and a subtle hint of smoke. This one has a nice medium body, and is smoother than most. This is a good brown ale, the flavors are interesting and well done. A nice offering that I would have again, but not seek out regularly.

Serving type: on-tap

10-16-2011 19:27:59 | More by wingman14
Photo of projectflam86
projectflam86

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a thick white foam that leaves pretty good lacing. Looks the part.

S- Nutty toffee aromas with caramel and lightly toasted biscuit. Not picking up much in the hops department. This one will be malty for sure.

T- Very similar to the nose. Sweet caramel and toffee flavors come through with some dried fruits, walnuts, a touch of spice, and crystal malt. Definitely has an English feel with the low hop presence, malt backbone, and slight diacetyl but quite tasty nonetheless.

M- Light/medium bodied with low carbonation.

O- A very nice brown ale that I'll probably pick up again.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 16:40:59 | More by projectflam86
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pour a dark red with some brown tones, velvety desne white head, good retention, loads of lacing. Perhaps a bit light for a brown.

S: the aroma features roasted malts, bread, and hints of coffee. Mellow hops come through as well.

T: mild roasted malts along with caramel and chocolate come through on the palate. All is mellow and smooth. Nice balance, taste is mild overall.

MF: light body, creamy texture

O: this is a nice and drinkable brown ale. It is rather mild and drinks like a brew that is 4%.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 07:53:53 | More by homebrew311
Photo of bluHatter
bluHatter

Michigan

3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours deep dark red or light brown, with nice bubbles. Good head, nice lacing.

S: Caramel, malts, slightly sweet smelling

T: Sweet, malty, muted milk chocolate.

M: Rich and smooth. A medium stout brown.

O: A nice brown overall. I mostly notice how smooth and rich it is. Almost creamy.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 02:48:04 | More by bluHatter
Photo of bballmj2k
bballmj2k

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle (packaged on 9/20/11) into pint glass.

A - Murky dingy brown with minimal head that dissipates to a lacing quickly.

S - Sweet malts, nuttiness - not a ton going on here.

T - Sweet bready, nutty characters, ends with mild hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied, bit of watery character at the end, low carbonation. Malt definitely lingers on the tongue.

Overall - Not a remarkable beer but I don't that's the goal. A well made balanced brown ale that's adequate if a bit boring.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2011 01:24:54 | More by bballmj2k
Photo of SolipsismalCat
SolipsismalCat

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy medium brown with lots of bubbles and a two-finger, off-white, foamy head that lasted a few minutes. Okay lacing.

S: Sweet malt. Alcohol.

T: Light malt sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Roasted caramel malt flavor. Kind of nutty. Bitter finish.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Relatively smooth. Dry.

O: Looks good. Smells kind of weird, but not bad. I was hoping for a nutty more roasted flavor. Not bad overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 20:02:49 | More by SolipsismalCat
Photo of BeerNutz324
BeerNutz324

Iowa

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- a cloudy brownish amber with about a 1/2 inch off white/light brown colored head that dissapates fairly quickly.

Ar- all I can smell is sweet malts and maybe some caramel or toffee.

T- sweet roasted malts. I can definitely taste the english influence on the malts. Just like the nose I think the caramel or toffee gives this beer a little bit of sweetness.

M- light/medium body with normal carbonation for this style.

O- a good beer. Not as good as I expected coming from Bell's but good none the less. Nothing against this beer but it was nothing special and I honestly don't know if I would buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 03:28:30 | More by BeerNutz324
Photo of KomodoDragon
KomodoDragon

Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Somewhere between an amber and a brown ale. Huge toffee head which immediately subsided, impressive lacing.

S - Not much to smell here. Some sugar, some toasted malts.

T - Has some sweetness of a brown, as well as caramel tones. Also some roasted malts and flavors of almonds and cocoa.

M - Exceptionally smooth and very drinkable.

Seems more like a American brown. Perhaps not "best", but definately unique and at minimum very very good.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 03:55:47 | More by KomodoDragon
Photo of agomega
agomega

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep rich amber color with a large white foamy head which lingers.

Smell: Faint toasty malt aroma.

Taste: Rich toasty malt flavor with slight hints of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Very smooth and easy drinking.

Overall: An excellent session beer. Easy drinking and refreshing with a sweet subtle complexity that makes you want to go back for more.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2011 20:41:23 | More by agomega
Photo of julian89
julian89

Georgia

4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this fairly new addition to Bell's to be a high improvement on several other brown ales I have tried.

Appearance: Obviously a darkish brown hue, lightly transparent. Caramel coloring at the base post drink.
Smell: Clean, not too powerful, not much else.
Taste: Wonderful! This is a perfectly bittered and hopped brown ale. It was not too dry and carbonated either.
Mouth feel: Very smooth, no acid residue aftertaste I get with other brown's.
Overall: Bell's does not disappoint. Their Brown hits the charts once again.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2011 16:26:12 | More by julian89
Photo of Gobigvt7
Gobigvt7

Oregon

4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

a - pours a nice mid-brown, with an amber tint when held to light. Looks delicious already. one finger of almost white head, good lacing.

s - nutty malts and bread

t - smooth caramelized grains. semi-sweet but not cloying. very light hops lend an edge to the maltiness. very balanced, tastes evenly throughout the sip.

m - smooth, round, medium body.

o - one of my favorite go-to browns. For the style, immensely drinkable and flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 02:44:35 | More by Gobigvt7
Photo of clint1019
clint1019

Michigan

3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 23:19:10 | More by clint1019
Photo of avaldivia
avaldivia

California

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from Sobeleg. Poured 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Very nice nutty brown color. Head about an inch and a half thick. Great lacing.

S: Sweet toffee and caramel. Nice malt character. Kind of light

T: Same as the smell. Malty. Sweet caramel.

M: Medium bodied. good carbonation. Nice finish.

O: Excellent brown ale. I

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2011 21:52:06 | More by avaldivia
Photo of maleman
maleman

Mississippi

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Almost mahogany color with a thin, less than one-finger off-white head. Lace was tight and clingy. The nose was well more malty than hoppy, more like bread. Taste was very grassy intially with phenols definitely noticeable. Medium bodied with taste in the back of the mouth with average carbonation. Still waiting to try Hopslam, but this one is not that memorable from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 23:32:15 | More by maleman
Photo of qua17
qua17

Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer poured into a pint grass with a nice two inch head. It's a translucent brown.

S: Nice and malty

Taste: The name of this is the Best Brown Ale and the taste almost proves the point. Delicious. There is a lot of balance to this beer - not too malty and very flavorful. Nice carbonation.

Overall: I like Bell's but this might be my second favorite next to Two Hearted Ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 22:39:15 | More by qua17
Photo of Blueribbon666
Blueribbon666

Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken. Mild scent of malt poured into pint glass 1/8" head dissipates quickly w/a rich brown color. Well blended malt flavor w/an initial hop flavor in the front, good mouthfeel and decent drinkability. Bell's w/another solid entry w/o being an average kit beer wrapped in a pretty label. I buried Smuttynose for their brown ale, I much prefer the Bell's entry

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 13:01:06 | More by Blueribbon666
Photo of Mako82
Mako82

Florida

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A - Brown and dark red in color. Fizzy off-white head that lasted quite long. Floating yeast apparent in beer.

S - Roasted malts, hops apparent in the background, bready/yeasty smell, also picked up a peanut type smell

T - Roasted caramel malts (fairly strong on the roast side), nutty and bready, pretty sweet to the taste. Aftertaste was fairly bitter and the roasted nutty flavor stays all the way to the end

M - Medium carbonation, medium body

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2011 22:19:12 | More by Mako82
Photo of prdstmnky
prdstmnky

Vermont

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*review from notes on 3/04/11*

Batch #10178 (1/17/11)

Part of a variety case. Chilled bottle into a pint glass, sepia brown body with a finger of tan head, nice retention. Some sweet malts in the nose, along with some nice hop aromas. The taste is interesting, lots of hops up front which was unexpected. The bitterness seems to linger, but can tell there is a nice sweetness back there waiting to shine.**

Mouthfeel seemed right on point for the style, medium bodied with maybe a tad above average carbonation. A nice example of the style, especially if given a few months to balance out.

**I ended up drinking a single from my six pack, and letting the rest sit for 2 months. I can say that there was a big improvement in the taste, which is represented in the score. Much sweeter, with a slight nutiness - caramel, brown sugar, and toffee made this Brown Ale much more balanced and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2011 04:02:16 | More by prdstmnky
Photo of elephantrider
elephantrider

Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Reddish brown, tan head. I would have liked it darker.

S: Lots of bready carmel. Some toffee. A little nutty and chocolatey.

T: Carmel with some toasty characteristics right off the bat. Then some chocalate and nutty flavors. Finishes slighlty hoppy.

M: Medium bodied

O: Pretty decent beer. I dont like to drink more than a couple of these at a time as I move to other more interesting things. There are a couple more Browns that I like better than this.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 03:29:41 | More by elephantrider
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,003 ratings.