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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.
very good

2,025 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,025
Reviews: 777
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: 2,025 | Reviews: 777 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mralphabet


4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Reddish brown color in color, pretty clear, about 1/2 a fingers worth of head that settles to a nice layer and ring of foam. Very nice lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Sweet malt, little caramel and nuts.. pretty normal for a brown. Just smells right.

T: Great tasting little brown... Sweet malt, caramel and a hint of nuttiness. Everything you are getting in the smell is here. Again the mix is just right.

M: At first it was a little sharp with the carbonation, but it settles down as it warms and gets smoother and less carbonated... Just gets better and better.

D: Man this is just a good beer... a very solid brown. Good ABV, good flavors, smooth (when warm), good session beer. Worth a look at.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 05:34:12 | More by mralphabet
Photo of Justin23060


3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Brownish-orange with some haze and sediment. One finger head with some lacing.

S - Nice and yeasty with some suddle floral (not at all overpowering) hops.

T - I prefer my browns a bit more sweet, but this works. Great bready taste almost bordering on biscuity. Hops are in perfect balance. I suggest letting it warm slightly (somewhat more complex in the last couple sips)

M - A little more astringent than most browns, but in a good way. Nice creamy finish.

D - Quite drinkable. Dryness leaves a nice aftertaste that leaves me wanting more.

Overall - Not the "Best" Brown ale as the name states but a pretty solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 17:55:20 | More by Justin23060
Photo of Pencible


4.05/5  rDev +6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 14:48:55 | More by Pencible
Photo of Transatlantic


4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A - A very beautiful hazy unfiltered walnut brown color with an okay head with okay lacing. Chunks upon chunks of sediment, might I add.

S - A very nutty and caramel smell with a light floral hop smell in the background.

T - Very nutty and very caramel like taste. Hop bitterness is next to non-existent in this brew. This is a very light but sweet brown ale.

M - Light to medium bodied

D - The drinkability on this brew is off the charts. I should have gotten another 6-pack of this stuff before they're gone.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2010 00:28:16 | More by Transatlantic
Photo of BrewStoutMagic


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

Poured this brew into a sifter to check out the aroma,but nothing really stood out. Now the taste is smooth,not bitter at all.The ale has a beautiful brown color.Looks so good in this glass I think I'll try to drink it as slow as I can so I can enjoy it. Definitely something I'd buy in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 01:16:59 | More by BrewStoutMagic
Photo of zoso1967


4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best brown pours an attractive reddish mahogany brown with a little bit of sediment floating around. The head is a very light tan color, and it has wonderful retention and strong lacing.

The aroma is pretty laid back with sweet toffee and slightly fruity caramel character mingling with some toasted malt. There is also a bit of a yeasty aroma, and a faint hint of cocoa.

The flavor is a bit more robust with the chocolaty and nutty toasted malt character melding well with nice toffee and caramel sweetness. Bready, hearty flavors meld well with a bit of earthy character to make a well balanced brown ale.

The body is medium with a good amount of carbonation. This beer is more lively than smooth, but it works well. The finish is very clean, leaving a little maltyness and a touch of hops.

This is a very drinkable brown ale that is not overly hoppy, or laden with too many specialty malts. If you are looking for something really robust, this may not be what you desire, but for a nice sessionable and impeccably made brown, Best Brown is definitely a great choice.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2010 22:25:17 | More by zoso1967
Photo of RunForYourBeer


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From batch 9981, bottled 9/16/10.

A: Pours a light brown, much lighter than I expected.

S: Smells of a sweet caramel malt with a hint of breadiness.

T: Tastes of a sweet caramel, bread malt along with some chocolate. Has a bit of hop bitterness and a hint of toastyiness.

M: Medium with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: High.

This is a good fall beer. One I will likely come back to.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2010 00:30:09 | More by RunForYourBeer
Photo of yeahnatenelson


3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 9980

Appearance -- Pours a murky chestnut hue, quite a bit of sediment, nearly no head even after a vigorous pour.

Smell -- Caramel, cocoa, roast and grainy malts, raisinette, faint licorice.

Taste -- Roast character abounds: roasty malt, coffee grounds, baker's chocolate. Much drier than the nose would suggest. Mineral character is apparent. Firm earthy hop finish. Lasting flavors of roasty malt and cocoa.

Mouthfeel -- Lighter in body with an abundance of prickly carbonation. A bit creamy in the finish.

Drinkability -- I had higher hopes for this one. I mean, look at the name! In all seriousness, it's a better than average brown ale, but in my mind it isn't one of the best, let alone *the* best.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 23:34:56 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of nickfl


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

A - Pours with one finger of off-white head on top of a clear, brown body with amber highlights. The head fades away slowly and leaves light lace.

S - A light caramel note with a bit of toffee and some red apple. There is also a bit of herbal hop aroma in the background.

T - Dry, caramel and toffee malt up front. More caramel in the middle with some cola notes. Moderate roasted character comes out in the finish with dry, toasty caramel and some brown sugar. Moderate bitterness and some herbal hops balance.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A pretty nice brown ale. A touch on the dry side with lots of caramel and an increasingly roasty character towards the finish. The hop character is light and does not get in the way of the malt but it is sufficient to balance the mild level of sweetness. A nice example of the style, I can't find anything to complain about other than the fact that I'm drinking it out of a bottle instead of a cask.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2010 06:45:04 | More by nickfl
Photo of InebriatedJoker


4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into my favorite beer drinking glass

exp date #10046 ?

Poured a nice nice brown color with two finger head that dissipated into a thin lace quickly -

Smell had hints of toasted malts , light spice ,toffee.

Very nice Brown Ale - Easy going down with a nice aftertaste - Great brew for Autumn evenings sitting around the fireplace.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2010 00:19:12 | More by InebriatedJoker
Photo of TMoney2591


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

Served in a Dogfish Head shaker pint glass at the Schaumburg Whole Foods.

My first brew here at the WF bar. It pours a clear rich auburn topped by a finger of light ecru foam. The nose comprises biscuit, rye bread, toffee, walnuts, flowers, and greens. The taste holds notes of light roasted malts, walnuts, oak, nutty toffee, and a strong hoppy bitterness in the background. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very nice brown, maybe not the "best" around, but definitely tasty.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2010 23:15:44 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of jera1350


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

Pours into a pint glass an amber hued brown color with a tan head that is shorter but has nice retention and leaves some quality lacing.

Solid dose of nutty malt along with some notes of caramel and toffee. Hint of cocoa as well.

Much like the nose. Rich malt presence with lots of nutty notes along with the aforementioned sweets.

Lightly chewy body that is medium. Mostly smooth with a little prickly carbonation.

A very solid style example and overall beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2010 21:28:35 | More by jera1350
Photo of MNJR


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

The color is ruby/brown, thin head and just a little lacing. Smell is surprisingly light: brown sugar, prune juice, marshmallow, woodsy, faint smells of burning leaves. The flavor is malty, with rich caramel, nuts, slight hops, buttered rye bread and corn-tinged grain, which lends a bit of a dry bite. Rich but not overdone, good balancing act between the heavier malt vs. crisp, dry mellow hops. The mouthfeel is very smooth and inviting and this beer goes down quite nicely. The aftertaste is a bit syrupy, with brown sugar lingering on the back my tongue which might be bit of a detraction in terms of drinkability. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2010 02:09:06 | More by MNJR
Photo of bucklemyshoe


3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 10/21/2010:

12 oz. bottle at 42* into a pint glass.

A: This pours a deep mahogany color with half a finger of tan, heavily carbonated, and creamy head.

S: It smells like brown sugar, nuttiness, and some caramel.

T: This features notes of molasses, hazelnut, toffee, butterscotch, and caramel.

M: This is light-bodied with a fair amount of caramel and a creamy finish.

D: This isn't the tastiest brown ale I've ever had but it is quite sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2010 00:42:43 | More by bucklemyshoe
Photo of cooch69


4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured from the draft an amber brown which was fairly opaque. It had a lovely two and a half finger head which stuck around for the party.
It smelled of caramel and bready malts.
The taste on this beer was realy good. It was a surprisingly fresh brown ale that was definetly influenced by the English. It was slightly roasty and nutty, slightly sweet and only a hint of hops in the finish. This beer has a well balanced carbonation and a medium body with an easy drinkability.
Definately recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

10-24-2010 00:22:51 | More by cooch69
Photo of Liverpool08


3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown with a small tan head that disapears quickly. Aroma is ok, a little toffee and malts, but nothing earth shattering. Taste is also average, Some roasted coffee and malty toffee, but it doesn't really stand out. Its also a bit thin, which doesn't help the flavors build up in the mouth. This is just an average Brown ale.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2010 23:25:15 | More by Liverpool08
Photo of deaconblues


3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a six pack because I have been impressed with Bell's so far, and also I like the owl on the label.

Poured into a pint glass. Nice dark brown color, small head retention. It has a sweet, malty aroma. Pleasant smell. The taste starts out stronger than I had expected, plenty of malt, only a little bit of hops. At first I was reminded of New Belgium's 1554 black ale. But the finish was disappointing. What started out strong evaporated quickly, leaving nothing but a bitter (but not displeasing) aftertaste on my tongue. I feel that this isn't a very well-balanced beer. It isn't a bad beer by any means, it just goes down a bit too quickly, and doesn't let me savor the flavors for long enough.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 19:57:58 | More by deaconblues
Photo of dpnelson1978


2.8/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$1.50 / ea.

A: Cloudy brown body swimming with particulate and topped with a big tan head that quickly dissipates leaving light foamy lacing and a thin bubbly cover.

S: Unmistakable roasted character dominates the aroma, with distinct nut and sweet malt accents. Hops are negligible. Simple but effective.

T: Sweet nutty malt front and center with a mild hop bitterness in the distant background. Slight bitterness remains on the tongue after the taste. Borders on too sweet. Bandaid flavors at the very end, likely from the yeast sediment that made its way into the bottle. Again, very simple profile, but still enjoyable.

M: Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Sweet malt has a tendency to coat the tongue giving a sense of smoothness that is a little overbearing.

D: Solid beer, but too sweet for my taste. A couple of these is more than enough, but would compliment a pork chop nicely.

O: A bit below my expectations for Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 03:51:21 | More by dpnelson1978
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I dont know why its taken me this long to bang out a review of this. Living in Bell's distribution territory means I've obviously had this before but under much more casual circumstances.

A- Not many Bell's beers fall short in the looks department, this one is no acception. It sports a tall, frothy head over top a rich deep red body.

S- Nice balance of citrusy,and vegetal hops and chocolate and toffee malts.

T- To reiterate, this beer has a great balance between hops and malts. Some chocolate comes out at the end just before a dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2010 08:00:26 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of mithrascruor


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

12 oz. bottle.
Pours a hazy brown-amber, with a bit of a light off-white head. Fairly spicy toasted malt flavor & aroma. A bit like a cross between a brown ale and an Oktoberfest beer. Medium-bodied and smooth, with light carbonation. A tasty and really nice beer, but not your typical brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2010 00:55:27 | More by mithrascruor
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - It pours a lustrous brown hue with a smattering of off-white lace, and while it doesn't definitively announce itself as 'Best' on appearance alone, it does look promising.

S - The aroma is fairly sudued, offering only hints of toastiness, herbal hoppiness and a pristine mineral character.

T - This is one of the best plain ol' brown ales I've had. It has a perfect amount of richness, a fantastic melding of toasty malt and herbal hop, and overall is just so sublimely balanced. And while this style may not be laden with frills, any brew that is so comprehensively competent is certainly cause for conviviality.

M - A very refreshing beer, a bit south of medium-bodied. In this case, bigger is not necessarily better; it seems a bulkier body would offer more creaminess at the expense of outright quaffability.

D - This beer is outstanding. I'd even go as far as to suggest that it is worthy of Supertasters formerly from Kalamazoo, suitable for imbibing with Friars, and acceptable to haters of beers with sin and devils all over them. Actually, come to think of it, the owl is a pagan symbol, so scratch that last part.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2010 17:31:05 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of FanofHefe


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

Pours a nice dark brown with a solid one finger creamy head. Good lacing. Very little aroma, a little nutty smell.

Solid flavor and very smooth. Light caramel and nutty flavors. Not overwhelming in carbonation and slight coffee-like bitterness in the aftertaste.

Solid brown that is easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2010 22:34:05 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of DAllspaw


4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Some Guy's pizza, always have two bell's on tap. dark amber, not too dark that you can't see through it. Nice caramel malt in smell and taste. A bit of chocolate as well, but heavy on caramel and toffee in the aftertaste. Very solid brown ale, just what it should be, nice balanced malt profile and easy drinking.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2010 01:28:16 | More by DAllspaw
Photo of Boitnott

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2010 05:02:48 | More by Boitnott
Photo of Spiekerbox


4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2010 03:40:48 | More by Spiekerbox
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,025 ratings.