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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

2,001 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,001
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 56
Gots: 101 | 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: 2,001 | Reviews: 776 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nukem5


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich caramel colorvery little head, fine lacing with bits of yeast floating around.

S: Citrus, grassy, nice floral fragrance from hops.

T: Nice carmel and malt flavors mild hoppy flavor on the back end.

M: Medium body like the way the bubbles drift across the tongue and help cleanse the palate.

D: Very drinkable smooth, nice everyday beer, but at 5.8% cannot be considered a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2010 03:15:29 | More by nukem5
Photo of techfed87


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

Pours a nice, thick head. Foam has a hint of brown. Color of the overall beer is a dark amber, with very fine particulate circulating around near the center of the glass.

Taste has specific bitter hops qualities to it that of a darker beer. At the same time, the malt remains clean and middle of the road. There's a remaining taste of alcohol that lingers for a moment or two, but never gets out of hand. And while the beer doesn't ever shout out at you as something explosively extraordinary, it always has a consistent quality of flavor.

A great choice, especially for those who are fans of brown ales.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2010 03:03:40 | More by techfed87
Photo of herman77


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

Khaki colored head that flattened out and formed a collar around the glass. Little bit of lacing. Seems a little lighter colored for a brown ale. Nutty smell that is slightly malty. Taste is pretty much as it smells. Pretty average mouthfeel. Nice and smooth drinkability. Pretty light for this style of beer. Not my favorite brown ale, but pretty good overall.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2010 19:43:29 | More by herman77
Photo of bigbluebeerguy


3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish-brown into a pint glass with a one-finger head that dissipated quickly and left little to no lacing.

Slightly sweet smelling, malty with a tinge of nuttiness. Taste reflected much of the same, was a little lighter than I was expecting for the style. A little crisp in the mouth, a little more carbonated than I would have imagined, but still very good. This is a smooth beer that I found very drinkable, would definitely purchase again. Pretty much can't go wrong with anything from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2010 03:48:08 | More by bigbluebeerguy
Photo of gecasa


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a lighter than usual brown color to it for a brown ale, with a very nutty taste and smell. It is not the heaviest brown ale i've had and seems to be highly carbonated. I am very fond of Bells Brewery and find this to be one of their better beers!

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 15:43:22 | More by gecasa
Photo of sm0key


4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - lightish brown in color.

Smell - nutty!

Taste - Smooth. Packs more punch than the taste lets on...

Mouthfeel - Not very heavy for a brown ale, better than most, though

Drinkability - I get it all the time!

I love every Bell's product I've tried so far!

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2010 19:01:53 | More by sm0key
Photo of tykees88


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

Picked it up in a bottle as a mixed 6er. Appearance was a hazy darker brown. Smelled very nutty. Tasted alright, almost like drinking a newcastle. Althought, I would probably prefer a newcastle to this. Felt good in the mouth, but just didn't have the slam dunk finish I was expecting. Would drink it again if it was offered though.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2010 21:27:45 | More by tykees88
Photo of abrand


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

pint glass on tap. My local pub just expanded their taps and the additional keg will be a microbrew with Bell's Best Brown being the first.

The Best Brown pours a deep amber almost brown color with a nice frothy ivory colored head with lots of lacing. Very good start to the beer. Aromas are sweet caramel and lots of malts. Taste is well balanced with sweetness up front and a bitter crisp finish. Some earthy tones come out with the warmer of the pint (it was poured much too cold). Very solid sweetness that consists of brown sugar cane. Mouthfeel is crisp while quenching. Drinkability is high. Not an overpowering ale with the ABV being moderate. I must say I drank several pints and enjoyed them but yet drove home safely.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2010 02:03:04 | More by abrand
Photo of DrDemento456


4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2010 01:49:59 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of hossua34


3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Nutty, dark reddish-brown. A gigantic head, almost too large, that is slow fading. Leaves an outrageous amount of sticky lacing.

S - Very much like coffee and toffee. Has s bit of a sharp, semi-metallic scent that I've smelled in other English brown ales.

T - Toasty, malty. Hints of toffee and biscuits. A tiny bit watered-down tasting. Finishes caramelly. Very English style.

M - Kinda flat. A somewhat watery, "empty" mouthfeel.

D - A friend said, and I agree, that this is probably what Newcastle is meant to taste like (before it is imported and spends months in clear bottles). Not near as good as Oberon, but very easy to drink. A very pound-able minikig.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2010 00:38:11 | More by hossua34
Photo of dpodratsky3

North Carolina

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

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Very hazy as you would expect from an unfiltered bottle conditioned beer, medium brown with some orange at the bottom of the glass, big cream colored head settles to 1.5 fingers, very creamy/frothy and thick, decent lace

S: Traditional brown ale smell, clean and mild, earthy hops, plus that pale caramel malt, light but still sweet, balanced

T: Not as mild as I would have guessed from the smell, perfect balance of earthy hops and more floral/resiny hops, also in balance with the sweet caramel malt that doesn't stay sweet on the tongue

M: Perfectly pleasant medium, some english style brown ales are too thin for me, but this is good, smooth too

D: High, just a pleasant beer to drink

Notes: Brown ales are one of my favorite styles and this one impressed me. I love the balance. It's got a good traditional feel, but also some Bell's flair.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2010 05:00:31 | More by dpodratsky3
Photo of Jayli


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

Acquired this one from tigg924 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

consumed 1/19
A: This beer pours a relatively clear chestnut brown with some ruby tints to it. A one finger of tan head sits on top that leaves spotty, sticky lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is pretty muted. Sweet caramel malts, chocolate, and hint of grain.

T: Taste starts with caramel and toffee in the for front mingled with a touch of hop. Middle is filled with dark fruit sweetness, some molasses, and chocolate. Finish is roasted malt and a hint of coffee.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, nice rich presence.

D: This is a nicely blended and tasty brown ale. It is a solid and sessionable, I haven't met a Bell's product that I haven't liked yet.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2010 19:50:50 | More by Jayli
Photo of dbtoe


4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2010 01:38:16 | More by dbtoe
Photo of AmberMan22


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this up at a buddy's cabin recently.

Pours a slightly reddish light brown, creamy head that leaves plenty of lace down the glass.

The smell is slightly nutty (only slightly), then rich, roasted deep malt aromas come forward. The smell almost has a bite to it at the end -- possibly the alcohol.

Taste is very solid. Malty with some decent hoppy undertones that help maintain flavor balance.

carbonation bubbles are a little big for my tastes, they sting the tongue too much, which seems to conflict somewhat with the overall concept of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2010 01:23:55 | More by AmberMan22
Photo of RichieS2


3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: A pleasant brown just shy of a porter. When held up to the light it gives a decent brown gleam. Basically what one would expect from this style.

Smell: There was some definite sweetness coming from the malts though it was not overpowering. Again it was something to be expected from this style.

Taste: Definitely above average as to be expected from Bell's. When it first hits your tongue it does not have much flavor and a half second later the flavor kicks in. As the smell would suggest it has a slight sweetness that satisfies but is nowhere near overwhelming. There are no hops that I could detect to add bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the watery side, a little thicker than a "lite" beer but not by much.

Drinkability: Not to heavy or skunky with decent flavor, I would definitely have one of these again.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2010 00:49:47 | More by RichieS2
Photo of archiespeck


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

Had one of these following a Hopslam last night. Very interesting dichotomy!

A - Poured a dark hazy brown. Very little carbonation on this one.

S - Caramel, nuts, brown sugar with a touch of cinnamon. As a previous poster stated, the best smelling brown ale out there.

T - This is where the caramel and nuttiness really come through. Very nice, and not overpowering at all. Strikes a very nice balance with the maltiness.

M - A little thicker than your average brown ale. Again, low carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. I could easily put away 4-5 of these if I weren't careful.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2010 14:10:57 | More by archiespeck
Photo of Heavenisbeer


3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A: Two finger head at pour, which recedes to a thin patchy barely there layer. A decent amount of lacing. Light caramel coloring. Appears to have medium to medium/high carbonation.

S: Extremely delicate, almost non-existent. Nose hints at a distant fruitiness.

T: Taste is somewhat underwhelming, but in sort of an interesting way--sweet citrus burst on palette at first, but then quickly subsides leaving a sour grape-accented middle (similar to a dry white wine), ending in a bland drop-off. The subtle sourness of the beer is quite intriguing, and doesn't detract but rather adds to its overall quality.

M: Thin, fluid. Well-balanced, similar to other English browns. Mildly bubbly.

D: Certainly a session contender. I could drink a few of these back to back during a brisk autumn day.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 05:13:24 | More by Heavenisbeer
Photo of dudecandle

New York

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

Bottle into pint glass:

A: Beautiful medium-to-dark brown hazy body with good, creamy head. Great, thick cap.

S: Nuts with some light yeast. Also, chocolate with toffee and some dark fruit. Some light toasted grain, as well.

T: Primarily nuts and chocolate, but with some subtle yet significant hopping. Lightly toasted, and on the sweeter end thanks to the dark fruit.

M: Nice and creamy.

D: This is definitely the best English Brown I've had thus far. It's subtle, but still quite flavorful and complex. Most significantly, though, it's got a great body to itself, and not as watery as some English browns get. I still prefer the stronger American Browns, but the balance and complexity here are respectable enough to be enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 03:51:21 | More by dudecandle
Photo of kshankar

District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red with a decent head with okay retention.

Aroma is of caramel, malts, some hops as well.

Its a great balance in the taste. There is the sweet malt flavor, but not too overbearing, balancing well with the hops, which again, are somewhat minimal. For a brown ale, this is done very well.

Mouthfeel is light to medium with good carbonation. Drinkability is high. Brown ales aren't something I crave often, but I can easily throw back a couple of these. Recommended

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 06:14:51 | More by kshankar
Photo of zoso493

North Carolina

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

As always with Bell's brews, I've really been looking forward to trying this brew. Poured it from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a nice, deep brown with a thin two-finger head, tan head that leaves almost no lacing. This one is fairly opaque when held up to the light.

Smell: This one has a fantastic scent to it. Smells of brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon and all other kinds of nice sweets. The scents really blend together well, too. I'm not sure if a brown ale could smell better than this.

Taste: Taste follows the scent pretty closely but also incorporates a nice amount of roasted malts to combat the sweeter malts. Almost no presence of hops in this once.

Mouthfeel: This one is on the thicker side of things and is also pretty crisp despite not being really highly carbonated.

Drinkability: This is a really highly drinkable brew. Despite being a relatively thick beer, it still has a low ABV and goes down pretty smooth. When you take into account the complexity of this one, as well, you've got a really nice fall-time session brew.

Overall, this is a really good beer, as you would expect from anything bearing the Bell's logo. It's very tasty and the smell is superb. Nicely complex but still would make a fantastic session brew. This is a beer you have to try.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 03:32:08 | More by zoso493
Photo of Mavajo


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good brew all around.

Pours a brown body with an offwhite head and moderate lacing. Nose and aroma are mostly sweet malt, toffee/caramel with a mild hop bitterness on the back end. Not quite as bitter as you might expect from an English Brown. Overall fairly balanced and easy drinking. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Very drinkable - I drank this down almost too fast...probably didn't allow myself to get enough impression of the beer as I should have. Regardless, very enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2010 00:58:34 | More by Mavajo
Photo of adamette


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

Review from notes taken last night at Bspot, Michael Symon's rather new restaurant in Woodmere, Ohio. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass.

A Nice light brown creamy head and a great looking cloudy, opaque brown body that I just loved. I have had too many of those "Brown Ales" that are weak, translucent and boring. This one demands your attention and kind of announces that it is a serious beer. Lacing was not that good. 4.5

S Medium roast malt and not a strong smell. Repeated sniffs revealed a twinge of nuttiness. Nice. 4.0

T Nice classic English Brown, done by people who know and understand the style. Really this is suggestive of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, probably the standard bearer for the style. 4.0

M Nice and smooth but a thickness that I really enjoyed. I can imagine this beer in an English pub. 4.5

D very good with manageable ABV and all of that great look, smell and taste. 4.5

Notes: Everyone reading this review should find and try this beer!

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2010 03:53:06 | More by adamette
Photo of BillyBoysPie


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

Bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice dark brown with reddish-orange highlights. Full inch and a half of a pale beige head that settles down. Leaves plenty of lacing. There's sediment in the glass - and I just washed my glass. It's a bit off-putting for this style, but I'm not predjudiced.

Surprisingly hoppy for a brown ale. Also, since the bottle is extolling the malt, I'm searching for it. It, frankly, smells like the fantastic Two-Hearted Ale - which I love - but I find odd for a brown ale. There's a fair bit of toffee, but mostly the floral/citrus.

Ahh! I taste the malts! Why can't I smell them... Either way, really nice malts. Caramel with a touch of chocolate and butter, and sweet hops at the end. The hops are balanced well, a nice bit of sweet honey and florals. I do quite like it. A refreshing brown ale.

Nice mouthfeel. Right carbonation for the style, and pretty light body, but it does fill up the mouth. Refreshing.

I quite like it. Not as good as the Two-Hearted, but a keeper. Also, I like original ideas/fresh takes on a beer, and this works.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 23:32:19 | More by BillyBoysPie
Photo of cjgator3


3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 05:26:11 | More by cjgator3
Photo of Lacesoutcody

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this from a friend on new years.

put it in the fridge for a relaxing hangover remedy.

the look of this beer was nice, a deep brown, with a two finger head, and laceing that sticks around for awhile.

smell was of roasted malts, and caramel.

taste was a mild caramel, smooth with a slight roasted malt aftertaste. Very pleasant and not heavy.

Drinkability was exceptional, not too heavy as noted above, and not too light so you don't just breeze though it. Unassumingly complex, and exceptional. Great for a "come down" beer, or an autumn tasting.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 03:16:17 | More by Lacesoutcody
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,001 ratings.