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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

2,027 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,027
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)
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Ratings: 2,027 | Reviews: 777 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dbossman
dbossman

Nebraska

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

A: Redish brown--tea colored and quite red; tan, frothy head with large bubbles that seem to slowly pop as the head loses its form; lacing is even and intricate

S: Grainy upfront but a nice subtle sweetness pervades--a touch of caramel and brown sugar as well as some pleasant nuttiness; but all in all the aromas are quite subtle

T: A subtle sweetness balanced well with a nutty roasted malt and grain flavor; some undertones of hops that also complement the beer

F: Pretty good mouth feel; it seems a touch thin at times but for the most part is pretty good

D: Very drinkable; goes down so smooth and the flavors allow for lengthy enjoyment

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2010 02:37:33 | More by dbossman
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2010 01:02:37 | More by cbutova
Photo of jwhawkins81
jwhawkins81

Ohio

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

Batch #9561 bottled on 1/26/2010 tasted on 4/22/2010

Aroma - Rich maltiness with a touch of sweetness. Not a lot of hop aroma but maybe just hint on the nose.

Appearance - Dark reddish brown with a thin light brown head that quickly dissipated. Good level of residual carbonation following the pour.

Taste - A maltiness that isn't too sweet or even dominating the flavor. Slight hint of hard water minerals and a touch of astringent alcohol like flavors. Over the entire bottle the flavors smoothed out to a nutty brown goodness

Notes - Not bad but not great either. The mouthfeel was just OK.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2010 12:55:21 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Man if this isn't run of the mill I dunno what is. Looks decent enough, a little thinner than what I was hoping for. No detectable aroma.

Taste is a little thin for me. Nutty. I'm just not a brown ale guy. The ones I tend to like have a bigger malt bill, coming closer to being a porter moreso than the actual traditional brown style. A little more gritty than I expected.

Mouthfeel, nothing much, some brown colored beer, so surprises, no letdowns. A little costly for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 18:19:02 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Brettster
Brettster

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a kind of murky carmel color with about a one finger foamy head that fades quick. Has a nice roasted nut smell with plenty of sweetness. Has lots of malt flavor with hints of fruit. This is a pretty smooth medium bodied brown. In fact it is one of the better brown ales I have had.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 17:25:16 | More by Brettster
Photo of magine
magine

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a cloudy (love that), caramel/brown color with a thick chunky tan head. Nice chunk island head stays throughout, and it has great lace. Nice looking brew.

Brew has a caramel malt smell, bisquit and grain.

The brew is malty; caramel, toffee tastes. Very balanced, some hops and a very smooth finish - sweet, but not overdone. Smooth creamy brew, goes down way, way easy.

This is an extreamly sessionable brew, and a very good one at that. One of the best brown ales I have had. Has a great drinkability, with a great finish and taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2010 00:31:20 | More by magine
Photo of divineaudio
divineaudio

Michigan

4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass. batch#9403.

color is a deep reddish amber with some sediment particles floating around. a thin tan head forms quick and calms down to a thin film. lacing is spotty at best.

smell is rich with toasted and carmel malts and some mild fruitiness. taste-wise, malt sweetness hits you first with a bit of a nutty character, then mild hop bitterness on the sides and back of the tongue, then a long semi-sweet finish. definitely has some raisin or fig in there somewhere but i can't quite put my finger, err, tongue on it. pretty well balanced for being so malt forward.

mouthfeel is smooth for being a heavier bodied ale. carbonation gives the flavors enough pop without being too fizzy.

very drinkable and a good contender if you're looking for a malty session beer. seems very true to style. yet another quality beer from bells.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2010 03:11:51 | More by divineaudio
Photo of DT051
DT051

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served: Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Aroma: Low nutty and earthy ripe fruit and slight caramel notes. reminds me a bit of apple peel with some brown sugar notes

Appearance: definately some sediments floating about. Color is a nice dark amber. A lasting moderate head little lacing as it disipated.

Body and Texture: Medium body but a touch of grittyness. Nice feel as it flows through the mouth. Drankable.

Flavor: roasty caramel with slight spiceyness tranistions to a more saltly nut flavor a little ripe fruit hanging around.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 07:13:55 | More by DT051
Photo of nickd717
nickd717

California

3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Pours medium brown with a huge lasting light beige head.

Aroma is nuts, caramel, and sweet malts. Not much to it.

Flavor is caramel, chocolate, and nuts. A little tart even, but not bad.

Slightly astringent on the palate with medium body.

Pretty drinkable. This is decent, but I have to say it's not one of the better Bell's beers out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 22:23:37 | More by nickd717
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23

Ohio

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

A- Pours a dark reddish-brown with a nice off white head. Head has great retention and leaves some spotty lacing here and there.

S- A touch of coffee and roasted malt. With quite a bit of caramel malt. Pretty much no hops.

T- Taste is dominated by the malts here and mainly caramel malts. Just a bit of a coffee or toffee taste. Very solid and sweet.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and on the higher side of medium in carbonation. Feels really good.

D- Super easy to drink. I've hit this one up a couple times and have no complaints at all.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2010 09:16:57 | More by nrbw23
Photo of mvanaskie13
mvanaskie13

Pennsylvania

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

Picked up the bell's variety pack, going down nicely...

Poured from the bottle a nice reddish amber with creamy 1/2" thick head that clings nicely to glass.

Smell is a lightly sweet malt, nothing overbearing, but good.

Taste is caramely malt, mildly sweet with hints of hop and good lingering flavor.

Mouthfeel is great, guess what i would call medium body flavors do not stick overbearingly but linger nicely. Good carbonation.

Very drinkable solid beer, could easily have a few more.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2010 23:29:12 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from twiggamortis420. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy orangey brown brew. Pillowy head fades slowly, with good lasting lace. Aroma is malts with a light earthy hoppiness. Taste is a touch tart to start, settle in with some rich grain character in the middle, and comes back to the mild tartness at the close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 19:40:31 | More by ppoitras
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

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

Acquired from diekia, courtesy of the Review This! BIF so a big "Thank You" goes out to her. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, maple, nuts, honey and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of maple, caramel, honey and nuts that are followed by a hearty malt character. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid sessionable beer that is worth drinking for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 03:50:04 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of beergod1
beergod1

Ohio

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

Flows a creamy dark brown then clears up a bit, a light fading head. Nice toasty sweet nutty flavor,smooth mouth feel, I think a slap of hop at the back of my tongue on the finish, rounds out nicely. This is in my top 5 or 6 Brown ales, along with Dogfishhead, Sammy Smiths, Goose Island, Avery and a couple of others.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 12:34:20 | More by beergod1
Photo of Evocatus
Evocatus

Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red amber, looks almost like tea. Head was tan and about a cm in thickness though it dwindled to a little more than a ring. Aroma was pretty feint, although I could pick up hints of caramel and alcohol. Taste was pretty good and strong though. A mix of caramel sweetness, nuts, and alcohol. For some reason the taste is a bit too strong for me, at least the alcohol part, so I wouldn't call it too drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 01:42:30 | More by Evocatus
Photo of Drone53
Drone53

New York

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

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Nice beer. Pours a nice brown color, with a nice solid head, which lasts a awhile. Taste was good, but was expecting a little more. Pretty decent hop flavor. Good maltiness to this beer as well.

Definitely a beer which you could have a nice session with.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 14:20:36 | More by Drone53
Photo of teovaldi
teovaldi

Michigan

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

Pours a clear dark amber with a huge off white head leaving lots of lacing.

Smell is roasty with a hint of malt and hops.

Taste is of sweet malts with slight brown sugar finishing slightly hoppy.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with decent carbonation.

Damn fine brown ale. One of my favorites and is highly sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2010 07:58:22 | More by teovaldi
Photo of rkinsella
rkinsella

Minnesota

2.3/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured into a nonic glass, looks great...dark tea colored with a bit of a haze, off white head with good retention and average lacing.

On the nose, alcohol whiff right away, toasty bread with a bit of spiciness. Smells like a boozy home brew...sadly enough.

Taste starts with bread like flavors dipped in alcohol, moves to a slight tanginess before the subtle hop finish.
Missing all the wonderful flavors that can emerge from a brown ale...i.e. nuttiness, fruity and brown sugar notes.

Medium carbonation, medium to heavier body.

Too boozy tasting to be a session brown...almost has a winter warmer feel to it.

Not what I look for in a brown ale. Better domestic offerings from Goose Island, Avery, Sam Adams, etc.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2010 19:33:02 | More by rkinsella
Photo of lstokes
lstokes

Illinois

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

Cloudy brown beer with a brown-sugar-molasses nose (although a bit sour, for which marks down) and taste, with enough spiciness to keep it interesting, sweet but with a dry finish (a little bit of chocolate in the finish?) and a chewy mouthfeel. Very drinkable, an awesome brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2010 04:31:47 | More by lstokes
Photo of hosehead83
hosehead83

Ohio

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

Served on-tap at Nick & Jimmies in Temperence, MI. Served in a standard pint glass.
Dark brown/cola in color, with a moderate, off-white head of foam
Aroma-Faint malt and caramel notes
Taste-Roasted malt, caramel, subtle chocolate notes leading to a bit of a zesty, hop-like finish.
Overall, the on-tap version was a bit thin in body, with the overall flavors more subdued, but with a bit more of a hoppier profile than I recall with the bottled version.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2010 14:08:40 | More by hosehead83
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

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

A 12 oz bottle from Al's of Hampden.

A: The brown ale is more of a crimson red color, but who's counting hues? It is translucent enough to see objects on the other side of the glass but I can't distinguish them. A small head, quarter of a finger max, reduces rapidly to a thin white band.

S: Caramel and toffee are strong in the nose. A bit of nuttiness follows in short order with a hoppy citrus backbone (not too strong mind you).

T: A very solid brown ale. The maltiness plants its proverbial flag early and never relinquishes its claim. Caramel and toffee, along with toasted nuts, drive most of the flavor. Coffee and vanilla linger around too, especially when the ale warms. Hops, not a stand-out, still provide a zesty bite. A brown ale that is better than most.

M: The mouthfeel is syrupy, thick and malty. Darker roasted flavors stand out.

D: A very drinkable ale, sessionable even. Makes me appreciate the non-extreme styles.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2010 01:28:10 | More by akorsak
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2010 04:44:08 | More by AgentZero
Photo of jadpsu
jadpsu

Georgia

4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a tan head that has decent lacing but not even average retention.
Smell is of molasses, maybe some vanillia and some definite coffee notes.
Taste has much of same with some roasted malts and earthy hops.
A little thick on the tongue but creamy as well.
Very good English Brown Ale, my favorite style.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 04:28:51 | More by jadpsu
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The beer pours a medium clear with a hint of ruby red. The head is, light tan, rises about 2 fingers but gone quickly. It falls to a soapy brown head, with light retention.

The aroma is medium and starts out pretty sweet nuttyness.

The taste starts pretty sweet as well, some nice nut in the middle with a littel bitter finish, pretty nice and complex.

The feel is a little watery with a dry finish.

Overall, a pretty nutty nice brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 02:22:43 | More by jrallen34
Photo of association330
association330

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, batch 9382. Bottled Sept. 29, 2009.

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a finger of caramel-colored head. Settles to a half-pinky cap with awesome lacing. Cloudy with yeast.

S - Sweet dark malts, with toffee, molasses, a little dark fruit, and a bit of earthy hops. Everything is very subdued though.

T - A nicely balanced, moderately sweet flavor of roasted malts. A swallow of toffee, nuts, and a bit of dark fruit. Coffee-like aftertaste.

M - This beer is thinner than I remember; almost cola-like. Carbonation is on the low end of moderate.

D - Still very drinkable, but not quite as pleasing.

My third review of this, and first since 10/24/2008. In appearance and flavor it is still a nice brown, with considerable complexity when compared to many other attempts at the style. Unfortunately, it seems that maybe they've been watering it down a bit. It could be a case of this particular bottle sitting on the shelf too long, so I'll have to try and find a more recent bottle before the summer months.

10/24/08 Review:

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a finger and a half of caramel-colored head. Settles to a pinky cap with a nice spiderweb of lacing. Yeast clearly in suspension.

S - A slight yeasty effervescence, with hints of earth and roasted malt; a touch of hops. Not outstanding, but when was the last time you had a brown ale that blew you away?

T - A nicely balanced, moderately sweet flavor of caramel and roasted malt. A tad earthy, with some lingering hop bitterness on the finish.

M - Properly carbonated (not prickly), with moderate viscosity.

D - Very quaffable, doesn't overpower anything. Would pair nicely with a big fall/winter meal and a warm fire.

I decided to re-review several months later, now that I've seriously gotten into the world of craft brews and understand what to look for. That said, it's nice to find a brown ale with some character, but not so overwhelming that it wrecks the easy-drinking reputation of the style. The modest, but noticeable hop finish really does a good job of balancing out a style that I think is often too sweet. This is my go-to brown ale, and I give it a hearty nod of approval.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2010 05:21:40 | More by association330
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,027 ratings.