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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

2,170 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,170
Reviews: 782
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 66
Gots: 132 | 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: 2,170 | Reviews: 782 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vfgccp
2.65/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A – Gave this bottle a few days to rest upright in the fridge, and still poured with some chunky sediment. Otherwise the ice-tea brown body was clear, building a low white head.

S – Thin aroma. Brown sugar, and light oak is pretty much all I could get.

T – Disappointingly thin flavor as well. Has a wart character too it, with brown bread and honey. But even that is light.

M – Light and watery mouthfeel. Mildly sweet finish.

O – Almost tastes like too much water was used in the sparge.

vfgccp, May 01, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes 4/22/11.

A: Poured a slightly hazy ruby/orange, not quite brown color. Carbonation bubbles were evident along the sides of the glass. A one finger head formed and left spotty lacing.

S: Nice combination of caramel and a nutty aroma. There is also some grain and bready malt.

T: Pretty solid flavor profile with a strong malt bill. Bready and earthy with caramelized sugar, some brown sugar, and nuts.

M: Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation, with lots of small carbonation bubbles. Crisp for the style.

O: Solid English Brown Ale, easy drinking and pretty sessionable. For a style that can be bland, Bells does a good job here.

mdaschaf, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of dogfishandi
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle at fridge temp poured into an SA perfect pint glass. batch number 10211 indicates it was bottled 1/31/11 (about 2 1/2 months old).

pours out a dark ruby red color with a nice retentive off white head. some nice lace. a bit more sediment visible than i expected, maybe i could have poured more carefully.

not a whole lot of aroma coming through. fruity with some caramel malts. bits of very light roast and cocoa.

toasted, very slightly roaste grains, a hint of cocoa, some fruitness and just the faintest kiss of hops.

light to medium in body. a bit syrupy. almost has a belgian like feel to it. drinkable, but nothing i would come back to.

dogfishandi, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of PokerGod
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

appearance- Nice color, Deep amber/brown. Slightly hazy. A nice very foamy thick head that dissipates pretty quickly, but stirs up again nicely when agitated. Doesn't really leave much lacework on the glass.

Smell- not a very strong smell, but very pleasant. Very creamy, sweet smell, not at all hoppy.

Taste- Very, very nice. Very creamy and roasted. Sweet, but not fruity or yeasty. Maybe caramel, but that doesn't seem quite right either. Can't quite put my finger on that sweet taste... maybe almost like a mocha. Delicious.

Mouthfeel- All carbonation bite hits on the top of the tongue.

Overall- a really fine brown ale, that's very easy to drink. I would have no problem buying this again. Very good.

PokerGod, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of MufflnMan
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Very good looking clear brown with a hint of red/amber and an almost mocha head. Nice surprise for a brown ale...

Faint smells of malty sweet caramel/toffee and a hint of hops.

Taste is almost a copy of the nose, but stronger. Nice sweetness to it without being cloying. The caramels and toffees come thru again and then a finish with a bit of hops. I also get the smallest hint of cocoa in there which is nice.

Medium mouthfeel, not too heavy... not too light. Very little to no carbonation so anything that hits your tongue is in the taste.

Overall, a solid brown ale.

MufflnMan, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of subtle toasted malt, caramel, toffee and nuttiness.
The taste follows the nose with sweet caramel malt, toasted nuts and a tiny bit of milk chocolate. It has more flavor than the nose would suggest, but unfortunately it just not that complex or flavorful.
Mouthfeel is crisp, with a medium-thin, borderline watery body and adequate carbonation. I would prefer a much fuller mouthfeel, but the thin body works is a decent change which allows this to finish quite crisp.
Overall this is quite drinkable, but forgettable. The flavor profile is just not on par with other brown ales I have had recently. English brown ales aren't supposed to be as malty and full-bodied as American ones, so I guess they accomplished their goal of creating a fairly tasty sessionable brown ale, but I won't be revisiting this anytime soon.

claspada, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of gdrydenc
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a murky red-brown with a thin lacing of head. Solid color for a Brown Ale.

S - Sweet, hints of caramel. No hop presence to speak of, but the caramely malts take care of the nose.

T - Caramel in the front, the malts dominate. There's a slightly syrupy quality to the taste that makes it stick in the mouth. Very sweet beer.

M - Like I said, fairly syrupy. I like it for this beer, though.

Overall, a good brown. Maybe not the "best", but it's a good version.

gdrydenc, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. A pretty good looking beer. It comes out a pretty amber caramel color, it's not completely clear, but close. There's a light brown head that sticks around and clings to the glass the entire time the beer is there.

I like the smell a lot. The roasted malts produce toffee and caramel aromas with the slightest hint of coco powder. There is a very feint hop aroma here. It's not very strong and you really have to wait awhile for it to warm up, but it's good.

The taste is probably a slight step up. It has all the features as the smell, but the tongue can pick up a little more than the nose on this one. It's got the caramel and toffee with slight coco, but there's also a a tea like spiciness to it. Again a very slight hop presence to it.

The mouthfeel is good, but it could be better. It's lighter in body than I expected, it could certainly be a little more full, I tend to prefer a slightly more full brown ale. The carbonation level is very good, and it's a very drinkable beer.

I think Bell's did did a stellar job at making a brown ale. I don't know if I'd call this the "Best Brown" ale I've ever had, but it's pretty tasty.

AndyAvalanche, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of Lillenk
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was just what onw would expect from a brown. Very nice medium brown color with a nice white/tan head.

Smell was nice. Lots of roasted malts but well balanced with some hop character too.

Taste was pretty average for the style. Nothing crazy but a nice, well put together beer.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied but a little tough to have more than one or two.

Lillenk, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of PorterLambic
2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich, dark brown. Decent light penetration. Smallish head drops to a ring.
Smell is fairly light with notes of malt and light hops.
Taste is a good mix of malt and hops, a light roast is present.
Finish is somewhat dry with hops coming to the fore. A Slightly metallic hint floats by, a la Newcastle Brown, but just in passing. A good, MOR brown. Certainly sessionable.

PorterLambic, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of Guden
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A medium brown with a small off-white head which fades slowly.

S- Light hints of dark and caramel malts, but nothing too strong.

T- Moderate amounts of maltiness with a little more bitterness and woody notes than expected but still quite refreshing.

M- Medium bodied but a little overly carbonated, works well but seems like a little less carbonation could of been better.

D- Enjoyable, and easily could have several of these but there isn't anything to exciting and there are better browns out there.

Guden, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of Kelly88
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at bar Louie served in a huge pint glass

A- dark leathery brown with old catcher Mitt orange at the bottom. Resilient beige head that is really sticking around. Layers of lace are surrounding the glass. So much I can't even see through some parts of the glass. Light shade of brown for a brown ale.

S- not much going on in the nose. Some pear type aromas with a sweetness.

T- sweet crisp apple taste. Really unexpected but it is really good. Apple skin and really small hop cones on the back. Really tasty brew.

M- medium to fullish. Not slot of carbonation but that is not hurting the experience. The lack of carbonation sort of enhances the flavors by really forcing them down onto your palate.

Overall a really solid brown ale That has a really unique flavor. Definitely will seek out again if available.

Kelly88, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of zeledonia
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly reddish coppery brown, very clear, with a slight off-white head that lingers.

S: Nothing jumps out, but it smells good. Nice balance of malt and hops, though the malt is definitely more prominent, with some sweetness and light fruits (grapes, apples) in the background.

T: Not quite what I was expecting based on the smell. Kinda light and fruity for a brown ale. The hops are more obvious than in the nose, and they impart some bitterness, but there's not a ton of complexity to the flavor. I get a prominent light hop flavor, but there isn't that much coming along with it. It starts out decently balanced, but fades into a rather bland bitter finish.

M: Feels light and tingly due to very vivid carbonation (which isn't obvious from looking at it), even though the body is medium. Has a heaviness and stickiness that makes it hang around in the mouth.

D: This comes across lighter and hoppier than I expect from a brown ale. I'm not that impressed with the flavor, which is fairly simple and a bit on the bitter side for the style. It's a decent beer, but there are plenty of better brown ales out there.

zeledonia, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of CHADMC3
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut brown body with reddish hues and a thin tan head that quickly dissipates leaving nearly no lacing behind.

The aroma primarily consists of toffee and caramel malt with a touch of breadiness as well.

The flavor offers the same toffee and caramel malts as the aroma, but with a more identifiable sweet nuttiness and again hints of bread.

This beer is pretty even keeled with a medium body and medium carbonation.

This beer appears to be pretty true to the style. Although it may not be the sexiest style to most palates, this beer is a pretty nice representation of what it claims to be.

CHADMC3, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of nosurrender23
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Group grade = C.
"Damn good Brown Ale -- At least it's a beer."

The beer pours a dark iced tea color like the ruffled feathers of a brown barn owl.

The smell is light with little to no smell that some compared to an olfactory nightmare, wet cardboard, a frat floor, and bathroom stall number 3 at Dixie Stampede.

The beer had a low carbonated, smooth feel.

Drinking wise, the beer had a smoothness with minimal complexity. "Your average Brown Ale."

nosurrender23, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of avaccani
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Typical brown. A 1 finger head that left a nice lace.

S - Maybe it's my cold but didn't get much here. Some bread, oat, perhaps toffee or caramel.

T - Being a big Bell's fan I was a tad dissapointed here. It is good, but nothing that wows me.

M - Light bodied, moderate carbonation.

D - I had 2 of these in one sitting and it was enough for me. I enjoyed it, but don't know if I'd seek it out again.

avaccani, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of richkrull
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark brown color with lots of creamy tan head on it. Smells like caramel malt with some hops coming through. Taste is pretty good, classic brown ale flavor. Not much aftertaste. Very smooth and drinkable beer overall. Brown ales may not be my favorite style but this one is pretty good as far as they go.

richkrull, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of shand
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a red-brown colour with significant floaties and a finger and a half of head. Laces well. Smell is caramel malts, cocoa, breads, and some roasted nuttiness. Smooth roasty malts roll through first, followed up by a bit of a mineral taste and a touch of cocoa. The aftertaste leaves a nice subtle nuttiness on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and silky, and the drinkability is pretty decent. A slightly above average brown ale, I didn't see anything too special here, but there's nothing bad in this brew as well.

shand, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

jmdrpi, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of ncfranklin
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ah, the ole owl. Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A: Pour a deep amber. Nice creamy one finger head that slides back to a solid lace ring. Beer is littered with bits of material floating about it in it slowly. Gives the appearance of being quite thick and syrupy.

S: Strong sweet caramel oder, with some notes of breadiness and yeast. Maybe only a hint of nuttiness.

T: Sugary up front with a bit of bread and nut, the caramel comes in shortly after. Gives into spiciness halfway through that carries it to a slight bitter hoppy finish. Aftertaste of roasty malt.

M: Medium bodied, thicker than most of the style. Some tacky qualities to it, clings to the tongue. A fairly refreshing finish that tickles the throat.

D: A little sweet and heavy to be a session brown. However, Bell's got a good take on the style. Bringing lots of caramel, toastiness and sweet sugar in balance with bitterness.

ncfranklin, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of mjsheehan08
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fiery reddish hue that fills the glass with a dark brown color that becomes almost impossible to see through. Thick, foamy head sits high on this brew, and it fades after a while.

The only real aroma I'm pulling is weak malt. Not impressed

Nutty, malty, really sweet Carmel malts. Again not super impressed.

Overall, a decent session beer, but not something I would purposely seek out.

mjsheehan08, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of Vdubb86
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a rounded pint glass at McGonigals Pub in Barrington, IL

This beer pours a deep brown color with a nice creamy beige foam head on the surface. The smell is of sweet malts and a tad bit of chocolate in the background. The taste has many of the same sweet malt flavors to the almost extreme. I've actually had milk stouts that were less sweet than this beer. The chocolate flavors do shine through in a milk chocolate fashion with the sweetness. There is a tinge of bitterness on the back-end but for the most part this beer goes down fairly smooth. The problem I have in drinking it is it's far too sweet for me. It's a good thing my father, who's birthday it was, didn't like the Daisy Cutter I recommended he get, so we switched to each other delight. I respect it, but it's not my favorite Bell's beer.

Vdubb86, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of rings
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Most people know this one for the fact that there's an owl on the label and that it's a winter seasonal, the opposite of Oberon (Solson, to those of us who remember), Bell's top selling summer wheat.

Best Brown is an "Amer-English" brown ale with a full and balanced body. It pours relatively heavy, bright-brown in color, with a nice, white chocolate head that lingers a bit on the glass. Served properly between 45°-55°, it opens with a maple, brown-sugary nose and sweet maltiness that rolls into a full mouthfeel. As it goes down, there's a slight hoppy bite on the finish to balance and clean up the lingering sweetness. The balance is exceptional.

It goes well with spicy foods, although it can get a little filling with a large meal. As a session beer, it can also get a bit sweet over time, although serving it a bit colder can help.

While Best Brown is, for some reason, not as popular as the Winter White or Two Hearted over the winter monthsand not even in the ballpark of Oberon, in terms of sales--it remains one of Bell's finest and most consistent offerings and is one of my personal favorites among their lineup.

rings, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of vapodge
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A - mahogany & rich, thin head stays

S - roasty, not smoky

T - lots of roasted malts, not very sweet, a bit nutty

M - normal amount of carbonation for a brown

D - smooth drinking and perfectly fine; nothing wows me -- would not seek this out, but would not refuse; probably be better for a cooler night and a hearty meal (stupid FL "winters")

vapodge, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of sixerofelixir
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with batch code on back label, easily looked up on their website.

Looks very good. Creamy, patchy, tan/eggshell head. Superbly clear mahogany color. Smell is subdued malts and a tinge of mineral. First taste is toasty malts, then abruptly tankard-tasting. Not what I wanted. The aftertaste is still metallic, with a bit of hops, and bit cool-feeling, creamy, and smooth. Drinkability not as good as that of other brown ales. For a beer that looks (and smells) this good, I am disappointed in the taste.

sixerofelixir, Feb 08, 2011
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,170 ratings.