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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

2,003 Ratings
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 Apellonious

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance:Pours a dark brown with a red tint, slightly cloudy. Decent lace that hangs with the beer.

Smell:Smells of fruit and malt, with a bit of a smoke.

Taste: The taste is slightly sweet, slightly smokey, with some malty vanilla and chocolate overtones, but there is nothing overpowering or noteworthy in the taste department.

Mouth feel and drinkability: It iis fairly smooth, but it does have some crispness to it. Overall, I would drink it again (in fact I have five more at least to drink). A good, but not great brown ale that's worth trying and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 01:01:17 | More by Apellonious
Photo of pzrhsau

District of Columbia

3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice deep/rich brown color with an enormous head to it.
Smell: Nice combination of malt that almost makes it smell like a hearty bread.
Taste: The beer has a great flavor from the malt and it is accentuated by a slight tang that almost gives it a fruity after taste.
Drinkability and mouthfeel: Very crisp and easy to drink. Not too harsh on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 00:42:45 | More by pzrhsau
Photo of WYVYRN527


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

A: Pours a dark brown with a slight reddish hue, and has an off-white head that has good retention. Carbonation is fine, and very subtle.

S: Smell is a bit dilute, but shows some caamel and mocha notes, along with some floral, spicy hop characteristics.

T: Caramel and toffee are most prominent up front, with some roastiness, and dried dark fruit. There is a nice hop finish that balances out the beer with spicy, fruity notes.

M: Full bodied for a brown. This beer has a really cool finish, as it lasts a long time compared to other beers of this style.

D: I wish Larry would brew this one year-round. I'm not the biggest fan of the style, but this is one that I can sip on time after time.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 06:50:58 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of mklinger

North Carolina

3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Let me start by saying that I drank this when I really wasn't expecting to. I was out at a decent restaurant in town. I ordered a Third Coast Old Ale & the waitress brought this. She initially brought & a frozen glass. I asked for a non-frozen one, she brought it, poured the beer & I drank a swig before I realized it wasn't Third Coast. I got it for free, but it wasn't what I expected or wanted.

It poured a brown that was on the pale side of brown, small head.

Not much aroma here, bit of bready malt, not much for hops (which is OK for style), just a bit bland overall.

Flavor was similar, balanced but not very distinct.

This was the first Bell's Best Brown Ale I've had. I won't necessarily be seeking out more. Not all that more interesting than Killian's Red. Fairly light & bland.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 03:51:42 | More by mklinger
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

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

Batch 9339

Poured into Rare Vos glass

Pours 1 and 1/2 fingers of light creamy tan head. Head fades to a thin layer, but leaves amazing lace walls all the way down the glass. Color is a clear copper brown.

Aroma: Big malty nose with some grassy hops that are in the background but decently noticeable. Notes of caramel, nuts, and toffee present. Some dark fruits are also present.

Taste: Very malty with the grassy hops right in your face. Lots of caramel and toffee with nuts. A big roasted flavor to it. Some of those dark dried fruits are in the background.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly it is bitter and crisp. I really wasn't expecting this from a brown. Gets a little creamy at the end. Ends with a big roasted flavor and lots of hops. Very dry.

Overall, one of the better English brown ales I have had. Very nice flavors to it. Very hoppy as well so it was well balanced. Easy drinking beer. Gotta love Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2009 03:07:40 | More by mothman
Photo of micromaniac129


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

apperance: on first pour shows a deep amber color
with a slight haze about it. Above
avg carbonation with a nice foam head
that lingers around the glass until
the bitter end.

Aroma: nice hardy malt aroma with some
roasted malts and toffee coming

Taste: malts and roasted malts with some
bitterness at end

Mouthfeel: slightly heavy mouthfeel coarse on

drinkability: pleasent tasting, good looking beer
a good beer to drink aver a long
session. This beer also works well
in cooking and barbeque sauces.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 11:17:39 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of bbeane


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

A- Poured into a 16oz tumbler... Starts with a fizzy off white head about a finger thick that recedes slowly but leaves little lacing. Dark brown/ruby colored with plenty of sediment floating in it and very little activity

S- Not super smelly, faint malty/dark fruit aroma

T- Very smooth with no hop presence. Starts out with more of a toasted flavor and finishes more malty sweet with a nutty after taste

M- Smooth, medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation

D- I would definately drink more of this one. My favorite of styles for putting in a good session, and this will be put into my rotation


Serving type: bottle

11-04-2009 02:25:12 | More by bbeane
Photo of Brenden


3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a moderate brown with some clarity that gives off a red hue in the light. A tan head pours off the tap at just over one finger with lots of action, leading to a little over-pour. The head diminishes and leaves a stubborn foam that drops ragged curtains of lacing in its wake.
The nose is really very mild. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm just not finding much. What I can detect is good: light caramel, toffee, and perhaps molasses with a touch of barley-like grains are there, but it's a struggle to smell them.
The flavor, on the other hand, doesn't hold out on me. A strong malt base with some sturdy barley and caramelized sugars along with brown sugar notes make up this one. A taste of hops rounds out the finish along with a touch of dark fruits.
The mouthfeel is smooth and there's a nice creaminess in the body, but I'm not getting any crispness off the tap and carbonation is very light.
This is very drinkable; I don't doubt that the nose would really pick up and the body would firm up a little from the bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2009 20:40:04 | More by Brenden
Photo of brownbeer


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

A- pours brown amber with thin off-white head. Good retention, thin lacing. A lot of sediment though, whiched knocked the appearance down a bit for me.

S- Malt forward, caramel and biscuit. Subtle hoppy background.

T- Sweet and caramely up front balanced by slight minerality and hops leaving the finish slightly dry.

M- Just enough heft to be satisfying and soft enough to be encouraging.

D- A little heavier than most browns but tasty and smooth enough to session through.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2009 00:08:11 | More by brownbeer
Photo of gatornation


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

if its fall bells brown is back as a seasonal ..pours a dark brown color with a nice fluffy head as most bells brews have it had a nice beige ring with lacing til the end the smell was malts and toffee some chocolate and some roasted coffee..the taste was the same chocolate and coffee dominate with hops and malt its kinda like a lite stout..this is a tasty brew for the fall one i look forward to.. a tasty brown for sure its a winter warmer

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 21:43:07 | More by gatornation
Photo of drperm


4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

You know, here's a beer that's neither flashy, nor pretentious, nor arrogant, nor boastful, nor rude. And so I give it quite a high score, because a) I love a good English Brown Ale, especially on a windy autumn night, and b) I could have this again and again when in a session mood and never complain a bit.

Appearance: It's brown. It's uncomplicated. It's lovely in the glass. It has a warm copper glow that says, "Come, be my guest."

Sm: Autumnal. Rich, malty, toasty with a hint of molasses and treacle, and perhaps even mild marmalade is hiding out in there as well. Take a further breath and capture wet autumn leaves, moss, and laurel blossoms.

T: It's beer. Everything the nose hinted at, plus a warming, comforting, easy-going sessionable taste with some nice hop notes turning up as well. This is a taste to associate with sociable evenings in front of a pub fireplace...or in front of a nice roast beef.

M: At first, I was afraid it would be a mite too sticky and sweet on the palate. Then I had some food with it. Problem solved. Mouthfeel excellent.

D: Perfect, as far as a simple, uncomplicated, sessionable ale is concerned. This is one to be admired, not in spite of, but because of, its simplicity.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 02:29:38 | More by drperm
Photo of Gyle41386

South Carolina

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Label has an empty box where the batch # should be.

Pours a light brown. Three fingers of tan foam stick around retain very well, and there's some nice lacing on the glass.

Malty, somewhat nutty aroma. Smells like maybe some brown sugar in there contributes to the sweetness.

Flavor pretty much follows the nose. A nice dose of caramel, and some soft fruitiness. A slight smoky/roasty quality in the drying finish.

Medium-full body. Soft texture. Smooth, easy drinker. Yet another winner from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 01:54:50 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bells Best Brown pours a light brown with a small off white head that recedes to nothing.

Aroma is of bready malts, touch of caramel.

Flavor consists primarily of caramel malts, vague roasted edge comes in as well. Sweet toffee comes to mind.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and somewhat smooth.

A nice sessionable brown ale from Bells. Was a perfect companion with pepperoni lovers pizza.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2009 15:23:22 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of tigg924


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

Appearance: leather brown in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt

Taste: sweet caramel malt followed by a hoppy, earthy middle and finish that mixes with the malt

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium high carbonation, sweet start with a medium bitter finish

Drinkability: A slightly above average to average English brown. The mix of hops to malts is fine but this beer is indistinguishable from others I have tried. One that I would have again if I am in the mood for a brown, but nothing I search for.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2009 18:47:07 | More by tigg924
Photo of claminat420


3.2/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a transparent mahogany brown color. solid two finger tanish colored head.

S- slight roasted malt or malt of that character. slight alcohol scent.

T- a light woody taste with a caramel backbone. very little alcohol presence but still can be noted.

M- medium bodied. decent carbonation.

D- maybe 3 or 4 out of a six and i'm fine.

Overall- not to shabby of a brown ale. no samuel smith's but worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2009 03:55:22 | More by claminat420
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a semi-transparent chocolaty brown with a fine-bubbled pale tan head. Aroma is of average strength, malty and slightly chocolaty. Rich malty flavor has cocoa undertone along with nutty and caramel hints as well as just a whisper of fine coffee. Texture is thick, fairly smooth and nicely fizzy.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2009 01:54:43 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of sweemzander


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

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Batch #9339

(A)- Pours a hazy medium brown color that produced a minimal tan to white head that dissipated very quickly.

(S)- Has a nutty sweet maple smell. Bits of vanilla.

(T)- Very nutty; almond & walnuts. Has a good soft maple/vanilla malt background. Let it warm up a bit; cold really hides what this beer has to offer.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance to it. Nothing fancy, but has a good rustic feel to it with its nuttiness and malt profile.

(D)- A good to solid brown ale for the fall season when you tire of oktoberfests or wet-hopped beers. Nothing fancy, just classic drinking.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2009 21:22:16 | More by sweemzander
Photo of kegger22


3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy, medium brown with a one finger head that slowly faded to a solid skin. Unfortunately, my nose has failed me again and I didn't get anything. The taste was nutty sweet, safe and comfortable. The feel was medium bodied with sufficient carbonation. Drinkability was quite good. Best Brown was a good beer that doesn't require you to be a risk taker to enjoy. That said, it's not very exciting either. I would definitely drink again, reminds me of Newcastle.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2009 20:59:49 | More by kegger22
Photo of scottyshades


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

A: Pours a cloudy mahogany color, which produces a massive/rocky/billowy off-white head that retains very very well and leaves some nice sheets of lacing along the glass.

S: Not too much going on in the nose...a slight nutty aroma seeps through the head, as well as a dominant malt profile. Very sweet overall nose.

T: Different from the nose...The nutty aroma is present and very nice within the profile, along with a sweet and dark malt profile. Really not too much else to say...pretty one dimensional

MF/D: Medium/full in body, lingering nutty finish

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2009 00:50:32 | More by scottyshades
Photo of bsp77


3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Medium brown with a slight orangish cast. Moderate tan colored head that leaves nice rings down the glass.

Smell: Toast, caramel, fruit, English hops and some nuttiness. Smells fairly dry. Most of the rich smell fades, leaving a dry malt smell.

Taste: Slightly sweet caramel and toasted malt countered with a decent level of English spicy hops for a Brown Ale. Some nut flavor is evident but not a lot. A little bit of a fruity aftertaste that I am not super fond of.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, somewhat dry finish (only somewhat because of the aftertaste).

Drinkability: Very solid example of a traditional Brown Ale. If it wasn't for the aftertaste, this would be top-notch.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2009 21:50:53 | More by bsp77
Photo of GordonQuid


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

On tap at Nick and Jimmy's in Temperance, MI

Brown with a one inch rocky head and thick lace.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate toffee.

Taste is a medium bodied sweet cramel and sark malts with a nice coffee-cocoa finish. Low hop profile but there is a bit of a hoppy bite in the finish.

This is a highly quaffable brew! Easy to drink and extremely satisfying.

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2009 20:32:01 | More by GordonQuid
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was a huge amount of foamy, long-lasting head, with good lacing. One of the best-looking brown ales I've seen.

S: Had a nutty, malty and sweet aroma.

T: Tasted of malt, caramel, a nutty quality and a bready quality. Very tasty.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

D: I'm not the biggest fan of brown ales - the style is not the most complex - but this is a solid, drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2009 15:01:45 | More by avalon07
Photo of ballz50401


4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a medium deep brown with some haziness and little floaties from the bottle conditioning. Good carbonation and head retention. Smells of rich malts with bready/bicuity characteristics rise up. Taste some caramel and coffee tones. Feels creamy with a little carbonation bite at the end. Really like this brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 04:08:38 | More by ballz50401
Photo of boatshoes


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

Had on tap in addition to the Two-Hearted at a bar recently on a night out. My second time trying it.

Appearance- Poured a medium to dark translucent brown with medium levels of carbonation and about a half finger of off-white head. Not a huge looker and a bit of a disappointing head, but not particularly off-putting either.

Smell- A touch of coffee and roasted malt. Backed up with large notes of caramel malt sweetness. Not a huge nose, but overall fairly pleasant.

Taste- Pretty one dimensional on the side of sweet caramel malt and coffee. Not a lot of burnt coffee bitterness, just a touch of coffee and sweet caramel dominating. A nice taste and not meant to be overly complicated either I suspect.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel was pretty spot on with just medium levels of carbonation at best. Drinkability was also good and would consider this a nice session beer.

Overall, not my favorite Bell's beer or example of the style, but pretty solid nonetheless. Worth a try for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2009 04:00:54 | More by boatshoes
Photo of civilizedpsycho


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

Poured bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: It is name appropriate as it has a dark brown color that is only somewhat transparent. Small head.

Smell: Nice hop aroma that is quite inviting.

Taste: Very hoppy. More than I expected in all honesty and I thought it could be a bit more balanced; but it is still something I enjoyed.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat thin, but has a fair body.

Drinkability: This is pretty good. I could certainly get this again and enjoy it, but I think I would prefer something that is a little more balanced for my tastes.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2009 21:09:52 | More by civilizedpsycho
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,003 ratings.