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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

2,154 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,154
Reviews: 782
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 66
Gots: 127 | 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: 2,154 | Reviews: 782 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

civilizedpsycho, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of OlRasputin989
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: a hazy brown ale with a head of fine mousse. leaves speckles of lacing. Loved the bottle and six pack design on this one. I always thought owls were under-appreciated.

S: aromas of citrus, earthy hops, roasted nuts, and molasses

T: caramel roasted nuts and citrus up front. finishes with cocoa, earthy hops and orange peel

M: a medium-full body brew, fizzy and slightly oily.

Overall, it seems to me that this brown ale is almost too heavy for mass comsumption(both on the wallet and the stomach) Flavors were really nice and has a good American (hoppy) characteristic that I like. Though would like this one to be less filling.

OlRasputin989, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of cdizinno
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz. bottle different than that pitured.

A: Cloudy reddish/brown color with a nice thick off-white head and moderate lacing.

S: Slightly sweet malt scent. Nice scent to start off. Not too overpowering and slight caramel roasty aroma with mild hop overtones.

T&M: Smooth light to medium bodied brown ale. Much smoother than your standards. Real nice balance between malts and hops. Hits hard up front and fades to a nice mildly sweet malty/smoked/roasty taste. Finish is dry.

One of the best brown ales I've had because I prefer the milder taste instead of overpowering burnt/caramelized flavors associated with most brown ales.

cdizinno, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of corby112
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut amber color with mahogany edges when held to a light source and a foamy light beige head that slowly fades into a lasting cap and ring.

Slightly smokey aroma with a nice chestnut/hazelnut presence with a nice malt backbone and subtle hop notes.

Slightly watered down with a subtle smoked maltiness along with some oatmeal, chocolate malt, hazelnut and subtle hop notes. Finish is slightly dry. Pretty drinkable session beer but not something I would seek out again.

corby112, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of carlborch
4.6/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Supposedly a seasonal fall-winter beer, but available mid-July. The brown ale pours a beautiful clear brown with a tan-colored, thick, mousse-like head. The head persists and leaves intricate Belgian lace when sipped. The nose is both delicate and noticeable with hints of toasted bread, toffee, malt and ginger. The malt notes are light and sweet but not cloying. On the palate the ale has a medium body, perfect balance and a wonderful lingering finish that wants you to go back for. This ale is totally moreish! The carbonation pleasant and the alcohol is not noticeable.

carlborch, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of yesyouam
4.9/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bell's Best Brown Ale is a clear, dim red ale with a dense, frothy coffee-cream colored head that's elastic and retains its form well. It coats the glass. The nutty chocolate aroma has a light floral note. It's a little roasty. It smells great. It's pretty full bodied and incredibly smooth with a clean, dry finish. It feels soft and fluffy. It tastes dry, roasty, nutty and chocolaty. There's enough wooden, leafy bitterness to balance it out perfectly. It's incredibly drinkable-- an excellent beer.

yesyouam, Jul 10, 2009
Photo of stakem
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my pint glass. Color is deep amber with head that only sticks around for a short while. Minimal lacing on the glass. As noted from other bell's products it has the familiar particles floating in suspension (not just near the bottom of the beer.) Mild but pleasant hop aroma. Slight hop bitterness that is nicely balanced with malt sweetness. Slightly more bitter than it is sweet, it invites you in for the next sip. Very drinkable and a fine beer overall.

stakem, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of bunnyhustle
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to the trusty pint glass. Pours a hazy dark copper or dark amber in color, I cant decide which. 1 finger off white creamy head, good retention, minimal lacing. Smell was very nice. A nice blend of dark caramel, sweet malt, toasted grain, and even some dark fruit. Taste was good, relatively similar to smell. Sweet caramel, almost a little too sweet, with some toasted grain, and dry malt. Mouthfeel was fine, not too thin but a little dry. Overall a good beer and easy drinker. And I'm not a huge brown fan either.

bunnyhustle, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of flexinwext
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hazy dark reddish amber color with a thin tan head and nice lacing. Scent of sweet, roasted malt. Nice roasted chocolate taste with a slight bitter aftertaste. Reminds me somewhat of a dry irish stout. All the floaties were somewhat off-putting but overall some great flavor and a quality session beer.

flexinwext, May 30, 2009
Photo of PatrickJR
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Reddish brown; beautiful dark amber/red color. Two fingers of tan head fall quickly to a thin collar. No lacing.

S - Big chocolate aroma upfront with a nice butterscotch core. Lots of caramel and toffee, especially for a "smaller" beer. Nice fruity sourness hiding on the back end.

T - Immediate butterscotch. Spans caramel, toffee, brown sugar, buttered popcorn, molasses, and even maple syrup. Great synergy of flavor upfront. Mid palate the brew dries a little bit with hints of a bitter bread and a smidge of the sour-ish overripe dark fruit from the nose. Late palate yeilds an earthy and slightly spicy (almost onion-y) finish. Very nice compliment to the big malt sweetness.

M - Smooth, viscous medium body with a soft-moderate carbonation. Extremely smooth.

D - Another quality offering from Bell's. Excellent balance of buttery/caramely sweetness and a touch of spiciness to dry things out. A good interpretation on a sometimes underwhelming style.

PatrickJR, May 30, 2009
Photo of BrewIndy
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This had about a half inch of head after the poor but it went away almost immediately. It has a real muddy brownish red color to it. There was no lacing at all probably due to the head going away so fast.

T: This beer has a great taste. When I drink a brown ale this is exactly what I would expect it to taste like. You can definitely taste the malt in this one. Then it goes into a bit of fruitiness if only for a second finishing with a hoppy flavor. Very tasty.

M: I was a little disappointed by the way it feels in my mouth. Not bad exactly but really just average. If it felt a bit better than I'm sure my taste rating would be even higher.

D: I could drink a few of these.. and I just might ;)

BrewIndy, May 26, 2009
Photo of SPRichard
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

being that we don't get Bell's in NJ i had to travel over the bridge to PA for some....picked up a variety case to see what Bell's was all about....this is my first offering from them

an iced-tea brown body topped by a decent sized off white head....spotty lacing on the glass

smell is roasty, caramel, sugar, fruit....nothing exciting

caramel maltyness, brown sugar, fruitiness, citrus finish

light bodied, slight carbonation biting on the tongue, smooth and very very drinkable

being that we don't get Bell's in NJ i had to travel over the bridge to PA for some....picked up a variety case to see what Bell's was all about....this is my first offering from them

SPRichard, May 10, 2009
Photo of samie85
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a nice amber/brown color with a quickly dissipating head.

S- All I could get was roasty malt smell.

T- The taste is pretty well balanced with a nice, sweet maltiness at the beginning and finishing with a very subtle, citrusy flavor.

M- The mouthfeel is exactly what you would expect from a brown ale, with just enough carbonation.

D- This is one that I could definitely keep drinking all night.

samie85, May 07, 2009
Photo of giblet
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured nicely into the glass with about three eights inch of head that settled quickly. thin film of head. light steady carbonation. nice lightly roasted malt aroma. the taste is very good. roasted malt, caramel, slightly sweet but not over done. very little lacing down the glass.

suckem up and movem out.


giblet, May 02, 2009
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a brown body with an off-white about 2 finger head with not much retention and no lacing.

S: Smells slightly roasty lots of caramel, sugar, and some fruit. smells good, but not very bold.

T: Fantastic! I'm a huge fan of this one. caramel maltiness with hints of brown sugar turning into a small amount of fruitiness and a grassy hop tail. Very nice.

Overall: Mouthfell was good, just as you expect. Quite drinkable, the wonderful flavor makes it hard not to have a few. I can't believe I got a 6-pack for only $3.50...I love 1/2 off sales.

AdmiralDiaz, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of davedahl
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this on-tap in Chicago at the Handlebar on North Ave. A pint-pour.

- Smooth medium body, slight caramel aftertaste.
- big brown looking beer. Brown brown brown. Tan head with nice lacing for a brown ale.
- Nutty malt with some biscuit and definitely some browned toast flavor.
- hint of a hop bite in the middle

This was a great drinker. Drinkability is high, and satisfaction is even higher. I went back a couple days later _specifically_ for the Best Brown and they'd rolled the keg already. Drag.

Great stuff - drink it!

davedahl, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of Bockrules
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a nice dark hazy brown with a great 3 finger tan head. Very good head retention, staying intact all the way down the glass. Leaves behind moderate lacing.

S - Nice smell of earthy English hops on a caramel malt background.

T - A little bit of alcohol and hop flavor up front followed by a tremendously balanced and delicious body. Chocolate and caramel overtones flow beautifully over a biscuity-maly body. A little bit of English hop presence mingle with sweetness in the finish and leaves a lingering bitter-sweet aftertaste.

M - Moderate bodied and semi-creamy. Moderate carbonation suits the style well

D - A damn good Brown Ale, I could drink these all night. The beer goes easy on the hops, but throws in enough other great flavors to keep the beer interesting. A definite winner which makes me want to try the other Belles varieties, though a little spendy at around $9.00 a six.

Bockrules, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of beveritt
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. label is significantly different than that currently pictured on BA and seems more in keeping with Bell's current style. Much more muted colors with an owl sitting on a snow covered fence post. Batch number 8856, packaged on 11/25/08.

Appearance: Pours with 4 1/2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles very slowly, leaving behind substantial lacing. The beer itself is the color of slightly tarnished copper and hazy with a lot of suspended particulate matter. Lots of well-compacted sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Strong notes of nutty caramel, without being overly sweet. Slight metallic twang in the finish.

Taste: Smooth malt flavor with hints of caramel and brown sugar. Very slight vegetal hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly lower than average carbonation level, what I would expect for this English Ale. Body is very good.

Drinkability: Amazingly drinkable, as a brown ale should be. Solid malt backbone is flavorful and refreshing, really feels like there is something substantial to this beer.

beveritt, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of GruvisHops
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 12 oz. brown bottle. 1/2" of light tan head on top of a brown body w/deep reddish hues. Heavy particulate floating around.

S: Toffee and caramel. Not much else, but good enough for me.

T: More caramel. Toasted malt lingers on the tongue with a wonderful balance between malt and hops.

M: Medium. For me, this is the weakest part about this beer. It's just a little too light.

D: Extremely drinkable.

Notes: Excellent brown ale; great representation of the style.

GruvisHops, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of ThaBobfather
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brown pours a deep chestnut color. These is thin tan head that dissipates quickly. There is not a whole lot a smell, but what is there is nuttyish. I get a solid brown flavor, a hint of chocolate/nuts. Highly drinkable. Very smooth. The flavor stays on the middle of my tongue for a bit, then leaves. Great brown.

ThaBobfather, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark red-brown, with a creamy tan cap that settles quickly but never quite goes away.

Nose is nice and roasty, nutty, bread crust with hints of brown sugar and cocoa. Delicious but a bit reserved.

Taste is beautifully rich and balanced - nutty and roasty, you get a big dose of the same breadcrusty flavors you get in the nose. But you also get a big, slightly dry brown sugar note that has that Belgian shimmer to it, leading to a nice, dry, roasty finish that balances the body perfectly without being overly bitter.

Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with a crisp but very light carbonation.

Superbly drinkable and delicious beer, I would buy this by the case if I could get it.

JohnQVegas, Mar 29, 2009
Photo of dmamiano
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy and lazy describes the appearance. Hazy almost ruby look witha lazy, fluffy white head that clings to the top of the beer .
Sweet malts....candylike in the nose. Ever present hops taking a vacation.
Taste is strikingly sweet with very heavy and thick crystal malts dominating the buds.
Ever slight on the bitterness at the finish.

dmamiano, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of ajmoody76
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bought this at the local beer store. twelve ounce bottle pours cloudy brown. some reddish tinting. i like the unfilteredness (i do not think that is a word). a fat fingers worth of a tan colored head. nice lacing.

caramel malts on the nose. some fruitiness in there also. no off odors.

sweet. and fruit. a good malt backbone. fits style. dry mild aftertaste.

mid to full body. good carbonation. i like this beer. will drink again.

ajmoody76, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of righthereisay
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is up there with Penn Dark. Nice dark beer, with a fresh taste. Full bodied, great flavor. A bit of a bite. New Label says 5.8% (Beeradvocate currently states 6.60%)

Got it from the winter variety pack. Need to finish it quick so I can get Bell's Oberon.

Overall. Excellent. However, I still prefer Penn Dark or Penn St Nikolaus Bock.

Also, the bottle is different than the photo.

righthereisay, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of MaduroMike
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy brown/amber with a thick frothy off white head which dissipates quickly to a thin head. Leaves almost no lacing.

S - Aroma of sweety nutty malts. Hints of caramel and chocolate and a touch of hops.

T - Just like it smells. A decent amount of hops at the end. A touch of smokyness.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium to light bodied. Not to watery considering the style.

D - Good balance between the sweet malts and hops. Would be able to drink a few.

MaduroMike, Mar 20, 2009
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,154 ratings.