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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 GuinnessSmurf
GuinnessSmurf

Missouri

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

Appearance: The pour is an inviting auburn, copper colored body with a rich ruby glow. The head is very full and foamy, with a milk shake head consistency.

Smell: Smell is very clean, fresh smell...like moutain air coupled with a sweet plumb and crabtree odor.

Taste: It is very smooth. There is really fruity, sweet presence throughout, and it stays for a long time on the tongue. Surprisingly, this beer lacks much in the way of roasty flavor, which I have come to expect from Brown beers. Closest would be a bit of nut flavor, but even that is pretty sweet - like a cashew.

Mouthfeel: The body is a very large feel. It takes a big weight on the tongue and coats it, allowing you to really get a sense of what this beer is about. I appreciate that it didn't sacrifice body at all here.

Drinkability: The beer is a smooth drinker and great for sessions. It is also moderate in terms of alcohol content, so you can really hand out with a friend...say..over a game of chess, or maybe some Dead or Alive 3, or maybe play Bach fugues and preludes...and still drink lots of them.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2005 07:37:21 | More by GuinnessSmurf
Photo of bahumutx
bahumutx

Michigan

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

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Poured a dark copper color. Had a two finger head that dissipated rather quickly.

Smell: Smells of Carmel, toffee, nuts, and malt. A sweet smell with a small hint of hops.

Taste: Starts with a taste of Carmel and then moves to a toffee and malt sweetness. End with a slight hop bitterness and a nice sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth Mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I could have a few of these in a sitting.

This is my second English brown ale and I like it. Another great offering from Kalamazoo Brewing Company!! Keep up the great work.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 02:18:47 | More by bahumutx
Photo of ypsifly
ypsifly

Michigan

4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz batch #7091 bottled on 9-29-05 as per the Bell's website, poured into a pint glass.

Rusty brown with a bubbly head that is light tan, falls rather quick and leaves only a faint wisp of lace.

The nose is caramel with a slight aroma of toasted nuts and drying hops in the background.

Sweet malts upfront with some breadcrust followed by the trademark Bell's hop bitterness. I wouldn't normally associate this much of a hop profile with the style, but I really like it. Dry finish with a medium mouth that is tempered by the prickly carbonation.

A very approachable and sessionable Brown that hop heads will enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2005 06:26:02 | More by ypsifly
Photo of benito
benito

Oregon

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

Bell's fall-turns-winter offering poured me a transparent toffee with medium head and lacing--a nice solid color but nothing out of the ordinary; the same can be said for the smell which had nutty hints and a strong carmel drive behind it.

What struck me about this beer was the smoothness of the flavor. I've found so many browns that end up having a bitter aftertaste or an unfortunate hop presence. From the get go, this brew was pure carmel butter, with nice toffee overtones, and not a hint of bitterness--a great beer to draw in a first timer to craft beer, perhaps?

I could drink three or four of these in a session. In what seems to be more or less their M.O., Bell's has stuck with simplicity of style, flavor, and presentation and has produced another winner.

Definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2005 00:20:51 | More by benito
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a solid brown color with amber hues around the edges. The head is creamy and white with speckles of tan. The aroma is of roasted malt, chocolate, and nuts. The taste is sweet and nutty. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, this brew lives up to its name, as it truely is the best brown ale I have had.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 21:26:04 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

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

On tap at MoJoe Lounge in Easton. Clear dark brown color with a medium tan head and thin sticky lacing. Sweet toasted malt and caramel aroma. Medium, smooth body with dominant malt flavoring. Sweet caramel and a bit of hops and coffee is also present. The finish is roasty and sweet at times. A great session beer that is enjoyable all around.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2005 16:22:56 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of whartontallboy
whartontallboy

New York

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

Pours out a brilliant brown with ruby highlights and a moderately-sized white head. Looks pretty thick and viscous for a brown ale.

Smell is heavy with sweet malts, caramel, chocolate, a little bit of piney bitter hops, and a lot of dark fruit scents, particularly plum and some raisins.

Flavor is quite chocolate-laden. There's a solid drizzling of caramel over some of the same plum/dark fruit flavors. Little bits of nuttiness pull through in other places, along with some earthy wood flavors. Hops are present, but not overly assertive. They temper the chocolate flavors well.

Overall: Not mind-blowing, but a very, very good brown ale that definitely has a legitimate claim to calling itself "Best."

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2005 19:08:03 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of BitterBrian
BitterBrian

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a deep rust color into a pint glass. one inch cream colored head with some decent staying power and leaving some good lacing.

objectivity will be difficult, since I already am a fan of this beer and style, but here it goes:

smells of sweet dark malts, a hint of nut and plum.

taste of roasted malty sweetness and some nuts, balanced with a bit of hops, but they don't stand out very much - they just give it some life. This is a real warm, friendly drinker. If I were to rate it within its category, I would say its one of the best brown ales (no pun intended). Maybe I have had better beers, but I still really enjoy this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2005 02:42:08 | More by BitterBrian
Photo of macpapi
macpapi

Maryland

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

One of the final 'mainstream' Bell's products that I've yet to try. Browns are far from my favorite, but I'm not particularly averse to them. So thought a single of this one would do for a Sunday evening review.

Bell's Brown pours a medium brown, some may call it amberish, color. It is opaque and somewhat dense looking overall. A small white head quickly dissipates.

The smell is of light roast malt, with a bit of caramel present. There is also a hint of nuttiness there. Hops are weakly involved in the aroma. Nothing terribly complex here.

Tastes surprisingly full bodied for a brown. Malt flavors are impressive. Caramel and strong nuttiness are there as well. Also, a pretty decent hop bitterness is involved on the palate. In my opinion this is a pretty distinctive brown tastewise.

In the mouth Bell's Brown is sharp and biting. Relatively high on carbonation and full on flavor.

Overall, another impressive product from Kalamazoo. As I've said, browns are far from my favorites. But this one has to be up there among my preferred representatives of the style. Malty, a bit hoppy and nutty, with a good amount of bite. Good job.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 01:46:19 | More by macpapi
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz single, from Riley's, batch 7096

appearance: intitial reaction upon pour was that it looked a little thin, almost cola-like appearance, very little in the way of head or lacing...ruby highlights dominate

smell: not a whole lot of action...some caramel, maltys, brown sugar and other general spice

taste: very mild...nothing particularly notable at all. slightly sweet, caramel malts, some brown sugar spiciness...also reminds me of an oktoberfest style.

mouthfeel: moderate body, decent carbonation

drinkability: very drinkable, but why?

Well, I wont be buying this again...definately the most boring Bell's ive had

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2005 02:05:49 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Shovelbum
Shovelbum

Massachusetts

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

Generous thick cramy head leaves good lace. The body is amber brown with good lace and retention. Smells of sweet malt. Tastes of caramel and sweeet malt. Light hop bitterness. Medium body. Smooth finish.

Good balance between the bitter and sweet flavors. An an enjoyable and highly drinkable brown.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2005 01:58:33 | More by Shovelbum
Photo of battlekow
battlekow

Wisconsin

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My bottle of Bell's Best Brown had a bit of a carbonation problem; none of the other beers it traveled with had a similar issue, so I'm pretty sure it was unique to the Best Brown, which exploded upon decantation. After the huge, beige head subsided, the Best Brown was observed to be a turbid maple color.

Smell is pretty faint, with just a touch of caramel, brown sugar, and must. Taste is again rather muted, and reminscent of an Oktoberfest, in that it's all caramel malts and mustiness. Does have a subtle toasted finish. Hugely fluffy mouthfeel owing to the crazy carbonation. Completely lacks the roasted, nutty, baby-porter/stout characteristics I like in a good brown ale. Nothing much to see here--it may be Bell's Best Brown, but it's hardly the best brown overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2005 03:36:16 | More by battlekow
Photo of malty
malty

Michigan

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

Batch 7091 - bottled on Sept. 29 '05 (ultra fresh).

Pours an interesting russet color with a loose 1/2" med. beige settled head. Gorgeous lacing all the way down.

Scents of walnuts and yeasty (slight) sourness. Nice earthy malty notes, which are clean and roasty.

The somewhat dry nutty walnut flavor continues past the nose blending nicely with a soft peppery spice. Roasted malts pair well against a very tame but apparent spicy hop profile - beautifully balanced and smooth.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with playful carbonation which is usually very conservative for this style. Nice long flavor finish that hinges on dry.

Drinkability is top-notch. Will pair well with many types of cold weather 'comfort' foods.

Overall a fantastic and original interpretation of the style. I'm very pleased with the spiciness & dryness, which it 'different' from the others in this style. Balanced and masterful. Autumn just isn't the same without Bell's Best Brown.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2005 23:45:24 | More by malty
Photo of Golden2wenty1
Golden2wenty1

Wisconsin

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

Picked up a single at Riley's. It's nice to see some fall seasonals come in stock

Pours a mahogany/amber with a one-finger tan head and decent lacing. Smell is nice and sweetly malty, caramely and nutty. Taste starts off with the strong caramel malts, some brown sugar, cinnamon, and an alcoholic bite at the end that made me think this was stronger than it is (though at 5.75 it's still stronger than most english browns). Mouthfeel is smooth and light-bodied but not watery. Overall this was a tasty little brown. Probably the most flavorful "English Brown" that I've had, even though this is an American rendition. Reminded me fondly of New Glarus' Fat Squirrel and Big Sky Moose Drool.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2005 16:22:08 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of whynot44
whynot44

Missouri

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

Nice medium brown color with a touch of yellow and a moderate but persistant tan head that left at least a bit of lacing.

Medium bodied, nice toasted nutty malt flavor and aroma with maybe a touch of chocolate, only slightly sweet with a pleasantly dry, mildly bitter finish.

Smooth and very easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2005 04:08:59 | More by whynot44
Photo of jakester
jakester

Pennsylvania

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

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. No date on the bottle or the label.

Pours a pretty darn hazy reddish amber with a one finger head of off-white foam. Head drops to islands and a ring with decent lacing on the glass. Soft carbonation is evident.

Aroma is lightly fruity, caramel-y, with a faint chocolate and nutty character there as well. Very faint floral hops way in the back.

Flavor is nutty and chocolate-y, dry, almost chalky, with very slight fruity flavors in the back. Not as fruity as it smells. Not a hell of a lot of residual sugars in this one. A little more sweetness might be nice. There is a detectable amount of bitterness in this beer. Not much, but it's there. Aftertaste is nutty, dry, and chocolatey.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but dry, if that makes sense. Carbonation is fairly soft, and the finish is dry.

This is a good beer, and a fine representation of the style, although I imagine a sweeter version would be even better. Still, it's an interesting beer. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2005 21:06:19 | More by jakester
Photo of dciskey
dciskey

Illinois

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

Pours brown with an amber twinge, maybe one finger of off-white or tan head but it's extremely persistent, which I like. Only a little bit of lacing.

Smells of caramel and also slightly like coffee--there's definitely a slightly "dry" scent in there, if that makes sense. A swirl stirs up some chocolate as well--kinda nice. Taste is caramel and coffee but also slightly sweet, especially as it warms. There are also touches of nuts and chocolate, as well as a twinge of hops at the end. I'm almost surprised at the complexity in there. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth.

This beer is slightly drying to the mouth, so I'm not sure I'd want more than one or two, but they'd definitely be enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2005 00:43:30 | More by dciskey
Photo of GnomeKing
GnomeKing

Pennsylvania

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

This is a rich-tasting brown, not what you'd expect if you are used to Newcastle or Smuttynose Brown Dog. It's a little dry, with tastes of caramel and coffee. The head was rich and foamy, but not overly, mustache-inducing foamy. A little more sweetness would have been nice to balance things out and make it more drinkable (I felt a small tinge of drinking fatigue by the end of my pint), but this is still a nice beer and yes, I did want another.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2005 15:21:26 | More by GnomeKing
Photo of Jacobob10
Jacobob10

New Jersey

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

The second I popped the cap, a big earthy aroma started to pour out from the bottle. Lots of roasted malts and very nutty. Nice appearance as well. Medium brown color which I could surprisngly see my fingers thru on the other side of the glass. Great light-tan head. Lively carbonation keeps the head in tact for the duration of the beer. A simple swirl of the beer brings it back to life instantly. The taste is very nutty. After taking a sip, my mouth feels and tastes like I just ate a peanut. Slight hop bitterness in the aftertaste, yet very drinkable for a brown ale. True to the style and certainly unique, worth a try for any brown ale fan.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2005 18:02:45 | More by Jacobob10
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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

This is a very nice beer and quite true to style. Big toasted malt character both in the aroma and flavor. Bittersweet chocolate, caramel, toffee, and a low roasted flavor. Ripe fruits of figs and dates fill the nose and palate. Nicely heavy and creamy on the palate. Nice brown / amber color, almost opaque. Low hop flavor and bitter that adds to complexity. A little more estery than I expect from both hop flavor and sweet alcohol. Finishes lightly malty and lingering. Go get one.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 14:50:22 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of nortmand
nortmand

Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a bit red for a brown, let alone a best brown. Some brownish foam as well.
I had the damnedest time getting a scent off this beer, but maybe a bit of raisiny chocolate? In fact, I think I smell Raisinets.
Taste is a bit of raisin, a bit of chocolate. Some roast as well I suppose.
Mouthfeel, some CO2, a little creamy. Appreciable.
I mean, I guess I could drink a few, but if my review wasn't any indication, I wouldn't be too excited to.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 00:56:29 | More by nortmand
Photo of blackthistle
blackthistle

Michigan

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

Reddish-brown in color with a thick foam of tight bubbles. A sweet, malty aroma with some fruity esters. The flavor begins with a creamy, malty, chocolatey taste followed by a slightly dry, hoppy aftertaste. This medium-bodied ale has just enough hop bitterness in the aftertaste to balance the whole beer out.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 16:15:23 | More by blackthistle
Photo of oxmasterscream
oxmasterscream

New Jersey

3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color is a deep, translucent, cherry-brown. Big, fluffy, light tan head. Looks good.
Smells of toasted malt with a splash of tangy hops. Only slightly nutty. Nothing else really comes through. Aroma is just average for a brown ale.
Tastes tangy, tangy, tangy... too much so. A bit of toasted malt now and then, as well as some faint, bitter coffee in the finish. Fruity alcohol shows its face toward the end of the glass.
Mouth is medium-bodied. Gently carbonated. Smooth on the tongue.
As for brown ales, I've easily had better. This is just run of the mill. There's no way this can be their "best."

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2005 00:56:51 | More by oxmasterscream
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy

Connecticut

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

I am sampling a cold bottle in an english pint glass. The beer is courtesy of BIF 20 and Feloniousmonk. Thanks!

The beer pours a slightly hazy mahogany color with strong ruby tints.
A small beige surface layer of head rests lazily on the top.
Aroma is light toffee and a hint of baker's chocolate mixing with a mild grassy hop character as well.
First sip reveals an average bodied medium carbonation brew.
The flavor is mild overall but starts with some light toffee and chocolate, with a slightly bigger sweet hit in the middle and finishes with a bit of a sweet brown sugar malt hit. The burps reveal the grassy hops again.
The beer is very easy to drink and fairly mild overall. An easy session beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2005 01:55:54 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle with the sweet owl illustration a lovely chocolate brown with a nice inch of khacki foam on top. Stringy lacing decorates the side of my glass. My nose descends to the glass and I get a nice roasted dark malt with hints of chocolate and a fresh green herbal hop. Well balanced.

First sip brings a nice roasted, toasted maltiness upfront that has notes of powdered cocoa and burnt grains. Hints of dark fruits emerge here and there along with a mellow herbal hop on the way down. A nice solid brown ale that I find enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a chewy palate. Definetly on the heavy side for a brown ale but I enjoy it that way. I could easily have a few of there..but there are other Bell's brews I'd probably pick first. Definetly worth a try. Thanks to kmpitz2 for hooking me up!

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2005 04:13:44 | More by orbitalr0x
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,027 ratings.