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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

2,343 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,343
Reviews: 800
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 71
Gots: 171 | 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: 2,343 | Reviews: 800 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrDemento456
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer from the variety pack. In my opinion the best one!

A - Orange brown in color.

S - Smells of walnuts or pecans

T - Really smooth for the ABV. Nutty and malty goodness. Almost rivals Samuel Smith in taste but this one has more backbone.

M - Sort of thin but highly drinkable.

D - Would pick up a sixer but only the amber is available for an immediate purchase (boo!)

Overall the best the variety had to offer so please give it a try!

DrDemento456, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of hossua34
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Nutty, dark reddish-brown. A gigantic head, almost too large, that is slow fading. Leaves an outrageous amount of sticky lacing.

S - Very much like coffee and toffee. Has s bit of a sharp, semi-metallic scent that I've smelled in other English brown ales.

T - Toasty, malty. Hints of toffee and biscuits. A tiny bit watered-down tasting. Finishes caramelly. Very English style.

M - Kinda flat. A somewhat watery, "empty" mouthfeel.

D - A friend said, and I agree, that this is probably what Newcastle is meant to taste like (before it is imported and spends months in clear bottles). Not near as good as Oberon, but very easy to drink. A very pound-able minikig.

hossua34, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of dpodratsky3
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Very hazy as you would expect from an unfiltered bottle conditioned beer, medium brown with some orange at the bottom of the glass, big cream colored head settles to 1.5 fingers, very creamy/frothy and thick, decent lace

S: Traditional brown ale smell, clean and mild, earthy hops, plus that pale caramel malt, light but still sweet, balanced

T: Not as mild as I would have guessed from the smell, perfect balance of earthy hops and more floral/resiny hops, also in balance with the sweet caramel malt that doesn't stay sweet on the tongue

M: Perfectly pleasant medium, some english style brown ales are too thin for me, but this is good, smooth too

D: High, just a pleasant beer to drink

Notes: Brown ales are one of my favorite styles and this one impressed me. I love the balance. It's got a good traditional feel, but also some Bell's flair.

dpodratsky3, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of Jayli
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired this one from tigg924 so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

consumed 1/19
A: This beer pours a relatively clear chestnut brown with some ruby tints to it. A one finger of tan head sits on top that leaves spotty, sticky lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is pretty muted. Sweet caramel malts, chocolate, and hint of grain.

T: Taste starts with caramel and toffee in the for front mingled with a touch of hop. Middle is filled with dark fruit sweetness, some molasses, and chocolate. Finish is roasted malt and a hint of coffee.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, nice rich presence.

D: This is a nicely blended and tasty brown ale. It is a solid and sessionable, I haven't met a Bell's product that I haven't liked yet.

Jayli, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of dbtoe
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz poured into a pint glass
I'm a big fan of this beer. I'm really glad I picked this one up. It is a great brown ale. This is my first one and there will be many more to come. I put this right up there with my favorites.
Look is a nice brownish red with a good tan head.
Smell is mild malt and a hint of spice.
Taste I get a lot of toasted sweet malts, some spiciness and enough of a hop bite to even out the malts.
Feel is smooth and creamy with a very clean finish good carbonation.
Drink is high I could have these all night long. Wish I had a sixer on hand.

dbtoe, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of AmberMan22
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this up at a buddy's cabin recently.

Pours a slightly reddish light brown, creamy head that leaves plenty of lace down the glass.

The smell is slightly nutty (only slightly), then rich, roasted deep malt aromas come forward. The smell almost has a bite to it at the end -- possibly the alcohol.

Taste is very solid. Malty with some decent hoppy undertones that help maintain flavor balance.

carbonation bubbles are a little big for my tastes, they sting the tongue too much, which seems to conflict somewhat with the overall concept of the beer.

AmberMan22, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of RichieS2
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: A pleasant brown just shy of a porter. When held up to the light it gives a decent brown gleam. Basically what one would expect from this style.

Smell: There was some definite sweetness coming from the malts though it was not overpowering. Again it was something to be expected from this style.

Taste: Definitely above average as to be expected from Bell's. When it first hits your tongue it does not have much flavor and a half second later the flavor kicks in. As the smell would suggest it has a slight sweetness that satisfies but is nowhere near overwhelming. There are no hops that I could detect to add bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the watery side, a little thicker than a "lite" beer but not by much.

Drinkability: Not to heavy or skunky with decent flavor, I would definitely have one of these again.

RichieS2, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of archiespeck
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had one of these following a Hopslam last night. Very interesting dichotomy!

A - Poured a dark hazy brown. Very little carbonation on this one.

S - Caramel, nuts, brown sugar with a touch of cinnamon. As a previous poster stated, the best smelling brown ale out there.

T - This is where the caramel and nuttiness really come through. Very nice, and not overpowering at all. Strikes a very nice balance with the maltiness.

M - A little thicker than your average brown ale. Again, low carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. I could easily put away 4-5 of these if I weren't careful.

archiespeck, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A: Two finger head at pour, which recedes to a thin patchy barely there layer. A decent amount of lacing. Light caramel coloring. Appears to have medium to medium/high carbonation.

S: Extremely delicate, almost non-existent. Nose hints at a distant fruitiness.

T: Taste is somewhat underwhelming, but in sort of an interesting way--sweet citrus burst on palette at first, but then quickly subsides leaving a sour grape-accented middle (similar to a dry white wine), ending in a bland drop-off. The subtle sourness of the beer is quite intriguing, and doesn't detract but rather adds to its overall quality.

M: Thin, fluid. Well-balanced, similar to other English browns. Mildly bubbly.

D: Certainly a session contender. I could drink a few of these back to back during a brisk autumn day.

Heavenisbeer, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of dudecandle
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into pint glass:

A: Beautiful medium-to-dark brown hazy body with good, creamy head. Great, thick cap.

S: Nuts with some light yeast. Also, chocolate with toffee and some dark fruit. Some light toasted grain, as well.

T: Primarily nuts and chocolate, but with some subtle yet significant hopping. Lightly toasted, and on the sweeter end thanks to the dark fruit.

M: Nice and creamy.

D: This is definitely the best English Brown I've had thus far. It's subtle, but still quite flavorful and complex. Most significantly, though, it's got a great body to itself, and not as watery as some English browns get. I still prefer the stronger American Browns, but the balance and complexity here are respectable enough to be enjoyed.

dudecandle, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of kshankar
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red with a decent head with okay retention.

Aroma is of caramel, malts, some hops as well.

Its a great balance in the taste. There is the sweet malt flavor, but not too overbearing, balancing well with the hops, which again, are somewhat minimal. For a brown ale, this is done very well.

Mouthfeel is light to medium with good carbonation. Drinkability is high. Brown ales aren't something I crave often, but I can easily throw back a couple of these. Recommended

kshankar, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of zoso493
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As always with Bell's brews, I've really been looking forward to trying this brew. Poured it from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a nice, deep brown with a thin two-finger head, tan head that leaves almost no lacing. This one is fairly opaque when held up to the light.

Smell: This one has a fantastic scent to it. Smells of brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon and all other kinds of nice sweets. The scents really blend together well, too. I'm not sure if a brown ale could smell better than this.

Taste: Taste follows the scent pretty closely but also incorporates a nice amount of roasted malts to combat the sweeter malts. Almost no presence of hops in this once.

Mouthfeel: This one is on the thicker side of things and is also pretty crisp despite not being really highly carbonated.

Drinkability: This is a really highly drinkable brew. Despite being a relatively thick beer, it still has a low ABV and goes down pretty smooth. When you take into account the complexity of this one, as well, you've got a really nice fall-time session brew.

Overall, this is a really good beer, as you would expect from anything bearing the Bell's logo. It's very tasty and the smell is superb. Nicely complex but still would make a fantastic session brew. This is a beer you have to try.

zoso493, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of Mavajo
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good brew all around.

Pours a brown body with an offwhite head and moderate lacing. Nose and aroma are mostly sweet malt, toffee/caramel with a mild hop bitterness on the back end. Not quite as bitter as you might expect from an English Brown. Overall fairly balanced and easy drinking. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Very drinkable - I drank this down almost too fast...probably didn't allow myself to get enough impression of the beer as I should have. Regardless, very enjoyable brew.

Mavajo, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of adamette
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken last night at Bspot, Michael Symon's rather new restaurant in Woodmere, Ohio. Poured into a clean, clear pint glass.

A Nice light brown creamy head and a great looking cloudy, opaque brown body that I just loved. I have had too many of those "Brown Ales" that are weak, translucent and boring. This one demands your attention and kind of announces that it is a serious beer. Lacing was not that good. 4.5

S Medium roast malt and not a strong smell. Repeated sniffs revealed a twinge of nuttiness. Nice. 4.0

T Nice classic English Brown, done by people who know and understand the style. Really this is suggestive of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, probably the standard bearer for the style. 4.0

M Nice and smooth but a thickness that I really enjoyed. I can imagine this beer in an English pub. 4.5

D very good with manageable ABV and all of that great look, smell and taste. 4.5

Notes: Everyone reading this review should find and try this beer!

adamette, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice dark brown with reddish-orange highlights. Full inch and a half of a pale beige head that settles down. Leaves plenty of lacing. There's sediment in the glass - and I just washed my glass. It's a bit off-putting for this style, but I'm not predjudiced.

Surprisingly hoppy for a brown ale. Also, since the bottle is extolling the malt, I'm searching for it. It, frankly, smells like the fantastic Two-Hearted Ale - which I love - but I find odd for a brown ale. There's a fair bit of toffee, but mostly the floral/citrus.

Ahh! I taste the malts! Why can't I smell them... Either way, really nice malts. Caramel with a touch of chocolate and butter, and sweet hops at the end. The hops are balanced well, a nice bit of sweet honey and florals. I do quite like it. A refreshing brown ale.

Nice mouthfeel. Right carbonation for the style, and pretty light body, but it does fill up the mouth. Refreshing.

I quite like it. Not as good as the Two-Hearted, but a keeper. Also, I like original ideas/fresh takes on a beer, and this works.

BillyBoysPie, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of cjgator3
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is a very nice malt dominated brown. The aroma features caramel/toffee, malt and brown sugar.

T- The taste follows the aroma, with a good amount of sweet malt and just a touch of bitterness in the finish to balance out the sweetness.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a very drinkable English-style Brown Ale that is definitely worth a try. Recommended!

cjgator3, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of Lacesoutcody
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this from a friend on new years.

put it in the fridge for a relaxing hangover remedy.

the look of this beer was nice, a deep brown, with a two finger head, and laceing that sticks around for awhile.

smell was of roasted malts, and caramel.

taste was a mild caramel, smooth with a slight roasted malt aftertaste. Very pleasant and not heavy.

Drinkability was exceptional, not too heavy as noted above, and not too light so you don't just breeze though it. Unassumingly complex, and exceptional. Great for a "come down" beer, or an autumn tasting.

Lacesoutcody, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of jampics2
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Rozis.

Pours a nice brown (duh!).

Smells of hops, chocolate malt, caramel.

Taste includes a nice roasted malt, molasses, and hop bitterness. Hops fit in well, some nuts, and brown sugar. Nice flavor.

Nice body and carbonation. Very enjoyable, haven't had this in years - a solid beer from Bells.

jampics2, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of ocelot2500
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with a rising, creamy tan head. Plenty of lacing.

Smells of toffee, brown sugar, and molasses.

Tastes of the burnt sweetness upfront with a mild bitterness on the back end. Notes of caramel, toffee, and molasses are prevalent with a very mild hop bitterness. Small bit of dark fruits make their way through as well. Roasted notes from the malts are also light.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a creamy amount of carbonation.

ocelot2500, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of blackie
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: standard pint, the beer is a slightly hazy medium-dark brown in color, and capped with a khaki coating

s: body of smooth brown malts, soft and without much of the nutty or roasty edge that really makes a brown for me, soft toast and leafy caramel, lightly hopped

m: as is typical with Bell's, the carbonation is very creamy and of a moderate level - great benefit of bottle conditioning, body a lighter medium

t: same complaint as the aroma - nearly all smooth brown malts without the astringent roasted edge that really sets off the sweetness, hops move in towards the finish with a light bitterness and papery citrus flavor

d: no problems here, an easy drinking brown

bottle with a great dinner at Poole's Diner, Raleigh - surprised that this review had slipped by me for so long

blackie, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of JordanEllwanger
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice dark amber brown capped with a fine caramel white head. smells like an amber ale with a subtle hint of toasted malt. Taste is just the same with more presence of the toasted malts. A very mellow brown ale, much to my liking. It definitely has a bell's taste to it. A nice feel and an enjoyable beer.

JordanEllwanger, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of tegelaar
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper brown with a hint of Red. Pretty dark but you can see through it if you hold it up to light. Nice sized head - near white. Lots of lacing. Smells nutty and malty. Taste is full of flavor - malty with a wheat bread taste. Maybe a hint of metallic flavor. Very drinkable as the mouthfeel is perfect.

tegelaar, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of earthboundagain
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes:

A- A rich brown beer, that has some red tones. The head is tan and fluffy. The head sticks to the glass leaving some nice lacing action.

S- Ok brown sugar coated chestnuts, jump up at ya. Maybe some brown sugar and molasses hiding in the back.

T- Roasted chestnuts in my beer, mixed with brown sugar and lots of malt oh yeah.

M- Hmm, this one is sticky and slick with a lot of carbonation.

D- This one is not hard to drink, and comes with some flavor too boot.

Thoughts- This is a nice brown ale, it is not top shelf but would be a good session beer on a crisp September afternoon.

earthboundagain, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of Florida9
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Brown. Walnut brown. Still a little translucent and showing some haze. Pours a with a foamy finger of light tan head. Little retention on the head, but nice lacing.

S: Nuts. Peanuts. A little Brown sugar.

T: Malt forward, but surprisingly light and clean. Mildly roasted malts. Again nuts, this time walnuts, even a little bit of that tell-tale walnut astringency.

M: On the thinner side of medium. Surprisingly thin, actually, and the higher carbonation levels just make it feel even lighter.

D: Good. The "lightness" of this beer makes it very approachable, though I would have liked to see a bit more character in this one.

Florida9, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of LittleBug31
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My roommate Lesleigh, and fellow beer-lover just returned from a Brewery Tour across the Midwest. She and her boyfriend brought back quite the haul!
We are starting the night celebrating finals and the semester being over, as well as a successful interview that I had this morning....

Bell's Best Brown Ale

Appearance: Pours a beautiful ruby, copper color. With a light tan head that retains its form for quite a while.

Smell: Really toasty and nutty. Hints of vanilla and caramel.

Taste: Almonds and walnuts. Very toasty and nutty, just like the smell boasts. Brown sugar and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, smooth, tingly--with a pleasant aftertaste that sticks with you for just long enough.

Drinkability: Very nice, could enjoy a few before getting tired of it.

LittleBug31, Dec 22, 2009
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,343 ratings.