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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

2,370 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,370
Reviews: 801
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 71
Gots: 177 | 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: 2,370 | Reviews: 801 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DT051
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served: Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Aroma: Low nutty and earthy ripe fruit and slight caramel notes. reminds me a bit of apple peel with some brown sugar notes

Appearance: definately some sediments floating about. Color is a nice dark amber. A lasting moderate head little lacing as it disipated.

Body and Texture: Medium body but a touch of grittyness. Nice feel as it flows through the mouth. Drankable.

Flavor: roasty caramel with slight spiceyness tranistions to a more saltly nut flavor a little ripe fruit hanging around.

DT051, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of nickd717
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Pours medium brown with a huge lasting light beige head.

Aroma is nuts, caramel, and sweet malts. Not much to it.

Flavor is caramel, chocolate, and nuts. A little tart even, but not bad.

Slightly astringent on the palate with medium body.

Pretty drinkable. This is decent, but I have to say it's not one of the better Bell's beers out there.

nickd717, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark reddish-brown with a nice off white head. Head has great retention and leaves some spotty lacing here and there.

S- A touch of coffee and roasted malt. With quite a bit of caramel malt. Pretty much no hops.

T- Taste is dominated by the malts here and mainly caramel malts. Just a bit of a coffee or toffee taste. Very solid and sweet.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and on the higher side of medium in carbonation. Feels really good.

D- Super easy to drink. I've hit this one up a couple times and have no complaints at all.

nrbw23, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of mvanaskie13
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up the bell's variety pack, going down nicely...

Poured from the bottle a nice reddish amber with creamy 1/2" thick head that clings nicely to glass.

Smell is a lightly sweet malt, nothing overbearing, but good.

Taste is caramely malt, mildly sweet with hints of hop and good lingering flavor.

Mouthfeel is great, guess what i would call medium body flavors do not stick overbearingly but linger nicely. Good carbonation.

Very drinkable solid beer, could easily have a few more.

mvanaskie13, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from twiggamortis420. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy orangey brown brew. Pillowy head fades slowly, with good lasting lace. Aroma is malts with a light earthy hoppiness. Taste is a touch tart to start, settle in with some rich grain character in the middle, and comes back to the mild tartness at the close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty good.

ppoitras, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from diekia, courtesy of the Review This! BIF so a big "Thank You" goes out to her. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, maple, nuts, honey and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of maple, caramel, honey and nuts that are followed by a hearty malt character. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid sessionable beer that is worth drinking for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

TheManiacalOne, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of beergod1
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Flows a creamy dark brown then clears up a bit, a light fading head. Nice toasty sweet nutty flavor,smooth mouth feel, I think a slap of hop at the back of my tongue on the finish, rounds out nicely. This is in my top 5 or 6 Brown ales, along with Dogfishhead, Sammy Smiths, Goose Island, Avery and a couple of others.

beergod1, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of Evocatus
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red amber, looks almost like tea. Head was tan and about a cm in thickness though it dwindled to a little more than a ring. Aroma was pretty feint, although I could pick up hints of caramel and alcohol. Taste was pretty good and strong though. A mix of caramel sweetness, nuts, and alcohol. For some reason the taste is a bit too strong for me, at least the alcohol part, so I wouldn't call it too drinkable.

Evocatus, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of Drone53
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Nice beer. Pours a nice brown color, with a nice solid head, which lasts a awhile. Taste was good, but was expecting a little more. Pretty decent hop flavor. Good maltiness to this beer as well.

Definitely a beer which you could have a nice session with.

Drone53, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of teovaldi
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with a huge off white head leaving lots of lacing.

Smell is roasty with a hint of malt and hops.

Taste is of sweet malts with slight brown sugar finishing slightly hoppy.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with decent carbonation.

Damn fine brown ale. One of my favorites and is highly sessionable.

teovaldi, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of rkinsella
2.3/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured into a nonic glass, looks great...dark tea colored with a bit of a haze, off white head with good retention and average lacing.

On the nose, alcohol whiff right away, toasty bread with a bit of spiciness. Smells like a boozy home brew...sadly enough.

Taste starts with bread like flavors dipped in alcohol, moves to a slight tanginess before the subtle hop finish.
Missing all the wonderful flavors that can emerge from a brown ale...i.e. nuttiness, fruity and brown sugar notes.

Medium carbonation, medium to heavier body.

Too boozy tasting to be a session brown...almost has a winter warmer feel to it.

Not what I look for in a brown ale. Better domestic offerings from Goose Island, Avery, Sam Adams, etc.

rkinsella, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of lstokes
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy brown beer with a brown-sugar-molasses nose (although a bit sour, for which marks down) and taste, with enough spiciness to keep it interesting, sweet but with a dry finish (a little bit of chocolate in the finish?) and a chewy mouthfeel. Very drinkable, an awesome brown ale.

lstokes, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of hosehead83
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Nick & Jimmies in Temperence, MI. Served in a standard pint glass.
Dark brown/cola in color, with a moderate, off-white head of foam
Aroma-Faint malt and caramel notes
Taste-Roasted malt, caramel, subtle chocolate notes leading to a bit of a zesty, hop-like finish.
Overall, the on-tap version was a bit thin in body, with the overall flavors more subdued, but with a bit more of a hoppier profile than I recall with the bottled version.

hosehead83, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of akorsak
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle from Al's of Hampden.

A: The brown ale is more of a crimson red color, but who's counting hues? It is translucent enough to see objects on the other side of the glass but I can't distinguish them. A small head, quarter of a finger max, reduces rapidly to a thin white band.

S: Caramel and toffee are strong in the nose. A bit of nuttiness follows in short order with a hoppy citrus backbone (not too strong mind you).

T: A very solid brown ale. The maltiness plants its proverbial flag early and never relinquishes its claim. Caramel and toffee, along with toasted nuts, drive most of the flavor. Coffee and vanilla linger around too, especially when the ale warms. Hops, not a stand-out, still provide a zesty bite. A brown ale that is better than most.

M: The mouthfeel is syrupy, thick and malty. Darker roasted flavors stand out.

D: A very drinkable ale, sessionable even. Makes me appreciate the non-extreme styles.

akorsak, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a solid brown color with a nice foamy head. Slowly dissipated with some surprisingly nice lacing.

S - A bit hoppy with some carmel malt smell.

T - Molassas with some nice toffee notes. Only a touch of hops on this, and you really had to look for it. Nice nutty undertones, very fitting for this beer.

M - Kind of thin, with moderate carbonation. Clean finish.

D - Easy to get down, and nice tasting. Could do a few of these, but more a winter than summer beer.

AgentZero, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of jadpsu
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a tan head that has decent lacing but not even average retention.
Smell is of molasses, maybe some vanillia and some definite coffee notes.
Taste has much of same with some roasted malts and earthy hops.
A little thick on the tongue but creamy as well.
Very good English Brown Ale, my favorite style.

jadpsu, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The beer pours a medium clear with a hint of ruby red. The head is, light tan, rises about 2 fingers but gone quickly. It falls to a soapy brown head, with light retention.

The aroma is medium and starts out pretty sweet nuttyness.

The taste starts pretty sweet as well, some nice nut in the middle with a littel bitter finish, pretty nice and complex.

The feel is a little watery with a dry finish.

Overall, a pretty nutty nice brown ale.

jrallen34, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of association330
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, batch 9382. Bottled Sept. 29, 2009.

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a finger of caramel-colored head. Settles to a half-pinky cap with awesome lacing. Cloudy with yeast.

S - Sweet dark malts, with toffee, molasses, a little dark fruit, and a bit of earthy hops. Everything is very subdued though.

T - A nicely balanced, moderately sweet flavor of roasted malts. A swallow of toffee, nuts, and a bit of dark fruit. Coffee-like aftertaste.

M - This beer is thinner than I remember; almost cola-like. Carbonation is on the low end of moderate.

D - Still very drinkable, but not quite as pleasing.

My third review of this, and first since 10/24/2008. In appearance and flavor it is still a nice brown, with considerable complexity when compared to many other attempts at the style. Unfortunately, it seems that maybe they've been watering it down a bit. It could be a case of this particular bottle sitting on the shelf too long, so I'll have to try and find a more recent bottle before the summer months.

10/24/08 Review:

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a finger and a half of caramel-colored head. Settles to a pinky cap with a nice spiderweb of lacing. Yeast clearly in suspension.

S - A slight yeasty effervescence, with hints of earth and roasted malt; a touch of hops. Not outstanding, but when was the last time you had a brown ale that blew you away?

T - A nicely balanced, moderately sweet flavor of caramel and roasted malt. A tad earthy, with some lingering hop bitterness on the finish.

M - Properly carbonated (not prickly), with moderate viscosity.

D - Very quaffable, doesn't overpower anything. Would pair nicely with a big fall/winter meal and a warm fire.

I decided to re-review several months later, now that I've seriously gotten into the world of craft brews and understand what to look for. That said, it's nice to find a brown ale with some character, but not so overwhelming that it wrecks the easy-drinking reputation of the style. The modest, but noticeable hop finish really does a good job of balancing out a style that I think is often too sweet. This is my go-to brown ale, and I give it a hearty nod of approval.

association330, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of semibaked
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a Duvel Tulip

A - Dark Brown/Burgundy color with a few floaties in it, about a finger of very light brown foam that disappears quickly.

S - Malty with a hint of caramel and some sugary sweetness.

T - More malt with a touch of bitterness but barely, Some sweetness but certainly not overwhelming, light caramel.

M - Slightly heavier than a pilsner or lager, nothing special.

D - This is my usual go to Brown Ale along with Short's Bellaire, very drinkable and refreshing.

One of the better browns definitely try this out if you can and support a fantastic brewery.

semibaked, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of nukem5
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a rich caramel colorvery little head, fine lacing with bits of yeast floating around.

S: Citrus, grassy, nice floral fragrance from hops.

T: Nice carmel and malt flavors mild hoppy flavor on the back end.

M: Medium body like the way the bubbles drift across the tongue and help cleanse the palate.

D: Very drinkable smooth, nice everyday beer, but at 5.8% cannot be considered a session beer.

nukem5, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of techfed87
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice, thick head. Foam has a hint of brown. Color of the overall beer is a dark amber, with very fine particulate circulating around near the center of the glass.

Taste has specific bitter hops qualities to it that of a darker beer. At the same time, the malt remains clean and middle of the road. There's a remaining taste of alcohol that lingers for a moment or two, but never gets out of hand. And while the beer doesn't ever shout out at you as something explosively extraordinary, it always has a consistent quality of flavor.

A great choice, especially for those who are fans of brown ales.

techfed87, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of herman77
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Khaki colored head that flattened out and formed a collar around the glass. Little bit of lacing. Seems a little lighter colored for a brown ale. Nutty smell that is slightly malty. Taste is pretty much as it smells. Pretty average mouthfeel. Nice and smooth drinkability. Pretty light for this style of beer. Not my favorite brown ale, but pretty good overall.

herman77, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of bigbluebeerguy
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish-brown into a pint glass with a one-finger head that dissipated quickly and left little to no lacing.

Slightly sweet smelling, malty with a tinge of nuttiness. Taste reflected much of the same, was a little lighter than I was expecting for the style. A little crisp in the mouth, a little more carbonated than I would have imagined, but still very good. This is a smooth beer that I found very drinkable, would definitely purchase again. Pretty much can't go wrong with anything from Bell's.

bigbluebeerguy, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of gecasa
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a lighter than usual brown color to it for a brown ale, with a very nutty taste and smell. It is not the heaviest brown ale i've had and seems to be highly carbonated. I am very fond of Bells Brewery and find this to be one of their better beers!

gecasa, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of sm0key
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - lightish brown in color.

Smell - nutty!

Taste - Smooth. Packs more punch than the taste lets on...

Mouthfeel - Not very heavy for a brown ale, better than most, though

Drinkability - I get it all the time!

I love every Bell's product I've tried so far!

sm0key, Feb 10, 2010
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,370 ratings.