1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

2,050 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,050
Reviews: 777
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 61
Gots: 108 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,050 | Reviews: 777 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yankeeheel
yankeeheel

Maine

3.4/5  rDev -11%

Pours a nice slightly hazy brown with the requisite 1.5 finger tan head. Head quickly fades and leaves a small centric sheet of lace.

Smells weakly of toasted malt. Maybe a hint of yeast or bread.

Tatses awfully sweet up front. A lot of buttery caramel with a backsplash of toasted almond. Runs it's course and leaves slightly dry with a mininal hop afterglow.

Mouthfeel is again moderate with the right amount of carbonation.

Very drinkable but no world-shaker. They can't all be.

02-13-2004 00:43:51 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of JackTheRipper
JackTheRipper

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +15.2%

Pours a deep reddish brown color, definitely hazy. A nice beige-tannish head, some lacing.

Smell: Doesn't smell as strong as I thought it would be, what I mean is, this offering has very little smell to it. What I can smell is some faint crusty-bready type of smell.

Taste: Bold tasting, surprisingly so considering the faint smell. First impression is a sweet coffee type of taste, followed by a nice hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Big, chewy mouthfeel. Full bodied, finishes very well. Alcohol is noticeable.

Drinkability: This would go great with a big chunk of roasted beast, or just sit back and have a few. This is a very well crafted beer. The only thing I would have liked is a bit more presence in the nose.

01-22-2004 05:38:02 | More by JackTheRipper
Photo of GeoffRizzo
GeoffRizzo

Texas

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

Dark, slightly cloudy amber hue, thick clumpy tannish head, retains and sticks in patterns. A very clean nose, some caramel and malts notes. Up front, a great mixture in tastes of nutty, caramel and syrup/sticky molasses. Medium bodied, very creamy, and slick at the same time. Biscuitty, toasty, perhaps some deep roasted malts tucked away. Rather mild and tame, nothing jumps at ya', decent mouthfeel, overall a pretty solid brown, a good go-to-brew.

12-28-2003 03:49:53 | More by GeoffRizzo
Photo of benmiliron
benmiliron

Ohio

2.53/5  rDev -33.8%

Beautiful color, deep deep reddish brown.

Taste is surprisingly unpleasant, especially for Bell's. Kind of earthy (like dirt) with a hint of aluminum. I hate to bash this beer's taste, being a huge fan of Bell's, but I really didn't care too much for this beer. This is the first Bell's I've not enjoyed :( sniff.. sniff... Lots of foamy carbonation. There's a hint of oak or maple in there too.

If you're looking for Bell's, buy the Expedition Stout instead.

12-11-2003 19:27:31 | More by benmiliron
Photo of rabidawg
rabidawg

Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Appearance: Pure white head. Slightly hazy red tinged nut brown, due to a not-so-careful pour. Specks and spots of lace.

Smell: Sweet glorious caramel malt, with a definite nutty aroma. My mouth waters as I saturate my sniffer with rich malty goodness. Not much in the way hop aroma, but that's fine with this style.

Taste: Initial rush of brown sugar sweetness. Light carbonation tickles the tongue and fills the mouth with cream. Middle consists of caramel and toasted nuts, and a buttery hint of diacetyl. Surprising level of gentle hops near the end, leading to a satisfyingly dry finish. Aftertaste is earthy yeast.


Hell yeah! Beer number two in my Bell's adventure, thanks to feloniousmonk!

12-10-2003 05:07:06 | More by rabidawg
Photo of beergeek279
beergeek279

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is a dark brown, with a good white head. The smell is a dry dark malt. The taste is a very dry malt, with a bit of nice hop bitterness as it warms up. Mouthfeel is smooth. Drinkability-wise, could have a few.

Not a bad little beer. Definitely one of the better brown ales out there...actually has flavor! This is one that I'd have again in the future.

12-07-2003 01:10:07 | More by beergeek279
Photo of stoutman
stoutman

Michigan

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%

The beer pours a foggy burnished copper color with a huge head. Creamy in consistency with a light tan color, Sweet malt with a hint of walnuts, crisp and clean nose, with the start nicely malted and somewhat sweet, top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is apparrent in its acidity; hops are pleasing and spicy, slightly tart and dry aftertaste, quite tasty.. but that aftertaste.. is like all the other Bell's beer... Is it the water??

12-06-2003 03:45:01 | More by stoutman
Photo of BeerBuilder
BeerBuilder

Minnesota

4/5  rDev +4.7%

Pours to a ruby-brown color with a thick, creamy tan head. The aroma has a sweet, nutty maltiness to it. The flavor is sweet and nutty with maltiness in the drying finish. It is a light-medium bodied brew that is very smooth. This one would be an excellent session brew. A very nice beer overall.

Sampled 10/17/03

11-25-2003 21:28:59 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%

The beer pours a foggy burnished copper color with the head dinosauric in size, creamy in consistency and a beauteous light tan in color, as it unhurriedly evaporates the lace forms a thick and glutinous sheet upon the glass. Sweet malt with a hint of walnuts, crisp and clean nose, with the start nicely malted and somewhat sweet, top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is stern in its acidity; hops are pleasing and spicy, slightly tart and dry aftertaste, quite tasty.

11-17-2003 23:44:12 | More by Gusler
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.63/5  rDev -5%

Appearance: Deep amber brown hue, we can dub it mahogany with a nice tan fluffy cream head leaves nice scattered lacing as the head dwindles lacing forms a collar.
Aroma: Deep roasted malts give off hints of chocolates and a warming sweetness along with a complementing tone of nut bread.
Taste: The toasted malts form a caramel toasted nut flavor profile and the hops in the finish are very evident, quite bitter for a brown ale not hopped per say just residually bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied brew with a bit of a cloying finish, not as smooth as I was hoping.
Drinkability: Mediocre for the Bell’s lineup but one of the most intriguing brown ales I have taste at the same time, save room for their Two Hearted Ale now that’s a session ale.

11-14-2003 15:56:30 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of proc
proc

Michigan

4/5  rDev +4.7%

What a very good interpretation of the brown ale style. Pours out to a very, cloudy brownish, amber in the glass. The aroma is that of baking bread, light yeast and malted milk balls. The taste is wonderfully malty and hoppy without either taking over. Incredible balance. Very slightly sweet with a light fruit taste present, but not overly so. I enjoy this beer and recommend drinking it on a cold, autumn evening.

11-07-2003 13:22:17 | More by proc
Photo of Boilermaker88
Boilermaker88

California

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle, Best Brown had a hazy light brown color with some loose suspended sediment and a modest off-white head which thinned out to a small cap with little in the way of lacing.
The smell had a grassy malt aroma with hints of nuts and some berries. The taste was built on a solid toasted malt backbone with some toffee notes. A light nuttiness was present and it had a slightly smoky flavor in the finish. The feel was medium-bodied and smooth.
A decent tasting beer. Flavorful, as are nearly all offerings from Kalamazoo Brewing, Best Brown is one of the better brown ales around. Worth the time to check it out. Brought two home.

11-06-2003 20:20:44 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%

The color of run-off. Muddy, amber-brown. A large tan froth sits on top.
A whiff of almonds. A whiff of burnt bread crust. A whiff of soap.
Begins toasty and lightly sweet. Peanut-Buttery. Like a chocolate-coated wafer cookie. Kit Kat? Ample yeast makes the middle doughier. Still has that candy bar thing going on. Never loses it either. Hopping is unremarkable, though drying.
Medium bodied, low carbonation.
Solid Brownie here.

11-06-2003 02:38:08 | More by cokes
Photo of ngandhi
ngandhi

Illinois

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%

The chocolately malt profile is much deeper in the bottle. I also get a richer raisiny ("brown") note from the bottle. Bottle and tap is very similar otherwise. Astringent. Dry finish. Lots of yeast in suspension (good for harvesting).

Relax, relax.
ng

10-30-2003 23:40:28 | More by ngandhi
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
JohnnyDuvel

Florida

4/5  rDev +4.7%

Good, balanced beer. Appearance as avertised, decent head, some retention. Good balance, slightly towards the bitter. Almost reminds me of a darker IPA (like Indiga). Bell's beers tend to be very flavorful (the one's I've experienced), and this is no exception. Another one I'd probably buy regularly if it was available down here. Thanks, Al.

10-29-2003 04:51:40 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of ManekiNeko
ManekiNeko

Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

Served chilled from a bottle at a Bell's tasting at the Brickskeller.

Appearance: Clear copper color with a frothy offwhite head. Head eventually dissipates to a frothy later. Left some nice fine lacing on the plastic cup.

Smell: Nice caramel and toffee aromas. Slightly sour, grassy hops in background.

Taste: Caramel and toasted flavors. Faint coffee tastes. Herby hops on finish.

Mouthfeel: Solid medium body. Nice carbonation.

Drinkability: A nice quaffer. I liked it, but wasn't overly excited.

10-23-2003 03:42:12 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of Jables
Jables

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

Poured a deep mahogany with plenty of visible yeast. Smells malty but subdued and not overpowering. The taste agrees with the scent, nice nutty and sweet malt without being too much. The mouthfeel is slightly chewy and drinkability is fantastic. A great brown ale, and the best I've had yet.

10-14-2003 03:55:09 | More by Jables
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%

Pours a murky brown with a decent off white head that leaves some light lacing,smell is of roasted malt with a light sour smell in the background(Iam not sure where that comes from) with some light chocolate hints.Nice flavorful beer with a nice roasted malty taste with some underlying earth tones that keep it from being to sweet.A nice beer drink it each time I go home to Michigan when given the chance.

09-24-2003 23:49:48 | More by oberon
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

3.38/5  rDev -11.5%

Poured a dark brown color with a small tan head that left quickly. Smell was quite nice of toffee and caramel and some roasted nut flavor. The taste was somewhat similar to the smell except for a mouth-puckering astringent flavor that came and stayed in my mouth for the duration of the drink. I don't know if this batch was spoiled by something but the flavor could have been really good had that flavor not been so prevalent. I'm going to try this again at a later time.

09-16-2003 01:32:42 | More by granger10
Photo of Bruiser81
Bruiser81

Kansas

4/5  rDev +4.7%

This beer was a murky brown color. It looked kind of like tea. A creamy off white head simmered down to a thin sheet. What a great aroma, a mixture of sweet malt, toffee, dates, and caramel. Taste wasn't bad but not near as good as the aroma. The taste starts with roasted malts which is followed by a bread flavor along with a nutty caramel. Towards the finish there is a a sweet/sour taste. Sort of different, not bad. This beer is great up until the finish which just threw me off a little. A nice creamy smooth mouthfeel. Definately a drinkable brew.

08-15-2003 02:32:01 | More by Bruiser81
Photo of PhantomVodoo
PhantomVodoo

Ohio

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%

Cloudy dark brown with a good tan head.
Chocolatey, roasty aroma with a hint of vinegar.

Taste shows a smooth, chocolate, roasty, malt flavor. Good hop balance. A sweet, vinegar flavor is persistent throughout and really detracts from the beer IMO. I don't know if this is part of the beer's flavor profile or just a bad bottle. This beer would have scored much higher if the sour flavor wasn't present. It has a lot of characteristics I really like aside from that.

Fuller body and mouthfeel than your typical brown ale.
Drinkability suffers due to the sour notes.

Overall, a good brown ale with a detracting sour flavor and aroma. I'd like to give this one a try again from a different batch.

07-28-2003 03:22:38 | More by PhantomVodoo
Photo of TheDM
TheDM

Indiana

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%

This brew has a very nice malty aroma with a light head that disappeared before I could take my first taste. It was lightly carbonated with a caramel taste. It has a nice light brow transparent color and left a good lacing on the glass. ANother fine brew from Bells!

07-03-2003 09:11:31 | More by TheDM
Photo of Brian700
Brian700

Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%

I think this is one of the better brown ales and should definately be tried by all. It has a real nice appearance in its brown nutty color. Its on the verge of being a little red. I like the head on it. It sticks around and leaves a fair share of lacing all the way down to the bottom. It has a nice hoppy aroma to it. I've had this beer in a bottle and on tap. I noticed that whenever I have it on tap it seems that I pick up more on a spice flavor almost like a nutmeg, something you'd find in a good christmas brew. Really nice. It has good carbonation, quite a bit actually. A few of these will do you well after a hard day at work.

05-25-2003 16:46:54 | More by Brian700
Photo of IrishRedRock
IrishRedRock

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +8.6%

I found this to be quite an interesting Brown Ale; not the best I've had, but right up there for the style. Poured it into my glass, a bubbly chestnut brown beer with a moderate, quickly-fading head. Great aroma of peanuts (nuts in general) and a thick bready malt aroma. Quite complex as well in flavor! Nuts, caramel, and a wallop of toffee start things off, finishing with a mild but still tasty hop note. Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated, but is very well done and balances well. A great brew, and well worth a try. Can't wait to get some more Bell's beers!

05-23-2003 14:07:54 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%

This beer pours a wonderful murky brown color with a small and uneven head that dies off quickly. It has a lot of little floaty things in it, which I am not used to with brown ales. The aroma reminds me of some type of nut - but I cannot figure out exactly what kind - and also malts. The taste is fairly smooth, but slightly watered down tasting - weird because it tastes watered down, but still has a rich flavor. Reminds me a lot of a chocolate stout because the taste has a very strong coffee/chocolate finish to it. This is not your typical brown ale. Not so sure I like this one. Of course, Bells brewery is not one of my favorites ... but I'm still looking for their shining one to make me change my mind - this just isn't that one. This is a decent beer, but I don't think it stacks up to other browns that I've had.

05-19-2003 18:38:19 | More by clvand0
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,050 ratings.