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Bell's Best Brown - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,607 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,607
Reviews: 827
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 82
Gots: 253 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,607 | Reviews: 827 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a reddish/mahogany with nice two finger head that dissipates slowly, leaving a good amount of lacing.

S - Toast, caramel, sweet malts, some toffee, and a hint of raisins present.

T - Good amount of toffee and caramel malts , that "toasty" taste soon follows, finishing into just a hint of floral hops. A decent amount of nuttiness carries through the entire drink, almost like a hazelnut or walnut.

M - Fairly smooth, decent amount of carbonation present.

Overall - A pretty solid brown ale. The taste could become a little metallic, and it might have been a little too bitter, but overall, good beverage from Bell's.

Photo of Keithstone44
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a wonderful deep mahogany color with 2 fingers of off-white head that leaves behind considerable lacing

S: Smell is sweet-malt with notes of caramel and floral hops.

T: Very malt-forward with pine-hops, caramel and some nuttiness

M: Smooth, but a little lighter than what I expected. Carbonation is at an appropriate level

O: Good beer, especially for the season we are currently in. I will gladly pick this beer up again

Photo of StoutHunter
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I picked up a six pack of Bell's Best Brown a couple weeks ago at Krogers for $8.99. I have had this beer many times over the years, but for some reason I haven't got around to reviewing, so it's time to sit down and see how this beer drinks. It is pretty fresh with a bottled on date of September 28th 2011 batch number 10721. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- The label on this beer looks pretty cool, I like the lone owl sitting on fence post with a nice scenic winter background, it gives this beer a late fall/winter vibe. It poured a slightly hazy amberish brown color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some nice lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with some medium sweet malts that impart some toffee and caramel aromas along with some nuttiness. There are also some brown bread, brown sugar, and fruity yeast aroma. I don't really pick up any hops in the aroma.

T- The taste is pretty similar to the aroma. The first thing I pick up are the malts that impart some nice toffee and caramel flavors, there is also a slight bit of dried dark fruits, and a nice noticeable amount of nuttiness that had a walnut like flavor to it. Just as in the aroma the hops aren't noticeable and the finish is smooth with no bitterness and a slightly nutty aftertaste.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, on the light side of being medium bodied, and it had a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel fits this beer well.

Overall I thought this this was a pretty damn good English Brown Ale. I haven't had a lot of this style but so far this beer seems to be the closest example I have had to a true English Brown Ale. The flavors were nice and malty and had a really nice nutty complexity that really made this beer stick out from the other English Brown Ales I have tried. It went down really smooth and combined with having no bitterness at all makes this beer have some great drinkability, I would have no problem drinking three or four of these in a night. What I liked most about this beer was the flavor, it just seemed spot on for an English Brown ale and the extra nuttiness was a very nice added touch. What I liked least about this beer was the color, it wasn't bad, but I would have liked it a little browner, not a big deal though. I buy this beer every fall and will continue to do so since I find that this beer really hits the spot on late fall/ early winter evenings, and it is the best local English Brown Ale I have had. If English Brown Ales are your thing, this is a must try, it does a great job at representing what an English Brown Ale is all about, or so I think. So far this is the best English Brown Ale I have had so far, everything was pretty spot on and the extra nuttiness put this beer over the top. Bell's did a great job with this beer, they do a great job of brewing a style the way it is intended to be, they are a jack of all trades and that is why they are one my favorite brewery's.

Photo of nrpellegrini
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I haven't reviewed a beer in months and I'm doing this from my phone so that right there says something about this beer.
Traveled from Baltimore to Philly to get some beer from The Foodery.
Dark caramel color with and thin tan head and smells of sweet caramel malts.
The taste is amazing. For a while brown ales where my favortire style but over the past year or so I haven't been able to find the right one that caught my attention. This is it. The smoothest, rich flavor... Sweet caramel flavors with some biscuity flavors in there too.

Photo of woosterbill
2.85/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, packaged on 9/13/11, into a La Chouffe tulip. Thanks to vonschplieffen for tossing one of these my way. Is Bell's distributing to CT now? If so, I'm ecstatic.

A: Clear ruddy chestnut body under an inch of soft tan foam. Good retention and some spotty lace. I love the color.

S: WTF. This smells like pure, raw pumpkin. Not pumpkin pie, but the distinctively evocative aroma of carving a jack-o-lantern. There's some more standard caramel and herbal hops, too, but I just can't get past the pumpkin. I might appreciate it if it were supposed to be there, but as it is I'm kind of weirded out.

T: The gourd is pretty much (bot not entirely) gone, replaced by more generic nuttiness, chocolate, and plenty of grassy hop bitterness. It's a little on the weak side, but not terrible. Just a standard brown.

M: Light-to-medium body, highly carbonated. Pretty nice.

O: I'm just confused by this beer. Is it supposed to be a pumpkin ale? If so, then it's pretty good. As a straight brown ale, though, it's quite disappointing. I know Bell's can do better.

Cheers!

Photo of Humulus85
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love me some Sunday afternoon BA...

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my mug. It produced a dense, one-finger head. Solid retention with some surprisingly nice lacing. Deep, slightly hazy, auburn. This is the perfect looking October brew.

The nose is nutty. Some oats and toffee come through as well. There might be some piney hops, but they're covered up by the malt.

Loads of oats, caramel, and toffee. A bit sweet for my taste and kinda watered down. Not as much flavor as I was hoping for.

Smooth, well carbonated and more then drinkable. Could have been a bit heavier for a fall brew in my opinion.

Overall this is a good brown, but far from the best. I love the owl on the label, he/she looks ornery as hell. While I did like this beer, it didn't scream out to me, and I honestly expect something with a little more complexity and depth from such an accomplished brewery. Recommended to any Bell's fan or BA new to malty ales. Cheers!

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this one before from a bottle, this serving is from a 16 oz. can. And yes, that can is from the legendary woodychandler. Has a mahogany color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of bready malts, some caramel. Taste is malts, nutty, light hops, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

Photo of jsprain1
3.26/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger tan head. Some lacing.
S- Mild aroma of bread, nuts, and a touch of caramel.
T- Fairly bready with a gentle caramel sweetness that lingers, as well as a faint coffee flavor.
M- Decent body, smooth and slightly creamy
O- It's a decent to slightly above average brown ale for me, but it's not particularly anything I need to revisit.

Photo of smcolw
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/light brown color. Light passes easily and the beer appears clear. Modest bar-poured head where there is plenty of blanketing lace.

Classic "brown" smell of darker malts without any burnt elements. Light sweetness and slightly nutty. There's a touch of smokiness.

Some caramel sweetness tempered with a hop spice. Smooth but thin body. High finely bubbled carbonation. The swallow is a superior blend of bittering hop and toasted malts. One of the finest aftertastes I've ever had. An overall top-notch brown ale.

Photo of RHCP313
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a light maple with some ruby and garnet highlights. A thick crown of two to three finger off-white head billows up and sits high in my pint.

S: Sweet caramel and toffee notes, sweet bready malt and notes of brown sugar and slight fruity yeast.

T: Smooth sweet malt supported by notes of vanilla extract and nutmeg. Pastry like breadiness, nutty with dark candied fruit tastes in back.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation, but very drinkable and almost refreshing. Drinks far lighter than it looks.

O: This is a very solid beer. Consistent, too. As far as style, this is a great representation, smooth, sweet and very sessionable. I've yet to try this with food, but it seems like it could be an outstanding pairing.

Photo of wingman14
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish caramel brown with a white head. The smell isn't too powerful, but is mostly malty with some sweet and nutty notes. The taste follows the smell with the nice malty backbone, some sweetness and a subtle hint of smoke. This one has a nice medium body, and is smoother than most. This is a good brown ale, the flavors are interesting and well done. A nice offering that I would have again, but not seek out regularly.

Photo of projectflam86
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a thick white foam that leaves pretty good lacing. Looks the part.

S- Nutty toffee aromas with caramel and lightly toasted biscuit. Not picking up much in the hops department. This one will be malty for sure.

T- Very similar to the nose. Sweet caramel and toffee flavors come through with some dried fruits, walnuts, a touch of spice, and crystal malt. Definitely has an English feel with the low hop presence, malt backbone, and slight diacetyl but quite tasty nonetheless.

M- Light/medium bodied with low carbonation.

O- A very nice brown ale that I'll probably pick up again.

Photo of homebrew311
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pour a dark red with some brown tones, velvety desne white head, good retention, loads of lacing. Perhaps a bit light for a brown.

S: the aroma features roasted malts, bread, and hints of coffee. Mellow hops come through as well.

T: mild roasted malts along with caramel and chocolate come through on the palate. All is mellow and smooth. Nice balance, taste is mild overall.

MF: light body, creamy texture

O: this is a nice and drinkable brown ale. It is rather mild and drinks like a brew that is 4%.

Photo of bluHatter
3.29/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours deep dark red or light brown, with nice bubbles. Good head, nice lacing.

S: Caramel, malts, slightly sweet smelling

T: Sweet, malty, muted milk chocolate.

M: Rich and smooth. A medium stout brown.

O: A nice brown overall. I mostly notice how smooth and rich it is. Almost creamy.

Photo of bballmj2k
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle (packaged on 9/20/11) into pint glass.

A - Murky dingy brown with minimal head that dissipates to a lacing quickly.

S - Sweet malts, nuttiness - not a ton going on here.

T - Sweet bready, nutty characters, ends with mild hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied, bit of watery character at the end, low carbonation. Malt definitely lingers on the tongue.

Overall - Not a remarkable beer but I don't that's the goal. A well made balanced brown ale that's adequate if a bit boring.

Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy medium brown with lots of bubbles and a two-finger, off-white, foamy head that lasted a few minutes. Okay lacing.

S: Sweet malt. Alcohol.

T: Light malt sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Roasted caramel malt flavor. Kind of nutty. Bitter finish.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Relatively smooth. Dry.

O: Looks good. Smells kind of weird, but not bad. I was hoping for a nutty more roasted flavor. Not bad overall.

Photo of BeerNutz324
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- a cloudy brownish amber with about a 1/2 inch off white/light brown colored head that dissapates fairly quickly.

Ar- all I can smell is sweet malts and maybe some caramel or toffee.

T- sweet roasted malts. I can definitely taste the english influence on the malts. Just like the nose I think the caramel or toffee gives this beer a little bit of sweetness.

M- light/medium body with normal carbonation for this style.

O- a good beer. Not as good as I expected coming from Bell's but good none the less. Nothing against this beer but it was nothing special and I honestly don't know if I would buy it again.

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Somewhere between an amber and a brown ale. Huge toffee head which immediately subsided, impressive lacing.

S - Not much to smell here. Some sugar, some toasted malts.

T - Has some sweetness of a brown, as well as caramel tones. Also some roasted malts and flavors of almonds and cocoa.

M - Exceptionally smooth and very drinkable.

Seems more like a American brown. Perhaps not "best", but definately unique and at minimum very very good.

Photo of agomega
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep rich amber color with a large white foamy head which lingers.

Smell: Faint toasty malt aroma.

Taste: Rich toasty malt flavor with slight hints of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Very smooth and easy drinking.

Overall: An excellent session beer. Easy drinking and refreshing with a sweet subtle complexity that makes you want to go back for more.

Photo of julian89
4.14/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this fairly new addition to Bell's to be a high improvement on several other brown ales I have tried.

Appearance: Obviously a darkish brown hue, lightly transparent. Caramel coloring at the base post drink.
Smell: Clean, not too powerful, not much else.
Taste: Wonderful! This is a perfectly bittered and hopped brown ale. It was not too dry and carbonated either.
Mouth feel: Very smooth, no acid residue aftertaste I get with other brown's.
Overall: Bell's does not disappoint. Their Brown hits the charts once again.

Photo of Gobigvt7
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

a - pours a nice mid-brown, with an amber tint when held to light. Looks delicious already. one finger of almost white head, good lacing.

s - nutty malts and bread

t - smooth caramelized grains. semi-sweet but not cloying. very light hops lend an edge to the maltiness. very balanced, tastes evenly throughout the sip.

m - smooth, round, medium body.

o - one of my favorite go-to browns. For the style, immensely drinkable and flavorful.

Photo of clint1019
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Brown in color with a cream colored head.

S - Has a light caramel malt aroma along with a slight fruityness.

T - Caramel malt flavor with a hint, a ever slight hint of hop bitterness in the end.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O - Not a bad brown ale. It just doesn't have a lot going on, but I guess you could say that about most brown ales.

Photo of avaldivia
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from Sobeleg. Poured 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Very nice nutty brown color. Head about an inch and a half thick. Great lacing.

S: Sweet toffee and caramel. Nice malt character. Kind of light

T: Same as the smell. Malty. Sweet caramel.

M: Medium bodied. good carbonation. Nice finish.

O: Excellent brown ale. I

Photo of maleman
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Almost mahogany color with a thin, less than one-finger off-white head. Lace was tight and clingy. The nose was well more malty than hoppy, more like bread. Taste was very grassy intially with phenols definitely noticeable. Medium bodied with taste in the back of the mouth with average carbonation. Still waiting to try Hopslam, but this one is not that memorable from Bell's.

Photo of qua17
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer poured into a pint grass with a nice two inch head. It's a translucent brown.

S: Nice and malty

Taste: The name of this is the Best Brown Ale and the taste almost proves the point. Delicious. There is a lot of balance to this beer - not too malty and very flavorful. Nice carbonation.

Overall: I like Bell's but this might be my second favorite next to Two Hearted Ale.

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,607 ratings.