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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

2,206 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,206
Reviews: 787
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 66
Gots: 145 | 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: 2,206 | Reviews: 787 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pwoods
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a pint. Didn't check the batch but it's from this recent release(late 2007).

A: Pours a deep bronze with some ruby tinting in the light. 1 1/2 fingers of light tan fluffy head. Very good retention and some patchy lacing.

S: Toasted malts and sweet caramel. a slight crisp hop character but very subtle. Smell is pretty subtle, overall.

T/M: Medium body, average carbonation and a creamy finish. Toasted malts aren't as strong as in the nose but a slightly less sweet caramel is much stronger and enjoyable. Some dark fruit, like undersweetened plums.

D: Good brew and very drinkable. An easy choice for a session beer.

pwoods, Dec 08, 2007
Photo of bort11
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Light tan head stands about a 1/4 inch. It leaves an interesting globular designs of lacing. Color is a rich chestnut brown, miniscule particles can been seen floating around.

Smell is a toasty malt with a nutty finish. Taste has a mild coffee/toffee bittersweet, rich nut flavors. A bit woody and aromatic.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and creamy. Nicely sessionable. Warm and toasty, perfect for cold weather.

bort11, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of wedge
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice foggy chestnut color with a small creamy head. Sweet, nutty, toffee-like malts and molasses in the nose. Mild flavor, but tasty. Gentle caramel malts and a tiny bit of roasted chocolate in the end. Simple and balanced. Medium-light body. Nice English brown.

wedge, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of baos
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Von den Anmerkungen

12 oz bottle into antique green Mason jar.

A: Four finger tan head. Nice looking dark amber with nice clarity. really nice head retention and good lacing as well.

S: Malts with a bit o hops. Raw what and corn mash and a hint of fresh caramel.

T: A bit o hop bite, malts, and the slightest caramel hints.

M: Nice light to medium body.

D: Very good. Yay.

baos, Nov 25, 2007
Photo of jkrich
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a wise owl shown in the forefront of a wintery scene.
The beer poured an opaque, brown with deep copper hightlights. The quickly disippating, tan head with some lacing on the glass.

This ale has a slightly spicy, almost wine-like aroma. Indeed, the strong odor leads you to believe this will be a full bodied interpretation of an English brown ale.

The taste is actually surprising mellow given the rather intense smell. The initial taste is slightly sweet (never cloying) with a slight acidic aftertaste. The flavors become more balanced as the ale warms.

While brown ales are not my favorite style of ale, I am certainly pleased to try another good seasonal from Bell's.

jkrich, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
2.95/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper/ amber/ brown, with a small white head. In the aroma, a small sweet malt, but somewhat bland. In the taste, a sweet maltiness, yet quite thin. A smooth mouthfeel and a dry malty aftertaste. A bit sweeter than a standard brown, however not a big nose. Easy to drink and non offensive.

OWSLEY069, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of morimech
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper that has a slight haze. A small head forms but quickly disappears to a small cap. Some lacing is evident.

It smells of caramel and a slight spice. Maybe a little toasted malt and hops show up to. It is hard to decifer.

It is mostly malt in the taste but with a slight hop bitterness on finish. Neither of which is very strong and overall this beer has a weak taste. It also is a little thin but carbonation is decent. This isn't a big brown ale but enough of the beer is done well to make it one to at least try.

morimech, Nov 22, 2007
Photo of timbro81
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Durable head thats diminishes but doesn't totally leave. Good "tick" marks down the glass as it is enjoyed, always a good sign. The nose is hard to decifer, sweet and slightly nutty. Taste initially leans toward the hoppy side (not overly so, just hoppy for the style). A nutty sweetness soon takes over. A good body to it.The aftertaste is tight and and short lived. Would really like to have a few of these in some hole-in-the-wall pub in England somewhere. Highly recommended if you are in search of a good brown ale.

timbro81, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of Upgrayedd
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I could drink this all night! Best Brown is my defination of what an American Brown Ale should be. It pours a nice brown color with a nice thin head that remained throughout the serving. It has a nice aroma of chocolate and spicy hops. The flavor matches the aroma. Aftertaste is so smooth. Makes a great session beer.

My only complaint is that I yearn for a bit more maltiness.

Upgrayedd, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of TheBierBand
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle (Batch ID: 8165 - Packaged on 9/26/07) to produce a 1" beige head of pillowy foam. This disappearded to a thin cap after about 2 or 3 minutes leaving sparce lacing. The beer was a clear coppery brown.

Nose: Typical toasted malt.

Taste: A bit of a surpise.... Yes, there was the lightly toasted malt... although, I prefer a little more sweetness. But, there was a hop kick at the end that deviated from style.... kind of a citrusy/piney flavor.... not overwhelming.... but definately there.

Mouthfeel: Appropriate carbonation... a tad bit thin in body for my preference.

Drinkability: Solid English Brown Ale from Bell's... although not among my favorites for the style.

TheBierBand, Nov 08, 2007
Photo of DontCallMeSurly
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

Comes out a hazy brown and left a frothy head of about 1-1.5 inches. Quickly reduced to about 1/4 inch. Lacing was very thin.

Smell is of malts, very subtle though.

I enjoyed the taste immensely. Chocolate was very prominent, so was the roasted malts. Very nice on the tounge, not thin, not heavy. Mouthfeel was very consistent.

I could see myself drinking this beer quite often.

Another solid Bell's beer!

DontCallMeSurly, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of dedrinker
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So much better than in the bottle! Lazy brown color with a head that was rich and creamy and lasted half way through. Aroma of mild juicy caramel malt and restrained nuts and roast. The flavor was slightly fruity with a nice caramel malt middle that finished with more nuts, fruit, and juicy malt. Well balanced - not too sweet, but not too dry either.

dedrinker, Nov 02, 2007
Photo of jjboesen
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This sample was a draught tasted at RFD in Washington DC on October 31, 2007.

Appearance

It begins with thin, oatmeal colored head that settles into a cloudy brown. However, it does possess a rather consistent lacing that clings to the glass; it manages to hold on throughout the drinking process until a secondary swirl scatters it into patches causing the head to reconstitute.

Taste

There is an barely perceptible trace of molasses that I found underwhelming and pedestrian. Of course, since Bell’s is an excellent brewery, this might be a result of improper storage. (And RFD has had previous issues with soapy glassware.) To paraphrase Hi from the movie “Raising Arizona,” my palate was a rocky place on which the taste could not find purchase.

Body

I thought that this sample lacked structure and balance - once again, probably due to storage.

Nose

The nose was pretty much undetectable. All in all, a disappointing beer that probably would have tasted better under circumstances. [The following beer was a bottle of Bell’s Porter – and it was delicious!]

jjboesen, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of BMoney575
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 10-26-07
Batch 8165
Bottled on 9-26-07

Pours a hazy orangey brown color with no real head and very thin lacing.

Smell is very clean, malty. Well-balanced and rather subdued.

Taste is good, bits of chocolate and apple cider. The sweetness is countered by a very nice amount of bitterness, which makes the flavor quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is good, a nice fizziness keeps things light.

Drinkability is very good, the sweetness is very well-managed.

Overall, a little boring at first, but it grows on you. Very sessionable and keeping around.

BMoney575, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of drpimento
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I dunno, I'm not so impressed with this beer. Although, I've read so many good reviews, I think it must be me. Proly a plugged shnoz or something. Has a hazy brown color. Seems kind of blase to me. Do pick up the typical english brown body and aftertaste. Had a nice head and some lace.

drpimento, Oct 26, 2007
Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strong pour brings a perfect tan head to the top of the glass and almost over the lip. Bodsy is a super dark brown. As the head fades you get crater sized lace spots. Nose has candy sweet notes with soft malt tones and a hint of fresh dough. A very dry mineral richness wakes up the mouth on first sip. Nutty burnt malt rounds out the initial palate. A bit thin on the finish. Does bring about a slight thickness on the mouthfeel after a few sips. Nicely drinkable overall.

SPLITGRIN, Oct 24, 2007
Photo of Enola
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8156

A nice deep brown with a decent head. The smell is a molasses and caramel. The taste is caramel and there is a nice hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is smooth with a lasting aftertaste. Drinkability is good as this is a good beer of the style.

Enola, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of blakesell
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the cask at boston's 09/18/07.

Appearance- Beer pours a somewhat clear brown dark amber which is kind of strange considering that it is cask conditioned. A 2 finger fluffy head as opposed to the tap of the same beer with a 4 finger head pour. There is slight lacing on the glass.

Smell- Hops upfront and what I can only call the signature cask scent. It seems that all real ales have a certain smell to them that can be picked out above beers in kegs or bottles. A slight maltiness but mostly the hops and cask scent.

Taste- Just like the smell, casks tend to have a taste to them as well. That creamy real ale flavor comes out first then a lingering light malt flavour. The hops are big in this beer and I sense that they have utilized quite a bit of dry-hopping in the cask.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied and creamy with very little to no carbonation. The beer is not sticky or cloying.

Drinkability- Very nice drinkability here. A bit overly hoppy for a brown ale, but I'll let that slide on the beer this time. I'm a fan of the hops used and it goes down smooth.

blakesell, Oct 20, 2007
Photo of Minkybut
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a tumbler at 5o degrees. The beer was cloudy brown like dirty water with a thin head fast and fast decay. There was no lacing at all. The beer had a bit of a fruity smell and a slightly bitter taste. I really like the label though but the beer was just average. It was good mind you but I guess I will most likely not buy again.

Minkybut, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of drseamus
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has a nice brown body and the smell is enticing. It has a good heavy malty aroma with some biscuit in there. The flavor is much the same, nice and malty with some biscuit and a good sweetness. There is no detectable hop flavor but some bitterness; just enough to balance. It has good mouthfeel, about medium but the body seems lighter than it should. All around a great example of a Brown Ale.

drseamus, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of soupyman10
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with some fairly light tan head that dissolves very quickly. No real lacing. Nose is fairly weak, a little bit of a surprise for a Bell's beer. Just a bit of hops and malt, fairly balanced for an English brown. Taste is solid. Lots of sweet caramel malt, but a nice mix of fairly fruity hops as well. This one's pretty sour too, which is unique to most of the English browns I've had. Feel is medium bodied with good carbonation. I like this one a lot. I've yet to have a Bell's beer that I wasn't impressed at. This one isn't there best, but it's a good beer, a little high in ABV to be sessionable, but definitely one I could drink a bunch of.

soupyman10, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear red-brown color with a small head of tiny off white bubbles that didn't stick around for long at all. There are only a few bubbles rising, but they don't maintain the head.

Aroma: I get a nice mix of malt and hops that is so balanced that I hesitate to pick the dominant aromatic. I get a little sweet caramel and a tad of toast from the malt side of the equation, and there is a soft noble-like floral hop contribution weighing in on the hop side. There is a slight metallic note noticeable as you get deeper into the aroma.

Taste: The flavor is really pleasant and also reflects a nice mix of malt and hops. The malt starts out the profile with some sweet caramel, a hint of toast, and a slight roasty edge. It isn't long before the hops show up and make their way to the foreground. The hops keep up the pace until the finish where the malt, a slight mineral flavor, and the alcohol share the lead for the finish. The alcohol is the flavor that sticks with you the longest after the sip.

Opinion: Like all of Bells beers, I am not disappointed in this one. It has a good clean flavor that isn't too bold as to be annoying one way or the other. In flavor, it may have more American ingredients, but retains the British balance of flavor...except in the finish where the water is clean enough to leave the palate fresh rather than dry and chalky. This is a pretty good beer, and I wouldn't mind trying it again if the opportunity presented itself.

SkeeterHawk, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of Absumaster
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is slightly murky, brown amber and has a thin creamy head.

Smell is lightly burned and chocolate with light alcohol and light diacetyl. The backbone is very malty and rich.

Taste is a light chocolate and mild burned. Body is thin and the beer has an odd taste which is dry and astringent. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky.

Smell of the beer promised more than the taste could offer. Not the best of beers.

Absumaster, Jun 10, 2007
Photo of garymuchow
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As I'm making the rounds on some brown ales, this seemed like an obvious selection. I am coming to the conclusion that this style can certainly be under appreciated for having a fair amount of flavor, but not so powerful that it can't be enjoyed many times. I also find brown ales to be good with a variety of foods.
Darker malt aroma of toast and biscuit. Slightly sweet and bit dry, almost pushing chocolate. Very little hops to speak of. Solid and nice.
Good looking beer. Dark colors of deep red and brown. Very clear. One inch head that settles slowly leaving some lacing. Darker head.
Slightly bitter and sweet. Great blending of flavors. Ends with some dryness, but not too much. Nice english hop flavors and enhance with the dryness with time. The touch of malt sweetness up front is nice.
Fullness from carbonation adds to a moderate feel. Soft. Enough smoothness.
Well rounded beer with a good amount of hoppiness that prevents any chance of excessive sweetness (which might be my only criticism, i.e.needing a little more maltiness). Nicely done.

garymuchow, May 15, 2007
Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid brown ale. Much better than Newcastle...looks better, less sweet and very smooth. Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights, medium size tn head with some lacing. Primary taste is roasted malt, there is enough hops bitterness to kill the annoying sweetness of some brown ales. Mouthfeel is rich and drinkability is very good. A fantastic candidate for a session beer.

JayQue, May 14, 2007
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,206 ratings.