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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

2,591 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,591
Reviews: 823
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 81
Gots: 242 | 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: 2,591 | Reviews: 823 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MufflnMan
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Very good looking clear brown with a hint of red/amber and an almost mocha head. Nice surprise for a brown ale...

Faint smells of malty sweet caramel/toffee and a hint of hops.

Taste is almost a copy of the nose, but stronger. Nice sweetness to it without being cloying. The caramels and toffees come thru again and then a finish with a bit of hops. I also get the smallest hint of cocoa in there which is nice.

Medium mouthfeel, not too heavy... not too light. Very little to no carbonation so anything that hits your tongue is in the taste.

Overall, a solid brown ale.

Photo of claspada
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of subtle toasted malt, caramel, toffee and nuttiness.
The taste follows the nose with sweet caramel malt, toasted nuts and a tiny bit of milk chocolate. It has more flavor than the nose would suggest, but unfortunately it just not that complex or flavorful.
Mouthfeel is crisp, with a medium-thin, borderline watery body and adequate carbonation. I would prefer a much fuller mouthfeel, but the thin body works is a decent change which allows this to finish quite crisp.
Overall this is quite drinkable, but forgettable. The flavor profile is just not on par with other brown ales I have had recently. English brown ales aren't supposed to be as malty and full-bodied as American ones, so I guess they accomplished their goal of creating a fairly tasty sessionable brown ale, but I won't be revisiting this anytime soon.

Photo of gdrydenc
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a murky red-brown with a thin lacing of head. Solid color for a Brown Ale.

S - Sweet, hints of caramel. No hop presence to speak of, but the caramely malts take care of the nose.

T - Caramel in the front, the malts dominate. There's a slightly syrupy quality to the taste that makes it stick in the mouth. Very sweet beer.

M - Like I said, fairly syrupy. I like it for this beer, though.

Overall, a good brown. Maybe not the "best", but it's a good version.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. A pretty good looking beer. It comes out a pretty amber caramel color, it's not completely clear, but close. There's a light brown head that sticks around and clings to the glass the entire time the beer is there.

I like the smell a lot. The roasted malts produce toffee and caramel aromas with the slightest hint of coco powder. There is a very feint hop aroma here. It's not very strong and you really have to wait awhile for it to warm up, but it's good.

The taste is probably a slight step up. It has all the features as the smell, but the tongue can pick up a little more than the nose on this one. It's got the caramel and toffee with slight coco, but there's also a a tea like spiciness to it. Again a very slight hop presence to it.

The mouthfeel is good, but it could be better. It's lighter in body than I expected, it could certainly be a little more full, I tend to prefer a slightly more full brown ale. The carbonation level is very good, and it's a very drinkable beer.

I think Bell's did did a stellar job at making a brown ale. I don't know if I'd call this the "Best Brown" ale I've ever had, but it's pretty tasty.

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

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was just what onw would expect from a brown. Very nice medium brown color with a nice white/tan head.

Smell was nice. Lots of roasted malts but well balanced with some hop character too.

Taste was pretty average for the style. Nothing crazy but a nice, well put together beer.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied but a little tough to have more than one or two.

Photo of PorterLambic
2.89/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich, dark brown. Decent light penetration. Smallish head drops to a ring.
Smell is fairly light with notes of malt and light hops.
Taste is a good mix of malt and hops, a light roast is present.
Finish is somewhat dry with hops coming to the fore. A Slightly metallic hint floats by, a la Newcastle Brown, but just in passing. A good, MOR brown. Certainly sessionable.

Photo of Guden
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A medium brown with a small off-white head which fades slowly.

S- Light hints of dark and caramel malts, but nothing too strong.

T- Moderate amounts of maltiness with a little more bitterness and woody notes than expected but still quite refreshing.

M- Medium bodied but a little overly carbonated, works well but seems like a little less carbonation could of been better.

D- Enjoyable, and easily could have several of these but there isn't anything to exciting and there are better browns out there.

Photo of Kelly88
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at bar Louie served in a huge pint glass

A- dark leathery brown with old catcher Mitt orange at the bottom. Resilient beige head that is really sticking around. Layers of lace are surrounding the glass. So much I can't even see through some parts of the glass. Light shade of brown for a brown ale.

S- not much going on in the nose. Some pear type aromas with a sweetness.

T- sweet crisp apple taste. Really unexpected but it is really good. Apple skin and really small hop cones on the back. Really tasty brew.

M- medium to fullish. Not slot of carbonation but that is not hurting the experience. The lack of carbonation sort of enhances the flavors by really forcing them down onto your palate.

Overall a really solid brown ale That has a really unique flavor. Definitely will seek out again if available.

Photo of zeledonia
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly reddish coppery brown, very clear, with a slight off-white head that lingers.

S: Nothing jumps out, but it smells good. Nice balance of malt and hops, though the malt is definitely more prominent, with some sweetness and light fruits (grapes, apples) in the background.

T: Not quite what I was expecting based on the smell. Kinda light and fruity for a brown ale. The hops are more obvious than in the nose, and they impart some bitterness, but there's not a ton of complexity to the flavor. I get a prominent light hop flavor, but there isn't that much coming along with it. It starts out decently balanced, but fades into a rather bland bitter finish.

M: Feels light and tingly due to very vivid carbonation (which isn't obvious from looking at it), even though the body is medium. Has a heaviness and stickiness that makes it hang around in the mouth.

D: This comes across lighter and hoppier than I expect from a brown ale. I'm not that impressed with the flavor, which is fairly simple and a bit on the bitter side for the style. It's a decent beer, but there are plenty of better brown ales out there.

Photo of CHADMC3
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut brown body with reddish hues and a thin tan head that quickly dissipates leaving nearly no lacing behind.

The aroma primarily consists of toffee and caramel malt with a touch of breadiness as well.

The flavor offers the same toffee and caramel malts as the aroma, but with a more identifiable sweet nuttiness and again hints of bread.

This beer is pretty even keeled with a medium body and medium carbonation.

This beer appears to be pretty true to the style. Although it may not be the sexiest style to most palates, this beer is a pretty nice representation of what it claims to be.

Photo of nosurrender23
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Group grade = C.
"Damn good Brown Ale -- At least it's a beer."

The beer pours a dark iced tea color like the ruffled feathers of a brown barn owl.

The smell is light with little to no smell that some compared to an olfactory nightmare, wet cardboard, a frat floor, and bathroom stall number 3 at Dixie Stampede.

The beer had a low carbonated, smooth feel.

Drinking wise, the beer had a smoothness with minimal complexity. "Your average Brown Ale."

Photo of avaccani
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Typical brown. A 1 finger head that left a nice lace.

S - Maybe it's my cold but didn't get much here. Some bread, oat, perhaps toffee or caramel.

T - Being a big Bell's fan I was a tad dissapointed here. It is good, but nothing that wows me.

M - Light bodied, moderate carbonation.

D - I had 2 of these in one sitting and it was enough for me. I enjoyed it, but don't know if I'd seek it out again.

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

Poured a very dark brown color with lots of creamy tan head on it. Smells like caramel malt with some hops coming through. Taste is pretty good, classic brown ale flavor. Not much aftertaste. Very smooth and drinkable beer overall. Brown ales may not be my favorite style but this one is pretty good as far as they go.

Photo of shand
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a red-brown colour with significant floaties and a finger and a half of head. Laces well. Smell is caramel malts, cocoa, breads, and some roasted nuttiness. Smooth roasty malts roll through first, followed up by a bit of a mineral taste and a touch of cocoa. The aftertaste leaves a nice subtle nuttiness on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and silky, and the drinkability is pretty decent. A slightly above average brown ale, I didn't see anything too special here, but there's nothing bad in this brew as well.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle stamped batch 10178, bottled 1/17/11. not even a month old.

slightly hazy chestnut brown color. cream colored 1/2" head with good retention and decent lacing. sweet biscuity malt aroma. maybe a little hops in there.

caramel and bready malt taste. classic brown ale flavor.

medium body. carbonation is there, but its extremely smooth. quite easy to drink and refreshing for a fall/winter brew.

Photo of ncfranklin
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ah, the ole owl. Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A: Pour a deep amber. Nice creamy one finger head that slides back to a solid lace ring. Beer is littered with bits of material floating about it in it slowly. Gives the appearance of being quite thick and syrupy.

S: Strong sweet caramel oder, with some notes of breadiness and yeast. Maybe only a hint of nuttiness.

T: Sugary up front with a bit of bread and nut, the caramel comes in shortly after. Gives into spiciness halfway through that carries it to a slight bitter hoppy finish. Aftertaste of roasty malt.

M: Medium bodied, thicker than most of the style. Some tacky qualities to it, clings to the tongue. A fairly refreshing finish that tickles the throat.

D: A little sweet and heavy to be a session brown. However, Bell's got a good take on the style. Bringing lots of caramel, toastiness and sweet sugar in balance with bitterness.

Photo of mjsheehan08
3.22/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fiery reddish hue that fills the glass with a dark brown color that becomes almost impossible to see through. Thick, foamy head sits high on this brew, and it fades after a while.

The only real aroma I'm pulling is weak malt. Not impressed

Nutty, malty, really sweet Carmel malts. Again not super impressed.

Overall, a decent session beer, but not something I would purposely seek out.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a rounded pint glass at McGonigals Pub in Barrington, IL

This beer pours a deep brown color with a nice creamy beige foam head on the surface. The smell is of sweet malts and a tad bit of chocolate in the background. The taste has many of the same sweet malt flavors to the almost extreme. I've actually had milk stouts that were less sweet than this beer. The chocolate flavors do shine through in a milk chocolate fashion with the sweetness. There is a tinge of bitterness on the back-end but for the most part this beer goes down fairly smooth. The problem I have in drinking it is it's far too sweet for me. It's a good thing my father, who's birthday it was, didn't like the Daisy Cutter I recommended he get, so we switched to each other delight. I respect it, but it's not my favorite Bell's beer.

Photo of rings
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Most people know this one for the fact that there's an owl on the label and that it's a winter seasonal, the opposite of Oberon (Solson, to those of us who remember), Bell's top selling summer wheat.

Best Brown is an "Amer-English" brown ale with a full and balanced body. It pours relatively heavy, bright-brown in color, with a nice, white chocolate head that lingers a bit on the glass. Served properly between 45°-55°, it opens with a maple, brown-sugary nose and sweet maltiness that rolls into a full mouthfeel. As it goes down, there's a slight hoppy bite on the finish to balance and clean up the lingering sweetness. The balance is exceptional.

It goes well with spicy foods, although it can get a little filling with a large meal. As a session beer, it can also get a bit sweet over time, although serving it a bit colder can help.

While Best Brown is, for some reason, not as popular as the Winter White or Two Hearted over the winter monthsand not even in the ballpark of Oberon, in terms of sales--it remains one of Bell's finest and most consistent offerings and is one of my personal favorites among their lineup.

Photo of vapodge
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A - mahogany & rich, thin head stays

S - roasty, not smoky

T - lots of roasted malts, not very sweet, a bit nutty

M - normal amount of carbonation for a brown

D - smooth drinking and perfectly fine; nothing wows me -- would not seek this out, but would not refuse; probably be better for a cooler night and a hearty meal (stupid FL "winters")

Photo of sixerofelixir
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with batch code on back label, easily looked up on their website.

Looks very good. Creamy, patchy, tan/eggshell head. Superbly clear mahogany color. Smell is subdued malts and a tinge of mineral. First taste is toasty malts, then abruptly tankard-tasting. Not what I wanted. The aftertaste is still metallic, with a bit of hops, and bit cool-feeling, creamy, and smooth. Drinkability not as good as that of other brown ales. For a beer that looks (and smells) this good, I am disappointed in the taste.

Photo of jsanford
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 9981. 12oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass

A - Pours a hazy dark copper with a 2-inch fluffy off-white head that hangs around for a bit. Leaves some soapy lacing.
S - Very subdued notes of toasted malt, caramel, and nuts.
T - Sweet caramel malt, toasted nuts, and a tiny bit of milk chocolate. More flavor then the nose would suggest, but it's still not knocking my socks off.
M - Crisp, with a medium-thin body and good carbonation. Usually I like my Brown Ales to have a fuller mouthfeel, but the thin body works for this beer.
D - Very drinkable. I didn't think I'd like this at first, given the weird (for me) thin body and minimal aromas. However, I think this is supposed to be a sessionable, entry-level Brown Ale, and it succeeds at that nicely.

Photo of emerge077
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish copper with suspended micro sediment. Intricate lacing, the foam maintains itself for longevity. Really nice color, foam has a brown eggshell hue, with adequate retention. Classic brown ale in the visual department.

Slight malt sweetness and brown sugar in the aroma.

Honey, sunflower seed aftertaste, husky grain and malt sweetness. Light caramel flavor. Creamy and slightly astringent at times, but not a defining characteristic overall. Easily drinkable, seems well suited for cask serving.

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

#79. Bell's Best Brown Ale. Got this in a single 12 oz. for a pretty fair price when I was looking around for decent brews in Athens.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass at room temp

(Appearance) Pours a slightly fizzy carbonated head that does not hold very well. Light coating is left behind on the surface. Color is a dark brown with very red highlights. Speckled pulpy bits litter the entire brew, the beer looks considerably thick. Carbonation is sparse. Beer looks pretty interesting but has its appearance flaws, most notably with the head. 4

(Smell) Bready yeasty aroma. Mostly malty aroma. Not too interesting. 3

(Taste) Significant hop presence, more than the aroma gives off. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Crisp with a dry finish. 3

(Drinkability) Not too exciting, but flavor is complex enough to maintain my interest for a few more. 3

Verdict: A half-decent Bell's brew. B- (3.4)

Photo of JDew
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle to a beer mug

A - Deep amber/brown, when poured into the mug the carbonation is steady and quickly stirs the sediment around giving it a lava-lamp look about it. One finger small bubble head leaving a graffiti design in the lace

S - Bread and yeast are strong malts finishes off the deep full aroma

T - Nutty full flavor - the malted barley is in the finish and has a surprisingly hop aftertaste which was overpowered by the malts in the smell

M/D - Has a good medium body to it, sticks to the tongue and has a semi dry finish. One I could drink several of. Enjoyed this one

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,591 ratings.