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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

2,327 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,327
Reviews: 799
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 70
Gots: 167 | 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: 2,327 | Reviews: 799 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thekanna
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice light coffee color. Slightly cloudy with some substance, and not overly clear like Newcastle, for example.

Smell: Faint roasted malt flavor and some dextrin sweetness.

Taste: Nuttiness upfront with slight caramel flavor. Hops bite towards the end and result in a slightly bitter aftertaste. Carbonation is good and not overwhelming.

Drinkability: Somewhat more a typical brown ale than anything. I can't detect much that distinguishes this otherwise.

thekanna, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of spointon
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this one on tap at Galway Tribes on 1/7/2009.

A= This ale poured a medium to dark brown color with a sort of fizzy 1/2" tan head that ratained quite a while.

S= This one had a classic malty brown ale aroma with a bit of faint roastiness and some hop bitterness.

T= Unfortunately weak on the palate, but then that is the style. Flavors much the same as in the aroma, just weaker than I thought they would be.

MF= Light side of medium bodied with a creamy feel despite the average to higher carbonation level.

D= Drinkability was ok, but the flavors would not make me want to have it often. About my least favorite Bell's beer so far.

spointon, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of TexIndy
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brought back from Indy during XMas. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The back label has a 4 digit bottling code that you can type into the website and get the beer and bottling info. I really like that part of the code but the major drawback is that it does nothing for you at the store unless you got wireless with you or the store lets you on the internet - neither of which really happens. Keep the code but add a date to the bottle. Anyway. It was a deep reddish brown color with some yeast bits floating around. Tons of carbonation that resulted in a carb geyser in the center that continuously feed the foam and collar. It started with an average size light brown head that slowly settled.

The aroma was sorta weak even for a brown. What was there was good but would have like it amped up a bit. Biscuity with cocoa powder. The taste was really good. This is probably the best English Brown that I've had. Solid from the start. Good malty bite with a bit of sweetness that leaves a nice finish. This would be a great session beer. Also would be a good beer to convert your friends to good beer.

Overall, a great beer that I highly recommend. Another great one from Bell's. Oh how I wish they were available here in the Great Beer Desert of Texas. Can't wait to try the other Bell's I brought back. Will definitely pick up more of this the next time I'm in Indy.

TexIndy, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of jeremyd365
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid dark brown with a little light brown head that dissipated pretty quickly. Smelled malty but not too strong really. Had a nice, medium body and good mouthfeel. The flavor is really good! A malt kick but it's not something more.. some sort of spiciness perhaps that really makes a nice finish. Definitely a drinkable beer. Not sure why I took so long to try this one of Bell's, but I'm glad I finally did.

jeremyd365, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of Stygr
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown, small tan head. No lacing.

Smelled like a honey brown ale, a little more nutty though

Small about of carbonation, medium bodied ale.

Taste is not what I had entirely hoped for, was dwarfed by the Goose Island Mild winter I had, and if a beer named "mild" dwarfed it, it's obviously pretty mellow on the palate.

I like it as far as browns go, but I couldn't drink this after ANY other beer, or I wouldn't be able to taste it at all. Even a Miller High Life might affect the taste of this beer.

Drinkability suffers from lack of taste.

Stygr, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of Atricapilla
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer was poured from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet. Had a dark brown/weak coffee color with a foamy thin head that quickly dissipated. Smells like roasted malts, yeast and nuts. Flovour is heavy on malts and nuttiness. Some hints of yeast and bread in there too. Goes down easy.

Atricapilla, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of adamhdv
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark down, small tan head that stuck around for a while. No lacing.

Small about of carbonation, medium bodied ale. Mouthful is mostly creamy malts. Maybe a hint of caramel.

Drinkability is not horrible, but I couldn't make this a session beer. Not a bad beer, just not what I had entirely hoped for.

I might pick this up again however to give it another shot.

Had Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale right before, and the Bell's Best Brown seemed way less interesting.

adamhdv, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of skrib09
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

nice dark brown color with a creamy head. good retention.

smells toasty, malty.

roasty malt flavors come through immediately. not too sweet but flavorful. a touch of coffee maybe coming through.

i get some carbination on my palate with this one. a little bitterness comes through towards the end.

average drinkability for me on this one.

skrib09, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of aggiearcher13
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a red-brown with a 1/4" of head that sticks around for about a minute.

S: Toasted malts with a little bit of chocolate, yeast, and hops.

T: I taste a lot of caramel malt in this one. I taste a little nutty sweetness on the finish.

M: Pretty good, about what I'd expect for a brown ale.

D: Drinkability is good, not doubt it's sessionable.

aggiearcher13, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from Prototypic, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid brown with garnet highlights when held to light. Small mocha head sticks around for a bit. Smells of chocolate and a earthy nutty bready kind of thing going on. Tastes malty chocolaty faint bread and caramel. Mouthfeel is creamy, body is a little thin carbonation on the low side. Great little sessionable brown ale.

johnnnniee, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of burnstar
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper brown with a somewhat small head. Aroma is very light. Toasty malt with a hint of hops. Taste has a nice malty character with just a slight background sweetness. Toasty and a bit bready. Some herbal hops in the finish. Medium bodied and well carbonated. Easily drinkable. Overall a very solid and pleasant brown ale.

burnstar, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of praufs01
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Murky brown with a creamy light tan head.

Aroma - Light floral and grassy aromas.

Mouthfeel - Creamy full bodied ale with a moderate amount of small bubble carbonation.

Taste - Light hop flavor up front that leads into a very nice caramel middle. The finish turns slightly dry and then ends with a little hop bite.

Overall - Hmmm... A very well balanced, creamy and delicious brown ale.

praufs01, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of Zadok
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a touch of amber and a decent sized tan head and lots of lacing.

Malty sweet aroma.

Also had a sweet creamy malty flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy as stated before, maybe a touch watered down. Low carbonation.

Not a bad beer, not sure I would get again but wouldnt deny a free one.

Zadok, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of RobH
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. brown bottle.

Hmmm, I don't know; were my expectations too high? I'm a malty beer fan and thus I like English and American Brown Ales, and having enjoyed other Bell's styles very much, I bought this one seeking a great Brown Ale. Here's what I got:

A: Nothing extraordinary to speak of. Certainly appeared as a high quality Brown Ale in the glass.

S: Again, nothing extraordinary to speak of that came across to my nose. Smelled rather pedestrian in fact.

T: Here's where the let-down really kicked in. It was NOT at all bad in any way, rather it just didn't stand out against other Browns I've had. What was I looking for? Well, maybe a luscious malt character with a more perfected carbonation and hop balance. It just wasn't there. Again, it came across to me as a rather pedestrian Brown Ale. Not bad, but nothing special either to make me look forward to next fall when this one comes out again.

M: Fine enough. Not bad. Typical for the American Brown Ale style.

D: Fine enough, once again. Certainly a very drinkable beer with I'd say broad appeal. Just not a stand out Brown Ale for me. Perhaps my palate has changed in time as I try more and more beers, and I've moved on from the Brown Ale style? Not sure if that's it. I'll have to try more beers to be sure.

RobH, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have has this guy on several occasions on draft, first time out of the bottle, let's see how this goes.

Slightly chill hazed, chalky and glowing reddish brown. One finger thick head that does not give a good indication as too how much lacing will be left behind. Answer: quite a bit.

Nose is wonderful, nutty with fruity esters and a hefty earthy hop aroma. Fresh is a word that comes to mind when smelling this. Roasty and sweet with slightly citrusy hop coupling. A solid complexity, nicely understand and highly appetizing.

Roasted bready malt is the first flavor that can be picked apart here, not as vinous or wine like as other English browns and a great deal hoppier, but hey, this is America dammit. Hazelnut, light piny resin, scorched brown sugar. The finish is slightly drying but maintains just the slightest bit of creaminess. There are also a pretty good deal of spiciness, I'd like to say nutmeg and just the slightest bit of cinnamon which adds yet another layer of complexity to an already outstanding brew.

I could by this stuff by the case, a wonderful winter beer, tasty but just the slightest bit too big to be an endlessly sessionable beer, but it is really easy to knock off not only a glass of this stuff, but a couple bottles as well.

bluemoonswoon, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of JDK
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark amber, 1 finger head and nice carbonation

Very faint smell, to me,I can pick out more hops than anything. (I'm sure others will be able to pull more out though.)

Very nice taste for an ale, perfect balance of hops and malts.

Could definately drink a few of these in a session no matter the season

JDK, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of Chugmonkey
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light brown, nice reddish highlights, Big off white poofy head, beautiful lacing.

Nutty, bready, sweet, slight earthy aroma.

Nutty, bready, earthy, finishs a little caramelly sweet for the taste.

Huge bonus points for creaminess in the feel, finishes slightly dry.

Very tasty, nice sweetness that doesn't overwhelm. Don't get one, get the 6 pack. You'll wish you had more than one for sure.

Chugmonkey, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of SykDoc
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a light tan bubbly head that is quite thin but ends with a good lacing. When held to the light, it is a deep amber/brown appearance.

The nose is is sweet with hints of toffee and chocolate. There are also notes of caramel and malt.

The taste and mouthfeel were somewhat mild to me. Primary notes of caramel and nuts with the caramel lingering. There is a medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation. I was expecting a bit creamier feel.

Overall, this is a good brown ale. I do think there are several components that could have been better but as expected, Bell's produced another good beer and I will drink it again.

SykDoc, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of semihobo
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8745, Packaged on 9/11/08.

Poured with a large head, off white foam that dimpled nicely and retained good depth. Very compact bubbles. Dark red/brown.

Smell is nutty with some toffee and milk. Minor noble hops spicing.

Tastes like a hybrid between a brown ale and a sweet stout (and given that this is a Bell's beer I shouldn't really be surprised at the stout creeping in). The combination works well -- has the roasted aspects of a stout but in a very subdued, sweeter fashion. A coffee/Hershey's syrup/Nutella blend comes through at the end with some minty hops that add a touch of dryness. Some nonspecific fruit and honey on the front.

Mouthfeel is very wet and creamy, I kept expecting a drier beer from the taste. Carbonation comes and goes smoothly with a strong peak. Sweet and smooth on the finish.

Definitely tasty and sessionable -- a good spin on the brown ale style and a solid fall seasonal.

semihobo, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with 5.8% ABV (lower than listed here). the space where the batch number is usually put is empty. dont you just hate that?

A- light to medium brown and see through body with a very tiny off white head.

S- toffee is very prominent here. something nutty, and a bit of coffee as well.

T- very sweet is the first thing i notice. the toffee is the main taste. the nuts are in there as well. some coffee in the finish

M- medium bodied with barely noticeable carbonation. creamy and smooth

D- i could have a few of these in a sitting without wanting to switch. nice flavor and low ABV makes this one very sessionable.

jwinship83, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of CaptainIPA
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a rich, chestnut brown with a thin rim of sticky, beige lacing.

S: Coffee, chocolate, toffee, raisin, molasses, and brown sugar.

T: Opens malty and sweet with robust notes of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Slightly nutty character throughout. Smooth, sweet finish with traces of toasted malts.

M: Medium-bodied and creamy with a low level of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. A nice representation of an English Brown Ale.

CaptainIPA, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of Buebie
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Now with new lable design...

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a snifter.
Brown in color, shifting to a copper amber when held to light.
1 finger white bubbly head. Spotty sparce lace, with random bubbles of retention.

Mild chocolate malts at the knose and a semi-sweet carmely aroma. Besides that, and a small alcahol fume, there isnt much else.

Moderate amounts of carbonation. Sweet dairy cream flavors, without the texture. Fairly thin and watery in mouthfeel. Some brown sugar flavors, with a mix of grains on the pallet.
Quite simple with a decent malt/ grain backing.

Nice sessionable beer.

Buebie, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of KeefD
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally, after reviewing several beers from quickly scribbled notes, it's time to review beer that's sitting in front of me. Pours a dark amber/brown color, orange highlights with lots of suspended particles and a tan head that recedes slowly leaving some above average lacing. Lightly toasted malt aroma, backed up by some toffee and caramel notes, and slightly fruity. A faint metallic aroma is in the background. Taste is pretty similar to the nose. Some light toffee flavors, light fruitiness, some caramel and faintly metallic. Medium mouthfeel, leaving a little to be desired. Not a bad brown ale, but pretty one-dimensional.

KeefD, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of hopdog
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle.

Poured a deeper and cloudy brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Lots of little floaters in there. Aromas of nuts, caramel, and light chocolate. Tastes of nutiness, toffee, chocolate and there were also some hoppiness.

Notes from 10/23/05

hopdog, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of BWH3
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep, garnet hued brown with a thin lacy chestnut brown head. Retention holds the lacing but I would have liked to see a bigger head. Fairly still with a fine bubble.

S: I would say almost entirely cocoa aroma. A bit of toasted malt scent.

T: A smooth, slightly creamy and largely chocolate palate that finishes dry with a hearty toasted malt presence. A bit of roasted bitter malt also comes in on the palate in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with a fine moderate carbonation. Fair head retention.

D: I used to drink this on draft when I lived in Indiana and it is nice to see this brown ale out in the Mid atlantic region.

BWH3, Nov 13, 2008
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,327 ratings.