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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

2,494 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,494
Reviews: 810
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 79
Gots: 205 | 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: 2,494 | Reviews: 810 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ComfortablyBum
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz poured into DFH glass

A - Cloudy dark copper color with a big head that faded into sparce lacing with large bubbles.

S - Bready with sweetness

T - Caramel and yeasty flavors. Very little bitterness in this beer. There are some floral hop flavors though.

M - Carbonated enough to give it a medium mouthful.

D - This beer is alright, but not something I can see myself drinking a lot of.

ComfortablyBum, Sep 30, 2010
Photo of NODAK
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nose is a pretty rich one....very malty. Hints of caramel, molasses, dark chocolate, and some roast is evident. About as malty as you'd expect a much heavier beer to smell.

Taste initially has a nice, sweet caramel malt to it and in abundance. I also notice a bit of chocolate in there as well. In addition, a nice toasty component is in there towards the finish and this sets it a bit apart from some other brown ales in my opinion. Very tasty. Easy to put down and full of flavor.

All in all, it's a pretty good and distinctive brown ale, which is a style that I often find can be dull or repetitive.

NODAK, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of Anthony1
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass. The aroma is of caramelized malts, maple, nuts, honey and a touch of hops. The taste starts out sweet with flavors of maple, caramel, honey and nuts that are followed by a hearty malt character. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet. Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

Anthony1, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of FreshHawk
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice garnet, amber color with a large, foamy, cloudy, fluffy, off-white head. Retention is quite good leaving a nice creamy layer of lace.

S - Nutty earthy flavors mixed with some toasted grain and bread. Some caramel malt and some woody undertones. Slight bitterness is also present. Aroma is a little on the light side though.

T - Pretty standard Brown ale flavors. A lot of nutty flavors along with toasted grain and bready malt favors. Fairly sweet to start, then mid sip some spicy, earthy hops provide a bit of bitterness. Finishes with a nice earthy, nutty flavor.

M - Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. Smooth with just a slight sticky feel at the end.

D - Easy to drink and refreshing, that is typical for the style. A nice slight bitterness evens it out.

Notes: Overall a nice brown ale that has a lot of toasted, earthy, and nutty flavors. A nice fall beer.

FreshHawk, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of elgiacomo
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, batch 9980, bottled Aug 31, 2010.

Pours very hazy dark reddish/copper/brown with a one finger off white head that leaves some lacing and holds a good creamy/foamy cap.

The excellent aroma features good toasty, bready, nutty, biscuity, caramel maltiness, quite rich for a brown ale, a little bit of hops underneath.

Flavor is some sweet caramel and toffee malts, a touch of brown sugar, toasted bread, a bit of earthy hops, very little bitterness, and despite the initial sweetness, it manages to finish mostly dry. Pretty robust flavor for a brown ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite creamy, low to medium carbonation.

Excellent Brown Ale, perhaps my favorite of the style!

elgiacomo, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of LiquidBread219
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A= Poured dark brown with a slight head which disappears quickly.

S= For me this beer smelled a little bit on the nutty side.

T= The taste was nutty with little bit of a carmel aftertaste.

M= Pretty smooth beer, medium carbonation. To me this is kind of a boring beer.

D= It's a ok beer kind of boring to me because nothing really stands out to me or defines it probably wouldn't buy this one again.

LiquidBread219, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of bobhits
2.08/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Brown, thin, filtered, 1 finger head, white off white creamy head.

Toasty aroma followed by caramel malt. Some hops mixed in. Creates a rather complex and interesting aroma.

Somewhat thin, watery, toasted malt up front, finishing carmal, hops give an earthy piny touch that's just enough there to add some almost texture to the beer.

Drinkable enough and clean enough in the mouth feel, but both are just off. It's a touch too thick in mouth feel for the flavor. The flavor is pretty light and ready to a day of drinking but the body isn't. it's not something I'd drink 4-5 of in a night. Just too thick and not flavorful enough to have me keep tipping my glass.

bobhits, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of montecristo2
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet style glass.

Pours a dark brown, a bit murky but when held to the light shows a dark mahogany color.

Very light head, dissipates very quickly to almost nothing.

Smells of malts and nuts.

Taste-Nutty, a slight tang, and that caramel aftertaste that I love with brown ales.

A very drinkable session brown from Bell's.


montecristo2, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of harpus
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nothing special here...medium brown, a pretty rudy color shows through when held to the light. Thin head gone in a flash.

S: Pretty mild...nutty malt mostly. Not any hops to speak of.

T: Like the taste, it's pretty mild and mostly nutty. Certainly nothing offensive, but nothing exciting either. I guess it's just kind of boring, to be honest.

M: Smooth, light to medium carb, mildly dry finish. Again, pretty much mediocrity, although I can't find anything wrong with it either, which suggests a small bumb up from average.

D: This would be great for....I dunno? I'm sure it would be enjoyable in some situation but I can't think of any. It's unexciting, and I probably wouldn't buy it again for the mere fact that nothing makes me say "wow" about it, or even "ooh.

harpus, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of turamarth
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a basic pint glass.

Look: Pours a pretty hefty off white head, that lingers for a good while. Not a lot of lacing. Has a clear dark amber color, almost like a jar filled with iced tea. Only real downside on the looks of the beer is the fact that there is so much yeast sediment chillin in the beer. I'm pretty sure if I wanted to I would take a sample and make my own yeast starter from it. Mmmm petry dish.

Smell: An interesting nose. Lots of musky sents that linger in the nose after a good dive. Also, there are a lot of tannin smells, e.g., tea, cold coffee, etc. After the musky notes the caramels are predominate in the nose. There are also some dark fruit and coco powder hints through out.

Taste: Much a kin to the nose. The musky flavors linger on the tongue after a good sip, I like this. A caramel sweetness that is stronger on the tongue than on the nose sits well here along with some amplified fruits that I can't pinpoint. Pretty tasty.

Mouth: A rather medium mouthfeel. Smooth and the carbonation dances nicely on the tongue. Every now and then however you'll find a lil yeasty on your tongue.

Drink: Dispite all the freakin' yeast you can see and sometimes taste. This beer is pretty drinkable, and very sessionable. Probably my go to brown ale.

turamarth, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of busternuggz
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Light brown with an orange tint when held to the light. 1/4" off-white head that quickly receded. Leaves a little lacing when swirled.
Roasty malt and caramel on the nose, some nuttiness, a little bit of toast and hay.
Caramel and nutty (pecan-like) tastes, some brown sugar and maple. Moderate pleasant sweetness and ends with a crisp grassy dryness. A little bitter hop presence that mellows as it warms up.
Medium bodied and silky. Coats the tongue pleasantly for a while after swallowing.
Pretty smooth and pleasant, nicely balanced.
A tasty and nuanced brown ale, very nice.

busternuggz, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber with a thin white head that fades quickly, becoming patchy.
Smell is bready malts with notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, and toffee. Faint, grassy notes come in as well.
Taste is rich, bready malts, with some grassy hops. Buttery toasted notes, as well as some toffee and faint caramel.
Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, with a slightly dry finish. Medium light body.
Drinkability is good. Drinks fairly easily.

Parrotbeak, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of Dangus
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Brown just as one would assume. Fair amount of carbonation, poured about an inch of off white head. Head faded to a cap pretty quickly. There is some sediment in the glass, but that's par for the course with a bottle conditioned beer.

Smell- Toasty malts and sour breadiness. I am not detecting much of a hop aroma.

Taste- Nice maltiness, slightly nutty. There is a twinge of sourness that lingers after I swallow the beer.

Mouthfeel- Nice amount of carbonation. Medium bodied.

Drinkability- Good drinkability. I would prefer this for a colder time of year, but it is still nice and easy to drink. Enjoyable beer for sure.

Dangus, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of wchesak
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Spiegelau tulip

A - amber brown, less than a fingers worth of light sandy colored head, some blots of lace

S - caramel, some brown sugar, hint of chocolate, slight toffee and nut notes

T - lots of malt - chocolate, caramel, nut; aftertaste has some roast to it along with the slightest bittering from the hops

M - body starts out medium but finishes a little thinner than average, average carbonation

D - enjoyable, nothing out of the ordinary, but is a good example of an English Brown

wchesak, May 30, 2010
Photo of biglite351
2.55/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - light for a brown. Tall tight near white head.

S - very mild. Almost like a sweet lager.

T - when I drink this it make me think of a very light bock. The flavor drops off fast.

M - not thin but no real coating either. Tingle on entire front of tongue.

D - very drinkable like any (seemingly) light beer would be, but why bother?

biglite351, May 29, 2010
Photo of coryking
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorites during the winter. A perfect balance of caramel, toast, nuttiness, soft sweetness, and soft hops. This beer pairs amazingly with food. Nice frothy head, great aroma, medium to light body, silky mouthfeel, and a pleasant, refreshing finish. A very nice brew!

coryking, May 28, 2010
Photo of Spica66
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: More red than brown. Nice head with lacing.

S: Smells very malty. Not too complex.

T: This has always tasted nutty to me. It has a nice malt flavor, kind of medium in strength.

F: I would not say that this beer has anything more than average mouthfeel.

D: this beer is very easy to drink, especially in the fall before a football game!

Spica66, May 18, 2010
Photo of dbossman
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Redish brown--tea colored and quite red; tan, frothy head with large bubbles that seem to slowly pop as the head loses its form; lacing is even and intricate

S: Grainy upfront but a nice subtle sweetness pervades--a touch of caramel and brown sugar as well as some pleasant nuttiness; but all in all the aromas are quite subtle

T: A subtle sweetness balanced well with a nutty roasted malt and grain flavor; some undertones of hops that also complement the beer

F: Pretty good mouth feel; it seems a touch thin at times but for the most part is pretty good

D: Very drinkable; goes down so smooth and the flavors allow for lengthy enjoyment

dbossman, May 14, 2010
Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours out a fairly dark brown with some red hints around the edges where light shines through the beer. A creamy looking three finger, off-white head builds up and retains very well. I am forced to take my first sip with about a finger of the head still present. Light-medium lacing is left at the top of the glass.

S- Three main things come up for me here. There is a pretty good amount of nutty hints to the aroma. Next is a slightly fruity aspect, darker fruits, probably from some sort of English hops. Malts make their presence in the background as a nice base to the smell. The nut hints are slightly roasty as well. A nice balance of these notes. Smell does not fade away through the experience.

T- The taste is a good balance of the same things in the nose. The nutty notes make even more of an appearance in the taste. Some sweetness and roasty hints come from the malts. The fruity aspect is less present in the taste and slightly in the background. One of the better nutty flavors in a beer that I have had. No huge hop presence but there is slight bitterness and grassy/earthy hop flavor.

MF- Fairly light bodied with medium carbonation. The body is right in the middle of watery and creamy. No alcohol warmth. A coat of nutty malt flavors is left on the palate.

DB- A good beer with a very nice nutty aspect to it. The price was not bad but I can't get any of this in MA. The nutty flavors are strong but do not overpower as more of the beer is consumed. Definitely an enjoyable Brown Ale with good, balanced flavors.

cbutova, May 04, 2010
Photo of jwhawkins81
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch #9561 bottled on 1/26/2010 tasted on 4/22/2010

Aroma - Rich maltiness with a touch of sweetness. Not a lot of hop aroma but maybe just hint on the nose.

Appearance - Dark reddish brown with a thin light brown head that quickly dissipated. Good level of residual carbonation following the pour.

Taste - A maltiness that isn't too sweet or even dominating the flavor. Slight hint of hard water minerals and a touch of astringent alcohol like flavors. Over the entire bottle the flavors smoothed out to a nutty brown goodness

Notes - Not bad but not great either. The mouthfeel was just OK.

jwhawkins81, May 02, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Man if this isn't run of the mill I dunno what is. Looks decent enough, a little thinner than what I was hoping for. No detectable aroma.

Taste is a little thin for me. Nutty. I'm just not a brown ale guy. The ones I tend to like have a bigger malt bill, coming closer to being a porter moreso than the actual traditional brown style. A little more gritty than I expected.

Mouthfeel, nothing much, some brown colored beer, so surprises, no letdowns. A little costly for what it is.

Beerandraiderfan, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of Brettster
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a kind of murky carmel color with about a one finger foamy head that fades quick. Has a nice roasted nut smell with plenty of sweetness. Has lots of malt flavor with hints of fruit. This is a pretty smooth medium bodied brown. In fact it is one of the better brown ales I have had.

Brettster, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of magine
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a cloudy (love that), caramel/brown color with a thick chunky tan head. Nice chunk island head stays throughout, and it has great lace. Nice looking brew.

Brew has a caramel malt smell, bisquit and grain.

The brew is malty; caramel, toffee tastes. Very balanced, some hops and a very smooth finish - sweet, but not overdone. Smooth creamy brew, goes down way, way easy.

This is an extreamly sessionable brew, and a very good one at that. One of the best brown ales I have had. Has a great drinkability, with a great finish and taste.

magine, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of divineaudio
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass. batch#9403.

color is a deep reddish amber with some sediment particles floating around. a thin tan head forms quick and calms down to a thin film. lacing is spotty at best.

smell is rich with toasted and carmel malts and some mild fruitiness. taste-wise, malt sweetness hits you first with a bit of a nutty character, then mild hop bitterness on the sides and back of the tongue, then a long semi-sweet finish. definitely has some raisin or fig in there somewhere but i can't quite put my finger, err, tongue on it. pretty well balanced for being so malt forward.

mouthfeel is smooth for being a heavier bodied ale. carbonation gives the flavors enough pop without being too fizzy.

very drinkable and a good contender if you're looking for a malty session beer. seems very true to style. yet another quality beer from bells.

divineaudio, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of DT051
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served: Bottle poured into a pint glass.

Aroma: Low nutty and earthy ripe fruit and slight caramel notes. reminds me a bit of apple peel with some brown sugar notes

Appearance: definately some sediments floating about. Color is a nice dark amber. A lasting moderate head little lacing as it disipated.

Body and Texture: Medium body but a touch of grittyness. Nice feel as it flows through the mouth. Drankable.

Flavor: roasty caramel with slight spiceyness tranistions to a more saltly nut flavor a little ripe fruit hanging around.

DT051, Apr 07, 2010
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,494 ratings.