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

Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,939 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1939
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%


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: 1,939 | Reviews: 776 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bell's Best Brown Ale

Appearance- nice hickory brown with a decent frothy head.
Smell- nutty and sweet. Malt and caramel detected.
Taste- whoa sooo sweet. Nutty but sugary sweet.

Overall- just too sweet for me. Nice nutty, caramelly, woddsiness but made my cheeks hurt. I'll pass on this next time.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2005 22:48:07 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of Star80
Star80

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish red with a two-inch head that dissipated into nice layer on top of the beer. Bottle had a ton of sediment at the bottom and some is still floating in my beer. Not sure if this is good or bad. The store I buy from turns over inventory quickly and I have no reason to believe the sediment is abnormal for this unfiltered brew. Smells is a bit soapy, with a slight leather aroma as well. Taste is a bit subdued but still has that nice nutty, English toffee aftertaste like a good brown ale should. Mouthfeel is fine. Drinkable but not overly so.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2005 01:35:37 | More by Star80
Photo of crookedhalo
crookedhalo

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky coppery brown color with a tan colored head. Definitelt unfiltered. Slightly nutty quality to the aroma, with a light grassiness and some biscuit and caramel-like maltiness. Medium bodied. Residual sweetness is cut nicely with a lightly bitter finish. Trace amounts of diacetyl, which is fine. A nicely balanced brown ale that's easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2005 14:52:26 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of masterbruewer
masterbruewer

Ohio

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy brown amber with thin off white head and light carbonation. Lots of little particles floating about. Good lacing

The smell is sweet and malty, with a fruity, carmel smell in the back.

The flavor is strong but smooth. You can taste the alcohol, but it's not overpowering. Some carmel and fruity flavors mix about in there. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is substantial but not thick.

Very drinkable for smoothness and flavor, maybe a bit strong for session drinking.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2005 02:55:39 | More by masterbruewer
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahagony hueud slightly ruddy pour under a huge signature Bells cake like foamy storm. Good lacing lafet in the glass.

Slightly metalic plain yogurt scents. Easy nutmeg, but mildly aromatic overall.

First swigs: Cherry coke & butter pecan ice cream. Yummy sweet caramel ice cream topping like Hershey's Butterscotch. Pecan pie perplexingly complex.

Slightly buttery feel to the brew.

Last swigs: Butterscotch caramel ice cream flavored. This is the best brown that I've ever had. Bells continues to prove to be a success. Some fellow BAs of mine kid around that you will rarely ever say, "Wow! This is a great brown ale!" Well, for once the rare saying fits. To be tried again later if it cosses my path.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2005 18:50:24 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of UncleJimbo
UncleJimbo

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz longneck brown bottle, capped, no date.

This beer poured a clear, deep red-brown chestnut color with creamy, tan foam that persisted and clung to the inside of the glass and coated it. The smell was malty with notes of caramel and a bit of hops. The taste was rich and malty with a bit of caramel and a nice hoppiness to balance the malt, and beneath the malt was a light fruitiness. The mouthfeel was smooth and dry with medium body and moderate carbonation. This was a great brown ale, and seemed very much like a German altbier to me. Thanks to feloniousmonk for this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2005 04:55:47 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of Gaisgeil
Gaisgeil

Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had most of Bell's brews and this is probably my favorite, hell this one is in my top 3 or 4 overall just based on balance of drinkability and taste! This is one great session brew! Nothing too overly fancy, but certainly not bland or boring by any means! This is how brown ale is supposed to be done! This reminds me a great deal of Newcastle Brown in it's subtlety but with just a tad more fullness and a bit more American brashness.

Pours out a nice rich brown with amber tones when held to the light with a decent sized white head that retains through the whole glass. Lots of hoppy goodness to go around with some fruity and fig overtones ending with a nice alcohol kick at the end. Carbonation is just right, overall a very drinkable beer for those who like the subtle style that is English Brown Ale.

This is one I keep in my fridge for year round drinking. A great "go-to" beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2005 06:13:10 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of santoslhalper
santoslhalper

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearence: Pours a hazy brown with a foamy tan head. Head lingers for a while. As with a decent amount of Bell's brews I've had, there are massive chunks of yeast floating. I know it's a result of the bottle conditioning but I think it's a bit overboard.

Smell: Smells malty and creamy, with milk and coffee notes. The hops make a decent presence, and create nice balance.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes very much like toffee. The roasted caramel notes shine through, and the hops are floral and provide a long lingering finish. The mouthfeel is the normal velvety feel most Bell beers have, but I can actually feel the yeast in my mouth. Maybe just a bad bottle.

Drinkability and Overall: This is very nice tasting beer, but the yeast is overboard. Too much. This is a problem that needs fixed. Other than that I loved the flavor of the beer, and it smelled among the best. Hopefully this is just a bad bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2005 06:12:29 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, dark shoe-leather brown with a small, creamy, khaki head and decent lacing. Aromas of mild brown sugar, caramelized fruit, toasted malt, and yeast. Toasted loaf malt flavors up front. Light nuttiness, mixed with some dried pears also noticeable. Earthy, spicy hops come on stronger than expected and add a pleasant kick to this brew. Finish is bitter with light toasted fruit sweetness, and yeast. Nice. Medium-bodied, coats the mouth well. Another winner from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2005 02:41:38 | More by alexgash
Photo of mobyfann
mobyfann

Ohio

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid $8.99 for the build-your-own 6-pack at Wild Oats...

This beer pours a hazy brown base with a huge beautiful white head, with excellent retention and very impressive lacing effects of the side of the glass. The aroma is a bt faint of malts and caramel.

The taste is very light, a light malt flavor with a little nutty taste and maybe a touch of caramel, not too bad. The mouthfeel is wonderful, it was never heavy in the mouth and very smooth on the palette. The drinkability receives a medal for it's amazing smooth taste, it's light enough where more is welcome, but at 5.75% be careful, no real alcoholic taste in this one.

Final Thought: My first English Brown Ale was a success, what more could you ask from this first-rate brewery... proud to be an American!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2005 05:15:47 | More by mobyfann
Photo of carln26
carln26

Missouri

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass (The bottle thanks to Zac)
It poured a deep brown, mildly hazy with some ruby highlights. There was just a hint of a tan colored head, but the beer leaves a light lace on the side of the glass as I drink. The aroma is dominated by malt. A mild roast aroma up front with slight candy hints on the finish of the aroma. Great balance of roasted malt and sweetness in the flavor. Based on the nose, I was expecting a dominance of roast flavor. It has a surprising balance of roast and sweetness (50/50 all the way). The hops show up on the finish, just there to brighten the flavor a little. This beer has the same velvety mouth feel I’ve had in other Bell products. I can’t wait to try the Double Cream Stout. That will be a smooth mouth feel. A very drinkable beer. A very nice tribute to this style.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2004 23:32:53 | More by carln26
Photo of TastyTaste
TastyTaste

Minnesota

4.95/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer. I would rank this one up with any other EBA that I have had. Deep brown color, that is murky and slightly maroon. Smell is nutty malt and hoppy, reminiscent of hazelnuts. Taste is very malt and full, again very nutty, like a EBA should be. Versus the style, i think this is almost the perfect beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2004 00:44:49 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of Skidz
Skidz

Wisconsin

4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch # 6577

Pours out caramel brown and sits cherrywood brown in the glass with a lofty light tan head, plenty of lacings for everyone. Fades to a light skim.

Smells nice and toasty with caramel, toffee and soft gentle hop aroma. When I first lifted it to my nose, I first though "cottage cheese." Strange the way different aromas are melded together. Still, good malty character.

Tastes mildy sweet up front and slowly picks up bits of hop bitterness along the slow,tortoise like journey of flavor. Faint caramel and nouget and just a dusting of nuts. Hops provide just enough bitterness to please the pallate and lend a touch of leafy green flavors. Slow to the finish, but well-bittered and lingering leafy hop flavors and caramel.

Clean and crisp in the mouth, tact carbonation. Medium body is well suited.

Not a bad brown, in fact, it's pretty damn solid. Consumed with pride and pleasure. A step, at least, above the rest.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2004 04:08:14 | More by Skidz
Photo of walleye
walleye

Michigan

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured reddish brown with little head.aroma, malts ,choc. caramel. flavor dark chocolate like the kind that covers a chocolate covered cherry, molasses. got a nice sweetness and a little bit of a bite at the end. had nice mouth feel bells does it again for me

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2004 04:20:18 | More by walleye
Photo of ken3c
ken3c

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big rocky off-white head. Dark amber in color. Hazy in clarity. The head recedes to a layer that leaves beautiful lacing.

There is a strong malt aroma with caramel notes.

Sweet, fruity, grainy tastes. There is a little bitterness in the aftertaste but mostly grainy malt.

Medium body, well carbonated. Astringent in the finish.

This beer looked and smelled so good. I liked the fruitiness but was a little turned off by the astringency.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2004 05:34:26 | More by ken3c
Photo of soper2000
soper2000

Texas

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought over a sixer of this to watch some Trailer Park Boys on BBC. Although not my favorite style what kind of BA would i be if i didn't try one? It pours a solid brown with a rocky slightly off white head which has excellent retention and leaves a nice lacing all the way down the glass. Aroma is rich with a malty nuttiness. Taste was a bit chocolatey and nutty. A bit of wit-like spiciness comes through in the finish as well as something that I can only describe as the Bell's "house flavor." Fairly decent beer and the six pack was finished off in very little time. A solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2004 19:42:43 | More by soper2000
Photo of AtLagerHeads
AtLagerHeads

Ohio

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy dark copper/bonze with a minimal tan head, but with good lace effect. The nose is of sweet caramel and tofee, and these repeat in the flaor. It is an almost chewable heavy brew with good notes in the finish - almost candy-like. a good all-around drinkable brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2004 17:28:45 | More by AtLagerHeads
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnished bronze with loads of suspended particles. I may just have to chew this beer. The light brown head is large, firm and is a very nice lacer. Thick, chunky sheets adorn the glass as I drink.

The nose is of caramel/toffee, brown sugar and light molasses. As someone who prefers those flavors to chocolate, I approve in a big way and hope that the flavor matches the nose. It does. I can tell after the first sip that this beer has rocketed to the top of my 'best brown ales' list. A little more body would make it absolutely killer, but it's pretty damn tasty all the same.

Again, the flavor matches the nose: caramelized sugar-covered toasted malt with a little spiciness for good measure. I'm also reminded of sweet, dark fruits such as figs and dates. The sweetness--neither too much nor too little--fades to a slight dryness by the tail end of the long, lingering finish. I repeat, with a heavier body this would be extraordinary beer.

Bell's Brewery continues to grow on me. Brown ale is an often overlooked style that is sometimes short on excitement, but Bell's Best Brown is phenomenal stuff and has impressed me to no end.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2004 23:46:04 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer, long neck brown bottle. The obverse main label is completely different to that depicted in the BA Database. The bottle I have has a much more conservative purple edged gray background label with a beautifully drawn picture of an Owl sitting on a wooden fence post against a winter background. I am not sure what breed the owl is but looks like a Short-Eared Owl of sorts. The reverse label describes the offering as “...Best Brown Ale’s toasty malt character makes it a delicious beer for all types of weather”. Labeled as ‘Best Brown Ale’, but with no discernible freshness date, or even strength listed.

Appearance: Dark brown chestnut body that exhibits a deeply turbid porridge body that is murky and mud like in character. A decent head forms at first, a nicotine stained tan colored creamy cap covering which slips into a broken covering pretty quickly at first but yet it always retains a semblance of head. The first top-up forms a much longer lasting collar that leaves some excellent lacing. The decent conditioning means that a quick swirl always helps to reinstate the head and add to the lacing on the glass walls.

Nose: Nutty with a light warmth. Devon toffee and caramel coated Hops; this has a lovely “nutty toffee” character throughout. Has a light yet dark spicy character in the back end which adds a delicate exotic nuance.

Taste: The start is almost like a Northern English Mild, it has some Dark Mild cum Brown Ale qualities, but for some reason they are reticent to appear at first it seems. It comes into its own in the middle when the toffee and caramel break though in sufficient strength to excite the malty bitterness from the hops to also make a late party entrance in the midnight hour. The strength profile is almost directly proportional to the drink and residence time in the mouth. Light and low profile at first but tasty and wholesome in the back end. Has a dry malty finish. I like this one.

Mouthfeel: The conditioning lends a very smooth creamy feel and supports the malty bitterness that it exhibits perfectly. It does not disappoint.

Drinkability: I say this is most palatable Sir!! A Brown Ale that has an excellent quaffability. This is a seriously great Session Brown Ale.

Overall: On draft, this one would be a serious Winner in the working class areas of Northern England for sure. If it was indeed available, I would most certainly drink it in preference to “that other” readily available version. A jolly decent tipple and one I would most certainly imbibe in 12 ounce sextuplet fashion with little problem or inhibition.

Thanks to the MonkyFeloniousOne for supplying this Bell Ringer of a Brown!!

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2004 04:23:54 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a somewhat muddy brown color with a nice tight head.Good aroma of malt with great chocolate and caramel notes-a hint of hazelnut?Great flavor-toasted malt,slightly bready.Nice lingering bitterness.Decent mouthfeel.A very drinkable beer-I really like the aroma.Could see this being my regular everyday brew.Enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2004 21:42:29 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of beerluvr
beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a sticky light tan head over semi-clear light brownish liquid tinged with some redness. Mellow roasted maltiness with some chocolate and brown sugar notes in the nose. Flavors of bread dough and light butterscotch wash over the palate with a slight tanginess coming in at the end. Finishes well-hopped and nicely roasty. Well done.
Thanks to CRJMellor for another kick-ass trade!

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2004 14:53:14 | More by beerluvr
Photo of tar
tar

Bahamas

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went through a phase this winter in which this was my "regular everyday type" beer. Pours a very nice cloudy medium brown, with a one-finger thick, fluffy tan head. The head diminishes somewhat quickly, but sticks around enough to leave some nice lacing on the glass. Smells sweet, with very nice malt aromas coming forth. Tastes nicely of sweet, toasted malt, with some hints of carmel and perhaps a bit nutty. Smooth and easy drinking, this is a very enjoyable beer. Overall a very nice beer which I would definitely recommend.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2004 15:24:44 | More by tar
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep auburn, copper cloudy liquid with an off-white foamy head. The head disappeared quickly, and there was little lacing on the glass. Smells of toasted malt, not much else. Taste of sweetness, followed by a slight roasted caramel flavor. No bitterness. Medium body, nice amount of carbonation. Very easy to drink, very little bitterness at all. Good offering by Bell's. I suppose I would have enjoyed a deeper toasted/roasted flavor, but this one was good.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2004 04:31:01 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, no dating on bottle. NIce soft amber color with an off white head, leaves some lace. Pleasant doughy/malty aroma. Malty/bready flavor profile. Nutty, hints of rye, biscuits, almonds and oatmeal cookies. Moderate hops round things off. This is another tasty offering from Bells. My wife brought a mixed six pack back from Michigan, each beer has been tasty! Wish I could get more of these guy's brews here in NY state.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2004 00:18:05 | More by Billolick
Photo of CortexBomb
CortexBomb

Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice deep brown with a moderate amount of head. Smell is mainly malt dominated.

Taste is deep and satisfying; the malts from the aroma are there in quantity along with an appealing hop bite. Coffee, and nuts as well as a fruity tinge are all present as well and it finishes smoothly, nice.

Mouthfeel is good and thick, while the drinkability is right up there.

A fine winter offering from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2004 00:34:11 | More by CortexBomb
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,939 ratings.