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

2,625 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,625
Reviews: 832
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 87
Gots: 274 | FT: 5
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,625 | Reviews: 832
Photo of nortmand
3.21/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a bit red for a brown, let alone a best brown. Some brownish foam as well.
I had the damnedest time getting a scent off this beer, but maybe a bit of raisiny chocolate? In fact, I think I smell Raisinets.
Taste is a bit of raisin, a bit of chocolate. Some roast as well I suppose.
Mouthfeel, some CO2, a little creamy. Appreciable.
I mean, I guess I could drink a few, but if my review wasn't any indication, I wouldn't be too excited to.

Photo of blackthistle
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish-brown in color with a thick foam of tight bubbles. A sweet, malty aroma with some fruity esters. The flavor begins with a creamy, malty, chocolatey taste followed by a slightly dry, hoppy aftertaste. This medium-bodied ale has just enough hop bitterness in the aftertaste to balance the whole beer out.

Photo of oxmasterscream
3.11/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color is a deep, translucent, cherry-brown. Big, fluffy, light tan head. Looks good.
Smells of toasted malt with a splash of tangy hops. Only slightly nutty. Nothing else really comes through. Aroma is just average for a brown ale.
Tastes tangy, tangy, tangy... too much so. A bit of toasted malt now and then, as well as some faint, bitter coffee in the finish. Fruity alcohol shows its face toward the end of the glass.
Mouth is medium-bodied. Gently carbonated. Smooth on the tongue.
As for brown ales, I've easily had better. This is just run of the mill. There's no way this can be their "best."

Photo of sulldaddy
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a cold bottle in an english pint glass. The beer is courtesy of BIF 20 and Feloniousmonk. Thanks!

The beer pours a slightly hazy mahogany color with strong ruby tints.
A small beige surface layer of head rests lazily on the top.
Aroma is light toffee and a hint of baker's chocolate mixing with a mild grassy hop character as well.
First sip reveals an average bodied medium carbonation brew.
The flavor is mild overall but starts with some light toffee and chocolate, with a slightly bigger sweet hit in the middle and finishes with a bit of a sweet brown sugar malt hit. The burps reveal the grassy hops again.
The beer is very easy to drink and fairly mild overall. An easy session beer for sure.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle with the sweet owl illustration a lovely chocolate brown with a nice inch of khacki foam on top. Stringy lacing decorates the side of my glass. My nose descends to the glass and I get a nice roasted dark malt with hints of chocolate and a fresh green herbal hop. Well balanced.

First sip brings a nice roasted, toasted maltiness upfront that has notes of powdered cocoa and burnt grains. Hints of dark fruits emerge here and there along with a mellow herbal hop on the way down. A nice solid brown ale that I find enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a chewy palate. Definetly on the heavy side for a brown ale but I enjoy it that way. I could easily have a few of there..but there are other Bell's brews I'd probably pick first. Definetly worth a try. Thanks to kmpitz2 for hooking me up!

Photo of mntlover
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown color with slight red hints when held to the light nice tan head falls to ring quick leaves some lace behing.

Aroma is sweet maltiness with some nutty aromas oh so light and some light grassy hops. Taste is the same lightly sweet, malt is lightly toasted adding some nutty flavors that peak with the carbonation and lead to a lingering nuttiness mixed with light spice and lightly bitter grassy hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium nice amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good overall a nice little english brown ale

Photo of NJpadreFan
2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

Photo of Star80
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of crookedhalo
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of masterbruewer
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Photo of Gaisgeil
4.1/5  rDev +7%
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.

Photo of santoslhalper
3.69/5  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.

Photo of alexgash
4.1/5  rDev +7%
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.

Photo of mobyfann
3.86/5  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!

Photo of carln26
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.95/5  rDev +29.2%
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.

Photo of Skidz
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Photo of walleye
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
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

Photo of ken3c
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Photo of soper2000
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
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!!

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,625 ratings.