1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,057 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,057
Reviews: 777
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 62
Gots: 108 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,057 | Reviews: 777 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

2.95/5  rDev -22.8%

Pours a deep copper/ amber/ brown, with a small white head. In the aroma, a small sweet malt, but somewhat bland. In the taste, a sweet maltiness, yet quite thin. A smooth mouthfeel and a dry malty aftertaste. A bit sweeter than a standard brown, however not a big nose. Easy to drink and non offensive.

11-23-2007 13:54:01 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of Auracom
Auracom

Illinois

2.95/5  rDev -22.8%

12 oz. poured into a RR tulip on February 26th, 2013.

A - Murky soft caramel coloring. Light khaki foam with good lacing and marginal retention.

S - Freshly-rolled dough, hint of smoke, roasted peanuts.

T - Very direct. Honey malts, soft caramel cookie, and a hint of over roasted coffee.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, semi-dry finish.

D - Exactly what it ought to be, but nothing memorable. Super approachable and about as middle-of-the-road as you can get.

03-11-2013 17:17:51 | More by Auracom
Photo of rundocrun
rundocrun

Iowa

2.95/5  rDev -22.8%

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep walnut-brown color with a 1/2 finger of off-white head that fades quickly. No lacing on the glass.

S - Not much going on in the nose aside from a very mild sweet brown sugar aroma. Possibly some herbal hop character.

T - Flavors of burnt sugar, mild caramely sweetness and a vague bitterness that doesn't really seem to come from hops, alcohol or anything else. There are also some mild esters toward the finish that recall plums, figs, raisins, etc.

M - Thin body. I'd have to say this one is definitely over-carbonated. What few flavors are evident in this beer are overpowered by the intense tingling carbonation that hits the tongue with each sip.

Overall - Not really that great of a beer. Aroma and flavor both leave a lot to be desired and the carbonation level is a problem for me.

11-07-2011 01:01:12 | More by rundocrun
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -23.3%

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.

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

Ohio

2.93/5  rDev -23.3%

I love Bell's products. They do dark ales very well. I don't care for this beer. So mediocre, I find it hard to rate it without feeling guilty.
Pours so gorgeous, I was excited. Nice copper body with a beautiful white head of almost four fingers! It begged me to drink it.
And I did. Twice. With the same results. Boring. I'm sorry.
Smells of a malt bisquit, and has lackluster mouth appeal and the only reason I'm drinking more than one is because I had to buy six.

10-12-2006 01:33:05 | More by scott
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic

Florida

2.93/5  rDev -23.3%

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.

03-27-2011 00:57:11 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

2.88/5  rDev -24.6%

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Body is decidedly not brown out in the light; deep amber is more accurate. Modest off-white head with a little lacing.

Smells good, muted caramel and toffee with a dusting of cocoa powder and background nuttiness. A bit of leafiness in the nose turns into a fairly powerful bitterness, which is out of style and somewhat at odds with the otherwise nutty and toasty flavor profile. As the bitterness subsides at the swallow, toasted malts and a touch of nuttiness return. Some cereal grains in there as well. Just a hint of chocolate.

Overall impression: Not bad at all, but loses points when reviewed as a true English brown ale. Definitely would have scored this higher as an American version, which honestly seems to be a better fit.

12-19-2010 20:03:35 | More by PDXHops
Photo of mnstorm99
mnstorm99

Minnesota

2.88/5  rDev -24.6%

Light brown pour, pretty disappointing, with an off white head that sticks around.
Aroma is a nice spicy hops with a good bready, roasted malt to it.
Taste it like burnt toast, the bready malts don't mix real well with the spicy hops. But I was able to get some carmel, coffe notes in there.
Mouthfeel is very thin for a brown and overly carbonated, this is my first real big disappointment from the folks at Bells.

02-21-2008 14:37:34 | More by mnstorm99
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Kentucky

2.88/5  rDev -24.6%

12oz bottle, packaged on 9/13/11, into a La Chouffe tulip. Thanks to vonschplieffen for tossing one of these my way. Is Bell's distributing to CT now? If so, I'm ecstatic.

A: Clear ruddy chestnut body under an inch of soft tan foam. Good retention and some spotty lace. I love the color.

S: WTF. This smells like pure, raw pumpkin. Not pumpkin pie, but the distinctively evocative aroma of carving a jack-o-lantern. There's some more standard caramel and herbal hops, too, but I just can't get past the pumpkin. I might appreciate it if it were supposed to be there, but as it is I'm kind of weirded out.

T: The gourd is pretty much (bot not entirely) gone, replaced by more generic nuttiness, chocolate, and plenty of grassy hop bitterness. It's a little on the weak side, but not terrible. Just a standard brown.

M: Light-to-medium body, highly carbonated. Pretty nice.

O: I'm just confused by this beer. Is it supposed to be a pumpkin ale? If so, then it's pretty good. As a straight brown ale, though, it's quite disappointing. I know Bell's can do better.

Cheers!

10-23-2011 22:21:40 | More by woosterbill
Photo of SometimesIfart
SometimesIfart

Michigan

2.85/5  rDev -25.4%

A - Pours copperish brown with a two-finger white head. No lacing.

S - Raisins, roasted malt.

T - A wee-bit of coffee, raisins, roasted malt, a bit water.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O - Overall, it was exremely average. I could have it at the the bar, but probably wouldn't buy it for the home.

01-21-2013 06:01:15 | More by SometimesIfart
Photo of srv33
srv33

Michigan

2.83/5  rDev -25.9%

Dark amber pour, light medium-fine frothy head. Little smell, a little bread a little nutty. Tastes much the same, very much a generally pleasing ale. I could see how this would be a crowd pleaser. No notable overarching notes on first taste that aren't uncommon for an ale. Great aftertaste though, a little vanilla and oddly a little melon, very smooth.

06-29-2012 04:23:34 | More by srv33
Photo of LiquidBread219
LiquidBread219

Indiana

2.83/5  rDev -25.9%

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.

09-18-2010 16:53:40 | More by LiquidBread219
Photo of Cresant
Cresant

Kentucky

2.8/5  rDev -26.7%

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a becker. Batch 7681. The body was a hazy, honey brown color with three fingers of head. Some lacing remained.

Smell was aluminum. Other aromatic characteristics were faint. Eventually a brown sugar aroma surfaced.

Taste was toasty sweet malts. Lightly syrupy flavor. Light hops lift. Nice interplay of malts and hops (not all malts).

Mouthfeel was smooth, however, the swallow revealed robust carbonation. Medium to light body. This is not one I would seek out again, but brown ales are not one of my favorite styles.

02-04-2007 14:32:26 | More by Cresant
Photo of dpnelson1978
dpnelson1978

Minnesota

2.8/5  rDev -26.7%

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.
40°F

$1.50 / ea.

A: Cloudy brown body swimming with particulate and topped with a big tan head that quickly dissipates leaving light foamy lacing and a thin bubbly cover.

S: Unmistakable roasted character dominates the aroma, with distinct nut and sweet malt accents. Hops are negligible. Simple but effective.

T: Sweet nutty malt front and center with a mild hop bitterness in the distant background. Slight bitterness remains on the tongue after the taste. Borders on too sweet. Bandaid flavors at the very end, likely from the yeast sediment that made its way into the bottle. Again, very simple profile, but still enjoyable.

M: Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Sweet malt has a tendency to coat the tongue giving a sense of smoothness that is a little overbearing.

D: Solid beer, but too sweet for my taste. A couple of these is more than enough, but would compliment a pork chop nicely.

O: A bit below my expectations for Bell's.

10-22-2010 03:51:21 | More by dpnelson1978
Photo of Tawny
Tawny

Michigan

2.75/5  rDev -28%

01-20-2013 03:00:08 | More by Tawny
Photo of IronTom
IronTom

Illinois

2.75/5  rDev -28%

08-18-2013 19:16:08 | More by IronTom
Photo of rypkr
rypkr

Pennsylvania

2.75/5  rDev -28%

12-15-2013 00:34:40 | More by rypkr
Photo of meanmutt
meanmutt

Ohio

2.75/5  rDev -28%

02-06-2012 14:25:02 | More by meanmutt
Photo of Lee_Hancock
Lee_Hancock

Maryland

2.75/5  rDev -28%

01-01-2013 00:56:40 | More by Lee_Hancock
Photo of Rn2Ln3Tn4
Rn2Ln3Tn4

Pennsylvania

2.75/5  rDev -28%

03-03-2013 20:23:25 | More by Rn2Ln3Tn4
Photo of emac1224
emac1224

Michigan

2.75/5  rDev -28%

04-28-2014 02:01:25 | More by emac1224
Photo of wpmatt16
wpmatt16

Michigan

2.75/5  rDev -28%

08-01-2012 00:42:16 | More by wpmatt16
Photo of ndaniel
ndaniel

Indiana

2.75/5  rDev -28%

02-28-2013 00:00:32 | More by ndaniel
Photo of umustdrink
umustdrink

Minnesota

2.68/5  rDev -29.8%

found in the back of the fridge (should have left it there?)

A - Deep brown color. Very light brown head, big and fluffy to start, recedes to a thick film. Little lacing.

S - Mild smells of brown sugar, cereal malts with minimal bitterness.

T - Very mild tastes as well: light and tangy malts with a tiny bit of sweetness.

M - Thin to medium consistency with probably too much carbonation considering it may be a bit too thin in consistency.

D - Completely un-stellar in most concerns. Not your typical Bell's. Oh well.

01-10-2008 01:28:51 | More by umustdrink
Photo of savaship
savaship

Minnesota

2.68/5  rDev -29.8%

This beer was ordered on Tap and served in a special Bell's Pint Glass. It had a beautiful dark brown appearance, I estimated it to be 27 SRM with a nice hint of red. I spent a little time gauging the color with an SRM chart from the Beer Judging Certification Program. The head was foamy off-white but dissipated quickly, leaving slight lacing.

The beer smelled very nicely, the adequate aroma hop usage worked to its benefit, had a very english ale floral aroma to it, I think the aroma hop was likely a Fuggle hop, it definitely smelled the way most good Brown Ales smell.

Taste I had issues with... American Craft brewers like to unbalance their beer with high acid hops such as Cascade hops which I suspect were in this beer, that just leave a drinker like me who's expecting a nicely balanced beer very disappointed. I estimated this beer to be 35-37 IBU, even if it was actually lower, the hop choice just tastes foul, and overpowers the malt.

The carbonation was perfect, had I not wanted to get that beer out of my mouth as quickly as possible, I would have savored it longer.

Overall, I do not like this beer. It seems to have taken the brown ale tradition and forced it down the American Ale Cascade hop road to attempt to make it taste like many of the woefully unbalanced American Craft beers out there that favor bitter over balance.

11-23-2013 14:21:50 | More by savaship
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,057 ratings.