1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
very good

2,390 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,390
Reviews: 802
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 70
Gots: 182 | 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: 2,390 | Reviews: 802 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of twkirkby
4/5  rDev +4.4%

twkirkby, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of jagada
4/5  rDev +4.4%

jagada, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of bldgblocks
4/5  rDev +4.4%

bldgblocks, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of flr0605
4/5  rDev +4.4%

flr0605, Yesterday at 08:22 PM
Photo of wembly13
4/5  rDev +4.4%

wembly13, Oct 03, 2014
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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!!

TheLongBeachBum, Jun 30, 2004
Photo of UltimateLivewire
4/5  rDev +4.4%

UltimateLivewire, Mar 11, 2012
Photo of Brown120
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Brown120, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of Brewsed
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Brewsed, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of brez8791
4/5  rDev +4.4%

brez8791, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of pizzaman23
4/5  rDev +4.4%

pizzaman23, May 15, 2012
Photo of kkipple
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask o' this appeared at my local Green's. A no-brainer.

A. Awh shucks, y'know.. it's a brown ale on cask. Low dirty white head, no lace, beer is russet and has a little depth to it. Not totally clear. A deeper red than actually brown, but I'm not complaining.

S. American malts here, easy, some mild roast, brown bread, delicate sweetness, some tame hop character.. it's all very mild and approachable. Cereal-y, hedgerow, damp dirt roads and a shining sun above. Working class and honest.

T. American hops, hopes & malt through and through here. Good blend of gently toasted, biscuity malt that has some sugar left and a slice of bittering, yet reserved cones. A little bit of fruit too, the starchy and sweet kind that makes good juice. This beer isn't one that takes well to picking apart... it just "is". Drinks very well.

M / D. Just a great beer to put back, the very low (cask) carbonation here makes this a Southern Slammer. If you don't know what a Southern Slammer is, don't ask me, I just made it up. Sounded cool. Anyway, this is super easy to drink and enjoy. Really, just enjoy it. Enjoy the delicate and free play of semi-sweet malt that dances with the lightly bitter grassy hops and just put another one back. Enjoy that one too, then call up that friend you haven't seen in 4 months and invite them over to drink with you. I'm going to kill a growler tonight.

Not *quite* as enjoyable as what comes out of the 5-liter mini-keg, this is still the best American brown ale this side of Moose Drool and potentially in the top 5 in the nation.

The kkipple bottom line: (kkbl) : Recommended, no matter the serving type. The next time you see some sucker toting a 6 pack of NewCastle at your booze-dealer, slap it outta his hand and steer him towards the Bell's Best Brown.

kkipple, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of ShepardCommander
4/5  rDev +4.4%

ShepardCommander, Sep 07, 2014
Photo of thegodfather1076
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - Like all Bell's that I've seen this has a very simple yet classy label with very nice hand drawn(I recently emailed Bell's to inquire about the artwork and was told that all Bell's artwork is hand drawn by local Michigan artists)artwork.

Appearance - Pours out a dark, caramel brown color with a very nice 2 finger golden tan head that dissipates slowly to a thin foam ring. Really good lacing.

Smell - Smells nutty with a scents of roasted malts and bread-like aroma. Hints of sweet caramel are evident. Very solid aroma!

Taste - Tastes of roasted malts with a earthy hop bitterness. Slightly nutty with hints of molasses or brown sugar and toasted bread.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Starts off crisp but finishes slightly creamy.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. Not filling at all despite the medium body. These go down easy!

One of the better Browns that I have had. I really enjoyed the way the aroma and flavor complemented each other. Perfect for a fall bonfire and readily available in the Akron Area.

thegodfather1076, Apr 29, 2012
Photo of Gtg642
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Gtg642, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of flasker
4/5  rDev +4.4%

flasker, May 28, 2013
Photo of Weischej
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Weischej, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of JamesZ
4/5  rDev +4.4%

JamesZ, Aug 08, 2013
Photo of mkennedy119
4/5  rDev +4.4%

mkennedy119, Oct 25, 2012
Photo of matthageman
4/5  rDev +4.4%

matthageman, May 05, 2012
Photo of Arcous
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Arcous, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of Stobin
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Stobin, Oct 19, 2014
Photo of MacStinson
4/5  rDev +4.4%

MacStinson, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of purppy
4/5  rDev +4.4%

purppy, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of m_p_snyder
4/5  rDev +4.4%

m_p_snyder, Mar 17, 2014
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,390 ratings.