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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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,200 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,200
Reviews: 786
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%
Wants: 67
Gots: 143 | 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: 2,200 | Reviews: 786 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of afdempse
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I grew up on this beer, so it definitely has a special place in my heart. I'll try to be objective here...

First off, let me say that it seems as if reviewers on this site are attempting to rate this beer on what they expected it to be, not on what it is. This is not an imperial- or double- anything. It is a brown ale, and a solid one at that. End of rant. :)

Certainly looks wonderful. Bell's never disappoints with properly mashed grains and the head sticks to the glass like crazy.

Nice chocolatey malt scent with flavor to match. Warm, earthy malt flavor with a hint of toast and chocolate creaminess. Very slight hop bitterness and no hop flavor. Finishes clean with a hint of alcohol.

Drinkability is high... I could sip on these all night in front of a warm fire while watching the Lions lose and the Wolverines win. Michigan winter in a bottle!

afdempse, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick and hazy brown body, topped by a creamy, mountainous off-white head. Chocolate mingles with herbal hops in the nose. The taste is somewhat like making chocolate milk, using skim milk, and adding hops sufficient to tingle but not overwhelm the rest of the beverage. A somewhat strange description for a really fine beer. Not a style that attracts much interest, not one of the Bell's beers that generates a lot of buzz, but a brew I can heartily recommend.

RonfromJersey, Apr 26, 2003
Photo of CultureJamMN
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper color with hints of purple. Hazy, but not cloudy exactly, more like... thinly overcast. Good 2 finger head, retained very nicely, and lacing was excellent.

Smell was almost all malts, very caramel, delightful, but uncomplicated.

This is a tasty, tasty beer! Caramel is strong, great malts. Hoppy bitterness at the end, but it's fleeting, and not overstated. A few hints of dark fruits (plums?) also in there.

This is wonderfull in the mouth. Low carbonation. Chewy, with a very good presence for a brown ale. It feels good enough, and the tastes work well enough that you can hold this in your mouth for more than a few seconds, as it warms in the mouth, it doesn't become thin.

This is an exceedingly good brown ale. The taste is not complicated, just really, really good. Proof that you dont need anything other than great basic ingredients to make great beer.

CultureJamMN, Feb 02, 2006
Photo of JackTheRipper
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish brown color, definitely hazy. A nice beige-tannish head, some lacing.

Smell: Doesn't smell as strong as I thought it would be, what I mean is, this offering has very little smell to it. What I can smell is some faint crusty-bready type of smell.

Taste: Bold tasting, surprisingly so considering the faint smell. First impression is a sweet coffee type of taste, followed by a nice hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Big, chewy mouthfeel. Full bodied, finishes very well. Alcohol is noticeable.

Drinkability: This would go great with a big chunk of roasted beast, or just sit back and have a few. This is a very well crafted beer. The only thing I would have liked is a bit more presence in the nose.

JackTheRipper, Jan 22, 2004
Photo of HappyBivouac
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark red/amber brown with a little beige head. small rings of lacing.

smells of toast, nuts, caramel, biscuits, hazelnut, maple syrup. all the things that would make me love this with breakfast.

tastes very much like it smells. a good piece of toast with nutella on it and then some. light roast coffee character. some faint fruity hops mingle with the roasty flavors in the finish. this is a very good full flavor.

smooth & thick, with the rigth amount of carbonation that comes through for just a moment.

A very fine example of all that can be wonderful about this style. A very solid and thoroughly delicious brown ale that should not be overlooked in the presence of bigger beers.

HappyBivouac, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of UncleJimbo
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.

UncleJimbo, Feb 11, 2005
Photo of Chvck1
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%

Chvck1, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of BitterBrian
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a deep rust color into a pint glass. one inch cream colored head with some decent staying power and leaving some good lacing.

objectivity will be difficult, since I already am a fan of this beer and style, but here it goes:

smells of sweet dark malts, a hint of nut and plum.

taste of roasted malty sweetness and some nuts, balanced with a bit of hops, but they don't stand out very much - they just give it some life. This is a real warm, friendly drinker. If I were to rate it within its category, I would say its one of the best brown ales (no pun intended). Maybe I have had better beers, but I still really enjoy this one.

BitterBrian, Nov 17, 2005
Photo of eagles22
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: nice dark hazelnut color with a tannish white 2 finger head..

Smell: yeast hit me at first than caramel and toffee...also bready nutty smells

Taste: wow nice nutty bready flavor at first end smooth with a nice toffee/coffee taste great complex beer love it

Mouthfeel: amazing ...very smooth

Drinkability: great session beer

eagles22, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of sm0key
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - lightish brown in color.

Smell - nutty!

Taste - Smooth. Packs more punch than the taste lets on...

Mouthfeel - Not very heavy for a brown ale, better than most, though

Drinkability - I get it all the time!

I love every Bell's product I've tried so far!

sm0key, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of DonDirkA
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly translucent brown/amber with a dark brown head that fades to about one fingers and settles out to almost nothing. Nose is caramel, brown sugar, molasses, burnt sugar and there also seems to be just a hint of piney hops. The taste isn't nearly as malty and heavy as the nose. There are caramel flavors that are immediately overpowered by piney, slightly citrusy hops. Then it fades into a slightly bitter molasses flavor. It fades out with the hops still sitting on the tongue and some slight hints of brown sugar. The mouthfeel is medium with kind of a heavy feel behind it. The carbonation is perfect for this type of brew. I'm usually not too big on a lot of Bell's day-to-day brews except for Two Hearted but this one is actually pretty delicious.

DonDirkA, Oct 18, 2012
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have has this guy on several occasions on draft, first time out of the bottle, let's see how this goes.

Slightly chill hazed, chalky and glowing reddish brown. One finger thick head that does not give a good indication as too how much lacing will be left behind. Answer: quite a bit.

Nose is wonderful, nutty with fruity esters and a hefty earthy hop aroma. Fresh is a word that comes to mind when smelling this. Roasty and sweet with slightly citrusy hop coupling. A solid complexity, nicely understand and highly appetizing.

Roasted bready malt is the first flavor that can be picked apart here, not as vinous or wine like as other English browns and a great deal hoppier, but hey, this is America dammit. Hazelnut, light piny resin, scorched brown sugar. The finish is slightly drying but maintains just the slightest bit of creaminess. There are also a pretty good deal of spiciness, I'd like to say nutmeg and just the slightest bit of cinnamon which adds yet another layer of complexity to an already outstanding brew.

I could by this stuff by the case, a wonderful winter beer, tasty but just the slightest bit too big to be an endlessly sessionable beer, but it is really easy to knock off not only a glass of this stuff, but a couple bottles as well.

bluemoonswoon, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of brown ale, but am more than willing to try them, certainly anything that Bell's makes. This changes my perspective on the style for the better, as Bell's often does. A finger of dark tan head caps the rich brown body, and decent lacing traces the beer's descent. The aromas are a winner, with plenty of nuts, brown sugar, and caramel greeting the nose--just terrific. The taste is a delight--lots of sweetness but some hopped bitterness that provides a very good balance. It's one of the more complex brown ales I've had, and one of the best. While the carbonation could be a little fuller, the smooth texture certainly makes up for it, rendering this eminently drinkable. It wouldn't be difficult at all to shed self-restraint and pulverize a sixer of this.

Excellent brown ale, one that stacks up well with Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale--no mean feat.

Gehrig, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of Desimoaj
4.44/5  rDev +16.2%

Desimoaj, Jul 16, 2014
Photo of Gobigvt7
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

a - pours a nice mid-brown, with an amber tint when held to light. Looks delicious already. one finger of almost white head, good lacing.

s - nutty malts and bread

t - smooth caramelized grains. semi-sweet but not cloying. very light hops lend an edge to the maltiness. very balanced, tastes evenly throughout the sip.

m - smooth, round, medium body.

o - one of my favorite go-to browns. For the style, immensely drinkable and flavorful.

Gobigvt7, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of mt5000
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is, not surprisingly, brown. Aromas and flavors of caramel, nuts, brown sugar, and oats. Mouthfeel is excellent and the carbonation is just right. Amazingly drinkable for a rich and fairly malty beer - I can easily down 2 or 3 of these. In fact, this is one of my favorite session beers in the winter. What I love most about this beer is how approachable it is - I recommend serving this beer as a great example of the American craft brew style to anybody who is used to Bud/Miller/Coors. There's enough hops to balance it out but very little bitterness that might turn somebody off. Those of us who are used to craft brews forget that many beers we like, such as IPAs, are not palatable to most people. I went to a party a while back where the host was serving this beer along with Stella Artois, and I noticed people switching from the Stella to this beer after they tasted it. Bravo to Bell's for making a craft brew that both beer geeks and your everyman beer drinker can enjoy.

mt5000, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of GordonQuid
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Nick and Jimmy's in Temperance, MI

Brown with a one inch rocky head and thick lace.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate toffee.

Taste is a medium bodied sweet cramel and sark malts with a nice coffee-cocoa finish. Low hop profile but there is a bit of a hoppy bite in the finish.

This is a highly quaffable brew! Easy to drink and extremely satisfying.

GordonQuid, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of iparules
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

iparules, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of cynical1027
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

cynical1027, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of agentorangebitter
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

agentorangebitter, Apr 23, 2014
Photo of Norton21
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Norton21, Jul 08, 2012
Photo of wilfonzo
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

wilfonzo, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of ItsGotaBeUrBull
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

ItsGotaBeUrBull, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of mikalveli
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

mikalveli, Mar 30, 2012
Photo of xxcarpxx
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

xxcarpxx, Nov 24, 2011
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,200 ratings.