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

Not Rated.
Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,590 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,590
Reviews: 822
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 81
Gots: 242 | 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:
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
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Ratings: 2,590 | Reviews: 822 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dbrownnn1
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of drewba
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Day old Bells mini keg poured into my pint:

A - Muddy and hazy brown, khaki one finger tiny bubbled head. It honestly looks a little bit like one of my bottle conditioned brown ale homebrews, which I don't personally think look all that appealing...

S - hints of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, tootsie roll, a touch of raisin and metal. Smells dull.

T - The focus is definitely on the roasted malt which adds a slightly sweet, smoky caramel from the beginning through the finish. Nut and bread fill in the gap, helping round out the flavor of the roast. Flavors are subtle. There is a slightly metallic taste in the end.

M - Thin body, but it is silky smooth. There is a slightl chalkiness to this, which is the only reason it's not gettinga 5/5. I'm blaming the under carbonation on the day old minikeg, otherwise the mouthfeel is solid.

D - Not the best brown (HAHA!!1) I've ever had, but a solid offering and a great bridge beers for non craft drinkers. A couple friends remarked that it reminded them of Leinenkugels Fireside Nut Brown and Fat Tire. Not quite, but at least they're distinguishing flavors. It's worth noting that this would be an unbelievably easy 6 pack (hell, minkeg with some help) to finish; tasty, great mouthfeel, drinks quickly.

Photo of Jhatton1980
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Justdoit1234
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of wcudwight
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark brown with a 1/4" tan head. Sweet nutty malts and mild hop bitterness in the aroma. The taste is dominated my the nutty malts and balanced out perfectly with a mild hop bitterness. This is one smooth beer. Feels creamy in the mouth. It's also warming and filling. This is a very drinkable session beer that would be one of my regulars if it was available in NC. Many thanks go out to Dertbert for providing me this excellent brown ale.

Photo of mwilbur
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours dark red mahogany with 1/2 inch light tan head. Decent lacing.
S: Nice sweet caramel malt and nutty aroma.
T: Darker nut notes, sweet caramel malt, and grainy hops.
M: Smooth, sweet, creamy feel. Mild toasted grain hop bite in the finish. Quite pleasant.
D: Very drinkable. Excellent sessionability. Wonderful on-tap.

Photo of byronic
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of cvstrickland
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass yields a dark chestnut body capped with a finger of fine ecru foam with ivory highlights. The foam reduces to a ring that deposits thin swatches of lacing on the glass.

Smell is earthy, with soft buttered caramels and oily notes of nutty brown bread.

Taste is toasty and hazelnut-oily smooth with savory biscuity malt and semi-sweet toffee and cocoa, all rolled together in a wonderfully mellow package. A light, crisp note of bitter citrus zest provides a contrasting edge in a juicy finish that leaves the palate clean.

Smooth and soft with a fullish medium body, the drink is nicely carbonated with superb drinkability.

Photo of SteveB24
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of bruachan
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

there's a friendly-looking owl on my beer. he looks a little tipsy, actually

the beer is brown. i believe it is also an ale. so far so good. billowing head and a nice reddish brown. i wish the malt aroma were a little stronger; a nice earthy hop aroma, but the malt doesn't play a huge role, as it does in the flavor. very smooth; very balanced with a slight roasted whisper

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottling code printed clearly.

a: Dark and cloudy mahogany body. The head won't go away and leaves patches of lace.

s: Toffee, molasses, and some light nuttiness.

t: Similar to the aroma. Caramel/toffee, brown sugar/molasses, a nice nutty character and some sweet fruitiness too. A light flavor, but it is complex and enjoyable. Not much in the way of hops, but that's typical for the style.

m: Lighter body, medium carbonation.

d: A very tasty brown ale. Great example of what a brown ale should be. Nothing extravagant, just some solid nutty toasted flavors and one easy drinking beer.

Photo of ljc973
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of FenwaySquid
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. brown bottle, no dating of any kind, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a relatively clear medium brown with reddish overtones. The head formed a creamy 1-2 fingers thick, and retained nicely.

Aroma: Toasted and caramel malts, some nuttiness as well.

Taste: Pretty much the same as the smell. Toasted and sweet caramel malts up front. The nutty flavors come through in the middle, and the bitterness balances with the sweet malts. The finish is mainly sweet caramel, lingering for a few seconds.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. The carbonation tingles and balances out well.

Overall: the bottle advertises this as a beer for late fall or winter, but I'm still enjoying it even as I'm in the middle of a summer heat wave. Highly recommended to those who like brown ales, and everyone else as well.

Photo of ajmoody76
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bought this at the local beer store. twelve ounce bottle pours cloudy brown. some reddish tinting. i like the unfilteredness (i do not think that is a word). a fat fingers worth of a tan colored head. nice lacing.

caramel malts on the nose. some fruitiness in there also. no off odors.

sweet. and fruit. a good malt backbone. fits style. dry mild aftertaste.

mid to full body. good carbonation. i like this beer. will drink again.

Photo of Pencible
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a hazy mahogany with a little light brown head.
S: It smelled like roasted barley and toffee, with some biscuit and a bit of milk chocolate and copper.
T: It tasted like copper hops with roasted barley, and some toffee and coffee and biscuit. It had a bittersweet, clean and wet aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick with some carbonation. Moderate.
D: This was a very nice brown ale, like an English barleywine cut in half. Solid malty scent and flavor, with decent body. It was very easy to drink and was quite enjoyable.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle stamped batch 10178, bottled 1/17/11. not even a month old.

slightly hazy chestnut brown color. cream colored 1/2" head with good retention and decent lacing. sweet biscuity malt aroma. maybe a little hops in there.

caramel and bready malt taste. classic brown ale flavor.

medium body. carbonation is there, but its extremely smooth. quite easy to drink and refreshing for a fall/winter brew.

Photo of drizzam
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a cloudy, extremely sediment laden rust brown color with a fluffy light tan head. The sediment was pretty serious in this brew...big black chunks in the bottom of my pint glass and small specks of sediment floating throughout the beer. Nice lacing left by the head.

S - Sweet smelling, molasses and buttery toffee with some sort of unknown nuttiness. Smells very malty. Not an especially aromatic brew.

T & M - What his beer lacks in the nose, it makes up for on the tongue! The malt backbone carries tastes of caramel and brown sugar. Nice spicy hop finish. Medium bodied, has a certain creaminess to it. Finishes dry. Pretty low in carbonation.

D - The relatively low ABV lends to it's sessionability. This is a good beer, I've seldom been let down by Bell's which is why they are a favorite brewery of mine. I will be recommending this one to all of my friends!

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 sweemzander
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Batch #9339

(A)- Pours a hazy medium brown color that produced a minimal tan to white head that dissipated very quickly.

(S)- Has a nutty sweet maple smell. Bits of vanilla.

(T)- Very nutty; almond & walnuts. Has a good soft maple/vanilla malt background. Let it warm up a bit; cold really hides what this beer has to offer.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance to it. Nothing fancy, but has a good rustic feel to it with its nuttiness and malt profile.

(D)- A good to solid brown ale for the fall season when you tire of oktoberfests or wet-hopped beers. Nothing fancy, just classic drinking.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice deep chestnut colored ale with ruby hues and a dense tan head. The beer itself is clear, I mean not hazy but there are some of the floaties that seem to define this brewery for me so far. I could pour more carefully but I'm not terribly concerned about it.

A really nice sweet malt profile to the aroma, some roasted malt and burnt caramel. Nothing discernible in the hop department as far as aroma goes. The taste is somewhat roasty, with the toasted caramel and malty sweetness as well. Hope flavor comes through in the middle and blends nicely with the very sweet malt. Some hop bitterness comes through in the finish with some noticeable alcohol also.

Nice medium bodied brown, maybe a little hot for the style, but what do I know? I guess it's on the high end. Really a very drinkable and quality brown ale.

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours an amber brown with a one finger creamy off-white head that dissipates leaving small dollops of residual lacing.

S. Caramel and lightly roasted nuts

T. Nutty roasted flavor with some caramel and a very mild bitterness.

M. Medium bodied with a medium level of creamy carbonation.

D. High. I used some of this with my cheddar cheese beer soup for dinner and drank some with it. I've been really digging some brown ales lately. I'll certainly be looking for more after this.

Photo of JDew
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle to a beer mug

A - Deep amber/brown, when poured into the mug the carbonation is steady and quickly stirs the sediment around giving it a lava-lamp look about it. One finger small bubble head leaving a graffiti design in the lace

S - Bread and yeast are strong malts finishes off the deep full aroma

T - Nutty full flavor - the malted barley is in the finish and has a surprisingly hop aftertaste which was overpowered by the malts in the smell

M/D - Has a good medium body to it, sticks to the tongue and has a semi dry finish. One I could drink several of. Enjoyed this one

Photo of GnomeKing
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a rich-tasting brown, not what you'd expect if you are used to Newcastle or Smuttynose Brown Dog. It's a little dry, with tastes of caramel and coffee. The head was rich and foamy, but not overly, mustache-inducing foamy. A little more sweetness would have been nice to balance things out and make it more drinkable (I felt a small tinge of drinking fatigue by the end of my pint), but this is still a nice beer and yes, I did want another.

Photo of busternuggz
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Light brown with an orange tint when held to the light. 1/4" off-white head that quickly receded. Leaves a little lacing when swirled.
Roasty malt and caramel on the nose, some nuttiness, a little bit of toast and hay.
Caramel and nutty (pecan-like) tastes, some brown sugar and maple. Moderate pleasant sweetness and ends with a crisp grassy dryness. A little bitter hop presence that mellows as it warms up.
Medium bodied and silky. Coats the tongue pleasantly for a while after swallowing.
Pretty smooth and pleasant, nicely balanced.
A tasty and nuanced brown ale, very nice.

Photo of RunForYourBeer
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From batch 9981, bottled 9/16/10.

A: Pours a light brown, much lighter than I expected.

S: Smells of a sweet caramel malt with a hint of breadiness.

T: Tastes of a sweet caramel, bread malt along with some chocolate. Has a bit of hop bitterness and a hint of toastyiness.

M: Medium with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: High.

This is a good fall beer. One I will likely come back to.

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,590 ratings.