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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.
very good

2,550 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,550
Reviews: 813
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 80
Gots: 219 | 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: 2,550 | Reviews: 813 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drewba
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
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 drizzam
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
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 montageman
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Bell's never ceases to amaze me. This is the first chance I've had to try this particular beer and, as is the case most of the time, Bell's does it right and very well. Pours a deep, dark brown. Smells sweet and malty and tastes the same with a touch of chocolate for good measure. This is one of those beers I could drink all night without a problem. Good stuff. Recommended.

Photo of aaronh
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This hazy brwon beer with red highlights pours with a thick tan head that slowly fades. A nice lacing is left on the glass as you drink. The aroma is of caramel, molasses, and malt and is very inviting and smooth. The first taste is heavy on the dark molasses and a husky malt flavor. Smoky brown sugar notes and a nice bitterness follow. Not as much sweetness as the aroma would suggest, this is more of a dry brown ale. The mouthfeel is a bit harsh from carbonation, and the beer has a moderate body. It improves a bit as the beer warms. The drinkability is good, as this would be a good session beer. Another nice beer from Kalamazoo.

Photo of JizackFH
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a nice hazy deep brown color. It has a nice 3-finger tan head. The head left behind some nice lacing.

S - This smells sweet and nutty. I can smell some lightly toasted malts, caramel, and brown sugar. The smell is a bit tame but nice.

T - It tastes a lot like the nose suggests. Lightly toasted malts, caramel, some nuttiness, brown sugar and a hint of hops. It is very well balanced , which makes it quite pleasant.

M - This has a medium body and nice carbonation. It also has a rich and creamy quality to it.

D - Drinkability is good. It goes down very easy. I would have no problem drinking a few of these in a sitting. This is a good beer, and I recommend trying it.

Photo of Chris7482
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rough pour brings up a full creamy light tan head but rouses the yeast sediment leaving it fairly hazy. The head then holds exceptionally well and leaves some nice lace. The body is an appropriate russett brown. A rich but soft aroma welcomes you with softly sweet cocoa. The medium body is accentuated by a very fine and moderate carbonation from bottle conditioning. At first it caresses the tongue, but soon becomes more creamy as it warms. The flavor starts softly chocolatey with an underlying fruitiness from the yeast and a lightly spicy and grassy hoppiness. It's sweetish, but well balanced by a firm bitterness that becomes quite apparent in the lingering dry finish (it is, after all, a Bell's beer)! The residual chocolatey malt combines with the bitterness and takes on a coffee-like character. Very nice! It's quite charming, well brewed, balanced and enjoyable. Well worth trying.

Photo of Mavajo
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good brew all around.

Pours a brown body with an offwhite head and moderate lacing. Nose and aroma are mostly sweet malt, toffee/caramel with a mild hop bitterness on the back end. Not quite as bitter as you might expect from an English Brown. Overall fairly balanced and easy drinking. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Very drinkable - I drank this down almost too fast...probably didn't allow myself to get enough impression of the beer as I should have. Regardless, very enjoyable brew.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark, slightly cloudy amber hue, thick clumpy tannish head, retains and sticks in patterns. A very clean nose, some caramel and malts notes. Up front, a great mixture in tastes of nutty, caramel and syrup/sticky molasses. Medium bodied, very creamy, and slick at the same time. Biscuitty, toasty, perhaps some deep roasted malts tucked away. Rather mild and tame, nothing jumps at ya', decent mouthfeel, overall a pretty solid brown, a good go-to-brew.

Photo of akorsak
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle from Al's of Hampden.

A: The brown ale is more of a crimson red color, but who's counting hues? It is translucent enough to see objects on the other side of the glass but I can't distinguish them. A small head, quarter of a finger max, reduces rapidly to a thin white band.

S: Caramel and toffee are strong in the nose. A bit of nuttiness follows in short order with a hoppy citrus backbone (not too strong mind you).

T: A very solid brown ale. The maltiness plants its proverbial flag early and never relinquishes its claim. Caramel and toffee, along with toasted nuts, drive most of the flavor. Coffee and vanilla linger around too, especially when the ale warms. Hops, not a stand-out, still provide a zesty bite. A brown ale that is better than most.

M: The mouthfeel is syrupy, thick and malty. Darker roasted flavors stand out.

D: A very drinkable ale, sessionable even. Makes me appreciate the non-extreme styles.

Photo of MJR
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Has a deep brown body with a touch of garnet under a small, light tan head. It's cloudy as hell, due to the fact that all of Bell's beers are unfiltered. This is a bit different from the norm for brown ales, which are usually clear, but so what...

Smell: The strongest aroma to me is spicyness. Not hot or anything like that, more like a Belgian-like spiciness. Does that make sense? There's a bit of roasted malt in there as well. Very little hop aroma to be found.

Taste: The first thing that hits me, again, is the spicyness. Checking out their website, I find that they use all Belgian malt to make this one. That explains it. There's a touch of malt sweetness, but I don't pick up on it near as much as some other reviewers here...maybe they 'want to' detect it 'cause it's usually there in other examples of the style. There's a nice balance of flavor here. It finishes with a little hop twang.

Mouthfeel: Quite full for a brown ale. Thicker in body than all of the other standard browns I enjoy. Nice...

Drinkability: High for the style. While some might like a more restrained flavor profile for a session-style beer, I like my brews to have a more assertive personality. I could drink this all night.

All in all, a very solid brown ale. One that bucks tradition a bit and gives a bit more to the drinker's tastebuds. A good beer from one of my favorite brewerys.

Photo of wcudwight
4.1/5  rDev +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 AmberMan22
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this up at a buddy's cabin recently.

Pours a slightly reddish light brown, creamy head that leaves plenty of lace down the glass.

The smell is slightly nutty (only slightly), then rich, roasted deep malt aromas come forward. The smell almost has a bite to it at the end -- possibly the alcohol.

Taste is very solid. Malty with some decent hoppy undertones that help maintain flavor balance.

carbonation bubbles are a little big for my tastes, they sting the tongue too much, which seems to conflict somewhat with the overall concept of the beer.

Photo of StoutHunter
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I picked up a six pack of Bell's Best Brown a couple weeks ago at Krogers for $8.99. I have had this beer many times over the years, but for some reason I haven't got around to reviewing, so it's time to sit down and see how this beer drinks. It is pretty fresh with a bottled on date of September 28th 2011 batch number 10721. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- The label on this beer looks pretty cool, I like the lone owl sitting on fence post with a nice scenic winter background, it gives this beer a late fall/winter vibe. It poured a slightly hazy amberish brown color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some nice lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with some medium sweet malts that impart some toffee and caramel aromas along with some nuttiness. There are also some brown bread, brown sugar, and fruity yeast aroma. I don't really pick up any hops in the aroma.

T- The taste is pretty similar to the aroma. The first thing I pick up are the malts that impart some nice toffee and caramel flavors, there is also a slight bit of dried dark fruits, and a nice noticeable amount of nuttiness that had a walnut like flavor to it. Just as in the aroma the hops aren't noticeable and the finish is smooth with no bitterness and a slightly nutty aftertaste.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, on the light side of being medium bodied, and it had a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel fits this beer well.

Overall I thought this this was a pretty damn good English Brown Ale. I haven't had a lot of this style but so far this beer seems to be the closest example I have had to a true English Brown Ale. The flavors were nice and malty and had a really nice nutty complexity that really made this beer stick out from the other English Brown Ales I have tried. It went down really smooth and combined with having no bitterness at all makes this beer have some great drinkability, I would have no problem drinking three or four of these in a night. What I liked most about this beer was the flavor, it just seemed spot on for an English Brown ale and the extra nuttiness was a very nice added touch. What I liked least about this beer was the color, it wasn't bad, but I would have liked it a little browner, not a big deal though. I buy this beer every fall and will continue to do so since I find that this beer really hits the spot on late fall/ early winter evenings, and it is the best local English Brown Ale I have had. If English Brown Ales are your thing, this is a must try, it does a great job at representing what an English Brown Ale is all about, or so I think. So far this is the best English Brown Ale I have had so far, everything was pretty spot on and the extra nuttiness put this beer over the top. Bell's did a great job with this beer, they do a great job of brewing a style the way it is intended to be, they are a jack of all trades and that is why they are one my favorite brewery's.

Photo of Jammies
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for 8 months

A- pours a deep brown with hints of red. A thin layer of foam retreats to the center and edge of the glass

S- sweet with some light sugary notes. Slightly nutty

T- light and well balanced. A nutty flavor to it.

M- great body. very smooth with a slightly coarse finish

O- Great brown ale, not overly sweet like a christmas ale. Simplicity at its finest

Photo of BB1313
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've always thought highly of this beer. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a deep hazy brown with ruby hues, nice foamy head and decent lacing. Smells great, just what I look for in a brown ale. Lots of caramel and chocolate, toffee in the backgrand, slight vanilla flavor. The flavors are harmonious, bold, and it gets better the more you drink it. This beer is so smooth, creamy, crisp and refreshing. The mouthfeel is just about perfect for the style, which makes for great drinkability. It's a real easy beer to drink.

Bell's appropriately named this beer, excellent example of a brown ale. Highly recommended!

Photo of Loki
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with a good head that lasts for minutes. The nose has aromas of butterscotch, caramel, burnt sugar, and roasted malt. The flavor is more bitter than the nose. This deep brown ale tastes of malt, semi-sweet chocolate, and bitter hops. Good mouth feel, comes across the tongue smooth and finishes slightly dry. Great brown ale, Bell's Best Brown is a fitting name.

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to the trusty pint glass. Pours a hazy dark copper or dark amber in color, I cant decide which. 1 finger off white creamy head, good retention, minimal lacing. Smell was very nice. A nice blend of dark caramel, sweet malt, toasted grain, and even some dark fruit. Taste was good, relatively similar to smell. Sweet caramel, almost a little too sweet, with some toasted grain, and dry malt. Mouthfeel was fine, not too thin but a little dry. Overall a good beer and easy drinker. And I'm not a huge brown fan either.

Photo of grub
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a light brown colour, with a 1/2" of tan foam on top. the head fades quickly to a ring around the glass.

aroma is malty and nice. smells like multigrain bread. slightly fruity.

taste is much like the aroma. slightly bready/biscuit character. just a hint of alcohol presence is notable. slight bitterness, but nothing major.

body is good, not to heavy, not to light. very drinkable.

overall very tasty and an easy drinker.

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 Realale
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly murky brown. Nice head settles slowly to thin rocky cap of foam that sticks it out through the whole glass.

Nose is toasty/chocolately/grainy. Little hop presence. The palate is slightly biased toward malty sweetness, and the chocolate is prevalent on the palate. Nice complexity to the grain. Again, hops not a major player.

The finish is long with a minerally component which keeps the malty palate from becoming too much, and really helps this beer have a very good drinkability. A very nice example of a style that is simply not one of my favorites. This bottle was purchased at the Brewery on the day of review.

Photo of cvstrickland
4.1/5  rDev +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 BeerHonky
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fresh bottle enjoyed a few hours ago. Pours a slightly cloudy brownish, red. Faint yellow highlights in a few spots. You can see a bit of sediment floating around. Fluffy white head that didn't hang around for long and left a bit of lace around the glass. Good lookin beer. Aroma is a tad faint, but sweet and malty. I wish there was ust a little bit more pronounced malt aroma. This beer tastes great though. Not amazing, but really really good. Super smooth mouthfeel lets the toasty malt flavor cover your pallate. There's a faint fruit flavor as well, can't put my finger on it. No stringency whatsoever. A really good session beer. Drinkability is perfect. What a brown ale should be.

Photo of bruachan
4.1/5  rDev +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 micromaniac129
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

apperance: on first pour shows a deep amber color
with a slight haze about it. Above
avg carbonation with a nice foam head
that lingers around the glass until
the bitter end.

Aroma: nice hardy malt aroma with some
roasted malts and toffee coming

Taste: malts and roasted malts with some
bitterness at end

Mouthfeel: slightly heavy mouthfeel coarse on

drinkability: pleasent tasting, good looking beer
a good beer to drink aver a long
session. This beer also works well
in cooking and barbeque sauces.

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,550 ratings.