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

Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,937 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1937
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%


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)
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Ratings: 1,937 | Reviews: 776 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BeerSox
BeerSox

Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into nonic.

Pretty much a typical brown, except when held up to the light, which gives it a reddish glow. Slightly hazy and little bit of yeast is suspended in the beer. A one finger tan head slowly settles to a thin cap. Spotty lacing along the glass.

The aroma is smooth and creamy with a touch of raisin and brown sugar. A touch of the alcohol makes it in.

Burnt caramel sets off the bready malts. A little bit of sharp hop flavor comes in at the end. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is a mix of the lingering hops and grainy malts.

This one seemed to have some of its body missing, and some of the complexity. I tend to enjoy brown ales that have a little more of a roasty characteristic. This one seemed a little watery.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2008 22:24:05 | More by BeerSox
Photo of NDZonie
NDZonie

Michigan

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass with a 2 finger head. Dark brown in color with a very fragrant smell. You can really taste the high malt content. The mouthfeel is what is a disappointment to me. It doesn't really have a lot of depth for flavor. The after taste remains on your tongue for a while and can be quite bitter.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2008 15:34:46 | More by NDZonie
Photo of maleman
maleman

Mississippi

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Almost mahogany color with a thin, less than one-finger off-white head. Lace was tight and clingy. The nose was well more malty than hoppy, more like bread. Taste was very grassy intially with phenols definitely noticeable. Medium bodied with taste in the back of the mouth with average carbonation. Still waiting to try Hopslam, but this one is not that memorable from Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 23:32:15 | More by maleman
Photo of jsprain1
jsprain1

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger tan head. Some lacing.
S- Mild aroma of bread, nuts, and a touch of caramel.
T- Fairly bready with a gentle caramel sweetness that lingers, as well as a faint coffee flavor.
M- Decent body, smooth and slightly creamy
O- It's a decent to slightly above average brown ale for me, but it's not particularly anything I need to revisit.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2011 02:38:36 | More by jsprain1
Photo of Stygr
Stygr

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown, small tan head. No lacing.

Smelled like a honey brown ale, a little more nutty though

Small about of carbonation, medium bodied ale.

Taste is not what I had entirely hoped for, was dwarfed by the Goose Island Mild winter I had, and if a beer named "mild" dwarfed it, it's obviously pretty mellow on the palate.

I like it as far as browns go, but I couldn't drink this after ANY other beer, or I wouldn't be able to taste it at all. Even a Miller High Life might affect the taste of this beer.

Drinkability suffers from lack of taste.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2009 21:14:43 | More by Stygr
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Pinch Penny Pub in Carbondale Illinois.

A: Pours slightly hazy orange/brown. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Light toasted malt, mostly some sweetness in the nose. Like brown sugar and some caramel. Not much going on.
T: Following the nose, not much is going on. Some toasted malt, but really sweet. Lots of brown sugar and caramel. Boarders on cloying.
M/D: A medium body and nice carbonation. easy to drink. Something I can quaff several of with ease.

Overall, very simple. Mostly sweet, but not bad in any way. Just pretty standard. Worth a try, and a good fall back if this is the only good craft available.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2010 02:44:53 | More by champ103
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk

Georgia

3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

#79. Bell's Best Brown Ale. Got this in a single 12 oz. for a pretty fair price when I was looking around for decent brews in Athens.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass at room temp

(Appearance) Pours a slightly fizzy carbonated head that does not hold very well. Light coating is left behind on the surface. Color is a dark brown with very red highlights. Speckled pulpy bits litter the entire brew, the beer looks considerably thick. Carbonation is sparse. Beer looks pretty interesting but has its appearance flaws, most notably with the head. 4

(Smell) Bready yeasty aroma. Mostly malty aroma. Not too interesting. 3

(Taste) Significant hop presence, more than the aroma gives off. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Crisp with a dry finish. 3

(Drinkability) Not too exciting, but flavor is complex enough to maintain my interest for a few more. 3

Verdict: A half-decent Bell's brew. B- (3.4)

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 04:00:07 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a wonderful murky brown color with a small and uneven head that dies off quickly. It has a lot of little floaty things in it, which I am not used to with brown ales. The aroma reminds me of some type of nut - but I cannot figure out exactly what kind - and also malts. The taste is fairly smooth, but slightly watered down tasting - weird because it tastes watered down, but still has a rich flavor. Reminds me a lot of a chocolate stout because the taste has a very strong coffee/chocolate finish to it. This is not your typical brown ale. Not so sure I like this one. Of course, Bells brewery is not one of my favorites ... but I'm still looking for their shining one to make me change my mind - this just isn't that one. This is a decent beer, but I don't think it stacks up to other browns that I've had.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 18:38:19 | More by clvand0
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. with some code on the back - checking the website tells me it was packaged on 9/26/06. It pours an unfiltered deep copper/rust with medium carbonation and a half-inch of yellowed-tan head that leaves light lacing. The bouquet consists of light, toasted malts, chocolate?, and green/piney hops which seem almost oily on the palate. It tastes essentially the same, but with a low bitterness and, although the flavor is a bit mild, it leaves a medium finish on top of a medium and tingly body. Overall an easy to drink brown, but could be more complex.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2006 22:15:53 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN

Kentucky

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strong pour brings a perfect tan head to the top of the glass and almost over the lip. Bodsy is a super dark brown. As the head fades you get crater sized lace spots. Nose has candy sweet notes with soft malt tones and a hint of fresh dough. A very dry mineral richness wakes up the mouth on first sip. Nutty burnt malt rounds out the initial palate. A bit thin on the finish. Does bring about a slight thickness on the mouthfeel after a few sips. Nicely drinkable overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2007 15:33:53 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of apbarwood
apbarwood

Virginia

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with a one-finger tan head. It falls away quickly but leaves a moderate amount of lacing. Could have looked nicer but definitely not bad. The aroma was malty but faint. A modest amount of caramel and a hint of chocolate intertwined with a hop aroma. The flavor was a bit of a downer as I'd hoped for more of a malt presence but got more hop bitterness. There was also an astringent, grainy character that didn't really add anything to the beer. This is the first offering from Bell's that I was somewhat disappointed with.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 21:51:49 | More by apbarwood
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from twiggamortis420. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy orangey brown brew. Pillowy head fades slowly, with good lasting lace. Aroma is malts with a light earthy hoppiness. Taste is a touch tart to start, settle in with some rich grain character in the middle, and comes back to the mild tartness at the close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 19:40:31 | More by ppoitras
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Man if this isn't run of the mill I dunno what is. Looks decent enough, a little thinner than what I was hoping for. No detectable aroma.

Taste is a little thin for me. Nutty. I'm just not a brown ale guy. The ones I tend to like have a bigger malt bill, coming closer to being a porter moreso than the actual traditional brown style. A little more gritty than I expected.

Mouthfeel, nothing much, some brown colored beer, so surprises, no letdowns. A little costly for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2010 18:19:02 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of vapodge
vapodge

Florida

3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A - mahogany & rich, thin head stays

S - roasty, not smoky

T - lots of roasted malts, not very sweet, a bit nutty

M - normal amount of carbonation for a brown

D - smooth drinking and perfectly fine; nothing wows me -- would not seek this out, but would not refuse; probably be better for a cooler night and a hearty meal (stupid FL "winters")

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2011 02:58:11 | More by vapodge
Photo of nota
nota

Michigan

3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really had a tough time finding this beer, but finally got my hands on a sixer. Pours a hazy brown/dark cooper in color. Nice tan head that gives way to good amount of lacing. At the beginning you taste sweet roasted malt. Its has a balance amount of hops. It's finish is dry.I edit my review of this beer after drinking this beer a few time and having a few other brown's under my belt. This beer is just a bit over done for my taste in what a brown should be. To me it borders on being more like a porter than a brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 01:37:44 | More by nota
Photo of maddamish
maddamish

Tennessee

3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drinking this beer and reviewing it is going to be simple. It is best described as a 64 Chevy with a Yugo engine. The beer looks nice when poured. The head was a beautiful medium but quickly disappeared and did not lace at all. It was a cloudy amber in appearance and despite the non-existent head it was nice to look at.

In the nose you have this great symphony of smells competing with each other and I was really looking forward to drinking this puppy. Present were some of the strongest caramel notes I have experienced in a beer. Lemon and tea leaves were in the background lending their harmonies. What you have here folks is what I like to call a "Good smelling beer!".
Taste: a disappointment. It was a bit watery on the palate and a bit bland. There was some hop and malt thing going on but nothing that fully developed. Not even at room temperature could I coax any sort of strong flavors out of this one.

One of my first Bell's and I have to say this one fell short of expectations.

Notes: Not a bad beer as far as brown ales go but it doesn't do anything to make me go out and buy it again. I am glad I tried it but I think I am still on the quest to find the perfect bottled brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2006 14:31:08 | More by maddamish
Photo of bluHatter
bluHatter

Michigan

3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours deep dark red or light brown, with nice bubbles. Good head, nice lacing.

S: Caramel, malts, slightly sweet smelling

T: Sweet, malty, muted milk chocolate.

M: Rich and smooth. A medium stout brown.

O: A nice brown overall. I mostly notice how smooth and rich it is. Almost creamy.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 02:48:04 | More by bluHatter
Photo of CraftBeerTastic
CraftBeerTastic

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #238
Served On: 11/23/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV: 5.8%
Date/ Code: 09/24/12

This was from a case I found at Self Serve Beverage in York.

Look: A muddy brown brew with a small 1-finger beige head. Some serious sediment coated the bottom of the bottle. I swirled the bottle and poured it all in. Some faint lacing was noticeable along the top of the glass, but not much formed after that.

Smell: Spicy brown sugar with roasted malts and some nutty chocolate notes.

Taste: First up was the earthy spice and caramelized brow sugar. Some chocolate hit around the middle. The finish was roasty with some bitterness that set in. The aftertaste was more of the roastiness.

This was a solid Brown Ale. Very flavorful but still sessionable. This beer would pair extremely well with your typical holiday fare like ham or turkey.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2012 18:16:03 | More by CraftBeerTastic
Photo of murphysbleachers
murphysbleachers

Illinois

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 12oz bottle given to me as a sample from the distributer into a pint glass:
A: Kind of an unexpectedly rocky head. A cloudy dark walnuty brown color, couldn't quite see through it. Different than any other brown ale I've had, but makes me want to drink it.
S: Nutty & malty, on first whiff there was some hops that I didn't expect, but it went away.
T: Seems a little hoppier and maltier than I expected. I should note here that I had a Sam Smith's Nut Brown the night before and this (as I think most would be) is just a let down afterwards compared to that beer's more subtle and delicious flavor. Maybe I would rate it better if I had a Newcastle the night before instead.
M: A little oily, ok carbonation, & generally pleasant.
D: Okay beer, could drink a bunch in a sitting, but would probably pick another brown ale, if I had a choice. I might revisit this one to double check my thoughts on it when Sam Smith's Nut Brown isn't my most recent beer memory.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 20:10:37 | More by murphysbleachers
Photo of enfield249
enfield249

Michigan

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish leather toned in color. A small head of white foam that lingers through most of the beer.

S - Roasty malt smells, toffee, and some spice. Very light however

T - More roast and toffee in the flavor. Some hop bitterness on the tail end.

M - Medium body. Some astringency in the middle of the my tongue.

D - Not bad. this is a pretty good beer that even non-beer geeks could enjoy, and I would recomend it with out hesitation to those people if they wanted to try a "dark" beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2008 01:01:25 | More by enfield249
Photo of dancinwillie
dancinwillie

Wisconsin

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Brown, with reddish highlights. Some yeast made it into glass, no biggie, but clouds an otherwise clear beer. My fault though, so no reflection in the points. Really thick, creamy head, just off white in color.

Very slight toasted aroma. Somewhat bready. Actually, combine the two, it smells a little like toasted bread. No hop aroma.

Roasted and toasty, a bit nutty, and a lovely caramel sweetness. No fruitiness to speak of, and very light hopping. Medium in body, yet somewhat high in carbonation. Sweet finish.

Good drinkablility. Tasty enough to enjoy throughout an evening, enough alcohol to act as a social lubricant, yet low enough alcohol to not destroy you. A good, albeit on the high end, session beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 05:20:43 | More by dancinwillie
Photo of blackie
blackie

Virginia

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: standard pint, the beer is a slightly hazy medium-dark brown in color, and capped with a khaki coating

s: body of smooth brown malts, soft and without much of the nutty or roasty edge that really makes a brown for me, soft toast and leafy caramel, lightly hopped

m: as is typical with Bell's, the carbonation is very creamy and of a moderate level - great benefit of bottle conditioning, body a lighter medium

t: same complaint as the aroma - nearly all smooth brown malts without the astringent roasted edge that really sets off the sweetness, hops move in towards the finish with a light bitterness and papery citrus flavor

d: no problems here, an easy drinking brown

bottle with a great dinner at Poole's Diner, Raleigh - surprised that this review had slipped by me for so long

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 05:25:53 | More by blackie
Photo of Evocatus
Evocatus

Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red amber, looks almost like tea. Head was tan and about a cm in thickness though it dwindled to a little more than a ring. Aroma was pretty feint, although I could pick up hints of caramel and alcohol. Taste was pretty good and strong though. A mix of caramel sweetness, nuts, and alcohol. For some reason the taste is a bit too strong for me, at least the alcohol part, so I wouldn't call it too drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 01:42:30 | More by Evocatus
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a amber-brown with a one finger tan head that fades pretty quickly. Some lacing is left on the glass.

S - Very nutty, and some roasted malts. A touch of sweetness pokes through as well.

T - Roasted malts, raisins, nuts.

D - Good carbonation, and average body. Coats the mouth.

O - A good brown, not sure it is the Best.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2011 03:20:29 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown color with a small tan head that left quickly. Smell was quite nice of toffee and caramel and some roasted nut flavor. The taste was somewhat similar to the smell except for a mouth-puckering astringent flavor that came and stayed in my mouth for the duration of the drink. I don't know if this batch was spoiled by something but the flavor could have been really good had that flavor not been so prevalent. I'm going to try this again at a later time.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2003 01:32:42 | More by granger10
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,937 ratings.