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

837 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 837
Hads: 2,715
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 92
Gots: 314 | FT: 5
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 837 | Hads: 2,715
Photo of kellyej
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

Bell's Best Brown pours a deep, translucent brown with auburn highlights and very little head. The nose has a full malty caramel note with a hint of toasted wheat bread; there is, however, an underlying bright floral/citrus quality that keeps the beer from being too one note. The mouthfeel is full and smooth. The taste largely mirrors the smell- notes of toasted bread, caramel, sweet malt, and roastedness. Solid beer and great for fall.

 440 characters

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Quite soft nose of rich, sticky caramels with a touch of butterscotch, and fresh toast. Taste is fully toasted, almost roasted malts. A bit nutty, with dark caramel in the background. Just a touch of dried floral bittering hops on the finish. Body leans to the thin side. Drinkable and enjoyable, but lacking any distinctive quality.

 338 characters

Photo of ttroha
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Bottle from Lazy Dog Macon. Pours hazy reddish brown with a tan head. Aroma of malts, brown sugar, caramel and plums. Tastes of dark fruits, caramel and a mellow hops, with a slight carbonation. Great beer to drink while watching football.

 239 characters

Photo of pat61
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

Primarily malt aromas on the nose with faint caramel.
Pours deep brown under a 2" finely bubbled foam cap that provides rich lacing.
Palate: subtle malt, slightly sweet, grain, no roast, hints of chocolate.
medium carbonation and body.

 235 characters

Photo of higherbrow
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Warm malts and slightly sweeter caramel notes really make a delicious fall beer. Almost no hop taste, which makes the beer very smooth and clean, but a touch bland. Not quite Sammy Smith quality, but a great fall beer that I am always going to be happy to drink.

 262 characters

Photo of humuloner22
4/5  rDev +4.2%

I have had this one before. I wanted to give it more time and give it a review. I love that they are now including it in the 16 oz cans. This is a nice brown ale, really the best, no pun of the brown ales I have had. Sweet, but it has enough bitterness in there to balance it out. I love Bell's I have had just about every beer they have made and liked almost all of them. This one is a great beer and worth seeking out. Its reasonably priced and made with quality.

 466 characters

Photo of reebtaerG
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%

Poured bottle dated 8/20/14 into a New Belgium globe

A-Pours clear brown with a light beige head. Some spotty lacing.

S-Aroma is toasted and bready malt, light toffee, and dates.

T-Nice flavors or caramel malt, biscuit, hint of plum and cocoa.

M-Mouthfeel has a medium body and low carbonation.

O-Overall a very nice brown ale. Awesome for a cool fall day.

 364 characters

Photo of Kendo
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%

A: 4.25. Poured from the 16 oz can into a Sam Smiths nonic-style imperial pint glass. Body is slightly hazy chestnut brown with auburn hues on the edges. Half-finger khaki-colored head on top has good staying power. Good rings of lace on the collar.

S: 4.00. Not a strong nose, but appropriate for a Brown Ale: some toffee and caramel malt and some nuttiness.

T: 4.00 Follows the nose, more or less, with some toasty, bready, caramel malt and a touch of nuts for foundation. Finishes with a modest lemony bitterness that provides a nice balance to the malt, with lingering bitterness on the back of the palate.

M: 4.00. Lightish-to-medium in heft, carbonation is modest and soft.

O: 4.25. A nice Brown Ale. Decent value at under $9 for the 4-pack of 16 oz cans.

 766 characters

Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

This is a nicely done Brown. Poured into pint glass, pours a shade of caramel, and the taste just follows along.
Excellent full body, Bells Brown leads with a supreme maltiness exemplified by notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, with some roasted barley hitting toward the end.
A touch of hops signify it's time to take another pull. VERY drinkable. I'm really liking this style lately, and Bells Best Brown Ale is one I'll be coming back to.

 447 characters

Photo of justintcoons
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip pint.

Mahogany brown with 1 finger of bone white head. Good retention and clarity with lively carbonation.

Caramel, biscuit, and brown sugar.

Caramel, brown sugar, and light biscuit. Nutty with a light earthy hop presence.

Medium-light bodied, silky, and smooth.

A mellow and easy drinking Brown.

 374 characters

Photo of gutbuster
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Thick off white head that dissipated quickly. Medium lacing. Dark brown in color.

S- Roasted nuts and hints of caramel. Slightly earthy.

T- Slight hop bitterness up front with plums, toasted bread through mid palate and finishing with roasted nut and caramel sweetness

M- Light bordering on medium body, creamy and dry.

O- Overall a very enjoyable brown ale that will always be welcome in my glass!

 406 characters

Photo of Extrajoker00
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed: 5/13/14
Best Brown Ale by Bell's
poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a beer mug

P-beautiful fall colors and owl design l 4.5

A- ruby red to murky brown with a orange-ish full head 4.0

S- malt caramel and sourdough bread 4.25

T- caramel malt along with some yeast, chocolate and faint hop for balance 4.0

M-medium to full body mild carbonation and a reasonable balance 4.0

D- very agreeable beer, just enough flavor to draw and interest you 4.5

O- good good beer 'nuff said 4.0

part of a mixer sixer, bells has some great styling and this one is a great example
(1 of 16 special reviews for my holiday)

Highly recommend ---- J

 641 characters

Photo of gogreen99
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite beers. Medium carbonation and medium body dark beer. I wish this beer wasnt seasonal. Small notes of cocoa characterize the flavor of this dark beer and allow for the caramel flavors to be recongized. Overall a must try for any beer drinker!

 260 characters

Photo of barczar
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky deep brown with a frothy khaki head that leaves spotty lacing as it slowly dissipates.

Slightly fruity specialty malt notes mingle with toasted, nutty malt and floral hops.

Flavor reveals similar character, with a touch of soft citrus underpinnings. Deeply toasted, lightly chocolatey notes surface in the slightly bitter, earthy aftertaste.

Body and carbonation are moderate, with light alcohol warmth.

Decent malt character, but the bitterness is a little dominant for my liking.

 500 characters

Photo of Jennz906
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy, rusty auburn brown with a khaki colored head.

S- chocolate, brown sugar and toasted, hint of caramel. And definitely kind of fall like or earthy.

T- Follows the aroma . Slightly chocalately and toasty with a hint of caramel. A light leafy and earthy undertone, with a strengthen after taste.

M- Medium in body, fairly carbonation. Goes down nice, very smooth but thick.

O - A solid, straight forward brown from Bell's. Nothing fancy, just a great example of the style. I defiantly like it.

 515 characters

Photo of Michael-McManaman
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown rusty color with a khaki head, it smells of rich fall pine. The taste is very distinct and I don't quite know how to describe it but it is a great beer awesome for the end of day kind of drink. It leaves the mouth dry an wanting more.
Overall I recommend this beer for any relaxing day when an IPA is just too much.

 335 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on date of 09/03/13

Appearance - Pours a hazy, rusty auburn with a khaki finger width head. Fair retention, leading to a broken layer of suds across the surface and a thick ring around the edge of the glass.small, spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Prominent malty notes in the form of chocolate, brown sugar and toasted biscuit. Light notes of caramel and a hint of earthiness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Chocolate and caramel hit upfront, quickly followed by a toasted bready quality. A light leafy and earthy undertone, which strengthens in the aftertaste and joins in the caramel finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with fairly lively carbonation. Goes down with nice smoothness and is nigh chuggable.

Overall - A solid, straight forward brown from Bell's. Nothing fancy, just a great example of the style.

 825 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled tonight on 2/20/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a pilsner tulip glass.

Pours a pretty dark brown with ruby highlights in color with a a 1-finger beige head that lasts for a while then settles down to a thin head. Decent lacing was seen with each sip that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of sweet maple, malts with a hint of spice. The taste is even better with a toffee and caramel hint as well. Perfect carbonation. Goes down easy with no bitter aftertaste. One of the BETTER brown ales.

 554 characters

Photo of Brewseph77
5/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only thing wrong with this beer is that is seasonal it comes out in the fall and is gone by the beginning of winter. From the smell to the taste I can't find anything wrong with this beer. It has the perfect hint of coacoa and open up your taste buds enough and you get the caramel. I've also had it out of the mini keg but still prefer the bottle.

 352 characters

Photo of glass_house
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a stemmed tulip.

Beautiful medium-dark brown with a puffy off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves some nice lacing. Not getting a lot of aroma, but some faint earthy hops with dark nutty malts.

The texture is great for the style. Smooth and crisp with just a hint of creaminess. Light-medium carbonation supports the body perfectly. Taste is mostly subtle, dark nutty malts with a brief, barely-bitter hop note. Faint maple-like sweetness with a roasted cocoa accent. I love the way the flavor lingers and fades on the finish.

This is exactly what I want out of a brown ale. Nothing too fancy, straight to the point and leaves me wanting more. In a good way.

 697 characters

Photo of jawlessbody
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into an american shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep woody color with a thin off white head that leaves a nice bit of lacing without disappearing too quickly.

Smell: I get a lot of sweetness on the nose. Maple, apple, with a definite grainy quality from the malts. Almost like apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Taste: Lots of roasted malts, but with a very earthy, nutty background that's followed up with a tangy sweetness reminiscent of a good Granny Smith apple. There's also some grassy/herbal notes from the hops, but they're so far in the background it's hard to even notice.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average, very drinkable. Nothing special here.

Overall: Another great, high quality beer from Bell's, who are probably my favorite brewery at this point. So I might just be biased. With Sierra Nevada's Tumbler being discontinued, this might become my go to fall seasonal beer.

 905 characters

Photo of savaship
2.75/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer was ordered on Tap and served in a special Bell's Pint Glass. It had a beautiful dark brown appearance, I estimated it to be 27 SRM with a nice hint of red. I spent a little time gauging the color with an SRM chart from the Beer Judging Certification Program. The head was foamy off-white but dissipated quickly, leaving slight lacing.

The beer smelled very nicely, the adequate aroma hop usage worked to its benefit, had a very english ale floral aroma to it, I think the aroma hop was likely a Fuggle hop, it definitely smelled the way most good Brown Ales smell.

Taste I had issues with... American Craft brewers like to unbalance their beer with high acid hops such as Cascade hops which I suspect were in this beer, that just leave a drinker like me who's expecting a nicely balanced beer very disappointed. I estimated this beer to be 35-37 IBU, even if it was actually lower, the hop choice just tastes foul, and overpowers the malt.

The carbonation was perfect, had I not wanted to get that beer out of my mouth as quickly as possible, I would have savored it longer.

Overall, I do not like this beer. It seems to have taken the brown ale tradition and forced it down the American Ale Cascade hop road to attempt to make it taste like many of the woefully unbalanced American Craft beers out there that favor bitter over balance.

 1,352 characters

Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into my Warsteiner mug. Pours a clear but dark copper color with a finger and a half of a quickly dissipating tan head, and light lacing is left behind. Caramel and nutty notes come on pretty strong on the nose. Taste is malty, a bit roasty in the middle, and followed up by a small but detectable earthy hop bitterness. This would be an excellent choice for a session beer, I can see myself having a few of these on an autumn evening around a fire. It has a rich malty aftertaste in the back of the mouth that lingers for quite some time.

Overall: This may not be the most exciting Bell's offering, and I blame that on everyone's love of big styles of beer. This is quite the offering for the autumn seasons, made for a crisp autumn evening with friends and loved ones.

 778 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice amber brown hue. Head is minimal and slowly fades. Good carbonation. Amber malt aroma with hints of caramel is inviting. Fairly carbonated and crisp mouthfeel that leaves a lingering tingle on your tongue. There's plenty of amber malt and caramel flavor. A pretty straightforward session beer.

 298 characters

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Chestnut brown, slightly hazy. Head is a thick finger of off-white, that quickly fades and leaves scant lacing.

S: Toasted bread. Maple syrup. Grass. Faint citrus.

T: A brief moment of toasted grain as it hits the tongue, but tangy flavors quickly rise and push the grain to the background. Sweet malts do show up, but are secondary to the other flavors. Hops that was initially tangy grows bitter in the finish -- perhaps a little moe hops than the average brown ale, but well-balanced.

M: Moist, well carbonated, with just a touch of dryness in the finish.

O: Another fine product from Bell's. It's not the absolute best brown ale I've tasted, but it would not be out of place at any pub in England. I'll be buying more of this one.

 741 characters

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 837 ratings.