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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

1,942 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1942
Reviews: 777
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,942 | Reviews: 777 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BlackBearForge
BlackBearForge

Florida

4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruby tinted brown, my bottle being very clear, with a small whitish head with moderate slippery lacing.

Molasses, brown sugar and dark toasty malts in the nose.

The flavor is nicely balances between sweet and a nice drying on the finish. As in the nose, dark rich toasty malts, caramel flavored with a hint of chocolate with a lightly spicy hop presence. Very flavorful and very good!

The mouthfeel is more medium than light, very smooth and lightly creamy.

Overall I believe this has to be one of my favorite brown ales now! I've always been impressed by Bell's beers in general and this ale is no different. Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 20:30:35 | More by BlackBearForge
Photo of arizcards
arizcards

Arizona

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up 2 singles at Total Wine in mid-November for $1.99 each. Bottled on 9-13-12.

Beer poured brown with a tan head that is leaving lacing behind. Some setiment floating at the bottom.

Nose has hint of toasted grains with some cocoa.

Taste is well balance, toasted malts with some cocoa form a nice backbone but there is enough hopping to make this less sweet and give it a bit of oilyness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied. It is well carbonated but not refreshing.

Overall i like this beer. The hops and the cocoa make this beer an interesting and palatable brown. This is more an American Brown style wise.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 23:51:37 | More by arizcards
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy chestnut brown to amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down a bit, but never completely faded away.
S: Light to moderate aromas of cocoa nibs are present in the nose; nutty malts become apparent after the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is more complex with additional flavors of chocolate, roasted and nutty malts. A very slight amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink and has quite complex flavors when compared to other beers in the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 23:27:54 | More by metter98
Photo of tjsdomer2
tjsdomer2

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Excellent light brown color. Very, very thick with great foam and lacing. Kind of a nutmeg color.

Smell: Very, very malty. Not that balanced, but the sweetness is quite unique. Yeasty.

Taste/Mouthfeel: This really tastes like a malted milkshake. Extremely nutty and sweet, with a hint of smoke. Definitely some cocoa. Crisp feel.

Overall Drinkability: Very pleasant brew. Wonderful session.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 00:50:56 | More by tjsdomer2
Photo of barnzy78
barnzy78

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a tulip glass just for the heck of it (this one is a warm up to an imperial stout - why dirty 2 glasses?), pours a rusty brown color topped with a thin, off-white head that recedes quickly leaving a little lacing on the glass. Aromas are malty, brown malt, brown sugar, grain, earthy. Tastes are malty sweetness, brown sugar, burnt caramel, earthy hop, toasted grain. Thin-to-medium mouth-feel, moderate carbonation, finishes with an ample piny bitterness to keep the sweetness in check. Overall, it was just as I remembered: good brown ale, but nothing extraordinary.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2012 03:22:17 | More by barnzy78
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an almost opaque very dark amber in color with some garnet red highlights, moderate amounts of small yeast particles in suspension, and a light amount of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a mottled film of thick and thin areas with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of caramel malts with some less pronounced aromas of brown sugar and molasses. There is also a light presence of cocoa.

T: There is a light to moderate amount of dark malts with some hints of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and a touch of sweetness. There is a moderate presence of nuts with just a touch of cocoa. Very light notes of bitterness in the finish which fades fast.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy and smooth.

O: Extremely easy to drink and enjoyable - one of my favorite beers in the style (which is not all that exciting but is always solid). A very nice offering for the winter and one will likely have again when I find it.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 01:04:44 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of patpbr
patpbr

Ohio

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bells Best Brown pours a dark brown with nice lacing as its consumed. The smell is nutty. The taste has a roasted character and is earthy with, chocolate, caramel and some sweetness. It finishes crisp with the hops adding a citrus element and a bitterness. A good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 01:04:13 | More by patpbr
Photo of tmm313
tmm313

Georgia

3.59/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown with almost no head and practically no lacing. It was bottled 2 months ago. Looks like a coke in the glass.
S- Caramel, chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits. Given a good swirl, a grassy, citrus aroma pops out.
T- Light flavors. Follows the nose almost exactly. As it warms, some nice citrus hops come out in the finish.
M- Medium, light body with a pretty good drying effect.
O- This was pretty good. I loved it when I first started tasting beers, but now that I'm trying it again, it is just a little too light for my tastes. I would certainly drink it if offered, but I probably won't be buying again.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 03:21:20 | More by tmm313
Photo of Sludgeman
Sludgeman

District of Columbia

4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass. Packaged on 9/4/13.

A very quaffable brown ale. Almost hot weather refreshing. 4.25

A – Pours an opaque reddish brown with a two-finger dense tan head. 4.5

S – Malty brown bread, a faint metallic aroma, not rich or fruity, some herbal hoppiness. 3.5

T – Faintly sweet, malty and slightly roasty with a bitter finish that balances the barley sweetness and nuttiness. 4.5

MF – Medium bodied, thin with a medium dry finish. 4

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 02:42:19 | More by Sludgeman
Photo of jtierney89
jtierney89

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Semi hazed deep amber glow with a big fluffy tan tinged head. Rich malty and breadiness on the nose. Faint nuttiness with some chocolate. Light mouthfeel. Brisk effervescence.

Rich nutty and bready flavor with subtle dark fruit. English hop presence to balance. Refreshing and good flavors but a little thin. For being a smaller beer though it has some mild tannic qualities which is nice. Good but not for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 01:40:16 | More by jtierney89
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 Amalak
Amalak

New York

4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. A beautiful dark brown, caramel color. It has a big tan head foamy. It leaves a ton of lacing. It has tons of small bubbles that stick to the bottom and slowly work their way up the glass.

S. Very strong nutty scent with a weedy undertone.

T. It has a very lovely sweet toffee-ish taste. A woody bite to it. There is a bit of a burnt aftertaste. Some malty flavoring.

M. Has strong carbonated tingle.

O. Really flavorful. I tend to find brown ales too dull and boring, but this has a real nice flavor to it..

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 18:19:22 | More by Amalak
Photo of Mavigo
Mavigo

Michigan

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Referred to as Bell's Best Brown Ale, was a pain in the ass to look up because of the "ale" part. Wasn't coming up in the search bar. Served in a chalice.

A: Pours a hazy medium brown- orange color, with almost no head except for an off-white ring around the glass with small amounts of lacing.

S: Smells sweet, grains, smoky malts

T: Tastes sweet, a bit like chocolate, good malt character, wheat-like, grains, malts, hint of hops at the finish

M: Medium in terms of carbonation, it's a fairly smooth beer, with good flavor and decent texture.

O: Overall, it might not be the "best" brown ale that is out there, but it's pretty darn good. Buy it and try it.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 02:37:37 | More by Mavigo
Photo of rlee1390
rlee1390

Indiana

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear ruby brown, one finger off-white head

S-Roasted malt, spice, nutmeg and grass.

T-Roasted malt, nuts caramel, some chocolate with slight bitterness rounding out.

M-Medium bodied, slight carbonation, could be a tad on the watery side.

O-A decent brown ale, could have used a better hop presence. Balance was good though.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 22:25:32 | More by rlee1390
Photo of UnderPressure
UnderPressure

South Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A medium brown colored beer. Particles suspended throughout. Otherwise, relatively clear. Nice, rocky white head. Great lacing.

Chocolate and roasted grains in the aroma. An overall sweetness in the nose.

Fantastic flavor. More complex than I anticipated. The malt brings a sweet, chocolatey, roasted flavor. The hops provide a little bitterness, but this beer is very much on the sweet side. Yeast is clean.

A silky, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Medium bodied with a crisp, dry finish. The bitterness lingers, the sweetness does not.

Great beer. Definitely buy some if you have the opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 18:14:08 | More by UnderPressure
Photo of Kenye
Kenye


3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Date on bottle 9/24/12.

Appearance - Pours a nice reddish-brown color with a little light tan head that quickly settles to a persistent film. Average lacing. 3.5/5

Smell - Nothing strikes me about this. It just smells like an average brown beer. 3/5

Taste - Nothing strikes me here either. Honestly it tastes more like an Amber than a brown. I hardly taste any of the sweet roasted malts I was hoping for. There is also no nutty character. Nothing offensive. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel - It's very easy to drink. You could pound several of these if you weren't paying attention. Again, nothing special, but nothing offensive. 3.5/5

Overall - Nothing about this beer really stands out. It's just an average beer. I don't see any need to seek it out, but if you see it around and want to try something different you won't be disappointed. I personally want more sweetness or nuttiness out of a brown ale. 3.5/5

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 02:50:58 | More by Kenye
Photo of Strix
Strix

Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear orange-brown, nice head with good retention and lacing.

Malty nutty smell.

Toasted malts, roastiness, nuts, molasses, and a grassy hop finish. Well balanced.

Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

A very good example of the style - nice balance and highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 01:07:35 | More by Strix
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nothing too dark or sinister for Halloween night, just a nice brown ale. Here’s hoping it’s really the “best.”

Brewed six weeks before the date of this tasting (“PKGD 09/11/12”).

A: Dark red-brown body with a thin beige cream; intricate lacing is a nice touch, but the low retention makes it look pretty light on the head density.

S: Gummy molasses and caramel complexity, all the best of a brown ale and more. Oak and vanilla, butterscotch and cream; lots of chocolaty sweets and earthy, English malts. As the malts subside, a syrupy toffee and raspberry undertone rises – even more sweetness to be found, I guess.

T: A sweet English ale, with a brown, chocolaty malt backbone and spicy vanilla accents. Good smoke quality to it, as well, playing off a rindy, herbal hop element in a natural bitterness. Flavors of caramel and wood fill out the remainder of the palate, with that raspberry underpinning from the nose coming up here and there. Aftertaste is dry and slickly fruity, a little cough syrup-like with its lingering cherry effect.

M: As smooth as you’d expect from the tap, but with the astringency of any true British brown. Moderate body with a very, very drinkable nature.

O: There’s something about this beer that just satisfies my palate: everything from a sweet tooth to a need for complexity. Full flavor, drinkability, and memorable character. It reminds me of an oatmeal raisin cookie – there’s just something so sweet and savory about it.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2012 02:16:21 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium brown color with a nice translucency and a fine-bubbled, light-tan head that leaves minimal lacing on the way down. The aroma is wonderful, hits heavy on the chocolates and roasted coffee beans. The taste begins with a warm, malty and bready flavor that quickly turned into a swirl of bittersweet dark chocolate and nuts. Slight coffee beans and maybe even hazelnut in the far background (maybe I'm imagining things, here). I'm also picking up a slight milky flavor, perhaps from the texture. Very nice. Caramel and toffee finish the beer strong with an ever-so-slight but necessary hint at bitterness along the final seconds just before the sip is completely swallowed. Medium body, creamy with lots of carbonation.

Very, very solid brown ale. Perfect for the days transitioning from the fall to the winter. This beer tastes like the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2012 11:53:37 | More by tectactoe
Photo of DonDirkA
DonDirkA

Arizona

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 06:39:53 | More by DonDirkA
Photo of Mojo
Mojo

Alabama

3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This offering from Bells pours up a ruby red/brown with about a two finger head and minimal lacing. Nose is primarily pine and floral accents. Mouthfeel is pleasing, but not much carbonation. Taste is fairly mild with some malt and coffee flavors, but not much in the way of hops. This is a good beer as you'd expect from Bells, but honestly it is fairly indistinctive. I prefer Samuel Smith's ESB to this.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 02:38:49 | More by Mojo
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A -Slightly more than a finger's worth of lush creamy textured medium khaki colored head comprised of big chunky bubbles... Excellent retention... The color is a medium brown that has a very inviting glow to it... A slight bit of very small bubbled carbonation that rises at varying paces throughout... Excellent appearance...

S - The nuttiness can be detected without even bring the glass close to one's nose... Some light brown sugar notes... Dark bread and bread crust... Very light hints of caramel and toffee... Perhaps even some slight chocolate notes... Very appealing and spot on for the style, but perhaps a bit understated...

T - Nutty to start and nutty throughout... Light brown sugar... Light caramel... Light chocolate... Lots of depth and complexity... Subtlety is the name of the game here... There is a very light roasted malt component that takes prominence once the light sweetness subsides... A slight hop noble hop character emerges on the finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Smooth... Creamy... Rich... Goes down very easily sip after sip... Limited carbonation... I can't say enough good things about the mouthfeel...

D - An outstanding world class English Brown ale... This is something that I'll make sure I invest in each fall when it is released... No weaknesses... Very good in all facets and off the charts in terms of mouthfeel... Highly recommended...

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 00:23:29 | More by philbe311
Photo of TheMultiYeast
TheMultiYeast

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a frothy beige head. Lots of bubble action at first before it settles out. Lacing coats the glass.

Aroma is musty and malty with an abundance of toasted grain, almost a floral hop presence.

More toasted biscuits, grains, malt forward all the way. Sturdy bitterness in the aftertaste.

Pretty light in body, moderate in alcohol, good session brew.

Solid brown ale overall

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2012 16:45:50 | More by TheMultiYeast
Photo of BlackBelt5112203
BlackBelt5112203

South Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at fridge-cellar temperature.

L – Amber-brown color with a 1-finger bubbly tan head. Pretty nice retention and some lacing. Clear with a nice amount of carbonation bubbles. A little light for a brown ale.

S – Toasted and nutty malts, caramel, some cocoa, and a hint of floral hops.

T – Sweet nearly all the way through with caramel, cocoa, and brown sugar flavors. Toasted and nutty malt picks up mid-taste, and a nice dose of bitter floral hops shows up at the finish. Still malt-forward like a good brown ale, but the spicy hop bitterness is a nice complement.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and chewy mouthfeel, and a spicy, bitter, and dry finish. Floral hop bitterness and spice lingers nicely along with some sweet caramel notes.

O – This is a really nice brown ale. I think the additions of cocoa, caramel, and complementary hops give this beer some nice nuances that not many brown ales have. All the usual toasted and nutty malt flavors are there, plus more. Bell’s doesn’t disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2012 02:29:04 | More by BlackBelt5112203
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
cindyjeffsmith

Georgia

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: Handsome clear copper. Not a dark brown. Nick off white creamy head.
smell: Attractive but too subdued. As Bell's describes, it does have hints or caramel and cocoa...but barely.
taste: Again, quite subdued. Not bad by any means but not much happening.
overall: I liked this. Don't want to overstate, but it's a little too meh...good but better Brown's out there for sure.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 21:30:23 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,942 ratings.