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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

838 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 838
Hads: 2,729
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 92
Gots: 317 | 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
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Reviews: 838 | Hads: 2,729
Photo of walleye
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured reddish brown with little head.aroma, malts ,choc. caramel. flavor dark chocolate like the kind that covers a chocolate covered cherry, molasses. got a nice sweetness and a little bit of a bite at the end. had nice mouth feel bells does it again for me

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Photo of ken3c
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big rocky off-white head. Dark amber in color. Hazy in clarity. The head recedes to a layer that leaves beautiful lacing.

There is a strong malt aroma with caramel notes.

Sweet, fruity, grainy tastes. There is a little bitterness in the aftertaste but mostly grainy malt.

Medium body, well carbonated. Astringent in the finish.

This beer looked and smelled so good. I liked the fruitiness but was a little turned off by the astringency.

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Photo of soper2000
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought over a sixer of this to watch some Trailer Park Boys on BBC. Although not my favorite style what kind of BA would i be if i didn't try one? It pours a solid brown with a rocky slightly off white head which has excellent retention and leaves a nice lacing all the way down the glass. Aroma is rich with a malty nuttiness. Taste was a bit chocolatey and nutty. A bit of wit-like spiciness comes through in the finish as well as something that I can only describe as the Bell's "house flavor." Fairly decent beer and the six pack was finished off in very little time. A solid beer.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy dark copper/bonze with a minimal tan head, but with good lace effect. The nose is of sweet caramel and tofee, and these repeat in the flaor. It is an almost chewable heavy brew with good notes in the finish - almost candy-like. a good all-around drinkable brew.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnished bronze with loads of suspended particles. I may just have to chew this beer. The light brown head is large, firm and is a very nice lacer. Thick, chunky sheets adorn the glass as I drink.

The nose is of caramel/toffee, brown sugar and light molasses. As someone who prefers those flavors to chocolate, I approve in a big way and hope that the flavor matches the nose. It does. I can tell after the first sip that this beer has rocketed to the top of my 'best brown ales' list. A little more body would make it absolutely killer, but it's pretty damn tasty all the same.

Again, the flavor matches the nose: caramelized sugar-covered toasted malt with a little spiciness for good measure. I'm also reminded of sweet, dark fruits such as figs and dates. The sweetness--neither too much nor too little--fades to a slight dryness by the tail end of the long, lingering finish. I repeat, with a heavier body this would be extraordinary beer.

Bell's Brewery continues to grow on me. Brown ale is an often overlooked style that is sometimes short on excitement, but Bell's Best Brown is phenomenal stuff and has impressed me to no end.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer, long neck brown bottle. The obverse main label is completely different to that depicted in the BA Database. The bottle I have has a much more conservative purple edged gray background label with a beautifully drawn picture of an Owl sitting on a wooden fence post against a winter background. I am not sure what breed the owl is but looks like a Short-Eared Owl of sorts. The reverse label describes the offering as “...Best Brown Ale’s toasty malt character makes it a delicious beer for all types of weather”. Labeled as ‘Best Brown Ale’, but with no discernible freshness date, or even strength listed.

Appearance: Dark brown chestnut body that exhibits a deeply turbid porridge body that is murky and mud like in character. A decent head forms at first, a nicotine stained tan colored creamy cap covering which slips into a broken covering pretty quickly at first but yet it always retains a semblance of head. The first top-up forms a much longer lasting collar that leaves some excellent lacing. The decent conditioning means that a quick swirl always helps to reinstate the head and add to the lacing on the glass walls.

Nose: Nutty with a light warmth. Devon toffee and caramel coated Hops; this has a lovely “nutty toffee” character throughout. Has a light yet dark spicy character in the back end which adds a delicate exotic nuance.

Taste: The start is almost like a Northern English Mild, it has some Dark Mild cum Brown Ale qualities, but for some reason they are reticent to appear at first it seems. It comes into its own in the middle when the toffee and caramel break though in sufficient strength to excite the malty bitterness from the hops to also make a late party entrance in the midnight hour. The strength profile is almost directly proportional to the drink and residence time in the mouth. Light and low profile at first but tasty and wholesome in the back end. Has a dry malty finish. I like this one.

Mouthfeel: The conditioning lends a very smooth creamy feel and supports the malty bitterness that it exhibits perfectly. It does not disappoint.

Drinkability: I say this is most palatable Sir!! A Brown Ale that has an excellent quaffability. This is a seriously great Session Brown Ale.

Overall: On draft, this one would be a serious Winner in the working class areas of Northern England for sure. If it was indeed available, I would most certainly drink it in preference to “that other” readily available version. A jolly decent tipple and one I would most certainly imbibe in 12 ounce sextuplet fashion with little problem or inhibition.

Thanks to the MonkyFeloniousOne for supplying this Bell Ringer of a Brown!!

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a somewhat muddy brown color with a nice tight head.Good aroma of malt with great chocolate and caramel notes-a hint of hazelnut?Great flavor-toasted malt,slightly bready.Nice lingering bitterness.Decent mouthfeel.A very drinkable beer-I really like the aroma.Could see this being my regular everyday brew.Enjoy.

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Photo of beerluvr
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a sticky light tan head over semi-clear light brownish liquid tinged with some redness. Mellow roasted maltiness with some chocolate and brown sugar notes in the nose. Flavors of bread dough and light butterscotch wash over the palate with a slight tanginess coming in at the end. Finishes well-hopped and nicely roasty. Well done.
Thanks to CRJMellor for another kick-ass trade!

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Photo of tar
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went through a phase this winter in which this was my "regular everyday type" beer. Pours a very nice cloudy medium brown, with a one-finger thick, fluffy tan head. The head diminishes somewhat quickly, but sticks around enough to leave some nice lacing on the glass. Smells sweet, with very nice malt aromas coming forth. Tastes nicely of sweet, toasted malt, with some hints of carmel and perhaps a bit nutty. Smooth and easy drinking, this is a very enjoyable beer. Overall a very nice beer which I would definitely recommend.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep auburn, copper cloudy liquid with an off-white foamy head. The head disappeared quickly, and there was little lacing on the glass. Smells of toasted malt, not much else. Taste of sweetness, followed by a slight roasted caramel flavor. No bitterness. Medium body, nice amount of carbonation. Very easy to drink, very little bitterness at all. Good offering by Bell's. I suppose I would have enjoyed a deeper toasted/roasted flavor, but this one was good.

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

12 oz bottle, no dating on bottle. NIce soft amber color with an off white head, leaves some lace. Pleasant doughy/malty aroma. Malty/bready flavor profile. Nutty, hints of rye, biscuits, almonds and oatmeal cookies. Moderate hops round things off. This is another tasty offering from Bells. My wife brought a mixed six pack back from Michigan, each beer has been tasty! Wish I could get more of these guy's brews here in NY state.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice deep brown with a moderate amount of head. Smell is mainly malt dominated.

Taste is deep and satisfying; the malts from the aroma are there in quantity along with an appealing hop bite. Coffee, and nuts as well as a fruity tinge are all present as well and it finishes smoothly, nice.

Mouthfeel is good and thick, while the drinkability is right up there.

A fine winter offering from Bell's.

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Photo of merlin48
4.69/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Yup. The 12 oz bottle with the inquisitive owl on the label. This is one of the few reviews I've written without knowing anything about the beer, or reading other reviews. It pours a muddy, dark, iced tea color with a tan head that likes to hang around and mingle, and sheds some lasting, patchy lacing. Nice aroma of dates, and a few other dark fruits....followed up by a shower of floral hops and some soothing pecan pralines. Wow...! Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, nutty, well carbonated, and has a mild hop bite. Taste is out of this solar system. Bittersweet spices smeared onto some banana nutbread, chocolate fudge, some smoked kalamata olives, and some pleasant bittering floral hops. Geeez..I wasn't expecting much to write about here, but this one has blown me off the planet. Beautiful and complex, it finishes with a bitter cocoa taste accompanied with a touch of mandarin orange rind burn. Also, there is a smoky, wood aged feel that is difficult to explain, but adds to the surprisingly noble character to this Bell's offering. Wow!

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Photo of yankeeheel
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice slightly hazy brown with the requisite 1.5 finger tan head. Head quickly fades and leaves a small centric sheet of lace.

Smells weakly of toasted malt. Maybe a hint of yeast or bread.

Tatses awfully sweet up front. A lot of buttery caramel with a backsplash of toasted almond. Runs it's course and leaves slightly dry with a mininal hop afterglow.

Mouthfeel is again moderate with the right amount of carbonation.

Very drinkable but no world-shaker. They can't all be.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish brown color, definitely hazy. A nice beige-tannish head, some lacing.

Smell: Doesn't smell as strong as I thought it would be, what I mean is, this offering has very little smell to it. What I can smell is some faint crusty-bready type of smell.

Taste: Bold tasting, surprisingly so considering the faint smell. First impression is a sweet coffee type of taste, followed by a nice hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Big, chewy mouthfeel. Full bodied, finishes very well. Alcohol is noticeable.

Drinkability: This would go great with a big chunk of roasted beast, or just sit back and have a few. This is a very well crafted beer. The only thing I would have liked is a bit more presence in the nose.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of benmiliron
2.55/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful color, deep deep reddish brown.

Taste is surprisingly unpleasant, especially for Bell's. Kind of earthy (like dirt) with a hint of aluminum. I hate to bash this beer's taste, being a huge fan of Bell's, but I really didn't care too much for this beer. This is the first Bell's I've not enjoyed :( sniff.. sniff... Lots of foamy carbonation. There's a hint of oak or maple in there too.

If you're looking for Bell's, buy the Expedition Stout instead.

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Photo of rabidawg
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pure white head. Slightly hazy red tinged nut brown, due to a not-so-careful pour. Specks and spots of lace.

Smell: Sweet glorious caramel malt, with a definite nutty aroma. My mouth waters as I saturate my sniffer with rich malty goodness. Not much in the way hop aroma, but that's fine with this style.

Taste: Initial rush of brown sugar sweetness. Light carbonation tickles the tongue and fills the mouth with cream. Middle consists of caramel and toasted nuts, and a buttery hint of diacetyl. Surprising level of gentle hops near the end, leading to a satisfyingly dry finish. Aftertaste is earthy yeast.

Hell yeah! Beer number two in my Bell's adventure, thanks to feloniousmonk!

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Photo of beergeek279
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is a dark brown, with a good white head. The smell is a dry dark malt. The taste is a very dry malt, with a bit of nice hop bitterness as it warms up. Mouthfeel is smooth. Drinkability-wise, could have a few.

Not a bad little beer. Definitely one of the better brown ales out there...actually has flavor! This is one that I'd have again in the future.

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Photo of stoutman
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a foggy burnished copper color with a huge head. Creamy in consistency with a light tan color, Sweet malt with a hint of walnuts, crisp and clean nose, with the start nicely malted and somewhat sweet, top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is apparrent in its acidity; hops are pleasing and spicy, slightly tart and dry aftertaste, quite tasty.. but that aftertaste.. is like all the other Bell's beer... Is it the water??

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a ruby-brown color with a thick, creamy tan head. The aroma has a sweet, nutty maltiness to it. The flavor is sweet and nutty with maltiness in the drying finish. It is a light-medium bodied brew that is very smooth. This one would be an excellent session brew. A very nice beer overall.

Sampled 10/17/03

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a foggy burnished copper color with the head dinosauric in size, creamy in consistency and a beauteous light tan in color, as it unhurriedly evaporates the lace forms a thick and glutinous sheet upon the glass. Sweet malt with a hint of walnuts, crisp and clean nose, with the start nicely malted and somewhat sweet, top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is stern in its acidity; hops are pleasing and spicy, slightly tart and dry aftertaste, quite tasty.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep amber brown hue, we can dub it mahogany with a nice tan fluffy cream head leaves nice scattered lacing as the head dwindles lacing forms a collar.
Aroma: Deep roasted malts give off hints of chocolates and a warming sweetness along with a complementing tone of nut bread.
Taste: The toasted malts form a caramel toasted nut flavor profile and the hops in the finish are very evident, quite bitter for a brown ale not hopped per say just residually bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied brew with a bit of a cloying finish, not as smooth as I was hoping.
Drinkability: Mediocre for the Bell’s lineup but one of the most intriguing brown ales I have taste at the same time, save room for their Two Hearted Ale now that’s a session ale.

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Photo of proc
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a very good interpretation of the brown ale style. Pours out to a very, cloudy brownish, amber in the glass. The aroma is that of baking bread, light yeast and malted milk balls. The taste is wonderfully malty and hoppy without either taking over. Incredible balance. Very slightly sweet with a light fruit taste present, but not overly so. I enjoy this beer and recommend drinking it on a cold, autumn evening.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. brown bottle, Best Brown had a hazy light brown color with some loose suspended sediment and a modest off-white head which thinned out to a small cap with little in the way of lacing.
The smell had a grassy malt aroma with hints of nuts and some berries. The taste was built on a solid toasted malt backbone with some toffee notes. A light nuttiness was present and it had a slightly smoky flavor in the finish. The feel was medium-bodied and smooth.
A decent tasting beer. Flavorful, as are nearly all offerings from Kalamazoo Brewing, Best Brown is one of the better brown ales around. Worth the time to check it out. Brought two home.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 838 ratings.