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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

849 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 849
Hads: 2,806
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 95
Gots: 364 | 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: 849 | Hads: 2,806
Photo of Parmesan
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Amber brown color with a creamy white/ brown head.

Smell: Some sweetness, a toasted malt, some nuttiness, some toffee and a little caramel.

Taste: Toasted malt with some caramel and toffee and a nice sweetness to balance it out. A little bit of bitterness near the end.

Feel: Littler thinner body than I expect from a brown

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was obviously a brown color with a one finger white foamy head. Light strings of lace slide into the beer.
The smell starts off with roasty nuts, a faint toffee, caramel goodness and leads into a light sweet earthy bliss.
The taste was mainly sweet and roasty through the previously mentioned flavors. Earthiness does come back to reside in the aftertaste and finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a great sessionably sweet feel all around. Carbonation ran light and an earthy hop bitterness ran underneath.
Overall, another great beer from one of my all time favorite breweries. Thank you for sending, Kayley.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, like walnut furniture color. Strong roast malt smell with some smokiness. Taste follows nose with a little earthiness - moderate level of bitterness for clean finish. Carbonation is lots of small bubbles that hit late. For all that roast malt it feels surprisingly light and sessionable. Overall, great alternative to Oktoberfest for later fall--I wish I'd skipped the pumpkin beer and stocked up on more of this instead.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.86/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: [4.00] Not surprisingly the beer is a pleasing brown color. It is not totally transparent. It forms about 1/2 a finger of off white head. The head does not stay around too long leaving traces along the edges and the surface. The bottle lists the ABV (5.8%) and the Julian date code equate to (09/23/15).

S: [3.00] The nose is a bit weak and undefined. I get hints of light molasses and some nuttiness like hazelnuts. I also get some toffee and caramel.

T: [2.50] Kind of an off metallic flavor upfront. Some toffee and nuttiness - but again is is very subdued like the nose. Some hop bitterness on the finish too.

M: [3.00] The beer is a little thin and watery. There is a strange astringent quality to it too.

O: [3.00] This beer is just a miss for me. The aroma and flavor are subdued - what I can pickup I don't really like that much. There are some weird off flavors. I wouldn't drink this again.

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Photo of jopezu
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark coppery brown with a medium head. nose; baker's chocolate, dark bread, light caramel and hops. taste; toasted malt, caramel, dark bread rind, bitter earthy hops, light toffee, cinnamon and roasted almond. aftertaste is light cola caramels and nut. strong carbonation lends a smooth, creamy medium+ mouthfeel. i'm not a brown ale fan, but this one gets my vote (i like the horned owl art on the bottle too)! i know it's a different style, but this beats bell's amber ale hands-down; an absolute contender to all of the typical fall season brews, novelties or not.

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Photo of mlockman
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Mild malt characteristics with a clean finish courtesy of the hops. Well balanced and while not anything so impressive as to hoard (as is the case with so many of bell's other offerings) this is a fine standard brown ale suitable for any autumns eve

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Photo of Suds
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Medium brown in color with a little haze and a small white head. The ready aroma has some maillard toast and caramel in it, with a touch of malt. The taste has moderate maltiness, semi dry, and a firm bitter finish.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my new favorite thing is brown ales that are carbonated well and have a yeast character to them, and this nails it on the head. one of the more basic styles from bells that i have had, but also one of their better executed, which i lately consider to be one mark of a great brewery. their amber is equally impressive. this has a cromson glow to it in the light, less dense and deep brown than many in its class, and it holds a little less than an inch of airy tan fluff on top for quite some time. it smells and tastes excellent, i love the lighter cocoa chocolate malt with the english yeast, buttery and dry at the same time, rustic and hearty, but also freakishly drinkable. low tones of walnuts and dry soil, its definitely autumnal in overall vibe, and i think it is a fall seasonal, but this is a brown ale thats worthy of all year production and consumption. the perfect companion to chef driven pizza of all kinds wood fired, and to a chilly fall afternoon. under appreciated i think, this is up there with the best basic browns made in the states i think, certainly in terms of quality. right in my seasonal wheelhouse right now too!

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Photo of Mubalzich69
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great autumn beer!!! I poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz glass chalice. Smooth to pour with a nice head. Nice caramel flavor with a slight chocolate touch. Very smooth on the way down. Nice brown ale.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, batch 14629 PKGD 07/31/15. It's been a few years since I had this one.
A - creamy beige head caps a bronze colored ale
S - earthy hops, dark caramel, bread, grain
T - a bit roasty, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, nutty, earthy & spicy hops
M - medium body, moderate carbonation, finishes semi-dry with some spicy hops and mild roast lingering
O - in my opinion this is a good brown ale, but there are others I prefer more -even though Bell's is one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really good brown ale. Had on tap at 1000 in the morning while playing some slots at motor city casino. Nice smell of vanilla detected. Taste was off an almost chocolate stout. First time having and will gladly pick this up to enjoy again.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a guiness pint glass.

Look is amber brown and hazy with thin head.

Aroma is toasted malt.

Taste is very creamy with a toasted malt after taste,

Very good October beer.

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Photo of atr2605
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a nice deep mahogany amber color with an off white head with good retention and lacing
S-graham cracker, caramel, and burnt marshmallow
T-nutty, biscuit, caramel, and cracker flavors with hop bitterness providing balance but not lending a lot in flavor
M-medium bodied and smooth
O-really solid english brown ale, would not hesitate to get again

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Best Brown pours out, wait for it, brown! A nice mid brown. Tough to tell, but it appears it is mildly cloudy. Nice tan fluffy head holds up well. Nice dusty chocolate scent with a touch of caramel. A hint of American hops, but I can't pick out which, but they give a nice citrus contrast.

The taste is nice and rich. Chocolate and caramel come together as in the scent. Finishes with a citrus hop flavor. Nice lingering flavor. Heavier side of medium bodied. Comes across as very full flavored. Overall a great American take on a brown ale. A little more hops than most.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can that I think was $3. Not quite dark brown, sort of reddish, huge head. Malty, toasty aroma. Flavor is full, toast, malts, pretty darn good. I must also compliment the branding because this just felt like a great fall drinking beer.

 240 characters

Photo of citizencane
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reminds me of fall, appropriately. A good fit for drinking in October. Murky red-brown, not much of a head. Not too heavy but not too light. Would probably drink again.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour yielded a 2 inch slightly off-white head that stayed for a minute then was gone. Minor lacing left behind. The smell is sweet malt, hints of hops and a toffee chocolate scent. The taste is all of this with the sweet malt and toffee as the main flavors. There is a very slight pleasing bitterness at the end that cuts through the sweet. This a a very nice brown that is what I would expect of the style.

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Photo of Evilyak
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

More red than brown, with some light lacing. Pretty beer. Pretty, pretty beer.

Definite toastiness to this one. Mild and unassuming.

Taste is roasted malt and a bit of nuttiness to it. Again, pretty subdued but pleasant.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a touch of lingering bitters.

Just a good beer for this time of year. Nothing remarkable, but easily consumed.

 360 characters

Photo of TH28
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12os bottle. 8/21/15 package date (41 days old). Appearance: Brown with reddish tint, murky, with a thick mousse like tan head with great lacing. Head holds for a long time. Aroma: Toast, caramel, chocolate, with a hint of toast and resinous hops. Hop/malt combination gives off some caramelized pepper aromas. Taste: Rich toasted bread, with some roasted chocolate and hints of licorice. Moderately strong bitterness. Mouthfeel: Light body, almost thin, with a moderate carbonation. Finish: Malty toast and roasted flavors linger. Malt forward. Overall: Amazing appearance with the mousse foam head that never dissipates, and a really nice complex aroma. Taste is on point, mouthfeel a bit thin.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 5.8% abv. Awesome artwork on the label. (New from what is on the webpage)

Appearance- Pours a dark brown with a moderate head that has a tannish tint. Quite murky.

Smell- Caramel, sweet bread, toast.

Taste- Sweet roasty malt. Nutty. Becoming more sweet with an underlying coffee flavor present as well. Toasted cracker notes also increase before ending with a slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body with active carbonation.

Overall- One well done brown here. Complex flavors and smooth. Competes with some of the best ABA's. Hard to dissappoint with this choice.

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Photo of MACrist
4.61/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My numbers/rating, is always within the style. This beer is rust/brown in color, poured straight into a pint glass. Three finger tan head that sticks around, moderate lacing left on glass. The aroma is sweet malt, caramel, chocolate, roasted nuts, and a slight hoppy, pine aspect. The mouthfeel is watery at first, then the carbonation kicks in and you also get a nice creamy finish that lingers. You get everything in the taste that I mentioned in the aroma. It starts with malty sweetness, then a pleasant bitter note and ends with a nutty flavor. If you're a fan of English Brown Ales, I think you will like this one quite a bit.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite brown ales. Deep shade of brown/english toffee in color, the caramel notes transfer to the taste, with some butterscotch and earthiness in there to balance it out. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft, this beer goes down a treat.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a light tan and creamy head. The beer itself is an opaque brown. The overall look is pretty nice and fairly inviting. It definitely goes with the theme Bell's planned on.

The smell is fairly nice but could be stronger (or at the very least is weak compared to modern standards). In fact, I'd say that the smell is fairly balanced. The malts give a nice sweet nutty note that is pretty good but not overpowering while there's a light floral hop note to give a slight bitterness.

The taste has similar notes to the smell but seems to lack the balance found in the smell. The taste has a much stronger hop presence than the smell and that the malt notes are weaker. The malts still give a nice sweet nutty note but are heavily overshadowed by the hops.

The feel is disappointing to the least. Even though the beer is heavy bodied, the feel is light and a tad heavy water with no real texture to it.

Overall, meh. I've had better. Just do it for the badge.

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Photo of daddypatstacks
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bell's has sort of special place in my heart. They were one of the breweries that helped me transition into my love of craft beer, and their brown ale really opened my eyes. It has been a couple years since I drank this one so I figured I owed to them to try it again. Personally, I think brown ales are some of the best (and overlooked) beers of the fall season. I'm not really sure what the real difference between "American" and "English" brown ales are, but I find myself preferring the English variety. The toasty malts are that are present in this beer are more delicately balanced than the similarly rated American versions. It's darker- sort of a mahogany color- but doesn't border on stout levels like some of its counterparts. Their isn't much complexity, but that's a good thing. This beer tastes exactly like the label looks and makes me excited to welcome the pleasantly cool nights that come with the season.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured this beauty in a clear lager mug, has a nice medium dark brown color and a healthy thickish foam head.
Smells malty, a little chocolaty.
Tastes like an ale, got some bitterness to it, and it tastes a little of chocolate, maybe even coffee. Not too overly bitter like most Bell's Ale's I've had.
Feel is smooth,with a light bubbly feel on the tongue, not too light, but not too strong on the carbonation.
Overall, I was hesitant since I don't like Bell's Ale's, since usually I find them to be too bitter. This one isn't like that. And I could drink more of this.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 849 ratings.