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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

837 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 837
Hads: 2,719
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 92
Gots: 315 | 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: 837 | Hads: 2,719
Photo of Auracom
2.97/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. poured into a RR tulip on February 26th, 2013.

A - Murky soft caramel coloring. Light khaki foam with good lacing and marginal retention.

S - Freshly-rolled dough, hint of smoke, roasted peanuts.

T - Very direct. Honey malts, soft caramel cookie, and a hint of over roasted coffee.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, semi-dry finish.

D - Exactly what it ought to be, but nothing memorable. Super approachable and about as middle-of-the-road as you can get.

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

A: Hazy medium-dark shade of brown, with a poofy eggshell-white head. Not much lacing, mostly just a few spots here and there.

S: Not a whole lot going on on the nose, just some standard ale scents with a light nut character to it.

T: There is some faint caramel sweetness, some smooth toasty flavors, and a hint of bitterness. Some of the yeast flavor comes through at the end, giving it an ever so slight bread quality in the aftertaste. Some slightly earthy and slightly pine-like hop flavor comes through after drinking, but it is very soft.

M: It is a very mild-mannered beer. It is extremely easy to drink, with a pleasant bitterness that is not overpowering. The beer is very smooth but not milky.

O: Overall I was very impressed by this beer. It had a wonderful flavor that made it a pleasure to drink. I do recommend it, and I would obviously drink it again. This brown ale has a bit more bitterness and hop flavor than you'll probably find in most other browns. It is not overdone in this respect, but takes a backseat on the palate after you taste the light caramel and toast flavors.

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

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled 11/14/2012. Pours fairly cloudy brown copper color with a nice 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of caramel, toast, light cocoa, brown bread, floral, brown sugar, and light nuttiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance; but are fairly weak. Taste of caramel, toast, cocoa, brown bread, floral, brown sugar, light nuttiness, light pine, and light citrus hops. Lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, cocoa, brown sugar, light pine, and light citrus on the finish for a bit. Nice balance and complexity of flavors with a fair amount of robustness; with zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a good brown ale. Nice balance with fairly robust flavors; and very smooth to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of JWU
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tumbler glass.

A- a clear brown/red with a half finger of light tan head that doesn't stick around very long. Lacing is much better than I thought it would be.

S- Typical brown ale aromas. Bready, a bit of caramel and biscuits. English yeast. Hint of brown sugar.

T- A drier take on the style. A balance of dry bitterness, cocoa and a bit of brown sugar/caramel sweetness. Certainly english in it's roots, has a lot in common with an English Bitter, but is noticeably heavier.

M- Medium bodied, not hoppy dry, but a more malt based dryness. Carbonation is medium.

O- A serviceable brown ale. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Photo of RoninTK3
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber and translucent with a bit of lacing.

S - Caramel, sweet malts, brown sugar. Very nice.

T - Malty, sweet, and a bit nutty. Hints of caramel and brown sugar. A bit of a bitter edge, especially in the aftertaste.

M - Medium bodied and very smooth. A bit of a creamy feel.

Brown ales tend to be low on my list, but rating this among other beers in its style I found it to be quite enjoyable. Not something I'd get again, but this is a very good brown ale.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed with the man who put Humpty Dumpty back together again (my orthopedic trauma surgeon)! Served from bottle into a flared pilsner. Poured a deep red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, nutty, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, toasted malt, nutty, nutmeg, and subtle caramel. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I was really quite intrigued by this one once I smelled the dark chocolate notes in it. However, to my slight disappointment, this note did not carry over into the flavor. Despite this it did not kill the brew at all. This one was rather easy drinking and quite enjoyable. Definitely one of the better browns I’ve had in awhile as most are hit-and-miss that I’ve had recently with other flavors infused into them. Worth your time trying without a doubt.

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

Had this with lunch at the westwood tavern in schaumburg. Nice transparent brown with good lacing on the pint glass. Smells.of brown sugar and tastes the same. Fairly solid brown ale. Nothing mind blowing. Some nuttiness. Easy drinker. I like a good brown and this is good, but a bit of a let down from a brewery that seems to knock every style they take on out of the park.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured this beer into a tulip glass.

On the initial pour I got two fingers of foam with very good retention. I like the lacing left behind on a glass. Off the top you can smell the plentiful malts and minimal hopping.

The flavor comes in with more of the malt. I also pick up some decent roastiness.

This is an easy drinking brown ale. Yet another great offering by Bell's.

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Photo of AdamGarcia
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottle served in tumbler. package date 9/11/12

A: Warm reddish brown. Light filters through around the edges. Rather murky. Off white head doesn't stick around very long. Thin ring of foam remains.

S: Enticing. Sweet malty aromas. Hints of cocoa, coffee, vanilla, leather, and tobacco. Suggestions of hops come out once the temp rises a bit.

T: Taste mirrors aroma pretty closely. Some sweet fruity flavors pop up mid palate, but get swallowed up quickly with the chocolate and coffee. There's just a modest amount of roastiness and then a fairly long finish with some drying tobacco. Subtle in flavor, but tasty.

M: Medium body. Carbonation is on the lower end of the spectrum and appropriate for a brown ale.

O: I always enjoy Best Brown whenever it's available. I don't necessarily drink a lot of browns but this is probably one of my favs when I'm in the mood.

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Photo of SometimesIfart
2.84/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A - Pours copperish brown with a two-finger white head. No lacing.

S - Raisins, roasted malt.

T - A wee-bit of coffee, raisins, roasted malt, a bit water.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O - Overall, it was exremely average. I could have it at the the bar, but probably wouldn't buy it for the home.

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Photo of beergoot
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Murky, brownish-orange body topped with a thick, sticky foamed, off-white head. Densely sweet aroma of brown sugar and caramel. Roasted grain and nut flavors; slightly charred sugar; excellent hop bitterness at the finish. Medium body; smooth, soft and silky mouthfeel; nice blend of residual sugar body with a semi-dry finish.

Rich, malty, with an excellent hop bitterness offset, this is a finely balanced and easy drinking brown ale.

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Photo of duffalo
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Nothing frilly, just a really well done brown ale. The balance is great - there's no hop smell, but they nicely cancel out the sweetness that could easily be in this beer given the amount of grains they pack in. I think the taste is great, but personally I think it's almost on the verge of a porter in darkness and alcohol content - not quite as light as most of the brown ales I'm used to. Nevertheless, this is a great choice if you're in the mood for a no frills well done brown.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a bit of a red hue. Medium head that looks creamy and fades somewhat quickly. Smells sweet like a red ale, cherry amd roasty presence here. Flavor is nutty and smooth, different from the aroma. A bit of chocolate with the nut and a bit of fruit on the finish. Nice easy drinker. Good beer.

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Photo of Dave1999
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brown with lighter amber hues and nice white head.

The smell is sweet and malty with some nutiness.

The taste is light malt, nuts and very light hop bitterness. The flavours are very subtle but complex enough to at least make it decent.

The mouthfeel is light with medium carbonation.

Overall a decent brown ale a little light for my tastes but enjoyed the one bottle I bought.

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Photo of Gmann
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a yeasty chocolate brown color with a tight bubbled cream colored head that settled into a light ring with some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is sweet with caramel notes. Some brown bread and toasted scents from the malt. Nothing outrageous but inviting.

Good nutty flavor from the toasted malt. Some bark and bitter chocolate notes as well. The caramel sweetness comes in and balances the brew and makes it quite smooth; almost tastes as if there is some oatmeal in the mix.

The feel is moderate with prickly carbonation. Good balance between sweet and bitter. Some bitterness in the finish. Probably could use some softer carbonation to help bring out the good flavors some more.

A very enjoyable brown ale, good representation of the style.

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Photo of Ed_Johnson
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark amber in color and a light amount of visible carbonation. Moderate amounts of lacing.

S: Light aromas of caramel with less pronounced smell of brown sugar and molasses. There is also some cocoa.

T: Dark malts with some hints of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and sweetness. Also some nuts with a touch of cocoa. Very light bitterness in the finish.

M: Light to medium bodied. Creamy and smooth.

O: Extremely easy to drink. Enjoyable. Nice in the winter and I suspect year around.

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Photo of BlackBearForge
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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!

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

Best brown ale pours a cloudy copper to brown color with a nice cap of creamy foam. The nose is light and grainy, fitting for a brown ale. The aroma that it does produce is a pleasant darkly roasted malt with nutty overtones. The brown malt theme continues on the palate with a creamy smooth malt texture. A slight bitterness provides balance toward the end. This brew has all the makings of good beer.

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Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Big, fluffy, light khaki head, high retention with soapy lacing. Aroma includes sweet caramel malts and light roasted notes. Taste has a nice caramel sweetness, some walnut and cashew, faint coffee and roast. Crazy drinkable and sessionable. No off flavors at all and very nice.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of patpbr
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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