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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: 365 | 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: 849 | Hads: 2,806
Photo of r3o
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark red-brown, half an inch head with a little lacing.
S: mostly malt, there's some burnt brown sugar, little hops
T: good balance, built well, you get some nuts in the palate, the aftertaste is sour in the back of my throat.
M: medium body, almost chewy, smooth, with good carbonation
D: easy to drink and pleases, not many surprises though.

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

A nice dark amber brown capped with a fine caramel white head. smells like an amber ale with a subtle hint of toasted malt. Taste is just the same with more presence of the toasted malts. A very mellow brown ale, much to my liking. It definitely has a bell's taste to it. A nice feel and an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Fatduck
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After drinking several very hopped up beers, this is exactly what I wanted. Its smooth, malt dominate beer. It smells like a day in the forest and looks like a pile of freshly raked leaves. I like this beer a lot, and I am sad to drink the last of them.

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Photo of Bruiser81
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a murky brown color. It looked kind of like tea. A creamy off white head simmered down to a thin sheet. What a great aroma, a mixture of sweet malt, toffee, dates, and caramel. Taste wasn't bad but not near as good as the aroma. The taste starts with roasted malts which is followed by a bread flavor along with a nutty caramel. Towards the finish there is a a sweet/sour taste. Sort of different, not bad. This beer is great up until the finish which just threw me off a little. A nice creamy smooth mouthfeel. Definately a drinkable brew.

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Photo of wchesak
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Spiegelau tulip

A - amber brown, less than a fingers worth of light sandy colored head, some blots of lace

S - caramel, some brown sugar, hint of chocolate, slight toffee and nut notes

T - lots of malt - chocolate, caramel, nut; aftertaste has some roast to it along with the slightest bittering from the hops

M - body starts out medium but finishes a little thinner than average, average carbonation

D - enjoyable, nothing out of the ordinary, but is a good example of an English Brown

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Photo of earthboundagain
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes:

A- A rich brown beer, that has some red tones. The head is tan and fluffy. The head sticks to the glass leaving some nice lacing action.

S- Ok brown sugar coated chestnuts, jump up at ya. Maybe some brown sugar and molasses hiding in the back.

T- Roasted chestnuts in my beer, mixed with brown sugar and lots of malt oh yeah.

M- Hmm, this one is sticky and slick with a lot of carbonation.

D- This one is not hard to drink, and comes with some flavor too boot.

Thoughts- This is a nice brown ale, it is not top shelf but would be a good session beer on a crisp September afternoon.

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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 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.

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Photo of RunForYourBeer
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From batch 9981, bottled 9/16/10.

A: Pours a light brown, much lighter than I expected.

S: Smells of a sweet caramel malt with a hint of breadiness.

T: Tastes of a sweet caramel, bread malt along with some chocolate. Has a bit of hop bitterness and a hint of toastyiness.

M: Medium with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: High.

This is a good fall beer. One I will likely come back to.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Nice aroma. Even with the light chocolate, coffee and bread cameral smells this one still smells like beer.
There is a nuttiness in the taste. A bit of bitterness in the finish balances the sweetness. Carbonation enhances the mouthfeel. Has just a little bit of a creamy feel.

Nice brew. Very drinkable.

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Photo of KomodoDragon
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Somewhere between an amber and a brown ale. Huge toffee head which immediately subsided, impressive lacing.

S - Not much to smell here. Some sugar, some toasted malts.

T - Has some sweetness of a brown, as well as caramel tones. Also some roasted malts and flavors of almonds and cocoa.

M - Exceptionally smooth and very drinkable.

Seems more like a American brown. Perhaps not "best", but definately unique and at minimum very very good.

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Photo of scalffd
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy, dark amber brown with 2" off-white bubbly head which dissapates into a smooth 1/4" layer

Aroma: Roasted malts

Taste: More roasted malts with a slight bitter aftertaste

Feel: Smooth, but a little thin

Overall: Good, but not great. From Bell's and the name of the beer, I actually expected more.

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

Brown in appearance with a nice foam, that is carmel in color. The smell is flat, with a acidic floral tone. This is a rather interesting smell. Mouthfeel is verymuch a brown ale, smooth. Taste is very clean in its taste, slight hints of toasty malts, Overall this is a very delightful brew and easy drinking. Goes well with what you are eating.

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Photo of Finn
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber, with a thin lace that stays on top. Good clarity.

Smell: Bready, toasty, biscuity malts dominate the nose very nicely.

Taste: Rich, smooth bread-like malts, ending with a lingering hop bitterness, caramel flavors. Mild fruitiness present.

Mouthfeel: Medium, smooth body. Medium carbonation compliments nicely. Slight creaminess.

Drinkability: This one really opens up as it warms up. Drinkability is high. One of the better brown ales out there, very well balanced, nothing over the top, but still retains full flavor. Recommended!

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Photo of carlborch
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Supposedly a seasonal fall-winter beer, but available mid-July. The brown ale pours a beautiful clear brown with a tan-colored, thick, mousse-like head. The head persists and leaves intricate Belgian lace when sipped. The nose is both delicate and noticeable with hints of toasted bread, toffee, malt and ginger. The malt notes are light and sweet but not cloying. On the palate the ale has a medium body, perfect balance and a wonderful lingering finish that wants you to go back for. This ale is totally moreish! The carbonation pleasant and the alcohol is not noticeable.

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Photo of Kelly88
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at bar Louie served in a huge pint glass

A- dark leathery brown with old catcher Mitt orange at the bottom. Resilient beige head that is really sticking around. Layers of lace are surrounding the glass. So much I can't even see through some parts of the glass. Light shade of brown for a brown ale.

S- not much going on in the nose. Some pear type aromas with a sweetness.

T- sweet crisp apple taste. Really unexpected but it is really good. Apple skin and really small hop cones on the back. Really tasty brew.

M- medium to fullish. Not slot of carbonation but that is not hurting the experience. The lack of carbonation sort of enhances the flavors by really forcing them down onto your palate.

Overall a really solid brown ale That has a really unique flavor. Definitely will seek out again if available.

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Photo of rembrant
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour- As much head as you want,fairly substantial rich cream tops a medium brown body

aroma- in a nicely English way,the main scents are fresh bread crust,oak lumber,and bits of toffee nut with hints of yeast.

Taste- pleasent, though in the effort to be a rather dry English style it avoided and muted any clear cut sweet malt side as well as the more flavorful American type hops. So, rather than describing coffee and fruits and pine forest....it's all "Beer".
There's a touch of woody,toffee-nut,and a British-Euro hop finish that does not try to do a notable flavor or long aftertaste.

this one's warmer than one I had earlier but the malt side isn't more assertive,and the carbo seems less. Going for an English pub ale?

Mouth- The Carbonation does fall a bit short and relative to other Browns I've hadthis has the least body and sparkle. It also does not have a real fine finish,just a plain wooden bitter.

drinkability- Actually not bad,would be better with a nicer finish and a bit mor fizz. Dangerously close to flat+watery,and yet i think they aimed at a tradition where that's just how it is.
Pretty good,but Brown is a Genre where there's a lot of beers above 'pretty good".

Picture a photo of a plain man in a gray tweed topcoat with a plain dark blue tie,in front of a gray building and under a gray sky,all looking ever so British,a photo you can guess,is it 1959? 2009? It has that sort of proper,and a bit stodgy quality.

This is the beer that man would drink. Every day. Forever.

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Photo of apbarwood
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with a one-finger tan head. It falls away quickly but leaves a moderate amount of lacing. Could have looked nicer but definitely not bad. The aroma was malty but faint. A modest amount of caramel and a hint of chocolate intertwined with a hop aroma. The flavor was a bit of a downer as I'd hoped for more of a malt presence but got more hop bitterness. There was also an astringent, grainy character that didn't really add anything to the beer. This is the first offering from Bell's that I was somewhat disappointed with.

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Photo of julian89
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this fairly new addition to Bell's to be a high improvement on several other brown ales I have tried.

Appearance: Obviously a darkish brown hue, lightly transparent. Caramel coloring at the base post drink.
Smell: Clean, not too powerful, not much else.
Taste: Wonderful! This is a perfectly bittered and hopped brown ale. It was not too dry and carbonated either.
Mouth feel: Very smooth, no acid residue aftertaste I get with other brown's.
Overall: Bell's does not disappoint. Their Brown hits the charts once again.

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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 MrTopher
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Brian (not on BA) for taking a road trip from DC to CA and picking this up on the way and letting me snake one.

A – Pours a dark rich walnut color that has some nice light brown head that has a nice retention level.

S – Nose is pretty subtle if nonexistent, there is a little sweetness (caramel, toffee, brown sugar) but nothing overwhelming.

T – Sweet caramel, toasted malt, and some toffee. No hop presence in the taste all just nice inviting malt flavors and a good nut character.

M – Decent on the body, and the carbonation was perfect.

O – Good stuff, I don’t always drink the brown ales, but this I would rank up there. I think I still prefer Lost Coast Downtown Brown over this, but it’s still really good.

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Photo of sm0key
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - lightish brown in color.

Smell - nutty!

Taste - Smooth. Packs more punch than the taste lets on...

Mouthfeel - Not very heavy for a brown ale, better than most, though

Drinkability - I get it all the time!

I love every Bell's product I've tried so far!

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Photo of maleman
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Almost mahogany color with a thin, less than one-finger off-white head. Lace was tight and clingy. The nose was well more malty than hoppy, more like bread. Taste was very grassy intially with phenols definitely noticeable. Medium bodied with taste in the back of the mouth with average carbonation. Still waiting to try Hopslam, but this one is not that memorable from Bell's.

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

On tap at Barbette

Appearance: Semi-translucent brown/dark red with a one inch head, decent retention, and very nice lacing for the style.

Smell: Sweet caramel, hazelnut, brown sugar, some dark fruits and slight breadiness.

Taste: Again, sweet caramel, bitter hazelnut, but with some earthy hop finish. This is a really well balanced brown.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light as far as body goes, but still coats the mouth.

Drinkability: High. Lower ABV, not too heavy, flavorful. This is a great session brown.

Overall: Bell's makes solid beers and this is one of the best browns (no pun intended) I've ever had. Pick it up.

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Photo of TheDinger
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass.

A- Rich, medium mahoganoy with a clear tint when held to light. A nice 2 fingers of off white/tan head that stays for a bit. Nice lacing throughout.

S- On the soft side, but picking up carmel, nut and some small fruit notes. Grain as well, but again subdued.

T- This is where less is sometimes more. Not overly complex, but a very smooth, well-rounded brown. The carmel hits up front and is followed by a touch of bitterness that makes this hard to sit down. A little bit of the nuts come through with the hops.

M- Dry with a little carbonation to keep it interesting. Not overpowering which I like in my browns. Medium feel.

O- A great effort by Bell's. It's not overly complex and that is to it's benefit. A great balance of carmel, nuts, grain and hops. A great session beer that went down fantastic on a chilly evening. Simple, but well done and very tasty-

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