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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

1,941 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1941
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: 1,941 | Reviews: 777 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a amber-brown with a one finger tan head that fades pretty quickly. Some lacing is left on the glass.

S - Very nutty, and some roasted malts. A touch of sweetness pokes through as well.

T - Roasted malts, raisins, nuts.

D - Good carbonation, and average body. Coats the mouth.

O - A good brown, not sure it is the Best.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2011 03:20:29 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Durge
Durge

Connecticut

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brown ale has a light mahogany color with a huge light tan head and major lacing. There is only a very mild malt aroma, disappointing. It does follow with a nice charcoal toffee taste though. I detect midland cabonation and find it to be very drinkable. There's a hint of orange and chocolate nuttiness. Bitter grassy hops in the back. The hops tend to dominate toward the end, maybe too much. Sweet malt, a nice blend.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2008 03:52:31 | More by Durge
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

4.68/5  rDev +22.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 04:56:45 | More by merlin48
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Muddy brown and cloudy-looking in the glass, nearly as debris filled as the Ohio River... nearly...

Maintains a thick, strong, rocky head, mine had a dimple in the middle where I swirled my last ounce and poured it in. The dimple area was a chocolate brown color as opposed to just the light mocha of the rest of the head. Interesting...

I thought it had a soft caramel, slightly pungent smell, doesn't appear any part of this beer will be over the top.

Sweet, caramel flavors, leaves thick layered lacing down the glass. The mouthfeel is not as heavy as I thought and quite smooth. An appreciable hop finish, which I didn't detect at all in the aroma, balances out this fine beer. Taking into account the varied tastes of the full cross-section of beer drinkers out there, this will come across as drinkable to a large percentage of them.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2003 11:03:24 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

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

Appearance: leather brown in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt

Taste: sweet caramel malt followed by a hoppy, earthy middle and finish that mixes with the malt

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium high carbonation, sweet start with a medium bitter finish

Drinkability: A slightly above average to average English brown. The mix of hops to malts is fine but this beer is indistinguishable from others I have tried. One that I would have again if I am in the mood for a brown, but nothing I search for.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2009 18:47:07 | More by tigg924
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a solid brown color with amber hues around the edges. The head is creamy and white with speckles of tan. The aroma is of roasted malt, chocolate, and nuts. The taste is sweet and nutty. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with perfect carbonation. Overall, this brew lives up to its name, as it truely is the best brown ale I have had.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 21:26:04 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dig the old-school label that's (currently) up on this site; this bottle is the newer wintry label. Features an owl in a regal pose...the guy looks pretty bad-ass. I wonder if this beer is...

What's immediately amazing right after the pour is that this is far from the brownest of brown ales out there. Qualifies as brown, certainly, but has a rust-orange hue that almost looks like a double IPA. Head is off-white, leaning toward tan; creamy and of average thickness. Thins fairly quickly and leaves some lace, never diminishing to a mere skim.

Hazelnut nuttiness in the aroma, a kiss of mineral behind it. Basic and subdued, not impressive but nothing out of whack either.

Flavor is nutty front and center, even a little bit peanut buttery; the requisite/expected caramel and toffee characters check in; ghostly flashes of fruit in the background, although just what kind of fruit I can't decipher. Little tart on the back end, with hazelnut creeping in during the finish (which is mostly dry). Feels fine, smooth and with nice glide, amidst healthy but polite carbonation.

So I've given this sucker a "B" -- and it's easy to forget that B does not mean Bad...it's actually Good! The catch here is that "good" is below the average of the usually excellent Bell's. Ultimately, Best Brown is very drinkable and certainly enjoyable, yet here I am looking more forward to my next Third Coast Old Ale, Two Hearted, or Expedition Stout. C'est la vie...

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 23:41:29 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of morimech
morimech

Minnesota

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper that has a slight haze. A small head forms but quickly disappears to a small cap. Some lacing is evident.

It smells of caramel and a slight spice. Maybe a little toasted malt and hops show up to. It is hard to decifer.

It is mostly malt in the taste but with a slight hop bitterness on finish. Neither of which is very strong and overall this beer has a weak taste. It also is a little thin but carbonation is decent. This isn't a big brown ale but enough of the beer is done well to make it one to at least try.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 01:02:43 | More by morimech
Photo of argock
argock

Virginia

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No decipherable freshness date.

A: Lovely medium-brown hue with frothy beige 1-2 finger head with average retention and a couple of incomplete rings of lace.

S: Sweet caramel malts with light toasting coupled with cocoa and soft coffee aromas.

T: A well-rounded brown ale with enough sweetness, roastiness, and hops in there for everyone. Initial flavors are quite caramelly sweet but meet with varied chocolate, coffee, and light berry flavors. Finish is hopped above-average for the style which leaves it drier but still pretty mellow.

M: Very easy to drink due to the medium body and even carbonation. Aftertaste has elements of sweet roasted caramel and butterscotch.

D: Another winner from Bell's, even if it isn't in its upper tier. Still a good one to go to for brown ale lovers.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2009 03:04:47 | More by argock
Photo of Pencible
Pencible

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a hazy mahogany with a little light brown head.
S: It smelled like roasted barley and toffee, with some biscuit and a bit of milk chocolate and copper.
T: It tasted like copper hops with roasted barley, and some toffee and coffee and biscuit. It had a bittersweet, clean and wet aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick with some carbonation. Moderate.
D: This was a very nice brown ale, like an English barleywine cut in half. Solid malty scent and flavor, with decent body. It was very easy to drink and was quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 14:48:55 | More by Pencible
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – As the name would suggest the beer pours a brown color with a light hint of orange seen when held up to the light. Upon pouring a one finger cream colored head is present. The head fades lowly over time leaving a ton of nice foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a roasted malt, brown bread and molasses smell. Mixed with these aromas are some sweeter fruit aromas of both light and dark varieties with some apple, pear, and a hint of cherry. Rounding out the smells is a lighter earthy hop aromas smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a lightly roasted bready taste mixed with some caramel and molasses. The flavor gets a bit more roasted more toward the middle, but also gets a bit fruitier with some of the apple and pear that were in the nose detected on the tongue. The sweeter flavors start to dwindle however more in the middle, being replaced by some more bitter hop tastes of an earthy and herbal nature. Some more bitter nut like tastes come to the tongue more toward the end of the taste, with the mix of flavors leaving a nicely hopped, slightly drier and lighter roasted bready taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is on the average side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average side. Both were a nice blend for keeping an easy drinking brew, all the while supporting the blend of hop, fruit, and roasted flavors.

Overall – A rather enjoyable brown ale. It has a nice level of sweetness, hop and roast to make for an easy drinking and tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2013 00:01:33 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a perfect pint glass.

Pours a caramel color with a tan head that settled to a a thin layer covering the beer.

Aroma is strong with roasted grains. Malty sweetness with some caramel and chocolate.

Taste also has some roasted flavors, chocolate, coffee and caramel with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good, not overpowering in any flavors but yet very flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 20:04:52 | More by billab914
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-24-2013 18:37:06 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bell's Best Brown Ale

Appearance- nice hickory brown with a decent frothy head.
Smell- nutty and sweet. Malt and caramel detected.
Taste- whoa sooo sweet. Nutty but sugary sweet.

Overall- just too sweet for me. Nice nutty, caramelly, woddsiness but made my cheeks hurt. I'll pass on this next time.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2005 22:48:07 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep and intense amber color with a finger of off-white head that falls to a full coat over top. Nose is nutty and caramel, with just a hint of roasted malt. I'd even like to see a bit more nutty character to this one. Flavor is working well. Very solid nutty character, with a moderate caramel sweetness and just a light edge of roast. Pretty nice English brown. Feel is moderate with a carbonation on the lighter end of moderate. Bell's always seems to hit things pretty well with their brews. This one satisfies, thought I really would like a stronger roasted character. Not that it detracts from the brew, but it keeps it from what it could be.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2006 03:30:31 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OG=1.060 6.6% ABV.

Ah, my favorite brown. Carefully decanted, this brew pours out to a beautiful clear ruby-amber in color with a firm light tan to beige head atop medium bubbles. Carbonation is mild to moderate, and the head remains decent throughout the glass, with gorgeous lacing (I can tell how many sips it took me to finish this beer by counting the rings...8). Very full-bodied for a brown ale. Aroma is seductive and enticing, with sweet roasted grains, expertly-done caramel, a hint of canned pumpkin (without spices), and sweetened condensed milk. Mouthfeel is bright and tangy with a medium body. Very easy to drink (improves as it warms), but not silken like the stouts. The taste is wonderful, starting out with lots of caramel and biscuit malt and some roasted barley against a lightly sweet malt background, leaving a sweet sensation more in the back of the throat than on the tongue. The roasted grains are very well done here. The finish is earthy, with fresh hops complementing the toasty grains, with a wonderful nutty character towards the middle of the tongue. The alcohol is occasionaly noticeable, but never becomes unpleasant. As it warms, it takes on a whiskey-ish character.

Again, an expertly brew from the wizards at Kzoo. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2003 14:32:50 | More by Mitchster
Photo of cjgator3
cjgator3

Florida

3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is a very nice malt dominated brown. The aroma features caramel/toffee, malt and brown sugar.

T- The taste follows the aroma, with a good amount of sweet malt and just a touch of bitterness in the finish to balance out the sweetness.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a very drinkable English-style Brown Ale that is definitely worth a try. Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 05:26:11 | More by cjgator3
Photo of homebrew311
homebrew311

Illinois

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pour a dark red with some brown tones, velvety desne white head, good retention, loads of lacing. Perhaps a bit light for a brown.

S: the aroma features roasted malts, bread, and hints of coffee. Mellow hops come through as well.

T: mild roasted malts along with caramel and chocolate come through on the palate. All is mellow and smooth. Nice balance, taste is mild overall.

MF: light body, creamy texture

O: this is a nice and drinkable brown ale. It is rather mild and drinks like a brew that is 4%.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 07:53:53 | More by homebrew311
Photo of thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium brown colored body with an inch of head.

Bready toasted caramel aroma. Bit of biscuity pale malt blending in. Ok.

Pretty standard flavor profile with a slight emphasis on a less nutty/more estery yeast. Some hints of apricot and some citrus happiness backing the toasted malts. Not bad.

Feels appropriate for the style. My only complaint is actually detecting the alcohol in this one.

Verdict: not my style of choice, although it was in the past. I'd say this one's decent, but not as good as, say, Dogfish Head Indian Brown.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2012 00:56:49 | More by thecheapies
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes 4/22/11.

A: Poured a slightly hazy ruby/orange, not quite brown color. Carbonation bubbles were evident along the sides of the glass. A one finger head formed and left spotty lacing.

S: Nice combination of caramel and a nutty aroma. There is also some grain and bready malt.

T: Pretty solid flavor profile with a strong malt bill. Bready and earthy with caramelized sugar, some brown sugar, and nuts.

M: Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation, with lots of small carbonation bubbles. Crisp for the style.

O: Solid English Brown Ale, easy drinking and pretty sessionable. For a style that can be bland, Bells does a good job here.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2011 01:41:01 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of grub
grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a light brown colour, with a 1/2" of tan foam on top. the head fades quickly to a ring around the glass.

aroma is malty and nice. smells like multigrain bread. slightly fruity.

taste is much like the aroma. slightly bready/biscuit character. just a hint of alcohol presence is notable. slight bitterness, but nothing major.

body is good, not to heavy, not to light. very drinkable.

overall very tasty and an easy drinker.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 21:13:01 | More by grub
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew

Illinois

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark amber color with decent slightly off white head that laced nicely. Smell is mild, with sweet and roast malts bolstering it with some hops being present. The taste is mild, some hops, a bit of nuttiness, bitter at the finish. Not bad but rather subdued flavor. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 00:48:55 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of ADR
ADR

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mostly opaque brown color, slightly garnet with the trademark yeasties floating around. Good head of almost a 1/2 inch, holds some shapes well. Nutty aroma. This is seriously one of the best Browns I've ever had, bolder caramel and maple flavors and a nice, if not huge, amount of hop bitterness at the end and in the swallow. In some ways, it starts a little slick and ends dry -- an impressive feat for a brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2002 14:14:15 | More by ADR
Photo of nickd717
nickd717

California

3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from Chip's in Kill Devil Hills.

Pours medium brown with a huge lasting light beige head.

Aroma is nuts, caramel, and sweet malts. Not much to it.

Flavor is caramel, chocolate, and nuts. A little tart even, but not bad.

Slightly astringent on the palate with medium body.

Pretty drinkable. This is decent, but I have to say it's not one of the better Bell's beers out there.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 22:23:37 | More by nickd717
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

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

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Batch #9339

(A)- Pours a hazy medium brown color that produced a minimal tan to white head that dissipated very quickly.

(S)- Has a nutty sweet maple smell. Bits of vanilla.

(T)- Very nutty; almond & walnuts. Has a good soft maple/vanilla malt background. Let it warm up a bit; cold really hides what this beer has to offer.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance to it. Nothing fancy, but has a good rustic feel to it with its nuttiness and malt profile.

(D)- A good to solid brown ale for the fall season when you tire of oktoberfests or wet-hopped beers. Nothing fancy, just classic drinking.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2009 21:22:16 | More by sweemzander
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,941 ratings.