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

Served from a bottle in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep rich amber color with a large white foamy head which lingers.

Smell: Faint toasty malt aroma.

Taste: Rich toasty malt flavor with slight hints of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Very smooth and easy drinking.

Overall: An excellent session beer. Easy drinking and refreshing with a sweet subtle complexity that makes you want to go back for more.

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Photo of RichieS2
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: A pleasant brown just shy of a porter. When held up to the light it gives a decent brown gleam. Basically what one would expect from this style.

Smell: There was some definite sweetness coming from the malts though it was not overpowering. Again it was something to be expected from this style.

Taste: Definitely above average as to be expected from Bell's. When it first hits your tongue it does not have much flavor and a half second later the flavor kicks in. As the smell would suggest it has a slight sweetness that satisfies but is nowhere near overwhelming. There are no hops that I could detect to add bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the watery side, a little thicker than a "lite" beer but not by much.

Drinkability: Not to heavy or skunky with decent flavor, I would definitely have one of these again.

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

Mahogany color, with a very thin white head. Some sparce and spotty lacing. Floral hops come out in the nose. Accompanying that are some sweet malts. Flavors are about the same, but now the hops have an additional citrus to them. Lemons mostly. Smooth palate, medium body

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Photo of BrewIndy
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This had about a half inch of head after the poor but it went away almost immediately. It has a real muddy brownish red color to it. There was no lacing at all probably due to the head going away so fast.

T: This beer has a great taste. When I drink a brown ale this is exactly what I would expect it to taste like. You can definitely taste the malt in this one. Then it goes into a bit of fruitiness if only for a second finishing with a hoppy flavor. Very tasty.

M: I was a little disappointed by the way it feels in my mouth. Not bad exactly but really just average. If it felt a bit better than I'm sure my taste rating would be even higher.

D: I could drink a few of these.. and I just might ;)

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Photo of BitterBrian
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a deep rust color into a pint glass. one inch cream colored head with some decent staying power and leaving some good lacing.

objectivity will be difficult, since I already am a fan of this beer and style, but here it goes:

smells of sweet dark malts, a hint of nut and plum.

taste of roasted malty sweetness and some nuts, balanced with a bit of hops, but they don't stand out very much - they just give it some life. This is a real warm, friendly drinker. If I were to rate it within its category, I would say its one of the best brown ales (no pun intended). Maybe I have had better beers, but I still really enjoy this one.

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Photo of DontCallMeSurly
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

Comes out a hazy brown and left a frothy head of about 1-1.5 inches. Quickly reduced to about 1/4 inch. Lacing was very thin.

Smell is of malts, very subtle though.

I enjoyed the taste immensely. Chocolate was very prominent, so was the roasted malts. Very nice on the tounge, not thin, not heavy. Mouthfeel was very consistent.

I could see myself drinking this beer quite often.

Another solid Bell's beer!

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

Poured from a bottle into an american shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep woody color with a thin off white head that leaves a nice bit of lacing without disappearing too quickly.

Smell: I get a lot of sweetness on the nose. Maple, apple, with a definite grainy quality from the malts. Almost like apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Taste: Lots of roasted malts, but with a very earthy, nutty background that's followed up with a tangy sweetness reminiscent of a good Granny Smith apple. There's also some grassy/herbal notes from the hops, but they're so far in the background it's hard to even notice.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average, very drinkable. Nothing special here.

Overall: Another great, high quality beer from Bell's, who are probably my favorite brewery at this point. So I might just be biased. With Sierra Nevada's Tumbler being discontinued, this might become my go to fall seasonal beer.

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Photo of murphysbleachers
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 12oz bottle given to me as a sample from the distributer into a pint glass:
A: Kind of an unexpectedly rocky head. A cloudy dark walnuty brown color, couldn't quite see through it. Different than any other brown ale I've had, but makes me want to drink it.
S: Nutty & malty, on first whiff there was some hops that I didn't expect, but it went away.
T: Seems a little hoppier and maltier than I expected. I should note here that I had a Sam Smith's Nut Brown the night before and this (as I think most would be) is just a let down afterwards compared to that beer's more subtle and delicious flavor. Maybe I would rate it better if I had a Newcastle the night before instead.
M: A little oily, ok carbonation, & generally pleasant.
D: Okay beer, could drink a bunch in a sitting, but would probably pick another brown ale, if I had a choice. I might revisit this one to double check my thoughts on it when Sam Smith's Nut Brown isn't my most recent beer memory.

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Photo of coryking
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorites during the winter. A perfect balance of caramel, toast, nuttiness, soft sweetness, and soft hops. This beer pairs amazingly with food. Nice frothy head, great aroma, medium to light body, silky mouthfeel, and a pleasant, refreshing finish. A very nice brew!

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

I got this from a friend on new years.

put it in the fridge for a relaxing hangover remedy.

the look of this beer was nice, a deep brown, with a two finger head, and laceing that sticks around for awhile.

smell was of roasted malts, and caramel.

taste was a mild caramel, smooth with a slight roasted malt aftertaste. Very pleasant and not heavy.

Drinkability was exceptional, not too heavy as noted above, and not too light so you don't just breeze though it. Unassumingly complex, and exceptional. Great for a "come down" beer, or an autumn tasting.

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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 bballmj2k
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle (packaged on 9/20/11) into pint glass.

A - Murky dingy brown with minimal head that dissipates to a lacing quickly.

S - Sweet malts, nuttiness - not a ton going on here.

T - Sweet bready, nutty characters, ends with mild hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied, bit of watery character at the end, low carbonation. Malt definitely lingers on the tongue.

Overall - Not a remarkable beer but I don't that's the goal. A well made balanced brown ale that's adequate if a bit boring.

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Photo of clemtiger8202
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to Nonick pint. Solid two finger foam with good lacing. Color reminds me of sweet tea but I poured the whole bottle, cold, so it clouded up a bit. Notes of caramel, maybe toast, and just a very slight bit of hops. Taste is sweet and caramelly. Body is OK, nothing great or bad here, but it does finish smooth. Beer improved significantly as it warmed up

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Photo of luciusgilmer
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle poured into tulip glass. I'm a fan of their beers in general, but amazingly had never tried their Brown Ale, which I found to be much better than the others I've had (which admittedly are not many).

Appearance was delightful, rich brown though transparent, nice rich off white head.

Smell was great: toasty, a bit burnt even, but not charred, not unpleasant.

Really good rich, roasted malt taste. I didn't get any hints of caramel or much sweetness, but it was very satisfying.

Mouthfeel: great balance and carbonation; it's rich and bubbly but can be sipped and drunk more quickly (if you like).

D: I wished I had bought more than 1. I look forward to trying again. It's not so heavy as their slow-sipping stout (or any stout, really), and that could make it a good session beer, if a bit on the heavy side.

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Photo of Cyrion
3.09/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Packaged 9/04/13, which was about a month and a half ago. Poured into a nonic at fridge temperature.

Appearance: A cola colored beer, aggressively poured, forming a sturdy 2" head. Decent carbonation on sides of glass and attractive, lingering lacing.

Smell: A bit scant. Browned caramel, some chocolate (not much), and malt.

Taste: More of the caramel and chocolate and malt, but now we've got some earthy hops coming in low and fast, adding a formidable bitterness to the beer. The result is a hoppy brown, slightly metallic. I love how one reviewer added "mineral water" because that is very accurate.

Mouthfeel: Watery and a bit overcarbonated.

Overall: It's okay, but I would not buy again. I think it's categorized as an English brown, but it's too hoppy for that. The caramel malt and earthy hops do not mesh well in this beer. The ingredients do not complement each other.

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Photo of Mako82
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A - Brown and dark red in color. Fizzy off-white head that lasted quite long. Floating yeast apparent in beer.

S - Roasted malts, hops apparent in the background, bready/yeasty smell, also picked up a peanut type smell

T - Roasted caramel malts (fairly strong on the roast side), nutty and bready, pretty sweet to the taste. Aftertaste was fairly bitter and the roasted nutty flavor stays all the way to the end

M - Medium carbonation, medium body

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Photo of RHCP313
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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

A: Pours a light maple with some ruby and garnet highlights. A thick crown of two to three finger off-white head billows up and sits high in my pint.

S: Sweet caramel and toffee notes, sweet bready malt and notes of brown sugar and slight fruity yeast.

T: Smooth sweet malt supported by notes of vanilla extract and nutmeg. Pastry like breadiness, nutty with dark candied fruit tastes in back.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation, but very drinkable and almost refreshing. Drinks far lighter than it looks.

O: This is a very solid beer. Consistent, too. As far as style, this is a great representation, smooth, sweet and very sessionable. I've yet to try this with food, but it seems like it could be an outstanding pairing.

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Photo of BitterLover
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Appearance: Deep reddish-brown color. The one finger head evaporated rapidly, leaving no lacing on the glass. After about a minute, there was just the slightest ring of foam around the edge of the beer.

Smell: Raisin toast with butter.

Taste: Baker's chocolate followed by a mild bitterness. Very well balanced with the maltiness, bitterness, and alcohol in equal measure.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable because of the balance of flavors. The alcohol is not very high, but Newcastle drinkers will be surprised by it. This could easily be a session beer.

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Photo of ComfortablyBum
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz poured into DFH glass

A - Cloudy dark copper color with a big head that faded into sparce lacing with large bubbles.

S - Bready with sweetness

T - Caramel and yeasty flavors. Very little bitterness in this beer. There are some floral hop flavors though.

M - Carbonated enough to give it a medium mouthful.

D - This beer is alright, but not something I can see myself drinking a lot of.

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Photo of alrhodesjr
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer appears to be medium brown in color, cloudy, with a white creamy head. The beer has appears to have mild lacing in a glass.

It smells of caramels and tastes as such. After the initial carmel taste I tasted the brown which remained after it was swallowed. It is not a "powerful" tasting beer but they is some minor bite to it.

As for the drinking ability of this beer it is excellent. The beer is smooth, and there is not a lingering taste in between sips. I greatly enjoyed this beer and would recommend others to as well.

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Photo of blackthistle
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish-brown in color with a thick foam of tight bubbles. A sweet, malty aroma with some fruity esters. The flavor begins with a creamy, malty, chocolatey taste followed by a slightly dry, hoppy aftertaste. This medium-bodied ale has just enough hop bitterness in the aftertaste to balance the whole beer out.

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Photo of belgaridub
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a medium to dark brown with a tinge of red and a thin, tan head that quickly goes away. The first smell gives the impression of sweetness and the taste delivers on that, with a good malty character all the way through and then a small taste of hops as well for the finish. The taste is very balanced, with nothing dominating the palate. It feels light and smooth in the mouth and is generally very tasty. A good, relaxed beer that doesn't overpower, and definitely pleases.

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Photo of thistle3189
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very solid brown ale. This is exactly what I think of with this style. Well balanced slight nutty but not much. There is plenty of maltyness and just a little hoppyness, very drinkable.

A: brown, in color good slightly creamy head ok lacing
S: the malt starts right up front.
T: Very solid brown
M: plenty of body
D: I could drink a few of these.

Another great beer form Bell's

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

Pours a deep copper color with hints of purple. Hazy, but not cloudy exactly, more like... thinly overcast. Good 2 finger head, retained very nicely, and lacing was excellent.

Smell was almost all malts, very caramel, delightful, but uncomplicated.

This is a tasty, tasty beer! Caramel is strong, great malts. Hoppy bitterness at the end, but it's fleeting, and not overstated. A few hints of dark fruits (plums?) also in there.

This is wonderfull in the mouth. Low carbonation. Chewy, with a very good presence for a brown ale. It feels good enough, and the tastes work well enough that you can hold this in your mouth for more than a few seconds, as it warms in the mouth, it doesn't become thin.

This is an exceedingly good brown ale. The taste is not complicated, just really, really good. Proof that you dont need anything other than great basic ingredients to make great beer.

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