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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 837
Hads: 2,715
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 20.31%
Wants: 92
Gots: 313 | 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: 2,715
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 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 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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Photo of Upgrayedd
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I could drink this all night! Best Brown is my defination of what an American Brown Ale should be. It pours a nice brown color with a nice thin head that remained throughout the serving. It has a nice aroma of chocolate and spicy hops. The flavor matches the aroma. Aftertaste is so smooth. Makes a great session beer.

My only complaint is that I yearn for a bit more maltiness.

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

From a bottle to a beer mug

A - Deep amber/brown, when poured into the mug the carbonation is steady and quickly stirs the sediment around giving it a lava-lamp look about it. One finger small bubble head leaving a graffiti design in the lace

S - Bread and yeast are strong malts finishes off the deep full aroma

T - Nutty full flavor - the malted barley is in the finish and has a surprisingly hop aftertaste which was overpowered by the malts in the smell

M/D - Has a good medium body to it, sticks to the tongue and has a semi dry finish. One I could drink several of. Enjoyed this one

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Photo of zulufactor
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice warm brown color with a half inch white ish head

S- Light smell of hops and nutty malts

T- Malty with a bit of hops and a little sweetness. very well balanced with a nice earthy taste that lingers

M- good carbonation, again feels balanced

D- This is a beer i would pick up again would appeal to many pallets. similar to the Boston logger but with more flavor and complexity.

Due to the balance this beer offers I could be paired with just about any food or meal.

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Photo of aficionado224
4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It might not be the best brown ale ever, but it might be their best, and that's not bad. Every beer of theirs I ever tried was way above average to great. Full of flavor, and no "off" flavors or funny aftertastes, this beer is smooth, tasty, and refreshing. I'll buy more of this.

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Photo of henrichsj
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a 16-oz pub glass.

A- Beautiful dark amber color, an inch and a half of creamy light tan head that sticks around

S- Roasted malts and some caramel

T- Heavy malts with caramel, almond notes; some slight hops keep it more fresh than other browns

M- Goes down creamy and smooth; nicely carbonated

O- This is one of my winter go-to beers. Delicious.

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

A - Fairly brown with quickly disappearing head and little lacing
S - Not a strong aroma, mostly malty on the nose
T - Malty with a caramel tinge and a hint of nuts. Just the right amount of bitterness to balance the malt
M - Somewhat light mouthfeel, good amount of carbonation
D - Phew, I really enjoyed this and wish I had bought a six-pack. Very refreshing.

I would definitely recommend this beer.

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Photo of GruvisHops
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 12 oz. brown bottle. 1/2" of light tan head on top of a brown body w/deep reddish hues. Heavy particulate floating around.

S: Toffee and caramel. Not much else, but good enough for me.

T: More caramel. Toasted malt lingers on the tongue with a wonderful balance between malt and hops.

M: Medium. For me, this is the weakest part about this beer. It's just a little too light.

D: Extremely drinkable.

Notes: Excellent brown ale; great representation of the style.

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Photo of adamhdv
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark down, small tan head that stuck around for a while. No lacing.

Small about of carbonation, medium bodied ale. Mouthful is mostly creamy malts. Maybe a hint of caramel.

Drinkability is not horrible, but I couldn't make this a session beer. Not a bad beer, just not what I had entirely hoped for.

I might pick this up again however to give it another shot.

Had Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale right before, and the Bell's Best Brown seemed way less interesting.

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Photo of Keithstone44
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a wonderful deep mahogany color with 2 fingers of off-white head that leaves behind considerable lacing

S: Smell is sweet-malt with notes of caramel and floral hops.

T: Very malt-forward with pine-hops, caramel and some nuttiness

M: Smooth, but a little lighter than what I expected. Carbonation is at an appropriate level

O: Good beer, especially for the season we are currently in. I will gladly pick this beer up again

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Photo of MSR129
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very nice offering from Bells. Pours a rich amber color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is not particularly strong. The flavor is rich and nutty, similar to Arcadia's Nut Brown. It is pretty carbonated for a Brown Ale, but not overly so.

It's easy to polish off a few of these with out thinking about it. The Northern Saw-whet Owl on the label is outstanding.

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Photo of gogreen99
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite beers. Medium carbonation and medium body dark beer. I wish this beer wasnt seasonal. Small notes of cocoa characterize the flavor of this dark beer and allow for the caramel flavors to be recongized. Overall a must try for any beer drinker!

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