Bell's Best Brown - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

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BA SCORE
87
very good

817 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 817
Hads: 2,629
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 88
Gots: 276 | 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: 817 | Hads: 2,629
Photo of zulufactor
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
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. (477 characters)

Photo of aficionado224
4.85/5  rDev +26%
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. (280 characters)

Photo of henrichsj
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (382 characters)

Photo of HurricaneMo
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (402 characters)

Photo of GruvisHops
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (470 characters)

Photo of adamhdv
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (474 characters)

Photo of Keithstone44
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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 (475 characters)

Photo of MSR129
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (382 characters)

Photo of gogreen99
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
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! (260 characters)

Photo of MaduroMike
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy brown/amber with a thick frothy off white head which dissipates quickly to a thin head. Leaves almost no lacing.

S - Aroma of sweety nutty malts. Hints of caramel and chocolate and a touch of hops.

T - Just like it smells. A decent amount of hops at the end. A touch of smokyness.

M - Smooth, creamy, medium to light bodied. Not to watery considering the style.

D - Good balance between the sweet malts and hops. Would be able to drink a few. (463 characters)

Photo of dciskey
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with an amber twinge, maybe one finger of off-white or tan head but it's extremely persistent, which I like. Only a little bit of lacing.

Smells of caramel and also slightly like coffee--there's definitely a slightly "dry" scent in there, if that makes sense. A swirl stirs up some chocolate as well--kinda nice. Taste is caramel and coffee but also slightly sweet, especially as it warms. There are also touches of nuts and chocolate, as well as a twinge of hops at the end. I'm almost surprised at the complexity in there. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth.

This beer is slightly drying to the mouth, so I'm not sure I'd want more than one or two, but they'd definitely be enjoyable. (698 characters)

Photo of nosurrender23
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Group grade = C.
"Damn good Brown Ale -- At least it's a beer."

The beer pours a dark iced tea color like the ruffled feathers of a brown barn owl.

The smell is light with little to no smell that some compared to an olfactory nightmare, wet cardboard, a frat floor, and bathroom stall number 3 at Dixie Stampede.

The beer had a low carbonated, smooth feel.

Drinking wise, the beer had a smoothness with minimal complexity. "Your average Brown Ale." (457 characters)

Photo of Anthony88
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Nice deep brown colored beer with a nice two finger foamy head which is tan in color. As the beer is consumed the head laces down the glass perfectly

S - What you would think of on a wintery day. carmelized malts, a bit nutty and joy

T - Similar to that of the smell, a bit of a caramel and nutty taste with an extremely smooth finish.

M -Carbonation is perfect, body is great..

D - Easily one of the best beers I've tasted out of a keg in a long time. The beer falls down your throat. The only bad part about this brew is the empty glass when your finished. I definitely recommend trying this one, you won't be disappointed. (634 characters)

Photo of KevBrews
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours brownish amber, slightly murky. Not a lot of head retention--mostly a small ring around the outside of the glass.

S: Nutty chocolate aroma, hints of raisin as it warms.

T: Caramel with hints of coffee and toffee; low hop flavor--malt flavor dominates.

M: Moderate--low to medium carbonation.

D: This beer would be great as a session beer. It is smooth and easy to drink. Flavorful, but not overpowering. I only picked up a single bottle, and when I finished, I wished I had bought a sixer. However, given a choice between this and Bell's Porter, I'd go for the porter every time. (600 characters)

Photo of Stygr
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown, small tan head. No lacing.

Smelled like a honey brown ale, a little more nutty though

Small about of carbonation, medium bodied ale.

Taste is not what I had entirely hoped for, was dwarfed by the Goose Island Mild winter I had, and if a beer named "mild" dwarfed it, it's obviously pretty mellow on the palate.

I like it as far as browns go, but I couldn't drink this after ANY other beer, or I wouldn't be able to taste it at all. Even a Miller High Life might affect the taste of this beer.

Drinkability suffers from lack of taste. (551 characters)

Photo of pablot71
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured beer into a pint glass. Has a fluffy off-white head and dark reddish brown color. First smell is sweet and malty hardly any hops. Mild sweetness continues in the taste and the hops becomes a little more present. Medium mouth feel with plenty of carbonation. Overall it is nice drinkable beer. Has enough character to stand out from other English Browns but still true to form though ABV at 6.60 may be a little high for the style. (437 characters)

Photo of BradDurbin89
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured brown with light brown shades but is reddish when held to the window. Beige/ Khaki head was one finger with some retention.

The nose is sweet and has malt, caramel and hints of sweetness and fruit.

The toasted malts really come through, and there is hints of coffee and bitter chocolate. Sweetness and a very little bit of hops.

Moth is on the lighter side and more carbonation that I expected.

Overall, it is a pretty nice beer. It does not stand out as amazing, but I'd buy it again. (497 characters)

Photo of mt5000
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is, not surprisingly, brown. Aromas and flavors of caramel, nuts, brown sugar, and oats. Mouthfeel is excellent and the carbonation is just right. Amazingly drinkable for a rich and fairly malty beer - I can easily down 2 or 3 of these. In fact, this is one of my favorite session beers in the winter. What I love most about this beer is how approachable it is - I recommend serving this beer as a great example of the American craft brew style to anybody who is used to Bud/Miller/Coors. There's enough hops to balance it out but very little bitterness that might turn somebody off. Those of us who are used to craft brews forget that many beers we like, such as IPAs, are not palatable to most people. I went to a party a while back where the host was serving this beer along with Stella Artois, and I noticed people switching from the Stella to this beer after they tasted it. Bravo to Bell's for making a craft brew that both beer geeks and your everyman beer drinker can enjoy. (993 characters)

Photo of LittleBug31
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My roommate Lesleigh, and fellow beer-lover just returned from a Brewery Tour across the Midwest. She and her boyfriend brought back quite the haul!
We are starting the night celebrating finals and the semester being over, as well as a successful interview that I had this morning....

Bell's Best Brown Ale

Appearance: Pours a beautiful ruby, copper color. With a light tan head that retains its form for quite a while.

Smell: Really toasty and nutty. Hints of vanilla and caramel.

Taste: Almonds and walnuts. Very toasty and nutty, just like the smell boasts. Brown sugar and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, smooth, tingly--with a pleasant aftertaste that sticks with you for just long enough.

Drinkability: Very nice, could enjoy a few before getting tired of it. (781 characters)

Photo of Briarbush
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- It is very dark auburn with a nice copper hue and slightly hazy.Nice head that is light tan.

Smell- very faint with a noticeable bread smell maybe a little toffee/caramel.

Taste & Mouthfeel- Not very complex, It has a nice malt character with only a touch of hops. There is another few flavors that I just can’t place a name on pleasant nonetheless. The finish is crisp and dry. Slightly over carbonated I felt.

Drinkability- This beer is very drinkable. I wish the taste were a bit more complex or bold but it is very pleasant throughout. Good Brew. (574 characters)

Photo of Drone53
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Nice beer. Pours a nice brown color, with a nice solid head, which lasts a awhile. Taste was good, but was expecting a little more. Pretty decent hop flavor. Good maltiness to this beer as well.

Definitely a beer which you could have a nice session with. (293 characters)

Photo of BaronVonHawkeye
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich brown color, slightly lighter than Newcastle, but hazy similar to an American Amber. Dark cream head that did not really stay around that long, but did leave nice lace rings.

Smell: I unfortunately have to give this an average. While there is a decently malty smell, it seems bland and ordinary.

Taste: Nice flavor for a brown ale. Smooth malt followed by a hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, but did not have as smooth of a mouthfeel as other brown ales, specifically Dillion Dam Sweet George's Brown.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Would go very well with tailgaiting on a crisp fall day rather than a bitterly cold winter day.

Purchased at John's Grocery, Iowa City, IA (712 characters)

Photo of NDZonie
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass with a 2 finger head. Dark brown in color with a very fragrant smell. You can really taste the high malt content. The mouthfeel is what is a disappointment to me. It doesn't really have a lot of depth for flavor. The after taste remains on your tongue for a while and can be quite bitter. (308 characters)

Photo of NonServiam
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased from a convenience store in Chicago.

Poured into a pub-style pint glass. Color is a dark amber or leathery brown, translucent to opaque. Copper and orange is apparent if held before a light. Head began life at about two and a half fingers, quickly shrank to half a finger, which persisted through the tasting. Head is medium to dark cream, with a hint of orange. Laces moderately well.

Aroma is nutty and sweet, reminiscent of caramel or toffee. Flavor is similarly nutty and sweet overall, but with a distinct bitter dryness on the finish. Not very hoppy -- this bitterness at the end is the main hop component. Some notes of toast and bread are also detectable, but the whole is not terribly complex. Complexity is not really the point, though -- it's very soothing, warm, and pleasant without being too bold or provocative. Mouthfeel is spot on, silky and slightly tingly with carbonation.

This is a pretty good, but conservative -- staple, even -- example of the style. (1,000 characters)

Photo of Kenye
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Date on bottle 9/24/12.

Appearance - Pours a nice reddish-brown color with a little light tan head that quickly settles to a persistent film. Average lacing. 3.5/5

Smell - Nothing strikes me about this. It just smells like an average brown beer. 3/5

Taste - Nothing strikes me here either. Honestly it tastes more like an Amber than a brown. I hardly taste any of the sweet roasted malts I was hoping for. There is also no nutty character. Nothing offensive. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel - It's very easy to drink. You could pound several of these if you weren't paying attention. Again, nothing special, but nothing offensive. 3.5/5

Overall - Nothing about this beer really stands out. It's just an average beer. I don't see any need to seek it out, but if you see it around and want to try something different you won't be disappointed. I personally want more sweetness or nuttiness out of a brown ale. 3.5/5 (944 characters)

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 817 ratings.