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

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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

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Reviews: 885 | Ratings: 3,000
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got a six pack from the liquor store i work at for $5.99 as we're getting Oberon and a few other seasonal's, so at that price point in had to give it a shot.

L- Nice opaque brownish purple with a non aggressive pour so there wasn't too much of a head but the little head that was there left some nice lacing. A few visible carbonation bubbles too.

S- Lots of toasted malts with a subtle hint of caramel but no chocolate which is unfortunate as i love a nice bitter cocoa taste but the hops shine through which brings a nice bitterness balance to the toasty malts.

T- Taste follows the smell with lots of toasty malt, caramel, a small hint of dark fruit brings a little bit of sweetness, and a nice hop bitterness balances everything out.

F- A nice medium body, decent carbonation, which coupled with the moderate abv makes this very drinkable and easy to knock back a couple without getting hit hard.

O- Overall a really nice brown ale, i would have preferred a little more complexity to it as it is quite a simple beer but its highly drinkable and very tasty. Bells has a track record of fantastic beers and this is definitely one of them, cheers!

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Photo of Hackattack
4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My first taste of a malty sweet beer some time ago. I am now a huge fan of this type of brew. Nice hints of chocolate and caramel. Price is not too bad either for Bell's stuff........ which is always a treat!

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Photo of Squire123
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light brown with orange tint, tan cap with moderate lacing.

Aroma is rich, caramel toffee malt with a covering layer of fresh yeast bread.

Taste is straight forward darker malt without roasty bitterness. Not complex but flavor aplenty like a well made brownie. Sweetness is restrained giving more a sense of sweet without really tasting sweet. Entry is clean, rich dark malt which flavor sustains throughout. Hops are present but way in the background. Clean quick finish which carries a bit of breadyness into the aftertaste.

Medium body without any heavyness.

Overall it's a winner. The more Bells I try the more impressed I am with their consistent level of competency. They know how to design and make quality stuff. Brown Ale, like a grey business suit, isn't a flashy style but is always acceptably correct. My real test when approaching a new beer is whether I would buy more and this is one I would buy by the case.

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Photo of matcris
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Cola brown in color, rust up to the light. A finger of slowly receding tan head and good carbonation when I rock the glass. The aroma is malty, some chocolate, raisins, and toasted bread. The flavor is a nice blend of toasted malt, raisin, and mild chocolate. A little earthy quality. Good looking lacing down the glass. The feel is medium full, a little slick, with medium full carbonation. Overall the flavor is mild, and just the slightest amount of bitterness to the beer. Very nice brew for the Fall or Winter months.

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

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 9/7/2016. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep reddish copper/light brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, and toffee; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, nuttiness, herbal, grass, pepper, citrus, dark fruit, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light earthy/citrusy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, and toffee; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, nuttiness, herbal, grass, pepper, citrus, dark fruit, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, toffee, cocoa, herbal, grass, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light earthy/citrusy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from bitterness, lightly increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly silky/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 5.8%. Overall this is a great American brown ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light earthy/citrusy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink. This feels less hoppy/drying, and creamier/fuller in the mouthfeel than I remember in the past. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ABabbidge
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Dark brown/orange color. Thin head with some lacing.

S: Malty and nutty.

T: Toasted malt, brown sugar, some nuttiness, and chocolate.

F: Fairly smooth with a little bit of a dry, bitter finish.

O: Not bad, not great. I wouldn't go out of my way buy more.

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Photo of Buck89
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass. A slightly hazy dark copper brown color with a generous off white head. Nice aromas of caramel, brown bread, and floral hops. Nice smooth, easy drinking brown with roasted malt, leather, floral notes, and a hint of char. Medium bodied and lightly carved. A great brown, one of the best I've had.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/23/15; drank 10/30/15 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque brown/purple appearance.

A rough pour yielded a big khaki head; a curtain of tree-rung lace.

Brown sugar, autumn leaves & faint orange citrus notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Faint brown sugar & smoke flavors up front; dry pumpkin & autumn leaf notes on the finish. Super tame with nice accents.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
1.23/5  rDev -68%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This beer was quite disappointing. I love brown beer and I love Bells but I feel the makers of Bells put zero effort in the making of this brew. But what really boils me is that Bells has the nerve to label it Best Brown Ale when it is probably the worst brown beer on the planet. It's like come on Bells you make a good IPA with Two-hearted, an amazing whole cone IPA with Hopslam, make one of the best Amber beers, and amazing Christmas brew, what the hell is this brown brew? Should've tasted it and then try reformulating with better ingredients. But until making the best brown beer do not put it on the market. I strongly urge not to get this one.

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Photo of plumberman63
2.43/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Nice dark caramel color and tan head. Has a sweet chocolate malty aroma with a hint of coffee. taste follows the aroma especially out of a glass. A little to bitter for me can't drink out of a glass, out of the bottle its tolable. Not something I would get again.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep chestnut color with ruby red highlights when held up to the light. Then head diminishes but stays around to mingle during most of the affair.

Smells like earthy mountain water, like when you dunk your head in a mountain stream after hiking. Or before too I suppose. Smells like kola nut after it warms up.

Tastes nutty with a slightly bitter cacao nib finish. Bread crust fade although not a toasty as many browns. Smooth, slightly creamy mouthfeel.

I like it. I will always remember sitting by a campfire in the Adirondacks, sipping a Bell's brown and watching fireworks through the pine trees.

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Photo of FBarber
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours reddish brown. Clear and slightly effervescent. Fizzy white head dissipates leaving just a slight ring of tan foam along the outside of the beer. appears very thin to the eye.

Smell is earthy, very nutty, roasted. Nice malts come through.

Taste is nutty, malty, with some earthy hops on the back end. Touch of wood or oak is noted. Very straightforward and classic representation of the style.

Feel is light, easy drinking, medium carbonation, a bit thin in the mouth.

Overall a nice classic brown ale.

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Photo of GreatHammerhead
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Presentation: 12 oz bottle packaged on Aug. 25, 2016 poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark red brown with a 2 1/2 finger head clings to the glass until the last sip.

Smell: Nothing really stands out.

Taste: Balanced and complex with a slight bitterness and warming alcohol on the swallow.

Feel: Medium body.

Overall: A good beer and one that I definitely would want to revisit as my palate improves.

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Photo of jmd1978
3.37/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown color with no head. Nose sweet malts, cocoa, floral hops. Taste caramel, chocolate, pine, spicy fruit. Peppery clean finish. Nice take on a brown ale. Just got it in the area and it's a decent beer to sip on while watching hockey.

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Photo of witster18
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

straight forward.
This is a clean tasting brown ale with some dark fruit notes(dates), and some choco backbone. A bit thin on the mouthfeel, but not on the flavor. I really like this, and could see this becoming a bit of an autumn staple.
Highly recommend. Nice Americanized style done right. Dunno If I call it sessionable, but 2-3 after a long day in the chill of fall, yes!

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Photo of ksimons
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a mahogany brown color with a thin layer of light tan head. Aroma of slightly toasted malt and light chocolate. Taste is caramel malt, some cocoa, nutty, and a hoppy bitter finish. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Nice malty beer, good for a fall evening.

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Photo of Regulator
4.84/5  rDev +26%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Cloudy brown with rising bubbles
Smell: Caramel and chestnuts roasting over an open fire.
Taste: The tears of heaven.
Feel: Frothy
Overall: Best Brown truly is the Best Brown ale available in the United State of America. Bell's delivers again.

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Photo of NateDyk47
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Drank a 12oz out of a snifter.

I'm usually not a fan of brown ales, but this is pretty dang good. Very smooth, slightly sweet. I would drink this again.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Hazy, dark brown with a soapy beige head. Moderate retention with some spotty lacing.

S: Milk chocolate, mocha, earth, toasted, almost burnt bread, bitter cocoa, and some caramel.

T: Semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa, burnt bread, earthy balance, with hints of lingering caramel and chocolate sweetness.

F: Medium, smooth and well-rounded, with moderate carbonation.

O: A solid brown ale. Quite enjoyable and sessionable.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In typical beer snob fashion, I have long since graduated from basic brown ales. I was reluctant to try this seasonal from Bell's, but I thought, "What the heck, everything else they make is excellent".

Welp, this brown is no exception to the Bell's rule.

Nutty, toasty malts with a classic brown nose. This beer especially delivers in taste.

If you see a sixer of these, snag one. You will not be disappointed, even if you tend to thumb your nose at brown ale.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Average SRM for a brown ale, thin but colorful. 1/3" off white head. Aroma of nuttiness.

Minorly sweet, plenty thin and light, some darker bread feels. Barely there hints of chocolate. More caramel and toffee than that. Smooth as almost required by style, not a hopped up Americanized version going on here. Its pretty traditional and what you expect for style is what you get in the end.

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Photo of GStone899
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A complex brown ale. Caramel, malts, maple, nuts, bready, lots of good flavors but probably a bit too complex. No one flavor profile comes thru. Not very bitter. Smooth finish.

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Photo of CNoj012
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy brown color reminiscent of iced tea. The head is two fingers, dense and tan. Retention and lacing are minimal.

The smell is nutty, caramel, toasted bread, a bit of chocolate and a touch of hop spiciness. A bit muddled though.

Taste is the same, but each flavor is more pronounced. Starts of nutty and bready, then transitions to chocolate and ends with a moderately bitter and spicy finish.

Feel is light and creamy. Very nice.

Overall a very solid beer. Taste and feel are great, and if the smell was on par with them it would be the best brown ale I've had.

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Photo of Zimmerman
2.37/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Eyes and Nose: Deep, dark reddish brown with a thick tan head that slowly dissipates. Somewhat nutty on the nose.

Mouth: Subtle maple, cinnamon, caramel and apples. Slightly roasted but all around a very muddled flavor that feels somewhat murky. Slightly tart and sweet, while also burnt and smoky with a touch of almond.

Ultimately this beer's complexity is its undoing. The earthy bitterness of the malt clashes with the caramel/toffee amber notes. It's not a bad beer, but it needs more refining and perhaps a touch of either sweetness or hops.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a bottle, pours a dark murky brown with an biege white head. Aroma of roasted nutty malt. Taste is a smooth roast malt with sweet caramel upfront and bitter hops on the back end. Overall, really pretty balanced, but it's too sweet to stay on my rotation for long.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,000 ratings.
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