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

very good
3,007 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 3,007 |  Reviews: 888
Photo of BitteBier
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rusty dark brown color with a substantial cake of light beige foam that clings mightily to the glass. Sweet caramely aroma is quite pleasant and rather strong even when the beer is well chilled. The bitter, dry finish is the most striking component of the taste. Starts somewhat sweet and milk chocolatey. Combination of creamy texture and lingering crispness makes for an appealing mouthfeel and another Bell's success.

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Photo of Andnkuhn
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Boitnott
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Probably one of my favorite browns out there.

A: Red brown color, very similar to a brick color. Nice even color.

S: Not really much smell to this one. You can catch a hint of the the nut flavor but you have to really take a deep smell. Browns do not really have a strong smell to them though...

T: Great taste. It is smooth and not full-bodied. The nuttiness is just right to compliment the caramel and spices. Initially you get the caramel undertones but the beer finishes with nice prevailing nut flavor.

M: The beer goes down very smooth and light. The carbonation is pretty high for a brown, which makes the beer lighter.

D: This beer is great to drink on an Autumn night. It goes down very smooth and I could easily see drinking a lot of these. It goes down very smooth and the % and carbonation are low enough that you wont feel full after one. If you bought a six-pack of this then it would be great for a whole night of hanging out.

Serving: I poured it from a bottle to a chilled pint glass. I suggest that the beer be made very cold before consumption.

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Photo of Michael-McManaman
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown rusty color with a khaki head, it smells of rich fall pine. The taste is very distinct and I don't quite know how to describe it but it is a great beer awesome for the end of day kind of drink. It leaves the mouth dry an wanting more.
Overall I recommend this beer for any relaxing day when an IPA is just too much.

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Photo of sendbeer
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lackenhauser
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a somewhat muddy brown color with a nice tight head.Good aroma of malt with great chocolate and caramel notes-a hint of hazelnut?Great flavor-toasted malt,slightly bready.Nice lingering bitterness.Decent mouthfeel.A very drinkable beer-I really like the aroma.Could see this being my regular everyday brew.Enjoy.

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Photo of mchegash
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.75/5
Dark brown-red, fairly hazy, can see some small particles. A small amount of head. Moderate amount of carbonation can be seen rising up.

Smell - 4/5
Toasty, chocolatey malts, moderate hops presence.

Taste - 3.75/5
Roasty, maybe a little chocolatey, a little smoky. Minor hops presence. Lightly sweet

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium-bodied, light carbonation, very smooth.

Overall - 4/5
A well balanced beer. Has a nice level of toastiness balanced with some hops.

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Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this on-tap at Axis in Washington DC.

Pours a clear dark brown color with a one-finger light tan head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells good. A good amount of hazelnuts and kind of a buttery smell backed up by a bready malt aroma.

Tastes similar to how it smells. There's a good amount of buttery taste that's pretty smooth, backed up by nutty and malty flavors. There's a tiny amount of bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is good. Maybe it's because the taste is buttery that I think this, but it goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The buttery taste is nice at first, but I could see it wearing on me halfway through another of these.

Overall this is a solid brown ale. It's not as complex as others that I've tried but it does what it does very well. Worth a shot.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very pretty opaque leather brown with bronze highlights. A firm head with quick dissipation and light lacing.

Scent is of light roasted nuts, caramels and toffee. A warm and inviting nose that has toasted malts in the background. The smell is so pleasing I would buy a candle of it and light it in my house.

Taste is similar to the nose, warm toasted malts with a nutty, metallic toffee touch. A slight buttery flavor and mouthfeel comes through in the aftertaste. No hop profile to speak of, which in this case is ok with me. This beer is about the malts, sweet to the tongue and pleasant on the palate, nice thin but even carbonation adds to the pleasure of this brew.

I've never been a fan of English styles but this one is excellent. A flavorful experience with a nice medium body that keeps every sip interesting. I would definitely buy this again and have it on hand, especially in the winter time. The nutty, toffee, caramel flavors and scents bring a holiday warmth with it.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.88/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of soper2000
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought over a sixer of this to watch some Trailer Park Boys on BBC. Although not my favorite style what kind of BA would i be if i didn't try one? It pours a solid brown with a rocky slightly off white head which has excellent retention and leaves a nice lacing all the way down the glass. Aroma is rich with a malty nuttiness. Taste was a bit chocolatey and nutty. A bit of wit-like spiciness comes through in the finish as well as something that I can only describe as the Bell's "house flavor." Fairly decent beer and the six pack was finished off in very little time. A solid beer.

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

The color of run-off. Muddy, amber-brown. A large tan froth sits on top.
A whiff of almonds. A whiff of burnt bread crust. A whiff of soap.
Begins toasty and lightly sweet. Peanut-Buttery. Like a chocolate-coated wafer cookie. Kit Kat? Ample yeast makes the middle doughier. Still has that candy bar thing going on. Never loses it either. Hopping is unremarkable, though drying.
Medium bodied, low carbonation.
Solid Brownie here.

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Photo of tdm168
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, brownish amber with 1/2" of off white head that has decent retention. The nose has notes of caramel sweetness and toast. The taste is burnt toast, roast, caramel with a faint hop bitterness in the finish. It's medium bodied, lightly carbonated and very smooth and drinkable.

This beer is well balanced. The subtleties make it complex. There's a good, strong malt character. It's a little sweet at times, but good overall.

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

Amber color with a decent two finger head. When the head resolves it leaves only specks of lacing. The carbonation does continue to bubble until the finish.

The smell is all roasted malts, and not very strong at that. It's a pleasant smell, but one dimensional.

The taste is also heavy on the roasted malt, but there's some nuttiness and caramel thrown into the mix.

Medium body and heavy carbonation. The carbonation cuts the heavy roast flavor well.

This is an autumn beer, for sure. It's a very pleasant brown ale. It's not very complex, but it works for what it is.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with a rising, creamy tan head. Plenty of lacing.

Smells of toffee, brown sugar, and molasses.

Tastes of the burnt sweetness upfront with a mild bitterness on the back end. Notes of caramel, toffee, and molasses are prevalent with a very mild hop bitterness. Small bit of dark fruits make their way through as well. Roasted notes from the malts are also light.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a creamy amount of carbonation.

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

I stored this bottle in the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before pouring into a proper pub glass. It poured dark amber and slightly cloudy with a perfect 2-finger head. The beer had a nice aroma of nuts

Nice beer starts out sweet and malty. You get a solid hit of nutty, spicy flavor with a very creamy mouthfeel. The beer then gets slightly dry as it moves across your palate. Finally, the flavor kind of softens and vanishes. I detected no off-flavors or offensive characteristics.

Beers of this style don't really stand up and draw attention to themselves. The good ones are meant to be tame, mild, and well-behaved (like this one). This is a great beer to drink on a chilly, rainy afternoon (like this one).

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

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Big, fluffy, light khaki head, high retention with soapy lacing. Aroma includes sweet caramel malts and light roasted notes. Taste has a nice caramel sweetness, some walnut and cashew, faint coffee and roast. Crazy drinkable and sessionable. No off flavors at all and very nice.

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

A - Nice garnet, amber color with a large, foamy, cloudy, fluffy, off-white head. Retention is quite good leaving a nice creamy layer of lace.

S - Nutty earthy flavors mixed with some toasted grain and bread. Some caramel malt and some woody undertones. Slight bitterness is also present. Aroma is a little on the light side though.

T - Pretty standard Brown ale flavors. A lot of nutty flavors along with toasted grain and bready malt favors. Fairly sweet to start, then mid sip some spicy, earthy hops provide a bit of bitterness. Finishes with a nice earthy, nutty flavor.

M - Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. Smooth with just a slight sticky feel at the end.

D - Easy to drink and refreshing, that is typical for the style. A nice slight bitterness evens it out.

Notes: Overall a nice brown ale that has a lot of toasted, earthy, and nutty flavors. A nice fall beer.

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

Pours a medium brown color with slight red hints when held to the light nice tan head falls to ring quick leaves some lace behing.

Aroma is sweet maltiness with some nutty aromas oh so light and some light grassy hops. Taste is the same lightly sweet, malt is lightly toasted adding some nutty flavors that peak with the carbonation and lead to a lingering nuttiness mixed with light spice and lightly bitter grassy hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium nice amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good overall a nice little english brown ale

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug

A: Very nice brown wth amber-red edges. Poured a 1 finger head that quickly left only a thin skim. Some lacing, no active carb. Suspended sediment from bottle conditioning is visible

S: Nutty-malty sweet. Not at all over powering, but very definitely present. Very enjoyable.

T: Same nutty/malty sweet as the nose, but more complex. Some roasted taste in there and a slight hop bitterness. A little alcohol warmth on the way down, but it mostly blends into the complexity of the flavor.

M: Velvety smooth, absolutely great.

D: Pretty good, could be mistaken for a session beer even I would say if I just tasted it. Something I would buy again.

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Photo of natemort13
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes

Pours a ruddy brown with a light tan head that dissipates quickly.

Nose gives lots of toasted malt, hint of carmel and chocolate.

Taste follows the nose. Very much a beer of toasted malt.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, I love this beer. When I'm sick of all the spiced winter warmers this malt-balanced beer is where I turn.

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

An aggressive pour yielded a 2 inch slightly off-white head that stayed for a minute then was gone. Minor lacing left behind. The smell is sweet malt, hints of hops and a toffee chocolate scent. The taste is all of this with the sweet malt and toffee as the main flavors. There is a very slight pleasing bitterness at the end that cuts through the sweet. This a a very nice brown that is what I would expect of the style.

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Photo of MallyOMight
3.88/5  rDev +1%

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

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

Poured from the bottle a deep and clear mahogany color with a small but foamy tan head.

Aroma of sweet malts, caramel, toffee and a touch of sourness.

Tastes of sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, mocha chocolate, and a slightly sour berry finish.

Medium bodied and chewy with a carbonation that tickles the tongue.

A solid English brown from the folks at Bell's. Easy to drink after a long day.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,007 ratings.
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