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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: English 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: 877 | Ratings: 2,954
Photo of Minkybut
3.22/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a tumbler at 5o degrees. The beer was cloudy brown like dirty water with a thin head fast and fast decay. There was no lacing at all. The beer had a bit of a fruity smell and a slightly bitter taste. I really like the label though but the beer was just average. It was good mind you but I guess I will most likely not buy again.

 352 characters

Photo of ordybill
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- this brown ale has malt and a sweet sugary aroma.
Appearance- Uhhmm, a brown ale with an average white head.
Taste- Big malt flavor with caramel tossed in.
Palate- A light bodied ale with moderate carbonation.
Overall- this is an average ale for me, Bell's is usually killing every beer style they try but this was average to me.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Best Brown Ale has a thick, creamy, bone-colored head, and a tan or light-brown, turbid appearance, with a few lacing strings left behind. The aroma is of somewhat spicy, brown bread crust and nut oil. Taste is of sweet, slightly spicy, brown bread crust, tea, a touch of chocolate, and some low-to-medium bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and Best Brown Ale finishes medium dry.


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Photo of SmashAdams
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is a pretty typical but really solid brown Ale. The smell is faint nutty sweet chocolate. The taste is very smooth and finishes slightly bitter. Easy drinking. nb

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Photo of jsprain1
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep brown with a two finger tan head. Some lacing.
S- Mild aroma of bread, nuts, and a touch of caramel.
T- Fairly bready with a gentle caramel sweetness that lingers, as well as a faint coffee flavor.
M- Decent body, smooth and slightly creamy
O- It's a decent to slightly above average brown ale for me, but it's not particularly anything I need to revisit.

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Photo of Evocatus
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red amber, looks almost like tea. Head was tan and about a cm in thickness though it dwindled to a little more than a ring. Aroma was pretty feint, although I could pick up hints of caramel and alcohol. Taste was pretty good and strong though. A mix of caramel sweetness, nuts, and alcohol. For some reason the taste is a bit too strong for me, at least the alcohol part, so I wouldn't call it too drinkable.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

#79. Bell's Best Brown Ale. Got this in a single 12 oz. for a pretty fair price when I was looking around for decent brews in Athens.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass at room temp

(Appearance) Pours a slightly fizzy carbonated head that does not hold very well. Light coating is left behind on the surface. Color is a dark brown with very red highlights. Speckled pulpy bits litter the entire brew, the beer looks considerably thick. Carbonation is sparse. Beer looks pretty interesting but has its appearance flaws, most notably with the head. 4

(Smell) Bready yeasty aroma. Mostly malty aroma. Not too interesting. 3

(Taste) Significant hop presence, more than the aroma gives off. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Crisp with a dry finish. 3

(Drinkability) Not too exciting, but flavor is complex enough to maintain my interest for a few more. 3

Verdict: A half-decent Bell's brew. B- (3.4)

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Photo of Absumaster
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is slightly murky, brown amber and has a thin creamy head.

Smell is lightly burned and chocolate with light alcohol and light diacetyl. The backbone is very malty and rich.

Taste is a light chocolate and mild burned. Body is thin and the beer has an odd taste which is dry and astringent. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky.

Smell of the beer promised more than the taste could offer. Not the best of beers.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Man if this isn't run of the mill I dunno what is. Looks decent enough, a little thinner than what I was hoping for. No detectable aroma.

Taste is a little thin for me. Nutty. I'm just not a brown ale guy. The ones I tend to like have a bigger malt bill, coming closer to being a porter moreso than the actual traditional brown style. A little more gritty than I expected.

Mouthfeel, nothing much, some brown colored beer, so surprises, no letdowns. A little costly for what it is.

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Photo of maleman
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Almost mahogany color with a thin, less than one-finger off-white head. Lace was tight and clingy. The nose was well more malty than hoppy, more like bread. Taste was very grassy intially with phenols definitely noticeable. Medium bodied with taste in the back of the mouth with average carbonation. Still waiting to try Hopslam, but this one is not that memorable from Bell's.

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Photo of champ103
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Pinch Penny Pub in Carbondale Illinois.

A: Pours slightly hazy orange/brown. A one finger beige head forms, and recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Light toasted malt, mostly some sweetness in the nose. Like brown sugar and some caramel. Not much going on.
T: Following the nose, not much is going on. Some toasted malt, but really sweet. Lots of brown sugar and caramel. Boarders on cloying.
M/D: A medium body and nice carbonation. easy to drink. Something I can quaff several of with ease.

Overall, very simple. Mostly sweet, but not bad in any way. Just pretty standard. Worth a try, and a good fall back if this is the only good craft available.

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Photo of Stygr
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

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Photo of NDZonie
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

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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 bluHatter
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours deep dark red or light brown, with nice bubbles. Good head, nice lacing.

S: Caramel, malts, slightly sweet smelling

T: Sweet, malty, muted milk chocolate.

M: Rich and smooth. A medium stout brown.

O: A nice brown overall. I mostly notice how smooth and rich it is. Almost creamy.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into nonic.

Pretty much a typical brown, except when held up to the light, which gives it a reddish glow. Slightly hazy and little bit of yeast is suspended in the beer. A one finger tan head slowly settles to a thin cap. Spotty lacing along the glass.

The aroma is smooth and creamy with a touch of raisin and brown sugar. A touch of the alcohol makes it in.

Burnt caramel sets off the bready malts. A little bit of sharp hop flavor comes in at the end. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is a mix of the lingering hops and grainy malts.

This one seemed to have some of its body missing, and some of the complexity. I tend to enjoy brown ales that have a little more of a roasty characteristic. This one seemed a little watery.

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Photo of dancinwillie
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Brown, with reddish highlights. Some yeast made it into glass, no biggie, but clouds an otherwise clear beer. My fault though, so no reflection in the points. Really thick, creamy head, just off white in color.

Very slight toasted aroma. Somewhat bready. Actually, combine the two, it smells a little like toasted bread. No hop aroma.

Roasted and toasty, a bit nutty, and a lovely caramel sweetness. No fruitiness to speak of, and very light hopping. Medium in body, yet somewhat high in carbonation. Sweet finish.

Good drinkablility. Tasty enough to enjoy throughout an evening, enough alcohol to act as a social lubricant, yet low enough alcohol to not destroy you. A good, albeit on the high end, session beer.

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3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strong pour brings a perfect tan head to the top of the glass and almost over the lip. Bodsy is a super dark brown. As the head fades you get crater sized lace spots. Nose has candy sweet notes with soft malt tones and a hint of fresh dough. A very dry mineral richness wakes up the mouth on first sip. Nutty burnt malt rounds out the initial palate. A bit thin on the finish. Does bring about a slight thickness on the mouthfeel after a few sips. Nicely drinkable overall.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. with some code on the back - checking the website tells me it was packaged on 9/26/06. It pours an unfiltered deep copper/rust with medium carbonation and a half-inch of yellowed-tan head that leaves light lacing. The bouquet consists of light, toasted malts, chocolate?, and green/piney hops which seem almost oily on the palate. It tastes essentially the same, but with a low bitterness and, although the flavor is a bit mild, it leaves a medium finish on top of a medium and tingly body. Overall an easy to drink brown, but could be more complex.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #238
Served On: 11/23/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV: 5.8%
Date/ Code: 09/24/12

This was from a case I found at Self Serve Beverage in York.

Look: A muddy brown brew with a small 1-finger beige head. Some serious sediment coated the bottom of the bottle. I swirled the bottle and poured it all in. Some faint lacing was noticeable along the top of the glass, but not much formed after that.

Smell: Spicy brown sugar with roasted malts and some nutty chocolate notes.

Taste: First up was the earthy spice and caramelized brow sugar. Some chocolate hit around the middle. The finish was roasty with some bitterness that set in. The aftertaste was more of the roastiness.

This was a solid Brown Ale. Very flavorful but still sessionable. This beer would pair extremely well with your typical holiday fare like ham or turkey.

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Photo of apbarwood
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with a one-finger tan head. It falls away quickly but leaves a moderate amount of lacing. Could have looked nicer but definitely not bad. The aroma was malty but faint. A modest amount of caramel and a hint of chocolate intertwined with a hop aroma. The flavor was a bit of a downer as I'd hoped for more of a malt presence but got more hop bitterness. There was also an astringent, grainy character that didn't really add anything to the beer. This is the first offering from Bell's that I was somewhat disappointed with.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from twiggamortis420. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy orangey brown brew. Pillowy head fades slowly, with good lasting lace. Aroma is malts with a light earthy hoppiness. Taste is a touch tart to start, settle in with some rich grain character in the middle, and comes back to the mild tartness at the close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty good.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a amber-brown with a one finger tan head that fades pretty quickly. Some lacing is left on the glass.

S - Very nutty, and some roasted malts. A touch of sweetness pokes through as well.

T - Roasted malts, raisins, nuts.

D - Good carbonation, and average body. Coats the mouth.

O - A good brown, not sure it is the Best.

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Photo of enfield249
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish leather toned in color. A small head of white foam that lingers through most of the beer.

S - Roasty malt smells, toffee, and some spice. Very light however

T - More roast and toffee in the flavor. Some hop bitterness on the tail end.

M - Medium body. Some astringency in the middle of the my tongue.

D - Not bad. this is a pretty good beer that even non-beer geeks could enjoy, and I would recomend it with out hesitation to those people if they wanted to try a "dark" beer.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
3.34/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This brown pours a deep chestnut color. These is thin tan head that dissipates quickly. There is not a whole lot a smell, but what is there is nuttyish. I get a solid brown flavor, a hint of chocolate/nuts. Highly drinkable. Very smooth. The flavor stays on the middle of my tongue for a bit, then leaves. Great brown.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,954 ratings.
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