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

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86
very good
859 Reviews
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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
859
Ratings:
2,882
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
20.31%
 
 
Wants:
105
Gots:
420
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 859 | Ratings: 2,882
Photo of DAllspaw
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Some Guy's pizza, always have two bell's on tap. dark amber, not too dark that you can't see through it. Nice caramel malt in smell and taste. A bit of chocolate as well, but heavy on caramel and toffee in the aftertaste. Very solid brown ale, just what it should be, nice balanced malt profile and easy drinking.

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Photo of Amalak
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. A beautiful dark brown, caramel color. It has a big tan head foamy. It leaves a ton of lacing. It has tons of small bubbles that stick to the bottom and slowly work their way up the glass.

S. Very strong nutty scent with a weedy undertone.

T. It has a very lovely sweet toffee-ish taste. A woody bite to it. There is a bit of a burnt aftertaste. Some malty flavoring.

M. Has strong carbonated tingle.

O. Really flavorful. I tend to find brown ales too dull and boring, but this has a real nice flavor to it..

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a damn good brown ale. One of my favorite styles when done well. Quite underrated, IMO. This beer pours to a nice amber brown color, though when held to the light it looks like a hazy amber ale. The head is cream, tan and stands at a few centimeters before receding to a film. A thin soapy lacing slowly drips back down into the glass. No apparant carbonation.

The smell is the weakest link with this brew. Can't smell much at all. A slight yeast cake aroma. A little nutty with some lightly roasted caramel malts.

The taste more than makes up for the lackluster appearance and near lack of smell. Nice burnt caramel flavor with some bready notes. Quite nutty. Sweet malty heaven. The aftertaste fades away very quickly leaving only a hint of a nutty, bready finish. Very quaffable. I'm going to enjoy drinking this often.

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Photo of smcolw
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/light brown color. Light passes easily and the beer appears clear. Modest bar-poured head where there is plenty of blanketing lace.

Classic "brown" smell of darker malts without any burnt elements. Light sweetness and slightly nutty. There's a touch of smokiness.

Some caramel sweetness tempered with a hop spice. Smooth but thin body. High finely bubbled carbonation. The swallow is a superior blend of bittering hop and toasted malts. One of the finest aftertastes I've ever had. An overall top-notch brown ale.

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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 jasonpeckins32
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice transparent dark brown color with a huge, frothy tan head.

The nose is of malts and caramel. A bit nutty.

The taste is great, a nice flavorful brown ale that finishes clean. Nicely balanced, I seem to notice atleast some amount of hop bitterness, but its mild, and disappears about as fast as I notice it.

Mouthfeel is great. Nicely carbonated, medium-bodied beer. The head holds on through the entire session.

Insanely drinkable. This is a classic example of one of those great-tasting beers that I could knock back all night without getting tired of.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bell's Best Brown brewed by Bell's Brewery, Inc with an ABV of 5.80% This brew pours out a brown color with a nice off white head. The brew has the look of root beer. Best Brown is filtered brew you can see though it. There is a lot going on in the smell of this brew. You pick up on rich spices and malts, also some sweetness in this brew. The taste is rich with hops and grains, but it has a nice balance to it. There is nothing overpowering in the taste of this brew. The mouthfeel is bold with flavor with a clean smooth finish. Overall I'm giving this brew a 4.25 out of 5. This was better than what I expecting. I would buy this brew again.

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Photo of julian89
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this fairly new addition to Bell's to be a high improvement on several other brown ales I have tried.

Appearance: Obviously a darkish brown hue, lightly transparent. Caramel coloring at the base post drink.
Smell: Clean, not too powerful, not much else.
Taste: Wonderful! This is a perfectly bittered and hopped brown ale. It was not too dry and carbonated either.
Mouth feel: Very smooth, no acid residue aftertaste I get with other brown's.
Overall: Bell's does not disappoint. Their Brown hits the charts once again.

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Photo of jadpsu
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish brown with a tan head that has decent lacing but not even average retention.
Smell is of molasses, maybe some vanillia and some definite coffee notes.
Taste has much of same with some roasted malts and earthy hops.
A little thick on the tongue but creamy as well.
Very good English Brown Ale, my favorite style.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was obviously a brown color with a one finger white foamy head. Light strings of lace slide into the beer.
The smell starts off with roasty nuts, a faint toffee, caramel goodness and leads into a light sweet earthy bliss.
The taste was mainly sweet and roasty through the previously mentioned flavors. Earthiness does come back to reside in the aftertaste and finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a great sessionably sweet feel all around. Carbonation ran light and an earthy hop bitterness ran underneath.
Overall, another great beer from one of my all time favorite breweries. Thank you for sending, Kayley.

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Photo of littleshamrocks
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness dating. Served in an imperial pint.

Pours a medium brown color with a creamy tan head. Has some noticeable carbonation and small particles floating around in this moderately dense looking brew. Head stayed around the whole time and left some streaky lace. The smell is very nice. Dark roasted bready malts, hints of chocolate and coffee, and some faint floral esters. The flavor is pretty much as advertised and is dominated by those dark roasted malts, hints of coffee and pepper, light amounts of spicy/grassy hop bitterness, and traces of semi-sweet dark chocolate in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a creamy texture and just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes very smooth.

This is an excellent example of a solid style. Rich and full of smell and flavor, this one goes great on those cold winter nights. One of the best brown ales that I have tried so far. Another winner from Bell's.

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

A-dark brown with light white head that quickly dissipates
S-Roasted malts with touch of toffee sweetness
T-Very good balance of rich malt flavor, sweet brown notes with hop balance
M-Medium bodied-doesn't linger
D-Very good for this style of beer

Bell's as usual has produced a very good beer that is tasty yet easy to drink.

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

A: Hazy medium-dark shade of brown, with a poofy eggshell-white head. Not much lacing, mostly just a few spots here and there.

S: Not a whole lot going on on the nose, just some standard ale scents with a light nut character to it.

T: There is some faint caramel sweetness, some smooth toasty flavors, and a hint of bitterness. Some of the yeast flavor comes through at the end, giving it an ever so slight bread quality in the aftertaste. Some slightly earthy and slightly pine-like hop flavor comes through after drinking, but it is very soft.

M: It is a very mild-mannered beer. It is extremely easy to drink, with a pleasant bitterness that is not overpowering. The beer is very smooth but not milky.

O: Overall I was very impressed by this beer. It had a wonderful flavor that made it a pleasure to drink. I do recommend it, and I would obviously drink it again. This brown ale has a bit more bitterness and hop flavor than you'll probably find in most other browns. It is not overdone in this respect, but takes a backseat on the palate after you taste the light caramel and toast flavors.

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

Poured from a bottle into an american shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep woody color with a thin off white head that leaves a nice bit of lacing without disappearing too quickly.

Smell: I get a lot of sweetness on the nose. Maple, apple, with a definite grainy quality from the malts. Almost like apple cinnamon oatmeal.

Taste: Lots of roasted malts, but with a very earthy, nutty background that's followed up with a tangy sweetness reminiscent of a good Granny Smith apple. There's also some grassy/herbal notes from the hops, but they're so far in the background it's hard to even notice.

Mouthfeel: Pretty average, very drinkable. Nothing special here.

Overall: Another great, high quality beer from Bell's, who are probably my favorite brewery at this point. So I might just be biased. With Sierra Nevada's Tumbler being discontinued, this might become my go to fall seasonal beer.

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

12 Oz poured into a pint.

A- Cloudy dark orange. Brown at a distance. Classic 2 finger white head.
S- Lots of earthy notes. Smells pretty Christmasy with ginger and cinnamon. A little bit of caramel.
T- Very earthy caramel. Some nuts perhaps. Definitely some Christmas characteristics but they're not too obvious. Sweet and stupidly smooth. A great malt and caramel profile. Little to no hop profile.
M- This is a smooth drinking brown with a fantastic full feel to it. Some sticky mouth and good carbonation. Dry aftertase.
O- This is to date, the best Brown Ale I have had. Its most similar to Goose Island Christmas Ale (2009) but way more available. Good stuff, get some.

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

This is up there with Penn Dark. Nice dark beer, with a fresh taste. Full bodied, great flavor. A bit of a bite. New Label says 5.8% (Beeradvocate currently states 6.60%)

Got it from the winter variety pack. Need to finish it quick so I can get Bell's Oberon.

Overall. Excellent. However, I still prefer Penn Dark or Penn St Nikolaus Bock.

Also, the bottle is different than the photo.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A single bottle from a make-your-own-six-pack purchased at the Bell's general store. Brown with yeasty protein floaties and a small head. sweet, almost fruity malt and toffee smell. Pretty inviting. Mmmmm. this is a tasty beer. no massive amounts of anything, just some sweet toasty malt and balanced hops and a smooth mouthfeel. Very nice. Only complaint is a slight excess of carbonation. Glad i bought one because now i know its worth buying a whole six pack.

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

Batch 7091 - bottled on Sept. 29 '05 (ultra fresh).

Pours an interesting russet color with a loose 1/2" med. beige settled head. Gorgeous lacing all the way down.

Scents of walnuts and yeasty (slight) sourness. Nice earthy malty notes, which are clean and roasty.

The somewhat dry nutty walnut flavor continues past the nose blending nicely with a soft peppery spice. Roasted malts pair well against a very tame but apparent spicy hop profile - beautifully balanced and smooth.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with playful carbonation which is usually very conservative for this style. Nice long flavor finish that hinges on dry.

Drinkability is top-notch. Will pair well with many types of cold weather 'comfort' foods.

Overall a fantastic and original interpretation of the style. I'm very pleased with the spiciness & dryness, which it 'different' from the others in this style. Balanced and masterful. Autumn just isn't the same without Bell's Best Brown.

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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 dpodratsky3
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Very hazy as you would expect from an unfiltered bottle conditioned beer, medium brown with some orange at the bottom of the glass, big cream colored head settles to 1.5 fingers, very creamy/frothy and thick, decent lace

S: Traditional brown ale smell, clean and mild, earthy hops, plus that pale caramel malt, light but still sweet, balanced

T: Not as mild as I would have guessed from the smell, perfect balance of earthy hops and more floral/resiny hops, also in balance with the sweet caramel malt that doesn't stay sweet on the tongue

M: Perfectly pleasant medium, some english style brown ales are too thin for me, but this is good, smooth too

D: High, just a pleasant beer to drink

Notes: Brown ales are one of my favorite styles and this one impressed me. I love the balance. It's got a good traditional feel, but also some Bell's flair.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%

Poured bottle dated 8/20/14 into a New Belgium globe

A-Pours clear brown with a light beige head. Some spotty lacing.

S-Aroma is toasted and bready malt, light toffee, and dates.

T-Nice flavors or caramel malt, biscuit, hint of plum and cocoa.

M-Mouthfeel has a medium body and low carbonation.

O-Overall a very nice brown ale. Awesome for a cool fall day.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured this beer into a tulip glass.

On the initial pour I got two fingers of foam with very good retention. I like the lacing left behind on a glass. Off the top you can smell the plentiful malts and minimal hopping.

The flavor comes in with more of the malt. I also pick up some decent roastiness.

This is an easy drinking brown ale. Yet another great offering by Bell's.

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Photo of Jennz906
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy, rusty auburn brown with a khaki colored head.

S- chocolate, brown sugar and toasted, hint of caramel. And definitely kind of fall like or earthy.

T- Follows the aroma . Slightly chocalately and toasty with a hint of caramel. A light leafy and earthy undertone, with a strengthen after taste.

M- Medium in body, fairly carbonation. Goes down nice, very smooth but thick.

O - A solid, straight forward brown from Bell's. Nothing fancy, just a great example of the style. I defiantly like it.

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Photo of Greggy
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- nice redish color with great yeast sediment and 2-finger head.

S- malty toasted grains, spice, touch of cinnamon.

T- Thicker creamy viscosity, nice pumpkin-esque malt backbone. The hops are mainly on the finish which is just a bit dry. Also, after some deep reanalysis, I detect a bit of banana.

M- Low carb works well with style

D- Good brown ale. Nothing overly complex. Seems like it would be a good ease into winter.

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Photo of TXHops
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

-Original Gravity: 1.056
-Final Gravity: 1.013
-ABV: 5.75
-Attenuation: 76
-Real Extract: 5.2 P
-Calories: 184

Thanks to Marc77 for the trade! Bell’s Best Brown pours a very murky brownish color that reminds me of the underwater shots I always see on nature shows where alligators are navigating some opaque mire with ease… Luckily, this mire has a tremendous tan head that really fluffed up on the pour and took forever to fade into a lasting blanket of foam. Instantly, a huge aroma of slightly roasted malt filled the area above my glass (perhaps the Belgian malts?) creating a super-enticing aroma. Wonderful to sniff—one of the best smelling beers ever. I also wonder if I can’t smell a touch of sourness underneath the dry, bready, wholesome, slightly fruity maltiness…

The rich body also displays the strong, malty-bready sweetness suggested by the nose. A huge, luscious specialty grain flavor totally envelopes my mouth, with the hops as an aftertaste. Again, there’s the slightest hint of sourness in the tail, but because this beer is lightly hopped, that subtle flavor doesn’t detract much from the overall impression. Underneath all the earthy, fresh bready sweetness is a mild fruitiness that lends a facet of complexity to this hugely tasty, wonderfully rich beer.

I thoroughly enjoyed drinking this beer, but I’m wondering if the sourness so frequently discussed on the forum has crept into the Brown at my house. If so, it’s very slight. Still, it is evident and the resulting tiny hint of twangy green apple is enough to knock a half point or so off a couple of categories. Still, overall this is a great beer and one I'm really looking forward to drinking again.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 859 ratings.
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