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

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

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

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:
882
Ratings:
2,985
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
20.63%
 
 
Wants:
103
Gots:
465
For Trade:
6
User Reviews
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Reviews: 882 | Ratings: 2,985
Photo of enfield249
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

 491 characters

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.34/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

 318 characters

Photo of vapodge
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A - mahogany & rich, thin head stays

S - roasty, not smoky

T - lots of roasted malts, not very sweet, a bit nutty

M - normal amount of carbonation for a brown

D - smooth drinking and perfectly fine; nothing wows me -- would not seek this out, but would not refuse; probably be better for a cooler night and a hearty meal (stupid FL "winters")

 386 characters

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Look: Pours a murky brown with a one finger khaki color head. Tons of sediment floating around in the glass.

Aroma: Burnt aroma upfront. Sweet with notes of caramel, mild chocolate, coffee and wafer cookies. Has a candied peanut smell. Metalic notes every now and then. Unfortunately it smells better than it tastes.

Taste: Slightly bitter and rather dry upfront with flavors of roasted grains. There's a gentle caramel twang here and there, but it's hardly noticeable. Flavors of dry dark chocolate, bitter roasted malt and subtle toffee mid palate. Finishes ashy and dry - with some offputting notes of soy sauce.

Feel: Medium body with low carbonation.

Overall Comments: Not my favorite, a little too heavy on the roasted, bitter flavors here. I don't mind a dry, bitter finish, but this was bitter throughout with no real focus on the traditional elements of a Brown Ale like caramel sweetness and savory nutty flavor.

I had high hopes for this, I'm let down but I'm still a big fan of Bell's.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured this beauty in a clear lager mug, has a nice medium dark brown color and a healthy thickish foam head.
Smells malty, a little chocolaty.
Tastes like an ale, got some bitterness to it, and it tastes a little of chocolate, maybe even coffee. Not too overly bitter like most Bell's Ale's I've had.
Feel is smooth,with a light bubbly feel on the tongue, not too light, but not too strong on the carbonation.
Overall, I was hesitant since I don't like Bell's Ale's, since usually I find them to be too bitter. This one isn't like that. And I could drink more of this.

 571 characters

Photo of blackie
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: standard pint, the beer is a slightly hazy medium-dark brown in color, and capped with a khaki coating

s: body of smooth brown malts, soft and without much of the nutty or roasty edge that really makes a brown for me, soft toast and leafy caramel, lightly hopped

m: as is typical with Bell's, the carbonation is very creamy and of a moderate level - great benefit of bottle conditioning, body a lighter medium

t: same complaint as the aroma - nearly all smooth brown malts without the astringent roasted edge that really sets off the sweetness, hops move in towards the finish with a light bitterness and papery citrus flavor

d: no problems here, an easy drinking brown

bottle with a great dinner at Poole's Diner, Raleigh - surprised that this review had slipped by me for so long

 789 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a wonderful murky brown color with a small and uneven head that dies off quickly. It has a lot of little floaty things in it, which I am not used to with brown ales. The aroma reminds me of some type of nut - but I cannot figure out exactly what kind - and also malts. The taste is fairly smooth, but slightly watered down tasting - weird because it tastes watered down, but still has a rich flavor. Reminds me a lot of a chocolate stout because the taste has a very strong coffee/chocolate finish to it. This is not your typical brown ale. Not so sure I like this one. Of course, Bells brewery is not one of my favorites ... but I'm still looking for their shining one to make me change my mind - this just isn't that one. This is a decent beer, but I don't think it stacks up to other browns that I've had.

 824 characters

Photo of nota
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really had a tough time finding this beer, but finally got my hands on a sixer. Pours a hazy brown/dark cooper in color. Nice tan head that gives way to good amount of lacing. At the beginning you taste sweet roasted malt. Its has a balance amount of hops. It's finish is dry.I edit my review of this beer after drinking this beer a few time and having a few other brown's under my belt. This beer is just a bit over done for my taste in what a brown should be. To me it borders on being more like a porter than a brown ale.

 526 characters

Photo of jmd1978
3.37/5  rDev -12%
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.

 241 characters

Photo of yankeeheel
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice slightly hazy brown with the requisite 1.5 finger tan head. Head quickly fades and leaves a small centric sheet of lace.

Smells weakly of toasted malt. Maybe a hint of yeast or bread.

Tatses awfully sweet up front. A lot of buttery caramel with a backsplash of toasted almond. Runs it's course and leaves slightly dry with a mininal hop afterglow.

Mouthfeel is again moderate with the right amount of carbonation.

Very drinkable but no world-shaker. They can't all be.

 495 characters

Photo of Liverpool08
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown with a small tan head that disapears quickly. Aroma is ok, a little toffee and malts, but nothing earth shattering. Taste is also average, Some roasted coffee and malty toffee, but it doesn't really stand out. Its also a bit thin, which doesn't help the flavors build up in the mouth. This is just an average Brown ale.

 343 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a brown color with some red highlights in it. The head doesn't really do too much for the appearance here. The smell of the beer is a little sweet and just a little bit of roasted grains on the nose. The taste of the beer doesn't give off too much of a nutty flavor, it actually had more of a roasted cinnamon kind of flavor in there I think. The mouthfeel of the beer was decent I though nothing too exciting though. Overall it's not a bad brown ale, but I can't say it's my favorite.

 509 characters

Photo of Kenye
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
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

Photo of murphysbleachers
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 12oz bottle given to me as a sample from the distributer into a pint glass:
A: Kind of an unexpectedly rocky head. A cloudy dark walnuty brown color, couldn't quite see through it. Different than any other brown ale I've had, but makes me want to drink it.
S: Nutty & malty, on first whiff there was some hops that I didn't expect, but it went away.
T: Seems a little hoppier and maltier than I expected. I should note here that I had a Sam Smith's Nut Brown the night before and this (as I think most would be) is just a let down afterwards compared to that beer's more subtle and delicious flavor. Maybe I would rate it better if I had a Newcastle the night before instead.
M: A little oily, ok carbonation, & generally pleasant.
D: Okay beer, could drink a bunch in a sitting, but would probably pick another brown ale, if I had a choice. I might revisit this one to double check my thoughts on it when Sam Smith's Nut Brown isn't my most recent beer memory.

 973 characters

Photo of battlekow
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My bottle of Bell's Best Brown had a bit of a carbonation problem; none of the other beers it traveled with had a similar issue, so I'm pretty sure it was unique to the Best Brown, which exploded upon decantation. After the huge, beige head subsided, the Best Brown was observed to be a turbid maple color.

Smell is pretty faint, with just a touch of caramel, brown sugar, and must. Taste is again rather muted, and reminscent of an Oktoberfest, in that it's all caramel malts and mustiness. Does have a subtle toasted finish. Hugely fluffy mouthfeel owing to the crazy carbonation. Completely lacks the roasted, nutty, baby-porter/stout characteristics I like in a good brown ale. Nothing much to see here--it may be Bell's Best Brown, but it's hardly the best brown overall.

 780 characters

Photo of gordavidson
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- This is how a beer should look. Clear, brown/ ruby/ orange/ amber. Beautiful, thick pancake of a head that never settles down and allows me to see the surface of the beer. Leaves some great lacing.

S- A little bit grassy in the nose with some sweet caramel, nutty malt presence.

T- Same as the smell but with a noticeable bit of cocoa powder taste to it. I can't help but pick up the slightest bit of burning plastic. A lot hoppier than expected.

M- Has a little bite to it and with all the carbonation is pretty light on the tongue.

D- Not really a session beer in my book, but a worthwhile beer to try.

 620 characters

Photo of maddamish
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drinking this beer and reviewing it is going to be simple. It is best described as a 64 Chevy with a Yugo engine. The beer looks nice when poured. The head was a beautiful medium but quickly disappeared and did not lace at all. It was a cloudy amber in appearance and despite the non-existent head it was nice to look at.

In the nose you have this great symphony of smells competing with each other and I was really looking forward to drinking this puppy. Present were some of the strongest caramel notes I have experienced in a beer. Lemon and tea leaves were in the background lending their harmonies. What you have here folks is what I like to call a "Good smelling beer!".
Taste: a disappointment. It was a bit watery on the palate and a bit bland. There was some hop and malt thing going on but nothing that fully developed. Not even at room temperature could I coax any sort of strong flavors out of this one.

One of my first Bell's and I have to say this one fell short of expectations.

Notes: Not a bad beer as far as brown ales go but it doesn't do anything to make me go out and buy it again. I am glad I tried it but I think I am still on the quest to find the perfect bottled brown ale.

 1,201 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: leather brown in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt

Taste: sweet caramel malt followed by a hoppy, earthy middle and finish that mixes with the malt

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium high carbonation, sweet start with a medium bitter finish

Drinkability: A slightly above average to average English brown. The mix of hops to malts is fine but this beer is indistinguishable from others I have tried. One that I would have again if I am in the mood for a brown, but nothing I search for.

 533 characters

Photo of morimech
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper that has a slight haze. A small head forms but quickly disappears to a small cap. Some lacing is evident.

It smells of caramel and a slight spice. Maybe a little toasted malt and hops show up to. It is hard to decifer.

It is mostly malt in the taste but with a slight hop bitterness on finish. Neither of which is very strong and overall this beer has a weak taste. It also is a little thin but carbonation is decent. This isn't a big brown ale but enough of the beer is done well to make it one to at least try.

 534 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Different brown than I am used to. Looks a lot like the average English brown you'd come across - dark tawny color - fairly clean through - perhaps a little too clean for my eyes, ordinary-looking finger-width off-white head (slowly dissipated), light-to-moderate lacing. This was served in a classic tulip glass, by the way, which I thought was a little odd.

Nutty (oily) and lightly caramel aroma. Not much of a hop presence, certainly not bitter. Soft toasted touch.

Bold, nutty flavor dominates the taste - masks the malt characters a bit, of which I perceived as slightly weak. Subtle fruitiness, light toasty notes, and a surprising degree of alcohol present as well. Moderately soft, clean feel with a fairly dry finish that reminded me of some Belgian pales.

Overall, a refined, somewhat reserved example of a brown. Looks as though "drier" and "nuttier" aren't all that uncommon among certain browns - suppose I just haven't come across too many of them and/or they didn't make much of an impression. Either way, this was a nice ale but one I don't see revisiting.

 1,076 characters

Photo of BeerNutz324
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- a cloudy brownish amber with about a 1/2 inch off white/light brown colored head that dissapates fairly quickly.

Ar- all I can smell is sweet malts and maybe some caramel or toffee.

T- sweet roasted malts. I can definitely taste the english influence on the malts. Just like the nose I think the caramel or toffee gives this beer a little bit of sweetness.

M- light/medium body with normal carbonation for this style.

O- a good beer. Not as good as I expected coming from Bell's but good none the less. Nothing against this beer but it was nothing special and I honestly don't know if I would buy it again.

 648 characters

Photo of ImusBeer
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of the tap a dark brown with little lacing and no head to speak of.

Aroma was mostly nothing, maybe raisin? Taste was a lot of malt, molassas, raisin and some sweetness, not as much as some Brown Ales I've had like JW Dundees.

It was light with really no carbonation, just too low. It's a nice brown ale, not very sweet like some others but not as bitter as most English Brown Ales.

 388 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight malty nose. Starts sweet with caramel overtones, becomes more balanced with smooth finish but somewhat bitter aftertaste. $1.89 for a 12oz bottle from Chalet Party Goshen, In.

 326 characters

Photo of NonServiam
3.41/5  rDev -11%
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 FanofHefe
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark brown with a solid one finger creamy head. Good lacing. Very little aroma, a little nutty smell.

Solid flavor and very smooth. Light caramel and nutty flavors. Not overwhelming in carbonation and slight coffee-like bitterness in the aftertaste.

Solid brown that is easy to drink.

 299 characters

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.83 out of 5 based on 2,985 ratings.
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