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

BA SCORE
86
very good
3,007 Ratings
THE BROS
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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: 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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,007
Reviews:
888
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
104
Gots:
479
For Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,007 |  Reviews: 888
Photo of FLima
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light brown color with a thick beige head with great retention and leaving some laces.
Predominant nice nutty aroma but also with some chocolate and a distant toffee.
Likewise nutty flavor with notes of mild cinnamon, some citrusy, light cocoa, caramel and a hint of earth. Dry aftertaste with a mild carbonation.
Light to medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Very pleasant and balanced Brown Ale, quite faithful to the English style, with controlled hop addition. Nice drinkability as well.

 496 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz bottle.
The body is dark amber, more orange and hazy than usual for style.
Mild malt aroma less to a much more robust flavor. Despite all the malt the hops keep this mildly bitter.

 193 characters

Photo of Buggies
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Brown and murky with a lot of sediment suspended throughout. Very interesting to sit and stare at.

S: Sweet caramel malt. A very slight toffee and roasted malt aroma as well. Nothing too outstanding.

T: A typical English Brown Ale I suppose. It tastes as it smells though the flavors are mild. It is definitely drinkable, but really nothing that makes it very interesting except the cool owl on the label.

I think the flavor of this would be awesome to give to a BMC drinker as a gateway.

 494 characters

Photo of Dangus
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Brown just as one would assume. Fair amount of carbonation, poured about an inch of off white head. Head faded to a cap pretty quickly. There is some sediment in the glass, but that's par for the course with a bottle conditioned beer.

Smell- Toasty malts and sour breadiness. I am not detecting much of a hop aroma.

Taste- Nice maltiness, slightly nutty. There is a twinge of sourness that lingers after I swallow the beer.

Mouthfeel- Nice amount of carbonation. Medium bodied.

Drinkability- Good drinkability. I would prefer this for a colder time of year, but it is still nice and easy to drink. Enjoyable beer for sure.

 638 characters

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was served in a glass stein.

Appearance- The head is khaki colored and rises to about one and a half fingers of bubbly foam. There are a nice amount of tiny bubbles on top that leave a dappling of craters. The body is the color of raw cinnamon sticks with some darker auburn notes.

Smell- There is a sweet bread malt that is the most dominant, as it certainly should be. I was also surprised to pick up a little grassy hoppiness, and I'm not sure I like that.

Taste- Bread malt leads the way and picks up notes of brown sugar. In the finish, there is a good amount of earthy hop and some more bread malt. This is pretty average for a brown, and I'm glad the grassy hop didn't transfer well to the palate.

Mouth feel- Bells can do mouth feel all day. You know it is Bells if it drinks easy. A great medium body and a rich, creamy finish on this brown ale.

Overall- This is a decent brown ale, but it is hard to say what Bells was trying to do with it. They had some hops in the nose, but they weren't utilized well on the palate, in fact, I"m not sure they needed to be there at all. And the malt they used was far too reserved.

Just because this is a brown, doesn't mean it needs to err to middle of the road flavor profiles. Either bump it up, or put something on the taste buds that makes it interesting.

 1,319 characters

Photo of utopiajane
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very hazy. I would have said murky. Has a thin tan head that refreshes with each tip and is plenty creamy. Nose is malty with a hint a of chocolate. A fruity citrusy american hop tang on the nose. dark fruits are also present. Nutty too. taste is excellent. Has just enough bubbles to keep all those flavors light and moving well. The american hops lend a surprising ease to the drink. Finishes nutty and with plenty of lightly toasted malt and a not too much bitterness, sweeter with medium mouthfeel.

 519 characters

Photo of goldennectar
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz.bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Nice thick head & beautiful dark amber color. Not much lacing left behind.

Smell: Sweet Caramel Malts

Taste: Very similar to the smell - Caramel & malty with a slightly nutty flavor.
Well rounded, balanced & smooth
is how I describe this very drinkable ale.

Mouthfeel: Medium body & carbonation

Overall: A very well done & very drinkable offering from Bell's Brewery. Try one

 437 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy ruby brown color with one finger off white head.

Scent of brown sugar, malts and a light nuttiness make this one enjoyable and light scent.

Taste of brown sugar balanced with some roasted malts. A slight grassy flavor on the finish. Some alcohol is apparent as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is light and a little oily.

A good session beer and a very enjoyable brown.

 381 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a medium brown color with a finger of light tan head. Smells of nuts, caramel malts, and fruity hops. Tastes of sweet caramel malt, tree nuts, a hint of cocoa, and pleasantly bitter, floral hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. This brown ale drinks very smoothly and certainly does not show it's leaning towards almost 7% ABV.

 340 characters

Photo of Roland7792
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of HattedClassic
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a light tan and creamy head. The beer itself is an opaque brown. The overall look is pretty nice and fairly inviting. It definitely goes with the theme Bell's planned on.

The smell is fairly nice but could be stronger (or at the very least is weak compared to modern standards). In fact, I'd say that the smell is fairly balanced. The malts give a nice sweet nutty note that is pretty good but not overpowering while there's a light floral hop note to give a slight bitterness.

The taste has similar notes to the smell but seems to lack the balance found in the smell. The taste has a much stronger hop presence than the smell and that the malt notes are weaker. The malts still give a nice sweet nutty note but are heavily overshadowed by the hops.

The feel is disappointing to the least. Even though the beer is heavy bodied, the feel is light and a tad heavy water with no real texture to it.

Overall, meh. I've had better. Just do it for the badge.

 972 characters

Photo of jar2574
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown ales seem much maligned these days, with all the emphasis on hops. But even a person who isn't generally a fan should recognize this brown ale one as a good one.

Pours with a rather thin head, but the staying power is tremendous. 10 minutes after pouring, it's still standing strong. Color is brown with moderate density. Lacing is perfect, coating the glass all the way down.

Smell is rather faint, a little nutty, and malty, not hoppy. This is the weakest part of the beer.

When you taste this beer, the first impression is the amazing, creamy mouthfeel. Extremely creamy and dense for a rather low ABV beer. Excellent mouthfeel.

The taste itself is extremely mellow. Slightly nutty, less sweet than most brown ales. Makes for a good, easy drinking session beer.

The things that make this beer good are the appearance, mouthfeel, and drinkablity. The lack of complexity in the taste holds it back from being an awesome beer. But it would be a good beer to introduce a new beer advocate to.

 1,002 characters

Photo of MichaelProcton
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of slipperysoup
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Sticksroom107
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of beerrat
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%

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.

 410 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of LannahC
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Labeerfinder
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany color, with a very thin white head. Some sparce and spotty lacing. Floral hops come out in the nose. Accompanying that are some sweet malts. Flavors are about the same, but now the hops have an additional citrus to them. Lemons mostly. Smooth palate, medium body

 271 characters

Photo of Fordknox
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of BMoney575
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 10-26-07
Batch 8165
Bottled on 9-26-07

Pours a hazy orangey brown color with no real head and very thin lacing.

Smell is very clean, malty. Well-balanced and rather subdued.

Taste is good, bits of chocolate and apple cider. The sweetness is countered by a very nice amount of bitterness, which makes the flavor quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is good, a nice fizziness keeps things light.

Drinkability is very good, the sweetness is very well-managed.

Overall, a little boring at first, but it grows on you. Very sessionable and keeping around.

 556 characters

Photo of Humulus85
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love me some Sunday afternoon BA...

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my mug. It produced a dense, one-finger head. Solid retention with some surprisingly nice lacing. Deep, slightly hazy, auburn. This is the perfect looking October brew.

The nose is nutty. Some oats and toffee come through as well. There might be some piney hops, but they're covered up by the malt.

Loads of oats, caramel, and toffee. A bit sweet for my taste and kinda watered down. Not as much flavor as I was hoping for.

Smooth, well carbonated and more then drinkable. Could have been a bit heavier for a fall brew in my opinion.

Overall this is a good brown, but far from the best. I love the owl on the label, he/she looks ornery as hell. While I did like this beer, it didn't scream out to me, and I honestly expect something with a little more complexity and depth from such an accomplished brewery. Recommended to any Bell's fan or BA new to malty ales. Cheers!

 946 characters

Photo of MisledTitan
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MrTopher
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Brian (not on BA) for taking a road trip from DC to CA and picking this up on the way and letting me snake one.

A – Pours a dark rich walnut color that has some nice light brown head that has a nice retention level.

S – Nose is pretty subtle if nonexistent, there is a little sweetness (caramel, toffee, brown sugar) but nothing overwhelming.

T – Sweet caramel, toasted malt, and some toffee. No hop presence in the taste all just nice inviting malt flavors and a good nut character.

M – Decent on the body, and the carbonation was perfect.

O – Good stuff, I don’t always drink the brown ales, but this I would rank up there. I think I still prefer Lost Coast Downtown Brown over this, but it’s still really good.

 744 characters

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