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: 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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Reviews: 885 | Ratings: 3,000
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 seedyone
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle at home. Pours a good head that disappears quickly to a light lacing. Deep opaque mahogany color. Aroma has a definite choco/cocoa scent with just a hint in the taste. The malt hints at honey. But in the end, this is just slightly better than OK. A bit muddled.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
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 crisis1290
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bells Best Brown is a solid tasting English Brown Ale. A very nice brown pour with a little head. What makes this one different is that it has a few different layers of flavor but it is not a heavy beer. A little caramel malt , a little cocoa malts, , some nut flavors , a slight hit of toffee, and some mild American hops flavors towards the back end. A very simple, yet very nice beer. Over all .I'm not a huge fan of brown ales, but I would try this one again, for sure. Job well done Bells !

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Photo of fx20736
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 6 pack of cans from Beers of the World-late 2015/ early 2016. Served at cellar temp in a Duvel tulip.

Look: medium brown, offwhite head, nice lacing

Smell: rich cocoa grain, tea-like bitterness

Taste: rich, mildly sweet dark bread

Feel: slippery

Overall: delicious

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Photo of Schimms
4.68/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours russet brown with thick 1" head. Clear

S: Sweet and malty. Slight hops.

T: Smooth, delicious toasty malt with a nice slight hop bitterness at the end. This is a great brown.

F: Very smooth, very nice.

O: Love this one - definitely one to buy again. I don't say that too often.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Consumed 1/18/16

A: Yup, it's brown - medium brown with some burnt caramel around the edges - pours with a medium sized, creamy, light tan head, slowly fades to a wispy cap, maintains a small collar, leaves streaks of lacing

S: Toasty malts with some light sweetness - caramel malts, toasted grains, toasted bread, and a touch of roasted nuts - hints of lightly burnt grains, chocolate malts - light sweetness, with caramel, touch of molasses, toffee, and a hint of chocolate

T: Simple and well-rounded - caramel malts, lightly roasted malts, lightly burnt chocolate malts - bread, toasted grains, toasted all-grain bread - some nice depth, including dry, roasted nuts, hints of dark chocolate, hints of Tootsie Rolls, caramel, molasses, toffee - lightly sweet but also dry

M: Medium body, smooth with some crispness, mostly clean finish

O: English Brown Ale? American Brown Ale? No. Best.

This is a really nice brown ale. I was fortunate enough to have it on cask at the Eccentric Café, and it was divine. The standard version is also nice. It's no frills, but it's a reminder that straightforward brown ales can still be interesting.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is totally a 5. Creamy head that rivals root beer floats, a beautiful iced tea colored body, 90% opaque but enough light shining through to highlight the colors displayed here.

Aromas of chocolate, nuts, barley malt, followed by more cocoa. Aroma could be louder but otherwise very nice.

Nutty flavors, followed by shavings of chocolate, roasted malts, but then a sort of sourness from malts kind of takes the train off track.

Dry and roasty from the start, a creamy wash, followed by a nutty and parching finish.

Overall this brown is one of the best I've had, and from the title I suppose that's what I was to expect! I like it a lot, even though I'm not a fan of brown ales. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bell's Brewery, Inc. - Bell's Best Brown. 5.8% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into stout glass. Packaged 8/20/15.

Look: Settles a deep brown color, with some ruby highlights showing in the light, and a finger of white head.

Smell: Has aromas of toasted malts, caramel, toffee, and some light bitter hops. All the aromas seem to be masked a little.

Feel: Very creamy and smooth feel, with a little carbonation to balance.

Taste: Mostly malts and faint caramel on the palate, with a little nuttiness near the back end. Just like the aromas, the tastes seem to be weak.

Overall: I am usually a big fan of brown ales, however this it the first I wasn't overly pleased with. It just seems to be lacking in smell and taste, like they are masked. I realize this is a few months old, however it should not detract from it this much. When I find one fresher, I will update the review accordingly.

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Photo of bluehende
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Had at a tasting from draft. Hoppy an a decent brown but nothing to write home about. A slight sour tinge that did detract somewhat form this beer. Not bad but not that good either

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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.

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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 NickSMpls
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A good transition from summer to autumn to winter. A very nice brown ale, which should be a straightforward ale, made well but without pretense. Bell's does exactly that. Rich brown color, nice head with good lacing. Let it warm to cellar temperature, then enjoy the toasty malts and the hop background for a well-balanced bitterness. If you want to introduce someone to a Brown Ale, here is an excellent choice.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a murky hazelnut brown. The one inch khaki head fades to a thick cap on top. The smell is of caramel malt, subtle earthy hops and hazelnut. The taste is of caramel, toasted bread, faint nuttiness and just a hint of hop presence on the finish. A very good brown ale.

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Photo of Parmesan
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Amber brown color with a creamy white/ brown head.

Smell: Some sweetness, a toasted malt, some nuttiness, some toffee and a little caramel.

Taste: Toasted malt with some caramel and toffee and a nice sweetness to balance it out. A little bit of bitterness near the end.

Feel: Littler thinner body than I expect from a brown

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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 UPMD_Bill
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, like walnut furniture color. Strong roast malt smell with some smokiness. Taste follows nose with a little earthiness - moderate level of bitterness for clean finish. Carbonation is lots of small bubbles that hit late. For all that roast malt it feels surprisingly light and sessionable. Overall, great alternative to Oktoberfest for later fall--I wish I'd skipped the pumpkin beer and stocked up on more of this instead.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.86/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: [4.00] Not surprisingly the beer is a pleasing brown color. It is not totally transparent. It forms about 1/2 a finger of off white head. The head does not stay around too long leaving traces along the edges and the surface. The bottle lists the ABV (5.8%) and the Julian date code equate to (09/23/15).

S: [3.00] The nose is a bit weak and undefined. I get hints of light molasses and some nuttiness like hazelnuts. I also get some toffee and caramel.

T: [2.50] Kind of an off metallic flavor upfront. Some toffee and nuttiness - but again is is very subdued like the nose. Some hop bitterness on the finish too.

M: [3.00] The beer is a little thin and watery. There is a strange astringent quality to it too.

O: [3.00] This beer is just a miss for me. The aroma and flavor are subdued - what I can pickup I don't really like that much. There are some weird off flavors. I wouldn't drink this again.

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Photo of jopezu
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark coppery brown with a medium head. nose; baker's chocolate, dark bread, light caramel and hops. taste; toasted malt, caramel, dark bread rind, bitter earthy hops, light toffee, cinnamon and roasted almond. aftertaste is light cola caramels and nut. strong carbonation lends a smooth, creamy medium+ mouthfeel. i'm not a brown ale fan, but this one gets my vote (i like the horned owl art on the bottle too)! i know it's a different style, but this beats bell's amber ale hands-down; an absolute contender to all of the typical fall season brews, novelties or not.

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Photo of mlockman
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Mild malt characteristics with a clean finish courtesy of the hops. Well balanced and while not anything so impressive as to hoard (as is the case with so many of bell's other offerings) this is a fine standard brown ale suitable for any autumns eve

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Photo of Suds
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Medium brown in color with a little haze and a small white head. The ready aroma has some maillard toast and caramel in it, with a touch of malt. The taste has moderate maltiness, semi dry, and a firm bitter finish.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my new favorite thing is brown ales that are carbonated well and have a yeast character to them, and this nails it on the head. one of the more basic styles from bells that i have had, but also one of their better executed, which i lately consider to be one mark of a great brewery. their amber is equally impressive. this has a cromson glow to it in the light, less dense and deep brown than many in its class, and it holds a little less than an inch of airy tan fluff on top for quite some time. it smells and tastes excellent, i love the lighter cocoa chocolate malt with the english yeast, buttery and dry at the same time, rustic and hearty, but also freakishly drinkable. low tones of walnuts and dry soil, its definitely autumnal in overall vibe, and i think it is a fall seasonal, but this is a brown ale thats worthy of all year production and consumption. the perfect companion to chef driven pizza of all kinds wood fired, and to a chilly fall afternoon. under appreciated i think, this is up there with the best basic browns made in the states i think, certainly in terms of quality. right in my seasonal wheelhouse right now too!

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Photo of Mubalzich69
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great autumn beer!!! I poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz glass chalice. Smooth to pour with a nice head. Nice caramel flavor with a slight chocolate touch. Very smooth on the way down. Nice brown ale.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, batch 14629 PKGD 07/31/15. It's been a few years since I had this one.
A - creamy beige head caps a bronze colored ale
S - earthy hops, dark caramel, bread, grain
T - a bit roasty, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, nutty, earthy & spicy hops
M - medium body, moderate carbonation, finishes semi-dry with some spicy hops and mild roast lingering
O - in my opinion this is a good brown ale, but there are others I prefer more -even though Bell's is one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really good brown ale. Had on tap at 1000 in the morning while playing some slots at motor city casino. Nice smell of vanilla detected. Taste was off an almost chocolate stout. First time having and will gladly pick this up to enjoy again.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,000 ratings.
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