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

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very good
863 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:
863
Ratings:
2,904
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
20.31%
 
 
Wants:
104
Gots:
435
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 863 | Ratings: 2,904
Photo of pmcadamis
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown hazelnut hue that is transparent, but hazy. A nice one finger head tops the brew, and some nice lacing is left on the glass. The head reduces to a haze within the span of a few minutes.

S - Toasted marshmallows and chocolate covered nuts with hints of graham crackers. Very s'mores-like, but not as sweet smelling.

T - Woodsy, leafy, autumnal, nutty, and very toasty. Campfire flavors abound. Nutty, barky. I'm drinkin this in a log cabin in Galena Illinois, and I find these flavors to be very appropriate.

M - Creamy, medium bodied, and more carbonated than an English brown should be IMO. Silky with a nutty and salty dry finish.

D - An excellent sipping beer, but I wouldn't want more than maybe two.

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Photo of BeerHonky
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fresh bottle enjoyed a few hours ago. Pours a slightly cloudy brownish, red. Faint yellow highlights in a few spots. You can see a bit of sediment floating around. Fluffy white head that didn't hang around for long and left a bit of lace around the glass. Good lookin beer. Aroma is a tad faint, but sweet and malty. I wish there was ust a little bit more pronounced malt aroma. This beer tastes great though. Not amazing, but really really good. Super smooth mouthfeel lets the toasty malt flavor cover your pallate. There's a faint fruit flavor as well, can't put my finger on it. No stringency whatsoever. A really good session beer. Drinkability is perfect. What a brown ale should be.

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Photo of becktone
4.71/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

To the eye this beer is just about perfect. Pours a deep reddish copper with a huge tannish head. We're talking at least three fingers, had to sip some of it up to keep ir from overflowing out of the glass. As it receedes (sure some of this is due to the oil on my lips) it leaves beautiful lacing. Retention is at about one and a half fingers' width.

To the nose this brew has a warm, malty carmel aroma. No hop aroma so to speak of. Smells great, though I'd be much happier with this brew's aroma were it more potent.

Very strong malt backbone, with a nice simple yet refined flavor. Sure there's a bit of complexity, though its pretty straight forward. Carmel and malty flavors dominate this brew, quite good. Hop presence-flavor- is low, there is a small amount of bitterness to help offset this brew's infectiously good malty profile.

In the mouth this brew is full bodied with a creaminess to it. Lower carbonation levels are well within the boundaries for this style's accepted profile. All-in-all this is a great brew that I could drink all night long. I recommend this brew to anyone who just wants to kick back and drink a good brew. I'll definitely be buying this one again next time I see it. Its a good anytime beer, perfect with lunch.

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Photo of peabody
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a really dark root beer color with two fingers of off;/white tan suds. Very nice lacing appears around the pint glass as the drink dissapears to the bottom of the glass.
Smell is coffee/caramel with hints of yeast and sugary malts.
Taste is coffee caramel bitterness with a fruity aftertaste like plum or grape. Caramel and sugar are the most prevelant.
Mouthfeel is malty and sugary.
Drinkability is high here because of the nice flavor and the low abv.

 468 characters

Photo of adammills
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass. As usual with Bell's this beer pours a strong head. It forms a rocky looking surface and the melts in on itself, for a slight head for the rest of the ride. It is a beautiful amber in color with an off white head. I was expecting a bit more malt character in the nose and taste of the beer, but solid none the less. A bit more hop flavor than I expected from the style but not out of order. Low in sweetness, with a solid backbone of both hop aroma and bitterness. For 6.6% there is no trace of additional alcohol. Overall a solid beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

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Photo of PeatReek
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear, a bright, amber-brown color with a decidedly orangey head. The very mild aroma is sweet and bready, with hints of Maerzen-like fruity maltiness and a slight whisp of grass at the end. The sip starts with a significant wallop of bitterness (for the style) and evolves into a bready malt-fest; the Maerzen character is even more prominent here. Followed up by a rather sharp toasty taste that is not exactly the nutty roast aspect that I'm used to in a brown ale, but works nonetheless. The bitterness comes back again at the end of the sip to help it wash down clean. Superbly drinkable, especially as the glass sits out for a bit and the carbonation settles down from its initial overly harsh level - my only complaint.

(Batch 7723, bottled Nov. 15 2006)

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a brownish/red color, with an off-white head. Lacing is pretty good. It smells like toasted malt and nuts. It tastes the same way, except for some caramel and breadiness in the taste, along with a bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is light/medium, with just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, it's good, smooth and easy to drink, and I think it would be a decent choice as a session beer. Another good beer from Bell's!

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Photo of beerphan
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle -> goblet
code: 7670 -> website -> packaged 9.26.06

Pours a light copper with a generous off white almost tan head, that leaves sporadicly thick lace. Carbonation appears high on the pour.

Nose: Kinda of a spicey yeasty smell along with some faint malts.

Taste: Some sweet malt flavor along with a little nuttiness and spice on the finish with just a tad of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thin and the carbonation seems a little excessive.

Not the best brown ale i've ever had, but not the worst either, i prefer a fuller malt presense.

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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 ultralarry2006
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger head that has good retention and good lacing. Body is a hazy, if not cloudy , garnet.

Smell - nutty, toasty malt bread, a hint of lemony hops.

Taste - some of the toasty malt bread, not much more than that.
Rather one dimensional.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, moderate carbonation, a little bit dry.

Drinkability - this is decent, far from great, but decent enough to drink, and so somewhat sessionable.

 463 characters

Photo of dogfooddog
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

from a trade with MABZ, thanks again for the chance to try all of these beers.

Pours with a nice light tan head, nose is distinctly malty and a bit earthy or heavy.

taste is plenty malty, hints of roasted/smoky malt, and just enough hop character to keep some balance on this. Further into the glass it becomes a bit sweeter and bitter, as the palate adjusts.

I have had a number of english browns I was never really impressed with, but this is the first time I have actually enjoyed a beer of this style. This is well worth trying!

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Photo of phisig137
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vigarous pours yeilds a nice autumn like brown color, with some red tinge. Two finger head has great retention, and leaves behind nice lacing.

Aroma is malty and toasty. Not sweet or caramel like at all, but more toasty biscuit aromas. Fairly mild, but enjoyable.

Flavor is just as the smell, malty and toasty. Not really sweet, but not quite dry either. Great biscuit malt flavor, like fresh bread. Finish is smooth and lingering. Creamy mouthfeel, and excellent drinkability.

Although I prefer most American browns to British Browns, I really like this beer. Well made, and very drinkable. Nice representation of the "restrained" british style of brewing. Nothing sticks out as being incredible, but I think that's the point. Well balanced and easy drinking, I say once again.... I am VERY happy that Bell's is now in Virginia!

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

Appearance: Cloudy, dark amber brown with 2" off-white bubbly head which dissapates into a smooth 1/4" layer

Aroma: Roasted malts

Taste: More roasted malts with a slight bitter aftertaste

Feel: Smooth, but a little thin

Overall: Good, but not great. From Bell's and the name of the beer, I actually expected more.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark brown color with some orange hues when held to light. A nice light tan, two finger head that lasts for a while and leaves decent lacing.

Aroma is somewhat nutty with some cocoa, toffee and caramel and a faint hoppiness in there as well.

Taste is sweet and toasty. Some caramel and nuts dominate the flavor along with a bitterness in the finish. Pretty decent balance here.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, not very heavy on the carbonation.

Definitely a very drinkable beer. Would make for a great session. Glad I went out of my way to get this beer, it is pretty solid.

 601 characters

Photo of Briarbush
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- It is very dark auburn with a nice copper hue and slightly hazy.Nice head that is light tan.

Smell- very faint with a noticeable bread smell maybe a little toffee/caramel.

Taste & Mouthfeel- Not very complex, It has a nice malt character with only a touch of hops. There is another few flavors that I just can’t place a name on pleasant nonetheless. The finish is crisp and dry. Slightly over carbonated I felt.

Drinkability- This beer is very drinkable. I wish the taste were a bit more complex or bold but it is very pleasant throughout. Good Brew.

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Photo of tempest
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Triple Rock Social Club.

Definately an English brown, as it's a mellow tasting beer. I don't know what's "best" about this. I don't get much complexity of flavor, just some nice chocolate malts. It's nice beer, don't get me wrong, I just wouldn't invest in a 6'er. It is a nice stepup from Newcastle, however. Give it to a friend as a gateway beer.

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Photo of gmfessen
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of bottle into a pint glass, beer is really more of a deep crimson-amber color than brown. Beer had a very nice overflowing off white four finger head, with small amounts of lacing. Smell is of caramel and nutty chocolate. The taste is exceptional; pleasing with a malty start, perfectly balanced with a slightly hoppy and smooth finish. Never offensive throughout the taste, wonderfully balanced. The mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy and delightful. Overall I would have to say that this is an extremely drinkable beer and have to toast this one to Bells!

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Photo of Osiris9588
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with batch ID number 7681, brewed on 10/03/06. It pours a mahogany with bronze, golden, and ruddy undertones. The head is off-white and creamy, receding into a layer of thin foam dunes, before subsiding into a thin one- finger layer--decent lacing.

The aroma is nutty and malty, accompanied by caramel and tree bark. The flavor is also very malty and oaty, wtih a nutty caramel finish, along with some cola and a slight presence of hops.

The mouth is medium-bodied and well carbonated, with enough complexity to keep it interesting. It is very drinkable, not overly sweet. A solid example of the style and overall brew.

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Photo of Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy red/brown, thick tan head, settles to a ring, nice lacing and great retention, head really sticks. Smell is sweet, toffee, grains, roasty chocolate, very rich flavour, little bit of floral. Taste is toffee and chocolate, grainy, some floral and citrus in the finish, nice roasted dry finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, very smooth and enjoyable. A nice brown ale. Thanks biegaman!

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Photo of Grundle20
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Pours a hazy brown into a pint glass. There is little head to speak of and thus no lacing.

Smell:
There's a very pleasant smell of figs, coconut, and nuts, I think almonds. It really kind of smells like an Almond Joy candy bar.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again it tastes very nutty and again I believe it's almonds. The fig scent has vanished from the taste but I'm still picking up that minor coconut note. There's a mild bitter bite on the sides of my tongue about mid drink but for the most part this beer goes down rather smooth. The aftertaste is slightly poisoned by an apparent alcohol wash on the back of my palette.

Drinkability:
Bringing some of the full flavors I would expect from a dopplebock without the alcohol ass kicking makes for a very agreeable "dark" beer. Full enough for a cold night but mild enough for extended drinking.

Bottom Line:
Rich flavors without getting trashed sold me on this beer. Like I've said in the past I usually don't get down with drinking darker beers just for the sake of drinking, but I could certainly make an exception for this beer.

 1,105 characters

Photo of psinderson
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse in a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice dark brown/ruby red color. Off-white head that lasts.

Smell: Caramel notes and malty sweetness.

Taste: Very malty sweet. Very little roasted flavor or hops flavor present.

Mouthfeel: Relatively thin, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable and goes down well.

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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 biegaman
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with bounteous head that would becalm into mere bubbles. A sort of glowing, umber colour. I couldn't see my finger through the other side. Aroma with cola-root beer like properties, smells sticky and syropy. Lots of hops too though. Taste far more subtle that aroma. Mouthfeel rounds out nicely, leaving a caramely roast. A lot of malts come through on the finish too. Not so much light nor dark malts, the sort of in between ones - not nearly roasty - maybe 'toasty'. Smooth and very enjoyable to drink. A well made American style brown ale. Thanks HogTownHarry.

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Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an ice tea brown color and a modest head that leaves some intermittant lacing

Smell: Nutty roasted notes

Taste: Bready, up front with a bit of bitterness for balance

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink with enough character to make this generally insipid style interesting

 361 characters

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,904 ratings.
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