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 thagr81us
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed with the man who put Humpty Dumpty back together again (my orthopedic trauma surgeon)! Served from bottle into a flared pilsner. Poured a deep red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, nutty, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, toasted malt, nutty, nutmeg, and subtle caramel. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I was really quite intrigued by this one once I smelled the dark chocolate notes in it. However, to my slight disappointment, this note did not carry over into the flavor. Despite this it did not kill the brew at all. This one was rather easy drinking and quite enjoyable. Definitely one of the better browns I’ve had in awhile as most are hit-and-miss that I’ve had recently with other flavors infused into them. Worth your time trying without a doubt.

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

On tap at MoJoe Lounge in Easton. Clear dark brown color with a medium tan head and thin sticky lacing. Sweet toasted malt and caramel aroma. Medium, smooth body with dominant malt flavoring. Sweet caramel and a bit of hops and coffee is also present. The finish is roasty and sweet at times. A great session beer that is enjoyable all around.

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

I picked up a six pack of Bell's Best Brown a couple weeks ago at Krogers for $8.99. I have had this beer many times over the years, but for some reason I haven't got around to reviewing, so it's time to sit down and see how this beer drinks. It is pretty fresh with a bottled on date of September 28th 2011 batch number 10721. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- The label on this beer looks pretty cool, I like the lone owl sitting on fence post with a nice scenic winter background, it gives this beer a late fall/winter vibe. It poured a slightly hazy amberish brown color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some nice lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with some medium sweet malts that impart some toffee and caramel aromas along with some nuttiness. There are also some brown bread, brown sugar, and fruity yeast aroma. I don't really pick up any hops in the aroma.

T- The taste is pretty similar to the aroma. The first thing I pick up are the malts that impart some nice toffee and caramel flavors, there is also a slight bit of dried dark fruits, and a nice noticeable amount of nuttiness that had a walnut like flavor to it. Just as in the aroma the hops aren't noticeable and the finish is smooth with no bitterness and a slightly nutty aftertaste.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, on the light side of being medium bodied, and it had a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel fits this beer well.

Overall I thought this this was a pretty damn good English Brown Ale. I haven't had a lot of this style but so far this beer seems to be the closest example I have had to a true English Brown Ale. The flavors were nice and malty and had a really nice nutty complexity that really made this beer stick out from the other English Brown Ales I have tried. It went down really smooth and combined with having no bitterness at all makes this beer have some great drinkability, I would have no problem drinking three or four of these in a night. What I liked most about this beer was the flavor, it just seemed spot on for an English Brown ale and the extra nuttiness was a very nice added touch. What I liked least about this beer was the color, it wasn't bad, but I would have liked it a little browner, not a big deal though. I buy this beer every fall and will continue to do so since I find that this beer really hits the spot on late fall/ early winter evenings, and it is the best local English Brown Ale I have had. If English Brown Ales are your thing, this is a must try, it does a great job at representing what an English Brown Ale is all about, or so I think. So far this is the best English Brown Ale I have had so far, everything was pretty spot on and the extra nuttiness put this beer over the top. Bell's did a great job with this beer, they do a great job of brewing a style the way it is intended to be, they are a jack of all trades and that is why they are one my favorite brewery's.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.94/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper/ amber/ brown, with a small white head. In the aroma, a small sweet malt, but somewhat bland. In the taste, a sweet maltiness, yet quite thin. A smooth mouthfeel and a dry malty aftertaste. A bit sweeter than a standard brown, however not a big nose. Easy to drink and non offensive.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a solid brown color with a nice foamy head. Slowly dissipated with some surprisingly nice lacing.

S - A bit hoppy with some carmel malt smell.

T - Molassas with some nice toffee notes. Only a touch of hops on this, and you really had to look for it. Nice nutty undertones, very fitting for this beer.

M - Kind of thin, with moderate carbonation. Clean finish.

D - Easy to get down, and nice tasting. Could do a few of these, but more a winter than summer beer.

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

Color is a brown with a maroon tint and pours out a medium foam head thats biege in color. Nice roasty aroma with caramel tones in the back of my nose, very nice. Taste of caramel balanced well with roasted barley and gives a sweet malty flavor. Finish is a fresh hop note and kind of earthy with a dark nut sense. Reminded me of a nut brown just a hint darker. Good feel of tangy bite and medium body, not heavy. Drinking it warm apposed to cold favors this Best Brown. This brown would make for for a good chilly evening capper.

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Photo of morimech
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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

Good if a bit tepid brown ale.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Bells framing with light cream label where an owl sits on top of a wired fence pole. Back offers a short paragraph about intent and description. Notes 5.8% Alc by Vol. and packing date 1-04-12 A. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Amber brown to brown pour, initial fair frothy head, moderate retention and surface memory with a few touches of lacing.

S - Malty roasted notes, nutty touches, hazelnut, some caramel…

T - And the taste follows nicely with a bitter soft touch in the end under a nice malty sense, hazelnut, caramel-toffee, bit of chocolate in the distant.

M - Medium-light to light body with moderate softly tuned carbonation, nice tingle as it lingers.

O - It actually has a pretty nice flow all things considered.

Notes: Maybe I´m a bit condescending… This is all sorts of decent, just not really my thing. Worth having around for a mellow, generic and quality malty offering, just nothing to really keep on the radar.

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Photo of Dope
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A nice mahogany brown with a huge fluffy offwhite head. Great lacing and retention.

S: Toffee, nuts, molasses and brown sugar.

T: Not too sweet like a lot of brown ales. A nice nutty toffee flavor backed up with a little molasses.

M: Medium body but seems like just a little too much carbonation. Needs to be a little more still in my opinion.

O: A decent brown ale. A little sweeter and a little less carbonation would make this amazing.

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Photo of Gmann
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a yeasty chocolate brown color with a tight bubbled cream colored head that settled into a light ring with some lacing on the glass.

The aroma is sweet with caramel notes. Some brown bread and toasted scents from the malt. Nothing outrageous but inviting.

Good nutty flavor from the toasted malt. Some bark and bitter chocolate notes as well. The caramel sweetness comes in and balances the brew and makes it quite smooth; almost tastes as if there is some oatmeal in the mix.

The feel is moderate with prickly carbonation. Good balance between sweet and bitter. Some bitterness in the finish. Probably could use some softer carbonation to help bring out the good flavors some more.

A very enjoyable brown ale, good representation of the style.

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Photo of francisweizen
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty good brown beer from Bell's! This beer pours a nice dark brown colour with a nice head. It smells of bready malts, buttery british 'bell's' yeast and slight hops. It tastes like buttery yeast, bready malts, and hops. This is a very mild, british tasting brown ale. It reminds me of Newcatle but it is slightly better. This is not as good as Sam Smiths nut brown ale, however. The mouthfeel is a bit thin on this beer and the drinkability is hurt by its mild flavor.
A decent brown ale...
Cheers!
-F

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ouncer, long neck brown bottle. The obverse main label is completely different to that depicted in the BA Database. The bottle I have has a much more conservative purple edged gray background label with a beautifully drawn picture of an Owl sitting on a wooden fence post against a winter background. I am not sure what breed the owl is but looks like a Short-Eared Owl of sorts. The reverse label describes the offering as “...Best Brown Ale’s toasty malt character makes it a delicious beer for all types of weather”. Labeled as ‘Best Brown Ale’, but with no discernible freshness date, or even strength listed.

Appearance: Dark brown chestnut body that exhibits a deeply turbid porridge body that is murky and mud like in character. A decent head forms at first, a nicotine stained tan colored creamy cap covering which slips into a broken covering pretty quickly at first but yet it always retains a semblance of head. The first top-up forms a much longer lasting collar that leaves some excellent lacing. The decent conditioning means that a quick swirl always helps to reinstate the head and add to the lacing on the glass walls.

Nose: Nutty with a light warmth. Devon toffee and caramel coated Hops; this has a lovely “nutty toffee” character throughout. Has a light yet dark spicy character in the back end which adds a delicate exotic nuance.

Taste: The start is almost like a Northern English Mild, it has some Dark Mild cum Brown Ale qualities, but for some reason they are reticent to appear at first it seems. It comes into its own in the middle when the toffee and caramel break though in sufficient strength to excite the malty bitterness from the hops to also make a late party entrance in the midnight hour. The strength profile is almost directly proportional to the drink and residence time in the mouth. Light and low profile at first but tasty and wholesome in the back end. Has a dry malty finish. I like this one.

Mouthfeel: The conditioning lends a very smooth creamy feel and supports the malty bitterness that it exhibits perfectly. It does not disappoint.

Drinkability: I say this is most palatable Sir!! A Brown Ale that has an excellent quaffability. This is a seriously great Session Brown Ale.

Overall: On draft, this one would be a serious Winner in the working class areas of Northern England for sure. If it was indeed available, I would most certainly drink it in preference to “that other” readily available version. A jolly decent tipple and one I would most certainly imbibe in 12 ounce sextuplet fashion with little problem or inhibition.

Thanks to the MonkyFeloniousOne for supplying this Bell Ringer of a Brown!!

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Bottled 9/07/11.

Appearance: Deep and slightly cloudy brownish amber orange with lots of bubbles. Big five finger light tan head with good retention. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Some bready, lightly toasted caramel malts with lots of toffee. Hints of nuts throughout. Also a light hint of earthy hops in the background. Mostly malt forward in the nose.

Taste: Sweet and bready caramel malts and toffee up front with a little roasted character. A solid presence of nuts throughout. Light hints of dark fruit. A noticeable presence of grassy hops adds a little balancing bitterness to the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty solid brown ale. Well balanced and pretty tasty.

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Photo of argock
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No decipherable freshness date.

A: Lovely medium-brown hue with frothy beige 1-2 finger head with average retention and a couple of incomplete rings of lace.

S: Sweet caramel malts with light toasting coupled with cocoa and soft coffee aromas.

T: A well-rounded brown ale with enough sweetness, roastiness, and hops in there for everyone. Initial flavors are quite caramelly sweet but meet with varied chocolate, coffee, and light berry flavors. Finish is hopped above-average for the style which leaves it drier but still pretty mellow.

M: Very easy to drink due to the medium body and even carbonation. Aftertaste has elements of sweet roasted caramel and butterscotch.

D: Another winner from Bell's, even if it isn't in its upper tier. Still a good one to go to for brown ale lovers.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.85/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, packaged on 9/13/11, into a La Chouffe tulip. Thanks to vonschplieffen for tossing one of these my way. Is Bell's distributing to CT now? If so, I'm ecstatic.

A: Clear ruddy chestnut body under an inch of soft tan foam. Good retention and some spotty lace. I love the color.

S: WTF. This smells like pure, raw pumpkin. Not pumpkin pie, but the distinctively evocative aroma of carving a jack-o-lantern. There's some more standard caramel and herbal hops, too, but I just can't get past the pumpkin. I might appreciate it if it were supposed to be there, but as it is I'm kind of weirded out.

T: The gourd is pretty much (bot not entirely) gone, replaced by more generic nuttiness, chocolate, and plenty of grassy hop bitterness. It's a little on the weak side, but not terrible. Just a standard brown.

M: Light-to-medium body, highly carbonated. Pretty nice.

O: I'm just confused by this beer. Is it supposed to be a pumpkin ale? If so, then it's pretty good. As a straight brown ale, though, it's quite disappointing. I know Bell's can do better.

Cheers!

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Photo of cokes
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color of run-off. Muddy, amber-brown. A large tan froth sits on top.
A whiff of almonds. A whiff of burnt bread crust. A whiff of soap.
Begins toasty and lightly sweet. Peanut-Buttery. Like a chocolate-coated wafer cookie. Kit Kat? Ample yeast makes the middle doughier. Still has that candy bar thing going on. Never loses it either. Hopping is unremarkable, though drying.
Medium bodied, low carbonation.
Solid Brownie here.

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

Pours out a brilliant brown with ruby highlights and a moderately-sized white head. Looks pretty thick and viscous for a brown ale.

Smell is heavy with sweet malts, caramel, chocolate, a little bit of piney bitter hops, and a lot of dark fruit scents, particularly plum and some raisins.

Flavor is quite chocolate-laden. There's a solid drizzling of caramel over some of the same plum/dark fruit flavors. Little bits of nuttiness pull through in other places, along with some earthy wood flavors. Hops are present, but not overly assertive. They temper the chocolate flavors well.

Overall: Not mind-blowing, but a very, very good brown ale that definitely has a legitimate claim to calling itself "Best."

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Photo of blackie
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
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

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Photo of KYGunner
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The coloring of this brown ain't to Brown as it has a deep cherry hue with a mahogany flair. The head build up to what looked to be a significant structure but disappeared in an eruption on fizz.

The aromas are subtle but noticeable with some barley malt, chocolate malt, maple and a baked biscuit. Subtle molasses and a Graham cracker surround a stronger overall chocolate aroma.

The taste is dry with a bit of powdered cocoa, barley, toasted grain, roasted nuttiness and baked bread. This is absent of any sweetness and holds the finish with cracker and biscuit.

The feel is dry, ever so slightly astringent and relatively easy on the stomach.

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Photo of wedge
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice foggy chestnut color with a small creamy head. Sweet, nutty, toffee-like malts and molasses in the nose. Mild flavor, but tasty. Gentle caramel malts and a tiny bit of roasted chocolate in the end. Simple and balanced. Medium-light body. Nice English brown.

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

I poured into a pint glass to three inches of tan head. It is brown. The aroma is earthy, nutty, and bready. The taste reflects much of the smells. I get lightly toasted malt and some nutty/earthiness. It is a very easy drinking beer. It makes a great session beer.

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

Hazy, dark shoe-leather brown with a small, creamy, khaki head and decent lacing. Aromas of mild brown sugar, caramelized fruit, toasted malt, and yeast. Toasted loaf malt flavors up front. Light nuttiness, mixed with some dried pears also noticeable. Earthy, spicy hops come on stronger than expected and add a pleasant kick to this brew. Finish is bitter with light toasted fruit sweetness, and yeast. Nice. Medium-bodied, coats the mouth well. Another winner from Bell's.

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

12oz Bottle.

Poured a deeper and cloudy brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Lots of little floaters in there. Aromas of nuts, caramel, and light chocolate. Tastes of nutiness, toffee, chocolate and there were also some hoppiness.

Notes from 10/23/05

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a deep and clear mahogany color with a small but foamy tan head.

Aroma of sweet malts, caramel, toffee and a touch of sourness.

Tastes of sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, mocha chocolate, and a slightly sour berry finish.

Medium bodied and chewy with a carbonation that tickles the tongue.

A solid English brown from the folks at Bell's. Easy to drink after a long day.

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Photo of Brent
4.54/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If there is a beer equivalent of "comfort food" - this is it. Brownish amber color with light tan head that quickly faded. Aroma of Hershey's chocolate milk wafts from the glass. Pronounced milk chocolate notes in the flavor, with deeply toasted malt flavors. For all the chocolate character, the beer was surpisingly moderate in sweetness and finished with a sharp bitterness that cleared the palate. This is a fairly subtile beer, and if you were drinking a variety of beers during a session, this would be the lead-off.

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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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