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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: 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

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Reviews: 877 | Ratings: 2,952
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a hazy oak brown body with a thick creamy light tan head that last and last. This beer is a bit to hazy to see any carbonation.

S- This beer has a light brown malt hint with a spicy hop finish.

T- This beer has a tangy light brown malt taste with a hint of pale malt. The finish is a faint green spicy hop note. As it warms there is a slight nougat taste to the malt.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a tiny fizz in the finish.

D- This beer doesn't have a lot of flavor and the malt notes are pretty soft but the hops, all though soft, have a bright fresh flavor.

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Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle from Al's of Hampden.

A: The brown ale is more of a crimson red color, but who's counting hues? It is translucent enough to see objects on the other side of the glass but I can't distinguish them. A small head, quarter of a finger max, reduces rapidly to a thin white band.

S: Caramel and toffee are strong in the nose. A bit of nuttiness follows in short order with a hoppy citrus backbone (not too strong mind you).

T: A very solid brown ale. The maltiness plants its proverbial flag early and never relinquishes its claim. Caramel and toffee, along with toasted nuts, drive most of the flavor. Coffee and vanilla linger around too, especially when the ale warms. Hops, not a stand-out, still provide a zesty bite. A brown ale that is better than most.

M: The mouthfeel is syrupy, thick and malty. Darker roasted flavors stand out.

D: A very drinkable ale, sessionable even. Makes me appreciate the non-extreme styles.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is a very nice malt dominated brown. The aroma features caramel/toffee, malt and brown sugar.

T- The taste follows the aroma, with a good amount of sweet malt and just a touch of bitterness in the finish to balance out the sweetness.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a very drinkable English-style Brown Ale that is definitely worth a try. Recommended!

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

Bottle from good ta go beer store in PA for 1.99 - thanks to jfam for this

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a large size fizzy/frothy beige head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes. There are also some particles floating around.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, toffee, chocolate, and a hint of dark fruits (raisins?). There is also a little bit of a molasses flavour. It ends with a malty chocolate and toffee aftertaste.

Overall - Pretty good, but nothing that will blow your socks off. It's very drinkable but the higher abv would keep it from being a session type brew. Worth a shot but I wouldn't pick it up again.

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Photo of pat61
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

Primarily malt aromas on the nose with faint caramel.
Pours deep brown under a 2" finely bubbled foam cap that provides rich lacing.
Palate: subtle malt, slightly sweet, grain, no roast, hints of chocolate.
medium carbonation and body.

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Photo of harpus
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nothing special here...medium brown, a pretty rudy color shows through when held to the light. Thin head gone in a flash.

S: Pretty mild...nutty malt mostly. Not any hops to speak of.

T: Like the taste, it's pretty mild and mostly nutty. Certainly nothing offensive, but nothing exciting either. I guess it's just kind of boring, to be honest.

M: Smooth, light to medium carb, mildly dry finish. Again, pretty much mediocrity, although I can't find anything wrong with it either, which suggests a small bumb up from average.

D: This would be great for....I dunno? I'm sure it would be enjoyable in some situation but I can't think of any. It's unexciting, and I probably wouldn't buy it again for the mere fact that nothing makes me say "wow" about it, or even "ooh.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from twiggamortis420. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy orangey brown brew. Pillowy head fades slowly, with good lasting lace. Aroma is malts with a light earthy hoppiness. Taste is a touch tart to start, settle in with some rich grain character in the middle, and comes back to the mild tartness at the close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is pretty good.

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Photo of barczar
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky deep brown with a frothy khaki head that leaves spotty lacing as it slowly dissipates.

Slightly fruity specialty malt notes mingle with toasted, nutty malt and floral hops.

Flavor reveals similar character, with a touch of soft citrus underpinnings. Deeply toasted, lightly chocolatey notes surface in the slightly bitter, earthy aftertaste.

Body and carbonation are moderate, with light alcohol warmth.

Decent malt character, but the bitterness is a little dominant for my liking.

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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 DrDemento456
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer from the variety pack. In my opinion the best one!

A - Orange brown in color.

S - Smells of walnuts or pecans

T - Really smooth for the ABV. Nutty and malty goodness. Almost rivals Samuel Smith in taste but this one has more backbone.

M - Sort of thin but highly drinkable.

D - Would pick up a sixer but only the amber is available for an immediate purchase (boo!)

Overall the best the variety had to offer so please give it a try!

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Photo of Immortale25
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Says packaged on 10/10/11.

A- Pours a dark reddish brown with an 1/8 inch white head that soon disappears to a ring with bubble formations on the surface. Lacing's not bad.

S- Smells fresh and sweet with toffee-like caramel notes, brown sugar and some chocolate. Has a mustiness to it that is quite unique. Not smoky, but musty like a wet basement. I wouldn't call it an off aroma, just something I've never smelled in a beer before.

T- Chocolate and dark toasty bread dominate the flavor profile, both of which not being too heavy...and that's pretty much it.

M- Has a light feel with normal viscosity and medium-high carbonation.

O- Not too much to say about this beer, but sometimes the plain ones can be the most enjoyable to session. Definitely another win for Bell's, although the name doesn't necessarily live up to the execution.

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

Charlie's Ale House in Wheaton, IL has this beer on tap!

Appearance- A slightly hazy even brown with a one finger head at time of serving that dissipated into a filmy foam.

Taste- A light malt character ende with some hops to even out the bitterness. A feww chocolatey moments were present.

Mouthfeel- A smoothly carbonated, medium body.

Drinkability- This beer would be could for a couple of sessions.

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Photo of avalon07
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was a huge amount of foamy, long-lasting head, with good lacing. One of the best-looking brown ales I've seen.

S: Had a nutty, malty and sweet aroma.

T: Tasted of malt, caramel, a nutty quality and a bready quality. Very tasty.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

D: I'm not the biggest fan of brown ales - the style is not the most complex - but this is a solid, drinkable beer.

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Photo of DrJay
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown beer with a reddish hue, the dark cream coloured head was very fine and showed a bit of lace. Malty aroma, some nuttiness with a bit of toffee. Same in the flavour along with mild bitterness and muted hop flavour towards the end. Bitterness really lingers in the finish. Dry overall, medium-light bodied and decent texture. A solid brown ale.

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Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Batch #9339

(A)- Pours a hazy medium brown color that produced a minimal tan to white head that dissipated very quickly.

(S)- Has a nutty sweet maple smell. Bits of vanilla.

(T)- Very nutty; almond & walnuts. Has a good soft maple/vanilla malt background. Let it warm up a bit; cold really hides what this beer has to offer.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance to it. Nothing fancy, but has a good rustic feel to it with its nuttiness and malt profile.

(D)- A good to solid brown ale for the fall season when you tire of oktoberfests or wet-hopped beers. Nothing fancy, just classic drinking.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Average SRM for a brown ale, thin but colorful. 1/3" off white head. Aroma of nuttiness.

Minorly sweet, plenty thin and light, some darker bread feels. Barely there hints of chocolate. More caramel and toffee than that. Smooth as almost required by style, not a hopped up Americanized version going on here. Its pretty traditional and what you expect for style is what you get in the end.

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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 Bighuge
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer's a ruby color with a nice rocky head that has great retention. Very nice nutty/caramel tones on the nose with sticky molasses making its presence known also. A bready yeastiness is present on the palate. Some of that trademark lactic sourness as well. Seems to fit alright however. Some slight chocolate tones also. Very subdued roasted nut taste is also making an appearance. Pretty unique tasting Brown.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a amber-brown with a one finger tan head that fades pretty quickly. Some lacing is left on the glass.

S - Very nutty, and some roasted malts. A touch of sweetness pokes through as well.

T - Roasted malts, raisins, nuts.

D - Good carbonation, and average body. Coats the mouth.

O - A good brown, not sure it is the Best.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Man if this isn't run of the mill I dunno what is. Looks decent enough, a little thinner than what I was hoping for. No detectable aroma.

Taste is a little thin for me. Nutty. I'm just not a brown ale guy. The ones I tend to like have a bigger malt bill, coming closer to being a porter moreso than the actual traditional brown style. A little more gritty than I expected.

Mouthfeel, nothing much, some brown colored beer, so surprises, no letdowns. A little costly for what it is.

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Photo of drpimento
3.02/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I dunno, I'm not so impressed with this beer. Although, I've read so many good reviews, I think it must be me. Proly a plugged shnoz or something. Has a hazy brown color. Seems kind of blase to me. Do pick up the typical english brown body and aftertaste. Had a nice head and some lace.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle stamped batch 10178, bottled 1/17/11. not even a month old.

slightly hazy chestnut brown color. cream colored 1/2" head with good retention and decent lacing. sweet biscuity malt aroma. maybe a little hops in there.

caramel and bready malt taste. classic brown ale flavor.

medium body. carbonation is there, but its extremely smooth. quite easy to drink and refreshing for a fall/winter brew.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The beer pours a medium clear with a hint of ruby red. The head is, light tan, rises about 2 fingers but gone quickly. It falls to a soapy brown head, with light retention.

The aroma is medium and starts out pretty sweet nuttyness.

The taste starts pretty sweet as well, some nice nut in the middle with a littel bitter finish, pretty nice and complex.

The feel is a little watery with a dry finish.

Overall, a pretty nutty nice brown ale.

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Photo of claspada
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of subtle toasted malt, caramel, toffee and nuttiness.
The taste follows the nose with sweet caramel malt, toasted nuts and a tiny bit of milk chocolate. It has more flavor than the nose would suggest, but unfortunately it just not that complex or flavorful.
Mouthfeel is crisp, with a medium-thin, borderline watery body and adequate carbonation. I would prefer a much fuller mouthfeel, but the thin body works is a decent change which allows this to finish quite crisp.
Overall this is quite drinkable, but forgettable. The flavor profile is just not on par with other brown ales I have had recently. English brown ales aren't supposed to be as malty and full-bodied as American ones, so I guess they accomplished their goal of creating a fairly tasty sessionable brown ale, but I won't be revisiting this anytime soon.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,952 ratings.
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