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

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86
very good
882 Reviews
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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: 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:
882
Ratings:
2,985
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
20.63%
 
 
Wants:
103
Gots:
463
For Trade:
6
User Reviews
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Reviews: 882 | Ratings: 2,985
Photo of wmtxbb
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Nice finger sized head on top of a dark amber brew.

Smell: Crunchy crystal malt grains.

Taste: Toasty malts, carmel and some chocolate. Reminds me of a winter warmer, particularly because of the high alcohol content.

Drinkability: The best brown ale I've ever had, which makes the name perfect.

 340 characters

Photo of OldeSchool
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy, caramel colored with a big off-white head that dissipated fairly quickly.
S: Malty, roasted nuts.
T: Follows the nose; Very little bitterness, I detected a bit of maple flavor for some reason. Not strong at all, but definitely there. Need to check this the next time I have one.
M: Medium body and carbonation.
O: Easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing brown. Not the best I've had of the style, but a solid entry.

 414 characters

Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured this beauty in a clear lager mug, has a nice medium dark brown color and a healthy thickish foam head.
Smells malty, a little chocolaty.
Tastes like an ale, got some bitterness to it, and it tastes a little of chocolate, maybe even coffee. Not too overly bitter like most Bell's Ale's I've had.
Feel is smooth,with a light bubbly feel on the tongue, not too light, but not too strong on the carbonation.
Overall, I was hesitant since I don't like Bell's Ale's, since usually I find them to be too bitter. This one isn't like that. And I could drink more of this.

 571 characters

Photo of johnd513
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark cloudy brown color with a nice big fluffy white head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing on the glass. The smell is toasty and nutty with some roasted malts. The taste is oily hazelnut and the mouthfeel is medium to full body and is oily as well. Overall another good offering from bells and certainly worth a try.

 355 characters

Photo of Thanby
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, light chocolate color with tan head. The nose is pretty standard brown ale but with a mild citrus note in the malt. Medium malt flavor with a textured malt, a little spicing, slightly bitter roast. Finishes with a fading malt bitterness. Medium body, easy to drink, unique light malt with citrus impressions, pear and apple in the background, overall very delicious.

 380 characters

Photo of PlaywrightSam
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into tulip glass. A: Cloudy brown with a little orange. Moderate head that went down pretty quick, some lacing. S: Malty with some citrus overtones, can’t detect the presence of hops. T: Strong caramel taste, hops barely make an appearance until the dry, slightly btiter finish. Very clean. M: Moderate carbonation, nice and smooth. D: A deceptively simple, very tasty, crisp-and-clean brown ale. Really enjoyable and easy to drink.

 440 characters

Photo of ImusBeer
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of the tap a dark brown with little lacing and no head to speak of.

Aroma was mostly nothing, maybe raisin? Taste was a lot of malt, molassas, raisin and some sweetness, not as much as some Brown Ales I've had like JW Dundees.

It was light with really no carbonation, just too low. It's a nice brown ale, not very sweet like some others but not as bitter as most English Brown Ales.

 388 characters

Photo of oxmasterscream
3.11/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color is a deep, translucent, cherry-brown. Big, fluffy, light tan head. Looks good.
Smells of toasted malt with a splash of tangy hops. Only slightly nutty. Nothing else really comes through. Aroma is just average for a brown ale.
Tastes tangy, tangy, tangy... too much so. A bit of toasted malt now and then, as well as some faint, bitter coffee in the finish. Fruity alcohol shows its face toward the end of the glass.
Mouth is medium-bodied. Gently carbonated. Smooth on the tongue.
As for brown ales, I've easily had better. This is just run of the mill. There's no way this can be their "best."

 604 characters

Photo of r3o
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark red-brown, half an inch head with a little lacing.
S: mostly malt, there's some burnt brown sugar, little hops
T: good balance, built well, you get some nuts in the palate, the aftertaste is sour in the back of my throat.
M: medium body, almost chewy, smooth, with good carbonation
D: easy to drink and pleases, not many surprises though.

 346 characters

Photo of JordanEllwanger
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice dark amber brown capped with a fine caramel white head. smells like an amber ale with a subtle hint of toasted malt. Taste is just the same with more presence of the toasted malts. A very mellow brown ale, much to my liking. It definitely has a bell's taste to it. A nice feel and an enjoyable beer.
Cheers.

 315 characters

Photo of Fatduck
4.48/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After drinking several very hopped up beers, this is exactly what I wanted. Its smooth, malt dominate beer. It smells like a day in the forest and looks like a pile of freshly raked leaves. I like this beer a lot, and I am sad to drink the last of them.

 253 characters

Photo of Bruiser81
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a murky brown color. It looked kind of like tea. A creamy off white head simmered down to a thin sheet. What a great aroma, a mixture of sweet malt, toffee, dates, and caramel. Taste wasn't bad but not near as good as the aroma. The taste starts with roasted malts which is followed by a bread flavor along with a nutty caramel. Towards the finish there is a a sweet/sour taste. Sort of different, not bad. This beer is great up until the finish which just threw me off a little. A nice creamy smooth mouthfeel. Definately a drinkable brew.

 554 characters

Photo of wchesak
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Spiegelau tulip

A - amber brown, less than a fingers worth of light sandy colored head, some blots of lace

S - caramel, some brown sugar, hint of chocolate, slight toffee and nut notes

T - lots of malt - chocolate, caramel, nut; aftertaste has some roast to it along with the slightest bittering from the hops

M - body starts out medium but finishes a little thinner than average, average carbonation

D - enjoyable, nothing out of the ordinary, but is a good example of an English Brown

 505 characters

Photo of earthboundagain
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From Notes:

A- A rich brown beer, that has some red tones. The head is tan and fluffy. The head sticks to the glass leaving some nice lacing action.

S- Ok brown sugar coated chestnuts, jump up at ya. Maybe some brown sugar and molasses hiding in the back.

T- Roasted chestnuts in my beer, mixed with brown sugar and lots of malt oh yeah.

M- Hmm, this one is sticky and slick with a lot of carbonation.

D- This one is not hard to drink, and comes with some flavor too boot.

Thoughts- This is a nice brown ale, it is not top shelf but would be a good session beer on a crisp September afternoon.

 605 characters

Photo of ken3c
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big rocky off-white head. Dark amber in color. Hazy in clarity. The head recedes to a layer that leaves beautiful lacing.

There is a strong malt aroma with caramel notes.

Sweet, fruity, grainy tastes. There is a little bitterness in the aftertaste but mostly grainy malt.

Medium body, well carbonated. Astringent in the finish.

This beer looked and smelled so good. I liked the fruitiness but was a little turned off by the astringency.

 448 characters

Photo of RunForYourBeer
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From batch 9981, bottled 9/16/10.

A: Pours a light brown, much lighter than I expected.

S: Smells of a sweet caramel malt with a hint of breadiness.

T: Tastes of a sweet caramel, bread malt along with some chocolate. Has a bit of hop bitterness and a hint of toastyiness.

M: Medium with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: High.

This is a good fall beer. One I will likely come back to.

 390 characters

Photo of scalffd
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 325 characters

Photo of LittleBreeze
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1/8/2008

Nice aroma. Even with the light chocolate, coffee and bread cameral smells this one still smells like beer.
There is a nuttiness in the taste. A bit of bitterness in the finish balances the sweetness. Carbonation enhances the mouthfeel. Has just a little bit of a creamy feel.

Nice brew. Very drinkable.

 314 characters

Photo of barleyroad
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown in appearance with a nice foam, that is carmel in color. The smell is flat, with a acidic floral tone. This is a rather interesting smell. Mouthfeel is verymuch a brown ale, smooth. Taste is very clean in its taste, slight hints of toasty malts, Overall this is a very delightful brew and easy drinking. Goes well with what you are eating.

 345 characters

Photo of Finn
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber, with a thin lace that stays on top. Good clarity.

Smell: Bready, toasty, biscuity malts dominate the nose very nicely.

Taste: Rich, smooth bread-like malts, ending with a lingering hop bitterness, caramel flavors. Mild fruitiness present.

Mouthfeel: Medium, smooth body. Medium carbonation compliments nicely. Slight creaminess.

Drinkability: This one really opens up as it warms up. Drinkability is high. One of the better brown ales out there, very well balanced, nothing over the top, but still retains full flavor. Recommended!

 559 characters

Photo of Kelly88
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at bar Louie served in a huge pint glass

A- dark leathery brown with old catcher Mitt orange at the bottom. Resilient beige head that is really sticking around. Layers of lace are surrounding the glass. So much I can't even see through some parts of the glass. Light shade of brown for a brown ale.

S- not much going on in the nose. Some pear type aromas with a sweetness.

T- sweet crisp apple taste. Really unexpected but it is really good. Apple skin and really small hop cones on the back. Really tasty brew.

M- medium to fullish. Not slot of carbonation but that is not hurting the experience. The lack of carbonation sort of enhances the flavors by really forcing them down onto your palate.

Overall a really solid brown ale That has a really unique flavor. Definitely will seek out again if available.

 826 characters

Photo of rembrant
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour- As much head as you want,fairly substantial rich cream tops a medium brown body

aroma- in a nicely English way,the main scents are fresh bread crust,oak lumber,and bits of toffee nut with hints of yeast.

Taste- pleasent, though in the effort to be a rather dry English style it avoided and muted any clear cut sweet malt side as well as the more flavorful American type hops. So, rather than describing coffee and fruits and pine forest....it's all "Beer".
There's a touch of woody,toffee-nut,and a British-Euro hop finish that does not try to do a notable flavor or long aftertaste.

this one's warmer than one I had earlier but the malt side isn't more assertive,and the carbo seems less. Going for an English pub ale?

Mouth- The Carbonation does fall a bit short and relative to other Browns I've hadthis has the least body and sparkle. It also does not have a real fine finish,just a plain wooden bitter.

drinkability- Actually not bad,would be better with a nicer finish and a bit mor fizz. Dangerously close to flat+watery,and yet i think they aimed at a tradition where that's just how it is.
Pretty good,but Brown is a Genre where there's a lot of beers above 'pretty good".

Picture a photo of a plain man in a gray tweed topcoat with a plain dark blue tie,in front of a gray building and under a gray sky,all looking ever so British,a photo you can guess,is it 1959? 2009? It has that sort of proper,and a bit stodgy quality.

This is the beer that man would drink. Every day. Forever.

 1,505 characters

Photo of apbarwood
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with a one-finger tan head. It falls away quickly but leaves a moderate amount of lacing. Could have looked nicer but definitely not bad. The aroma was malty but faint. A modest amount of caramel and a hint of chocolate intertwined with a hop aroma. The flavor was a bit of a downer as I'd hoped for more of a malt presence but got more hop bitterness. There was also an astringent, grainy character that didn't really add anything to the beer. This is the first offering from Bell's that I was somewhat disappointed with.

 533 characters

Photo of julian89
4.14/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this fairly new addition to Bell's to be a high improvement on several other brown ales I have tried.

Appearance: Obviously a darkish brown hue, lightly transparent. Caramel coloring at the base post drink.
Smell: Clean, not too powerful, not much else.
Taste: Wonderful! This is a perfectly bittered and hopped brown ale. It was not too dry and carbonated either.
Mouth feel: Very smooth, no acid residue aftertaste I get with other brown's.
Overall: Bell's does not disappoint. Their Brown hits the charts once again.

 528 characters

Photo of tar
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went through a phase this winter in which this was my "regular everyday type" beer. Pours a very nice cloudy medium brown, with a one-finger thick, fluffy tan head. The head diminishes somewhat quickly, but sticks around enough to leave some nice lacing on the glass. Smells sweet, with very nice malt aromas coming forth. Tastes nicely of sweet, toasted malt, with some hints of carmel and perhaps a bit nutty. Smooth and easy drinking, this is a very enjoyable beer. Overall a very nice beer which I would definitely recommend.

 531 characters

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.83 out of 5 based on 2,985 ratings.
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