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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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 881 | Ratings: 2,984
Photo of Regulator
4.84/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Cloudy brown with rising bubbles
Smell: Caramel and chestnuts roasting over an open fire.
Taste: The tears of heaven.
Feel: Frothy
Overall: Best Brown truly is the Best Brown ale available in the United State of America. Bell's delivers again.

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Photo of NateDyk47
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Drank a 12oz out of a snifter.

I'm usually not a fan of brown ales, but this is pretty dang good. Very smooth, slightly sweet. I would drink this again.

 154 characters

Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Hazy, dark brown with a soapy beige head. Moderate retention with some spotty lacing.

S: Milk chocolate, mocha, earth, toasted, almost burnt bread, bitter cocoa, and some caramel.

T: Semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa, burnt bread, earthy balance, with hints of lingering caramel and chocolate sweetness.

F: Medium, smooth and well-rounded, with moderate carbonation.

O: A solid brown ale. Quite enjoyable and sessionable.

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In typical beer snob fashion, I have long since graduated from basic brown ales. I was reluctant to try this seasonal from Bell's, but I thought, "What the heck, everything else they make is excellent".

Welp, this brown is no exception to the Bell's rule.

Nutty, toasty malts with a classic brown nose. This beer especially delivers in taste.

If you see a sixer of these, snag one. You will not be disappointed, even if you tend to thumb your nose at brown ale.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.29/5  rDev -14.1%
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 GStone899
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A complex brown ale. Caramel, malts, maple, nuts, bready, lots of good flavors but probably a bit too complex. No one flavor profile comes thru. Not very bitter. Smooth finish.

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Photo of CNoj012
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy brown color reminiscent of iced tea. The head is two fingers, dense and tan. Retention and lacing are minimal.

The smell is nutty, caramel, toasted bread, a bit of chocolate and a touch of hop spiciness. A bit muddled though.

Taste is the same, but each flavor is more pronounced. Starts of nutty and bready, then transitions to chocolate and ends with a moderately bitter and spicy finish.

Feel is light and creamy. Very nice.

Overall a very solid beer. Taste and feel are great, and if the smell was on par with them it would be the best brown ale I've had.

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Photo of Zimmerman
2.37/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Eyes and Nose: Deep, dark reddish brown with a thick tan head that slowly dissipates. Somewhat nutty on the nose.

Mouth: Subtle maple, cinnamon, caramel and apples. Slightly roasted but all around a very muddled flavor that feels somewhat murky. Slightly tart and sweet, while also burnt and smoky with a touch of almond.

Ultimately this beer's complexity is its undoing. The earthy bitterness of the malt clashes with the caramel/toffee amber notes. It's not a bad beer, but it needs more refining and perhaps a touch of either sweetness or hops.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a bottle, pours a dark murky brown with an biege white head. Aroma of roasted nutty malt. Taste is a smooth roast malt with sweet caramel upfront and bitter hops on the back end. Overall, really pretty balanced, but it's too sweet to stay on my rotation for long.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
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.


 384 characters

Photo of seedyone
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

 273 characters

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
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 +4.4%
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 +11%
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 +22.2%
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 +2.3%
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.

 1,142 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 714 characters

Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
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 -19.1%
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 -5.2%
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.

 519 characters

Photo of SmashAdams
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
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 +0.3%
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.

 416 characters

Photo of Furlinator
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
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 +3.1%
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 +8.1%
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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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.83 out of 5 based on 2,984 ratings.
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