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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
86
very good
859 Reviews
THE BROS
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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:
2,879
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
105
Gots:
415
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 859 | Ratings: 2,879
Photo of jtierney89
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Semi hazed deep amber glow with a big fluffy tan tinged head. Rich malty and breadiness on the nose. Faint nuttiness with some chocolate. Light mouthfeel. Brisk effervescence.

Rich nutty and bready flavor with subtle dark fruit. English hop presence to balance. Refreshing and good flavors but a little thin. For being a smaller beer though it has some mild tannic qualities which is nice. Good but not for me.

 412 characters

Photo of SerialTicker
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Holy hell does this look great. It has a hazy, dark brown appearance, with a nice little head, and lacing from start to finish. A very nice looking beer.

Bell's Best Brown is an awesome beer all-around. This being my first Brown Ale, I didn't know what to expect. I feel like this tastes a good bit like a porter, but it doesn't rely quite as heavily on the coffee/chocolate notes. It's just a big, malty beer. I actually really enjoyed this beer. Not surprising... Bell's knows what they're doing.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #238
Served On: 11/23/2012
Glassware: Tumbler Pint
Labeled ABV: 5.8%
Date/ Code: 09/24/12

This was from a case I found at Self Serve Beverage in York.

Look: A muddy brown brew with a small 1-finger beige head. Some serious sediment coated the bottom of the bottle. I swirled the bottle and poured it all in. Some faint lacing was noticeable along the top of the glass, but not much formed after that.

Smell: Spicy brown sugar with roasted malts and some nutty chocolate notes.

Taste: First up was the earthy spice and caramelized brow sugar. Some chocolate hit around the middle. The finish was roasty with some bitterness that set in. The aftertaste was more of the roastiness.

This was a solid Brown Ale. Very flavorful but still sessionable. This beer would pair extremely well with your typical holiday fare like ham or turkey.

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Photo of Amalak
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. A beautiful dark brown, caramel color. It has a big tan head foamy. It leaves a ton of lacing. It has tons of small bubbles that stick to the bottom and slowly work their way up the glass.

S. Very strong nutty scent with a weedy undertone.

T. It has a very lovely sweet toffee-ish taste. A woody bite to it. There is a bit of a burnt aftertaste. Some malty flavoring.

M. Has strong carbonated tingle.

O. Really flavorful. I tend to find brown ales too dull and boring, but this has a real nice flavor to it..

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Photo of Mavigo
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Referred to as Bell's Best Brown Ale, was a pain in the ass to look up because of the "ale" part. Wasn't coming up in the search bar. Served in a chalice.

A: Pours a hazy medium brown- orange color, with almost no head except for an off-white ring around the glass with small amounts of lacing.

S: Smells sweet, grains, smoky malts

T: Tastes sweet, a bit like chocolate, good malt character, wheat-like, grains, malts, hint of hops at the finish

M: Medium in terms of carbonation, it's a fairly smooth beer, with good flavor and decent texture.

O: Overall, it might not be the "best" brown ale that is out there, but it's pretty darn good. Buy it and try it.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear ruby brown, one finger off-white head

S-Roasted malt, spice, nutmeg and grass.

T-Roasted malt, nuts caramel, some chocolate with slight bitterness rounding out.

M-Medium bodied, slight carbonation, could be a tad on the watery side.

O-A decent brown ale, could have used a better hop presence. Balance was good though.

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Photo of UnderPressure
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A medium brown colored beer. Particles suspended throughout. Otherwise, relatively clear. Nice, rocky white head. Great lacing.

Chocolate and roasted grains in the aroma. An overall sweetness in the nose.

Fantastic flavor. More complex than I anticipated. The malt brings a sweet, chocolatey, roasted flavor. The hops provide a little bitterness, but this beer is very much on the sweet side. Yeast is clean.

A silky, velvety smooth mouthfeel. Medium bodied with a crisp, dry finish. The bitterness lingers, the sweetness does not.

Great beer. Definitely buy some if you have the opportunity.

 596 characters

Photo of Kenye
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Date on bottle 9/24/12.

Appearance - Pours a nice reddish-brown color with a little light tan head that quickly settles to a persistent film. Average lacing. 3.5/5

Smell - Nothing strikes me about this. It just smells like an average brown beer. 3/5

Taste - Nothing strikes me here either. Honestly it tastes more like an Amber than a brown. I hardly taste any of the sweet roasted malts I was hoping for. There is also no nutty character. Nothing offensive. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel - It's very easy to drink. You could pound several of these if you weren't paying attention. Again, nothing special, but nothing offensive. 3.5/5

Overall - Nothing about this beer really stands out. It's just an average beer. I don't see any need to seek it out, but if you see it around and want to try something different you won't be disappointed. I personally want more sweetness or nuttiness out of a brown ale. 3.5/5

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

Clear orange-brown, nice head with good retention and lacing.

Malty nutty smell.

Toasted malts, roastiness, nuts, molasses, and a grassy hop finish. Well balanced.

Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

A very good example of the style - nice balance and highly drinkable.

 271 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nothing too dark or sinister for Halloween night, just a nice brown ale. Here’s hoping it’s really the “best.”

Brewed six weeks before the date of this tasting (“PKGD 09/11/12”).

A: Dark red-brown body with a thin beige cream; intricate lacing is a nice touch, but the low retention makes it look pretty light on the head density.

S: Gummy molasses and caramel complexity, all the best of a brown ale and more. Oak and vanilla, butterscotch and cream; lots of chocolaty sweets and earthy, English malts. As the malts subside, a syrupy toffee and raspberry undertone rises – even more sweetness to be found, I guess.

T: A sweet English ale, with a brown, chocolaty malt backbone and spicy vanilla accents. Good smoke quality to it, as well, playing off a rindy, herbal hop element in a natural bitterness. Flavors of caramel and wood fill out the remainder of the palate, with that raspberry underpinning from the nose coming up here and there. Aftertaste is dry and slickly fruity, a little cough syrup-like with its lingering cherry effect.

M: As smooth as you’d expect from the tap, but with the astringency of any true British brown. Moderate body with a very, very drinkable nature.

O: There’s something about this beer that just satisfies my palate: everything from a sweet tooth to a need for complexity. Full flavor, drinkability, and memorable character. It reminds me of an oatmeal raisin cookie – there’s just something so sweet and savory about it.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a medium brown color with a nice translucency and a fine-bubbled, light-tan head that leaves minimal lacing on the way down. The aroma is wonderful, hits heavy on the chocolates and roasted coffee beans. The taste begins with a warm, malty and bready flavor that quickly turned into a swirl of bittersweet dark chocolate and nuts. Slight coffee beans and maybe even hazelnut in the far background (maybe I'm imagining things, here). I'm also picking up a slight milky flavor, perhaps from the texture. Very nice. Caramel and toffee finish the beer strong with an ever-so-slight but necessary hint at bitterness along the final seconds just before the sip is completely swallowed. Medium body, creamy with lots of carbonation.

Very, very solid brown ale. Perfect for the days transitioning from the fall to the winter. This beer tastes like the holidays.

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Photo of DonDirkA
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly translucent brown/amber with a dark brown head that fades to about one fingers and settles out to almost nothing. Nose is caramel, brown sugar, molasses, burnt sugar and there also seems to be just a hint of piney hops. The taste isn't nearly as malty and heavy as the nose. There are caramel flavors that are immediately overpowered by piney, slightly citrusy hops. Then it fades into a slightly bitter molasses flavor. It fades out with the hops still sitting on the tongue and some slight hints of brown sugar. The mouthfeel is medium with kind of a heavy feel behind it. The carbonation is perfect for this type of brew. I'm usually not too big on a lot of Bell's day-to-day brews except for Two Hearted but this one is actually pretty delicious.

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Photo of Mojo
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This offering from Bells pours up a ruby red/brown with about a two finger head and minimal lacing. Nose is primarily pine and floral accents. Mouthfeel is pleasing, but not much carbonation. Taste is fairly mild with some malt and coffee flavors, but not much in the way of hops. This is a good beer as you'd expect from Bells, but honestly it is fairly indistinctive. I prefer Samuel Smith's ESB to this.

 406 characters

Photo of philbe311
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A -Slightly more than a finger's worth of lush creamy textured medium khaki colored head comprised of big chunky bubbles... Excellent retention... The color is a medium brown that has a very inviting glow to it... A slight bit of very small bubbled carbonation that rises at varying paces throughout... Excellent appearance...

S - The nuttiness can be detected without even bring the glass close to one's nose... Some light brown sugar notes... Dark bread and bread crust... Very light hints of caramel and toffee... Perhaps even some slight chocolate notes... Very appealing and spot on for the style, but perhaps a bit understated...

T - Nutty to start and nutty throughout... Light brown sugar... Light caramel... Light chocolate... Lots of depth and complexity... Subtlety is the name of the game here... There is a very light roasted malt component that takes prominence once the light sweetness subsides... A slight hop noble hop character emerges on the finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Smooth... Creamy... Rich... Goes down very easily sip after sip... Limited carbonation... I can't say enough good things about the mouthfeel...

D - An outstanding world class English Brown ale... This is something that I'll make sure I invest in each fall when it is released... No weaknesses... Very good in all facets and off the charts in terms of mouthfeel... Highly recommended...

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a frothy beige head. Lots of bubble action at first before it settles out. Lacing coats the glass.

Aroma is musty and malty with an abundance of toasted grain, almost a floral hop presence.

More toasted biscuits, grains, malt forward all the way. Sturdy bitterness in the aftertaste.

Pretty light in body, moderate in alcohol, good session brew.

Solid brown ale overall

 395 characters

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at fridge-cellar temperature.

L – Amber-brown color with a 1-finger bubbly tan head. Pretty nice retention and some lacing. Clear with a nice amount of carbonation bubbles. A little light for a brown ale.

S – Toasted and nutty malts, caramel, some cocoa, and a hint of floral hops.

T – Sweet nearly all the way through with caramel, cocoa, and brown sugar flavors. Toasted and nutty malt picks up mid-taste, and a nice dose of bitter floral hops shows up at the finish. Still malt-forward like a good brown ale, but the spicy hop bitterness is a nice complement.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and chewy mouthfeel, and a spicy, bitter, and dry finish. Floral hop bitterness and spice lingers nicely along with some sweet caramel notes.

O – This is a really nice brown ale. I think the additions of cocoa, caramel, and complementary hops give this beer some nice nuances that not many brown ales have. All the usual toasted and nutty malt flavors are there, plus more. Bell’s doesn’t disappoint.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance: Handsome clear copper. Not a dark brown. Nick off white creamy head.
smell: Attractive but too subdued. As Bell's describes, it does have hints or caramel and cocoa...but barely.
taste: Again, quite subdued. Not bad by any means but not much happening.
overall: I liked this. Don't want to overstate, but it's a little too meh...good but better Brown's out there for sure.

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Photo of TheSeeker61
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The appearance was an inch of head and a dark brown in color. The smell is dark fruits with malts. Nice nose. The taste is an expresso/coffee tongue. The mouthfeel is medium. This is a decent brown. If I was a coffee drinker this offering would be even more attractive to me but since I'm not this is one that I could have again but will not go out of the way to have.

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Photo of lewzer99
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Brown and translucent, with a touch of ruby when light hits it. One finger head that lasts a few minutes and leave no lacing.
S- The nose has a lot of sugary malts, with a bit of chocolate,and some floral hops.
T- Chocolatey roasted malts at first that give way to a butterscotch like sweetness.
M- Rich and heavy feeling. Can't wait for the weather to cool down so I can enjoy this one in a sweater.
O- Bells always makes some of my favorites, and this brown ale is another good beer from them. Definitely one of the best for the money.

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Photo of clemtiger8202
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to Nonick pint. Solid two finger foam with good lacing. Color reminds me of sweet tea but I poured the whole bottle, cold, so it clouded up a bit. Notes of caramel, maybe toast, and just a very slight bit of hops. Taste is sweet and caramelly. Body is OK, nothing great or bad here, but it does finish smooth. Beer improved significantly as it warmed up

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nicely mild, British-style nut brown ale.

Pours a bright chestnut colour with minimal head and little residual lacing. Sweet aroma of caramelized malts with chocolate and hazelnut undertones. The taste is well balanced, with roasted and caramelized malts and a distinct nuttiness followed by a pleasantly bitter finish.

A clean and refreshing beer that is decidely more-ish.

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Photo of Duff27
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Half inch tan head on a dark brown/red body. Seems to be a lot of sediment floating around. Above average lacing for the style with a cap and collar on the surface.

S- Toffee notes as well as some chocolates and caramels.

T- Follows the nose but with more pronounced cocoa/caramel combination. Very malty, subdued hops. Goes down easy, would guess at an even lower ABV then what is stated.

M- Smooth, medium mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation that comes in at the end of each sip.

D/O- Thirst quenching for sure. Just a nice, sessionable malty brown ale. It's nice to have the ABV kept in check once in awhile. Recommended for brown fans.

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Photo of srv33
2.79/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber pour, light medium-fine frothy head. Little smell, a little bread a little nutty. Tastes much the same, very much a generally pleasing ale. I could see how this would be a crowd pleaser. No notable overarching notes on first taste that aren't uncommon for an ale. Great aftertaste though, a little vanilla and oddly a little melon, very smooth.

 355 characters

Photo of charlzm
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed April 30th, 2012.

Pours a medium caramel with orange and amber highlights. Sticky one-finger tan head.

Aroma is nuts and toffee and slightly metallic.

Substantial hop bite right up front. Bitter and resiny. Strong toffee and caramel follows. Roasted and slightly sweet in the middle and then bitter again at the end.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly chewy.

Flavor-packed. Forget Newcastle; my notes say, "This is the shit."

 437 characters

Photo of Luigi
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a lighter brown, with a lot of amber highlights. Has an off white head that starts off about two fingers, then settles down to thin blanket on top of the ale. There is some sticky lacing around the glass and the head retains throughout the life of the beer.

The aroma is notes of toasted malt, toffee, and chocolate.

The first flavor to hit the palate would be the strong toasted malt, followed with some hints of chocolate. The hops are mildly bitter but are just enough to linger of the tongue, paired with the toasted malt.

Medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

Overall, Bell's Brown ale is a switch up from the average English Brown Ale. The carbonation is what threw me off. I guess I am used to the traditional lightly carbonated almost chewy in body brown ales. But, never the less Bell's brown ale is a tasty dark brew.

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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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