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

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863 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:
863
Ratings:
2,911
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
20.31%
 
 
Wants:
104
Gots:
436
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 863 | Ratings: 2,911
Photo of umustdrink
2.71/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

found in the back of the fridge (should have left it there?)

A - Deep brown color. Very light brown head, big and fluffy to start, recedes to a thick film. Little lacing.

S - Mild smells of brown sugar, cereal malts with minimal bitterness.

T - Very mild tastes as well: light and tangy malts with a tiny bit of sweetness.

M - Thin to medium consistency with probably too much carbonation considering it may be a bit too thin in consistency.

D - Completely un-stellar in most concerns. Not your typical Bell's. Oh well.

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

First, I need to say that I have been a big fan of several brown ales (from my all-time favorite Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale to the fairly common Newcastle Brown Ale), so this one comes under intense scrutiny. And Bell's beers have a history of not pleasing my palate. So the cards come stacked against this one. Nonetheless, this one comes up strong. There's a rich, deeply roasty feel to it, actually a bit heavier and more robust than other brown ales, but it's still smooth and nutty, as it should be. My favorite Bell's brew yet.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly fogged ruby hued brown that only gives a small creme head off a firm pour. Nose is very leafy and earthy. Flavor is very full. A lot more vibrant than I had figured it would be. Much more of a sugar-like sweet tone to it. Almost like there was brown sugar thrown in the mix. Feel has a full carbonation and the liquid is well bodied. This is easy to drink. A bit too sweet IMO, but still an enjoyable experience.

 429 characters

Photo of Finn
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
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!

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Photo of littleshamrocks
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness dating. Served in an imperial pint.

Pours a medium brown color with a creamy tan head. Has some noticeable carbonation and small particles floating around in this moderately dense looking brew. Head stayed around the whole time and left some streaky lace. The smell is very nice. Dark roasted bready malts, hints of chocolate and coffee, and some faint floral esters. The flavor is pretty much as advertised and is dominated by those dark roasted malts, hints of coffee and pepper, light amounts of spicy/grassy hop bitterness, and traces of semi-sweet dark chocolate in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a creamy texture and just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes very smooth.

This is an excellent example of a solid style. Rich and full of smell and flavor, this one goes great on those cold winter nights. One of the best brown ales that I have tried so far. Another winner from Bell's.

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

Batch 8212.

Appearance: Pours a clear brown body with a lush, though quickly thinning ivory-colored head.

Smell: Nutty, creamy caramel aroma with lighter notes of chocolate, wood, and dark fruits.

Taste: Dark crème caramel and toasted nuts with just the right level of sweetness. Faint fruitiness. Lightly hopped with a mild bitterness and a slight floral character. For all it's sweetness, the beer still manages to finish dry with a lingering toastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A charming, easy drinking brown from Bell's.

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Photo of malcontent
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Billowy two fingers worth of cream-colored head sit perched atop a typically Bell's cloudy mahogany body.

Lots of grain husk with understated malt sweetness and a little bit of soap?!?

Rich, nutty malt flavor with excellently controlled supporting hop bitterness. Finish is long and creamy with an emphasis on nuttiness (pecans).

Mouthfeel displays appropriate thickness yet the finish is slightly waxy/soapy again. A weird brown which displays a well above average flavor delivered with amateurish flair.

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

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a pint. Didn't check the batch but it's from this recent release(late 2007).

A: Pours a deep bronze with some ruby tinting in the light. 1 1/2 fingers of light tan fluffy head. Very good retention and some patchy lacing.

S: Toasted malts and sweet caramel. a slight crisp hop character but very subtle. Smell is pretty subtle, overall.

T/M: Medium body, average carbonation and a creamy finish. Toasted malts aren't as strong as in the nose but a slightly less sweet caramel is much stronger and enjoyable. Some dark fruit, like undersweetened plums.

D: Good brew and very drinkable. An easy choice for a session beer.

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Photo of bort11
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Light tan head stands about a 1/4 inch. It leaves an interesting globular designs of lacing. Color is a rich chestnut brown, miniscule particles can been seen floating around.

Smell is a toasty malt with a nutty finish. Taste has a mild coffee/toffee bittersweet, rich nut flavors. A bit woody and aromatic.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and creamy. Nicely sessionable. Warm and toasty, perfect for cold weather.

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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 baos
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Von den Anmerkungen

12 oz bottle into antique green Mason jar.

A: Four finger tan head. Nice looking dark amber with nice clarity. really nice head retention and good lacing as well.

S: Malts with a bit o hops. Raw what and corn mash and a hint of fresh caramel.

T: A bit o hop bite, malts, and the slightest caramel hints.

M: Nice light to medium body.

D: Very good. Yay.

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

12 oz bottle with a wise owl shown in the forefront of a wintery scene.
The beer poured an opaque, brown with deep copper hightlights. The quickly disippating, tan head with some lacing on the glass.

This ale has a slightly spicy, almost wine-like aroma. Indeed, the strong odor leads you to believe this will be a full bodied interpretation of an English brown ale.

The taste is actually surprising mellow given the rather intense smell. The initial taste is slightly sweet (never cloying) with a slight acidic aftertaste. The flavors become more balanced as the ale warms.

While brown ales are not my favorite style of ale, I am certainly pleased to try another good seasonal from Bell'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 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 timbro81
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Durable head thats diminishes but doesn't totally leave. Good "tick" marks down the glass as it is enjoyed, always a good sign. The nose is hard to decifer, sweet and slightly nutty. Taste initially leans toward the hoppy side (not overly so, just hoppy for the style). A nutty sweetness soon takes over. A good body to it.The aftertaste is tight and and short lived. Would really like to have a few of these in some hole-in-the-wall pub in England somewhere. Highly recommended if you are in search of a good brown ale.

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Photo of Upgrayedd
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I could drink this all night! Best Brown is my defination of what an American Brown Ale should be. It pours a nice brown color with a nice thin head that remained throughout the serving. It has a nice aroma of chocolate and spicy hops. The flavor matches the aroma. Aftertaste is so smooth. Makes a great session beer.

My only complaint is that I yearn for a bit more maltiness.

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Photo of TheBierBand
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle (Batch ID: 8165 - Packaged on 9/26/07) to produce a 1" beige head of pillowy foam. This disappearded to a thin cap after about 2 or 3 minutes leaving sparce lacing. The beer was a clear coppery brown.

Nose: Typical toasted malt.

Taste: A bit of a surpise.... Yes, there was the lightly toasted malt... although, I prefer a little more sweetness. But, there was a hop kick at the end that deviated from style.... kind of a citrusy/piney flavor.... not overwhelming.... but definately there.

Mouthfeel: Appropriate carbonation... a tad bit thin in body for my preference.

Drinkability: Solid English Brown Ale from Bell's... although not among my favorites for the style.

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Photo of DontCallMeSurly
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

Comes out a hazy brown and left a frothy head of about 1-1.5 inches. Quickly reduced to about 1/4 inch. Lacing was very thin.

Smell is of malts, very subtle though.

I enjoyed the taste immensely. Chocolate was very prominent, so was the roasted malts. Very nice on the tounge, not thin, not heavy. Mouthfeel was very consistent.

I could see myself drinking this beer quite often.

Another solid Bell's beer!

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Photo of dedrinker
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So much better than in the bottle! Lazy brown color with a head that was rich and creamy and lasted half way through. Aroma of mild juicy caramel malt and restrained nuts and roast. The flavor was slightly fruity with a nice caramel malt middle that finished with more nuts, fruit, and juicy malt. Well balanced - not too sweet, but not too dry either.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This sample was a draught tasted at RFD in Washington DC on October 31, 2007.

Appearance

It begins with thin, oatmeal colored head that settles into a cloudy brown. However, it does possess a rather consistent lacing that clings to the glass; it manages to hold on throughout the drinking process until a secondary swirl scatters it into patches causing the head to reconstitute.

Taste

There is an barely perceptible trace of molasses that I found underwhelming and pedestrian. Of course, since Bell’s is an excellent brewery, this might be a result of improper storage. (And RFD has had previous issues with soapy glassware.) To paraphrase Hi from the movie “Raising Arizona,” my palate was a rocky place on which the taste could not find purchase.

Body

I thought that this sample lacked structure and balance - once again, probably due to storage.

Nose

The nose was pretty much undetectable. All in all, a disappointing beer that probably would have tasted better under circumstances. [The following beer was a bottle of Bell’s Porter – and it was delicious!]

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Photo of BMoney575
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 10-26-07
Batch 8165
Bottled on 9-26-07

Pours a hazy orangey brown color with no real head and very thin lacing.

Smell is very clean, malty. Well-balanced and rather subdued.

Taste is good, bits of chocolate and apple cider. The sweetness is countered by a very nice amount of bitterness, which makes the flavor quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is good, a nice fizziness keeps things light.

Drinkability is very good, the sweetness is very well-managed.

Overall, a little boring at first, but it grows on you. Very sessionable and keeping around.

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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 SPLITGRIN
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strong pour brings a perfect tan head to the top of the glass and almost over the lip. Bodsy is a super dark brown. As the head fades you get crater sized lace spots. Nose has candy sweet notes with soft malt tones and a hint of fresh dough. A very dry mineral richness wakes up the mouth on first sip. Nutty burnt malt rounds out the initial palate. A bit thin on the finish. Does bring about a slight thickness on the mouthfeel after a few sips. Nicely drinkable overall.

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Photo of Enola
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 8156

A nice deep brown with a decent head. The smell is a molasses and caramel. The taste is caramel and there is a nice hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is smooth with a lasting aftertaste. Drinkability is good as this is a good beer of the style.

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Photo of blakesell
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the cask at boston's 09/18/07.

Appearance- Beer pours a somewhat clear brown dark amber which is kind of strange considering that it is cask conditioned. A 2 finger fluffy head as opposed to the tap of the same beer with a 4 finger head pour. There is slight lacing on the glass.

Smell- Hops upfront and what I can only call the signature cask scent. It seems that all real ales have a certain smell to them that can be picked out above beers in kegs or bottles. A slight maltiness but mostly the hops and cask scent.

Taste- Just like the smell, casks tend to have a taste to them as well. That creamy real ale flavor comes out first then a lingering light malt flavour. The hops are big in this beer and I sense that they have utilized quite a bit of dry-hopping in the cask.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied and creamy with very little to no carbonation. The beer is not sticky or cloying.

Drinkability- Very nice drinkability here. A bit overly hoppy for a brown ale, but I'll let that slide on the beer this time. I'm a fan of the hops used and it goes down smooth.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,911 ratings.
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