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

BA SCORE
86
very good
884 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

Style: American 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:
884
Ratings:
2,998
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
104
Gots:
470
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 884 | Ratings: 2,998
Photo of zulufactor
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice warm brown color with a half inch white ish head

S- Light smell of hops and nutty malts

T- Malty with a bit of hops and a little sweetness. very well balanced with a nice earthy taste that lingers

M- good carbonation, again feels balanced

D- This is a beer i would pick up again would appeal to many pallets. similar to the Boston logger but with more flavor and complexity.

Due to the balance this beer offers I could be paired with just about any food or meal.

 477 characters

Photo of xnicknj
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at royal tavern in philly

Pours a semi-clear chestnut brown color with a light layer of tanned head on top. Dissolves almost completely, leaving a few spots of lacing on the glass.

Plenty of toasted nuttiness and bread crust in the nose. Caramel and lighter sweetness with some leafy hop notes.

Malty and nutty up front with light sweetness. Toasted notes of chestnut and some faint oily hops. Malt backbone is fairly thick with some bread crust and caramel. Finishes slightly dry and sweet.

Medium body, decent carbonation, slightly chewy and dry on the tongue. A drinkable, smooth brown ale with a nice nutty flavor.

 632 characters

Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A: Two finger head at pour, which recedes to a thin patchy barely there layer. A decent amount of lacing. Light caramel coloring. Appears to have medium to medium/high carbonation.

S: Extremely delicate, almost non-existent. Nose hints at a distant fruitiness.

T: Taste is somewhat underwhelming, but in sort of an interesting way--sweet citrus burst on palette at first, but then quickly subsides leaving a sour grape-accented middle (similar to a dry white wine), ending in a bland drop-off. The subtle sourness of the beer is quite intriguing, and doesn't detract but rather adds to its overall quality.

M: Thin, fluid. Well-balanced, similar to other English browns. Mildly bubbly.

D: Certainly a session contender. I could drink a few of these back to back during a brisk autumn day.

 838 characters

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

Poured this from a bottle into a snifter. It pours a light tan bubbly head that is quite thin but ends with a good lacing. When held to the light, it is a deep amber/brown appearance.

The nose is is sweet with hints of toffee and chocolate. There are also notes of caramel and malt.

The taste and mouthfeel were somewhat mild to me. Primary notes of caramel and nuts with the caramel lingering. There is a medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation. I was expecting a bit creamier feel.

Overall, this is a good brown ale. I do think there are several components that could have been better but as expected, Bell's produced another good beer and I will drink it again.

 685 characters

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.

 773 characters

Photo of clint1019
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Brown in color with a cream colored head.

S - Has a light caramel malt aroma along with a slight fruityness.

T - Caramel malt flavor with a hint, a ever slight hint of hop bitterness in the end.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O - Not a bad brown ale. It just doesn't have a lot going on, but I guess you could say that about most brown ales.

 371 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Hazy medium brown with lots of bubbles and a two-finger, off-white, foamy head that lasted a few minutes. Okay lacing.

S: Sweet malt. Alcohol.

T: Light malt sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Roasted caramel malt flavor. Kind of nutty. Bitter finish.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Relatively smooth. Dry.

O: Looks good. Smells kind of weird, but not bad. I was hoping for a nutty more roasted flavor. Not bad overall.

 466 characters

Photo of thecheapies
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium brown colored body with an inch of head.

Bready toasted caramel aroma. Bit of biscuity pale malt blending in. Ok.

Pretty standard flavor profile with a slight emphasis on a less nutty/more estery yeast. Some hints of apricot and some citrus happiness backing the toasted malts. Not bad.

Feels appropriate for the style. My only complaint is actually detecting the alcohol in this one.

Verdict: not my style of choice, although it was in the past. I'd say this one's decent, but not as good as, say, Dogfish Head Indian Brown.

 536 characters

Photo of BrewIndy
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: This had about a half inch of head after the poor but it went away almost immediately. It has a real muddy brownish red color to it. There was no lacing at all probably due to the head going away so fast.

T: This beer has a great taste. When I drink a brown ale this is exactly what I would expect it to taste like. You can definitely taste the malt in this one. Then it goes into a bit of fruitiness if only for a second finishing with a hoppy flavor. Very tasty.

M: I was a little disappointed by the way it feels in my mouth. Not bad exactly but really just average. If it felt a bit better than I'm sure my taste rating would be even higher.

D: I could drink a few of these.. and I just might ;)

 705 characters

Photo of JDV
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of ketchepillar. Thanks.
Pours a reddish brown color with a small beig head. Smell is very nutty, toasty and has a great fresh maltiness about it. Taste is nutty, drying and malty with a light hopp bitterness and an almost nutty chocolately taste. Good body to it, and a really nice brown ale!

 310 characters

Photo of tmm313
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown with almost no head and practically no lacing. It was bottled 2 months ago. Looks like a coke in the glass.
S- Caramel, chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits. Given a good swirl, a grassy, citrus aroma pops out.
T- Light flavors. Follows the nose almost exactly. As it warms, some nice citrus hops come out in the finish.
M- Medium, light body with a pretty good drying effect.
O- This was pretty good. I loved it when I first started tasting beers, but now that I'm trying it again, it is just a little too light for my tastes. I would certainly drink it if offered, but I probably won't be buying again.

 623 characters

Photo of Neehan
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very malty beer that has an interesting character that is more like a marzen or a winter warmer than a brown ale. Dry finish and light mouthfeel with just enough carbonation to give a slight bite at the end. Not great, but not bad. A bit disappointing coming from Bell's, but who can complain with their other fantastic releases?

 339 characters

Photo of roadhouse
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appears a dark reddish brown with a creamy one and a half inch thick off-white head. Leaves very nice sheets of lacing down the side of the glass.

Aroma is floral/spicy hops with a slight vague chocolate and caramel. Pretty weak generally.

Taste begins with a bit of toffee sweetness but it then get's chocolaty with a tinge of nuttiness. Pretty hoppy overall, in a spicy way.

Mouthfeel is medium-light, fairly high carbonation for the style, but good.

Well I ended up drinking five of these tonight, so I suppose it's pretty drinkable. Overall, it's really not that great - I made a homebrew that I tasted side by side and mine was similar but better. My friend agreed in a blind taste test. This stuff is good but I'd rather drink Goose Island Nut Brown, even though it's a totally different kind of brown (much sweeter).

 875 characters

Photo of Oxymoron
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a hoot. Best Brown (as if they had a worse?) pours a chestnut brown color with darker shades. A good frothy white head that remains for the whole sampling and leaving limited lacing.

The smell is malty with a every presence of Bell’s yeast strain. Some bready and lighter grainy malt notes. Accents of caramel and a splash of roasted on the side.

The taste is very rich and good malt backing. Now I see what they mean best. Some marris otter and roasted gives a robust taste. A nutty and caramel flavor up front. Finishes with some toasty and caramel flavors. Some earthy bitterness is noticeable but is second to the malt backing.

The body is mid to high. Good dextrin flavors. Carbonation is light but overall a good beer indeed.

 746 characters

Photo of r3o
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
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 psinderson
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse in a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice dark brown/ruby red color. Off-white head that lasts.

Smell: Caramel notes and malty sweetness.

Taste: Very malty sweet. Very little roasted flavor or hops flavor present.

Mouthfeel: Relatively thin, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable and goes down well.

 359 characters

Photo of Kromes
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy brown with a tan colored head. Noticed some white globs suspended in the beer.

S: Toasted caramel malts. That's about it.

T: More of the same. Some toasted caramel malt with a bit of fruitiness.

M: Medium body with some good carbonation.

O: Pretty good. No off-flavors, just a simple sweet toasted caramel malt flavor. No nuttiness to speak of, this one is more fruity and sweet.

 391 characters

Photo of gabedivision
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. for reals.

A- Brown ale = brown beer, thin white lace.

S- Hmmm, Nice buttery malts, caramel sweet with a touch of vanilla.

T- Tart and spicy on the tongue with a smooth chocolate and vanilla coffee been finish.

M- Feels like a smooth creamy beer in my mouth.

T- I can dig this, can you dig it?

 347 characters

Photo of joekfsu
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a deep amber with a 2 cm bubbly tan head that is slowly diminishing. Aroma of roasted malts and a hint of caramel. Initial flavor has malts with some caramel. Flavor closes with some nuttiness that is lasting. Some lacing, light carbonation, light on alcohol. Light to medium body. Drinkable and simple, good beer for non-craft beer drinkers.

 362 characters

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from the bottle into a nonic glass. Bottled on 10/4/11.

A- Poured a brownish orange color, two finger fluffy head

S- Lots of sweet roasty malts, caramel, and grains

T- Very sweet maltiness, some roasted malts, caramel, toffee, barley, rich flavor reminiscent of a milk stout without the big chocolate notes. Light tartness on the finish. Overall a very sweet brown ale.

M- Very creamy, silky, somewhere between medium and fuller bodied, more fuller bodied than most brown ales I've had

O- This brown ale has a great mouthfeel, very smooth and creamy. The taste of this beer was good at first, the sweetness of this beer became a bit much for me as got about half way through the beer. Very rich and sweet.

 717 characters

Photo of pburland23
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a dimpled mug.

Beer pours a light brown. Not as dark as a lot of brown ales. Two fingers of sandy colored head with some thin lacing.

Smell is fairly pedestrian. A muted aroma of sweet roasted malts. Not much else. Taste is mellow, sweet and malty. Nice tasting beer if you're looking for a malt fix.

Mouthfeel is a little thinner than your typical brown ale, but I liked the change up. Very nice drinkability at 5.8%.

Overall, a decent brown ale. I prefer my brown ales a little more robust, but still tasty.

 570 characters

Photo of GStone899
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

 176 characters

Photo of maxk
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 10/04/11 and poured into a tulip.

A rust brown colored, cloudy fluid with an off white/eggshell colored head. The head was two fingers and settled down to a thin coating and leaving nice lacing down the sides.

Dark fruits and coffee. There are a variety of malts evident in the nose.

Mostly dark fruit with bits of coffee bitterness and astringency. It's nice and creamy. The brew isn't so big bodied, but it's very rich.

 436 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 11/1/2009 (bottle coded 8899):

Pours a clear brown color body, with a big tan foamy head, very lasting. Malty nutty aroma, some toasted notes and earthiness, mustiness. Some sharpness too. Somewhat creamy, nutty taste. Very brown ale like, some earthiness and slight sweetness. Some sharpness from the hops, and finishes pretty smooth. Wow, a pretty good beer, nearly session-like.

 391 characters

Photo of brstls4drmrs
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a brown, amber color with a 1" head. The color is translucent and slightly cloudy.

S - Nutty and roasty malts with some brown sugar scents in there. Could be some fruit in there too but very little. A nice roasty aroma.

T - More nuts on the front end with malts and yeast on the finish.

M - Medium carbonation that's very crisp.

O - Not bad.

 359 characters

Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,998 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe