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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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Reviews: 877 | Ratings: 2,952
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Riley's. It's nice to see some fall seasonals come in stock

Pours a mahogany/amber with a one-finger tan head and decent lacing. Smell is nice and sweetly malty, caramely and nutty. Taste starts off with the strong caramel malts, some brown sugar, cinnamon, and an alcoholic bite at the end that made me think this was stronger than it is (though at 5.75 it's still stronger than most english browns). Mouthfeel is smooth and light-bodied but not watery. Overall this was a tasty little brown. Probably the most flavorful "English Brown" that I've had, even though this is an American rendition. Reminded me fondly of New Glarus' Fat Squirrel and Big Sky Moose Drool.

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Reddish brown; beautiful dark amber/red color. Two fingers of tan head fall quickly to a thin collar. No lacing.

S - Big chocolate aroma upfront with a nice butterscotch core. Lots of caramel and toffee, especially for a "smaller" beer. Nice fruity sourness hiding on the back end.

T - Immediate butterscotch. Spans caramel, toffee, brown sugar, buttered popcorn, molasses, and even maple syrup. Great synergy of flavor upfront. Mid palate the brew dries a little bit with hints of a bitter bread and a smidge of the sour-ish overripe dark fruit from the nose. Late palate yeilds an earthy and slightly spicy (almost onion-y) finish. Very nice compliment to the big malt sweetness.

M - Smooth, viscous medium body with a soft-moderate carbonation. Extremely smooth.

D - Another quality offering from Bell's. Excellent balance of buttery/caramely sweetness and a touch of spiciness to dry things out. A good interpretation on a sometimes underwhelming style.

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

A rough pour brings up a full creamy light tan head but rouses the yeast sediment leaving it fairly hazy. The head then holds exceptionally well and leaves some nice lace. The body is an appropriate russett brown. A rich but soft aroma welcomes you with softly sweet cocoa. The medium body is accentuated by a very fine and moderate carbonation from bottle conditioning. At first it caresses the tongue, but soon becomes more creamy as it warms. The flavor starts softly chocolatey with an underlying fruitiness from the yeast and a lightly spicy and grassy hoppiness. It's sweetish, but well balanced by a firm bitterness that becomes quite apparent in the lingering dry finish (it is, after all, a Bell's beer)! The residual chocolatey malt combines with the bitterness and takes on a coffee-like character. Very nice! It's quite charming, well brewed, balanced and enjoyable. Well worth trying.

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

Good brew all around.

Pours a brown body with an offwhite head and moderate lacing. Nose and aroma are mostly sweet malt, toffee/caramel with a mild hop bitterness on the back end. Not quite as bitter as you might expect from an English Brown. Overall fairly balanced and easy drinking. Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Very drinkable - I drank this down almost too fast...probably didn't allow myself to get enough impression of the beer as I should have. Regardless, very enjoyable brew.

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

Dark, slightly cloudy amber hue, thick clumpy tannish head, retains and sticks in patterns. A very clean nose, some caramel and malts notes. Up front, a great mixture in tastes of nutty, caramel and syrup/sticky molasses. Medium bodied, very creamy, and slick at the same time. Biscuitty, toasty, perhaps some deep roasted malts tucked away. Rather mild and tame, nothing jumps at ya', decent mouthfeel, overall a pretty solid brown, a good go-to-brew.

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

Appearance: Has a deep brown body with a touch of garnet under a small, light tan head. It's cloudy as hell, due to the fact that all of Bell's beers are unfiltered. This is a bit different from the norm for brown ales, which are usually clear, but so what...

Smell: The strongest aroma to me is spicyness. Not hot or anything like that, more like a Belgian-like spiciness. Does that make sense? There's a bit of roasted malt in there as well. Very little hop aroma to be found.

Taste: The first thing that hits me, again, is the spicyness. Checking out their website, I find that they use all Belgian malt to make this one. That explains it. There's a touch of malt sweetness, but I don't pick up on it near as much as some other reviewers here...maybe they 'want to' detect it 'cause it's usually there in other examples of the style. There's a nice balance of flavor here. It finishes with a little hop twang.

Mouthfeel: Quite full for a brown ale. Thicker in body than all of the other standard browns I enjoy. Nice...

Drinkability: High for the style. While some might like a more restrained flavor profile for a session-style beer, I like my brews to have a more assertive personality. I could drink this all night.

All in all, a very solid brown ale. One that bucks tradition a bit and gives a bit more to the drinker's tastebuds. A good beer from one of my favorite brewerys.

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Photo of screamking
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Pours a nice even brown, with a 1 1/2 finger khaki head that sits awhile. Lacing is everywhere as you drink. Lots of roasted caramel up front in the aroma. Some toffee and hints of chocolate are also present. Very sweet nose to this. The taste is also very roasted in nature. The caramel and toffee stick out the most. The feel is light and easy to drink. Maybe a tad to thin but still not bad. This is a great brown ale, one that may be the perfect for the fall.

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Photo of AmberMan22
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this up at a buddy's cabin recently.

Pours a slightly reddish light brown, creamy head that leaves plenty of lace down the glass.

The smell is slightly nutty (only slightly), then rich, roasted deep malt aromas come forward. The smell almost has a bite to it at the end -- possibly the alcohol.

Taste is very solid. Malty with some decent hoppy undertones that help maintain flavor balance.

carbonation bubbles are a little big for my tastes, they sting the tongue too much, which seems to conflict somewhat with the overall concept of the beer.

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

I picked up a six pack of Bell's Best Brown a couple weeks ago at Krogers for $8.99. I have had this beer many times over the years, but for some reason I haven't got around to reviewing, so it's time to sit down and see how this beer drinks. It is pretty fresh with a bottled on date of September 28th 2011 batch number 10721. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- The label on this beer looks pretty cool, I like the lone owl sitting on fence post with a nice scenic winter background, it gives this beer a late fall/winter vibe. It poured a slightly hazy amberish brown color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some nice lacing.

S- The aroma starts off with some medium sweet malts that impart some toffee and caramel aromas along with some nuttiness. There are also some brown bread, brown sugar, and fruity yeast aroma. I don't really pick up any hops in the aroma.

T- The taste is pretty similar to the aroma. The first thing I pick up are the malts that impart some nice toffee and caramel flavors, there is also a slight bit of dried dark fruits, and a nice noticeable amount of nuttiness that had a walnut like flavor to it. Just as in the aroma the hops aren't noticeable and the finish is smooth with no bitterness and a slightly nutty aftertaste.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, on the light side of being medium bodied, and it had a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel fits this beer well.

Overall I thought this this was a pretty damn good English Brown Ale. I haven't had a lot of this style but so far this beer seems to be the closest example I have had to a true English Brown Ale. The flavors were nice and malty and had a really nice nutty complexity that really made this beer stick out from the other English Brown Ales I have tried. It went down really smooth and combined with having no bitterness at all makes this beer have some great drinkability, I would have no problem drinking three or four of these in a night. What I liked most about this beer was the flavor, it just seemed spot on for an English Brown ale and the extra nuttiness was a very nice added touch. What I liked least about this beer was the color, it wasn't bad, but I would have liked it a little browner, not a big deal though. I buy this beer every fall and will continue to do so since I find that this beer really hits the spot on late fall/ early winter evenings, and it is the best local English Brown Ale I have had. If English Brown Ales are your thing, this is a must try, it does a great job at representing what an English Brown Ale is all about, or so I think. So far this is the best English Brown Ale I have had so far, everything was pretty spot on and the extra nuttiness put this beer over the top. Bell's did a great job with this beer, they do a great job of brewing a style the way it is intended to be, they are a jack of all trades and that is why they are one my favorite brewery's.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer from the variety pack. In my opinion the best one!

A - Orange brown in color.

S - Smells of walnuts or pecans

T - Really smooth for the ABV. Nutty and malty goodness. Almost rivals Samuel Smith in taste but this one has more backbone.

M - Sort of thin but highly drinkable.

D - Would pick up a sixer but only the amber is available for an immediate purchase (boo!)

Overall the best the variety had to offer so please give it a try!

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Photo of BB1313
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I've always thought highly of this beer. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a deep hazy brown with ruby hues, nice foamy head and decent lacing. Smells great, just what I look for in a brown ale. Lots of caramel and chocolate, toffee in the backgrand, slight vanilla flavor. The flavors are harmonious, bold, and it gets better the more you drink it. This beer is so smooth, creamy, crisp and refreshing. The mouthfeel is just about perfect for the style, which makes for great drinkability. It's a real easy beer to drink.

Bell's appropriately named this beer, excellent example of a brown ale. Highly recommended!

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - good head and a dark auburn color with good lacing.
Smell - malty toasty spicey sweet smell
Taste - sweet toasty carmel molaces malt taste but with a slight hop in the back
Feel - medium body and carbonation
Overall - this is a great go to brown ale that can easily get possible brown ale fans start drinking brown ales. Great balanced beer!

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

pours a light brown colour, with a 1/2" of tan foam on top. the head fades quickly to a ring around the glass.

aroma is malty and nice. smells like multigrain bread. slightly fruity.

taste is much like the aroma. slightly bready/biscuit character. just a hint of alcohol presence is notable. slight bitterness, but nothing major.

body is good, not to heavy, not to light. very drinkable.

overall very tasty and an easy drinker.

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

I've had most of Bell's brews and this is probably my favorite, hell this one is in my top 3 or 4 overall just based on balance of drinkability and taste! This is one great session brew! Nothing too overly fancy, but certainly not bland or boring by any means! This is how brown ale is supposed to be done! This reminds me a great deal of Newcastle Brown in it's subtlety but with just a tad more fullness and a bit more American brashness.

Pours out a nice rich brown with amber tones when held to the light with a decent sized white head that retains through the whole glass. Lots of hoppy goodness to go around with some fruity and fig overtones ending with a nice alcohol kick at the end. Carbonation is just right, overall a very drinkable beer for those who like the subtle style that is English Brown Ale.

This is one I keep in my fridge for year round drinking. A great "go-to" beer.

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

Pours a slightly murky brown. Nice head settles slowly to thin rocky cap of foam that sticks it out through the whole glass.

Nose is toasty/chocolately/grainy. Little hop presence. The palate is slightly biased toward malty sweetness, and the chocolate is prevalent on the palate. Nice complexity to the grain. Again, hops not a major player.

The finish is long with a minerally component which keeps the malty palate from becoming too much, and really helps this beer have a very good drinkability. A very nice example of a style that is simply not one of my favorites. This bottle was purchased at the Brewery on the day of review.

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Photo of dciskey
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with an amber twinge, maybe one finger of off-white or tan head but it's extremely persistent, which I like. Only a little bit of lacing.

Smells of caramel and also slightly like coffee--there's definitely a slightly "dry" scent in there, if that makes sense. A swirl stirs up some chocolate as well--kinda nice. Taste is caramel and coffee but also slightly sweet, especially as it warms. There are also touches of nuts and chocolate, as well as a twinge of hops at the end. I'm almost surprised at the complexity in there. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth.

This beer is slightly drying to the mouth, so I'm not sure I'd want more than one or two, but they'd definitely be enjoyable.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

apperance: on first pour shows a deep amber color
with a slight haze about it. Above
avg carbonation with a nice foam head
that lingers around the glass until
the bitter end.

Aroma: nice hardy malt aroma with some
roasted malts and toffee coming

Taste: malts and roasted malts with some
bitterness at end

Mouthfeel: slightly heavy mouthfeel coarse on

drinkability: pleasent tasting, good looking beer
a good beer to drink aver a long
session. This beer also works well
in cooking and barbeque sauces.

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

Pours a hazy red/brown, thick tan head, settles to a ring, nice lacing and great retention, head really sticks. Smell is sweet, toffee, grains, roasty chocolate, very rich flavour, little bit of floral. Taste is toffee and chocolate, grainy, some floral and citrus in the finish, nice roasted dry finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation, very smooth and enjoyable. A nice brown ale. Thanks biegaman!

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Photo of thistle3189
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very solid brown ale. This is exactly what I think of with this style. Well balanced slight nutty but not much. There is plenty of maltyness and just a little hoppyness, very drinkable.

A: brown, in color good slightly creamy head ok lacing
S: the malt starts right up front.
T: Very solid brown
M: plenty of body
D: I could drink a few of these.

Another great beer form Bell's

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Best Brown pours out, wait for it, brown! A nice mid brown. Tough to tell, but it appears it is mildly cloudy. Nice tan fluffy head holds up well. Nice dusty chocolate scent with a touch of caramel. A hint of American hops, but I can't pick out which, but they give a nice citrus contrast.

The taste is nice and rich. Chocolate and caramel come together as in the scent. Finishes with a citrus hop flavor. Nice lingering flavor. Heavier side of medium bodied. Comes across as very full flavored. Overall a great American take on a brown ale. A little more hops than most.

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

Color is a brown with a maroon tint and pours out a medium foam head thats biege in color. Nice roasty aroma with caramel tones in the back of my nose, very nice. Taste of caramel balanced well with roasted barley and gives a sweet malty flavor. Finish is a fresh hop note and kind of earthy with a dark nut sense. Reminded me of a nut brown just a hint darker. Good feel of tangy bite and medium body, not heavy. Drinking it warm apposed to cold favors this Best Brown. This brown would make for for a good chilly evening capper.

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

Poured a deep mahogany with plenty of visible yeast. Smells malty but subdued and not overpowering. The taste agrees with the scent, nice nutty and sweet malt without being too much. The mouthfeel is slightly chewy and drinkability is fantastic. A great brown ale, and the best I've had yet.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark brown color with some orange hues when held to light. A nice light tan, two finger head that lasts for a while and leaves decent lacing.

Aroma is somewhat nutty with some cocoa, toffee and caramel and a faint hoppiness in there as well.

Taste is sweet and toasty. Some caramel and nuts dominate the flavor along with a bitterness in the finish. Pretty decent balance here.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, not very heavy on the carbonation.

Definitely a very drinkable beer. Would make for a great session. Glad I went out of my way to get this beer, it is pretty solid.

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Photo of rodlavers
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 09/04/13, poured into my brand new Bell's snifter.

Strong appearance, opaque rusted brown/red, very light tan head, about an inch, recedes to a nice thin layer that fades in and out along the surface, and forms a thickish ring around the edge.

Aroma is a little flat, but still notes of brown sugar and spice mix with mild hops. Nutty, mildly filled with wood, roasty.

Taste is similar but sweeter; brown sugar, malt, some caramel. taste is better than smell.

Mouthfeel is dry and crisp. Above average carbonation. Refreshing for a fall beer.

Overall fond of this as a fall beer; well-balanced bitterness and sweet flavors. I will go back to this. Cheers.

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Photo of KomodoDragon
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Somewhere between an amber and a brown ale. Huge toffee head which immediately subsided, impressive lacing.

S - Not much to smell here. Some sugar, some toasted malts.

T - Has some sweetness of a brown, as well as caramel tones. Also some roasted malts and flavors of almonds and cocoa.

M - Exceptionally smooth and very drinkable.

Seems more like a American brown. Perhaps not "best", but definately unique and at minimum very very good.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,952 ratings.
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