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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: 2,954
Photo of utopiajane
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of SmashAdams
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
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%
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.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
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 +2.9%
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 +7.8%
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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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, like walnut furniture color. Strong roast malt smell with some smokiness. Taste follows nose with a little earthiness - moderate level of bitterness for clean finish. Carbonation is lots of small bubbles that hit late. For all that roast malt it feels surprisingly light and sessionable. Overall, great alternative to Oktoberfest for later fall--I wish I'd skipped the pumpkin beer and stocked up on more of this instead.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.86/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: [4.00] Not surprisingly the beer is a pleasing brown color. It is not totally transparent. It forms about 1/2 a finger of off white head. The head does not stay around too long leaving traces along the edges and the surface. The bottle lists the ABV (5.8%) and the Julian date code equate to (09/23/15).

S: [3.00] The nose is a bit weak and undefined. I get hints of light molasses and some nuttiness like hazelnuts. I also get some toffee and caramel.

T: [2.50] Kind of an off metallic flavor upfront. Some toffee and nuttiness - but again is is very subdued like the nose. Some hop bitterness on the finish too.

M: [3.00] The beer is a little thin and watery. There is a strange astringent quality to it too.

O: [3.00] This beer is just a miss for me. The aroma and flavor are subdued - what I can pickup I don't really like that much. There are some weird off flavors. I wouldn't drink this again.

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Photo of jopezu
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark coppery brown with a medium head. nose; baker's chocolate, dark bread, light caramel and hops. taste; toasted malt, caramel, dark bread rind, bitter earthy hops, light toffee, cinnamon and roasted almond. aftertaste is light cola caramels and nut. strong carbonation lends a smooth, creamy medium+ mouthfeel. i'm not a brown ale fan, but this one gets my vote (i like the horned owl art on the bottle too)! i know it's a different style, but this beats bell's amber ale hands-down; an absolute contender to all of the typical fall season brews, novelties or not.

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Photo of mlockman
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Mild malt characteristics with a clean finish courtesy of the hops. Well balanced and while not anything so impressive as to hoard (as is the case with so many of bell's other offerings) this is a fine standard brown ale suitable for any autumns eve

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Photo of Suds
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Medium brown in color with a little haze and a small white head. The ready aroma has some maillard toast and caramel in it, with a touch of malt. The taste has moderate maltiness, semi dry, and a firm bitter finish.

 218 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my new favorite thing is brown ales that are carbonated well and have a yeast character to them, and this nails it on the head. one of the more basic styles from bells that i have had, but also one of their better executed, which i lately consider to be one mark of a great brewery. their amber is equally impressive. this has a cromson glow to it in the light, less dense and deep brown than many in its class, and it holds a little less than an inch of airy tan fluff on top for quite some time. it smells and tastes excellent, i love the lighter cocoa chocolate malt with the english yeast, buttery and dry at the same time, rustic and hearty, but also freakishly drinkable. low tones of walnuts and dry soil, its definitely autumnal in overall vibe, and i think it is a fall seasonal, but this is a brown ale thats worthy of all year production and consumption. the perfect companion to chef driven pizza of all kinds wood fired, and to a chilly fall afternoon. under appreciated i think, this is up there with the best basic browns made in the states i think, certainly in terms of quality. right in my seasonal wheelhouse right now too!

 1,142 characters

Photo of Mubalzich69
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great autumn beer!!! I poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz glass chalice. Smooth to pour with a nice head. Nice caramel flavor with a slight chocolate touch. Very smooth on the way down. Nice brown ale.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, batch 14629 PKGD 07/31/15. It's been a few years since I had this one.
A - creamy beige head caps a bronze colored ale
S - earthy hops, dark caramel, bread, grain
T - a bit roasty, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, nutty, earthy & spicy hops
M - medium body, moderate carbonation, finishes semi-dry with some spicy hops and mild roast lingering
O - in my opinion this is a good brown ale, but there are others I prefer more -even though Bell's is one of my favorite breweries.

 488 characters

Photo of K-Dog
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really good brown ale. Had on tap at 1000 in the morning while playing some slots at motor city casino. Nice smell of vanilla detected. Taste was off an almost chocolate stout. First time having and will gladly pick this up to enjoy again.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a guiness pint glass.

Look is amber brown and hazy with thin head.

Aroma is toasted malt.

Taste is very creamy with a toasted malt after taste,

Very good October beer.

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Photo of atr2605
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a nice deep mahogany amber color with an off white head with good retention and lacing
S-graham cracker, caramel, and burnt marshmallow
T-nutty, biscuit, caramel, and cracker flavors with hop bitterness providing balance but not lending a lot in flavor
M-medium bodied and smooth
O-really solid english brown ale, would not hesitate to get again

 353 characters

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 ArrogantB
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can that I think was $3. Not quite dark brown, sort of reddish, huge head. Malty, toasty aroma. Flavor is full, toast, malts, pretty darn good. I must also compliment the branding because this just felt like a great fall drinking beer.

 240 characters

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

Reminds me of fall, appropriately. A good fit for drinking in October. Murky red-brown, not much of a head. Not too heavy but not too light. Would probably drink again.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour yielded a 2 inch slightly off-white head that stayed for a minute then was gone. Minor lacing left behind. The smell is sweet malt, hints of hops and a toffee chocolate scent. The taste is all of this with the sweet malt and toffee as the main flavors. There is a very slight pleasing bitterness at the end that cuts through the sweet. This a a very nice brown that is what I would expect of the style.

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Photo of Evilyak
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

More red than brown, with some light lacing. Pretty beer. Pretty, pretty beer.

Definite toastiness to this one. Mild and unassuming.

Taste is roasted malt and a bit of nuttiness to it. Again, pretty subdued but pleasant.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a touch of lingering bitters.

Just a good beer for this time of year. Nothing remarkable, but easily consumed.

 360 characters

Photo of TH28
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12os bottle. 8/21/15 package date (41 days old). Appearance: Brown with reddish tint, murky, with a thick mousse like tan head with great lacing. Head holds for a long time. Aroma: Toast, caramel, chocolate, with a hint of toast and resinous hops. Hop/malt combination gives off some caramelized pepper aromas. Taste: Rich toasted bread, with some roasted chocolate and hints of licorice. Moderately strong bitterness. Mouthfeel: Light body, almost thin, with a moderate carbonation. Finish: Malty toast and roasted flavors linger. Malt forward. Overall: Amazing appearance with the mousse foam head that never dissipates, and a really nice complex aroma. Taste is on point, mouthfeel a bit thin.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 5.8% abv. Awesome artwork on the label. (New from what is on the webpage)

Appearance- Pours a dark brown with a moderate head that has a tannish tint. Quite murky.

Smell- Caramel, sweet bread, toast.

Taste- Sweet roasty malt. Nutty. Becoming more sweet with an underlying coffee flavor present as well. Toasted cracker notes also increase before ending with a slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body with active carbonation.

Overall- One well done brown here. Complex flavors and smooth. Competes with some of the best ABA's. Hard to dissappoint with this choice.

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Photo of 88caprice
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a glass.

Look: Slightly ruby-toned, mahogany color. Thin creamy head and lots of active bubbles.
Smell: A surprising bright hop smell considering the style. Almost citrusy, but in a good way.
Taste: Some hop overtones on a malty foundation. Mildly sweet and toasty. More initial hop pop that expected for this style, but a nice balance.
Mouthfeel: A medium/light body. Definitely not heavy. Lots of active bubble action on the tongue.
Overall: :)

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,954 ratings.
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