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

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86
very good
863 Reviews
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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown
BEER INFO

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

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:
2,912
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
20.31%
 
 
Wants:
104
Gots:
436
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 863 | Ratings: 2,912
Photo of Minkybut
3.22/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a tumbler at 5o degrees. The beer was cloudy brown like dirty water with a thin head fast and fast decay. There was no lacing at all. The beer had a bit of a fruity smell and a slightly bitter taste. I really like the label though but the beer was just average. It was good mind you but I guess I will most likely not buy again.

 352 characters

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

This has a nice brown body and the smell is enticing. It has a good heavy malty aroma with some biscuit in there. The flavor is much the same, nice and malty with some biscuit and a good sweetness. There is no detectable hop flavor but some bitterness; just enough to balance. It has good mouthfeel, about medium but the body seems lighter than it should. All around a great example of a Brown Ale.

 398 characters

Photo of soupyman10
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with some fairly light tan head that dissolves very quickly. No real lacing. Nose is fairly weak, a little bit of a surprise for a Bell's beer. Just a bit of hops and malt, fairly balanced for an English brown. Taste is solid. Lots of sweet caramel malt, but a nice mix of fairly fruity hops as well. This one's pretty sour too, which is unique to most of the English browns I've had. Feel is medium bodied with good carbonation. I like this one a lot. I've yet to have a Bell's beer that I wasn't impressed at. This one isn't there best, but it's a good beer, a little high in ABV to be sessionable, but definitely one I could drink a bunch of.

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

Appearance: Pours a clear red-brown color with a small head of tiny off white bubbles that didn't stick around for long at all. There are only a few bubbles rising, but they don't maintain the head.

Aroma: I get a nice mix of malt and hops that is so balanced that I hesitate to pick the dominant aromatic. I get a little sweet caramel and a tad of toast from the malt side of the equation, and there is a soft noble-like floral hop contribution weighing in on the hop side. There is a slight metallic note noticeable as you get deeper into the aroma.

Taste: The flavor is really pleasant and also reflects a nice mix of malt and hops. The malt starts out the profile with some sweet caramel, a hint of toast, and a slight roasty edge. It isn't long before the hops show up and make their way to the foreground. The hops keep up the pace until the finish where the malt, a slight mineral flavor, and the alcohol share the lead for the finish. The alcohol is the flavor that sticks with you the longest after the sip.

Opinion: Like all of Bells beers, I am not disappointed in this one. It has a good clean flavor that isn't too bold as to be annoying one way or the other. In flavor, it may have more American ingredients, but retains the British balance of flavor...except in the finish where the water is clean enough to leave the palate fresh rather than dry and chalky. This is a pretty good beer, and I wouldn't mind trying it again if the opportunity presented itself.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is slightly murky, brown amber and has a thin creamy head.

Smell is lightly burned and chocolate with light alcohol and light diacetyl. The backbone is very malty and rich.

Taste is a light chocolate and mild burned. Body is thin and the beer has an odd taste which is dry and astringent. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky.

Smell of the beer promised more than the taste could offer. Not the best of beers.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

As I'm making the rounds on some brown ales, this seemed like an obvious selection. I am coming to the conclusion that this style can certainly be under appreciated for having a fair amount of flavor, but not so powerful that it can't be enjoyed many times. I also find brown ales to be good with a variety of foods.
Darker malt aroma of toast and biscuit. Slightly sweet and bit dry, almost pushing chocolate. Very little hops to speak of. Solid and nice.
Good looking beer. Dark colors of deep red and brown. Very clear. One inch head that settles slowly leaving some lacing. Darker head.
Slightly bitter and sweet. Great blending of flavors. Ends with some dryness, but not too much. Nice english hop flavors and enhance with the dryness with time. The touch of malt sweetness up front is nice.
Fullness from carbonation adds to a moderate feel. Soft. Enough smoothness.
Well rounded beer with a good amount of hoppiness that prevents any chance of excessive sweetness (which might be my only criticism, i.e.needing a little more maltiness). Nicely done.

 1,063 characters

Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid brown ale. Much better than Newcastle...looks better, less sweet and very smooth. Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights, medium size tn head with some lacing. Primary taste is roasted malt, there is enough hops bitterness to kill the annoying sweetness of some brown ales. Mouthfeel is rich and drinkability is very good. A fantastic candidate for a session beer.

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Photo of wspscott
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle in pint glass

This pours a very thin head that dissapates quickly and leaves no lace on the glass. It is a very dark brown with more carbonation than I usually associate with a brown ale. The smell has hints of a dark brown bread. The taste is smooth and malty with a hint of roasted malts. The alcohol does not come across at all. The mouthfeel is just right, it coats the tongue but, doesn't feel thick. It does not come across as overly carbonated but, there is still more than I expect in a brown ale. This is an excellent brown ale and it stays true to the style. I could drink this all day. This is my ideal "session" beer, assuming that someone else will drive me home from the session :)

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Photo of PlaywrightSam
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into tulip glass. A: Cloudy brown with a little orange. Moderate head that went down pretty quick, some lacing. S: Malty with some citrus overtones, can’t detect the presence of hops. T: Strong caramel taste, hops barely make an appearance until the dry, slightly btiter finish. Very clean. M: Moderate carbonation, nice and smooth. D: A deceptively simple, very tasty, crisp-and-clean brown ale. Really enjoyable and easy to drink.

 440 characters

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

Dark amber/brown color with full tan head that leaves a tan lace on the glass. Smells sweet and of roasted malts. Taste is also of roasted malts with a slight bitterness to it. Feels somewhat thick and smooth in the mouth with just a bit of tingle. A nice beer from New Belgium. Definitely worth having (often).

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Photo of andrewmartin
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A friend of mine brought me a six-pack of this a while ago and I just loved it, let's see how it does under the micrscope!

A: Deep, deep clear amber with big rocking head.

S: Hints of roasted malts and molasses.

T: Sweet sugary malts up front give way to a pleasent hop bitterness.

M: Not as creamy as a once remember, a bit more acidic and tingly.

D: Well, this wasn't as good as I recall, the previous one had a lot more character, but a solid brown nontheless.

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Photo of dogger6253
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a chocolate-brown color. It pours out leaving a nice inch of foamy, light tan-colored head that maintains nicely and leaves huge gobs of lace on the glass' edge. Some stuff floats around the bottom of the glass and there are spots of brown mixed in the head.

The smell is primarily yeast with hints of cocoa added in and also a fruitiness I can't put my finger on.

The taste is somewhat mild with hops being the major factor. I was also able to pull out some cocoa, but overall a fairly disappointing taste, not as tasty as the look and smell led me to expect.

This is a pretty light beer with lots of carbonation. Despite its mild taste, this is highly drinkable. Not my favorite beer at all, but still good and definitely worthy of a session.

 766 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice brown color with a 1/2" tan head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful bisquit scent that blends well with the burnt toffee crystal malt aroma. It has a toastey feel. The taste is good also. It has a roasted malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes toastey and dry with some bisquity qualities. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking brown ale. I'm a real sucker for brown ales that are dry and bisquity.

 514 characters

Photo of arguemaniac
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany color with a creamy, well-retained light tan head. Surprising hop character in the nose. The palate features a nice citrus hop spice with some caramel, various toasted flavors and a touch of nuttiness. More caramel and a bit of coffee roastiness towards the finish.

Pretty good, above average hop spice in the palate. Otherwise a fairly solid brown.

Recommended…

 391 characters

Photo of david131
3.39/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- This is how a beer should look. Clear, brown/ ruby/ orange/ amber. Beautiful, thick pancake of a head that never settles down and allows me to see the surface of the beer. Leaves some great lacing.

S- A little bit grassy in the nose with some sweet caramel, nutty malt presence.

T- Same as the smell but with a noticeable bit of cocoa powder taste to it. I can't help but pick up the slightest bit of burning plastic. A lot hoppier than expected.

M- Has a little bite to it and with all the carbonation is pretty light on the tongue.

D- Not really a session beer in my book, but a worthwhile beer to try.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped cap.

Cloudy,hazy reddish/brown color with a 1" off-white to light tan colored head that dissapated a bit quick leaving a constant creamy layer.Some webby lacing turning spottty half way down the glass

A good,clean, light,sweet,nutty,carmelly nose. Grassy with a faint roastyness,some dark fruit notes with some earthiness.

Burnt nutty carmelly tastes,tart, some dark fruitness,very earthy. Finishes dry with tart bitterness,clean not a lot of aftertaste. Lots of english style to this beer has a good balance.

Has a thick mouthfeel,grainy,slightly syrupy,some cloyingness with a tangy feel.
Could drink a few of these not much more,not a bad beer just nothing to get excited about.

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my 2nd beer from Bells.Lets see how it holds up.

Brown body with red highlights to it.The tan head stood for a couple minutes then fell.I really cant smell anything from the beer.The taste is malty and and taste like Tea.the tea tatse is probally the malts and I dont taste any hop flavor at all.The mouthful is creamy and very smooth, carbonation is very inviting.I dont think this is Bells beer by far from looking at the reviews so I didnt expect a "Outstanding" beer but its very solid none the less.Nice job Bells!

 530 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a medium brown color with a finger of light tan head. Smells of nuts, caramel malts, and fruity hops. Tastes of sweet caramel malt, tree nuts, a hint of cocoa, and pleasantly bitter, floral hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. This brown ale drinks very smoothly and certainly does not show it's leaning towards almost 7% ABV.

 340 characters

Photo of cabsandking
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a simple brown color with amber highlights and a creamy, rocky cream colored head that leaves some good sticky lacing to the end. Aromas of dark sweet fruit, nutty malt, and raisons. The echoes the nose with fruity to nutty malt backbone and nice spice that's reminiscent of nutmeg or cinnamon. Really good floral hop esters that fade somewhat towards the bottom. Cocoa powder lurks in the background and is more detectable in the finish along with short lived dryness and some tart dark fruit notes. Thin body and medium carbonation leaves a slightly watery mouthfeel and fizzy edge. Richer malt flavor picks up as it warms with a bigger emphasis on roasted nut character.

 679 characters

Photo of dfried
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby brown in color, tan film and ring for head. Rich caramely aroma, brown sugar, some hops linger. The flavor is actually quite tangy from the malt and hops together. A sweet dark sugary base is always there and refreshing but there are some fruity flavors as well, apple skins, pears, raisins. Some bready and biscuity flavors, and some nutty as the style would dictate. Pretty low CO2, sticks in the mouth well, the flavors linger.

Verdict: like eating a caramel apple. Brewed close enough to style to be called a brown, but more fruity and tangy than most I have had.

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

Pours out a darker brown than I remember, almost mahogany in color. Not much head, but what's there is nice and creamy. Good retention, as well. The aroma consists mostly of dark roasted malt notes, maybe a little banana(?). A little nutty, too. Upon tasting, the nuttiness and a bready flavor comes through. Nice bitter finish, balancing nicely. Finely carbonated and pleasant in the mouth. Goes down pretty easily, as well. Overall, this is just a good beer. Nothing real spectacular, just Good.

 497 characters

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

Brown reddish body with good carbonation. Light tan creamy head with pretty good retention and lace.
Almost no smell. A little bit of earth and molasses.
Taste is also surprisingly subdued. Earth and very mild malts, Aftertaste has abit stronger hops and some nutskin but still not alot of flavor.
Medium body, very little coating.
A very middle of the road beer. not bad by any means but abit too bland for me.

-Oelergud

 428 characters

Photo of Cresant
2.76/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a becker. Batch 7681. The body was a hazy, honey brown color with three fingers of head. Some lacing remained.

Smell was aluminum. Other aromatic characteristics were faint. Eventually a brown sugar aroma surfaced.

Taste was toasty sweet malts. Lightly syrupy flavor. Light hops lift. Nice interplay of malts and hops (not all malts).

Mouthfeel was smooth, however, the swallow revealed robust carbonation. Medium to light body. This is not one I would seek out again, but brown ales are not one of my favorite styles.

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Photo of BaronVonHawkeye
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich brown color, slightly lighter than Newcastle, but hazy similar to an American Amber. Dark cream head that did not really stay around that long, but did leave nice lace rings.

Smell: I unfortunately have to give this an average. While there is a decently malty smell, it seems bland and ordinary.

Taste: Nice flavor for a brown ale. Smooth malt followed by a hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, but did not have as smooth of a mouthfeel as other brown ales, specifically Dillion Dam Sweet George's Brown.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Would go very well with tailgaiting on a crisp fall day rather than a bitterly cold winter day.

Purchased at John's Grocery, Iowa City, IA

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Photo of terrabyte
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

While pouring, the color is medium brown. However, once the the glass is filled, it seems a quite dark brown, and very cloudy. The trick of swirling the bottom tenth of the bottle before pouring the last out worked in this case, as large white yeasty sediments poured out. Has a very large, white, frothy head.

Aroma is quite mute. Nothing distinctive I could pick up except a normal 'beer' smell.

Flavor is also quite mute. I found this to be a pretty boring brown ale.

Mouthfeel is decent. Medium carbonation. Actually, would have been the perfect base for a better beer.

Drinkability is difficult to describe. Is one bottled water more drinkable than another?

I found this beer to be quite lacking in flavor, a completely worthless review by me (sorry!) and at a loss for words. It'll score better than other (bad) beers I've had, but only because those beers actively sucked for one reason or another. This one had nothing discernibly bad to make it repugnant. Average, average, average.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,912 ratings.
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