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

BA SCORE
86
very good
3,003 Ratings
THE BROS
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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: 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
Ratings:
3,003
Reviews:
886
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
104
Gots:
477
For Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,003 |  Reviews: 886
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chocolate cabinet brown with creamy head, fresh leaving lace in glass. Caramel, a touch of graininess and roasted barley and molasses and licorice in aroma and in taste. Very easy drink, understated hoppiness and maltiness so just some bitterness and sweetness. Some of each in aftertaste, but more sweet. Creamy mouthfeel. Good example of this style. Thanks Dr. Jay.

 367 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Packaged 8/5/15.

Pours a murky dark reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, roasted nut, earth, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, and nut flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice mix of toast, nut, and caramel qualities all around.

Serving type: can.

 613 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

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 kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Knapp85
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a brown color with some red highlights in it. The head doesn't really do too much for the appearance here. The smell of the beer is a little sweet and just a little bit of roasted grains on the nose. The taste of the beer doesn't give off too much of a nutty flavor, it actually had more of a roasted cinnamon kind of flavor in there I think. The mouthfeel of the beer was decent I though nothing too exciting though. Overall it's not a bad brown ale, but I can't say it's my favorite.

 509 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy chestnut brown to amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down a bit, but never completely faded away.
S: Light to moderate aromas of cocoa nibs are present in the nose; nutty malts become apparent after the beer warms up.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is more complex with additional flavors of chocolate, roasted and nutty malts. A very slight amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink and has quite complex flavors when compared to other beers in the style.

 692 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BEERchitect
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very nice beer and quite true to style. Big toasted malt character both in the aroma and flavor. Bittersweet chocolate, caramel, toffee, and a low roasted flavor. Ripe fruits of figs and dates fill the nose and palate. Nicely heavy and creamy on the palate. Nice brown / amber color, almost opaque. Low hop flavor and bitter that adds to complexity. A little more estery than I expect from both hop flavor and sweet alcohol. Finishes lightly malty and lingering. Go get one.

 484 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with an ice tea brown color and a modest head that leaves some intermittant lacing

Smell: Nutty roasted notes

Taste: Bready, up front with a bit of bitterness for balance

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Easy to drink with enough character to make this generally insipid style interesting

 361 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish copper with suspended micro sediment. Intricate lacing, the foam maintains itself for longevity. Really nice color, foam has a brown eggshell hue, with adequate retention. Classic brown ale in the visual department.

Slight malt sweetness and brown sugar in the aroma.

Honey, sunflower seed aftertaste, husky grain and malt sweetness. Light caramel flavor. Creamy and slightly astringent at times, but not a defining characteristic overall. Easily drinkable, seems well suited for cask serving.

 505 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgandy/brown color with a creamy, foamy, small tan head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and sweet caramel notes.

T - It had a biscuity roasted malt taste. Also, caramel and toffe flavors were present.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good brown ale. A nice sweet malty taste.

 372 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of LXIXME
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dmorgan310
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

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

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 9/7/2016. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep reddish copper/light brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, and toffee; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, nuttiness, herbal, grass, pepper, citrus, dark fruit, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light earthy/citrusy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, and toffee; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, nuttiness, herbal, grass, pepper, citrus, dark fruit, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, toffee, cocoa, herbal, grass, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light earthy/citrusy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from bitterness, lightly increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly silky/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 5.8%. Overall this is a great American brown ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts and light earthy/citrusy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink. This feels less hoppy/drying, and creamier/fuller in the mouthfeel than I remember in the past. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,864 characters

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

Photo of Thorpe429
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First-ever review.

G: Standard 16-oz. pint glass with Indiana University logo.

A: Pours a slightly-cloudy, opaque brown-amber color with a medium cream-colored head. The head dissipates rather quickly, and no carbonation is visible. The beer does lace well on the side of the glass as it's consumed.

S: The malt has a smell of nuttiness with a little bit of grain. An intense sniff brings out a delicate sweetness. The aroma isn't as strong as others of this style.

T: Somewhat sweet with a definite nut flavor; a little tangy and definitely not overpowering. The nut flavor takes up most up with taste, with little or no hop presence. Not much of the cream taste that is available in other brown ales. This tends to be more toward the drier end of the brown-ale spectrum.

M: While not visible, the carbonation is definitely felt in the mouth. Not too much carbonation, and it fades well as the beer sits on your tongue. The mouthfeel is fairly light for the style, and is well-balanced.

D: The taste is a little underwhelming and lacking in complexity, but overall a quite drinkable beer. I would definitely have another, although this is not the best example of the style. Unfortunately I'm having this in February instead of late Fall, when I could see this going well with blankets and a campfire.

 1,309 characters

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

Batch 9339

Poured into Rare Vos glass

Pours 1 and 1/2 fingers of light creamy tan head. Head fades to a thin layer, but leaves amazing lace walls all the way down the glass. Color is a clear copper brown.

Aroma: Big malty nose with some grassy hops that are in the background but decently noticeable. Notes of caramel, nuts, and toffee present. Some dark fruits are also present.

Taste: Very malty with the grassy hops right in your face. Lots of caramel and toffee with nuts. A big roasted flavor to it. Some of those dark dried fruits are in the background.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly it is bitter and crisp. I really wasn't expecting this from a brown. Gets a little creamy at the end. Ends with a big roasted flavor and lots of hops. Very dry.

Overall, one of the better English brown ales I have had. Very nice flavors to it. Very hoppy as well so it was well balanced. Easy drinking beer. Gotta love Bell's.

 916 characters

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

A - Pours with one finger of off-white head on top of a clear, brown body with amber highlights. The head fades away slowly and leaves light lace.

S - A light caramel note with a bit of toffee and some red apple. There is also a bit of herbal hop aroma in the background.

T - Dry, caramel and toffee malt up front. More caramel in the middle with some cola notes. Moderate roasted character comes out in the finish with dry, toasty caramel and some brown sugar. Moderate bitterness and some herbal hops balance.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - A pretty nice brown ale. A touch on the dry side with lots of caramel and an increasingly roasty character towards the finish. The hop character is light and does not get in the way of the malt but it is sufficient to balance the mild level of sweetness. A nice example of the style, I can't find anything to complain about other than the fact that I'm drinking it out of a bottle instead of a cask.

 976 characters

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,003 ratings.
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