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

BA SCORE
86
very good
3,007 Ratings
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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:
3,007
Reviews:
888
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
479
For Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,007 |  Reviews: 888
Photo of Kurmaraja
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of chinchill
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz bottle.
The body is dark amber, more orange and hazy than usual for style.
Mild malt aroma less to a much more robust flavor. Despite all the malt the hops keep this mildly bitter.

 193 characters

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 oberon
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown with a decent off white head that leaves some light lacing,smell is of roasted malt with a light sour smell in the background(Iam not sure where that comes from) with some light chocolate hints.Nice flavorful beer with a nice roasted malty taste with some underlying earth tones that keep it from being to sweet.A nice beer drink it each time I go home to Michigan when given the chance.

 407 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

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from diekia, courtesy of the Review This! BIF so a big "Thank You" goes out to her. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, maple, nuts, honey and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of maple, caramel, honey and nuts that are followed by a hearty malt character. The hops presence is decent for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a solid sessionable beer that is worth drinking for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

 854 characters

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

A: Pours an almost opaque very dark amber in color with some garnet red highlights, moderate amounts of small yeast particles in suspension, and a light amount of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a mottled film of thick and thin areas with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of caramel malts with some less pronounced aromas of brown sugar and molasses. There is also a light presence of cocoa.

T: There is a light to moderate amount of dark malts with some hints of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and a touch of sweetness. There is a moderate presence of nuts with just a touch of cocoa. Very light notes of bitterness in the finish which fades fast.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy and smooth.

O: Extremely easy to drink and enjoyable - one of my favorite beers in the style (which is not all that exciting but is always solid). A very nice offering for the winter and one will likely have again when I find it.

 1,116 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%

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

Pours a dark amber with a nice frothy covering of light tan head that retained very well and left some great lacing. Aroma possesses deep notes of malt sweetness, bread, and nuttiness.

The tastes is a big hit of bready sweetness, and toasted malts up front but then a nice, tingling hop bitterness comes out amongst all that sweetness and helps even things out. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly creamy carbonation.

With full deep flavors and good balance, this is one tasty and quaffable Brown Ale from Bell's. Solid.

 535 characters

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

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of smithj4
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Photo of billab914
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Pours a caramel color with a tan head that settled to a a thin layer covering the beer.

Aroma is strong with roasted grains. Malty sweetness with some caramel and chocolate.

Taste also has some roasted flavors, chocolate, coffee and caramel with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good, not overpowering in any flavors but yet very flavorful.

 453 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of vfgccp
2.67/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A – Gave this bottle a few days to rest upright in the fridge, and still poured with some chunky sediment. Otherwise the ice-tea brown body was clear, building a low white head.

S – Thin aroma. Brown sugar, and light oak is pretty much all I could get.

T – Disappointingly thin flavor as well. Has a wart character too it, with brown bread and honey. But even that is light.

M – Light and watery mouthfeel. Mildly sweet finish.

O – Almost tastes like too much water was used in the sparge.

 503 characters

Photo of atrocity
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

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

pours caramel with a 2 fingers plus tan head. Good lacing & minmal head retention

Smell: Malt and slight nutiness

Taste: Big sweet maltiness followed by nuttiness & fruittyness. Almost taste a tinge of vanilla. Finishes fruitty & quenching

MF: Light with good carbonation. Shows great balance

Very easy drinking brown, good session ale IMO, a good brown. My 1st beer from bell's, pretty nice

 403 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/light brown color. Light passes easily and the beer appears clear. Modest bar-poured head where there is plenty of blanketing lace.

Classic "brown" smell of darker malts without any burnt elements. Light sweetness and slightly nutty. There's a touch of smokiness.

Some caramel sweetness tempered with a hop spice. Smooth but thin body. High finely bubbled carbonation. The swallow is a superior blend of bittering hop and toasted malts. One of the finest aftertastes I've ever had. An overall top-notch brown ale.

 528 characters

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

Batch 8212.

Appearance: Pours a clear brown body with a lush, though quickly thinning ivory-colored head.

Smell: Nutty, creamy caramel aroma with lighter notes of chocolate, wood, and dark fruits.

Taste: Dark crème caramel and toasted nuts with just the right level of sweetness. Faint fruitiness. Lightly hopped with a mild bitterness and a slight floral character. For all it's sweetness, the beer still manages to finish dry with a lingering toastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A charming, easy drinking brown from Bell's.

 566 characters

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

Review from notes 4/22/11.

A: Poured a slightly hazy ruby/orange, not quite brown color. Carbonation bubbles were evident along the sides of the glass. A one finger head formed and left spotty lacing.

S: Nice combination of caramel and a nutty aroma. There is also some grain and bready malt.

T: Pretty solid flavor profile with a strong malt bill. Bready and earthy with caramelized sugar, some brown sugar, and nuts.

M: Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation, with lots of small carbonation bubbles. Crisp for the style.

O: Solid English Brown Ale, easy drinking and pretty sessionable. For a style that can be bland, Bells does a good job here.

 658 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Burnished bronze with loads of suspended particles. I may just have to chew this beer. The light brown head is large, firm and is a very nice lacer. Thick, chunky sheets adorn the glass as I drink.

The nose is of caramel/toffee, brown sugar and light molasses. As someone who prefers those flavors to chocolate, I approve in a big way and hope that the flavor matches the nose. It does. I can tell after the first sip that this beer has rocketed to the top of my 'best brown ales' list. A little more body would make it absolutely killer, but it's pretty damn tasty all the same.

Again, the flavor matches the nose: caramelized sugar-covered toasted malt with a little spiciness for good measure. I'm also reminded of sweet, dark fruits such as figs and dates. The sweetness--neither too much nor too little--fades to a slight dryness by the tail end of the long, lingering finish. I repeat, with a heavier body this would be extraordinary beer.

Bell's Brewery continues to grow on me. Brown ale is an often overlooked style that is sometimes short on excitement, but Bell's Best Brown is phenomenal stuff and has impressed me to no end.

 1,148 characters

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

Photo of duceswild
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of woodychandler
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had purchased this 16-fl. oz. pounder CAN back in the Fall with every intention of reviewing it quickly, but the backlog shunted it to the side until now. I would feel guilty, but I do not feel that emotion, plus it gives me an opportunity to see how it holds up in a CAN. Long live The CANQuest (tm)!

From the CAN: "A smooth, toasty brown ale that is best enjoyed with the changing of the seasons."; "Unpasteurized [-] Unfiltered [-] Best kept Refrigerated".

I Crack!ed the CAN open and CANmenced an inverted Glug, keeping a reverent eye on it to ensure that there would not be any spillover. This resulted in two fingers of foamy, light-tan head with moderate retention, falling as I typed. Color was a Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity and copper highlights. Nose was very malty sweet, almost like maple syrup. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste had a slight smokiness that when coupled with the maltiness that I noted on the nose, served to remind me of pancakes with syrup and bacon! Finish was semi-sweet, which leads me to wonder if maybe the sweetness has subsided in the interim. If so, then I am all for aging as I do not like cloyingly sweet beers and this was more my speed. I am going to leave my original scores in place, although I would probably go higher on Taste after this one.

CAN you believe a 5L CAN?!? I not only CAN, but I have one and I have been awaiting a guest or two to help me drink it. The CANQuest (TM) CAN venture into new territory with the idea that a 5L mini-keg qualifies as a CAN for the purposes of this site.

I am a novice with this sort of delivery system, so I had to a) follow the directions VERY carefully and b) decide on the best pour for it. With regards to b), I tried a straight pour, allowing it to run from the tap into the glass, but I ended up with a massive amount of head, which I kept for myself. I then tried angling the glass and allowing the beer to flow into it without letting it impact the bottom of the glass. Either way, I had a buncha head. Allowing it to settle from its original, light-tan state into something more manageable, I still had a good bit of foam and a lot of sticky lacing to go along with it. The color was more of a ruby-red with NE-quality clarity than a brown, but it still looked enticing. The nose was definitely malty sweet with a bit of maple sugar included in the mix. Mouthfeel was slightly thin but I could tell that it was a sweet brown ale immediately. I am not averse to the style, but after a day of sampling hoppy beers, this really stood out from the pack. Tasty. A steady diet of AALs while furthering The CANQuest (TM) has honed my palate to the point that anything and everything tastes good. The finish had a slight smokiness to it, reminiscent of my PapPap burning leaves in his outdoor brick fireplace when I was a kid. Are you even allowed to burn leaves in this day and age? Man, I am getting old. The young lady visitor who just left laid it on me that she was born when I was leaving for Boot Camp. Oy vey!

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,007 ratings.
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