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

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very good
859 Reviews
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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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:
859
Ratings:
2,881
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
20.31%
 
 
Wants:
105
Gots:
419
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 859 | Ratings: 2,881
Photo of masterbruewer
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy brown amber with thin off white head and light carbonation. Lots of little particles floating about. Good lacing

The smell is sweet and malty, with a fruity, carmel smell in the back.

The flavor is strong but smooth. You can taste the alcohol, but it's not overpowering. Some carmel and fruity flavors mix about in there. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is substantial but not thick.

Very drinkable for smoothness and flavor, maybe a bit strong for session drinking.

 484 characters

Photo of joekfsu
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a deep amber with a 2 cm bubbly tan head that is slowly diminishing. Aroma of roasted malts and a hint of caramel. Initial flavor has malts with some caramel. Flavor closes with some nuttiness that is lasting. Some lacing, light carbonation, light on alcohol. Light to medium body. Drinkable and simple, good beer for non-craft beer drinkers.

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Photo of BeerNutz324
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- a cloudy brownish amber with about a 1/2 inch off white/light brown colored head that dissapates fairly quickly.

Ar- all I can smell is sweet malts and maybe some caramel or toffee.

T- sweet roasted malts. I can definitely taste the english influence on the malts. Just like the nose I think the caramel or toffee gives this beer a little bit of sweetness.

M- light/medium body with normal carbonation for this style.

O- a good beer. Not as good as I expected coming from Bell's but good none the less. Nothing against this beer but it was nothing special and I honestly don't know if I would buy it again.

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Photo of TXHops
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

-Original Gravity: 1.056
-Final Gravity: 1.013
-ABV: 5.75
-Attenuation: 76
-Real Extract: 5.2 P
-Calories: 184

Thanks to Marc77 for the trade! Bell’s Best Brown pours a very murky brownish color that reminds me of the underwater shots I always see on nature shows where alligators are navigating some opaque mire with ease… Luckily, this mire has a tremendous tan head that really fluffed up on the pour and took forever to fade into a lasting blanket of foam. Instantly, a huge aroma of slightly roasted malt filled the area above my glass (perhaps the Belgian malts?) creating a super-enticing aroma. Wonderful to sniff—one of the best smelling beers ever. I also wonder if I can’t smell a touch of sourness underneath the dry, bready, wholesome, slightly fruity maltiness…

The rich body also displays the strong, malty-bready sweetness suggested by the nose. A huge, luscious specialty grain flavor totally envelopes my mouth, with the hops as an aftertaste. Again, there’s the slightest hint of sourness in the tail, but because this beer is lightly hopped, that subtle flavor doesn’t detract much from the overall impression. Underneath all the earthy, fresh bready sweetness is a mild fruitiness that lends a facet of complexity to this hugely tasty, wonderfully rich beer.

I thoroughly enjoyed drinking this beer, but I’m wondering if the sourness so frequently discussed on the forum has crept into the Brown at my house. If so, it’s very slight. Still, it is evident and the resulting tiny hint of twangy green apple is enough to knock a half point or so off a couple of categories. Still, overall this is a great beer and one I'm really looking forward to drinking again.

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Photo of bahumutx
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Poured a dark copper color. Had a two finger head that dissipated rather quickly.

Smell: Smells of Carmel, toffee, nuts, and malt. A sweet smell with a small hint of hops.

Taste: Starts with a taste of Carmel and then moves to a toffee and malt sweetness. End with a slight hop bitterness and a nice sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth Mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I could have a few of these in a sitting.

This is my second English brown ale and I like it. Another great offering from Kalamazoo Brewing Company!! Keep up the great work.

 658 characters

Photo of Chugmonkey
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light brown, nice reddish highlights, Big off white poofy head, beautiful lacing.

Nutty, bready, sweet, slight earthy aroma.

Nutty, bready, earthy, finishs a little caramelly sweet for the taste.

Huge bonus points for creaminess in the feel, finishes slightly dry.

Very tasty, nice sweetness that doesn't overwhelm. Don't get one, get the 6 pack. You'll wish you had more than one for sure.

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Photo of PeatReek
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear, a bright, amber-brown color with a decidedly orangey head. The very mild aroma is sweet and bready, with hints of Maerzen-like fruity maltiness and a slight whisp of grass at the end. The sip starts with a significant wallop of bitterness (for the style) and evolves into a bready malt-fest; the Maerzen character is even more prominent here. Followed up by a rather sharp toasty taste that is not exactly the nutty roast aspect that I'm used to in a brown ale, but works nonetheless. The bitterness comes back again at the end of the sip to help it wash down clean. Superbly drinkable, especially as the glass sits out for a bit and the carbonation settles down from its initial overly harsh level - my only complaint.

(Batch 7723, bottled Nov. 15 2006)

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Photo of Zadok
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a touch of amber and a decent sized tan head and lots of lacing.

Malty sweet aroma.

Also had a sweet creamy malty flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy as stated before, maybe a touch watered down. Low carbonation.

Not a bad beer, not sure I would get again but wouldnt deny a free one.

 305 characters

Photo of wmtxbb
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Nice finger sized head on top of a dark amber brew.

Smell: Crunchy crystal malt grains.

Taste: Toasty malts, carmel and some chocolate. Reminds me of a winter warmer, particularly because of the high alcohol content.

Drinkability: The best brown ale I've ever had, which makes the name perfect.

 340 characters

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

A: Hazy, caramel colored with a big off-white head that dissipated fairly quickly.
S: Malty, roasted nuts.
T: Follows the nose; Very little bitterness, I detected a bit of maple flavor for some reason. Not strong at all, but definitely there. Need to check this the next time I have one.
M: Medium body and carbonation.
O: Easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing brown. Not the best I've had of the style, but a solid entry.

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Photo of johnd513
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark cloudy brown color with a nice big fluffy white head that sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing on the glass. The smell is toasty and nutty with some roasted malts. The taste is oily hazelnut and the mouthfeel is medium to full body and is oily as well. Overall another good offering from bells and certainly worth a try.

 355 characters

Photo of Thanby
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, light chocolate color with tan head. The nose is pretty standard brown ale but with a mild citrus note in the malt. Medium malt flavor with a textured malt, a little spicing, slightly bitter roast. Finishes with a fading malt bitterness. Medium body, easy to drink, unique light malt with citrus impressions, pear and apple in the background, overall very delicious.

 380 characters

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 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 ImusBeer
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of the tap a dark brown with little lacing and no head to speak of.

Aroma was mostly nothing, maybe raisin? Taste was a lot of malt, molassas, raisin and some sweetness, not as much as some Brown Ales I've had like JW Dundees.

It was light with really no carbonation, just too low. It's a nice brown ale, not very sweet like some others but not as bitter as most English Brown Ales.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color is a deep, translucent, cherry-brown. Big, fluffy, light tan head. Looks good.
Smells of toasted malt with a splash of tangy hops. Only slightly nutty. Nothing else really comes through. Aroma is just average for a brown ale.
Tastes tangy, tangy, tangy... too much so. A bit of toasted malt now and then, as well as some faint, bitter coffee in the finish. Fruity alcohol shows its face toward the end of the glass.
Mouth is medium-bodied. Gently carbonated. Smooth on the tongue.
As for brown ales, I've easily had better. This is just run of the mill. There's no way this can be their "best."

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Photo of r3o
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark red-brown, half an inch head with a little lacing.
S: mostly malt, there's some burnt brown sugar, little hops
T: good balance, built well, you get some nuts in the palate, the aftertaste is sour in the back of my throat.
M: medium body, almost chewy, smooth, with good carbonation
D: easy to drink and pleases, not many surprises though.

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

A nice dark amber brown capped with a fine caramel white head. smells like an amber ale with a subtle hint of toasted malt. Taste is just the same with more presence of the toasted malts. A very mellow brown ale, much to my liking. It definitely has a bell's taste to it. A nice feel and an enjoyable beer.
Cheers.

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Photo of Fatduck
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After drinking several very hopped up beers, this is exactly what I wanted. Its smooth, malt dominate beer. It smells like a day in the forest and looks like a pile of freshly raked leaves. I like this beer a lot, and I am sad to drink the last of them.

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Photo of Bruiser81
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a murky brown color. It looked kind of like tea. A creamy off white head simmered down to a thin sheet. What a great aroma, a mixture of sweet malt, toffee, dates, and caramel. Taste wasn't bad but not near as good as the aroma. The taste starts with roasted malts which is followed by a bread flavor along with a nutty caramel. Towards the finish there is a a sweet/sour taste. Sort of different, not bad. This beer is great up until the finish which just threw me off a little. A nice creamy smooth mouthfeel. Definately a drinkable brew.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured this beauty in a clear lager mug, has a nice medium dark brown color and a healthy thickish foam head.
Smells malty, a little chocolaty.
Tastes like an ale, got some bitterness to it, and it tastes a little of chocolate, maybe even coffee. Not too overly bitter like most Bell's Ale's I've had.
Feel is smooth,with a light bubbly feel on the tongue, not too light, but not too strong on the carbonation.
Overall, I was hesitant since I don't like Bell's Ale's, since usually I find them to be too bitter. This one isn't like that. And I could drink more of this.

 571 characters

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

Poured into a Spiegelau tulip

A - amber brown, less than a fingers worth of light sandy colored head, some blots of lace

S - caramel, some brown sugar, hint of chocolate, slight toffee and nut notes

T - lots of malt - chocolate, caramel, nut; aftertaste has some roast to it along with the slightest bittering from the hops

M - body starts out medium but finishes a little thinner than average, average carbonation

D - enjoyable, nothing out of the ordinary, but is a good example of an English Brown

 505 characters

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

From Notes:

A- A rich brown beer, that has some red tones. The head is tan and fluffy. The head sticks to the glass leaving some nice lacing action.

S- Ok brown sugar coated chestnuts, jump up at ya. Maybe some brown sugar and molasses hiding in the back.

T- Roasted chestnuts in my beer, mixed with brown sugar and lots of malt oh yeah.

M- Hmm, this one is sticky and slick with a lot of carbonation.

D- This one is not hard to drink, and comes with some flavor too boot.

Thoughts- This is a nice brown ale, it is not top shelf but would be a good session beer on a crisp September afternoon.

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Photo of ken3c
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big rocky off-white head. Dark amber in color. Hazy in clarity. The head recedes to a layer that leaves beautiful lacing.

There is a strong malt aroma with caramel notes.

Sweet, fruity, grainy tastes. There is a little bitterness in the aftertaste but mostly grainy malt.

Medium body, well carbonated. Astringent in the finish.

This beer looked and smelled so good. I liked the fruitiness but was a little turned off by the astringency.

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Photo of RunForYourBeer
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From batch 9981, bottled 9/16/10.

A: Pours a light brown, much lighter than I expected.

S: Smells of a sweet caramel malt with a hint of breadiness.

T: Tastes of a sweet caramel, bread malt along with some chocolate. Has a bit of hop bitterness and a hint of toastyiness.

M: Medium with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: High.

This is a good fall beer. One I will likely come back to.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 859 ratings.
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