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Bell's Pale Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Pale AleBell's Pale Ale

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1,168 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,168
Reviews: 618
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.66%
Wants: 21
Gots: 49 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SheepNutz on 12-11-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,168 | Reviews: 618 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mynie
4.25/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional pour, especially for the style. A bright golden orange that's a shade uncommon to beers but very sparkly and pretty and covered with a remarkably retentive white soapy head.

Smells like crisp grain. Nice and crisp, but whoa where are the hops? This is supposed to be an APA, right?

The hops come through a little bit in the taste, thank god. The grain starts things off, sunshine fruity with hints of hay and flowers. The hops come in near the back, light and dry, and are followed up by an end of very crisp fruit yeast. Wow, that yeast is really great, like something you'd normally find in a Belgian only not bogged down by hops or alcohol. Bitterness is present in the aftertaste.

Nice. Certainly not what I'd expect from an APA, but an interesting take on the style.


As I came to know this beer, it's smell proved only to break my narrow expectations of the style, not to be anything less than wonderful.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is a yellow-orange and hazy. Head is abundant and fairly tacky (meaning, seems to stick).

Odor is phenolic and sour. Taste is spicey-yeasty, and not what I expected. I was expecting something more hoppy and more like a Two-Hearted. Still, though it is fairly straight-forward, not bad. Not sour nor hoppy.

Bottle purchsed at Breeze-Thru in Milwaukee.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a warm yellow crystal clear body with a ton of tiny little bubbles racing in every direction. There is a thick bubble snow white head that last for a good bit.

S- The smell of light green hops has a perfumed soap hop smell to them with a faint pale malt hint and more of a raw grain note as it warms.

T- The taste of bitter green hops has a bite to it with a light grapefruit rind note in the hops aswell. The light dry pale malt comes through a bit after my tongue gets used to the hops. There is a spicy note that comes to the hops in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a fizzy finish.

D- This beer has a bitter punch from the hops but not that much depth in the aroma or flavor of the hops. The malt is very faint and it would be nice to taste it a bit more to contrast the bitterness.

Photo of tgbljb
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy orange-amber color with moderate white puffy head. Impressive lacing.
Smell is light and summer fruity, with some bread-loke malt tones also present.
Taste is initially blonde ale sweet, but a very firm hop bitterness begins to dominate.
Finishes with more dryness and very refreshing.
Great drinkability.
I would have enjoyed a little more malt and a bit less hops, but still a very nice beer.

Photo of Phatz
4.38/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is quite possible my favorite Pale Ale to date.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with a huge white fluffy head and loads of lacing.

Smell: It has a rich nose of malt, yeast, orange an other citrus flavors along with a hint of honey and flowers.

Taste: It has an interesting sweet banana yeast citrus flavor that remind me of Oberon on the very front but then it instantly gets more grapefruit. It is completely unique and I would have a hard time classifying it as a pale ale. It is buttery and creamy; but what do you call Oberon meets an IPA and a Blonde ale? The aftertaste has a lingering bitterness that keeps me salivating.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth with a citrus dry tingle and bold finish.

Drinkability: Wow! I am not always big fan of Pale Ales but this one is certainly and exception. I may end up with another case of this stuff. =)

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of akorsak
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The ale is a golden color with hints of auburn orange. There is a slight haze to the beer (not from a cold beer poured into a room temp glass though). The head was thick on pour but dissipated.

S: The ale has a biscuity malt aroma that dominates the nose. Periodically, a fresh citrus hop aroma emerges from the ale.

T: The ale has a very subtle, low-key taste. The hoppiness grabs you first, giving the tastebuds a jump start with some citrus and grapefruit. The malts come next but they don't overshadow the hops, allowing for a slightly cereally flavor that is well-hopped.

M: The crispness of the hops is very pleasing, as is the relaxed malt body.

D: Very drinkable, an enjoyable beer that I was concerned about (as I bought the variety pack specifically for the sixer of Kalamazoo Stout). Well worth a look.

Photo of beermanbrian
3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale orange/yellow brew. Nice foamy white head. Nice caramel malt smell with a nice hint of floral hops. Taste is nice and malty up front with a good bitter balance. Very smooth drinking beer. This is a very solid brew and could be a great have around the house kind of beer. I'm really liking this one. Another solid brew from Bell's, way to go guys.

Photo of Osiris9588
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, no freshness date. Pours a light honey color with blonde and gold undertones. The the white is fluffy, but not very stiff, dissipating quickly, leaving some strands of random lace.

The aroma conists of hops, malt, and some yeast, maybe a faint ester of citrus. The flavor is pretty flat--theres a little bit of sweet malt, some mild yeast, a hint of grain, a flicker of lemon, then burst of hops.

The mouth is light and not very complex, a little creaminess in the center before the dry hop finish. It seems somewhat out of balance and lacking a bit of character. Seems to perform better on draft based on my own experience. Not one of Bell's better selections.

Photo of Naerhu
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Panichi for bringing this beer all the way to Japan.

A - Hazy honey colored body with small pure white head.
S - Yeast and apricot on the nose. Some orange.
T - Full of yeast with overly restrained sweetness. A fruitness that is not held up by the saltine dry malt. medium polite bitterness.
M - Medium bodied. Nice carbonation and smooth.
D - A decent beer, but decidedly too dry.

Photo of pvsob
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A nice pale golden color with a one finger head that fades slowly and leaves a nice film and decent lacing.

Smell: Personally, nothing really jumped out at me on this one besides a faint hop aroma.

Taste: It starts off with light hop bitterness and ends very dry. A little bitterness sticks around until the next swallow, but quickly fades.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin with medium to high carbonation.

Drinkability: If you really had too, I imagine this would make a decent session beer, but there are better APA's out there. This is by no means a terrible brew, but personally it didn't impress me like some of the other APA's that I've had.

Photo of ultralarry2006
3.11/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger head with good retention, and lots of good lacing. Body is a slightly hazy, but mostly clear, bright gold. Looks good. This will also be this ale's high point.

Smell - Grassy and spicy hops over a weak saltine-cracker-like, slightly toasty malt. Not mouthwatering, not that it's off-putting, it's just not inspiring.

Taste - pretty much the same as the smell. Crackers, and sour grassy, herbal hops. Doesn' t really impress the palate.

Mouthfeel - full to medium bodied, smooth, slight slickness.

Drinkability - not a great beer, not bad either, but not good enough that I'd want another serving after I finish this 6-pack, especially since I can get ( and will, of course ) so many other excellent offerings from the normally excellent Bell's.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy light blond ale with a thin cap of soapy suds and decent lacing. Not all that great looking in the pint glass, but I love Bell's bottles. They are very refined and classy.

Smells a bit lagerish and dull to me. Bready and biscuity, but rather weak.

Tastes very mild, sweet and lighty hoppy with a nice bicuity lemon finish that is slighty on the dry side. This could use more hops IMO.

Decent carbonation and light bodied watery feel make this brew less of a winner that I was expecting from Bell's.

Good sipping beer, but nothing much to write home about.

Photo of frazbri
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bell's Pale Ale poured golden with a tall white head and a little yeast sediment. Aroma mainly consisted of citrus and pine. Flavor was solidly bitter, bready and yeasty, with a little citrus zest. Medium body and carbonation with a dry finish.

This was okay, but not as good as I expected from Bell's. The yeast charactor was a little too prominent.

Photo of Beaver13
3.44/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, batch 7163 (11/28/05). I guess this beer is a little old, but my Dad just bought it in MI 3 weeks ago, bummer. Pours a hazy, glowing golden orange with some suspended yeasties. It has a fluffy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is bready malts, some citrus, grassy floral hops and a little DMS.

The flavor is very sweet and fruity malts at first, followed by a decent hop bitterness which lingers through the aftertaste. There is a touch of sourness. The sweetness and bitterness are not well balanced. The mouthfeel is medium and slightly watery, yet bubbly.

Overall, a decent pale ale. It has good bitterness, but is not well balanced. I wonder what this tastes like fresher.

Photo of mjd83goblue
2.46/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle, Batch 7556, packaged about a month and a half ago, so it is fresh...

A: Pours yellow-orange with a small head. Lots of yeast floating about that is 'suspended', and never really settles.

S: Smells like oranges. Old sour oranges.

T: Basically tastes like watered down Oberon with some bittering hops at the end. Bitter orange peel aftertaste. I don't get it.

M: I guess its alright.

D: It can't be that drinkible if I don't like the taste right?

What the hell happened Larry? I just do not like this beer. And I've had it from at least 3 batches, so it wasn't a bad bottle or anything. It amazes me that I love their IPA (2-Hearted) so much, but disliked this. I know some people have liked it from the reviews, so its a decent beer, but I personally will avoid it.

Photo of beachbum1975
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this last night in a 12 oz. with friends at the Dilly Deli – no freshness date to speak of…

Appearance: Like all Bell's beers, quality seeps from the bottle. When pouring any of Bell's beers, you know there's fine craftsmanship involved. This poured a medium to thick bodied beer into my traditional pint glass. The beer poured an attractive yellow, almost copper-ish ale which was cloudy in color. There was a small white foamy head that had good retention, leaving stringy lacing as I drank it.

Smell: Sweet! First and foremost, I got a sweet punch of citrus flavors, especially grapefruit and light hops. Not the smell I would expect from an American Pale Ale, but pleasing, regardless.

Taste: I consider this the best part of the beer. As mentioned above, Bell’s well made. This was a solid and sweet, “malty” flavored brew. Definitely medium bodied.

Mouthfeel: Quite enjoyable actually – good amounts of carbonation on my tongue. Not what I will instantly think of as a Pale Ale, (or a lightly hopped, sweeter version of one), but unique the whole time.

Drinkability: I will definitely have again. Surely worth a try.

Photo of wcudwight
3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Dertbert for the sample.
Pours a hazy gold, yellow, orange. Nice white head that retains well. Spiderweb lacing covers the glass.
Aroma is earthy and spicy. Where are the hops?
The flavor reminds me a lot of a wheatbeer. Bready, buscuits, lemon and other citrus flavors. There is a bitterness, but it's not a typical APA hop bitterness. It's almost a spicy makes your mouth burn bitterness.
Mouthfeel is fair. There is a zest in the mouth and a burn.
Overall it's not a bad offering, but Bell's has set the bar so high. I would go with one of Bell's other offerings.

Photo of biegaman
3.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Incredible how much quality Bell's put into even their lesser beers. A dense clouded colour capped with good head and lacing. Hops hit the nose like fireworks in the air, an explosive aroma. Hops only in the nose, void in the body. Taste falls flat in comparison, a big let down. Not much interest offered in the flavour. Stale wheat character. One dimensional, mouthfeel dull. Against other U.S micro pale ales this one doesn't compare, a surprinsgly (slightly) comprimised offering from Bell's. All the same, much prefered over anything commercial and I still can't say I've had a bad Bell's beer. Thanks Sammy.

Photo of GimpyCane
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

appearance: pour a nice amber w/ small white head which fully diminished after a few minutes. Seem unfiltered, had small particles on bottom.

smell: I got a light malt and hop scent w/ a hint of lemon and allspice. Smells nice.

taste: After allowing the beer to sit for several minutes, my first sip had a moderate bitter taste w/ a light acidic aftertaste. Which was pleasant to my tastebuds. The lasting taste was average.

mouthfeel: The beer was a tab dry yet the fizzy carbonation made the beer feel watery (strange). The body was light to medium.

drinkability: Overall, for an APA this beer is what I expected to have. A good beer indeed and I would drink a six pack.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 7373

A perfect hue for any pale ale. decent bubbling and some lacing to boot. Lots of amber and hints of light rust. The aroma is a good Saaz hop presentation mixed with a little alpha acidy Northwestern hops. But les not forget a biscuity bread aroma mixed with that bitterness. The taste starts out with some interesting, funky malts. But then lets the resiny hops get some attention. The palaste is a tad dry but still refreshing.

Photo of bozebus17
3.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy gold out of the bottle. There is a small white head that doesn't last very long.

Smells of citrus hops and fresh grain. The scent reminds me of a hefe.

The taste is all citrus hops. They come cutting through and don't really leave room for anything else. This beer really isn't balanced very well, even for a pale. After swallowing the carbonation continues to tingle on the inside of the mouth.

This beer is okay but nothing to write home about. I don't see buying it again since Bell's has many better products out there.

Photo of Fish113d
3.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale gold color with a foamy, white 1cm head that sticks to the glass and seems to not want to dissipate at all. Unfiltered look to it with lots of sediment floating throughout...the bottle has sediment on the bottom telling me this brew had been sitting for a while unopened.

Mostly grainy to the nose with a bit of citrus (grapefruit); sour smelling actually. Nothing much else happening. Kinda boring.

Large citrus flavor along with some interesting bitter hops. The grapefruit hits my palate along with a good shot of carbonation. As I swallow, a bit of pine comes through with the hops, but mostly bitter and floral on the finish. Decent.

Again, the carbonation hits like a ton of bricks, but it makes this seem crisp and refreshing in some ways. However, it balances out well toward the swallow. Nice.

Enjoyable brew really. Not the best pale I've ever had, but a worthy brew worth trying. enjoy!

Photo of dirtylou
4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, Batch 7373, bought a 6 pack at rileys for 8.99 for a poker game last night (won big!). This is the leftover

appearance: pours a pale golden straw color into a great dane imperial pint glass, big frothy white head with outstanding retention/lacing left behind. a pretty attractive pale ale, with a lighter body than some of its rivals

smell: smell is clean and fresh...lemon zest dominates, with a very wheat-esque aroma that was a little surprising, hops are gentle and floral-citric, lightly toasted wheat malt

taste: very interesting pale that approaches a white at points...very fresh and clean, zesty lemon wheat flavours, light citrus hop profile, toasty, grain and malt backbone...A great summer APA

mouthfeel: super creamy, medium body, very pleasant

drinkability: super session

Photo of rabsten
3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First Bell's product Ever. Went to get a Two Hearted, but it was sold out. Thought I'd try the Pale Ale.

Bottle into a pub pint glass, cloudy pale amber (blonde, like the bottle says, come to think of it) with thin head, some lacing.

Aroma is malty and wheat-y. Smells like a white ale, or a heffewiesen without the fruitiness.

Tastes surprisingly white/wheaty. Well, not a surprise, given the looks and smell of it, I suppose. More like, "man, this isn't like any Pale I've ever had." Fresh malt dominates over a lightly toasted wheat. Minor hops. Slight bread aftertaste starts to show itself after the pint has sat for a while and warmed in the summer heat. Lingering spiciness.

Pleasant astringent mouthfeel. Like a saison. Hmmm, feels like a Unibroue product, come to think of it.

Drinks pretty well. It's relaxing.

As I said, this bottle was my very first Bell's. This would be a really good Wheat/White/Wit, which I generally don't really care for. But it's labeled a Pale Ale and I'm not going to argue with a brewer that generally gets good marks. Not what I was looking for and not my preferred style, but pretty good, nonetheless.

Photo of AaronHomoya
3.23/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz brown bottle.

Poured a nice, light amber color with good head. The aroma was somewhat mild and consisted of some malt and a bit of sweet hops. The taste was malty with a hoppy, bitter finish and something of a stale, banana flavor. Maybe an old bottle? Mouthfeel was fine. Drinkability suffers due to the underwhelming aroma and funny taste.

Bell's Pale Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
78 out of 100 based on 1,168 ratings.