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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,166 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,166
Reviews: 618
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.66%
Wants: 20
Gots: 41 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: SheepNutz on 12-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,166 | Reviews: 618 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of battlekow
2.48/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The store just started carrying Bell's and Founders pale ales, so I thought I'd give them a whirl.

Bell's version is a very cloudy amber yellowish color, capped by a generous, soapy head. Big chunks of foam stick to the side of the glass as the head dies down. Not nearly as heady as the Bell's Best Brown I had a little while ago, but "generous" was the right word.

I accidentally inhaled a bunch of foam while sticking my nose in the glass and it smells like tortilla chips. The beer doesn't smell THAT toasty unless you put it up your nose, but the scent is primarily of toasted malts, as opposed to other APAs' lightly hoppy aroma.

Tastes a bit of wet dog. This is a fresh batch: "The Batch ID that you entered '7089', is a Bell's Pale Ale. Your Bell's Pale Ale was packaged on September 28, 2005," but I have no idea where the hops have gone. The only hint of them is the bittering in the finish; there is no hop flavor. It doesn't taste bad, but it also doesn't taste like an APA. Very disappointing, especially when compared directly to Founders' superb version of the style.

battlekow, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of ghostwalker
3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle serving.

Yellow/orange pour, lots of suspended chunks of yeast sediment.

Very little head, disappears fast, leaves some nice lacing.

Mild nose, yeast, malt and hops in balance.

Typical APA flavors, but not nearly as strong as many examples of the style. Somewhat hoppy, but in balance with the yeast and malt. Fruity highlights, some citrus, apricot. Nice flavor overall, just a little too mild for me.

Drinkability is good. These could probably go down easy. However, I could only find this in 6 packs, and only in MI. The price was high for what it is, too. In the future, I will spend my beer $ on something with a little more zip.

ghostwalker, Oct 02, 2005
Photo of longarm
3.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy yellow with chunks floating in solid carbonation.

Corn adjunct with mild hops in aroma.

Hops more prevalent in the taste. Earthy and spicy hops balance bitterness to a sweet malt profile. Some esters...slight fruity character.

Has a moderately dense mouthfeel and syrupy finish. Drinkability is moderate on this. A little disappointing considering the rest of Bell's line-up.

longarm, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of karst
4.1/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

packaged on June 27, 2005
returning to this blond ale considering a clone homebrew. Recipe calling for Hallertau for bitterness and flavor with grain (8.5 lb) Pale 2-row and half pound of Victory. I think the trick will be using Bell's yeast.
Not much of a head (< 1 finger) over the murky apricot brew with lots yeast particles. Signature Bell's yeast aroma. Grapefruit hop nose. Malt character well balanced by hop bitterness. Slightly leafy hop flavor. The finish is very clean with a pleasant nuttiness from the minor addition of Victory malt and mild Hallertau bitterness. There has to be cascade hops in this beer - no way the yeast will give that much grapefruit esters. Love the favor of this beer! Looking forward to a trip to the brewery.

karst, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear yellow with large white yeast flakes settled in the bottom.

Smell: Kind of bland, a little yeasty.

Taste: I don't know, I didn't really like this flavor. It wasn't bad, it was just an average pale ale flavor to me...

Notes: I prefer Two Brothers The Bitter End to this one for a pale ale with a large yeasty component.

TurdFurgison, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of whynot44
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Straw colored with a decent white head that actually persists for a while leaving a bit of lacing behind.

The aroma is fruity, citrusy with a bit of sweet malt background.

Medium bodied, definite hops bite up front, slight grapefruit citrus taste, followed by a bit of caramel and fruit - apple or pear, with a strong but pleasant hops finish and aftertaste.

Altogether very nice, worth a try.

whynot44, Sep 08, 2005
Photo of Backer2004
3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

According to Michael Jackson's Pocket Guide to Beer, a "Pale Ale means bronze or copper colored." Even though the bottle said this would be a lighter colored brew, the appreance alone turned me off to this one, a first for Bell's. Starw colored with mild hops, little carbonation, and grassy smell, this almost seems like they bottled this one wrong. Too many great Bell's and too many great Pale Ales to choose this one again.

Backer2004, Sep 08, 2005
Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.9/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A very mellow APA.

Crisp carbonation and a healthy white head. Plenty of good flakey stuff floating around like one expects from Bell's.

The malts are mild and sweet.

The hops have some spicy flowery notes.

Very dry finish.

This beer was ok and I should note that my mom loved it but I expect more from Bell's and wasn't too enthused over this.

DaPeculierDane, Sep 06, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Pale Ale is your no-frills, yet standard tasting beer that's simply done the right way.

Impressingly, the beer pours a light amber, mostly golden color with the signature haze of hoppy ales. A slightly off white head caps the beer with great persistence of creamy white foam and classy rings of lace that align each draw from the glass.

Bright fruit flavors and aromas of esters and hops blend for a unique blend of appricots, grapefruit, mango, orange peel, pineapple, and regular apples. Backed by malty sweetness of thin caramel and honey, the beer is very well balanced as not to allow either the malt nor the hops to gain command.

Creamy and semi-sweet to start, but the hop bitterness and mild alcohol warmth provide a malty-dry finish of grain and light resin for a crisp and zesty aftertaste of balanced fruit and bitterness.

BEERchitect, Aug 05, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.15/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 6821. The Bell's Pale Ale pours from the bottle into my glass a golden honey like the warm summer sun. A creamy froth of white appears on top with big airy bubbles. Aromas of sweet pale malts touched with caramel intertwine with herbal, fresh wildflower hops and light citrus spice.

First sip brings a refreshingly sweet pale malty backbone enlivend with bold flowery, herbal hoppiness that takes hold mid palate. Hints of citrus fruits and mellow spice as well. A refreshing pale ale with an interesting hop profile. It's nice to see something other than the normal citurs/grapefruit hops used in most pale ales. Lingering bitterness on the finish with wildflower hop burps!

Mouthfeel is nearly perfect with enough grist to make it feel full in the mouth. Another easy drinking brew from Bell's. I could see a sixer disappearing from my fridge quite quickly. Thanks to kmpitz2 for the single.

orbitalr0x, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of alewarrior
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle conditioned pale ale, nice head, sticks around nicely, hoppy and floral nose, slightly malty, more tilted to the hoppy side in the nose. This is a pretty run of the mill, boiler plate american pale ale, hoppy on the get go, with a nice malty middle and a hoppy, drying finish. A good beer for a 6 pack on the beach or a bar b que, worth a try, but somehow I have come to expect more from bells.

alewarrior, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of schoolcb
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very pale straw color. Slightly hazy. Nice 2-finger white foam head that persists. Aroma of American hops. Flavor is grassy/floral hops that dominates over the pale malt base. Medium bodied. The hop bitterness lasts a long time, and {burp} keeps repeating. Overall an ok American Pale Ale.

schoolcb, Jul 20, 2005
Photo of Jacobob10
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out yellow/orange and very hazy. Nice white fizzy head with good retention. Citrus aroma with some slight spice. All I could taste was lemon and pepper. It was light to medium-bodied and the spiciness left a slight tingling sensation on your tounge. Very drinkable nonetheless.

Is this an American Pale Ale or a Wheat Beer? You could have fooled me. Very similar to Sam Adams Summer Ale in some respects. I guess you could say this beer is original, but can you call it original just because you don't feel it fits the style?

I used some of this brew in a marinade for flank steak and the end result was beautiful. Added a nice fruity touch to the soy sauce i also used.

Jacobob10, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was not one of my favorite examples of the style. It poured to a light golden color with a bit of a haze and some chunks of sediment. The head was minimal, but lasted the whole way down the glass.

The smell is decent. A bit of a spicy hop profile backed by a huge grainy aroma.

The taste is a bit malty with a dry spicy hop finish. It tastes similar to cascades, but has more of a noble hop bite to it in the finish. The malt is a bit caramel-ish. The body is full and creamy.

I might drink this again if it was fresh from the brewery, but I don't reckon I'd try it again otherwise.

neonbrown82, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good aroma: yeasty and fruity aroma, nice lace. Very good smooth fruity pale, with apple, grapefruit, orange and a spot of lemon. Understated carbonation as i would exepct from the style. Touch metallic, though not noticed in retry in fall 2005. Drying finish and spice aftertaste including cloves . Easy drink, not their best but a good effort.

Sammy, Jul 08, 2005
Photo of niknar
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a straw color not too distant from the typical color of a macro. Here is where the similarities stop, however. A thin, white head that quickly disappears leaves a decent amount of lacing. Notable "floaties" in the body of the beer, but I'm not particularly scared away by such things. Aroma is strongly citrus with hops and pine serving as a background. From the appearance I expected this offering to be overcarbonated, but I was wrong. The taste is fairly typical of the style - strong hop notes with a dry finish. Nothing that breaks the mold, but still a very pleasant beer. Mouthfeel is slightly weak in the body compared to many others in the style, but not enough to be a deterrent. Drinkability on this one is pretty good, as long as you have a love hops.

niknar, Jun 07, 2005
Photo of nota
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very cloudy and yellow. When put up to the light I see floaters swimming around. Smells very much of floral. The taste starts with a piney spice and ends with a hops bitterness. Other taste I detect are citrus orange peel. With this beer I would say you felt like you drank something, plenty of taste.

nota, May 15, 2005
Photo of malty
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. longneck bottle - no freshness date.

The color is a soapy golden yellow with a thin white head. Thick clinging lacework.

Scents of sweet doughy goodness with fruity citrus rind from the hops.

Sharp flavors of bitter hops and grainy, gritty malt backdrop. Tangy lemon notes mingled within an overall dominating dryness.

Mouthfeel is steadily carbonated with a light-medium body. Crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability is good seeing this beer is neither over-the-top or shy. It's very sharp, crisp and dry - all the qualities I love in a pilsner. I respect Bell's interpretation of this style, but I'm not a huge fan of this pale. A quality offering, just not quite for me.

malty, May 13, 2005
Photo of vladtheimpaler
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a necw yellow, with the nicest white head you will find anywhere. Some floaties are about and swirling around in the carbonation. Nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is fruity with a touch of hops present. No defects. Lively fruity flavor, with plenty of hops and a nice malt presence. Hops linger on the palate. Nice mouth feel for a light ale, with perfect carbonation, and nice malt body. This is one easy drinkin' brew that could easily be consumed in quantity.

vladtheimpaler, Apr 30, 2005
Photo of BeerFink
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out blonde, with a slight haze to it. Foamy white head which sticks around and leaves some good lacing. Color is a little too light for this style. Aroma of grass, pale malt, a bit of lemony hops, and not much else. Taste is creamy with lots of malt, however it quickly leads into a tannin filled bitter metallic taste. An almost honey sweet malt taste is balanced by spice and a little citrous hops. Although it is a smooth beer, the drinkability is hampered by that tannin taste. Not at all what I was expecting in an APA.

BeerFink, Apr 06, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no dates.

Cloudy golden amber with a thick white head. Good retention. Lots of carbonation.

Smells lemony with a little malt and hop. Not what I would expect an APA to smell like, but not bad.

Not as much bite like others in this style exhibit, but it does have a decent malt body and a nice dry finish. Medium mouthfeel, a sixer of these goes down pretty easy after a long summer's day.

ypsifly, Mar 04, 2005
Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer sampled, pours light orangy, apricot. Cloudy with sediments, just a wisp of a white tiny bubble head, no lacing to to get excited about. Nose is sweet, bready and peppery. This is another nicely crafted and enjoyable from Bells. Moderate citrus hop bite, pepper evident. Quite dry in the finish. Fine sessioner

Billolick, Feb 20, 2005
Photo of alexgash
3.9/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hefe-cloudy golden yellow with a small, downy white head. Looks a lot like many witbiers that I've had, only with a smaller head. Nose is made up of lemony citrus hops over a slender, biscuity malt base. It's got that [expected] Bell's yeast character to it as well. Lively carbonation delivers juicy, lemon zesty hops to the tip of the tongue. Light malt backbone follows. Kinda sugary but not very sweet and leaner than I like. Tart, lemony hops swell into the piney, yeasty, malty finish. Medium-bodied with lively carbonation; refreshing. Not bad, but not my favorite Bell's beer.

alexgash, Jan 11, 2005
Photo of mobyfann
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $8.99 for a mixed 6'er from Wild Oats...

The beer pours a hazy golden base with a medium white head, average retention and a few nice lacing effects towards the end. The aroma is pretty weak, smells like a euro lager mixed with with a lemon with some hops.

The taste is alright, you'll be overwhelmed with the pale taste from the start, after the beer settles it's a good mix of basic malts and sweet hops. The mouthfeel is good as with all of the Bell's beers. It's not too roguh on the palette but let it settle and things will be fine. The drinkability is also good, at 5% for an APA, it work well for a session beer, but after 3, it'll get a little old.

Final Thought: Not the best from Kalamazoo BC's brewhaus, especially at a steep price, I'll stick with SNPA for a staple APA.

mobyfann, Jan 09, 2005
Photo of Quaffer
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in Missouri. No available here in Kansas.

Appearance: This beer was a light, golden yellow. Much lighter than I was anticipating. Even with a careful pour, there was a decent amount of sediment that made it into the glass. The head rose up perfectly to two fingers and settled down very, very slowly. This was mainly due to the absolutely huge amount of bubbles (caused by the sediment) that was rising up from below and feeding it. The head was sticky, and became dense and fluffy as is dissipated. There was a ton of lace left behind, creating solid sheets of foam on the side of the glass.

Smell: Mild and malty sweet. The malt character was lightly roasted as well, keeping the aroma from becoming too sweet. It was borderline corny sweet, especially right after the pour. The hops were mild but balancing, spicy and lightly citrus-like in quality.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied and flat feeling in the mouth.

Taste: Not much malt presence in the taste. There is a little sweetness upfront, but it is thin and lacking. Citrus hops kicked in in the middle, but they didn't provide much bitterness. More than anything else, they were just sour. Finally, well into the aftertaste, some grain flavors arose, though they didn't have any depth to them.

Thin and uninspiring, in my opinion.

Quaffer, Nov 22, 2004
Bell's Pale Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
78 out of 100 based on 1,166 ratings.