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

Bell's Pale AleBell's Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,109 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1109
Reviews: 618
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 14.96%

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: 1,109 | Reviews: 618 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of soju6


3.73/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden color with a decent head and some lacing.

S: Nice clean aroma of pine, bit of citrus, fresh grain with a hint of spice.

T: Taste starts with an initial crisp nip, light malt sweetness and a bit of spice. A nice bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium body, crisp, smooth and refreshing. Nice balance, not overpowering.

O: Nice beer, goes down easy and good for a few.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 01:14:53 | More by soju6
Photo of hippityhops85


3.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour from a 12oz bottle acquired via a $10 mix-a-six at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Bottle date of 8/30/11.

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a clear, bright golden color with obvious sediment swirly around the carbonation. Perhaps two fingers of rocky white head that dissipates down to about a cm leaving some nice lacing on the glass.

Nose has subtle hop bitterness, light, bready malts. Not an extremely strong nose.

The taste again has the mildly bitter hops along with a nice, light, malt characteristic.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with active carbonation but not overly so.

This is an good quaffable brew. Not sure why this isn't rated higher to be honest. I could sit and watch the game and down a sixer of these easily and not be unhappy.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2011 22:59:09 | More by hippityhops85
Photo of Arithmeticus


3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured at room temp in insulated clear glass

A: clear amber with a one-finger head that dissipates relatively quickly
S: soapy hops are prominent
T: Strong flavors of bitter hops, but sterilized by cloying character (perhaps the temperature; chill it a bit and see how it works)

It's a mature pale ale, but it's not outstanding in the field.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 02:54:34 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh 12oz bottle purchased at International Beverage in Grand Rapids.

Pours a light golden hue with one finger of white foam, lots of bubbly carbonation in the body, some chill haze, and strands of stringy lacing on the pint glass.

Smell is grainy pale malt, lemon zest, orange jujube and marmalade, toasted wheat, floral, earthy and herbal hops, and bread dough.

Flavour is citric, zesty and floral hops, grainy-bready malts, toasted wheat, faint mineral note, spicy, prickly and astringent bitterness with lemon juice on the cough. A strange little pale, as the IBUs seem pretty high for the style, and yet this tastes more like a blonde or wheat ale than an APA. Either way, it's a delicious session beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, medium-bodied, slightly creamy, juicy and citric lemon peel bitterness lingers in the long, drying finish. A great, refreshing thirst quencher.

Overall, I could crush a sixer of this bright sunny brew in no time. I suspect it's underrated because it doesn't conform to the APA style guidelines. If they called it a blonde or "golden" ale, the reviews would probably skyrocket. In any case, Bell's Pale Ale is a scrumptious beer with eminent drinkability, and I'll be seeking it out in future.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 20:01:49 | More by cratez
Photo of metter98

New York

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

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of freshly baked cheesecake, bready malts and muted citrus hops in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of bready and grainy malts. Only hints of bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I would have no problem drinking this beer all night long. It’s not that complex but is very sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 17:05:20 | More by metter98
Photo of Neorebel

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a golden blonde color, with a healthy head. As I take the aroma in I detect bready malts and coriander, with a slight hint of hops. The taste has a floral touch, full of wheat and rich graininess, and a citrus background. It finishes with a alight bitterness on the tongue. The mouth feel is medium and overall, no one thing dominates. I began to appreciate this beer more as I went through it for its subtleties. Underrated.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 02:09:28 | More by Neorebel
Photo of Shibbykaiyai


2.63/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

While not a bad beer, this definitely is the weak link in the Bell's arsenal.

I have had this brew a couple of times and it still has yet to impress me. In a tough field that includes most of the heavy hitters like Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, etc., it is a beer than hopes to draw more on local ties than actual quality.

Not a bad beer at all. But in a crowded field, it is nothing more than a cheapest beer available purchase. Which is how I purchased it the last time and remembered why I should have spent an extra buck on Sierra Nevada.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 04:22:49 | More by Shibbykaiyai
Photo of Knapp85


3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew poured out as a traditional hazy yellowish gold color with a fluffy white head on top. The head had a pretty good retention to it and a good lacing also. The smell of the beer had some fresh grain aromas with some hoppy aromas in there as well. The taste of the beer was average in my opinion. The flavors of grains and bitter hops seemed to be pretty well balanced here. The mouthfeel was light bodied with a tingling carbonation to it. Overall this beer was decent.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 02:24:45 | More by Knapp85
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow gold color with a foamy 2 finger snow white head that looked like snow and faded slowly leaving good lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells of corn husk, grains, sweet malt, herbs, light floral hops, cracker and biscuit. Smells like an English pale ale with malt and graham cracker dominating the nose, not the hoppy aroma of an APA so it loses style points there for being misclassified. If this were an English pale ale then this would be spot on with the malt and grain domination.

Tastes like grains, sweet malt, herbs, light floral hops, flowers, grass, peat moss, hay or straw, cracker, biscuit, citrus, vegetable husk and some mild spices; this is OK, and while the flavor is not bad it just didn’t excite me all that much. This beer is great to pull out of the fridge, crack open and start pounding, but as it warms it shows that it’s a tad unbalanced and too malty to be a stand out APA.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with low carbonation that was almost fizzy, a light body and a grainy aftertaste that was a little bitter and almost dry.

This beer was decent and while I’m glad I had a six pack, I’m not so sure I’d get another one as there are a lot better APA’s out there like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anchor Liberty Ale. It was easy to drink, so that makes it above average overall.

2/20/13-Just had this again and feel the same way. Perhaps I've been spoiled by all of the hoppy and more flavorful APA's out there, so this one remains average in my book.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2011 03:53:08 | More by CHickman
Photo of pBRale


2.53/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From tasting notes 10-13-11
Poured into a wine glass

Appearance: Hazy pale golden in color with huge chunks of sediment. There is a big, foamy white head that also has chunks suspended in it (they are orange), and the head settles slowly with a little bit of retention and a beautiful lace.

Smell: Very spicey with a hint of floral notes that is reminiscent of hibiscus. The chunks seem to be spices. Also, I smell a nice grainy aroma.

Taste: Distinctive spiciness throughout; there is a nice pale malt backbone but the spices take over the taste. The finish is crisp, dry, and very spicey. Twangy aftertaste is also unappealing.

Mouthfeel: Light body, medium carbonation, with a crisp finish. Refreshing, at least, even though the taste isn't.

Overall: Nothing impressive here; I find the taste unappealing and the aftertaste even more-so. By far the most disappointing Bell's beer I've had.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 05:19:53 | More by pBRale
Photo of mjpolzin


3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A soild beer but a forgettable beer. The only thing I really enjoyed about this beer was the floating sediment in the glass which gave it a cool look. With this being a pale ale, I expected more hoppy bitterness and it just wasn't there. Outside of the look of this brew, everything else was average and I think my score reflects that.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 21:06:10 | More by mjpolzin
Photo of titosupertramp


3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pale, golden color with lots of floaties. Maybe a finger of white head that receeds quickly into the beer, leaving a nice amount of lacing and film with large bubbles around outer edges of glass.

S: Sweet malts, and faint lemon grass hops. Not much else, really. Not bad, not great.

T: Same here. The sweetness of the pale/bicuit malts is very well balanced by the hop bitterness.

M: Nice amount of carbonation provides solid mouthfeel.

O: This isn't a bad beer, but I guess I'd like a little more from an APA. Would this be better as an Eglish Pale Ale? Yep. This recipe would probably make a very good Pilsner. Oh well. Not a bad beer, but nothing I'd seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2011 23:55:21 | More by titosupertramp
Photo of andrewjraab


2.78/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Clear and Golden. Half inch of white head. Nice Lacing rings that had a good stick down the glass.

S - Fruity undertones, clean on the nose.

T - medium bitterness with a faint banana peel taste.

M - Meh. Nothing special here. Almost has too much of a bubbly taste.

O - I thought Bell's could do much better in this space. This beer tasted mass produced.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2011 00:39:50 | More by andrewjraab
Photo of DCon


2.93/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought a 12 FL OZ (355 ML) bottle of this from Lukas Liquor in Ellisville, MO for $1.99. Poured from the orange/yellow sun colored bottle with a thief climbing up a stock? into a 16oz Pint Glass. This picture still puzzles me... It does have 10098 on the back of the bottle (whatever this means).

Aroma- Has a light hop aroma with a bit of malts hanging around. Average-Good because of how well balanced it is. No single characteristic is too overpowering or dominant.

Appearance- Pours a 2 finger head that has decent retention. Has a pale golden color body and may be slightly hazy. Leaves good lacing behind!

Flavor- Has a mild hop flavor with some citrus behind it. Citrus is very weak and mostly has a sweet malt taste behind it. The bitterness is a light-medium in the scale of Hop Bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, Clean, but then too much for this style... Should have bite and more hops present. Want more hop Bells!!!

Overall Impression- How can you call this an APA? Not enough hop or attribute behind it. I would call it an English Pale Ale but not an APA at all. An easy drinking pale ale but I'd rather go for others in its style or even others from Bell's. Will not be returning to anytime soon...

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2011 06:25:19 | More by DCon
Photo of abrand


3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from 6 pack poured into pint glass.

Pours an amber color with 2 finger white head. Quick fading and leaves little lacing. Smell is pretty straight forward with plenty of malts, some sugar, and little hop presence. Average smelling beer. Taste is also just average. Somewhat watery. Some malts and toffee on the palate. Mouthfeel is pretty thin. Overall this is pretty drinkable but really doesn't stand out in any way.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 14:16:28 | More by abrand
Photo of HuskyinPDX


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

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.
Bottled 8.24.2011.

A - Pours a light hazy orange with an average sized off-white head. The head slowly fades, but never completely and leaves good lacing on the glass.

S - Very pilsner like, wheat and sweet corn.

T - Wheat, lemon, malts.

D - Good carbonation, lighter body.

O - It's a Pale ale, hmmm. not much here.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 05:35:53 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of MacQ32

South Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours an unfiltered golden orange into my Brooklyn tulip glass with a solid finger of seemingly dense near white head, great lacing and good retention

S - Grainy, slightly grassy and malty, not too impressed here.

T - Very grainy/bready and grassy, wheaty malts. Slight yeast flavors linger

M - Lighter bodied, pretty well carbonated, drinkable

O - Less than optimal boldness/hoppyness. Really just tastes grassy, dont really like this one as much as I hoped, I figured since I live and die for 2 hearted ale that I'd give this a try, probably wouldnt drink again on my own unless a friend preferred something like this. Definitely not terrible, definitely not great

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 19:06:56 | More by MacQ32
Photo of NWer


3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle.
Unimpressive pour. Pale yellow not conducive to a Pale Ale at all. No head to speak of.
I've had adjunct lagers that taste no worse than this. Very thin and watery tasting.
Not craft worthy. A big disappointment given Bell's reputation.
update: On closer scrutiny (and a few more beers) I believe I was too harsh in my initial evaluation. The pour is quite nice with a nice tight head. Taste is much better than any adjunct lager and I upgraded this beer accordingly. Still not overwhelmed though.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2011 22:18:09 | More by NWer
Photo of FanofHefe


3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden color and is crystal clear. Good two-finger, eggshell white head with good retention and scattered rings of lacing.

More of a grainy, malt aroma than hops, but not overly sweet. The hops are light, but tend toward a light citrus and a touch tropical.

The flavor is fairly bland overall, as neither the malt nor the hops shine. Not a very favorable mix of flavors.

Light texture in the mouthfeel. Not Bells best effort.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 22:27:18 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of smakawhat


2.53/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A very light blonde body with a cloudy appearance. Head forms about three fingers nicely and has good foamy character with some solid cap retention. Described as blonde so I will for go the criticism of this being too pale. Minimal lacing at all put a simple puck presented while consuming.

Nose is husky grain, borderline adjunct smelling but mostly just husky. Not much else no sense of hops either, not really digging this malt profile. Some time passes and there might be some slight DMS in the background.

Taste is weird and all over the map. Hop presence makes its debut by jumping out of nowhere then slamming your fave bitterly. This is not a pleasant hop bitter its sharp and off kilter. Sense of bile and brine on top of a toasted light malt that doesn't mix well. Texture is.pretty solid with an actual thick malt body. Aftertaste is malt liquor dry and cottonmouth numbness.

Overall this just seems strange, unbalanced, and barely even to style. Floral sense as mentioned? Not even close. I always wondered why there never seemed to be anyone buying this or mentioning this brew from Bell's considering some of their really good beers. Now I think I know why.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2011 21:48:15 | More by smakawhat
Photo of BucannonXC5


3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at Dema (Westin) in Detroit, Mich. Color was pale golden. About ½-inch of head. Light lacing on the top. Hardly any film on the sides.

Smelled of wheaty malts, slightly grassy. Just a hint of citrus in there.

Wheat malts led the way in the taste. Not as much grass as the smell.

Medium body. Average-to-lively carbonation.

I enjoyed this beer. It was the first of four Bell’s I tried and I ended up going back to it a few times.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 20:02:16 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of BARFLYB


3.2/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz draft into a pint glass at The Ugly Moose, PA gets this, But I never had it.

Bell's Pale comes into the glass splashing a golden tan shade with a nice bright look. Pouring real hard, I got a decent cap to stare at, just a dead calm, some small etchings of lace as well. Smell is mostly pale malt and some grass and light aroma hops, nothing to large though. Taste is lackluster, faint hops, earthy, hay, no citrus, no real pine, no real nothing. I got more out of Bell's Amber which is saying something. Pale malt is not to heavy which is commendable. The body seems on point, light and crisp carb, it's just lacking any taste from remaining on the palat for more than a few seconds. I drank it and thats that.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2011 03:51:25 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of tykees88


3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is just straightforward an average beer.

It's a drinkable looking brew. The color is a darker gold biscuit color, and a bubbly head that is white.

The smell of this is pretty bland. The brew has a nice toasty biscuit smell, but for a pale ale the hops are like the opposite of an elephant in a room, you don't notice them.

Tastes like that biscuit beer that i like but the hop finish just isn't there. it's a light esb almost.

M- it's just a medium bodied beer.

O- it's average, had better, had worse. Won't drink it again, but at least i tried it.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 19:26:43 | More by tykees88
Photo of ngeunit1


3.68/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear golden-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a bit weak. It is a mix of bready malts and some grassy hops. Just a bit of citrus hops in the background.

T - Starts off with the bready malts from the nose with a touch of yeast. There is also a bit of grassy/earthy hops in the background. Through the middle, some yeast flavor comes through with a touch of sweeter caramel malts. The finish is back to the bready malts with some yeast character that lingers.

M - Medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and fairly crisp and refreshing, if not a bit empty.

D - Very drinkable. Could have used a bit more kick somewhere as the flavor just feels a tiny bit empty.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2011 06:56:45 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of beagle75


3.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Clear, medium golden color with one finger of white foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass while floaties hang in the column as a few streams of bubbles rise eagerly.

S: Very bready malt that is clean, with a mild and grassy hop presence.

T: Begins dry, with English pale malt that is intensely bready, like the smell, with delicate floral hop aromatics following. Carbonic acid is fairly strong in flavor, banishing what intense flavors were present into the middle. Yeast persists as other flavors clear out, preserving some of the early bready qualities while also adding some fermentation. Aromatics turn herbaceous in the finish, with dried grass and mild bitterness.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, soft on the palate but allowing a mild acidic burn to develop in the throat, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This mediocre pale ale combines English malt qualities with nuanced herbaceous hops in a package that is uncharacteristically blond for the style. Expect it to serve in versatile roles, but it isn't likely to reveal any new beer horizons to the drinker.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2011 03:46:42 | More by beagle75
Bell's Pale Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
78 out of 100 based on 1,109 ratings.