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Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Smitten Golden Rye AleBell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

274 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 274
Hads: 1,526
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 28%
Wants: 31
Gots: 225 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Rye Beer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Biggness on 06-14-2008

Drawn from one of our oldest recipes, Smitten Ale began as part of a series of rye beers at our Eccentric Café. The combination of sharp citrus & resinous flavors from the hops with the earthy, rustic overtones of the rye malt contribution yield an interesting take on the American Pale Ale.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 274 | Hads: 1,526
Photo of timmy2b
2.84/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottles poured into pint glasses.

Very heavy on the rye scent, only getting a light amount of citrus scent. Subtle orange color in the glass with almost no head but a light white ring around the glass that does not linger.

Taste is also very heavy on the, gives me just a little bit of citrus with a large amount of bitter flavor.

Light and does not linger in the mouth and is very easy to sip on. I think this is a good addition to Bells rotation, but is not something that I would pick over the Oberon.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
2.86/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75

Chilled 12 oz. bottle into a 33 cl snifter. Bottling date 1.14.13.

Look- Pale Amber, lots (and I mean LOTS) of suspended particulate. Looks pretty unappealing, actually It's not that old and it's been in my fridge the whole time, so I'm not sure what's up with that. Three fingers of pillowy head fall quickly, nice lacing.

Smell- Bready, definitely saison feel. Light spice, melon, apricot.

Taste- Very saison-like, light biscuit and a little funk, noticeable bittering, mild soft fruitiness. Grassy hop flavor and light metallic twang builds as the glass empties. Aftertaste of shortbread and white tea.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, medium carbonation. Juicy, full feel but dry, slightly chalky finish. Has a hard water feel to it. Easy drinking.

Overall- Meh, I'm not really a fan of this brew, doesn't really come together for me and it's neither light nor dry enough for what I want it to be. Spicy, bold ale? No. Light, crisp ale? Not really. Too middle-of-the-road I suppose, and the rye characteristics are overshadowed by the yeast and what I interpret to be the liquor/water characteristics. I probably wouldn't avoid it, but I'd likely not order it for myself either.

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Photo of WettNutz
2.91/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a pint glass

A - Dark yellow/light brown, effectively gold as per the name. No head. Highly carbonated and cloudy with possibly yeast floating around, a whole lot of it.

S - Light piney nose, with a touch of citrus

T - Mildly bitter with lasting tartness

M - Full bodied

O - Not a horrible beer, but not my cup of tea. Proper price, 6% ABV, a nice try for a beer drinker who likes darker versions of beers that aren't too heavy, like ales, lagers and pilsners.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

12 ounce bottle - $1.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

11726 - 01/24/13

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark golden body with a tall, growing, near white head.

Smell: The aroma is weak, hesitant, with a faint degree of maltiness, a touch of rye grain, and a some dried flower petal undertones.

Taste: A little toasted grain to the maltiness, with a definite rye kick to it. Very low sweetness on hand. Firmly floral throughout. Medium bitterness. Some sustained spiciness on the bitterish, bone dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I found it to be tiresome and tedious, frankly.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Bells Smitten Golden Rye Ale

Pours a honey gold color with a white head and a bit of lace. Large chunks of yeast or proteins are hanging in suspension. Aroma of clean maltyness, some floral and sweet fresh doughy bread. In the taste, bready malt sweetness balanced by a citrusy hop character and a bit of grainy rye. Mild bitterness with notes of grapefruit. Medium bodied with a chalky finish. Overall, this was an ok beer but a little disappointed. This ale could use some cleaning up.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Thanks to Momar42 for the 12 oz bottle! Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a golden orange color with a ton of yeast particles floating around. The head is a two finger white shade. Both texturing and retention are pretty damn good, and the lacing left by the receding head is quite attractive as well. Pretty face, ugly body, let's split the difference here.

S: I do notice a bit of rye to it, along side some piny, herbal hops. The hop profile seems to fit the rye malt quite well. It becomes a bit maltier as it warms up, and grows a biscuity component as well. Aromatically, it could be a little less muted.

T: One thing that lets me down right from the onset is the lack of distinctive character to it. It starts and finishes with a combination of earthy, spicy malts and piny hops. After a while, the finish will develop a grassy hop quality to it that I enjoy somewhat. This really is the type of beer more conducive to simple drinking than actual reviewing...

M: Rougher than I like, which is exasperated by the coarse yet strong carbonation and fuller body. The back end is quite clean and crisp; so maybe this would be good in the summer time?

O: Not bad - but I'm certainly not smitten with it. It's too sharp in feel for its nondescript flavor profile.

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Photo of babaracas
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On the label it claims this pale ale will be citrusy and resinous. They oversold it, big time. Pours a cloudy amber with thin white head, spots of lace on the glass. Smell: wheat, soft graininess (rye), spicy, just a hint of lemon peel. Taste: tastes like a pale wheat with rye subbed in, light caramel. Hops are spicy, lightly earthy, a little but not enough citrus to advertise it on the label. Dry finish. Yes, the rye is featured decently, but it's not a very good beer, and the marketing team screwed up. Glad it was only a single. Bottled 1/15/13.

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Photo of bashiba
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice clean golden with a thin white head, minor lacing.

The smell was grainy with a touch of grassy noble hops.

The flavor was dominated by the rye malt, spicy and bready, not much else. Just a hint of noble hops in the finish with a real mild bitterness.

The mouthfeel was light with mild carbonation.

Overall a pretty boring beer, just Rye, and nothing else.

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Photo of Jstewart6
3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

My 2nd beer from Bell's and my 2nd let down. The label to me explains how it tastes. As a kid we would dare each other to break the stem of a dandelion and lick the white stuff....this beer taste like that. Very bitter and immediately after sipping I feel my sinuses clear. The after taste taste like a generic beer to me.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle dated 01/13/15. Sampled on July 4, 2015 so it is a bit old.

The pour is a hazy yellow color under a tremendous, long lasting white head.

A bit of toasted pale malts in the aroma and peat moss but the hop character seems subdued, probably due more to the age of the bottle. Grassy notes too.

Medium body.

The taste is more malt forward than anything and any hop character has faded away. Although it does end on the biter side so that is something.

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Photo of drinkochoice
3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into craft pint glass.

Beautiful golden orange body with a 1/2" white head.

The smell is like fresh picked flowers and of earthy minerals.

The taste mirrors the smell with flowers and earthy minerals but what makes these flavors flow is the bitterness. The taste is surprisingly well balanced through the after taste.

Not to much carbonation as expected from the style.

Overall a very easy going little ale with large amounts of flavor.

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Photo of Pencible
3.11/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: This poured a hazy gold with lots of sediment and a little white head.
S: It smelled like earthy copper hops with some citrus zest and bread crust.
T: It tasted like citrus zest and copper hops, with some spicy rye and earthy bread crust. It had a somewhat clean bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Ok body.
D: This was not a great rye beer. The scent was sub-par, and the taste and body weren't a big improvement. The finish wasn't bad but wasn't great. No real impressive or redeeming element. Not recommended.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this in a snifter. Packaged 12/13/13 bottle dating.

A strong pour unleashes a finger's width of turbid white foam that appears soapy. Retention is good with a craggy ring clinging to the side of the glass, creating a crater on the cap. The jet stream-full body is a honey amber with caramel highlights.

A biting earthiness mingles with aromas of caramel and toffee malt. There is a tea-like scent as well, with a whiff of mineral water every sniff or two.

Well, the bottle says to expect resinous hops and earthy flavors, and those are certainly detected. The citrus notes, however, are another thing entirely: maybe some lemon, potentially grapefruit? The problem is that the citrus quality is overpowered by the resin notes and a twinge of aspirin on the finish. Malt? It is barely perceptible, and definitely not sweet like it was on the nose.

Smitten Golden Rye has a light-medium body and runs over the tongue almost like water, with some swishing, builds a decent creaminess. This beer is also dry, dry dry!

This Bell's offering misses the mark. I will never begrudge a hoppy beer with an edge. However, Smitten has too much resiny bitterness and not enough malt to back it up. And whatever the rye was supposed to do, it decided it had other places to be. Besides a quick earthy taste, I do not think the rye has contributed much. Really, this beer is just far too bitter with nothing to accentuate the brute force.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.19/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smitten pours a golden golden color, with a nice large lacing head. The aroma is a bit similar to a bathroom, luckily its not too strong. The taste is crisp a nice strong citrus, and a nice bit of bitterness. Nice full flavor. Overall a not bad beer, good citrus flavors that work well in this beer.

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Photo of humuloner22
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

I really like Bell's in general. I have had a few rye beers and none of them have done it for me, I thought if any brewery could do it Bell's could. Maybe my taste buds were off tonight, but this is an odd beer. It smells great, similar to an IPA or pale ale. It looks great, and in the beginning it tastes good, then that spicy bitterness hits and it lingers on the back of my tongue in a bad way. Its a very strong bitterness that I could not shake. I thought maybe it was me, I drank some water ate a few pretzels then tried again, same result. It tastes very nice on the front of my tongue but as it passes over the rest of my mouth it clings in a rather unpleasant way to the back. It gives off a strange alkaline flavor that I just cannot get past. I will have to say this is not my favorite by Bell's. I will place it in the same category as Oberon another grain that I don't enjoy in my beers, wheat! Oddly enough the other rye beers I had tried in the past did remind me of wheat beers, and is why I did not enjoy them, but now I have found another reason not to like them. I am giving this one higher marks than I should and on paper it looks better than it is, but the smell is nice, I will have to give Bell's that. Anyway, I will keep trying on occasion, but this one does fall short. I do find this odd because I generally like rye whisky and I also like wheated bourbons. But as far as beers go, neither wheat nor rye work for I.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served on-draught into a plastic cup at the Elephant and Castle in the Crowne Plaza, Chicago on St. Patrick's Day. Reviewed from notes. Complimentary with my room (which, incidentally, was also complimentary with priority club points). I had high expectations given the brewery.

A: Pours a one finger head of white colour. Fair cream. Decent thickness. Nice retention. Body colour is a nontransparent murky peach. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Generally appealing for the style.

Sm: Floral hops, rye grain, milky citrus, and light grass. A mild strength aroma. Generally appealing. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Floral hops, rye grain, and milky citrus - with some buried orange notes. Nicely grassy. A bit of yeasty character. Clove. Pale malts. Balanced but simple. Lacks subtlety and complexity.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Pretty good carbonation. Lightly crisp. Decent presence on the palate.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but not great. I do like it, but I'm not impressed. I could take down a sixer of this with ease, but the quality just isn't high enough to warrant purchasing again. It's a solid offering from Bell's for what it is.

High C+ (Borderline B-)

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

Not bad, had this on one of the last few warm days of summer. Poured out of the bottle into a pint glass. Clean golden ale with a nice spice from the rye. Usually I prefer rye in a pale or IPA, but this worked. Nice yellowish color, completely clear with a little head. Not bad.

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Photo of ToddT
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

L- Somewhat hazy orange topped with an off white fluffy head, that fades slowly to a cap and leaves a good bit of lace on the glass.

S- Light notes of rye malt and floral / citrus hops, not a very strong aroma.

T- Citrus notes right away, hints of lemon and orange, soon balanced out by the rye malt. Finish has a hint of hop oil but otherwise is pretty clean and dry.

M- Medium in body and decent carbonation, a bit of a creamy feel to this one.

O- A decent experiment, the hops and the rye clash a bit but not to a degree to make it unpleasant. The 6.0% ABV is a nice little kick and is well hidden.

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Photo of Kerrie
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This isn't a bad beer but I'm finding it fairly bland.

A- Golden color with minimal head yet quite a bit of lacing. Lots of sediment throughout the glass.

S- Not much here; just a faint hop smell.

T- A very mild beer with a slight hop taste. Not too strong or weak, and seems like it'd be a good summer beer.

M- Not too thick or thin; satisfying.

Not sure if I'd get this again, but it's not bad for a single bottle.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Hazy golden body with a soft, white head. The aroma brings grain, mild hops, earth, citrus. The flavor is ok. A bit too conservative for me. A hint of hops, mild bitterness, finishing dry. Crackers, grain, earth. Middle of the road. Not one of the better offerings from Bell's.

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Photo of phartman133
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This is a very refreshing beer. You are invited in by the caramel color and once you smell this beer you are hooked. You can smell the hops right from the beginning. Once this beer touches your lips you can taste the hops and citrus flavor of this great beer

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Photo of zeledonia
3.32/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 17 December 2013. Tasted 31 March 2014.

Pours clear medium golden. Floaties from the bottom of the glass, but that's my own fault. One finger of white head, fizzy. Okay retention and lacing.

Smell is an odd mix of rye spice and Belgian golden ale. Peppery rye, sweet grains.

Taste is, to my tastes, somewhat of a clash. A very light chalky bitterness mixes with rye to produce, well, spiced bitterness. But it's thin and not all that flavorful.

Feel is okay. Medium-light body, low carbonation. Chalky feel combines with the mild bitterness to make for a sort of floury feel.

Not my favorite beer. Not terrible, but the flavors mix in weird ways that don't really work for me.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.32/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle dated 1/12/2015, served in a Bell's snifter 2/9/2015.

A- Slightly cloudy, but for the most part a clear light orange body, two finger white head with good retention although it does not leave much lacing.

S- Bready aromas waft out, floral and earthy notes are predominant. The rye imparts a distinct aroma but is not a particularly strong aspect of the nose. The floral and earth are the main aromas here.

F- The rye is much more present on the palate. Honey, a bit of orange marmalade, toasted bread makes the malt backbone very much like a pilsner in character. Plenty of floral bitterness, a bit of earth on the backend. It's interesting, not sure I love it but it does grow on you with each sip.

M- Medium bodied, crisp but soothing on the palate even with the floral bitterness on the backend. Reasonably drinkable, although the floral bitterness does wear on my palate after a while.

O- Reasonably unique pale ale with a nice rye spice to it and plenty of citrus and floral bite. It's kind of like what I would expect a rye English bitter to taste like. It's pretty solid, nothing special but worth a shot.

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Photo of JohnnyI
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours from the growler in to an IPA glass with a light golden hue and just a kiss of red rye. The minimal white head settles quickly in to a thin collar, while the transparent liquid shows just a touch of chilled haze. The aroma yields bready pale malts and hops of the earthy variety. Only moderately aromatic, with just traces of rye discernible. The taste follows the nose. Mildly flavored and balanced, with a slightly drying finish. A bit of peppery spice from the rye and a lingering mild hop bitterness leave a lasting impression. A spritzy, lively carbonation helps give the impression of a fuller body, though it's mostly an illusion, and a good one. Overall, this is a pretty standard affair, and it makes me yearn for something more potent and flavorful, like a Ruthless Rye. When a pale ale takes on the same basic profile of an IPA, but tames all of the desirable characteristics down, it simply leaves me unsatisfied. It's not easy enough to be a session beer, and not bold enough to stand out. Perhaps a good bridge to better things if you're trying to ease in to the craft world.

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Photo of EmGM
3.36/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Look: clear golden
Smell: citrus, rye malt
Taste: sweet malts, citrus, a little grassy
Aftertaste: a bit bitter but a lighter bitter because of the citrus tones
Overall: it's okay...not really anything terribly special but it's pretty good

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Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.