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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: 1,520
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 11.73%
Wants: 30
Gots: 218 | 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: 1,520
Photo of carlborch
4.55/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant golden-tan with a significant amount of minuscule flocculates - almost hazy. Produces a creamy, thick, 2 inch off-white head. Poured a second carefully and "candled" - stopped pouring when the flocculates reached the neck. The ale does have a slight haze! Beautiful, fresh citrus and hoppy nose. Bright, clean, spicy palate that lingers. Totally moreish. Perceptively sessionable, although the 6% ABV may be a concern. Develops a very nice Belgian lace. Forward bitter notes with lingering malt and woody-earthy notes! Poured a third . . .

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a straw like yellow with three fingers of white head. Smells of hop resin, grass, citrus notes. Opens with a mellow sweet bit of honey followed by a crisp hop jab for balance. A medium bodied brew that has a tart almost sour aftertaste. This is very solid brew that is easily and dangerously sessionable.

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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 Jimmys
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle. packaged 1/24/13.

A: I would say a slight haze on an otherwise very bright blond body. head is bright white with moderate retention. solid lacing.

S: a light, very herbal hop aroma. a little bit of vanilla. lemons. hibiscus. slightly floral. the aroma certainly grows on me more and more as I continue to drink.

T: chewy and herbal. not a ton of rye or a ton of hops, very similar to the nose. the rye dries things out a bit. finish is very grainy.

M: tingly carb on a light/medium body.

D: good, but I wanted this to be hoppier and more rye focused. without either of those aspects it is a tad middle of the road imo.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (batch #11,695 date 1/14/13) poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- It had a hazy, golden body with moderate carbonation. The 1-1/2 finger, off-white head settles out to a nice, foamy, film. It left behind some awesome lace.

S- It's definitely a rye beer, though kind of delicate at first. Fresh, citrus hops might even give off some herbal tones. Everything about the aroma suggests that it's quite fresh.

T- Nicely balanced. A solid dose of rye mixed with grainy malts and citrus and slightly herbal hops. Really refreshing as rye beers go.

M- Medium-to-full bodied. Moderately carbonated. Slight hop/rye bite. Very pleasant.

O- I like it. It's a little more delicate take on a rye PA than its local counterparts from Founders and Arcadia. It's also a bit more drinkable in a "yeah, I'll have another" sort of way (which I might just do after typing this). It makes me want a fat Reuben sandwich right about now. I could see this as a really nice spring/summer brew.

As I've heard there could be a looming price rise/switch to a four-pack on Red's Rye, this could be a different, but totally suitable, replacement.

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Photo of TTAmod
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle born on 1/14/13 poured in S.A. perfect pint.

A: Old school appearance: hazy yellow with lots of sediment. One finger white head that has good retention and sticky lacing.

S: Smell is fairly tropical. Heavy orange and lemon scents dominate the nose. Floral and grass notes are present, as well.

T: Starts off with a mellow orange taste, but then the rye kicks in. Halfway through, a spicy, earthy wave of flavor crashes over the palate. The end is slightly bitter and has notes of lemon zest and orange peel.

M: Medium bodied and ample carbonation. A bit watery on the back end, though.

O: This is a good, hearty, old-fashioned ale. It has a very old-school feel and taste about it. You would think the citrus would heavily clash with the rye, but this doesn't really happen. The actual sweet tropical notes are quite low. This beer has more of the bitter, zesty aspect of the aforementioned citrus, which seem to complement the rye well; it ends up being slightly dry. In my opinion, this is an excellent rye beer. I hope to see more beers like this in the future.

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

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 1/14/2013. Pours very cloudy golden amber color with a nice 1-2 finger dense white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon, pine, floral, spicy rye, grass, bread, and light herbal. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of orange, grapefruit, lemon, pine, spicy rye, bread, toast, floral, grass, and light herbal. Fair amount of piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, floral, rye spiciness, bread, toast, and grass on the finish for a bit. Very nice flavor balance of hop/malt, with good complexity; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, lightly sticky, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice rye pale ale! Nice balance of hop/malt flavors with good complexity; and extremely smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of russpowell
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Packaged 01/14/13

Pours honey colored with a thumb of beige head. Pretty good head retention & some lacing

S: Grassy, bready, some dry hay, some floral notes

T: Grassy, lemon, floral & pepper notes up front, along with some herbal hops. Slight lemon pepper notes as this warms, just a touch of grapefruit & some grain husks. Finishes crisp with lemon zest, grainyness & grassyness

MF: Light body with subtle carbonation, decent balance

Easy to drink, but nothing I'd buy again. I'll take Red's Rye any day. I would take this over Oberon to be sure

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Photo of Jaycase
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: cloudy golden amber. One finger head. Leaves behind nice, sticky lacing

s: grapefruit, rye, orange peels, lemon citrus

t: breadiness & grapefruit hops fades into a nice rye spiciness.

m: light to medium body. crisp. finishes slightly dry

o: This is a nice, crisp, refreshing ryle ale. A great way to get into the mood for spring (if the weather alone doesn't do it). I'll certainly pick this up again next year.

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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 Golfbeer
4.71/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I picked up a 6-pack of this beer the other day at Franklin Fine Wine in Royal Oak. I have never had a Bell's beer I didn't like, so I figured this one would be a good choice. And it was. I like just about any craft beer, but this is one of my favorites of the month. It had great flavor. A nice hearty flavor, but not bitter and not too filling. This is a great beer. I encourage you not to run to the store and buy them all, because I'd like to have them all for myself.

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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 Luke4
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

One of the better RyePA's out there. It has a great appearance with a lingering head. What sets it apart from its Sierra Nevada counterpart is it's more comforting mouthfeel. It's not as harshly bitter as the Ruthless Rye ( which is a great beer, don't get me wrong). One of my favorite Rye beers.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden yellow/light tan, nice 1 inch foamy head, plenty of sticky lacing.

Smell - Nice grapefruit hops, rye, orange, lemon, spices, A little barnyard/saision like funk.

Taste - Big grapefruit hop kick at first sip. Lots of orange, lemon, pineapple and Rye! Pale malts add a bready/farmhouse flavor. Some added spices give it a pepperish flavor also. Decnt amount of bitter but the sweetness of the floral hops and sugars balance it out alot.

MOuthfeel - Hops coat the tounge at first, Then the rye comes in along with some spices at balance out the bitterness. Palate gets alot of rye and bitter hops. The finish is bitter, peppery and malty.

Overall - Very tasty, easy to enjoy, and plenty of rye. Think sierra nevadas ruthless rye made a big enough impression that bells had to bottle this one. Very solid, not to bitter, not to pale malt forward, great balance, a must try for rye fans.

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Photo of Naters333
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip from a 12 oz bottle dated 1/15/13.

A- Poured a nice golden color with a great pure white sticky head that doesn't recede very quickly. Leaves great lacing. Not filtered. All kinds of floaties in this beer. As I drink, keeps a nice 1/4 inch white head.

S- I have a cold, so this doesn't work as well. Bread,grass, hops, slight orange peel. Flowers, fresh, malts.

T-Very smooth. Nice bready, grainy taste going on. Really, really nice. Slight bitterness, with that just smooth grainy taste on the back end.

M-Nice mouthful. Great for the style. Smooth, yet bitter. Delicious.

O-I enjoyed this beer. The appearance was the best part and the lingering aftertaste. Just a really smooth easy drinking rye ale. Would love this on a nice spring day.

Update on 2/8/13
I had this on tap and its a bit different. There are no floaties, which must mean they are at the bottom of the barrel and the finish is really bitter. The bitter end, really takes away from that bread finish you get this beer.

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Photo of SerialHiker
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a lovely deep golden orange…80% opacity, there’s tons of sediment floating about…just off white head formed nice, thick and settled to a thin layer…livens up a bit when I swirl it around…(4/5)

Smell: I could smell the floral hops as soon as I began to pour…from the glass, I’m getting rye malt, perfume, floral hops…very flowery, almost like daisy petals up close…all that with a hint of bitterness and maybe a dash of yeast…I wouldn’t call it strong, but it’s aromatic…pleasant, inviting, fresh, light…(4/5)

Taste: Hmm, this is no ordinary beer…it’s bitter, sour, floral…there’s some lemon/orange peel…there’s some pale malts, some earthy bitterness…there’s a nice bit of peppery/rye bite that I’ve been digging lately…tons of flavor…it’s light, it’s zesty, it’s interesting...(4.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body…there’s a good amount of life and carbonation to this brew…it fluffs up creating a cloud of citrus/floral bitterness that is more refreshing than off putting…refreshing and crisp…finishes noticeably dry…fantastic! (4.5/5)

Overall: This is a superior brew…the flavor is unique and distinct…Bell’s took the “APA” concept on a journey, got a bit guidance from a magical liopleurodon and ultimately found candy mountain with this one…it’s super good, zesty, lively, refreshing, but there’s a touch of sour that I actually like…the peppery/rye flavored brews have taken over for me as the choice seasonal, I’m gonna be on the look out for more of these in the future…I could drink this flavor all night and now am curious how this is out of a tap, I really need to make a trip to Kalamazoo…total score, I’m definitely picking up another sixer for later…(4.5/5)

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottled Jan 24, 2013. Served at 40F.

Pours lightly hazy golden amber with a one finger white head that leaves nice webs of lacing behind and recedes to a small cap.

Aroma is noble hops, grassy, earthy, touch sulfur, some lemon citrus, spicy rye, floral. Good to very good strength.

Flavor generally follows suit, noble hops with a grassy mildly sulfur taste, lemon citrus, spicy rye, some bready malt, mild to moderate sweetness in the middle, nice bitterness on the finish, minimal alcohol.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, somewhat oily, good carbonation.

Light, refreshing and easy drinking, would be great for the warmer weather. I get a good bit of Pilsner qualities in this...like a hybrid of Prima Pils and a Pale Ale with a dash of rye. Pretty good...better than their regular Pale Ale.

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Photo of emerge077
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

3rd bottle of the sixer thus far, it's fairly unique, and more of a Rye IPA imho.

Pale orange yellow, murky with suspended sediment, billowing white foam and concentric halos of spindly lace in the glass. Lasting head retention, looks rustic like a saison, and the first whiff lent to this impression.

Complex aromatic combination of hops, rye, and yeast, sort of rustic and herbal, mildly grainy.

Firm herbal bitterness, floral, lemon rind, rye and pale malt, lingering dandelion bitterness. Light bodied and a little bit thin, would be quenching on a hot summer day for sure. Hope to revisit in warmer months.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.36/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Type: 12 oz bottle
Glass: Pint
From: Plum Market in Ann Arbor
Price: $9 a 6 pack

Appearance: a deep hazy yellowish orange. almost opaque. lots of floating sediment and extremely bubbly. a very small head that left behind a lacing on the edges. I think its a good looking beer

Smell: very faint hops, earthy mostly but maybe a touch of citrus. some rye and breadiness but nothing to strong. I wish it was more aromatic as the smells are kind of dull

Taste: hops, earthy with a touch of citrus. not overpowering but certainly there. followed by rye and breadiness. The rye ends up being pretty strong. ends with rye but is slightly bitter finish

Mouthfeel: crisp, due to the high carbonation, and light. ends slightly bitter but it is refreshing.

Overall: I am impressed by this one. not overly complex, just nicely balanced and well done. certainly would be happy to have one of these when I am in the mood for a pale or just a refreshing beer. I hope its around for the summer. I would like to crack a Red's Rye open and see how it goes. I think I have to give the edge to Founders but this isn't fair behind.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a golden color with a two finger white head. The head fades quite fast to leave a fantastic level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is a mix of rye bread and hop. The hop of the beer is mainly of a citrus nature with aromas of grapefruit and lemon but along with the citrus are some hop notes of pine as well.

Taste – The taste begins with a bitter and dry bready taste. The grapefruit hop and rye bread flavor that is present upfront is met with a light fruity sweetness in the middle with some flavors of wheat. These flavors soften the taste from the initial starting more bitter and dry taste. These flavors largely take the taste to its end where they are joined by a light pine hop flavor bringing back a slightly more resinous bitter flavor to be left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is slightly above average in thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is rather average. A little more creaminess may have suited the rye flavors of the brew slightly better, but even so the mouthfeel was still quite nice.

Overall – A nicely hopped rye with lighter notes of wheat and a decent citrus showing. A little more refreshing then the typical rye IPA, but not quite as complex. A great brew to try (and likely try again).

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Photo of tectactoe
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a somewhat hazy, golden-yellow color, some light amber highlights when held up to the light. A soapy and foamy white head forms and settles at about a quarter-inch where it sits atop the beer for a surprisingly long time. The nose has a very crispy and sharp stature, almost clean and lager-like with mild grains and dryness, most likely from the rye. The hops have an earthy, dirty, and musty appearance, maybe just a bit floral and rosey. All in all, the nose is a little quieter than I would have liked. Even upon letting this warm up a little bit, it never really hits your nostrils that hard and the rye isn't as powerful as I'd hoped for.

The taste has an initial bitter spike from the hops, which retain their musty, earthy, and floral characther. Coupled with the high level of carbonation, Smitten cuts the tongue sharply and feels very crispy and refreshing. This is drinking almost more like a lager than an ale. Some dry rye and bread comes out about midway through and rides into the aftertaste which actually becomes dominated by heavy rye, along with a light bitterness. Some clean yeast flavors on the very tail end, but not really enough to combat the rye. I'm very pleased to see the rye make a big appearance, even if it isn't until nearly the end of the sip. Better late than never, I guess, although I still wish it held a larger stance in the aroma. Medium body with pretty heavy carbonation.

A crispy, tasty, and refreshing ale that feels almost more like a lager. Nice helping of rye, though it would've been nice if it were more "up front" with it. Drinkability is great, but I could see this one getting old fairly quickly. Still a solid choice, though, but there are better rye beers out there.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

a - poured a one finger thick, fluffy off-white head into a tulip glass that left great lacing and sheeting throughout. the body was a bright straw gold color with some orange tints.
s - very citrusy with a lot of lemon.
t - sticky hops with some nice rye spice.
m - prickly and lively carbonation.
o - terrific beer, very refreshing. i'll be going back to this one.

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Photo of wedge
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy gold color, leaving a shit-load of sediment behind in the bottle. The head is tall and densely creamy, slipping down to a cushy covering and heavy lace. Pleasant floral and spicy hop aromas, rye, citrus, and a trailing pale malt sweetness. A little more sweetness in the flavor, which is welcome to balance the hops. Zesty citrus and rye, green and floral. Medium-ish, crisp, and refreshing. I like it.

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Photo of bsp77
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Cloudy orange with moderate stark white head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Sharp citrus, almost like orange zest and lemon rind. Some breadiness. Much of the aroma dies off after a few minutes, and it just smells bitter and dry.

Taste: Bready backbone, with strong juicy hop citrus overtones of orange and lemon. Some earthy, floral and spicy notes on the finish. Quite bitter.

Feel: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Very dry finish.

Overall: This is a very good hybrid of an American Blonde Ale and IPA, with some rye flourishes. Refreshing and crisp.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled on 11/14/2013, batch 11695
The ale pours a nice bright golden color with some yeast particulates suspended, plenty of carbonation, and is topped with a frothy, white head that leaves some chunky lacing is on the glass. Aromas are grassy, earthy, spicy rye, fresh citric hops. Tastes are crisp, grassy, earthy, nice dry spiciness from the rye, lemony citrus, while finishing bitter. Thin-to-medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nice balance of flavors. Overall, I really like the rye in this one. Very crisp & clean. Nice variation on an APA with some rye. I'm surprised this wasn't released in the summer as I found it to be nice and refreshing.

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