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

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Bell's Smitten Golden Rye AleBell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale

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1,502 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,502
Reviews: 294
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 24
Gots: 208 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,502 | Reviews: 294
Photo of timc100
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very hazy pale orange with lots of chucks floating around. Solid foamy white head that sticks around.

S: Very mild. Lemon citrus, very slight orange/coriander, bread. Very dry

T: Much like the nose, but brighter. Biting citrus, hay/bread/spice melange of sorts. Dry and refreshing

P: Nice, do not really notice it - active carbonation, light-medium bodied.

O: Nice beer, would be better in hotter months.

Photo of MattyG85
4.16/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass. Bottled on 01/18/2013.

Appearance: Pours a fairly hazy golden orange with a lot of fast rising bubbles. Big four finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Aroma is a mix of spicy rye and a mix of hops and malt. Big hints of rye giving a big kick of spice. Earthy and floral hops along with a scent of citrus orange, pineapple, tangerine, and lemon. Also some grass and pine. Soft malts with hints of biscuit, hay, caramel, and yeast. A little bit of honey and a slight hint of peat. The rye and citrus stands out the most from the mix. A pretty good spicy smell.

Taste: Follows the smell, a spicy and citrus forward taste of rye and hops. Big taste of rye spice throughout. Solid mix of earthy, floral, and herbal hops. Good taste of citrus orange, tangerine, lemon, and pineapple. A little sugar and honey. Soft pale malts with notes of biscuit, hay, caramel, toffee, yeast, and a little peat. Taste is somewhat laid back but well balanced and solid. The spice from the rye is pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, spicy, and somewhat juicy. Finishes dry.

Overall: A pretty solid rye beer. Good spice and citrus taste.

Photo of beerweevil
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pleases me a lot, in part because there are too few beers with this sort of bitterness (as far as I know there is not a vocabulary in English to distinguish differing qualities of bitter). Perhaps it's the rye I am into. Otherwise I'd love to know which bittering hops were included. The substantial body (for a "pale ale") seems to help keep that flavor lingering long enough that I can really relax into it. In contrast, some very tastey beers have fleeting flavors that I would rather hold onto longer. Perhaps I'll have some criticism after a few more, but the first two just taste balanced and delicious.

Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly, orange color with a one-finger, white head of foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of spicy rye bread with some caramel.

T - Some toffee and caramel sweetness. A very subtle spiciness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale.

O - This was really tasty. I wished that I had another one as soon as I finished the first.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.93/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

Photo of jucifer1818
4.26/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: dark straw, with a large head

s: Floral, fruity hops dominate the aroma, with some bready nodes

t: This beer has the sour and spicy tastes from the Rye, and they are complimented by a strong bitter hoppy backbone. A bit of grainyness is also present (most likely from flaked rye). A excellent Rye beer

M: Creamy from the Carbonation with a bit of grainyness

Overall: this is a great American Rye ale. One of the best comnerical examples Ive ever seen
Highly recommended


Photo of Cylinsier
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz.

Pours a hazy lemony gold, particles in suspension. Half inch white head dissipates slowly.

Smells of rye and mildly piney hops, with some honey and light citrus notes.

Rye and hop bitter up front with a tart citrus finish.

Medium body with a stinging carbonation on the tongue.

A nice light hoppy ale, good rye flavor but it could stand to have a little more rye. Easy to drink and worth having. I would drink it again.

Photo of thecheapies
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Honey tangerine color. Excellent lacing. Creamy white head with insane retention. Bartender had trouble subduing the carbonation on this beast.

Citrusy hops are light, but upfront. Lots of herbaceous notes. Lightly floral with a dry rye-ness speaking for itself.

More rye than I was even expecting. Floral hops with flourishes of summery orange citrus. Hints of lemon and wheatgrass. Decent bitterness level. Quite refreshing.

Mildy carbonated in the mouth. Smoother and lighter body. Supremely drinkable. Just what it's good for.

A tasty spring seasonal that I'm short on words for. Worthy of a six-pack purchase, however.

Photo of Florida_SC_Trojan
4.44/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer and brewery. I wish this was a year round beer for this brewery. A true good representation of a rye beer. Beautiful golden hazy color with good retention. Floral with a spicy rye finish, another very drinkable beer. Not alot of depth but a great initial flavor that is very easy to drink.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.81/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top with nice label. Bottled 1/14/13. Glad Bell's finally went to the straighforward date-stamping, rather than the old code system. The old system wasn't bad, but in the days before smart phones, you wouldn't know how fresh the beer was until after you'd bought it. Into a 16oz nonic pint.

Appearance: Rich gold brew, with tons of flaky sediment in suspension, both from my sloppy pour and (I'm assuming?) copious dry-hopping. Nice sticky eggshell cap with good retention.

Smell: Citrus-and-pine hops, along with a rustic earthy quality (is that from the rye, maybe, I haven't really learned to pick out rye in a beer yet?). Straightforward, but pleasant.

Taste: Big fruity (though not as citrusy as I was led to expect from the description) and bitter earthy/piney hop notes, supported with a dry, slightly peppery graininess. Very light notes of fruity yeast in the background? This is fairly balanced, with a slight advantage going to the hops. Not a lot of depth, but pleasant flavors, and a firm, relatively clean hop finish. I'd estimate somewhere between 35-45 IBUs if I had to take a shot at it.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and just shy of feeling like 6% abv...quite drinkable.

Overall: Smitten is a really tasty APA. It definitely belongs in this category, and not that of American IPA, which is where I anticipated it belonging at first whiff. APA isn't a style I purchase all that often, but this one's interesting, and quite drinkable. However, with most of Bell's offerings going for $9-11 around here, this probably won't be something I'd pick up again, largely because of the price. Nonetheless, if APA is your thing, this one's worth checking out for its nice flavors, balance, and drinkability.

B = 84-85

Photo of oline73
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter at Churchkey.

Pours an orangish amber with a layer of off white head. The nose is abut weird. I'm getting rye and some citrus but there is also a slight medicinal quality. The taste is better. Rye spice teams up with citrus peel hops. The malt backbone is quite nice. Quite enjoyable but not spectacular.

Photo of elfcounsul
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice golden color, good lacing

The smell was pleasing, but I got no impressions other than a hop bite. I'll pay more attention to that the next time.

A good rind taste/feel, some bitter, but not too sharp. The light carbonation allows softer rounder sweetness to appear, but it is just a hint. The aftertaste is unobtrusive to the point of confusion between taste and sensation.

The feel is led by bitterness, then quickly morphs into smooth feel. Aftertaste is more of a dry feel.

It's just a good, laid back beer. Not sure if I'd buy a sixer. It's not my style, but I wouldn't reject it. Very drinkable, recommended.

Photo of DragonzBreath
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Big orange color with a bright white head. Cloudy at first to floaters everywhere.
a kaleidoscopic of sediment.
nice smell and light bite.
With a mild bitter at the end

a very pleasing way to move into IPAs.
Abv 6.0

Photo of NODAK
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is pretty light on this one. Definitely some pine notes there....but rather clean for the most part.

Golden in color, somewhat cloudy with a fair amount of sediment.

Taste is nicely floral upfront, much like a nice American pale ale....not too strong but certainly flavorful. Afterwards, the spicy rye comes out a bit and adds another layer to this beer and makes it a bit different. The bitterness is fair on the end and lingers a little while. Fairly clean otherwise. Pretty good stuff, a good take on an APA.

Photo of HopsMathias
3.37/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle.
Yellow to copper color with a lot of sediment.
The sediment doesn't make it hazy more just suspended pieces which actually detract from the appearance.
Very light hop aroma.
Initial taste is very light with a hoppy and slightly peppery finish.
Mouthfeel is very light as well.
Overal not bad for an IPA. Less hoppy than some.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy golden orange. Sticky white head. Leaves great lacing and nice surface foam.

Smell - Simcoe-like hop nose. Strong grapefruit aroma. Trademark garlicky notes. Rye isn't blatant, but gives it a slightly floral aroma. Some sweet notes there too.

Taste - Much less hoppy than the nose. Stronger rye and a ton of grainy malt flavor. Bitter and grainy in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium light in body. Well carbonated. Grainy bitter finish gets a bit abrasive, but easily consumed anyway.

Overall - I liked this more at first and then was less enthused as I drank it. Rye flavor isn't enough to keep it interesting and the hop profile isn't my favorite.

Photo of secondtooth
3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden and semi-cloudy due to massive chunks of sediment. My bottle is dated only a month ago, so I have no explanation for this. Regardless, there's a wealth of lovely and attractive lace.

Nose is malty and appealing, with a hint of hops. Not bad.

Taste is pleasantly hopped, with nice citrus notes and a slight bitterness. Didn't get a lot of the rye in the mix (which is fine with me), just a well-hopped pale ale. Tasty, well-done, and very enjoyable!

Photo of ocelot2500
3.49/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy golden honey color with a frothy, white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of faint citrus notes and a bit of rye.

Tastes of a nice rye and hop combination upfront followed by a grainy malt base. Sharp rye notes lead off with a bit of spiciness. Hops follow suit with some pine and citrus notes to add to the mix. A bit of herbal and floral bitterness stays around as the grainy malts come through and add sweetness to the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly crisp amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a solid rye beer and worth some consideration.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

New season from Bell’s – let’s see if this is Bell’s Amber Ale-Pale Ale or Hopslam-Expedition Stout quality.

Brewed one month to the day before the date of this tasting (PKGD 01/14/13).

A: The perfect pour: a translucent golden body with a dense, fluffy white head that reaches all the way to the brim of the glass. It takes minutes for the foam to settle, and when it does, there’s a skin of lacing all the way around the glass.

S: Sweet, earthy scents of biscuit, caramel, pumpernickel, and peat – a lovely rye aroma – topped with grassy, piney hops. Hints of thick pine, bright tangerine, and juicy mango to finish.

T: Tart hops blaze a trail of pepper, lemon rind, and grapefruit across the palate, though they never get overbalanced or astringent. The grain bill delivers a mix of soft, fresh bread, salted cracker, and lightly buttered pumpernickel, flavors that remain to balance the hops and nothing more; this beer has no leaning toward bitter or sweet. Finishes with hardly any aftertaste, only a thin lemon tinge.

M: Very drinkable but only because it’s very thin – this is a lawnmower beer. Light, watery body with only the slightest carbonation leaves this one a refreshing drink.

O: This is more of a summer ale, but February’s as good a time as any to have a tasty, thirst-quenching brew. If I could get this under $10 for a six-pack, it might become a go-to when I want something relatively sessionable.

Photo of Chaney
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Packaged 1/14/13.

Never even knew this beer existed.

Served in a Port City tulip.

A: Poured an extremely murky, tangerine orange color with a nice pillowy, silky 1 finger froth on top.

S: Orange juice with added Wasa cracker is the best descriptor to my mind. A bit of earthy, peat moss in there as well.

T: Nice bitterness on the front and back, with a sort of mothball-esque quality that washed over the orange peel. Definitely no grapefruit in here.

M: Nice carbonation bill and lacing. The sweetness was kept in check, but unfortunately, I found the bitterness to be a bit cloying after a few sips.

O: Not bad, but it pales in comparison to Founders "Red Rye" and "Red Rocket," both of which are roughly the same price as a sixer. Sure, I'll grab this one again on draft sometime.

Photo of carlborch
4.55/5  rDev +24.3%
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 . . .

Photo of andrewjraab
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of Kerrie
3.29/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Photo of Jimmys
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of GRPunk
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
83 out of 100 based on 1,502 ratings.