Bell's Kal-Haven Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Kal-Haven Ale
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BA SCORE
87
very good

131 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 131
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 3
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Rye Beer |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: akorsak on 07-19-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 131 | Reviews: 19
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Oak Cafe. Pours a pure copper color with an ever-so-slightly off-white head; slight lacing left behind on the glass, but not much. Sour, sweet, and a bit tart on the initial whiff; fruity and dense with some old-cork funk to it. Not much rye on the nose, even though it's a rye beer. For some reason, it seems like rye is much harder to detect in the aroma most times.

The initial taste bites with a touch of leafiness that quickly subsides in favor of a heavy fruity sweetness that comes about. Strawberry-ish, oranges, some other fruits I can't exactly place my finger on. Without wasting much time, the sweetness turns into a tart, nearly puckering flavor rush for a split second, right about the time the carbonation bubbles become noticeable. Once the tart shock is over, the taste subdues a bit into this funky, yeasty, old soaked cork type of flavor. Damp, musty, slightly woody; very barnyard-esque. Just as the beer heads down my gullet, the rye finally hits and hits big. Heavy rye at the very end, dark and toasted and dry. Aftertaste is nothing but rye with the decrescendo funk. Medium, slick body with a seemingly dry finish from the rye. Carbonated heavily.

Certainly a different and creative beer, here. Not quite a sour, not quite a rye beer... what the hell is it? Who knows and who cares, as long as it tastes good, right? Well, it's pretty good. The tartness gets weaker as the beer goes on and the funky rye flavors get more powerful. Still not sure if I like that or not. I'd like to try this beer again a few months from now. Probably wont be able to find it, though.

Photo of jeonseh
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bell's

A - Golden and orange with a slight haze to it.

S - Lemon, grassy, blue cheese funk with a slight vinegar. Reminds me of Orval in the nose

T - Banana with a slight bubble gum. There is also lemon in the middle. The finish is slightly grassy and slightly bitter. There was not as much funk or complexity in the taste as I picked up in the nose.

M - Lots of carbonation that leads to a nice full feeling in the mouth. Slight astringency in the finish that lingers on

O - From the nose, I was hoping this would be a great beer but the flavor and astringency lead to this being only solid. It is nice to see Bell's experimenting with Brett.

Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An experimental rye beer brewed with wild yeast served on tap at the brewery.

A: The ale is a copper brown color, darker at the wider points of the 10 oz glass. An egg white colored head lasted for the frest few sips.

S: The ale is strongly influenced by brattanomyces, with a wild horseblanker aroma that blocks out rye and any other aromas.

T: The first sip is mild, slowly transitioning the brett flavors into the mix. Mid-sip the rye flavors appear with a peppery bread flavor that sets the stage for the funk. Brett is happy to oblige with a gamey, barnyard flavor that dominates the end of each sip. The brett leaves things dry, making me wany another sip.

M: The mouthfeel is dry at the end but bready and soft in the middle. A well-thought-out experiment indeed.

D: My first visit to Bell's, so I was hesitant to get more than one glass at a time. That being said, this one is interesting, especially whem the rye makes itself known.

Photo of MCImes
4/5  rDev +3.1%

This one was kinda wierd. It wasnt as good as I was hoping for. Still good, just not great. Its medium-light in color. The brett really comes through. lots of Dank, funk, and basement smell, but not in a bad way. Rye didnt have much peppery overtones to it. not sour.

Overall glad I tried it, but not the best of the fest. (ABR)

Photo of Barnoloid
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The breadiness of the rye is kind of low in the mix here. Nice bit of funk and barnyard, with a fairly thin body. Slight salt taste.

Photo of rfgetz
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dusty copper color with orange highlights, decent cap of off-white head and good lacing. Scent is mellow - funk, earth, clay with dry, spicey grain. Taste is a little more aggressive, spicy rye with a mild funkyness to it. Medium bodied, active carbonation, dry and lingering. A decent beer which combines ingredients from different styles nicely.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a deep, earthy reddish orange. A small amount of white foam that doesn't really fade away at all and leaves a slight lacing behind. Completely opaque and cloudy.

Smell: initial scent is fruity followed by a some earthiness. Some notes of oak, spicy rye, and some funkiness.

Taste: opens with fruit. A mix between berries and dark fruit sometimes almost tropical. Any juiciness is quickly put out with a big earthen oak character that is fairly dry. Spicy rye is almost an afterthought and comes in lightly towards the end. Funkiness comes sporadically but mostly during the middle along with the oak.

Mouthfeel: thick, sticky and dry. The rye really adds a lot of depth here as it is slightly creamy but also has a viscosity to it. Some slight bitterness as well

Overall: a bells tap only that is easy to miss but great if you find it. Great balance between tropical, juicy fruit and earthy funky yeast. Certainly one of the more interesting beers I have had

Photo of karst
4.72/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap downtown Madison, WI at the Great Taste of the Midwest Bell's preparty.

We ordered all of the offerings and this one was my last and certainly the best by far.

Larry Bell explained how the beer was named but I will leave that for others and tell you about my one and only pint (so far) of this handsome deep brown Brettanomyces aroma that promised huge barnyard flavors but instead delivered wonderful rye with soft (vs the expected "hard" brett flavors that come after the first year of fermentation.

This softness of brett flavors play nicely with the pepper and phenolics that are natural to a big rye grain bill.

the balance is perfect to display the rye and a dry finish with litte evidence of hops is from the high attenuation expected as brett ferment out those sugars to complex for regular brewing yeasts. They chew away some of the chewyness you would expect but leave more than enough as a reward for loss of mouthfeel. Brett wrecks the head a bit too, thus the half point reduction in appearance. That night it drank ALL 5's

It is my prayer that I find this again. It is one of the easiest drinking brett beers I have experienced after five years or more of exploring Belgian's

I was hoping to retaste it the next day but it was not poured at the beer fest (to my knowledge). It was enjoyable sharing my appreciation of this Rye with the owner and his brewers.

Photo of cfrances33
4.31/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at O'Rourkes in South Bend, served in a Bell's snifter.

Pour: hazy, deep orange, with two fingers of deep creamy head. Some lacing, and the head hangs around as a rim.

Smell: big tropical fruits up front... Pineapple, mango, grapefruit, and even a touch of red berries. Fruits carry most of the nose, with just a touch of earthiness from the brett, and a light spiciness from the rye on the finish.

Taste: again, big tropical pineapple, mango, a touch of citrus, and some floral notes sneak in. Lots of earthy brett in the middle, and some breadyness. Rye shine on the back end, with a touch of spice, that cuts through all the other flavors and lingers.

Mouthfeel: rather heavy, but in a good way. Definitely took my time with the glass. Earthyness and rye really builds as it opens up. Finishes with an interesting mix of dryness and a lingering rye taste.

Overall: definitely a delicious and underrrated beer. A great showcase of what brett can do, and the rye adds a nice complexity.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

WTF? In Denver 10.2.14

Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%

Intentional souring.. Wait, what?! Bell's brewers step into the wild side and put bugs in their beer, but do so for the most distinctive and characterful taste, aroma and texture possible, harking back to Belgian's rustic roots.

The "wild rye" kicks off with a brazen gold color with margins of straw wrapping about. Its earthen and weathered nose plays off of the pungency of cellar-like must, wine-soaked cork, horse hair, dried citrus, sea air and a peppery peaten bouquet. Its delicate sweetness underneath layers upon the tongue with steely caramel and grain with savory toast and spicy bread crust.

The middle palate drops its sweetness and invites a spicy effervescent to bounce off the tongue like champagne. Its acidic taste of green grape, grapefruit, crabapple, lime, orange peel and lemon latch onto the tastebuds while earthy spices of peppercorn, grain husk and savory crust are counter to the fruit.

As the characterful ale finishes, it moves from the medium weight of Biere de Garde early and to the mid-light body of Belgian pale ale late. Its peppery, peaty and citrus pith finish is arid with carbonic bite and piney bitterness while sweaty brine and barnyard return in waves of aftertaste. With each sip, the memory of Goose Island Matilda and Orval Trappist Ale come to mind in comparison.

Photo of unclejazz
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap with about 5 month age on the Brett. Wonderful Granny Smith apple smell with hints if wine and barnyard. The Rye balances well with the beginnings of a lactic-like souring.

Photo of Jack_Malts
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Pretty nice, a very simple funky and earthy brew. The rye works really nicely with the Brett. The only sour flavor here is a bit of sweet sparkling white wine next to some apple cider. The simplicity and earthiness of this beer are what shine. Relatively inexpensive on tap, so that's a plus. If you like earthy brews, this is for you.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at The City Tap House for their Bell's event during beer week. I love this city.

Pours a mix of light bronze and hazy amber with bits of dark yellow. The head was an inch of loose off white suds that look die off into nothing. Small spots of lace. Smells like a lot of great bretted up homebrew I've had. Brett and some funk and a lot of barnyard IMO. Some rye is under all the wild. Some caramel and grain. The taste is pretty marvelous. Bretty up front with hay and grass and other earth, barnyard. Not overly funky, kinda tart. I like the low level of rye in this. Some rye bread and grain towards the end. Feel is below medium with a nice carb punch from the tap. Crisp and evervesant, easy going down, if brett's your thing. It's mine so this is insanely drinkable. Good job.

Photo of spointon
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the Eccentric Cafe on 8/28/2009, poured into a 12oz glass. From my notes:

A= This ale poured a cloudy gold color with a fair amount of orange cast in there as well. There was only a thin white head that quickly disappeared and did not leave much in the way of lacing.

S= Smelled very much of light brett sourness and a spicy-sweetness from the rye. Not a very aromatic beer, but a pleasant one to smell nonetheless.

T= Started off with a quick flash of grainy sweetness that lead into the tartness of the brett. Midway or so the spiciness and complexity of the rye did come through a bit, but it was not on the level of a rye beer without brett added. Finish was a dry blend of everything - tartness + rye spiciness.

MF= JUst to the thin side of medium bodied (but not by much) with a nice and crisp mouthfeel.

D= I liked this beer a lot and between the two Bell's sour beers I have had (this and Wild One) I think I prefer this one. The rye gives it a very nice balance and makes it interesting AND easy to drink.

Photo of elNopalero
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Revision (2/2015):
Pours a warming Amber gold in the class.
Light aroma of candied orange peel, citrusy fresh with a hint of pine
The flavor bursts with citrusy goodness, like a freshly squeezed orange, incredibly vibrant citrusy effervescence. Like a mimosa beer, almost.
It's bitter, sweet, crisp, vibrant.

(Original)
I love the pun on this—it’s a play on the Kal-Haven Trail that runs across southwest Michigan. The beer is a light tan amber with light foam. I get a earthy funk from the aroma. It’s light but present, like a light onion sliced in the adjoining room… which is the only way I could think of describing it. Nice malt body with a delicate brett note that emerges as it warms. Not bad, but I’d like to see what could happen with some more time on this one. It shows promise and plenty of potential.

Photo of corby112
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at City Tap House.

Pours a very cloudy dark golden orange/copper color with burnt orange hues when held to a light source and a one finger frothy off white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Streaks of Lacing left behind.

Slightly funky tart aroma with lotsnod swee caramel malt and dry Brett notes in the nose. Sweet citrus hops and rye compliment the sweet malts and Brett character. This one smells pretty good.

Chewy medium body that is slightly spicy with lots of sweet caramel malt and rye along with a slightly puckering dry bretty efervescence. The tart Brett presence is mos prominent up frogt and slowly fades throught the palate as the malts and rye counter it. Very well balanced and quaffable with a sweet dry finish.

Photo of maximum12
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split with the wife at the Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Another winner with brett from Bell's.

This one's a cloudy form of yellow on a partly sunny day. Nose is faint; strangely, almost all the brews we had at the Eccentric Cafe, even the good ones, did not smell like much. Odd.

This is a winner. The brett funk is again pretty subdued, veering into 'tart' territory rather than the horseblanket funk that I'm not wild about (hahahahahaha). The rye offsets the slightly sour component nicely, and gives it a sweetness that interacts in a great way. A sweet sour? Yes. And it works, very well. This is a como that others should experiment with, because I can see this holding appeal for a wider audience than sour-heads. My wife dubbed this a "lawnmower/session" beer. Never heard that of a wild ale before.

Very good beer. Love to see this one again. And to repeat, Bell's start spreading these wilds around, you seem to have a knack for it.

Photo of barczar
3.84/5  rDev -1%

Brett funk, bubblegum in aroma, with a lightly tart, vinous flavor, underlying woody notes, and a slightly barnyard finish. The rye is fairly subtle initially, but lingers in the finish.

Bell's Kal-Haven Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.