Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 485 | Reviews: 343 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by barczar:
3.63/5 rDev -3.2%
Pours a hazy rusty amber color with a dense half inch cream head that lingers.
Aroma is very sweet, brown sugar, with figs, dates, and plums adding complexity. There's a touch of alcohol and an herbal hop note at the finish. Bruised cherries emerge as it warms.
Flavor is completely different than the aroma. There's less sweetness present. Toasted malt and bitter grapefruit pith form the backbone, leading into a peppery, alcoholic finish. Dark fruit flavors of bruised cherries and plum are subtle.
Body is fairly thick, with moderate carbonation, and significant alcohol heat...almost fusel.
Overall, a juxtaposition of aroma and flavor. Bitterness dominates, and the flavor was lacking in complexity, compared to the aroma. Alcohol was overwhelming.
07-16-2012 04:49:57 | More by barczar
More User Reviews:
3.4/5 rDev -9.3%
This beer started out great for me before fizzling out in the end.Poured into an oversized wine glass a clear rich amber with thinner but well retained white head,great complexity in the nose,a mix of resiny hop, and caramel,fruity malt.The palate was a bit of a mess with real sharp alcohol flavors and some over the top sweetness,I will say it went down better with a little chocolate I ate with it.Not one I would search out,its just to sharp on the palate for me.
10-29-2010 12:05:27 | More by oberon
3.61/5 rDev -3.7%
Thanks to Mike for letting me have one of his, otherwise I don't think I would've ever gotten my hands on one of these. Pours an elegant blend of amber and copper with a very slight, rustic orange tint to it. Light translucency clings to the edges, but this beer is mostly opaque throughout. A small khaki head forms after a pretty aggressive pour; some carbonation was possibly lost during this beer's three year journey.
The aroma is familiar yet different and kind of hard to pin down. It's pretty sweet with lots of light, brown sugar notes floating about. I'm picking up some candied, dark fruits, like plums, grapes, and dates. It's got that "sticky sweet" kind of aroma to it, although there's something cutting through the sweetness that tames it just a bit - maybe a light, earthy hoppiness. Caramel and molasses in the finish are most likely consequences of the malts used. It almost smells like a barleywine, but it's not quite there. Not as sweet, not as rich. A little enigmatic overall.
Malts pave the way first and foremost upon taking a generous swallow - caramel and toffee with a bit of sweet molasses quickly following them up. The malts also lend some bread and butter type notes that are a bit more subtle. Lots of seemingly residual sugar, although again, the sweetness is actually controlled pretty well. Brown sugar-covered dark fruits; plums and figs pop out the most. There's a light oxidation in the finish that brings out a mild, wet cardboard flavor. The booze is noticeable but not abrasive. You can definitely tell this is 8.5% ABV, but even after some warming, the boozy flavors never become too hot or uncontrollable. Body is on the medium-thick side with low carbonation and a somewhat sticky and oily mouth feel.
For a 25th Anniversary beer, being such a "big" milestone in the lifetime of basically anything, I would have expected just a little more from a brewery so well defined in so many categories. "American Strong Ales" always seem like such a "catch-all" category, so you never really know what you're gonna get. I feel like this one might have been a little better fresh, maybe a stronger hop presence would have made it a bit more lively. Nothing stands out, but it definitely wasn't bad. The problem is that Bell's has already set the bar too high for themselves! Thanks again to Mike for this one.
04-07-2013 21:41:55 | More by tectactoe
4.08/5 rDev +8.8%
Reviewed from notes on 9/4/10.
A: Pours a dark ruby to mahogany color with is impenetrable by my eye. A khaki one finger head sizzles away quickly to leave an effervescent film on top. The lacing is sticky and a mixture of Gothic arches and paint splatter dots - like a snow covered mountain peak.
S: This is fairly sweet caramel malt heavy brew with a touch of piney hops to balance. Distinct notes of cinnamon roll and glazed spiced doughnuts also fill my nostrils. I also smell a little orange zest and raisin. This is a very unique smelling beer and it also contains a spiciness that I can't quite pinpoint.
T: I would have to say that the piney hops take more of the taste stage than the sweet malts do. Or do they? My confusion makes me appreciate the balance between the component ingredients. This is definitely making me think of baked goods, though, like a glazed cinnamon-raisin-spiced bread.
M: The feel on my mouth is not quite as full as the smell and taste would lead me to believe. This is light to medium bodied that is just a little on the watery side. There is a nice sizzle on my palate from the spiciness and hops, though.
D: This is a solid brew worth another try. I feel like I did not quite nail down all that this beer is about the first time around, so I am eager to try it again.
09-20-2010 23:07:06 | More by TCHopCraver
2.53/5 rDev -32.5%
12 oz. bottle poured into a Bells Snifter. Batch 9871
It pours a transparent amber with a off white soapy 2 fingered head that lasted for a little bit before dying off. A medium amount of lacing clings to the side of the glass.
The nose is a mixture of some grassy vegetal hops and really grainy malt. I don't know what it is but the nose just rubs me the wrong way. It's like a clash of aromas but neither side is very good.
The taste a minor improvement over the aroma but still clashy. A pretty firm bitterness with a lot of spicy hops. The malt is very grainy though and it makes for a really confusing taste. The finish is also pretty sweet which really cuts down on drinkability.
Mouthfeel is decent with the right body and mouthfeel but the sweetness really hampers the drinkability. Overall I'm disappointed with this beer from a usually solid brewery.
10-24-2010 03:46:19 | More by weatherdog
4.05/5 rDev +8%
Cheers to 25 years of Bell's! Pours into my glass a great deep red hue with an inch of creamy khaki foam on top of the brew. Light lacing on the glass. Aromas start off with dense malts featuring caramel and nuttiness. There's a sweet fruity backbone to the beer with a nice dose of citric, pine laced hops as well.
First sip brings big malts upfront with caramel, toffee, nuts and a fruity underbelly. Green citrusy hops meld in as it flows down with a touch of pine. Touch of spiciness on the finish as the bitterness and sweetness do battle. Tasty brew.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Makes itself known on the palate while still maintaining easy drinkability for the abv. Overall, a solid strong ale / double red. Everyone wants something crazy for the anniversary brew, but I'm enjoying this one.
12-10-2010 02:32:47 | More by orbitalr0x
4/5 rDev +6.7%
A_Dark amber with a fluffy white head. Lacing coats the glass.
S_Grassy hops,caramelized malt, and dark fruit.
T_Earthy,floral hops,caramel,toffee,cherries, and figs.Very interesting mix. Very crisp.
M_Full bodied. Coats the mouth.
D_Very crisp and pretty refreshing for a higher ABV.
09-04-2010 20:47:36 | More by nickadams2
3.45/5 rDev -8%
Notes from 1/30/2011
A - Pours deep amber with three fingers of pillowy head. Head has moderate retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing behind.
S - Caramel malts predominate, though some grains are also present. Aroma is nice but a little underwhelming.
T - Again, dominated by malts with a distinct tea flavor on the finish. Some slightly sweet notes in the taste, but no specific flavors I can pin down. Taste pretty good, but non-descript.
M - Medium light mouthfeel with some slight drying on the finish.
O - Definitely drinkable, if not particularly memorable or desirable. Perhaps the Batch 10,000 should have been the recipe for this anniversary beer as an homage to their roots. This just doesn't stand out in any way.
10-25-2011 03:26:45 | More by warnerry
3.55/5 rDev -5.3%
It's a bright copper/amber--like a new penny without the luster...and surprisingly fizzy. As I sit here staring as I salute our veterans this holiday, bubbles flash to the surface of my Bell's pint glass, almost as if this were freshly popped soda.
It smells old, like scuffed brown leather and busted cigar guts. It's got an appealing toughness to the aroma, like I should transfer it to a canteen and throw it up around the horse saddle. That's pretty cool.
I get a little of that leathery tobacco on the tongue. I made only a feeble attempt at cigars, but I think this would pair well. It's got a weird creaminess to it, and bubbles continue to scramble surface-bound from the bottom. There's an orange vibe that--coupled with the cream-ish tendency--reminds me of root beer. It's different, and it's Bell's so it's better than a lot of beers...but I'm honestly a little letdown for an anniversary beer.
11-11-2010 20:01:15 | More by marvin213
4/5 rDev +6.7%
Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.
The beer pours an orange-amber color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is fairly faint, but I do get a little bit of alcohol, dark fruit, citrus and honey. The flavor is more pronounced. I get some caramel malt, candi-sugar, sweet fruit, citrus and some alcohol. There is a light amount of hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
10-15-2010 03:11:47 | More by Mora2000
3.9/5 rDev +4%
Poured from bottle a clear amber. Head is light tan which fades to a thin sheet across the top. Smell is awesome. I get citrusy hops: pineapple, orange, some pine but mostly fruit. A swirl of the glass reveals the carmel malt sweetness. Taste starts with hops...then the malts flourish and it finishes with a dry bitter hop aftertaste. This beer is like a tamed down version of The Oracle to me. Mouthfeel is thicker than average with good carbonation. Very drinkable and i think a nice commemerative offering from Bells.
10-06-2010 21:16:32 | More by sculls65
3.58/5 rDev -4.5%
Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.
Appearance: Hazy, glowing orangish-red with just a thin line on top.
Smell: Sweet citrus, pine, caramel, plum and a light spiciness. Mild but pleasing.
Taste: Citrus and pine hops are noticeable upfront but never turn very bitter. The malt backbone is relatively mild, with some caramel, toffee and dark fruit.
Feel: Moderate carbonation, smooth and slightly chewy body but somehow not very full. Barely dry finish.
Drinkability: Overall, this is a very smooth and mellow beer; a little too mellow actually, as it just never takes off. Nevertheless, it is a nice sipper.
10-09-2010 03:03:42 | More by bsp77
4.03/5 rDev +7.5%
batch 9871 august 12, 2010
(the website says this has a shelf life of six months so i may have waited too long to drink this one for the best results.)
a vigorous pour into an imperial pub glass produced a frothy in head with minimal lacing. this has a deep hazy amber that matches it's sweet malty smell.
this is a beer that has some great consistency from the smell through the taste, it all seems to combine perfectly. a great complex beer start to finish with a sweet, but not too sweet, taste and a thick mouthfeel to coat the tongue.
this is a pretty good beer for a somewhat chilly night but not a high ranker for me on the bell's list. i love bell's so this is not a negative toward them or the beer. i'd buy more of this if it wasn't a limited release.
09-22-2011 03:37:57 | More by amidabha
3.95/5 rDev +5.3%
A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pours a golden orange with a fluffy tan head. The head looks impressive, but the body isn't quite up to par.
S: The aroma is heavy in caramel malt, notes of bruised apples and dark fruit, and toasted malt. The toastyness is throwing off the aroma, otherwise this is a solid beer.
T: The flavor is less toasty, but is still loaded with dark fruit notes and heavy caramel malt. This ASA leans towards the Old Ale notes that you find in this style. Heavy in the malt, the hops seem a bit more attenuated then what the brewer originally intended. There is a slight boozyness to this brew that is in no way offensive.
MF: The mouthfeel is a solid medium, and is lacking in carbonation.
D: Drinkability is good.
Overall, this is a good beer from Bells. This is the second of the 6 pack that I bought, and it's weird how I feel the first one was better. Still, an excellent beer for a Silver Anniversary. Cheers to 25 more!
12-08-2010 21:11:01 | More by TKEbeerman
3.3/5 rDev -12%
Recieved from both biglobo8971 and Desaparecido for winning the Sunday Night Football Squares LIF week 4. Thanks again guys, I'm enjoying one getting ready for Game 1 of the ALCS, Go Rangers!!!
Poured into a New Belgium glass golden amber color with a one finger white froathy head. Decent lacing. It's the Fall, so I can't smell much because of allergies. The flavor is rather interesting. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's just odd. There is a strange fruity bitterness up front that ends in a leathery flavor. The mouthfeel isn't anything great but nothing terrible.
This is an odd brew and I think I'm going to let the 2nd bottle I got age for a few years. Maybe some of its bitterness will fade.
10-15-2010 22:31:02 | More by whoneeds8
3.68/5 rDev -1.9%
I didn't know that Bell's was hitting 25,I didn't hear much about this release so it was a pleasant surprise to see this beauty sitting in the cooler up at Bocktown. Pours a ruby amber colored body with a light khaki head wth thin sporadic lacing. Aroma is full of pine/citrus hop pungency coated with some sugars and a bit of alcohol and a nice slightly sour mash cereal grain finish. As it warms I notice ripened fruits and hints of oak finishing, again I haven't heard much I have no clue whether this has hit the barrel or not. This one is ready for the cellar a big strong ale brewed with Michigan malts, and American hops...hop flavor is actually well integrated in this beer. Vanilla, caramel, a bit of diacetyl but it's not offensve. Pine/citrus well blended hop bitterness, alcohol is evident not overwhelming. Mouthfeel coats the palate a bit of residual sugars left on the palate not too cloying especially for a strong/old ale. Carbonation is mellow, body is medium to full nothing here to complain about. Drinkability is a nice sipping brew, definitely strong flavor profile. Light up a cigar as it warms I'm sure it would be a great combo, sit out on the back deck this fall and enjoy.
09-27-2010 04:16:39 | More by WVbeergeek
4.05/5 rDev +8%
Bottle at Corner Tavern on Edgewood.
Pours a hazy dark copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.
Smells of robust caramel malts with good amounts of pine and earthy hop aromas. Also present are hints of sweet toasted malts.
Tastes very similar to how it smells. Sweet - but not overly so - caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of pine hop flavors. Slight amounts of toffee join in shortly thereafter until they're chased by earthy hop flavors. Slight toasted malt flavors make a brief appearance before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.
Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very smooth thickness with solid carbonation.
Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.
Overall there was a lot going on in this beer (fair for an American Strong) and it worked, though not spectacularly. Not worth seeking out but worth a shot if you see it around.
10-31-2010 19:00:10 | More by glid02
Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 485 ratings.