Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's 25th Anniversary AleBell's 25th Anniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

500 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 500
Reviews: 343
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 20
Gots: 67 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 07-28-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 500 | Reviews: 343
Reviews by beatenbyjacks:
Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - this was by far the most appealing part of this beer! rich frothy white head with beautiful lacing. light caramel color to the beer.

Smell - roasted malts for sure and a slight bitterness at the end.

Taste - lots and lots and lots of malts! Malt bomb.

Mouth feel - even with how malty this guy was it was very easy to drink.

Overall - maybe I should not have sat on this beer trade as long as I did. While very easy to drink, it was not my favorite Bell's beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of tectactoe
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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.

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of weatherdog
2.52/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of nickadams2
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of warnerry
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of marvin213
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of sculls65
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of bsp77
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of amidabha
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of whoneeds8
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic)
This beer has a slightly dense reddish-brown body with a bubbly yellowish-beige head. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that support the head for a good bit.
S- The dry caramel malt and light toasted malt hints have some dry biscuit malt notes to it. The full pungent woody hops finish the aroma.
T- The caramel malt gives way to a dry pungent green hop flavor that turns into a full hop bitterness in the finish. The dandelion green bitterness grows in the finish and dominates the flavor with a metallic flavor.
M- The medium mouthfeel has a dry tight fizz note that enhances the hop bitterness.
D- This beer has a very bitter finish which really detracts from the nice malt flavor and nice hop flavor/aroma that is hidden underneath.

Photo of richkrull
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark amber color with a good amount of beige head on it. Smell is pronounced. Bit of cherries with some maltiness coming through. Taste is pretty great malt upfront with a nice bitter hop finish. Medium bodied beer. Very good all around beer. I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for this bottle.

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a just off-white head upon pouring. Quick reduction to a very thin layer on top and a more foamy ring of foam around the edge. Not much lacing.

S: Some caramelized malt and a hint of citrus hops. There is a bit if a buttery aroma on the finish though.

T: Lots of sugary caramel and some toffee with a bit of fruit as well. Some light fig and raisin as well as a little bit of grassy hops.

M: Medium to full bodied, has a slight syrupy feel to it.

O: Not a bad beer, but nothing really stood out for me.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, it's the sixth bottle of a 6-pack that I had unrealistically high hopes for. I've had a wide variety of thoughts about this beer while working through the previous 5 bottles the past several weeks. This is the final bottle of the six, and with it I tell this tale...

It looks good. A reddish-copper color, something about it sort of candy-like, in its glossy, jeweled hard-candy appearance. The head is dirty while and fairly creamy, and while it's not huge, it sticks and stays.

At 8.5%, and considering the style, you'd think this would have even a little alcohol in the nose, but no, it's just pure malt/hop teamwork, with the malt taking the lead. Musty, toffee-like, even tea-like, it recalls a mutated Scotch ale, but the grassy hops brings it back to the states. A candy-like sweetness works its way in, reminding of various Belgian strong darks, so this is clearly a true American strong ale in its true "catch-all" meaning. And that's just the nose I'm talking about.

Brown sugar, caramel and a strange green grass astringency fight it out on the tongue. Watery herbal tea, toffee, mild alcohol warmth and extremely faint smoke tuck in under the main level. Burnt sugar, toffee and molasses work into the finish, where the grassy, strained hops character continues to lurk. The feel is a compromise between fizzy, bubbly carbonation, buoyant slickness and a smooth, round creaminess. As with the flavor, it performs well but never totally stuns like I want it to.

All in all, this beer pushes enough buttons to make me look forward to each sip, yet falls a little short of expectation considering 1) the brewery, 2) the style, and 3) the occasion. Thanks to a very well-incorporated 8.5%, it remains enjoyable and drinkable, despite weak spots. I wanted so much more from this--Bell's is one of my favorite breweries--but it's probably only disappointing due to my impossibly high expectations. C'est la vie...

Photo of nkersten
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark orange/reddish color with a bubbly quarter inch off white head. Smell is dominated by a combination of fruity tropical hops and sweet mats. Almost like a barleywine. Not used to this much hops in a strong ale. Taste is slightly metallic and boozy up front with caramel malts, some bitter tropical hops in the finish. Body is medium, sweet and slightly coating. Moderate carbonation helps finish clean. Drinkability is ok, but the metallic taste throws me off a little. This "catch all" category is hard to rate, but there is something I am not crazy about in this brew - not one particular category in particular, but whatever it is makes me glad i bought this by the bottle rather then a 6 pack.

Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Champagne's Cellars. Medium golden body with lasting white fluffy head. When this clears, I get a nutty sweet aroma that carries on in the taste. A lovely balanced sweet strong ale, that is unique among American strong. The hops are in the secondary. Tremendous drinkability.

Photo of Snow81
4.62/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice and Hazy orange

Smell: Light citric, sticky maltyness on the nose

Head: bit small not even a finger length and a little tan for color

Taste: Wow big floral hops with some mango or a exotic fruit with a touch of heat on the back

Weight: I would say about medium on the body and a bit lower carbonation than I was expecting

Finish: Mouth full of hops, lips get nice and sticky, a bit of a heat is still present, dryness hits the palate

3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Bruges tulip. Batch:9871

A: Pours a half a finger head, which is off-white. The body is a murky copper haze, that has a hint of red in the body. The carbonation is low on the visual. The lacing is left in a swath pattern.

S: The aroma is still high in hop profiles, while holding a nice caramel malt note. Strong note of American Strong Ale. Medium intensity on the overall aroma.

T/M: The mouthfeel is fairly smooth and not too heavy, with a nice silky experience. The malt does dominate the flavor profile, but hints at a weak barleywine are present. The hops have faded dramatically, but a hint at slight bitterness still holds true.

O: Overall this is a very smooth brew, but for the overall taste, it is missing a level of intensity, even with some age, the flavors have only developed and matured slightly. Good brew none the less.

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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
84 out of 100 based on 500 ratings.