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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.

344 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 344
Hads: 503
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 15.24%
Wants: 20
Gots: 66 | FT: 5
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 344 | Hads: 503
Photo of AgentZero
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Copper color with a finger of head on it that left a decent amount of lace. Not bad looking.

S - Lot of phenol qualities, stonger yeast presense than I expected. A bit malty with some candied fruits.

T - Chemical phenol on the end kills this one for me. It wasn't bad, there was a decent fruit taste with moderate yeast, but the chemical nature of it made it a strong ale that had too much bite. Was not a real fan, average.

M - Sugary, medium bodied, syrupy, moderate carbonation.

D - Gets a little hot, not great tasting enough to get down easily.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. A generous extra from boatshoes. Thanks, Fletcher!

A: Pours a hazy orange-amber body topped with a light beige head. The dense bubbles fall in sections and leave some lace as they do.

S: Barleywine-strength caramel, toffee, nuts, grapefruit. A strong, pungent aroma.

T: This tastes like purple. That was my first thought. Then I realized I was thinking of the grape lollipops I used to eat as a kid. It has that same artificial grape flavor. Caramel, toffee. A spicy rye bite. Grapefruit hops that seem to have faded or lost their intensity; there's a staleness to this that I don't care for.

M: Medium body. Good carbonation. A clean finish, though there is some booze to it (not something forgivable at less than 9%).

D: I was pretty unenthusiastic about this one. It was nice for a while, but halfway through I lost interest.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.05/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch 9871, bottled 12 August 2010. Clearly whatever hops were present have faded by now. Picked up a bottle a few months back, not sure why I waited so long to try it.

Pours a hazy medium amber, a rather dull color, to be frank. One finger of cream-colored head, fades fast, little lacing.

Smell is an odd mix of fruit that I can't quite place. It's like one of those tropical fruit punches, with pineapple, apricot, some citrust, maybe papaya. Sweet, pungent, and nose-filling in a surprising way. My nostrils feel like they're being assaulted by fruit juice.

Taste is, surprsingly, quite similar to the smell. Has that same weird fruity character that the smell does, but here it's tempered somewhat by a bit of bitter hops. But what I found pleasant in the smell, I find somewhat off-putting in the taste. This is one of the stranger beers I've tasted - tastes more like tropical punch than any beer I've had.

Mouthfeel is good - medium-bodied, good carbonation, smooth. Flavor does a disappearing act in the finish - not dry, but quick.

Overall, a really odd beer. Had me doing searches to figure out what the heck they put in it. I realize the age on this has probably brought out the sweeter, maltier, side, but wow is it strange. Not terrible, but not terribly enjoyable.

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Photo of gatornation
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a a beautiful slight hazed copper color with a small tan head nice lacing on glass..smell is sugary hops and citrus with sweet candy toffee smells..the taste is very sweet candy like with malts ..then hops then some toffee a little smoke and alcohol burn..mouth feel is medium and over sweet like rock candy..its too sweet and candy like for me i would not call it a strong ale it is all over the place i dont know what to call it except not good..for a 25th mark this did not hit with me way to sweet

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Photo of Khazadum
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grabbed at my local Binny's on a lucky day for me! Chilled and poured into a pint glass.

A-Absolutely perfect amber color that belongs only on adornments. Pure white head that rose to an acceptable height and died away to the traditional laced collar and archipelago arrangement. Multiple carbonation streams noted within the glass. Easily able to read through the glass, but dark enough to know this bad boy is a beer.

S-Sweet cherries, none of that tart crap here. Faint malts reminding me of brown sugar and fructose. Alcohol laden apples? Definitely astringent something.

T-Alcohol really comes out for an 8.5%. The finish just bites you in the mouth with antiseptic qualities that slowly dissipate to a minor hop solo.

The good things to note about this is how clean it is on the opening. It comes out as a mystery with mild sweet flavors before it goes downhill. Its not bad, but its just not what I was expecting. The nose was an anomaly because nothing similar to it can be found in the flavors.

M-Bit watery lending it a smooth character, tingles are what I was expecting from how this looks, no residue except for the finish on the back of the tongue.

D- If you are okay with having alcohol be a dominant player, than this is a solid ale. The drawbacks are there isn't much else to it. Its heavily alcoholic, minor amount of flavors, and decent to sniff at. Not much else can be said for this. Least it goes down easily enough. I doubt I'd ever buy this again.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.09/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - The beer pours quite dark, a sort of reddish ebony hue. The head is tan and frothy, and leaves a bit of lace.

S - The aroma is buttery, slightly toasty, and has a tinge of finished leather smell. I don't really dig it.

T - The flavor is unusual, certainly, featuring abstractions of tastes like Fruit Loops, Starburst candies, and, again, a leathery impression. It is much more interesting and enjoyable in the gustatory sense than it is for the olfactory.

M - Feels a bit sticky, and that doesn't help things at all. The carbonation is a bit aggressive too.

D - Wow this is a bizarre brew; it has nice flavor aspects but it just never seems to coalesce.

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Photo of MrOH
3.09/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep copper with a tight,quickly dissapating, slightly off-white head.

Big caramel nose to start, then grapefruit creeps in and takes over; highly appetizing.

Taste is pretty much the nose plus booze.

Kinda sticky in the mouth with a slight alcohol burn.

No way I could drink more than one of these.

I think this beer definitely need some more time. The hottness really threw me off, as it didn't really come through in the nose. Maybe it will gain some complexity as well, as there really isn't too much to it other than caramel malts and C hop grapefruit taste.

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Photo of chiefydawg
3.1/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Semi-clear amber gold with sparse, slow-rising bubbles. Thin, light beige head with fine bubbles that fades somewhat rapidly.

Smell of malty, caramelly grain with a candied fig backdrop. Faint fruity, rounded hops keep it honest and from smelling like a delectable pastry. Clean yeast, barely detecting some of it, which may be contributing to the fruit. No alcohol nor any fermentation flaws noticed(of course).

Smooth, round, sticky malt. Just barely enough hop bitterness to keep that from going too far. Overripe flower, clover honey. Caramel, dates, ripe grain. Subtle but necessary hop punch at the swallow saves this one.

Alcohol is felt at the breath as the beer warms and empties. Actually quite nice, as the warmth aids in the hop's cutting of the malt cloy. Lingers in the mouth for too long, though the taste that is loitering is pretty pleasant, just not real drinkable for a Bell's.

Tastes aged, which would explain the sweetness. Not sure know how old this bottle is, but I looked and noted (checking after tasting to confirm) that early reviews had similar views. Maybe they were overthinking this one, but somthing is missing

A poor man's Brown Shugga - but not at a poor man's price.

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Photo of 7ways
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brilliant ruby red and amber, off white head with decent lace and minimal head. Very pretty.

Smell is pretty muted. Raisin bread, caramel malt, hops are an afterthought. Pretty alcoholic.

Bread and caramel and more alcohol than you would expect from an 8.5% beer. Everything tastes faded; this tastes like a two year old IPA.

Except for the appearance, there is nothing very remarkable about this beer, and it's not worth $15 for a 6 pack.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Bell's 25th pours a deep, slightly hazy copper color with ruby highlights. About a 2 finger slightly off-white head forms, that has pretty nice retention and lacing.

Smell: I get a lot of caramel malts on the nose, and some graininess. Also some citrus hops. To me the malts and hops in this beer clash a bit. Maybe it's just the fact that a ton of caramel and citrus don't go together for me; I can't quite put my finger on it.

Taste: Lots of caramel malts and citrus hops. That's about all I pick up on. The hops and malts don't clash as badly in the taste as they do on the nose, but this beer is still just average, maybe slightly above.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This beer is definitely light bodied for an 8.5% ABV beer. It does drink fairly smoothly due to good combination but still, just decent. Overall, just a slightly above average strong ale. Definitely worth a shot, but you'll find much better offerings from Bell's.

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Photo of righthereisay
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I fan of Bell's, so I picked up 1 bottle at our local 6 pack shop.

It has a nice smell, maybe some caramel/raisin. No distinct flavor is totally evident.

The flavor is somewhat complex, grains and barley. Definitely some bitterness, but not too much. Absolutely no carmel as others state.

The body is almost non-existent. Very dissappointed with that. the carbonation is good though. Mouthfeel is pretty bad.

Drinkability? Well, I could understand the 2nd would go down better, but I really am not impressed.

Overall, Bell's should have worked harder on their 25th anniversary beer....or maybe this just isn't my style.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on a recent trip to Florida. Glad to try it. 12oz bottle...

A: A deep copper color with some ruby hues blended in. A small tan head that fades at a decent pace to a lace atop the brew. Good.

S: A sweet malt blended with some bready rye. Some hints of toffee in the middle with some faint caramel on the backend. Very mild hop hidden in there. Decent.

T: Hint of a bready boozy bite upfront with a quick metallic salty taste quickly following. Some faint cherry in the middle with a very, very faint tartness hidden on the back. A strange blend of flavors. Eh.

M: Medium body with an ok carbonation. A boozy bite finish. Decent.

D: Once you get past the strange flavors, this goes down. Decent.

All in all, this is definitely not something you should brew for a 25th anniversary. You would think after 25 years that they could come up with something more balanced and unique to offer. This just has a strange metallic salty taste to it. Don't bother with this one, even if you like Bell's. Not their best work. Need a 2 Hearted to wash this gunk down.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.15/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. 8.5% ABV, Batch # 9871 (packaged Aug. 12, 2010)

Thanks to sweemzander for this brew!

A - 25 pours a beautiful clear crimson bronze color that's gorgeous and vibrant but topped by a weak bone-colored head. An arch of lace and ring of loose bubbles is left above the almost naked beer.

S - The immediately crisp, hopped-up aroma fades quickly into an amber malt and doughy-bread-based ale with subtle fruity esters. The once strong, citrusy American hops vanished quickly leaving the malt fairly balance-less in the aroma. Thin solvent alcohol notes in the back.

T - Some of the citrusy American hops pull into the flavor much more adding balance to the doughy, bready amber malt. Almost no finish or follow-through though which is largely my problem with it. It disappears very quickly.

M - While the flavor has a somewhat thin consistency, falling almost flat mid palette, the actual feel is rather thick and chewy. Smooth from very low carbonation on the finish. Retro-nasal alcohol warmth comes through.

D - For a 25th Anniversary brew, I find this lacking all around (for a Bell's product) especially the sharp drop-off in flavor on the tongue. No finish, odd feel, this is definitely a one-and-done for me. I wouldn't really want it again.

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Photo of otto251068
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Rochefort chalice. Batch 9871 making this beer six months old.

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby red with some hints of brown, a little muddy. Great color, when held up to the light it really makes this beer look lively. The half fingers worth of off white head appears, then quickly dies to leave only a trace of spotty lace covering with a ring clinging to the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel and toffee start this one out. There are burnt notes, some malty sweetness, and piney hops in there as well. The hops come out more and more as the drink warms.

Taste: The maltiness appears first, followed some sweetness. The hops really come out to play at the end, and leave a drying bitterness after the swallow. There is an herbal, almost soapy flavor in there, but it is not unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium, almost high carbonation level. The carbonation level does a great job at "perking" this beer up making all the flavors come out.

Overall: The sweetness out front is countered well by the hoppy finish. I enjoy the kick from the sweetness, but it may be a little too rich for my liking.

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Photo of sholland119
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a pretty amber red, crystal clear, low carbonation but a little ring of off white head.

S-Lots of bready malt and some caramel sweetness.

T-Surprisingly bland, especially for a Bell's beer. Malty, bready but disappointingly watery.

M-Low carbonation, medium body, thin.

O-A letdown all in all. Bummer.


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Photo of syrupjoe
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into pint glass. Pours a deep amber with light tan head.

Nose is extraordinarily malty - honey, biscuit, and sweet toffee.

Taste is rather light and smooth - less than I expected with the nose. Lots of biscuit and malt, a slight amount of grain, and a bit of booze.

Low carbonation with a sweet but tight finish.

Overall this is an okay beer, but it's nothing great. It's well-rounded but I wouldn't seek it out and will probably give away my second bottle.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.21/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I expected this beer to be much more impressive that it was. This beer poured out as a copper color, with a white head on top that really didn't really stick around too much. The smell was a little boozy and had some light Belgian aromas to it. Nothing much really stood out to me on this. The taste was malty and was a little tart. Kind of a strange brew. The mouthfeel was decent but nothing out of the ordinary. Overall this beer left me unimpressed. I feel that this beer doesn't do the justice of celebrating something like 25 years. Perhaps if this was aged it would improve but I'll probably never know.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a cloudy golden orange color. One and a half finger tan head shows medium retention. Light web style lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- I picked up a lot of caramel malts in the front of this one. Some light darker fruits soaked in alcohol in the middle of the beer. Toasted malts in the ending of the beer gives way to no hop aroma which I expected. I think something is missing...just maybe??

T- Toasted malts seem to be the dominate favor in the front of the beer. Darker fruits soaked in some rum in the middle with loads of caramel malts. There is a light hop bite in the backing of this beer that seems to be a little off putting. I thought it would mellow out with a little age on it but sadly it didn't. There is a alcohol medicinal taste to the ending of the beer.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little lacking but good for the beer. Toasted malts and light darker fruits stay on the palate. The aftetaste is alcohol heat along with lots of caramel malts and darker fruit. Medium alcohol drying on the palate. Flavors seemed a little off putting at times and it was blended more toward a Old Ale more than anything else.

D- This beer is drinkable but a little average at best. The flavors were a little off putting at times but when it was colder it was a little more personalable. The ABV doesn't really help this beer at all but I wish I could say more about this beer than just average.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(12oz bottle courtesy of gwguest!) Pours dark amber with off-white head. Aroma of sweet malt, honey, candied sugar. Taste is sweet-like a tootsie pop. Some bitterness on the end. Medium bodied with slick texture and slightly bitter finish. Ok, but nothing worth seeeking out. Huge thanks to Gavin for this!!

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Photo of Bonis
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - A nice deep orange with one finger of head which eventually settles to a layer of white bubbles. Leaves some sticky lacing.

S - Not too complex here. A nice dose of caramel malt, some sweet citrus hops, and a hint of booze.

T - Caramel malts are big, some fruitiness is also apparent. Bitter hops are there along the way, but turn unpleasantly bitter in the end. It's like when I lick my lips I just get this awful bitterness. Overall, not what I expected from Bell's on their 25th.

M - Full bodied, sweet, sticky, boozy... Oh yea, unpleasantly bitter.

D - Getting through the first few drinks was the worst part about this one. After I became accustomed to the bitterness, it got a little better. This is a beer that Bell's fans should try. I'm glad I got a bottle, and I'm also glad I didn't get 6. I'd be interested to see what it's like after some of those hops have mellowed out.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle drank from my Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out a translucent dark reddish brown colored boy with a small light tan colored head on top. the head takes its time falling and leaves behind small spots of lacing.

S- the first thing i notice are sweet caramel malts with a little bit of toffee. after that come some hops. theyre strong, but not what i was expecting. pine, grapefruit, and grassy hops come through. this one smells pretty balanced.

T- the sweet toffee and caramel malts i could smell come to the front of this. once again its hoppy, but not nearly what i was expecting. this is a pretty malt dominated beer. some floral, piny, and grapefruit hops along with a little bit of grass in here too. a bit of alcohol comes through in the finish.

M- medium bodied and overly carbonated. slight warming from the alcohol.

D- this beer left me wanting more. i was expecting something really special and it wasnt delivered. it wasnt offensive or anything, but i think bells could have done something more to celebrate 25 years of brewing. itll be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to GCurlow for this.

A: Dark amber with redish and orange highlights when held to light. Pretty hazy. A slight quarter finger head that pretty much vanishes as fast as it came. Slightly off white, almost tan. An alright lacing sticks to the glass.

S: Big dark fruits dominate the aroma in this one. Black cherries and raisins mainly, with notes of figs and dates. A buttery bread/biscuit smell. Caramel and toffee malts are light. A very faint flowery aroma underneath. Pretty complex.

T: Sweet malts upfront with a slight burnt flavor. The dark fruits take over in the middle followed by a decent dose of alcohol. Finishing fairly hot and slightly roasty, with a light black cherry aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied. Medium to high carbonation. Lots of alcohol in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

O: Way to much alcohol coming through on this one. Has lots of potential. Should've let this one sit a year or two. But how was I to know. If I end up with another in a trade I'll know what to do now.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: The color seems sort of light for this style - a mostly transparent full amber color with a foamy off-white head that bubbles away, leaving a bit more than a ring around the glass.

Smell: Tons of caramel malt sweetness, some dark fruits, not much else. A little bit of booze as it warms.

Taste: There is an overabundance of caramel sweetness here; I actually get a cotton candy taste out of it, which is uniquely enjoyable. A little bit smokey. I am actually curious what the intention was here, since this is so cloyingly sweet. I get no real hop presence. Finishes -- surprise! -- sweet.

Mouthfeel: A stickiness coats the lips and tongue. Medium carbonation, fuller than medium body.

Drinkability: The sweetness here really dampens my enjoyment of this beer. There was not really much balance, and this is just not something I am going to go out of the way for.

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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
84 out of 100 based on 344 ratings.