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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

488 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 488
Reviews: 343
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 20
Gots: 69 | 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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 07-28-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 488 | Reviews: 343 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Sammy, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

t0rin0, Aug 22, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sending me this one!

Pours a hazy honey orange with a 1 inch foamy orange-white head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sweet malt, brown sugar, orange juice, citrus fruits, and citrus zest. Taste is pretty much exactly like the smell with a very nice set of citrus juice, fruit, and zest flavors coming out. Almost no bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a smooth and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good strong ale with some nice citrus aromas and flavors. I am glad I was able to try a bottle of this one.

UCLABrewN84, Sep 26, 2011
Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -20%

djrn2, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly rusted red-copper. Slight off-white head without too much lacing as it goes down. The nose is...unique. I'm having a hard time describing what's going on. Maybe a bit of bready yeast scent with hints of caramel and amber malt in the background. Strange, but kind of reminds me of the smell characteristic of most Harpoon beers, which I've always attributed to their house yeast.

Taste is similarly difficult to describe. There's a noticeable bitterness that was not present in the nose. Slightly earthy/floral for the hops, although not to a large extent at all. Slight alcohol tinge. Bitterness coats my mouth after swallowing. Slightly dry mouthfeel. Dry. Drinkability is enhanced by there mere fact that I really can't stop drinking to figure out exactly what is going on. In the end, I'm really not making all that much progress. I've got a sixer or so left, so I'll have to see how this one ages.

Thorpe429, Sep 19, 2010
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev 0%

zestar, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +6.7%

nmann08, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a rocky head that fades rather quickly though it leaves some webbing behind

Smell: Caramel sweetness with fig elements and offsetting pith

Taste: Caramel and fig, up front, provide an interesting interplay, with a developing pithy hop flavor that holds the sweetness in check; after the swallow, the malt forward elements resume their supremacy, though the beer never becomes cloying

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Lots of complex flavors in this brew; a bit of a style bender that has elements of Winter Warmers, Barleywines and Strong Ales

brentk56, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold."

--Maurice Setter

Bittersweet orange with a fiery tangerine behind the snifter that is the rising sun. Nearly two fingers of toasted almond colored cream was produced on the pour and does its job with style. Enough frosting sticks to keep the appearance score right where it started.

Unfortunately, the nose lacks a major olfactory hook. The beer smells amber-like and somewhat caramel malty, with a hoppiness whose origins aren't immediately obvious. Here's hoping the usual Bell's magic makes an appearance on the palate.

American strong amber ale was an interesting design choice, but I suppose these guys have brewed just about everything else. Even though it's obvious that Bells' 25th AA is well-brewed, it's also is a little short in the personality department when it comes to flavor, which is where it matters most. Warming helps in that regard.

Golden American barleywine is probably the most apt comparison. The malts are primarily mid-range, with equal parts toasted whole grain bread and caramel-toffee. The hops are orange peel fruity and herbal-spicy as well. Sweet is favored early in the mouthful and bitter is favored late. A lingering finish and good alcohol masking help the cause.

Still generous alpha acids attempt to scrub the tongue clean after each upending of the glass. This must have been one resinously hoppy beast last fall. This really is enjoyable big beer, so the drinkability score (now carrying more weight, thankfully) will be bumped with pleasure.

The mouthfeel can best be described as buzzily creamy. More laid back bubbles might have been preferable, but it's hard to argue with the energetic wakeup call that each mouthful provides.

More was expected from a 25th (silver) anniversary ale from a brewery as accomplished as Bell's. Having said that, these guys still have a perennial place in my top-10 American breweries of all-time. With the demise of the Batch Series, it would be great if they continue to find a way to surprise us with inventive, one-off ales from time to time.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a dark golden veering on copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and some lacing. Aroma of weird cereal notes with a big rush of sugar and some off balanced hops. Taste is a weird mix of everything that was left to brew around the brew house that day including half caramelized malt with weird unrefined cereal notes with a dry hoppy finish. Body is quite full with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. This one is a bit messy in a similar fashion that batch 10,000 was messy.

Phyl21ca, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Toffee sweetness meets resiny bitterness in Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale.

Their 25th pours a solid amber/copper color with a mild haze, creating an even glow. A dainty creame of a head forms on the beer and fades into a lace around the glass fairly quickly. I would have liked a froathier look.

Balanced aromas of deeply caramelized barley malts and earthy/piney/citrusy hops keep each other in check so that one never dominates the other. Low in esters, the sharp fruitiness is all hop derived.

Caramel, toffee, and peanut brittle sweetness gives the impression of Cracker Jacks candy. But those hops give a jolt of orange rinds, ruby red grape fruits, gin-like spruce, and a sappy grassy taste. Very complex taste to say the least. Still the hop compounds and malts seem disjointed, as if there are two beers here in a single glass.

Sweeter flavors lead to a heavier and thicker feel with only moderate creaminess and dryness. Lightly syrupy, the beer seems somewhat English-like in feel. The finish lacks the dryness and crispness that could improve the beer dramatically.

I keep looking for a toastier or more sharp bitterness that pushes the balance into a more hop or acrid balance. But this ends up being a sweet beer with bold hop flavor. The bitterness and toast never materializes and keeps the beer balanced. Needless to say, I'd prefer a slightly more crisp and bitter beer.

BEERchitect, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

decided to open this one up with lunch today while watching a movie with my son. consumed via ap int glass on 11/06/2010.

the pour was a nice dark amber color with a very clear look to it. a nice medium head of white rises up from the bottom of the glass and sticks to the sides quite nicely.

aroma of deep citrus hops are quite sticky and very well defined with a fresh resin like feel to it and a full and sweet malty backbone. each sip was very full, gotta love an ale with that deep full feel to it. really tastes and drinks like a big ipa with the hops really steeling the show. almost blood orange like sweetness with hints of butter and a warm finish with hints of dryness that make it quite sessionable.

overall a solid offering and another outstanding hoppy beer from bells

mikesgroove, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -20%

GRG1313, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a clear copper color with a fluffy off-white head.

S: The nose is the brown sugar, caramel, citrus sweetness present in so many strong ales. A bit oxidized (cardboard) already, which is strange for a beer so recently released.

T: The sweetness is moderate and so is the bitterness. Mostly toffee and molasses with a bit of caramel for the sweet side (with some more mild oxidation notes) and a touch of grapefruit peel on the hoppy side. There are some hints of pine and a subtle creaminess.

M: Medium to full in body with a smooth carbonation.

D: Not bad at all, but surprisingly oxidized for a beer that is pretty newly released. It was good, but I guess for a 25th anniversary beer, you might expect more of a "wow" factor.

womencantsail, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +6.7%

spycow, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

Knapp85, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

oberon, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of TMoney2591
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

VDubb86 is a good man for splitting this sixer with a wretch like me.

Hmm...maybe I should save a bottle for my 25th anniversary... Anyway, it pours a clear garnet-amber topped by about a half-finger or so of off-white foam. The nose is kinda IPA-ish, with some citrusy hop aromas clashing with some heavy caramel notes. The taste leans heavily toward the caramel, almost like a past-its-peak IPA, but with a duller hop sting and a much more pronounced alcohol burn (though this isn't that hot of a burn, frankly). Nothing much else beyond that, really. The body is a hefty medium, with a rather low carbonation and a nearly syrupy feel. Overall, I'm a little underwhelmed with this brew: it's not really bad, per se, but I'm not really seeing much going on here. It's okay, and a little too boozy to really be called "drinkable" to any great degree.

TMoney2591, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of emerge077
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saturated burnt copper, concentric rings of lace form under a flurry of spotty flecks all around the glass. A nice color, reminds me of a barleywine.

Oddly sweet crystal malt aroma, almost funky and not the most pleasant. Brown sugar, toffee, cotton candy, a bare hint of hops that's a bit too subtle.

Rich, smooth barleywine feel, huge bready, toasted barley flavor. Moderately sweet, with a mild hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Fairy average, but strong. Glad I only had a single and not a full 6.

emerge077, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, bronze color with a thick, tan head. It was long lasting and left behind some sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of citrus fruits, mostly orange and some floral notes. There was a sweet caramel presence, too.

T - Very herbal tasting with a floral hop presence. Nice bitter bite with a burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a pretty good ale. I'm going to try to see how some age effects these.

zeff80, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty straight forward ale. Not a lot of deviation off of what you first get. Tastes similar to a barleywine. Thick character from ingredients may age well over time. A nice ale, but I would have hoped for a bit more from a 25th anniversary ale.

RblWthACoz, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

WVbeergeek, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of off-white foam on top of a perfectly clear, amber-brown body. The head recedes rapidly and leaves moderate lace in its wake.

S - Rich, brown malt with lots of caramel and biscuit notes. Some pine hops and a little bit of fruity ale yeast.

T - Toasty, bready malt up front with lots of rich toffee flavor. Hop notes begin to come out in the middle with a peppery, mustardy character that blends well with the toasted malt character. The malt remains rich and sweet in the finish with lots of toffee character and moderate hop bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - Excellent, this beer is full of rich malt and spicy, resinous hops. The malt is dark enough to have toffee, toast, and caramel character, but it is also sweet enough to keep these flavors from becoming acrid and cloying as they too often are in dryer brown beers. The hops are spicy with a pepper and mustard character that is common in the best beers of this type. Well balanced and very drinkable, this is an appropriate beer to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a great brewery.

nickfl, Dec 01, 2010
Photo of Kegatron
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Kegatron, Aug 06, 2013
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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 488 ratings.