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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.

499 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 499
Reviews: 343
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 20
Gots: 67 | FT: 4
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: 499 | Reviews: 343 | Display Reviews Only:
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

Photo of bobhits
1.93/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Cherry red amber color, some bubbles lingering, 2 finger white thin head.

There isn't much nose on this. The dry hopping is just not in the aroma. Some fruity dark cherry aromo, and strong sweet malt.

Smoke, strong malt body, soft hop finish. Well balanced if you don't want the hops or the malt to stand out. Dark fruits, caramel, toffee, smoke, alcohol, hoppy cheery flavor? It's interesting.

Fairly thin for a special beer, ok carbonation, goes down easy, but for a strong ale this isn't what i want.

It's tasty, I don't dislike this, but I've had countless better beers.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bell's tulip glass, check. Bell's coaster, check. Bell's bottle opener, check. Now on to put them all to use in drinking up some Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale.

Appearance, : clear, dusky crimson coloring, small but staying beige head. Looks good!

Aroma: rich, sweet caramel notes. Malt-driven ale all the way, very little hops coming through. Hints of molasses. A little spicy.

Taste: Mmmm. Hard to pigeonhole, tough to describe. Dark and slightly smokey, rich malt, viscous mouthfeel, alcohol becoming apparent. This feels most like a barley-wine, maybe something like a scotch ale, and a little like a Belgian strong dark. Caramel and toffee ahoy! The official description mentions "generous dry-hopping", but it's lost on me, even the "fragrant hop character."
All I'm getting is rich, sweet dark malt.
But very even-tempered, and I am now getting the hops, and they are well-balanced with the malt. Which is why it doesn't totally resemble a barley-wine, the sweetness is kept in check with hops wonderfully.
A wonderful, relaxing ale. How I wish I could actually get this in quantity. I'd love to have 2 or 3 of these in a row for a really righteous session.

Photo of tewaris
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

25th Anniversary Ale
Bell's Brewery Inc.
American Strong Ale (BeerAdvocate)/Strong Amber Ale (brewer's description)
8.5% ABV
1.084 OG
12 oz bottle, bottled August 12th, 2010, poured into a New Belgium snifter on September 16th, 2010. Shelf life is six months according to Bell's.

Appearance 5/5
Poured dark amber, or light brown, with good clarity and a good off-white head that stayed till the end and left great lacing on the glass.

Aroma 4/5
Aroma hints at a hoppy beer that is malt forward as well, and not like a DIPA where hops would dominate. I believe there are centennial hops in this one too because the hop smell is similar to Two Hearted, but not as fruity and dominating. The sweet, caramelly, malt aroma is equally strong.

Taste 3.5/5
Fruity sweet start that is quickly superseded by a decent hop bitterness. The finish is medium-dry and warming. Leaves a malty aftertaste on palate, and a bitter warmth at the back of the tongue. Good taste but I don't quite get the elements present in the aroma. I let it warm up, almost to room temperature, but still didn't quite get what I was looking for.

Mouthfeel 4.5/5
Silky because of the low carbonation but a tad thin. Coats the mouth to some extent but doesn't get cloying.

Drinkability 4/5
Alcohol is on the higher side, but the body is a little low, which is a minus for me given the style. However, alcohol warmth and malty richness keep things in check. Still, the taste is lacking that affects drinkability too.

Good beer. I would seek it out again if I could but this is "limited edition". Like most people who have tried this beer, I expected a much more solid offering from Bell's for their 25th! Perhaps barrel aged Expedition?

Photo of bamadog
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see this one, and I've been pleased to come across 3 offerings from Bell's in the last couple of weeks that I've never been able to have before, so that's pretty sweet. Review is from notes taken on 9/15/2010 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a solid and deep coppery color and starts with a 1/2 finger loose and soapy tan head that fades quickly to a scant wisp; body is very clear and looks a little oily on the pour and shows slight carbonation bubbling up; only a few spots of loose lacing are left behind.

Smell: A lot of hops come out as soon as I crack the bottle, but it settles quickly and becomes much sweeter, and actually, even fruity and candy-like; slight presence of alcohol hanging out in the robust nose as well.

Taste: Quite a bit going on here -- lots of bitter piney and grapefruit hops that are balanced by a very saccharine/sugary/candy sweet maltiness that is actually quite reminiscent of those hard candy root beer barrels; bit of a toffee sweetness and it rounds out with a warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight and it is definitely slick and oily; carbonation is soft and smooth; a thick and cottony coating is left all over the mouth and holds the flavors long into the aftertaste; belly is left a little warm from the ABV.

Drinkability: Pretty solid overall, but I find the sweetness to become a bit cloying after a while, not to mention that the 8.5% ABV would definitely have an impact; 12 oz. is good, but I would really have no problem splitting this with someone as well.

Photo of THORN
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into Snifter. Served around 50 F.
A: Reddish brown with off white foamy head. Retains half an inch.
S: Hops, grapefruit, and brown sugar.
T: Fruity hops, caramelized sugar, and toasted malts. Short cake is followed by sweet bitter linger.
M: Medium light on tongue. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable and is warming.
D: Fully of flavor and well balanced.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, $2.99 each in MI. No description of the beer on the bottle, cool label though.

The beer pours a dark orange-copper color with a thin off-white wet-looking head. It smells kind of IPA-ish to me, stronger in hops than anything else, strong malt in the background to contrast it. The beer tastes not at all like I expected from the aroma. Hops are there for sure, but along with that is some peppercorn and more noticeable ethanol than 8.5% ABV would indicate. Strongly bitter aftertaste, seemingly from hops.

The beer is thicker than usual, coupled with the ethanol flavor I suspect this might be >8.5% ABV. But who knows... Anyway it is more a sipper than chugger, but the glass is draining quickly nonetheless. Another great Bell's beer.

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

A: Copper amber, perfectly clear, and a huge off white head. Looks nice.

S: Lots of strong caramel are coming up from this. There is a huge hop scent; pungent, sticky, and earthy. Something sweet in the back, perhaps maple syrup, and raisons.

T: Taste follows the smell, malty, syrupy with hints of maple. The hops are there, slightly bitter, and earthy, but they are in the background. Nice, and it tastes like it was brewed with no effort, as if one day someone said: Let there be beer; and it was good.

M: Medium bodied but the carbonation lightens it up a bit.

D: Very tasty, not amazing, but overall well put together, and balanced. Not earth shaking, but just plain good.

Photo of sitarist
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber color, a nice steady stream of bubbles rise up to a fingers worth of off white head, the head falls to a top coating that leaves rings/webs of lacing.

Smells like cocaine? Im smelling pine, tropical fruits and citrus...very pungent with hints of toffee.

Taste is sweet and fruity up front with a peppery heat and numbing on the back-end. Reminds me of juicy fruit! There is a big malt body, but the hops still shine and dominate the flavors; at least when fresh.

Medium body with a velvety fizz...just a bit of bite.

This beer reminds me of Nugget Nectar! No wow factor??? Maybe because everything is so well balanced!!! This is one fine beer IMO.

Consume this one fresh if you can.

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

12oz to tulip glass, pours a nice reddish copper shade with a creamy head that lingers nicely - good lacing

smells of citrusy fruit punch hops, sweet and malty, pineapple

taste is quite sweet indeed, almost syrupy body, carbonation is light, hop balance to sweetness is not what i'm looking for,seems a little off balance fresh - with a little age this could be tastier imo

mouthfeel is syrupy and thick, bitter finish, overall not bad, but not amazing

Photo of WeisGuy
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle - Batch 9871

a - pours a deep copper color, one-finger ivory head with decent retention and lacing, slight haze

s - surprisingly hoppy aroma with lots of orange and pineapple hop notes, substantial caramel malt and light biscuit malt as well, very faint boozy heat

t - much less hoppy on the flavor than on the aroma, moderately sweet up front with lots of caramel and bready flavors, orange and pineapple bitter hop notes on the midpalate with the moderate bitterness flowing into the finish and cutting the caramel sweetness, light boozy heat lingers on the palate along with some orange marmalade notes

m - full bodied, moderate carbonation, nice alcohol warming, pretty well-balanced finish

d - not overly drinkable, flavors are just kind of dull and not interesting for what I usually expect from Bell's, that said, it's still an above average beer

A little bit of a letdown mainly because I have high expectations for a Bell's special release beer. Worth trying if it finds shelves in your area, but I'd stick with a single or two rather than a sixer.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a few bottles by splitting a 6er with my buddy TMoney2591. This beer pours a clear amber color with a ecru thick frothy head. The instant smell is of fruity, citrus and hops. There is also the faint boozy spicy bourbon smell. Hints of coriander and other earthy spices also decorate the aroma for this beer. The taste is a whole 'nother animal. I'm not sure how the taste and smell coincide, in fact they really don't. The taste there is a vermouth-like alcohol taste to it along with the roasted nuttier taste of the malt. The lemony, citrus taste does come through with a twinge of earthy pepper on the back. The hoppy bitterness is definitely there. The mouthfeel is ok due to the fact that the booze flavor doesn't have the syrupy thickness you might expect. The carbonation is helpful but it still can't erase the overall bitterness that plagues this beer. Even at 12 oz this is a one and done beer unless you're looking to get drunk/sick. Though it does go down pretty easy I wouldn't suggested having it again. Worth a try if you can find yourself some.

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

A deep amber color pour with a big lasting soapy offwhite head , medium carbonation . Aroma of cirtus hops , fruit ppunch , biscut , and caramel . Flavor is hoppy up front , fruity , with a nice toffee, caramel backbone , alcohol is well hidden , medium body , smooth creamy mouthfeel , hoppy finish . Very nice , a good drinker ,

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.

Photo of babaracas
3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy dark orange with thin offwhite head, not much in way of retention, couple blobs of lace left behind. Smell: caramel, date bread, pineapple, lemon. It works. Taste: caramel, bready, a little date, thins out a lot mid sip but then hits with a dose of pine and lemon at the end of the sip. The carbonation really comes and goes and it's a bit astringent in the finish. Boost the malt a little and it would be a decent barleywine, but as it is, it's a borderline decent something or other. Batch date Aug 12 2010.

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

I believe that Bell's is trying to get all of my money this month, between this, Oarsman and the Oracle? I guess I'mlucky that they still sell 12oz. bottles for $3-3.50 as opposed to other Michigan breweries that sell 12oz. for $6.99 (Founders). Anyways, between these two breweries, there goes my check!

Pours a surprisingly clear red/amber with two fingers of tan head. Smells are sweet malts, citrus, hops and brown sugar, not at all what I expected from this beer. Taste is caramel, pineapple, some brown sugar, good hop finish, a vey good beer! Mouthfeel is sticky with medium carb, feels good. Drinkabilty is very good.

I wa expecting a huge beer from Bell's for their anniversary, but instead I got a very well-balanced ale, unique but extremely drinkable. Should be drank now and NOT cellared, IMHO.

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

I poured this one into a New Belgium snifter. I wanted to try it as fresh as I could since I heard that this one is best in the first six months. It poured a rich amber in color with a quickly dissipating off white head. It smells like a mix between a strong DIPA and a weaker American Strong Ale. It's got slight sweetest with a lot of alcohol present. It almost has a cherry tint to it. It's not overly hoppy or malty. The flavor mirrors the aromas. It's not very complex. It's a little boozy for only being 8.5%. The mouthfeel is pretty solid. It's medium bodied and drinks pretty smoothly. Overall I'd say this one isn't anything too special. It doesn't wow you in any area.

Photo of stonelis
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a amber with a 2 finger head which dissapated quickly. Reminds me of a belgian ale. Easily drinkable. Sweet, sticky. I would of guessed it to be more than the 8.5%. some toffee notes. I would of thought this would get better ratings. I can drink this all day.

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

Deep ruby to tan in the glass with no collar of foam to speak of. Sweet toffee and caramel on the nose, very malt driven with some baking spice notes. Sweetness on the aromas are confirmed on the palate, some earthy hop notes come through on the back end. Bitterness lingers with a long finish. The alcohol comes off sweet, not enough hop presence to balance to beer out however. Overall I like it but definately don't love it. I am glad I bought one of them and not a six pack.

Photo of hosehead83
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into my trusty Bell's pint glass. Clear, dark copper color, with a moderate head of creamy foam.
Aroma-Toasted malt and pineapple juice
Taste-Sweet, lightly toasted malt, some citrus undertones, a bit of a warming finish with sweet malt and orange rind.
Overall, a pretty interesting brew. Each sip had a little different taste and nuance. Sweet and tangy and then a little spicy and malty, with a subtle hop note. Kind of tasted like a malty, higher gravity Oberon. In any case, cheers to Bell's and here's to another 25 years of great beers!

Photo of hopsbreath
2.58/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got one of these as an extra in a trade from Thorpe429. Thanks man.

Pours a moderately dark amber into a tulip with a half finger of butterscotch head sits on top. No lacing is present.

Smell is very faint. It is in fact non-existent when cold. When it warms up, a little passion fruit and alcohol is barely detectable.

Tastes like caramel malts, tropical fruits, banana, more alcohol than is stated, and metallic bitters. There's really nothing special happening here.

Mouthfeel is lightly heavy and sticky.

Drinkability aint great. Not really something I want again. Larry missed the mark and this anniversary will not be a notable one to remember.

Photo of Buebie
2.96/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up this single 12oz bottle for $3

Poures a very pale copper/ amber color with over an inch of tan head. Leaving a solid cap of retention and sticky webbings of lace.
Aroma is sweet, malt dominant, with mild hop bitters and metallic fruitiness.
Taste is a bit strange, it has fruity off flavors, plenty of buttery malt backing, banana bread and a little heat.
Fell is slick and full bodied.

Interesting beer for sure, noticeable alcohol, bittering hops through the finish, but some oddball flavors that were not so desirable.
Placing one in the cellar, lets see what a couple years does.

Photo of SupaCelt
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour releases a lovely amber body, with a fleeting tan cap that is torn down into the alcoholic abyss, and little carbonation.

The nose is caramel and sugar heavy with a surprising hop character floating about. The dry hopping has produced more than a hint of the signature two heartedesque appeal.

The flavour holds the sweet, dirty rawness of the strong ale variety but is danced upon by the flowery hop presence and the house yeast to form a unique profile that can be easily distinguished as a Bell's creation.

The mouthfeel is medium without feeling overly heavy or oppressive.

The drinkability is good. This brew is definitely not an easily quaffed sessioner, but not necessarily a one and done either.

This beer is perhaps not quite on par with the expectations that have been realized with other special releases from this brewer. Not bad, but it just doesn't flip the wig and rearrange the dome piece. Thank you, Mr. Bell and your staff for the last 12 years that I have been of legal age to consume your products and the 13 years you spent perfecting your craft prior to that. Keep up the good work.

Photo of kirok1999
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huh...American Strong Ale? OK. Pours a nice dark copper with a decent head that hangs in for a while. Bits of lace left after each sip.
Smells sweet and spicy. There's some citrus, mild floral notes and a bit of corriander spice. The citrus lends a bit of bitterness as well.
Taste is more like a Belgian...a very mild Belgian. The citrus and spice mate well but it is a little thin. The whole thing seems to revolve around the citrus and spice. Not a bad approach but it needs something more. More hops, more malt, more something. Feels rich and well carbonated, goes down smooth and is easy to sip.

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

Brilliant amber colored body is very clear. Two finger sandy colored head perched atop. Retention is decent leaving moth eaten lacing clinging to the side.

Tremendous amount of balance is picked up in the nose. Bready malt and grassy hops present themselves beautifully. While the breadiness of the malt is the most noticeable, hints of caramel break through on occasion. The dry hopping is obvious, fresh green hop aroma dominates the light citrusy notes picked up behind.

The flavor opens with a healthy dose of hops. The bitterness is subdued as most of the flavor initially comes from the dry hop. Grassy flavors up front transition into more citrus and pine towards the back. The malt is very sturdy and apparent though tends to sit just beneath the hops the entire time. Doughy bread, light caramel and subtle spiciness pair well with the hops. Very well balanced flavor from beginning to end.

Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Texture is very smooth. A sweet flavor is left clutching the back of the tongue while finishing slightly dry.

The score is not necessarily indicative of how good this beer is. The beer showcase both malt and hops but ultimately the craftsmanship of Bell's. Drinkability is high, while a bit higher in abv no part of this beer becomes abrasive. Highly enjoyable. With just a couple hours before I head down to the 25th Anniversary party, I cannot think of a better beer to celebrate my 250th review. Cheers.

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
84 out of 100 based on 499 ratings.