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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: 68 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 499 | Reviews: 343
Photo of dpnelson1978
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$15.99 / 6-pk.

A: Bright copper body with a tight two finger head of moderate retention that laves no lacing and a thin creamy cover.

S: Aroma is faint, but complex. A variety of citrus aroma ranging from pineapple to orange combined with hints of caramel, and apple. Very nice, it is a shame it is so weak.

T: Semisweet caramel malt backbone with hints of cotton candy (weird, I know) and toffee. Hop character is subdued, but the overall flavor profile is interesting. Very little aftertaste. One glass really isn't enough to get a solid impression of this beer.

M: Light to medium body with high carbonation. Smooth up front, crisp on the back end.

D: Good enough beer, but not something that begs for another glass.

O: Seems to be lacking in some respects. Close to being great, but simply doesn't execute to its potential.

Photo of jera1350
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt orange in color with a foamy light tan head that has a little retention and a little lacing.

Smells nice enough, but it's pretty faint. Getting some malty sweetness and some fresh and juicy hops, but they are just too subdued to really enjoy them.

Apple and pear juice with a lightly cherry taste. A bit of pineapple and some piney hops. A little peppery spice and some alcohol warmth. Sweet malt backbone. Very interesting and pretty unique. Not in your face in any way and a little subdued in the flavor department.

Mostly smooth, a little sticky with some fuzzy carbonation feel.

A different beer for sure. Kind of reminds me of a light barleywine with some fruit juices. Drinks just fine. For the occasion, it just doesn't seem to live up to the hype. It's a good beer and worth a try for sure, but don't worry too much if you can't get your hands on any.

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

This is very good, brought a smile to my face! Im not quite sure what style this beer is, but it almost taste like an imperial style beer (although it looks to be a nut brown ale), with a small nutty taste with the malts and grains with a small citrus taste Can someone give me some feedback?

Photo of fear025
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Aroma:Nicely hoppy, some carmalized malt aromas, also some dark fruits in the nose.

Appearance:Deep amber in color, low head, low lacing, low retention.

Taste:Lots of sweet malt and aggressive on the foretaste. The hops are mostly piney and continue strongly through the midtaste. Also in the midtaste, there are bitter citrus notes, like grapefruit rind. In the aftertaste, I get some strange tea-like flavors.

Mouthfeel:Medium body, there is some hop astringency in the mid and aftertastes that burn my throat a little.

Drinkability:Overall this beer has what I like to call 'adult' flavors, a little dark, bitter, with a little bit of sweetness to balance it. As this beer is so new, I think it probably needs to age for a while to let the flavors settle down.

Photo of enfield249
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark golden amber, with some slight red highlights. Very thick head that keeps on going, off white to light tan in color.

S - Toffee, Grain, malt, slight brown sugar.

T - Not as much toffee, flavor as smell, but it's in there. Mostly lots of grain, roast and maltyness.

M - Thick and chewy. Leaves a grain jacket on my tongue. Not much lingering hop bitterness.

D - A really nice strong ale. I couldn't drink many of these, but it has a fine flavor and body. Happy 25 years Bells!

Photo of sweemzander
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a clear reddish caramel colored hue. Produced a good eggshell colored foamy head that stuck around for awhile.

(S)- A fruity aroma. A caramel-like fig and butterscotch. Reminds me of a holiday fruitcake with some cranberries. Parts of it remind me of a Barleywine, other parts make me think Old Ale. A bit dry and woody at the end; almost pine-like.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A fig-like caramel sweetness with an underlying dry wood/pine bite. Its like a fresh barleywine/old ale mixed with an aged one; it has that fresh bite some barleywines have, but has a malt bill that reminds me of some aged variations I have had in the past. Hoppy but sweet also.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Sweet, but hoppy also in a very woody profile. However, it feel a bit more stronger than 8.5% ABV; I could be fooled into thinking it is nearning 11%.

(D)- I like the uniqueness of this one for the style it is under. A good combo of malt and dry wood bite. I look forward to what 6 months of age does to this.

Photo of Mitchster
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

$3.10 for a 12oz single @ Jacks. Batch 9871. 8.5% ABV. Per the website, "packaged August 12, 2010", but no ingredients listed. The bottle states it is brewed with Michigan grown barley malt.

Pours out to a clear medium amber, forming a sticky, resinous yellow head with excellent retention and thick sheets of lacing. Carbonation is very mild. Minimal sediment in the bottle. The aroma opens with what smells like Centennial hops, fruity with a hint of mango and pineapple, followed by vanilla, cherries, apple juice, and when swirled, a little sour milk. Mouthfeel is thick, soft, and syrupy with a dense body. This beer falls in the Old ale/American Strong Ale category for those who are wondering. The taste begins with the piney hops, and is followed by an odd malty sourness/bitterness combo with figs and dates. It's hard to put my finger on it, but the malt is definitely sour and the bitterness has a chemical/metallic component to it that is very peculiar. Aftertaste of tobacco, green wood and pine.

Hrmmm, this is a weird beer. I expect better quality from Bell's, let alone a 25th anniversary brew. This one is nothing to get excited about, and I'm definitely not inclined to buy another.

Photo of crossovert
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle.

It pours a hazy orangeish red with a big off-white head. It recedes decently slowly with a few dots of lacing.

The smell is hoppy and fruity. It has a pungent citrus hoppiness. There is some caramel in there as well.

The taste is noppy, but balanced. There is a lot of caramel and toffee, a bit of bitterness, and the slightest hint of toastiness. The hops have a nice piney aspect to them that isn't overpowering.

I would have liked a richer mouthfeel, overall this isn't a 25th Anniversary caliber brew imo but it is solid.

Photo of yourefragile
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, batch 9871.

Pours a clear reddish amber color with light, bubbly cream colored head. Excellent retention with light lacing. Aroma is mild and pleasant, yet forgettable. Has a slight barleywine-like character to it, with strong caramel, toffee and candi sugar notes with some fruity and piney hops (maybe simcoe?). Only thing detracting from the aroma is a slight alcoholic and medicinal undertone. Body is lighter side of medium with soft, full carbonation in the front and a short, flat piney and caramel finish. The flavor and overall composition of this beer is deceptive, as the first few sips make it easy to dismiss as being "nice" but one dimensional. However, as this warms up the body reveals a more nuanced and complex malt body (sweet caramel, toffee, raisins, dark fruit). The finish is slightly drier and piney hop dominated with a slowly arriving, strong alcohol warming sensation (without any boozy burn that the nose would suggest). Overall, it's hard to get very excited about this beer, and I think it'll get a little less interesting over time as the hops fade. However, this was very enjoyable and well balanced and I'm sad to assume this will be a one off.

Photo of a74gent
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I like this beer. Will be interesting to see once the hop edge fades, how this tastes.

A nice balanced hop and malt nose. Foamy, dense head..which goes away leaving nice lace on the pint glass. This is truly beautiful, copper color. I'd say one of the nicest looking pours I've ever seen.

The mouthfeel is nice, tight with a somewhat foaminess that lingers without being sticky.

The flavor is a little more unbalanced than the nose with hops predominating without being overpowering.

This is a very drinkable 8.5 ABV for not having cover-up flavors like porters or stouts with coffee or fruit. I blew threw my first one and wish I had another in the fridge, but I don't.

Photo of BierFan
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass. Batch # 9871.

Appearance: Red/amber body with a big foamy cap of off-white. Head retention and lacing is decent.

Smell: Fruity hops. Grapefruit, pineapple, orange. lots of citrus and tropical fruit. Malt is coming through, sweet and rich, with some cherry.

Taste: Cherry and fruit flavored hops. Bitterness comes in kinda strong after a second.

Mouthfeel: Little more flat than I would like. But that's not a deterrent to the enjoyment.

Drinkability: Good drinkability for the abv.

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 MbpBugeye
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Congratulations Bell's. They have been pumping out some sweet new stuff this past month in celebration. I must say Im excited for this beer. I dont know what to expect from this beer at all.

A- Bright ruby red/deep amber. A nice fluffy head caps it and leaves lacing as it fades.

S- Interesting, and quite sweet smelling. Lots of caramelized malts and juicy fruits. Cherries and citrus. The nose isnt big and in your face. Its not what I expected at all, but whats there is nice.

T- Pretty sweet with a floral and citrus hopping. Caramel, toffee, cherries, oaky vanilla, grapefruit rind and a touch of pine.

M- Fluffy and soft. Pretty dry. Carbonation is high but not sharp or prickly.

D- I enjoy this but its not anything extremely interesting.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a chalice. This is a dark amber color with medium head. Smell has a strong hops presence, with some grassy grains and maybe some honey. Taste is a nice blend of sweet malts with a bitter hop finish. Medium bodied and fairly well balanced. Very drinkable for the ABV. Not really spectacular or overly complex, but solid.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a hazy reddish grapefruit color with an off white head leaving a pretty sizable lace.

S-the nose is strange, notes of dough and bread up front, some spicy rye aromas, hints of pine and a decent bit of ctirusy hops with some model airplane glue behind. the glue is so wierd, not the part of getting high from it (the acetone), just the gluey smell.

T-the taste is also different, light notes of dough and bread, spicy rye, piney and hints of wood, a nice bit of citrussy hops, peach, grapefruit, mango. there is a light soft bitterness but not strong or lingering.

M-smooth and syrupy feel, good carbonation, crisp slightly grainy finish. its actually rather creamy on the palate with a good medium body.

D-this is quite tasty, the airplane glue scared me a little but it actually seemed part of the aroma. the flavors are good, this seems to have some spicy rye in to me. well balanced, interesting beer!

Photo of Bierguy5
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 8.5% abv. Clear darker amber color. White head lingers for a bit. Nice lace.

Robust, caramel and dark fruit in the nose. Ripe fruit and alcohol.

Lots of ripe, darker fruit. Some caramel. Good amount of earthy and slightly citrusy hop bitterness.

Medium body, good carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden. Very nice, happy anniversary Bell's!

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

Amber/crimson colored with a nice thick off white head that holds good retention and leaves trace lacing.

Rich caramel and toffee malt character, dried fruits, earthy hops, with a bit of brown sugar, mollasses type esters. Slightly herbal.

Nice beer with carbonation up front that dies off through the finish. Again malt is the word of the day, caramel, toffee, and some cereal grains. Some bittering hops on the finish, fig, and date characters. Not overly complex but very easy drinking at 8.5%

Mouth is thick, chewy and creamy at the end.

Photo of glazeman
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up from the general store in Kzoo on my way through last weekend. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Dark amber color with a nice 1.5 finger off-white head is how this one pours. Moderate retention, but excellent lacing.

S: The nose on this one is not quite as robust as I would have liked. Sweet cherries at the start and nice floral notes on at the end.

T: This beer could be the definition of balanced. However, for some reason it is not super interesting. There's nice malt tones up front with a hoppy bitterness at the finish. The specific malt flavors I get are rye, honey, biscuit, and a hint of raspberry. The main hoppy flavors I get are grapefruit and bitters.

M: Perfect level of carbonation. Nice aftertaste, and nice viscosity as well.

D: Not quite as spectacular as I had wished for such a monumental anniversary. I'm not saying this is bad though. I did enjoy it, would definitely have another, and would recommend it to another BA. It's just that I thought this was a perfect opportunity for bells to do something game-changing...unfortunately this is not.

Photo of boomer31
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bought at Eccentric Cafe on 8-24. Notes from 8-24:

A - Beautiful deep Caramel with a thick tan head. The head sticks to the glass all the way thru...beautiful

S - Chocolate and caramel malts, subtle fruity hops that I get when I smell the bottle but the malt dominates the glass

T - Slight hop bitterness in the back but the malt dominates the palate. Molasses and toffee sweetness

M - Rich and chewy caramell. Low carb form the bottle and slightly dry

D - Wonderful! Don't get any 8.5% at all but a ton of malt and nice balance of hop

WOW what a beer. This really is a great present to fans of Bells. Yes I wanted a big barrel aged beer or perhaps a wild ale but this does not disappoint.

Photo of BMoney575
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 8-24-10
Batch 9871
Bottled on 8-12-10

Pours a hazy amber/brown color, with almost no head and just a few bubbles of lacing. Viscous looking, and a bit menacing.

Smell is sweet and subtle, a little caramel malt, with slight aromas of clove and smoke. Not particularly strong, or complex.

Taste is thin malt, a little earthy and boozy, maybe flavors of coffee and caramel, with a sharp hop finish. Unique, but nothing special.

Mouthfeel is slick with a good thickness, accents the malty flavors nicely.

Drinkability is decent, but the surprisingly light flavors leave the alcohol nowhere to hide.

Overall, not what I expected from a Bell's special edition. A few will go in the cellar though.

Photo of hawks10
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Bell's tulip - Batch #9871 purchased Saturday at the Bell's General Store...

Pours a nice dark amber red color with a slight bit of haze. Two fingers of light tan head forms and recedes slowly. The color of this beer is truly gorgeous...

Smell is sweet and sugary upfront. Alcohol is prominent when you take a big whiff. Little to no hop presence to cut into the sweet, fruity malt aroma and no ingredient is powerful enough to eclipse the alcohol in the nose...

Sweet and sugary. Dark fruits with a bit of spice. Alcohol starts to bite after a few sips. I really couldn't detect anything in the way of hops/bitterness. Enjoyable, but the alcohol does start to burn after a bit...

Feels pretty thin for a 8.5% beer, but in a good way. Smooth and slick with low carbonation, alcohol burn lingers slightly...

Not bad, would like to see if the alcohol heat dies down a bit and give this one another try...

Photo of zachary80
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9871

White Head is initially nice and frothy to the top of the tulip glass. It diminishes somewhat but maintains a nice ring and some semblance of what it used to be. The clear body is amber like many "red" beers. There is just a little lacing on the glass.
Very malty... no hoppy... no malty. Nice balance that goes back and forth. Sweet and complex, can't get enough. Hops give it a grapefruit/citrus edge. There is some sort of spiciness to it.
Not really how to describe the taste, it's a unique blending of flavors. The hops are prominent but not really the focus, which is on the malt. The alcohol is hidden. There is some lingering bitterness and sweetness. Unfortunately, the beer seems overly sweet.
The body is thicker than I expected. It is a little syrupy, although not in a bad way. Carbonation is just right. Very smooth.
I'm sipping this slowly. The complexity (good) and sweetness (too much) slow me down on this. I don't really want a second bottle after this, but I'm fine with 12oz.

Photo of Nelsonbaggins
4.9/5  rDev +31%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Best Bell's beer I've ever had, hands down. Color is medium amber. Two finger off-white head and sustained lacing. Big malt flavor & sweetness hides the 8.5% ABV very well. Nice velvety mouthfeel. It says ale on the bottle but in a blind taste test I'd say lager because it is so crisp, clear and clean. It tastes like a high gravity Oktoberfest or Märzen. Unlike any ale I've ever had. I bought a single from the Bell's General Store but will head back for a six very soon!

Photo of j3stradi
4.65/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got it day of release at Bell's General store, 08/20/2010

Appearance: Dark Copper, head starts strong but diminishes with light lacing and a thin, spotty head that hangs on

Smell- traces of deep burnt sugar tones with a strong alcohol presence. Very sharp - typical of a SERIOUS dry hop. It masks a lot of the amber qualities a beer like this should have, but i'm not let down.

Taste- Very sharp at first. Tinny and thin but mellows out to a full amber-body and a smoothness that isn't an attribute of any typical 8.5 abv + beer i've had.

Mouthfeel- not too heavy which is misleading of a beer with as heavy of a malt profile that this seems to have. Plenty of alcohol.

Drinkability- Relatively high. I'd place this in the ranks of their sparkling ale.

Overall- fantastic. A great offering from Bell's, and a great way to celebrate 25 years. Not very sessionable, but a great way to start a night.

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