Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 485 | Reviews: 343 | Display Reviews Only:
3.61/5 rDev -3.7%
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.
Serving type: bottle
04-07-2013 21:41:55 | More by tectactoe
Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 485 ratings.