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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 axeman9182
2.94/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle that came to me via the generous StormKing47. It's Batch 9871, meaning that it was bottled on August 12th, 2010. It was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale pours a rich red-orange, and it's fairly yet not entirely murky. A three finger light tan head comes together, and shows some pretty impressive head retention. Lacing is also very good, plenty of it left all the way down my glass. Nose is predominantly caramel, with a still noticeable alcohol burn present and just a hint of sweet fruits (think figs). It's a little weak to be honest, and there's a bit too much alcohol present, especially for an 8.5%ABV beer. I'm really struggling to find any hops present. There's maybe a bit of herbal spiciness on the back end as I sip on the beer, but that's basically it. After the same sweet malty flavors lead off, the same overbearing booziness drowns out any hop bite this beer might have. For a big, malt forward strong ale the body is a bit too thin. At the same time, carbonation is a little bit high, and the result is a beer that I would describe as "slightly fizzy". Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale is a beer with an inexcusable amount of alcohol presence and a poor mouthfeel, and the result is that I'm not exactly gulping this one down. Bell's is still one of my favorite breweries in the country, it's just a shame their 25th Anniversary beer is a bit of a let down.

Photo of weatherdog
2.52/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Bells Snifter. Batch 9871

It pours a transparent amber with a off white soapy 2 fingered head that lasted for a little bit before dying off. A medium amount of lacing clings to the side of the glass.

The nose is a mixture of some grassy vegetal hops and really grainy malt. I don't know what it is but the nose just rubs me the wrong way. It's like a clash of aromas but neither side is very good.

The taste a minor improvement over the aroma but still clashy. A pretty firm bitterness with a lot of spicy hops. The malt is very grainy though and it makes for a really confusing taste. The finish is also pretty sweet which really cuts down on drinkability.

Mouthfeel is decent with the right body and mouthfeel but the sweetness really hampers the drinkability. Overall I'm disappointed with this beer from a usually solid brewery.

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a MJ Tasting Glass.

Pours a deep amber with a light tan head. The head does not last, but leaves some lacing behind.

Aromas of malt, malt, and, did I mention(?), malt. Some dark fruits. And a touch of alcohol.

First sip is of caramel, red licorice, dark cocoa, and malt. Some slight bitterness, but only to balance the malt. Definitely a malt forward brew.

Mouthfeel is medium/full, but not sticky sweet or cloying. Some light prickliness from the carbonation. Some lingering bitterness.

Very drinkable beer. Very nice. The kind of beer you kick back and sip slowly.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 10/22/10

Batch 9871

Pours a golden amber color, though in the glass it flirts with copper, rust, crimson & ruby depending on the light. Turning back to the beer after a moment, the one finger head has since skimmed out, forcing some bubbles toward the edge. Modest strings of lace.

The aroma is certainly malt-forward. Likewise, it surrenders overtones of alcohol & sweetness. Candied malts, raisins & plums, deeply seated caramel & a touch of brown sugar. There's an initial floral, almost juicy, notion. Underlying hints of bread.

Ye olde 25th isn't too sweet & it's mostly on the front end. Toasted sugars & dark fruit ethers are balanced by a subtle, but welcome, hop presence. Brown sugar, toffee, raisins & such give way to a surprisingly dry middle & finish. While the hops aren't particularly bitter they offer a decent kick.

I reckon it's more than medium bodied but not quite full; maybe closer to the former. Grittiness abounds. Carbonation is moderate & appropriate for the style. The finish is pretty quick for this potent of a beer, having also a coating feel & brief, dry bitterness.

Bell's 25th is pretty good overall; it's easy enough to drink & plenty tasty. The price of entry eclipses the actual beer but, meh, I'm glad I tried a bottle. Besides, this being my first beer after just seeing Roger Waters rock the hell out of The Wall, I don't really have any room to talk when it comes to spending exorbitant amounts of money.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ewright for sending this bottle to me in a trade.

Poured in to Duvel Tulip. Batch #9871

A - A nice dark amber colour with a small amount of cream coloured head.

S - Sweet caramel malts and some earthy hops. Overall a very sweet nose.

T - Sweet caramel malts dominate. Some nice bitter hops come through in the background with some light earthy and citrus notes.

M -Medium body, slight chew, lightly carbonated.

Photo of cjacobsen
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, and it came out a nice dark amber color with shoots of red when the light hit it. Decent 1 inch white head on it.

It smelled of alcohol and hops. Some spice notes wafted out here and there. It smelled great.

The taste was hefty on the hops. It had that red ale taste right up front, almost like you can taste the copper color. It was hearty and flavorful.

As from the tasting note, it was almost metallic but not tinny and crappy like a canned Miller Lite it. The carbonation and alcohol was pretty balanced so it didn't cause a crazy attack on your taste buds.

This is a decent brew and is worth a try. I think its one of those "good but maybe not worthy of THAT price" sort of brews.

Photo of argock
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Batch 9871 on back label. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.00.

A: Ruby-amber with sticky 1-2 finger off-white head, tightly bubbled, with good retention and scattered lace down the glass.

S: Extremely floral and fruity aroma with a honeysuckle quality. Aromatic hops is right with citrus, herbal, and spruce combining with fruity sweet caramel malts.

T: The flavor is not well-mixed with sharp sweetness and complex hops that produce an estery brew which is as floral as any I have efver had. The hops are hefty with herbal tones, but the spruce and herbal notes are very strong too. It unfortunately overwhelms the subtleties of the malts.

M: The coating quality is the most prominent and the low carbonation provides a very smooth feel overall. The aftertaste is very sweet and floral.

D: A good not great brew with lots of complexity which doesn't always work well together.

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

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Beautiful, deep rose body with bright red highlights under a thin eggshell head that drops to a thin collar & just a dusting across the surface. No lacing, but the foam breaks & cascades down the side of the glass after each sip.

Smells of light caramel, a kind of generic "fruitiness," like Juicy Fruit gum, & mild citrus hops. Good, but restrained.

More hops at first, citrus & piney with a moderate sharpness, then coated with the caramel & mild toasty flavor, with a pleasant warming from alcohol. Again, not hugely complex, but what's there is very pleasant. The aftertaste is basically a muted replay of the taste, so good stuff there, too. Some mild cinnamon (the hot kind) shows up as it warms.

Medium-full-bodied, some activity & a little tingle from hops without being "bite-y" or abrasive. Pretty smooth.

Very pleasant beer for a fall evening: flavorful, not overdone in any way, a little booze but not enough to create any real heat or fusel dryness. A solid "good" all the way across, one is plenty but two would be satisfyingly indulgent.

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.

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

A: Golden, yet cloudy brew with a very slight head. However, the head that the pour did produce stayed until I put the lights out.

S: Pixie stick dust, shrill citrus such as pineapple, tangerines, oranges, and even a hint of grapefruit (although I honestly didn't get that sort of bitterness).

T: Same as the nose, only more intense. Sweet, but in a candy sort of way. This is basically a fruit bomb and not one of the citrus variety.

M: The sugar is there, but the coat doesn't bother me in the slightest. The carbonation is spot on and the alcohol stays under the radar.

D: Despite the ABV, this is highly drinkable. It's basically a mini version of "Oracle." Good stuff!

Photo of boralyl
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into my over-sized tulip glass. When poured it produced a small 1/4 inch of off-white head that fades pretty quickly without leaving any lacing. The beer is dark amber in color and clear.

S - The nose consists of syrupy caramel and citrus notes. "Syrupy caramel" are the best words I can think of to describe this aroma. It's a very sweet smell.

M - Medium to full in body with medium carbonation. It feels a little too tingly. I expected the carbonation to be less based on the sweetness and fullness of the beer.

T - It's very similar to the nose. It begins with a syrupy sweetness that fades into caramel with citrusy hops appearing in the background. There is a little bit of alcohol and dark fruit present in the finish.

Bell's produced an interesting beer for their 25th. It doesn't fit into any specific style. I would compare it to a barleywine if anything. It's an above average beer, but not quite as delicious as some of their other offerings.

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.

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

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Thanks to Franz4 for snagging this and passing it along.

A- Deep copper / amber, and very slightly hazy. Pours with >1 finger of tan head, which fades quickly to a thin island of bubbles.

S- Piney/citrusy hops are fairly bright upon pouring, but mostly fade away with the head. Sweet malty notes emerge, with a distinctly dark fruit bent.

T- Somewhat unusual melange of fruity, caramel malt sweetness emeshed with floral/piney hop flavors. Fairly solid hop bitterness- maybe a touch too assertive for my tastes in this mix/style- and moderate sweetness. Alcohol notes are well hidden for a brew of this weight. The mix of flavors became more enjoyable as the brew was consumed.

M- Moderate to slightly low carbonation with a medium feel.

D- Good. An all around interesting and enjoyable brew that is an easy drinker for it's 8.5% ABV.

Future outlook: Really solid offering that I am happy to have gotten the opportunity to try....however, seeing as how it was brewed only once, I suppose there will be no future encounters with this beer.

Photo of ebby82
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely mahogany into a snifter. A one finger head dissipates quickly. The smell is of a bit of hops, but mostly a thick, malty aroma. The taste has a trace of hops, and a definitely boozy aftertaste. It tastes similar to many barleywines I have had.

The mouth feel is average, and due to it's high alcohol content, as well as the boozy feel of it, it is definitely not a gulping beer.
A good beer, but a sipper for sure.

Photo of Brent
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've never been too clear on where the American strong ale and barleywine categories divide, but this certainly struck me as a member of the barleywine family. Dense, a bit syrupy with assertive bittersweet malt presence. Dark dried orchard fruits predominate the flavor profile. ETOH is a little pungent at the finish. A little on the heavy-handed side.

Photo of Pellinore1
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color, with about an inch of head that dissipates quickly.

Smells of fruity hops, with a bit of toffee-like sweetness.

This beer tastes very much like it smells. The hops are up front, but not overly aggressive. There is some fruity, toffee sweetness in the back, and just a bit of noticeable alcohol.

A bit thick in the mouth, but not at all bad. Quite drinkable for its strength.

I would probably describe this as a barleywine, but strong ale works as well. I'll be sitting on my other bottles for a while, and have a feeling that age will serve this beer well.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Is an amber-brown color with a thin, creamy head.

Smell is strong, with grape, currant, alcohol, yeast, and a bit of leafy-oak. Very earthy in aroma.

Taste is complex; starts with a buttery resin feel/taste, qiuckly becomes bitter and leafy, all the while with an underlying woodiness. Behind these tastes there's a caramel malt trying to peak through, lending a sweet taste toward the finish.

Medium to thick in the mouth, and warm down the throat, this beer has a pleasant mouthfeel.

I bought this as a singleton, but would love to try this again, perhaps after a bit of aging.

Photo of maximum12
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a tough con to run down in the Twin Cities, & it took a while to finally have a six-pack in hand (from a generic, municipal liquor store of all places). Time for it to stop gathering dust & start pleasing me.

Pour is beautiful. If sterling silver turned into a translucent, clear red, it would look like this beer. Smell is pleasing...& borders on the undefinable. Very fruity, watermelon sweet. I like it, but it's completely unexpected.

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale is akin to no beer I've tasted before, & maybe unrelated to one I'll taste again. No one taste is dominant. The first one that I notice is the gentle hops, obviously lobotimized, but bearing flowers & wearing a citrusy perfume. The fruitiness reasserts itself quickly, still watermelony, very sweet. Malts are distinct on the downslope. Sticky, sweet, coating, with a dose of alcohol. This feels more like a barleywine than anything else, but defies categorization on my tongue. The fruit plate throws my palate loopy every time I try to dive in for another look-see.

Not really sure how to judge this. Good, but very odd. At the very least, salut to Bell's for 25 years of great beer & taking a risk with this one!

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

12 oz. A clear amber pour with maybe a finger of whitish head. Laces ok.

Aroma has some malt and toffee, but about equal parts resiney hops and citrus hops.

Malty up front, toffee, caramel covered apple.
Quite a bit of leather, tobacco, peat. Finishes with a nice bitterness tobacco and piney hops.

Lively medium body, both tickles and coats the mouth pretty well. Maybe just a bit warming, but the abv is not very present.

An imperial red ale I guess? Not the best from Bells, but not bad either.

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

Poured into a pint glass
A: Aggressive pour yields 3/4 finger tan head with good retention. Crystal clear amber liquid is fairly good looking. Nothing stellar in appearance though. Kind of pale for style too.

S: Very hoppy with some chocolatey-biscuit underneath. Tropical fruit esters, black licorice - every sniff is different. Now it's all strong ale at the end.

T: Sweet and bready. Caramel, dark fruit, slight stomach acid aftertaste (grapefruit hoppiness?) Balanced and mellow for an ASA. Finishes with a peaty stomach acidity, odd. Positive despite stomach acid flavor.

M: Smooth, sweet, a tad bitter. Not warm at all, a good thing.

D: Pretty good for a strong ale. One of the best and most balanced perhaps. I'd probably not buy a six pack, but might order again. Tasty overall.

Photo of sweethome
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is hazy dark tan or gold. Nice lacing. Sweet nose of carmel malts, pineapple, dried fruits.

Nice full mouthfeel, generous entry, big and flavorful. Mid-mouth, this beer drops quickly - kind of disappears. Then builds back at the end with nice balance. In some ways, this reminds of a muted barleywine. A big beer, not overhwelming, but big, flavorful and warming.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved from both biglobo8971 and Desaparecido for winning the Sunday Night Football Squares LIF week 4. Thanks again guys, I'm enjoying one getting ready for Game 1 of the ALCS, Go Rangers!!!

Poured into a New Belgium glass golden amber color with a one finger white froathy head. Decent lacing. It's the Fall, so I can't smell much because of allergies. The flavor is rather interesting. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's just odd. There is a strange fruity bitterness up front that ends in a leathery flavor. The mouthfeel isn't anything great but nothing terrible.

This is an odd brew and I think I'm going to let the 2nd bottle I got age for a few years. Maybe some of its bitterness will fade.

Photo of civilizedpsycho
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a pretty clear amber color that has a full, light tan colored head.

Smell: Has a very strong malt aroma that is sweet and slightly fruity. Quite appealing.

Taste: Slightly bitter from the roasted malt, but not much hop presence, making for a very smooth finish. It almost reminds me of a scotch ale.

Mouthfeel: A little thin given the appearance. I expected a little bit more.

Drinkability: The only thing that brings this down for me is the high alcohol content. However, I could still drink a couple of these in one evening.

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.

Photo of Tilley4
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bells 25th Anniversary Ale pours a reddish golden into my Duvel tulip and slowly but surely forms a medium sized foamy head of creamy off white... Swirling laces and coats the glass with sticky globs of lacing throughout...

Bursting with fresh pineapple aromas and sweet caramel malts, this one smells awesome to me...tangy and citrusy juicy aspects from the hops overpower and dominate... I'm thinking DIPA all the way with these fresh pineapple aromas... They are pungent....

Sweet citrusy pineapple and orange hop flavors right up front that fade into a sweet caramel toffee maltiness that seems to finish quite drier than I hoped it would... None of the lingering hop bitterness I was expecting... Sort of finishes like a good gin or something... Its pretty sweet throughout which sort of detracts after a while...

I liked this one even though its a bit sweet at this point for more than one... I'm anxious to see how this one ages out and the hops fade a bit...

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