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

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Bell's 25th Anniversary AleBell's 25th Anniversary Ale

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343 Reviews
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Reviews: 343
Hads: 500
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 9.63%
Wants: 20
Gots: 67 | FT: 6
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 343 | Hads: 500
Photo of DefenCorps
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kudos on making it to 25 years, Larry. It couldn't have been easy.

A beautiful bloody red with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and lacing, this is an excellent looking brew. Steady streams of carbonation rise from the etched D of my Duvel tulip.

I wonder if they were going for some version of an aged Double Bastard with this brew. Plenty of fruity sweetness is present, along with caramel, toffee and rather surprisingly, a touch of stale-smelling malt as well. Hop character is light, there's some pine, a little mint and some alcohol. Solid stuff.

The palate opens with a blend of pine hop flavor, juicy bitterness and sweetness. The sweetness is fairly complex, with plenty of caramel, tropical fruit (papaya? pineapple?) and some brown sugar. There's a slight sharpness that reminds me of burnt sugar as well. Alcohol appears towards the finish. The finish is a little disappointing, having some of the stale malt character I picked up on the nose, reminiscent of mildly oxidized crystal malt (think aged Bigfoot that time hasn't been kind to). The mouthfeel, however, is sublime. Medium-full in body with a light carbonation, this feels decadent on the palate. Ultimately, though, this is sweeter than I care, and even though this 12oz bottle went down quite easily, it's not something I'll reach out for in a hurry. A solid effort. (1,361 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.15/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. 8.5% ABV, Batch # 9871 (packaged Aug. 12, 2010)

Thanks to sweemzander for this brew!

A - 25 pours a beautiful clear crimson bronze color that's gorgeous and vibrant but topped by a weak bone-colored head. An arch of lace and ring of loose bubbles is left above the almost naked beer.

S - The immediately crisp, hopped-up aroma fades quickly into an amber malt and doughy-bread-based ale with subtle fruity esters. The once strong, citrusy American hops vanished quickly leaving the malt fairly balance-less in the aroma. Thin solvent alcohol notes in the back.

T - Some of the citrusy American hops pull into the flavor much more adding balance to the doughy, bready amber malt. Almost no finish or follow-through though which is largely my problem with it. It disappears very quickly.

M - While the flavor has a somewhat thin consistency, falling almost flat mid palette, the actual feel is rather thick and chewy. Smooth from very low carbonation on the finish. Retro-nasal alcohol warmth comes through.

D - For a 25th Anniversary brew, I find this lacking all around (for a Bell's product) especially the sharp drop-off in flavor on the tongue. No finish, odd feel, this is definitely a one-and-done for me. I wouldn't really want it again. (1,285 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (2,348 characters)

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! (916 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Burnt orange color...little head

S-Awesome aroma of tropical fruits, sugar covered berries, plums, and molasses.

T-Not quite as impressive as the aroma but perhaps I was expected too much. This is very good. Not as bursting with flavor as i expected from the aroma, but it has a nice sugary maltiness complemented nicely by the fruity notes of the aroma.

M-High side of medium bodied but I don't think I'd call it full bodied...a little bite of alcohol on the finish which fits in nicely with the sweeter taste profile.

D-Very enjoyable. Not epic but very good. (567 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, sweet alcohol, subtle citrus, dark fruit, and very subtle citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. The flavor was pretty well blended and smooth on this one. However with that said, it wasn't overly good nor was it overly bad. It was complex though which is always nice to see. The aroma wasn't very impressive though. Worth trying at least once, but I plan to leave it at that... (745 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange-ish to copper color with an off white head. In the aroma, faint grapefruity hop, hint of alcohol and a nice malt presence. In the taste, small black licorice, small hint of grapefruity hops, and a dry alcohol hint in the end. A small spice bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry hint of black licorice and alcohol in the aftertaste. Interesting licorice hint, nice ale. Congrats to Bell's! (422 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Copper color with a finger of head on it that left a decent amount of lace. Not bad looking.

S - Lot of phenol qualities, stonger yeast presense than I expected. A bit malty with some candied fruits.

T - Chemical phenol on the end kills this one for me. It wasn't bad, there was a decent fruit taste with moderate yeast, but the chemical nature of it made it a strong ale that had too much bite. Was not a real fan, average.

M - Sugary, medium bodied, syrupy, moderate carbonation.

D - Gets a little hot, not great tasting enough to get down easily. (557 characters)

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

Great color of rusty amber with a slumbering dark golden edging thats dully lit. Slim yet firm and healthy capping of medium ivory foam sits well on top. Slippery lace of spots, dots, and thicker strings coat the glass sporatically.

Aroma is clean, sweet and a bit slim at first, but gains some boldness as it gains air. Slender sweet and soft tones of orange, tangerine, raisin, and plum parade with a nice malty presense as it melts together with caramel and a lighter puff of molasses and a stronger poof of etH.

Taste is a well molded tone of sweet, semi darkened maltyness. Moderately plump and fruity with darker nuances of plum, raisin, and starfruit with just a nudge to some darker orange and burntish/toasted grapefruit. Caramel and molasses is buried underneath. All very soothing and malty big. Doppelbock comes to mind...

Great chewy-esque tone and medium bold, nearly full body. Smooth, soft, chewy, malt laden tone with a soothing hint to it's 8.5%

A solid brew to be sure, but was hoping for something a little more over the top for the 25th. As is, this is a yummy malty treat that sure grows on you as you go. A very relaxing and enjoyably easy going brew! (1,178 characters)

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. (1,067 characters)

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

Pours a hazy rusty amber color with a dense half inch cream head that lingers.

Aroma is very sweet, brown sugar, with figs, dates, and plums adding complexity. There's a touch of alcohol and an herbal hop note at the finish. Bruised cherries emerge as it warms.

Flavor is completely different than the aroma. There's less sweetness present. Toasted malt and bitter grapefruit pith form the backbone, leading into a peppery, alcoholic finish. Dark fruit flavors of bruised cherries and plum are subtle.

Body is fairly thick, with moderate carbonation, and significant alcohol heat...almost fusel.

Overall, a juxtaposition of aroma and flavor. Bitterness dominates, and the flavor was lacking in complexity, compared to the aroma. Alcohol was overwhelming. (758 characters)

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! (1,197 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch number 9871. bottled on 08/12/2010.

poured into snifter.

Appearance: medium orangish/red bodied beer with nice clarity. Half a finger of fizzy white head that drops quickly to a ring around the glass.

Smell: dark fruits(raisins) and booze. Caramel malts with a touch of brown sugar. Got some vinous/wine qualities noted in the nose.

Taste: heavy oxidation. White grapes and sweet white wine. Caramel malts that overly sweet. This beer is just too sweet for my tastes. you can still get the hops and they taste stale as they should. Finishes dry with a mild bitter note.

Mouthfeel: high end of medium bodied beer. carbonation is still hold up nicely around a moderate carbonation level. It got a little bit of creaminess to the beer also.

Overall: This beer is okay, but nothing special for the style. Probably a better beer fresh. (843 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

big thanks to both Thorpe429 and CruisaC for hooking up this want.

a - opened the bottle and filled my E snifter. poured semi opaque orange red with an off white bubbly head. has a real barleywine look to it. more orange to the light, more red when on the table. semi-sticky lacing.

s - very nice toffee like malt. sweet, but not cloying...vanilla hops with a fruit medley. toffee is really the dominating smell on this one. smells nice...again, barleywine-ish.

t - leads with a fruit medley. there are a lot of flavors going on in this brew...almost too many. little sangria like. booziness is more souring.

m - a bit tingly, medium bodied...not as thick as you'd expect. the booziness gives it a bit of a sour bittern finish.

o - overall not bad, not great. smells very nice, then seems to be too much going on in the flavor and it becomes just boozy sangria. a bit reminiscent of bigfoot. (896 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Pours a deep, but crystal clear, amber with a frothy tan head that leaves excellent lacing along hte sides and settles in as a small cap for the duration.

The aroma is close to an American barleywine for me with sticky hop resin, toffee and toasted caramel malts. The hops take on an orange-like aroma, very fruity, but with some evergreen hints.

The taste starts with a sticky orange-peel hop flavor with some sweet, sugary caramel malts and sticky toffee. The finish is very lightly bitter with the fruity character coming through.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with soft carbonation and, again, very sticky on the palate. leaving that earthy/fruity hop aftertaste.

This is a malt-driven strong ale but with a solid hop presence that balances fruity and floral throughout. Not bad. (810 characters)

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

Bought this about a year ago, and I've been taking real good care of it ever since. Folks told me to age it for a while, so I did.

Pours ruddy. Hazy red, nearly headless.

Smells more like an old ale than a strong. Not that there's really a formal difference between the two, just that one is an unclassifiable, strong beer and the other is an unclassifiable, strong beer that's been aged. Hmm... Anyhow, pleasant fruit nodes from the thick malt, and some generic-smelling hops are still present.

Tastes like nicely aged, fruity malt, lightly bitter hops, and sweet yeast. It's old, but the age brings everything together quite nicely. Starts outs with nodes of plums and apples, moves into a lemony yeast flavor, ends on a node of old, bittersour hops.

Ladies and gentlemen, this beer was meant to be aged. Because of this, it don't taste like a regular big beer. Instead, it's a shining example of a neglected style. (922 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Cigar City pint glass. No readable freshness date to be found on the bottle.

A- Pours a dark amber with a very thin white head that disappears halfway through the drink.

S- Initial hoppy aroma gives way to malts that balance nicely. Alcohol is present but not too heavy. If it's any indication as to what the flavor will be like, I'm gonna enjoy this

T- Yep. Just as I thought. Wonderful balance of hops and malts. The hops are pungent yet subdued enough to not be overpowering. The heavy malt backbone this beer is sporting is also very enjoyable. The aforementioned alcohol aroma is even more hidden in the flavor. I can tell it's 8.5% but, judging by the taste, wouldn't think it's even .1 over that. I get bready, toasted notes from the malt. Hop profile is somewhat citrusy but moreso herbal like British hops. Seems clear that more than one variety was used.

M- Thin viscosity. Slightly heavy carbonation. Gives me kind of a burn when I swish but it's not a bad one.

O- The word for this beer is certainly "balance." To me, the malts are more dominant than the hops but the hops have their own significant role. Quaffable indeed. Way to go Bell's. Do you guys even make beer that's any less than awesome? (Obviously a rhetorical question) (1,263 characters)

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

A: This poured a hazy copper with some light tan head.
S: It smelled like sweet honey and light citrus, with some floral hops. Nice, but not much depth or boldness.
T: It tasted like sweet honey and citrus hops, with some roasted barley and lingering florals. It had a clean and bitter aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick with moderate carbonation. Surprisingly thin for a Bell's beer.
D: This was a good beer with nice hops that were well balanced by the malt, like a strong amber ale. The body was ok and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was very easy to drink. But ultimately there was nothing special or unique about this beer. It was good, but not nearly what I expected from a special release anniversary ale from such a solid brewery. (744 characters)

Photo of warnerry
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 1/30/2011

A - Pours deep amber with three fingers of pillowy head. Head has moderate retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing behind.

S - Caramel malts predominate, though some grains are also present. Aroma is nice but a little underwhelming.

T - Again, dominated by malts with a distinct tea flavor on the finish. Some slightly sweet notes in the taste, but no specific flavors I can pin down. Taste pretty good, but non-descript.

M - Medium light mouthfeel with some slight drying on the finish.

O - Definitely drinkable, if not particularly memorable or desirable. Perhaps the Batch 10,000 should have been the recipe for this anniversary beer as an homage to their roots. This just doesn't stand out in any way. (739 characters)

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. (501 characters)

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

This beer pours an amber-brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of grapefruit, orange, pine, with a hint of caramel underneath. The taste is hoppy with a lot of pine resin, and some fresh grapefruit. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a nice beer that I would happily drink again. (414 characters)

Photo of blackie
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a: piraat chalice, produces a low off-white head that retains a thin layer, the beer a medium orange-amber in color

s: moderately sweet, grainy caramel, earthy hops with a citrus note, raisin, malt oriented, booze, pleasant enough but coming across lifeless at times

m: carbonated to an appropriate level - on the higher end of the low range, body medium

t: grainy caramel, malt sugars, some dark tree fruits - raisin, earthy hop flavor with a moderate bitterness takes over the finish, slight alcoholic note

d: easy enough I guess - just a pretty boring effort from Bell's

single from WF Vienna (600 characters)

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. (870 characters)

Photo of morimech
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish amber color with a small head that quickly went away. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. Not the liveliest beer around. Aroma of sweet malt with hints of vanilla and toffee. The hops are well hidden with maybe a touch of floral and fruit. The alcohol is also well hidden. The flavor is really well done. Plenty of malt upfront that gives a sweet caramel base. But the hops come alive. The hops give plenty of floral and tropical fruit notes. Bitterness is getting up there but is in balance with the malt. A little warmth from the alcohol in the finish. Body is a little larger than medium. Carbonation is sufficient to give some lift to this somewhat heavy beer. A very interesting, well balanced beer. Well done. Here is to the next 25 years. (767 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Dark, copper, amber (deep amber) with a very frothy off-white head. Ends in big bubbles around the edge.

Minute tart. MAlt sweet. Citrus sweet. Definite hops.

Slightly sweet, and a bit tart, with some finishing hops and overall citrus.

Feel is a bit thin; creamy, but thin.

Overall tasty, and easy to drink. (312 characters)

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
84 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.