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Bell's Deb's Red Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Deb's Red AleBell's Deb's Red Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

40 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 40
Hads: 104
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 16.49%
Wants: 5
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 10-02-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 40 | Hads: 104
Photo of ZAP
4.6/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Now here's a dandy....It's funny how you learn to identify these beers by the smell...I got this from my brother Big Huge..I never really looked at it, and poured it and smelled it...I said this has got to be "Bell's" and in the upside down fine print I see it is...

This is a high quality beer....a big red with character....dwarfs any other red I've had...Nose is fresh and spicy with a a good dose of maltiness...the body is tremendous for this style...Like I said this beer has character....But the taste is the best thing...it features a strong maltiness complimented with some excellent spiciness....This is one of the best in its class in the world in my opinion.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky looking scarlet in color. Sticky medium sized ivory white head recedes to a thick film and then stays that way for a while. Huge mix on the nose. (Make that Bighuge mix on the nose.) Bready yeast tones. Caramel maltiness. Sour lactic notes. Very nice. Medium to full body. I really like the subtle notes of lactic sourness in this beer. Must come from their yeast strain as I've picked it up in their beers before. Hops also play heavily into this Amber. They seem to be of the NW variety and contribute an underlying citric note. Deep caramel and biscuit like malt profile provides the backdrop for all of the above. This could very well be my favorite Amber (if not, one of my favorites).

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Photo of Mitchster
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brew is a murky red-amber that has flecks of yeast flittering in the mild to moderate carbonation. Pours with a dense peaking dark beige head that leaves lots of tenacious red lace atop small to medium sized bubbles. Aroma is rich and complex...fruity hops, juicy grapefruit, warm sugar cookies, and lots of prunes and raisins...similar to a lighter version of Third Coast Old Ale. Taste starts with a soft, meaty body and gives way to a roasted sweetness in the back of the throat, quickly fading into a long, biscuity, pleasant, fresh bittering hop finish with a mild astringency. Prunes and raisins are more dominant in the nose than in the flavor, but there for sure. No alcohol bite or fusels (even as it warms) make this extremely drinkable despite it's modest ABV (It even gives me a warm feeling at this ABV...perhaps because I associate it with Third Coast Old Ale)...a very well done potent and complex red. Another top-notch brew that maintains Kzoo as my favorite brewing company.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours with a nice caramel color. It has a pleasant malt aroma with some caramel notes, and a warming caramel malt flavor up front balanced by a hoppy bitterness and a pleasant, dry finish. It’s an enjoyable addition to Bell’s stable. Even if it’s (as far as I could tell) an Eccentric Café exclusive.

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Photo of ADR
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer seems bigger than the American Amber category...

Red-brown "swamp-water" color with the characteristic Kalamazoo chunks doing the slow dance in your glass. Tiny skim of a head. Spicy aroma, especially of nutmeg with a touch of lime. Take all your pumpkin pie ingredients, mix 'em in a bowl, add a cup of lime juice, then put it in a "Juiceman" juicer and this is what might come out in your glass. Impressive body and fullness, a sense of cherry after a few sips. Hops lend pepper to the finish but are not overly assertive. To me, this is a cool weather brew with more citrus and spice than candy impressions, a little dirt and smoke, almost like a little "cousin" to Bell's Batch 5000.

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Photo of corby112
4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft at City Tap House.

Pours a very dark amber/mahogany coolor with golden copper hues when held to a light source and a two finger frothy off-white head with excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cp. Streaks of lacing left behnd.

Slightly earthy dry hop aroma with hints of caramel, rye, sweet alcohol and dry piny hops. Although the other notes shine through, especially rye, the nose on this beer is dominated by the hops.

Chewy medium body that is very hop forward with lots of dry piny notes That linger throughout over the sweet caramel malt backbone and rye notes into a lingern dry yet sweet finish. The rye is very prominent and slightly overpowers the sweet caramel malt backbone. Very well balanced with the dry bitter hops slightly overpowering the other flavors but the sweet malt and rye are strong enough to make this beer very quaffable.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.19/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Is there something in the water in Kalamazoo, or just something in Larry Bell's blood, sweat and other bodily fluids that makes everything these guys make stand apart from everything else?
Cleverness abounds in Bell's country, for their red is not named after any Deborah, but the famous unionist, Eugene V. Debs. A murky red color, spicy nose, quite hoppy. Flavors of plums, raisins, cinnamon. Malt is substantial, but not dominant. Medium body, but thick and full with flavor. Remarkably soft, smooth, and spicy!

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Bell's and Taco's event Brick Store Pub Feb 13, 2011

A - amber red, 1 finger of head and tons of sticky lace left on the glass!

S - Citrus hops and caramel.

T - toasted malt and citrusy hops. Spicy! Caramel malts and malty aftertaste.

M - Well balanced. Smooth mouthfeel. Medium body

O - An excellent red ale. Drink it if you can find it!

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Photo of nmyers
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just so everyone knows as of 4/4/08 it was on tap at the brewery.

This beer poured a brilliant red color with a thin head on it with minimal retention. It had a great hop aroma with nice citrus hint to it and hints caramel roasted malt was also noticed. A nice taste of hops right off the get go and then touches of sweet citrus. It had a nice finish not much bitterness. This was a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of dlello2
4.11/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great amber from bells. It's sweet but not overly sweet. A touch of hop presence really balances this out. After the ridiculously heavy black note this was extraordinarily refreshing. Smell was underwhelming but the taste was spot on. A sessionable brew that I would be glad to stumble upon again.

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Photo of Wildman
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

@ Bell's Eccentric Cafe

This beer was a dark reddish amber color and had a nice off-white head which left some lace. It had an aroma of malt and hops. The flavor was of the malt and a slight citrus taste which is common among the Bell's beers. The finish was a bit dry and it had a medium body. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of stewart124
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the Yard House, Cincinnati.

Pours a medium to dark amber with creamy slightly off-white head.

Citrus in the nose and some light raisin notes.

Smooth and has a medium mouthfeel with a puckering bite that is more than I anticipated. Citrusy hops and some resiny, oily characters on the palate. This is more balanced towards the hops and yet maintains a good caramel note without becoming cloying. Medium caramel adds some fruity characters that compliment the hop bitterness.

Pleasing to drink and finishes fairly dry. Nice to see a hoppy amber ale out there on the market from Bell's. Another very solid beer in their portfolio.

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Photo of Jon
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Debs' (as in Eugene Debs) Red pours a glowing copper color with a sizeable off-white head that lasts. The smell is of faint smokiness with some malt character presenting itself nicely. Taste is rather malty, with some of that smoky feel again. Perhaps a little hops in there, as well. Solid mouthfeel with some mild carbonation. Pretty smooth ale. It's also fairly easy to drink, which makes it a standout in the red ale category. Once again, you can't go wrong with Kalamazoo!

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a hazy light amber color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of heavy rye, both spicy and earthy, backed by solid amounts of grainy caramel malts. Also present are mild amounts of leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Moderately dry caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by large amounts of spicy rye. The rye carries through until midway through the sip where the flavor profile further dries out with the addition of leafy and slightly herbal hops. The hops fade out, allowing the caramel malt and rye to carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was exactly what it was billed - a red rye without anything else. A very nice showcase for the spicy rye character and a beer that's worth a shot.

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Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It arrived a hazy, reddish-amber color with a generous, off-white two finger head. Retention was very good and a nice web of lace lined the glass.

Smell: Grapefruit and orange citrus scents are sweet up front. Very nice mix of caramel and roasted malts provide a lot of depth. Hops are notable. Perhaps a slight twist of dark fruit and cherry in there as well.

Taste: Light citrus flavors make it a little sweet initially. Caramel and roasted malts are sweet and give it an excellent base. Hops are stronger than the nose would suggest. This is a very well balanced beer. Slight dark fruit and yeasty flavor towards the end.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light to medium bodied. Carbonation is excellent. It's very smooth and drinkable. I could honestly drink this all night. This beer truly is a gem. Wish it more readily available. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a shaker in the company of caSSino. Poured red-orange with a half finger off-white head. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt and pine hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, pine resin, and pine hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. Had a nice aroma and flavor going on in this one. I really wasn't expecting the hops and resin to be this robust but they definitely shined through. This is an absolute must try for any pine or American Amber fan out there.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Eccentric Cafe on my Michigan road trip. Pours a reddish light brown in color with a nice half inch head sitting atop. Plenty of hops in both the nose and taste. Now this is a red that I can get into. Not my favorite style, but I would have no problem drinking alot of this one. Glad I had the opportunity to try.

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Photo of metter98
3.99/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Thirsty Monk, Asheville, NC

A: The beer is slightly hazy amber in color. It poured with a thin off white head that died down and left some lacing on the surface and down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts are present in the nose along with strong notes of citrusy hops.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has lots of flavors of sweet caramel malts along with notes of citrusy hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I liked the combination of sweet caramel malts and citrusy hops in this beer.

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Photo of tmoneyba
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy copper color with an average creamy off-white head that was mostly diminishing and had good lacing. Good malty and citrus hoppy aroma. Medium body with slick dry texture. Moderate well balanced smooth flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration. Good brew.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was served on tap at Diamond Jim Brady’s in Novi, Michigan. It arrived in a generic chalice, showing a glowing ruby, dirty burnt sienna coloring. It held a one and a half finger tall head of sandstone colored foam, leaving beautiful sheets of lacing in geologic layers, following a decent retention. A brief, chill haze was noted, but no sediment was found. Carbonation appeared to be moderate. The aroma gave notes of lemon rind, funky green manure, dried lawn grassiness, cherry fruitiness, wheat and gingerbread crust, toasted amber and pale malts, oregano herbals, oily muddiness, plastic grocery bags, and cork. Our first impression was that the flavoring showed surprising hoppy freshness to nicely balance the deep, toasty grain bill. As we sipped, the taste opened with clean amber malts, cereal grain, herbal and floral hop juiciness, hibiscus bitterness, sweet orange blossom fruitiness, brown sugar, and lemon rind. The middle came to a peak with grainy and gritty metallics, mild florals, pear and strawberry fruitiness, hints of fresh laundry soap and cotton, coppery red malts, and a tannic, unsweetened, lemony breakfast tea to pull us to the finish. Here, a blend of continued lemon tea bite, toasty ambers, red grape skins, fresh cranberry juice, sesame seed, lightly roasted coffee malts, tangerine sweetness, continued herbal and earthy hops, dried autumn leafiness, phenolic clove and plastic, gravel, and red cherry sweetness hit the palate and washed it clean. The aftertaste breathed of cocoa, sassafras, raw ginger root, peach pit, unsweetened black and lemon breakfast teas, cantaloupe melon, amber, red, and pale malt bitterness, and juicy floral hops. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium, but frothed and prickle with some vigor on the swirl around the mouth. This afforded a nice coating around the mouth, with quick astringent dryness, and light pucker. Cream, froth, smack, slurp, sip, glug, and pop were all nice and pleasant. The abv was appropriate, and drinkability was great.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its flavoring. This gave hearty, deep, and spicy amber malts, as expected, but with wonderfully juicy and heavily floral hops to balance. This was both unexpected and unique to the style, giving it a soft edge and lightly sweet drinkability. This was countered by the stark tannic flow and bitterness through the end, but again, this was befitting to the picture, and a nice juxtaposition of both flavor and mouthfeel. That said, we are happy to have stumbled across this offering, and believe that any fan of the style, or anyone who likes any of Bell’s beers will procure some enjoyment from tasting Deb’s Red Ale.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Bell's Eccentric Cafe.

Maybe it's because I had it right after Quinannan Falls Lager (which blew my mind), but I wasn't *huge* on this. The beer looks unbelievable with spectacular lacing, but it only seemed "good" after that effing Quinannan Falls! A mild hop nose with the caramel is a nice change of pace from the Red Ales that seem to be heavy on the malt. The flavor is not much like the aroma, I found, and it lets you know that you're drinking a red. Deb's Red Ale has a significant caramel malt profile (as one'd expect) with almost a slight roast flavor as well. I'd try this again in a heart beat, especially as a starter beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Arrives with a copper color and a rather modest head that leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Caramel forward with fruit and earth tones; hints of pine underneath

Taste: Caramel sweetness hits the tastebuds first, with a build-up of fruit and earth tones; in the middle, the piney hops make an entrance creating a balance between the sweet and bitter flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not a bad Amber but at the end of the day, it is still an Amber

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Photo of tectactoe
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Pete's Place. Deb's Red pours a translucent, red-tinted orange color with a mild haze falling all the way from the top to the bottom. The cap is slightly gray-tinted and off-white; it comes out pretty small already, so it doesn't take long for it to become nothing but a skin. However, nice sheets of lace are left near the top of the glass while this happens.

At first, the aroma is a bit subdued, but it grows a bit with some warmth. It smells like you'd expect a red ale to smell; citrus fruits, orange, mango, with decent pine and grassy hoppage mingling softly. The citrus aromas seem a bit stronger than the pine, but overall, they're pretty evenly matched. Malts aren't quite as heavy as in many red ales, though a good amount of toasted bread is noticeable hanging out in the background.

Malts are more amped up on the palate; very faint caramel, bread, and toasted crackers lay the foundation for a dump truck of hops. Pine, light ash, grass, citrus and grapefruit peel, pineapple rind... The nose has carried over and transferred nicely to the flavor profile. A light bitterness strikes up front and slowly fades over the course of the sip.

The aftertaste is comprised of a comeback from the once-forgotten malts; a light toffee and toasty bread flavor coats your palate a bit after the beer has left your mouth. The body is medium, and the mouth feel is a bit sticky and resinous, almost like you're sucking the oils out of a hop. Carbonation is on the high side, but it's working for the style.

Overall, a very decent ale; though there isn't necessarily anything that puts this red ale head and shoulder above the others, it exhibits great balance and great drinkability. Very enjoyable for me, especially considering it's a style I'm not particularly fond of. You can still chalk up another successful brew for Bell's - is there anything they can't do?

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Photo of spointon
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this one at Bell's Eccentric Cafe on 8/28/2009 served on tap in a 12oz glass.

A= This ale poured a murky, damn near chunky amber brown color with a 1/2" fluffy tan head. Seriously, I am an ale guy at heart and I prefer my beers unfiltered but this was REALLY unfiltered. The head settled fast and left a few streaks of lace behind.

S= Lots of syrupy, caramel malt in the aroma with just a hint of some resiny hops to indicate that this might not be cloyingly sweet.

T= This was a simple but enticing beer. The malt base was crazy big, with flavors of caramel, nuts, and nougat running all over the place. There were just enough spicy hops to take a bit of the edge off and dry out the finish just a tad. This was a rich beer to say the least.

M= On the full side of medium bodied with a nearly crisp carbonation level. Very much a chewy tongue coater despite the carbonation.

D= I wa expecting a well made but ho-hum red ale and what I got was a huge malt bomb that had me thinking about it long after I had drained the glass. Drinkability was decent, but I honestly can't see myself ever drinking more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color with a frothy head. Smells of citrus , breads and caramel. In the taste, nutty , toasted malt and a heavy hand of citrus hops. Well balanced with a firm semi roasted malt body. Malty notes linger and has an almost cocoa like aftertaste. Medium bodied, crisp and holds the carbonation well. Overall this is a solid ale with good character.

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Bell's Deb's Red Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.