Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 40 | Hads: 104
Photo of Ryan011235
1.97/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

On tap at King's Table

Clear tobacco brown. Decent head with skimmy retention and good lace.

This smells of toasted caramel, floral hops and herbal root. The taste is an ugly flourish of copper wire and charcoal, bitter bread and caramel wrappers that have been in tossed in a Half Price Books dumpster. The feel is sharp and brittle. High carbonation. Thankfully there isn't much of an aftertaste.

Pass on this.

 417 characters

Photo of youngblood
3.16/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Advertised as a dry-hopped red ale.

Poured a ruby red, with some deep amber hints. Clean white head. No lacing to speak of.

Smells rather sweet with a hint of piney hop oil. Hard to tell as the smoke in the air is interfering with my nose.

Disappointing flavor. Fairly sweet with relatively no hop profile. Closest to an amber in style, but there's nothing special here.

Good mouthfeel. Awful smooth going down.

Low abv makes it very drinkable.

 449 characters

Photo of infestaxion
3.21/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it at the world record Bell's tapping. Took notes in the kick ass notebook they gave us.

A - Hazy amber with a big fluffy cream colored head.

S - Slight hop aroma but it's very muted. Jut not much to it.

T - Grassy hops and caramel malt. Again there's just not much there. But what is there is decent. The finish is dry malt with a lingering hop bitterness.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. It's the best part about the beer really.

D - It'd be easy to drink a few of these. I just kind of wouldn't want to.

 524 characters

Photo of oline73
3.24/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I had this in a sampler at the Eccentric Cafe while on our beercation in Michigan.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy red amber with a finger of thick off white head. Great head retention and lacing.

Smell: Mildly sweet malt up front along with some citrus hops.

Taste: Quite malty with a mild spice. Some citrus hop bitterness balanced by a sweetness from the malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: A very nice looking beer, nice to drink but not very interesting.

 503 characters

Photo of AgentZero
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Amber colored beer with a bit of a foamy head. Decent retention with a bit of lace.

S - Some citrus and earthy hops, with mostly malt coming through. Nothing particularly special here, little bit of soap.

T - Taste is about like the nose, there's not really enough hop character to this and the malts seem a little bit watered down.

M - Smooth, crisp, medium bodied.

O - Not a great beer, but it's drinkable without being offensive. There's a lot of Amber/Reds I'd rather drink than this one.

 501 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split with the wife at the Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Amber brew with again, almost no smell coming off of it. How can something this malty not smell like...something?

This is a massive, straight-up malt bomb with only a tingle of hop bitterness at the end that's quickly overrun. Honestly, I've never had a beer this malty in my life. The first sip or two is a turn-off, but as it warms, this grew on me. My wife hated it. Not sure I could down more than one of these, but it was worth having!

Pretty good beer. No "balance" in this one, though!

 563 characters

Photo of TheDM
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a small head of mostly diminishing fine light brown colored bubbles and a medium amber brown colored body. It had a hoppy aroma and a somewhat smooth thick flavor of hops, malt and spices. The best thing about it was its appearance. Then, it went down from there. But, it is a very nice brew none-the-less.

 322 characters

Photo of jcalabre
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Originally sampled on 29 November 2002. I am writing this review from my notes.
This pours cloudy, brown colored with a nice one finger head. It has a medium body, upfront sweetness, followed by some bite on the tongue. This is a nice beer. It is unique.

 256 characters

Photo of oberon
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty nice aber color with perhaps copper tinge.Smelled very sweet and malty and some fruit tinge from the hops,very comples.Tasted of baking spices?A little filling but that may be just me.A real complex red ale very well made in my opinion,have had it a few times.

 267 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Spinning from the ever reliable Amber Ale, Deb's tribute brew continues Bell's attention to implacable balance, enticing flavor, and effortless ease in drinking. Once again they hit the nail squarely on the head of the classic American amber ale.

Opening with a medium deep amber hue that captures garnet red hues as the light passes through. Lightly hazed from its unfiltered character and even-keel use of hops. Capped with an off white, creamy head of foam, the charming beer invites the nose and taste buds with its sheer and strong appearance. Long lasting and lacy, the foam accompanies the beer until the very last sip.

Balanced aromas of caramel and hops become the consent thread that guides the beer from initial aromas until the racy finish. Caramel malts pin against citrus hops for an aromatic display that draws in elements of toast, nuts, light toffee, grapefruit, oranges, and light pine.

Much the same is delivered in taste, which leads with medium caramel malt sweetness, with richer and more succulent taste of toasted pecans, biscuit malt, and sweeter crusted breads. As the beer moves across the middle palate, the hops come alive with the sharp citrusy taste of white grapefruit, freshly zested oranges, and light pine refreshment. As the finish prefers the drier and toastier malt character, it seems to allow the hops to pull ahead ever so slightly, yet the beer retains a balanced taste even then.

Medium bodied early because of the malt sweetness and creamy carbonation that provides fuller texture on the front of the tongue. But the beer lightens with a consistent fade that starts with the fleeting carbonation and the transition from sweet malt to dry toast to finish. Citrusy bitterness and a mild stemmy effect accompanies moderate alcohol warmth and a minty aftertaste that closes the beer with satisfaction.

Deb's Red Ale provides an effortless drinking session that displays the straight-forward dialogue of hop and malt balance; with little else to convoluted the stage. It should be the perfect complement to artistically barbecue pizza and caramelized onions and swiss on burgers.

 2,123 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Eccentric Cafe this past weekend.

Pours a clear amber with a good off-white head and a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward some light bread crust as well as a bit of caramel. Light citrus and earthy hops. Flavor is fairly similar with the malt shining for the most part, though it's hoppier than your standard amber (excluding India Red Ales). Mouthfeel is medium and somewhat chewy with a semi-dry finish and mild bitterness. Good, not great.

 478 characters

Photo of barczar
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cl.ear amber with copper highlights and a solid one inch beige head that lingers as a foamy cloud.

Caramel malt dominates the aroma, with floral hop character and a touch of resin at the finish.

Odd flavor, fairly fruity malt character, probably attributable more to hops, but hits early. Citrus tones resonate throughout, with perfumey hops contributing to the relatively dry finish. The bready malt backbone is biscuity, and no match for the hops.

Body is moderate, with moderate carbonation and a touch of astringency at the finish.

Overall, not what I expected from the description. The perfumey hops almost leave an impression of staleness. Malt could've been a bit more of a complex player.

 708 characters

Photo of hotstuff
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled. When I poured this beer into my glass, it poured a mall tan head that had medium sized bubbles that fully diminished. The lacing was good on the sides of glass. The body was clear and the hue was reddish. It had a moderate hoppy aroma and also an aroma of clove and a hint of citrus. There was no carbonation present with this beer. It was bitter tasting from start to finish and the bitterness seemed to linger for a while after finished this beer.

 458 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the brewery tasting room. A hoppy citrusy red that's a very decent and interesting beer. A reddish tinged body with a tiny head. Good malt backbone.Average overall for the style, average mouthfeel. Passable for the more edgy stuff Bells puts out.

 264 characters

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.

 364 characters

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

Sample at the Bell's tasting at Brews Cafe on 3/6/08: This brew is a clear reddish-copper color with a thin off-white head that burns away quickly. Spotty lacing. Aroma of light hops, earthy malt and citrus. Light to medium body with mild hops, toasted malt and spice flavors. The finish is hoppy and malty with notes of pine and citrus in the aftertaste. Above average overall.

 378 characters

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.

 1,147 characters

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?

 1,879 characters

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

 495 characters

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.

 652 characters

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.

 2,710 characters

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.

 295 characters

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.

 602 characters

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.

 1,022 characters

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.

 871 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Bell's Deb's Red Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.