Bell's Amber Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Amber AleBell's Amber Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,731 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,731
Reviews: 934
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 118
Gots: 343 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2001

Amber Ale deftly balances a mixture of toasted grain & light caramel notes with a range of floral, citrus and herbal hop notes, capped by a clean bitterness. This balance of flavors makes Amber Ale quite versatile as a food pairing option, not to mention being rather tasty in its own right. Whether serving as a jumping point to other styles or as a familiar standby, Amber Ale is central to the Bell’s portfolio.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,731 | Reviews: 934
Photo of maltusaurelius
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an orange tinged amber with a two fingered fluffy beige head that leaves a moderate lacing on the glass. Sweet caramel malts on the nose with a spicy floral hop aroma coming through as well.

Taste follows, medium sweet body with caramel accents in the malts, accompanied by an assertive hop bitterness. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is lively and crisp. Very drinkable, and would pair well with a wide variety of foods.

Confession time: I'm from west Michigan (Grand Rapids to be specific) and this was the first local craft brewed beer available in my town. I drank a lot of it in the early to mid 90s - it was my go-to beer back then. This is the first time I've had it in years, and the taste is tinged with nostalgia - to me it's like coming home in a bottle. So my review may be a bit biased.

Bell's was one of the first craft brewers in the U.S. and the first in the Midwest (at least they claim to be), and this beer helped define the American Amber style. I think still one of the best. Like I said I haven't had it in years, but having tasted it again it will be a staple from now on. Truly exemplary.

Photo of Muscatjo
4.94/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was great and typical of the amber flavors. It had full color and some caramel notes

Photo of Beerlover
4.93/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance is good, color is off for an amber, more of a hazy golden yellowish color instead of an amber reddish brown. unfiltered. Smell is balanced, more on the malty side with minimal hops aroma and some carmelyness.

taste...is amazing! wow! this is the first beer thats really surprised (in a good way) me in a while! initially its pretty sweet and malty, almost to the point that you'd think it was going overtake the beer, but then after a second or two the sweetness completly dissapaits and you get some caramely malts and a very easy to drink smooth well rounded balaced beer. there is also this carbonated tingling... that is unexplainable but great, never expierienced that before but loved it! Move over alaskan and full sail this is my new favorite amber! Sessionable!

Photo of Dana_Campbell
4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite beers ever! A brewing master piece! More flavor and better mouthfeel of any Amber Ale out there.....love it! The young microbrewery fans out there have no idea about the legacy that this beer is. It was one of the first micro brewed beers ever and helped start the whole revolution. Thanks Larry Bell for knocking down the door of boring American Lagers and introducing us to this great beer! By far my favorite go to beer!

Photo of Kenadien
4.84/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A nice perfect example of what a good quality ale should taste like.

Photo of vivalanation734
4.82/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. This is one beautiful beer. Pours a hazy dark copper/amber with a fluffy off white head.

S. Sweet caramel malts and a light fruitiness (orange peel and some dark fruit)

T. A superb amber ale. Nice sweet malty backbone with a light bitter finish. Hints of caramel, orange peel, brown sugar, and a nice yeastiness.

M. nice medium body with a good MF.

D. Easily a sessionanble amber ale with some great flavor. Definitely gonna pick up a 6er real quick.

Photo of confabulatedgod
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Just a random pick up in a choose your own 6-pack. I've had a few other Amber ales that weren't bad, but nothing I'd join a site just to review and remember. My expectations weren't too high, which made it all the better. It looks good, and smells great, but that's just the start. Slightly hoppy, slightly bitter, slightly smokey, great feel. Overall it has all the elements of a great beer, and they're in harmony unlike other beers that overkill one element. I think it's my new favorite all-season beer.

Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.77/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Dark orange with two fingers of tan head with an assortment of different sized bubbles. Unfiltered floaties throughout. Top half of beer super cloudy from swirled sediment poured in.

S: Honey, apples, light citrus, floral hops and notes of vanilla. Smells fantastic.

T: Taste is even better than the smell. A creamy mouthfeel is supported well by a refreshing caramel and vanilla body with a great hop presence but not at all "piney." Very slight malty bitters in the aftertaste but overall a clean finish.

D: My advice is get at least a sixer. Never overwhelms.

Value: Amazing. I paid just over ten bucks for a six pack. This is one of the best ales I have ever tasted and for what I paid it was a total steal.

Highly recommended for those times when you wanna drink some awesome beer that you don't need to put too much thought into.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +24%

A toasty malt nose with a hint of vegetal.
Pours amber with an off-white foam cap.
Palate: graham cracker, caramel, with a moderate hop accent on the finish.
medium body and carbonation.

Photo of Blueshirts
4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is ridiculously good, giving it such a high rating because it's become my favorite beer, let alone amber. It's difficult to say this because I love Maine Beer Co's Zoe, but this is better in my opinion. I did notice though that it tastes much better cold, especially out of a frosty mug. This isn't too surprising but I think the cold temp has an especially strong effect on ambers.

Photo of jasongootjes
4.72/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - The beer was a golden amber color, as the name suggests. It had an off white head that left a lace through out the glass.

Smell - Very succulent smell. The aroma hitting my nose caused a sensation through out my body.

Taste - The beer has an excellent taste. It was almost sweet but at the same time bitter. Very good taste overall.

I could drink this beer all day. The taste smell and sensation that rushed, not only through my mouth, but through my whole body was absolutely delightful.

Photo of meatdouglas
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought a 6 pack from a local grocer

appearance: orange/amber slightly cloudy color.
large creamish tan head that lasted, with massive amounts of lacing through out the glass.

smell: nice smell, not too strong. more hops come through at first than malts. it's smell is good, a bit unexpected...but in a good way.

taste: sweet but not too sweet malty flavor with subtle floral and citrus mixed with a slight hoppy bitterness coming through near the finish. creamy sweet taste increases a little while it warms. nice lasting aftertaste. awesome taste, probably my favorite readily available amber ale yet.

MF&D: lasting carbonation, light to medium bodied and extremely smooth. Very drinkable, crisp and clean with an awesome aftertaste that left me craving more. which i guess would make it a great session beer.

Photo of Offa
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a balanced, very tasty and drinkable ale, light but full of character with subtle complexity.

It's amber, and unlike most many "amber" ales, it really is almost truly amber in colour,a bit hazy with sediment floating in it, with a very big pale tan head that slowly shrinks to a lasting foamy top and leaves nice rings of lace down the glass.

The aroma is somewhat mild but very nice, very malty with caramelly fruit and bread, juice, some citrusy hops and a leafy hint.

The taste is similar, mostly malty with some hops to round it out and balance it nicely. It's caramelly, doughy, and toasty with lightly toasted bread and light, caramelly malty sweetness balanced with mostly citrusy hops that have a light leafiness. The citrus has a clear hint of grapefruit but this is just barely prominent. It also has a light juiciness and hint of yeastiness. It has a slightly creamy feel but a crisp finish. It is light, but has complexity, good, lasting flavour, nice balance, and a defintie English quality overall. It is highly drinkable.

Photo of JayGlogovsky
4.67/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! A truly exceptional beer. Color and taste are by far the most appealing parts of the beer.

Photo of BobLuvBeer
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice heavy amber color. Lots of sediment in glass, which is very appealing. Plenty of carbonation visible. Pours with medium head. Fruity, green apple aroma. Mildly sweet, with a thick/burnt toast combination to the taste. Slightly bitter. Malt over rides hops, but the hops which do come through are pleasantly received. Rest deliciously on the palate. The balance of malts and hops linger and fade away evenly, which entices you to another drink. Finishes with a hint of citrus, with a mix of straw. Overall, one of the most balanced, well tasting brews available.

Photo of johncopter
4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I need five words to

Photo of malty
4.62/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. longneck - no freshness date.

Appearance is a beautiful glowing amber (go figure) with a brite white head. The tiniest of suspended yeast is apparent if you look closely into the beer, due to the fact that Bell's doesn't filter their ales.

Fresh, blossoming notes of sweet pale malt. Reminds me of fresh sugar cookies - nice & doughy. Very clean smelling.

Now I know why Bell's claims this to be their 'flagship' beer. Perfect balance of malty sweet and just the right touch of prickly hops. Oh so fresh... A faint spiceness evokes from the rich and sweet carmel liquid also.

Mouthfeel is perfect for this style. Soft, gentle and tiny bubbles caress the tongue making this light-medium bodied ale's flavor linger on past the swallow. Just enough dryness in the finish to insure this sweet nectar doesn't build-up and become cloying.

Drinkability is outrageously high. Beer drinkers from beginners to veteran would most likely agree it's hard to put down. It's got something for everyone.

Overall a splendid example of a style that's been butchered and pimped for over 15 years. This is a model interpretation of an easy drinking, yet refined and calculated amber ale. Fill up an aluminum wash tub with this and fire up the coals, it's summertime baby. This is how we do it in Michigan!

Photo of inebrius
4.62/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful nose of unfermented wort and earthy hops on a slice of toast. This here is a beer drinkers brew, this here is what craft and quality taste like. Outstanding! Kalamazoo brewing needs to expand their distribution network.

Cheers to Deuce for the sample!

Photo of BarrelBrother
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The first time I tired this beer it caught my attention. Bell says it's a "cask conditioned" amber which was unusual and demanded an additional tasting session! I was surprised with the cloudiness of the brew, almost weiss cloudy, but the taste! Slightly sweet initally with carmel overtones and a subtle spicy flavor that I really enjoyed. Hmmm, nice aroma, with a hint of fruitiness. Nice creamy head that made the experience even better. The aftertaste was clean, refreshing with a slight bitter finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and ejnoyable. I have moved this brew high on my list to a regular staple at the house for get togethers and have gotten many outstanding comments about this beer from guests. As the old TV commercial used to say, "Try it, you'll like it!" I totally agree!

Photo of Michelleluw
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a great beer to ease into a darker beer. The light amber nodes give the beer a toffee and caramel taste. I love this beer with a nice piece of steak with sauteed mushrooms. Highly recommend this beer...then ease into Bell's Two Hearted!

Photo of nicksta
4.57/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured a very nice, very cloudy amber orange. A really big head sits on top of that dissipates quickly into pillowy froth on top of the brew that has nice layers upon layers of lacing.

S: I approached the smell like I normally do an amber brew. I can never dicpher the scent of ambers from one another EXCEPT for this one. It started out like a normal amber. It had some toasty caramel smoothness and started to turn metallic, but instead of finishing like I expected it to it became an extremely sweet. It was as sweet as tasting caramel. It actually tickled my nose and relaxed my whole face.

T: It starts out really smooth, but a little light. After that sweetness starts to come out of the corners of my mouth. The beer then moves into ultra-smooth caramel toasty malts. The beer then ends with a kiss of roasted hops that at first are very floral and then end bitterly. Awesome.

M: It is really really good. The beer is ultra smooth and has just the right texture. Unfortunately, it is quite carbonated which tends to sting the mouth. Just let it sit a bit.

D: A really great session brew. Heed the carbonation and sip don't chug, but as the carbonation settles more and more, you can chug more and more. I am not really recommending chuging though; (even if it is good enough for me to want to) take the time to enjoy it.

Photo of righlander
4.56/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful amber with a frothy foam head with nice lacing from a 12 ounce bottle. Smells of sweet malt with some citrus hop hiding nicely in the background. Taste is smooth sweet malt with some toasty grain and excellent hop balance. Perfectly carbonated and crisp with sweet malt and nice mellow hop balance. Very nice on the tongue. Drinkability is great, very nice amber. probably the best amber ale i have ever had. i could drink several of these. The cool thing is I took a chance with these and bought a whole 6-pack because they were bottle conditioned I figured there was a chance they could be decent. And I am pleasantly surprised! I love it when this happens! Like i said probably the best amber i have ever had. 5 more to go... CHEERS!

Photo of dbtossi
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Liked the carmel toasty flavors

Photo of GossageBrewery
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this American Amber Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It poured a cloudy orange color and produced a 1 inch white head. Head retention was below average. Lacing was very good. The Aroma of the ale was full of roasted malt with a hint of hop and citrus. The taste of the beer was outstanding. It was very drinkable, and had nice body. The beer was first and foremost filled with roasted and malt and it gave way to a nice sweet finish. High drinkability- Perfect session beer. This is the most outstanding example of an American Amber Ale that I have had to date.

Photo of TheBigLebrewski
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's' flagship. Bell's, Bell's, Bell's. And no brand-whoring about it, Bell's gives what you want from a brewery. In the interest of full disclosure, I wear their belt buckle.

Bottle to pint glass. Moderate mostly white head with a touch of brown. Excellent lacing retention. Damn near perfect color for an Amber; a tiny bit less color than the subjective amber idyll. Very good smell, though pretty subtle.

This is amber ale. Not 'an' amber ale. If you want to drink a straight up amber ale, this is it. The taste is spot on. Leaning towards sweetness, as ambers do, but not at all overly sweet, as is far too common for the genre. Mouthfeel is perfect. This is very good beer.

Here I will qualify: I, personally, would prefer a more balanced ale; in particular, a touch of hop in the finish would make this beer incredible. And, in truth, there is a lack of hop in the finish. (See Stone's Levitation - an American Amber Ale - for a comparable beer of a different genre that I personally prefer).

Overall, I will say it's not my favorite beer. Not even close. But it is as close to the perfect straight Amber Ale as I've ever tasted. And according to the way we try to rate beers here, this deserves one of the best ratings I've given. Again, there are dozens of beers I personally enjoy more, but, that being said, this is far and away the best straight amber I've ever had.

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Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,731 ratings.