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

Bell's Amber AleBell's Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,067 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2067
Reviews: 843
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,067 | Reviews: 843 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of HopHeadKen
HopHeadKen

Iowa

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have been on the trail of Amber Ale recently, acquiring several for a trade I am about to ship; so as a consequence, I have reviewed a number of them in the past week; I am sorry to say that this is my biggest dissapointment from Bell's - (BTW, I LOVE Expedition Stout, and several others) This sixer has a bottle code of #6302.

It is bottle conditioned, with a large layer of loose sediment in the bottom of the bottle, I had two of them, trying to isolate the sediment, which poured like chunks of green/brown trub from my first attempt, somewhat un-appetizing; if this is a negative in your beer book, then POUR CAREFULLY !

The pour is hazy orange copper, not as dark or red as other ambers that I have been recently been drinking. It has an ivory head that quickly dissapates to a thin lace.

The smell is faint, carmel malt; and the taste is carmel malty with the thinnest hints of plumb or raisin (maybe I was really looking too hard); with a subtle hop bitterness that finished tart. wondering if it might have been bottle conditioned with a Belgian Lambic yeast ?

I won't be running out to get more of this; and IF you are shopping for it, look at the bottles first, to see how how much sediment is in the bottom.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2005 20:42:10 | More by HopHeadKen
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy ice tea color with a decent head that leaves a few shards of lace; clearly bottle conditioned

Smell: Caramel malt and grassy aromas

Taste: Starts out with a diacetyl influenced butterscotch flavor; after the swallow some toasted grain bitterness kicks in, providing a yeasty, sweet and fruity finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick bodied, with moderately prickly carbonation

Drinkability: Just not my cup of tea, here; this Amber has some flavors I find in some of my least favorite English brews; the combination of the diacetyl and the overwhelming yeasty flavors are a downer

Thanks, murrayswine, for the opportunity

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2006 21:24:02 | More by brentk56
Photo of alkemy
alkemy

Ohio

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy amber-orange color with a fluffy tan head. Sweet malty smell and no discernable hops smell. After drinking Nugget Nectar and Hopback within the week, I was fairly dissapointed with this one. I know Bell's has been touted as having some great beers, but this one just doesn't do it for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 22:07:13 | More by alkemy
Photo of kinger
kinger

Ohio

3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Mild malt aroma. Light amber color with a medium thin head, some lacing present. Smooth on the palate with an easy finish. Good flavor kind of boring especially from Bell's. There was a subtle creamy sweet malt presence and the beer is lightly hopped. Nothing great about this "flagship" beer but easily drinkable and pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2008 12:21:34 | More by kinger
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well I would first like to point out the Batch Number on this beer being 8231. It was packaged November 14, 2007. I was very disappointed when I found this out.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. This beer had a nice fluffy, off white colored head. The color was very awesome, fading from a light orange to an amber orange at the top. I can definately taste that this beer is almost a year old and it makes me sad that I didn't get to enjoy the full potentials of Bell's. The beer tasted very skunked, so I am going to stop my review here and when I get a chance to try an "up to date" bottle, then I will write a new review.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2008 03:58:47 | More by mothman
Photo of rickyleepotts
rickyleepotts

Arizona

3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer smells good. I have always been a big fan of Bell’s. I REALLY like their seasonal beers; of course, the beers I can’t get anytime I want them. And it always works where I want one when I can’t get one!

Anyway, moving on to the Bell’s Amber Ale. I like ales, the pale ales especially. But after pouring this into a glass, it doesn’t appear to be as dark as a good pale ale. It’s not a pale ale though, it’s just an ale. Too many ales going on here.

The nose and the head on this beer are pretty consistent. The drinkability is solid too. Most pales have a bitter, almost thickness to them. This beer drinks like a domestic with a bit of punch toward the back of the palate. I would drink this beer with dinner, perhaps on the back porch while reading a book. (I really should read more than I do.) It also leaves a good aftertaste. I wouldn’t call it a strong aftertaste, just a lasting and comfortable one. Try the beer, it will make sense!

I wonder how this would taste on tap… most beers taste different on tap. Not saying they taste better, just different. Man, that aftertaste just isn’t going away. Bravo Bell’s!

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2011 01:09:03 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of elephantrider
elephantrider

Michigan

3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Hazy orangish color, thin head that diappears quickly

S: Sweet, bready, and toasty. Not much hop presence. Very fruity smelling.

T: Alot like the the smell. A little too sweet and fruity for my tastes but finishes dry and crisp.

M: Medium bodied

O: This is not one of my favorite Ambers. I tend to like them with more carmel flavor and a little more hoppy. Still, not a bad beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 01:08:43 | More by elephantrider
Photo of Cubieblu
Cubieblu

Illinois

2.99/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

Poured from a bottle that was bottled on 1/16/13 (Drinking date is 6/6/13) into a Stella Artois Chalice.

A – Pours a one finger off-white head that dissipates leaving only a small about of head around the rim of the glass. Color is burnt-orange that is hazy with quite a bit of partials floating. Some carbonation and a good amount of lacing are noticeable.
S – Very off-putting smell comes off to me. Smell reminds me of baby puke. I can get hints of other smells but the puke smell over-whelms them.

T – Up front malt sweetness. Bread taste in the middle. Nice balanced bitterness in the follow. Leaves a sweet flavor in the mouth. Well balanced beer.

MF – Clean and dry with a decent amount of carbonation.

D – The taste isn’t bad but the aroma really is hindering my enjoyment.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2013 18:39:07 | More by Cubieblu
Photo of Murphious
Murphious

Illinois

2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one by Bell's is a typical amber ale---well, typically good. Nothing really bad about it, but nothing stands out as better than the rest out there. Good balance of malt and hops, no bitterness, caramel smooth finish, and the cloudy appearance makes it somewhat different.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2012 00:37:02 | More by Murphious
Photo of PENGUIN5B
PENGUIN5B

Pennsylvania

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Looks like an amber ale...

Smells ok, nothing special or offensive.

taste: way too much bitterness for a non-IPA, to me anyway. The hops dominate the entire taste spectrum, which is great if you're a big IPA fan, which I'm not. Wouldn't have bought it if it said IPA on the label.

MF: medium body, just slick enough.

drinka: see "taste"

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 23:48:55 | More by PENGUIN5B
Photo of Anthony1
Anthony1

Colorado

2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving Type- on tap poured into a pint glass

appearance- mildly cloudy amber color. small head with not too much lace, but what it did have stuck.

smell- a hoppy citrus. smells of orange and lemon

taste/mouthfeel- a bit malty hops with an citrus flavor, tipped with a bit of banana. hoppier then i expected with a bitter after taste. medium body with ok carbonation

drinkability- wasn't impressed for a brand i've been waiting for. not much of a defining flavor

Serving type: on-tap

05-28-2009 13:09:51 | More by Anthony1
Photo of PartyHatjo
PartyHatjo

Ohio

2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Good amber color, leaning more towards red than yellow. Head was nonexistent (likely due to the pour quality, why don't bars know that some head is good on beer?).

Aroma: Malty, biscuity notes, slight earthy hop tones, not enough for what I think an amber ale should have--disappointing in general.

Taste: Quite malty/nutty flavor with overtones of biscuit, but it's lack of hop flavor/aroma was really a detractor for me--flavor balance in this brew is shifted heavily towards malt (maybe I'm too used to troeg's hopback, which has great malt/hop flavor balance). Taste is more reminiscent of an ESB than what I'd consider an amber.

Mouthfeel: Nice bitterness, decent sweetness and carbonation was good enough. There's a bit of pungency that comes through the nose that I'm not too fond of.

Drinkability: Nothing spectacular, I didn't really want another one, in fact, I could barely finish the first one.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2006 03:30:18 | More by PartyHatjo
Photo of mjc410
mjc410

Vermont

2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The pour into my Fuller's nonic raises a light tan, stable but short head. The lacing it leaves is sparse and slick, but clings a bit. The body is a very hazy golden copper, with a significant amount of sediment floating about. I wonder why that's in a beer like this, but I'm sure it helps the flavor, and maybe it's even bottle conditioned. The nose is very malty-sweet, with a toasted bit to it as well. I pick up mellow citrus notes, too. The beer has a nice taste balance, with the hops leading at first, but, again, mellow. It finishes with a relaxed toastiness that invites another taste. A bit too acidic, though. The mouth is medium, with too much carbonation, despite being very fine. Overall, it's not hard to drink, but too many faults make me regret that I bought a whole case.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2007 18:30:00 | More by mjc410
Photo of Realale
Realale

Missouri

2.73/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Slightly cloudy copper/orange in color. White fine fluffy head settles to a complete cap and leaves nice lace.

Nose is faint bready malt over a chalky-mineral base. Slight hint of fruit, and a touch of both yeastiness and caramel. Quite subdued.

Sweet palate impression, initially, then a bit of bready malt. No hop flavor, but a significant mineral component - chalky again. Some bitterness on the finish, but its quite short.

Mouthfeel would be helped by a bit higher level of carbonation - it might give this one some personality. No real faults, other than not being particularly interesting or well-balanced.

Purchased at the Brewery's General Store on July 3, 2003.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2003 13:08:49 | More by Realale
Photo of nortmand
nortmand

Virginia

2.7/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours extremely cloudy amber, with little white head.
Smells like Bell's other standard beers: yeasty, doughy, bready, lacking in complexity or interest.
Tastes similarly yeasty, overpowering even. A little caramel flavor, but not enough to balance the extreme yeastiness.
Mouthfeel? Have you ever eaten Pillsbury biscuit dough raw? Like that, but with water and carbonation. Doughy? mouthfeel.
Drinkability is OK, but this beer is way too yeasty, man am I going to be regular in the morning.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2004 04:18:36 | More by nortmand
Photo of circuitmonkey
circuitmonkey

Wisconsin

2.68/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not quite sure what to make of this beer. Its the first Amber that I've had that is cloudy, with a little bit of sediment in it. The color is a dark orange. Pours a low/medium head that doesnt last long, aside from the edge of the glass. Taste is a little more bitter than I would care for, but still has decent malt to balance it.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 00:27:15 | More by circuitmonkey
Photo of TheHoppiest
TheHoppiest

Ohio

2.63/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a slightly cloudy/hazy amber color. A nice 1/2" of cream-colored head that reduces fairly quickly. A decent amount of suspended sediment; this is my second amber/red ale of the evening that presents with suspended sediment; I wasn't aware this was common of the style, as other red ales I've had have not looked like this.

Smell is rather non-existent, with a hint of sweet malt.

Taste is unremarkable,with some toffee-malt, tempered with wet straw and other grains, and an underying woodiness like chewing on a plant stalk. Ends with a mildy sour/bitter taste that fades away.

Mouthfeel is thin.

I don't find this drinkable, and am glad I purchased it a a single.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2010 12:03:43 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

2.6/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy copper color with amber hues when held to a light source and a one finger foamy white head that settles quickly into a lasting ring. Very little in the way of lacing.

Bland aroma with a balance of caramel malt and floral hops. Not much else to speak of.

Very hop forward with a nice caramel malt backbone and slight crisp fruit. The hops dominate this beer and linger all the way through over the malt backbone and subtle light fruit notes in to a bitter dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2009 01:57:24 | More by corby112
Photo of Ahhdball
Ahhdball

Ohio

2.58/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brownish Orange with a slight beige head that dissappeared quickly.
Barely a smell, but what I did smell was bland burnt oranges.
Dull earthlike hop character and a finish that left nothing. No malt, no fruit, nothing. I know this is a Bell's but I'm very dissappointed.
Smooth watery feel and no aftertaste which i suppose is a good thing.
Overall this beer isn't terrible but it's not that good either.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2004 20:54:13 | More by Ahhdball
Photo of washburnkid
washburnkid

New York

2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Let me start by saying that this is not one of Bell's best. Now...onward!

A: Approximately one finger of bubbly beige head, with a transluscent brew that is copper to amber in hue. Decent retention and good lacing.
S: Bready malt, heavily toasted, that is balanced by a touch of piney, semi-citrusy hops that are pretty vague and take a minute to locate.
T: Heavy emphasis on the toasted biscuit with an accompanying grainy character. Heavily metallic and also unpleasantly sour. Very sweet residuals, and a biting bitterness, though I can't place much of a hop characteristic. Just...bitter.
M: Light-ish body and heavy carbonation. Nothing spectacular.
D: I am happy to re-review this beer, and hopefully I'll get the chance to try it on tap someday. But I will not go out of my way to seek another bottle out.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2009 21:20:09 | More by washburnkid
Photo of charlesw
charlesw

New York

2.4/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Really cool bottle/logo. Pours a cloudy light orange-brown with a tiny head that is gone very quickly. Tiny nose to go with the tiny head - maybe citrus hops and a hint of sweetness - like a mass market lager. Tastes like citrus hops. Oddly, I think that I'm getting some chocolate malt in there, too - nothing overwhelming (not like the hops) but a hint. Aftertaste of citrus hops. Thin body.

Now, constructive. Well. I don't know, don't call it an amber, I guess. I'm sure that it'd be fine to drink ice cold on a really hot day. Heck, yeah, I've just bumped the drinkability up for that reason, but I, personally, wouldn't even buy it for that. I'm looking for more malt flavor, more body, better head retention and lighter use of citrus hops.

edit: you know, this is like some kind of crazy wheat beer only with the citrus already added in for you. Crazy, just crazy.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2005 20:46:03 | More by charlesw
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

2.38/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

New penny in color. I’m sorry, forgive me, but I just can’t get excited about Amber ales with no hop aroma. Subtle malt aroma, with a light hint of caramel and a suggestion of doughy yeast. You’d think malt magician Larry Bell could come up with something a little better smelling than this. Mild, mediocre malt flavor, which is very crisp, but overall husky. Caramel and toasted malt flavors, with herbaceous, weedy hops. Lacking bitterness and a pronounced hop flavor and aroma. This seems like an amber ale from a crappy brewpub.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2006 02:53:10 | More by Crosling
Photo of Lorenzai_Konstantinov
Lorenzai_Konstantinov

Ohio

2.35/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It was between this or a sixer of fat tire. I've had fat tire before so I decided to give this a try.

Poured into my deceivingly large capacity snifter, it pours a lighter copper color, and a very hazy one at that.
A decently spirited pour yields a finger of head on it but leaving no detectable lacing. (My glass might be dirty though so I didn't detract.)
The nose is not that great, there is some biscuit type malt in there but it also seems to share some similarities with adjunct lagers which I don't really understand. Hops wise there are some faint whiffs of them but I can't identify them, just a grassy/ straw smell.
The taste of this is not what I expected and I am quite disappointed. It has a very upfront bitterness to it which is fine but the malts don't seem to do much in the terms of balance. They might actually make it worse. It has that 'pukey' overwhelming characteristic that I get with some beers and I just don't like it. Perhaps it's the kind of hops I dislike, I'm not really sure.
The mouth feel of this beer is adequate, it's fairly thin and would be conducive to making this a session beer if the flavor profile was more agreeable.

My overall opinion is this is a hit or miss beer. Something about the ingredients or hops/malts balance I just really dislike the taste of. Others may really like the way it tastes so YMMV. I'd tell you to get the fat tire instead of this. Would not recommend.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 01:14:08 | More by Lorenzai_Konstantinov
Photo of GreenWBush
GreenWBush

Oregon

2.3/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The classically unfiltered flagship beer from Michigan - Bell's Amber Ale. One that seems to be divisive amongst die-hard Larry Bell fanatics and casual K-zoo stout and Two-Hearted quaffers. I basically grew up on this shit so it tasted good then, but now i've more than given up on it.

At first the beer plops out with fecal earthy tones. The head swirls up to the top of the imperial pint with a confrontational hello. All of the sudden I find myself coaxing anything from the head - and this is the beer cleanest of all my glasses.

There's a bit of that worn-out cheese-like hop character on the nose of this beer. One would assume this was an improperly handled sample. Au Contraire! This came straight from a recently delivered case. There is a nice yeasty malt character that pulls together as room temperature encroaches. There is something about the look and smell of the beer that evokes chewiness.

There is a dulled hop bite in this beer floating atop of a cheeseburger-y blend of heavy yeasts and clunky sweet malts. The beer is thick and bold, one both a macro drinker and a blind taste-tester could harmonize negatively about. There's also a weird hybrid brownie / locker room thing going on somewhere in there.

Uh, i'm in the Two-Hearted camp as always ... but maybe being nursed with this beer forever altered the place in my heart.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2004 00:02:03 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of jujubeast6000
jujubeast6000

Texas

2.3/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed 10/10/2006 (12oz bottle):

Pours a good sized head, and it is lasting. Head color is creamy, white, with small bubbles. Has a very malty aroma, but not too strong. A sweet malty taste, Fat Tire/Newcastle-ish. Very malty, not a very balanced malt taste, not as much hops.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 05:52:00 | More by jujubeast6000
Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,067 ratings.