Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

897 Reviews
THE BROS
97
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 897
Hads: 2,770
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 119
Gots: 368 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bell's Amber Ale Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 897 | Hads: 2,770
Photo of VaterRoss
1.75/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

12oz bottle into tumbler, bottled 12/15/11

Pours a mostly clear amber with a nice off-white frothy head. Looks good so far. Not much going on in the nose, a light biscuity malt and hint of hop spiciness. Oh my, what happened here; taste starts aright with some mellow malt biscuit and some hoppiness, then I am hit by the distinct taste of soap (ugh). Mouthfeel is even worse with the smooth.creamy, and very slick texture of soapy water. Not even the nice maltiness can save this one as it is buried in soap.

This beer tastes like very mild soap (this could be the diacetyl) and that is not a good thing. Starts off tasting fine and then turns into dishwater. This is one of the more unpleasant beers I have had. Perhaps this was just a bad batch? (750 characters)

Photo of Leebo2007
2.16/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Very bland beer...the smell (which should first draw you in) is weak and the taste just does not fit. It is almost flat to taste. I was very disappointed! It does have a good color and it may be better in draft form. I am waiting to try other beers in the Bell Brewery Family! (276 characters)

Photo of GreenWBush
2.28/5  rDev -40.8%
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. (1,359 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.31/5  rDev -40%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - orange/peach pour, nice thin head of manila foam. Nice and sticky, good lacing.

Aroma - light biscuity malt, straightforward sweet grain smell.

Taste - sweet and biscuity out of the gate, good malt presence without being too sweet. Goes strangely and astringently bitter, hoppy but without any hop character. A metallic bitterness dries out the palate and clears the malt flavor away too quickly. Finishes unpleasantly bitter and dry.

Mouthfeel - fluffy and crisp, medium bodied, good levels for the style.

Overall - the weird bitterness is too unpleasant to consider another., but I'd consider re-sampling on tap. (631 characters)

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.36/5  rDev -38.7%
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. (279 characters)

Photo of Lorenzai_Konstantinov
2.38/5  rDev -38.2%
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. (1,423 characters)

Photo of charlesw
2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
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. (873 characters)

Photo of Crosling
2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
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. (535 characters)

Photo of Ahhdball
2.58/5  rDev -33%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of washburnkid
2.58/5  rDev -33%
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. (813 characters)

Photo of corby112
2.59/5  rDev -32.7%
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. (483 characters)

Photo of TheHoppiest
2.65/5  rDev -31.2%
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. (720 characters)

Photo of circuitmonkey
2.68/5  rDev -30.4%
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. (331 characters)

Photo of nortmand
2.71/5  rDev -29.6%
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. (497 characters)

Photo of Realale
2.76/5  rDev -28.3%
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. (683 characters)

Photo of PartyHatjo
2.78/5  rDev -27.8%
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. (930 characters)

Photo of mjc410
2.85/5  rDev -26%
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. (790 characters)

Photo of Anthony1
2.88/5  rDev -25.2%
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 (466 characters)

Photo of Cubieblu
2.9/5  rDev -24.7%
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. (797 characters)

Photo of Murphious
2.94/5  rDev -23.6%
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. (276 characters)

Photo of PENGUIN5B
3/5  rDev -22.1%
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" (340 characters)

Photo of mothman
3/5  rDev -22.1%
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. (620 characters)

Photo of rickyleepotts
3/5  rDev -22.1%
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! (1,151 characters)

Photo of elephantrider
3/5  rDev -22.1%
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. (386 characters)

Photo of kinger
3.02/5  rDev -21.6%
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. (327 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 897 ratings.