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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
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Reviews: 897 | Hads: 2,770
Photo of emerge077
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Textbook amber ale, been drinking this for a decade or so, just now getting around to a review. Usually a go-to in bars where nothing better was available, how things have changed today...

Deep copper orange body, murky with yeast and unfiltered particles in suspension. Two fingers of foam settle down to one soon enough.

Smells like multigrain bread with a smear of peanut butter from the specialty malt. Some fruity yeast notes surface when swirled, pear and apple.

Flavor is malt driven, bready and sweet. Fairly tame and easygoing. Light astringency, some pear and apple fruitiness from the yeast. Vague residual bitterness in the background after a heartier gulp. Body is light, with mellow carbonation.

Not a bad introductory craft brew, it worked for me. Nowadays I usually reach for something else, but it's still a solid standby option. (853 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden tangerine with quite a bit of suspended yeast. The head is off-white, soft yet dense, falls to a barely covering film and doesn't leave a whole lot of lace. The nose is a combination of sweet, biscuity malt and earthy hops.

The flavor is of bready caramel malt with a solid undercurrent of earthy-spicy hops. It's also a little fruity; spiced apple perhaps. The finish is long, bitterish and dry. Solid mouthfeel for the style.

Amber Ale is another tasty beer from Bell's. Although nowhere close to their best effort, its balance ensures that it will be enjoyed by malt lovers and by hop lovers alike. A good session ale that I wish was available in the Hawkeye state. (681 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes

A - Poured out a golden color with flecks of ruby. It had a foamy, off-white, two-finger head that left some nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled fruity (orange and grapefruit?). It also smelled of caramel, toffee and some hops.

T - It was malty and biscuity with a good dose of caramel. Also, had some spicy hops.

M - It was very smooth and crisp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a great amber. Makes a great session brew. (457 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle served cold, right out of the fridge and poured into a New York Harbor Pint Glass

A - Poured a very nice orange tinted amber with a large three finger high head of thick white foamy lace that towered over the top of the glass. Very nice retention let this one hang around for a good long while before it was able to finally settle down and relax into a small pillow of white lace across the top of the glass. Nice carbonation was apparent as chains of bubbles rippled up to the service from the bottom of the glass. There was also a decent amount of cloudiness or haze to it as well that was very easy to pick up, along with just the slightest amount of floating sediment, which eventually filtered its way out.

S - The aroma was surprisingly hoppy for an amber ale, which to be honest shocked me a bit. Usually you expect an amber ale to just be the usually malty ale, but this was thinking to shape up to be a different kinda of ale. The first whiff that came across was clearly a floral pine like hoppiness that cut right through the underlying, malty base. There were definitely some hints in there of earthy notes, cereal like grains and a touch of bready like notes in the back. Rather complex for a straight up amber ale, and really quite nice.

T- The flavor itself followed along with the aroma very closely. To be honest it was much more of a well balanced IPA like flavor then that of an amber, but still very very well. There was a first initial rush of hops that greeted you as soon as the first flavor hit your tongue, as this rolled past the sugary malted backbone started to come though. Hints of grain and bread along with some nice notes of orange and even a touch of tangerine started to come though. All of these were blended very well and gave this a staggeringly good balance. The finish was strong and bitter with a huge hop presence. Nice dried out pine flavor to cap it all off.

M - The feel was also just great. A light to medium bodied ale, it had a little more weight to it then I would have thought it would have. Great carbonation lasted throughout the entire session, never going flat and keeping it from feeling dull. No slickness or watered down flavor here.

D - This was almost a perfect session beer. The ABV was low and the flavors were very tonight and well put together. Great carbonation with a crisp, clean and refreshing feel to it. I really could have put down the entire sixer my self and not even looked back.

Overall this was a very good beer here from Bell's/ I had not really had much experience with their regular lineup, tending to stick more with the bigger seasonal offerings, but this may have changed my mine, really showing what they can pull off on a more mass produced level. This was very good and I would not hesitate to try it again on any condition. (2,826 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The flagship of Bells,pours a medium amber color with a nice medium sticky head,the aroma is is sweet with a good hop presence.A very nice balanced ale starts out malty sweet and fruity with a nice hop bitterness in the finish.A personal favorite and easy to find when Iam home in Michigan. (290 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sending this one, Jeff.

A: The pour is a clear amber color with a finger of light khaki head.

S: An alright aroma to this one. Some toasted malt and bread notes with a bit of floral and grassy hops. Light sweetness with the caramel and toffee notes coming through.

T: There is quite a bit of grassy hop flavor with just a bit of bitterness. Most of the flavor comes in the form of toffee, toasted bread, and caramel sweetness.

M: Medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation.

O: An okay amber ale, but not really any better than any number of amber ales I've had. (583 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a medium copper body with a small, white head. It's rather hazy, but then again, I didn't think to check the temperature setting on the hotel refrigerator (it was set to MAX). Let's give it some time to warm up and maybe clear up while I run some luggage down to the car. Yes, it did in fact clear up. Phew! That's a relief.

Smell: A fine aroma of caramel malts, with notes of citrus and candied sugar.

Taste: Initial flavor of toasted caramel with just the right amount of sweetness. Notes of juicy lemon. There's just enough hop bitterness to clear the palate from sip to sip.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Delicate, spritzy carbonation.

Drinkability: A nicely done, well-balanced amber ale. In fact, I've found the bulk of the Bell's line-up from top to bottom to be quite solid. (800 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of white head on top of a hazy, amber-brown body. The foam collapses slowly and leaves excellent lace.

S - Light caramel and toffee malt with some weak herbal hops lingering in the background.

T - Carmel malt up front with light toasted notes. Toffee and more caramel are present in the middle with lightly spicy hops. Finishes with lots of dry, mild caramel and toffee as well as light bitterness to balance.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Very drinkable, there is nothing remarkable going on here, but the beer is well made and enjoyable. The caramel malt character is particularly well done and makes the beer a touch more interesting. Not a beer to sit and think about, but it would be easy to drink these all night long. (790 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

I was actually a little surprised to find that I've never had this ordinary Bell's offering before. Go figure. I'm havin' now, then, I guess. It pours a clear russet-amber topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises thick caramel, grapefruit, orange peel, and flowers. The taste favors the orange over the grapefruit, but doesn't really deviate from the smell beyond that. The body is a light medium, with a light carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a very nice amber, nothing standoutish but tasty and drinkable regardless. (586 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from bboven, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright orange/brown color, with a decent-sized white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste is nicely balanced with sweet flavors of caramel and citrus up front. Then a decent hops bitterness comes in quickly. The malt character is hearty. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, this is a straight-forward beer with some good substance that is worth drinking for a long time. (753 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Boddington's hourglass shaped ale glass, served cold.

A - The appearance of Bell's flagship ale left something to be desired at first, perhaps due to my vigorous pour which produced a three finger head that gradually relaxed leaving plenty of lace. Suspended floating matter most likely yeast was evident in the golden amber liquid.

S - A delightful smell of honey like malt, faint berries, and tinges of woody hops mask a slightly estery ale yeast scent.

M - Medium body w/ adequate, but not overpowering carbonation. A sweet but light dryness leads to a crisp smooth finish.

T - Nice malt flavors are saddled by slightly citric hops at the initial taste. Pleasant nuttiness leaves a clean taste of pale malt and faint ginger spiciness and sweet wheat notes. More of an earthy flavor emerges as it warms.

D - Surprisingly drinkable, great example of the style. A beautifully balanced amber ale with subltle hops and a clean finish. Most definitely something you may want to session in my opinion. (1,027 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: On tap, served in a 16 oz. American tumbler glass.

Appearance: Cloudy orange hued amber with a well dispositioned tiny bubbled lace leaving several thick rings on the glass.

Smell: Malty sweet with overtones of fresh toasted grain and a subtle flowery oily hop holding a citric nose.

Taste: Well formed malt sweetness within the medium body, moderate crispness from the carbonation. Faint buttery diacetyl, toffee and toasted malt make for the base of this brew, a tamed yet multi-layered hop runs through a pungent bitterness, an oily flower and a citric flavour towards the end. After taste lingers long and hard with more toasted and citric flavours.

Notes: This is an awesome example of the American Amber Ale Style, robust and very flavourful yet still not a problem having a few or even making it a session beer. Right up there with Full Sail or Anderson Valley in greatness in this style. (921 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty clouded orange-ish brown amber. Slight leafy nose. Seems very calm though. The flavor really brings it here. Even and firm bodied. Consistently earthy woody tones. Feel is very well bodied on the liquid and a good carbonation as well. I'm calling this as a good example of the style and an overall good brew to try. (330 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to BARLEYWINEO for this! Batch 7838

Pours a hazed light orange/peach tea-colored with 3+ fingers of pillowy sand colored head. Hazing never really cleared, average lacing above & average head retention

S: Caramel, doughy notes & a hint of cocoa with just a whiff of citrus hops at the finish

T: Nice bready caramel signature up front along a little citric (tangerine & lemon) hops. Grapefruitty hops & some grainyness as this warms. Finishes a touch dry& astringent , toasty & with just a bit of puckery grapefruit hops

MF: Medium-bodied, low carbonation & okay balance

Drinks pretty good, just didn't quite live up to the initial taste up front, not a bad amber though, just not a great one (703 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orange tinted glowing amber hazed body with an off white orange cream colored head nice two finger sized head full thick and creamy in appearance, lacing is speckled through out. Aroma: Bready mix of sweet grain and yeast tones along with a very intriguing hop aroma especially for an amber ale earthy tones with a bite of citrus there. Taste: Great malt profile blends well balanced between the doughy sweetness, fuggle hops, and grain driven honey like sweetness with a brown sugar quality about the flavor. Mouthfeel: Sticky in a good way medium to fuller bodied for an amber ale, excellent carbonation nothing to knock gotta give it praise. Drinkability: Challenging amber ale I am definitely impressed by the flavorfulness of this if this is there flagship ale that speaks volumes about Bell's, they make flavorful beer, yum. (842 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I always seem to have unresolved questions for the Kalamazoo Brewing Company, and right now it's: what's the significance of the heron? Maybe it's the Michigan state bird, and I'm just an idiot...This was introduced to me as not only the "flagship" brew of Kalamazoo, but "the beer Larry drinks." Then I found out that when the K'zoo crew really get to partying, it's hard liquor...
Color is hazy orange, bordering on brown, and the head is a good inch thick, properly white. Aroma is sprucey, piney, full of hops, fruity, but mainly pineapple and citrus. There's a touch of tart, but it's mostly sweet.
On the palate, nothing but smooth, smooth, smooth. Malt looms large in this ale, but it's perfectly matched. Hops are tingly, tasty, and not quickly forgotten. I can see tossing back a million of these! Yum-a-licious! (824 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Bell's tulip because I can. Bottled on 02/07/12, batch 10918.

a - Pours a deep, murky oranger-brown color with one finger of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bready malts, toasted malts, caramel malts, fruity malts, light floral hops, grains, and citrus hops. Ton of malts in the nose, pretty nice.

t - Tastes of fruity malts, toasted malts, bread, grains, wheat, caramel malts, dark fruits, light sweet sugar, and citrus hops. More fruit then the nose and less toasted and bready malts; slightly better then the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty nice beer. Not my favorite style, but one of the better easily accessible amber ales out there. Not of toasted and bready malts in the nose and some sweet fruity malts in the taste. Very easy to drink, could see a lot of non-craft beer drinkers enjoying this. Wouldn't buy it too often but worth checking out. (988 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled 3/22/2012. Pours a very hazy orange amber color with a nice 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of biscuit, toast, caramel, light citrus, floral, and nuttiness. Some pretty good well balanced aromas that are a bit muted. Taste of caramel, biscuit, grapefruit, orange, floral, toast, nuttiness, and light pine. Light bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, grapefruit, toast, floral, and light pine on the finish for a short bit. Slightly dry on the finish. Good balance of citrus hop flavors with the malt backbone. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slightly crisp mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with pretty much no warming noticed at all on the finish. Very easy to drink as expected for 5.8%. Overall this is a very nice amber ale. Nice flavor balance and smoothness; very sessionable and enjoyable. (994 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber with a one-finger creamy head that lasts. Creamy lacing sticks to the glass.

The smell is of toast, caramel, earthiness. Woody undertones.

The taste is sweet. Slightly roasted caramel mingles with butter. The smell of an undertone of wood lingers into the taste. Sweetness in the finish rounds it out.

The body is light to medium. A touch watery, but enough of a body to keep the flavor hanging on. Nice carbonation.

This is a nice, sessionable amber.

Thanks to dekker0 for including it in our trade! (532 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Bell's pint glass. At the time of this review, this is the #45 American Amber / Red Ale on the beeradvocate best of lists.

Beer is red and really hazy with no head, low carbonation, no lacing.

Aroma is sweet with a mild earthiness to it. Smells like a malty beer.

Beer is medium in body and really malty on the forward, the finish is heavy and syrupy with a mild hop presence. The beer in the middle is a little heavy and still sweet with the malt. Overall it is a malty red, nothing too special but drinkable for sure. (550 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear deep amber in color. The beer has a two finger tall tense beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film over the entire surface of the beer with thicker patches and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts with light hints of nuttiness and light hints of citrus hops.

T: The taste follows the smell, with a body of bready and caramel malts giving it light sweetness upfront. This is followed by some light nut flavors and moderate citrus hops that have a light lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is easy to drink and enjoyable. The beer is well balanced and could be sessionable (though it is approaching a touch too strong in ABV to have more than a few). (816 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 mdaschaf
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to THECPJ for this one!

A: Pours an amber color with lots of little floaties. Very small head that dissipates to a layer of foam on top. Decent lacing down the sides.

S: There is a sweetness, and a little bit of caramel malt. A slight floral hop aroma as well.

T: Some citrus upfront with a caramel flavor in the middle. There is also a toasted malt flavor as well.

M/D: Medium bodied with high carbonation. Overall its good, but I have had better in the style and probably wouldn't reach for it again. (516 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, yet malty scent with some floral hop notes. The taste is good. It has a dry, malty flavor that is bitter and toastey. It has a crisp finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine amber ale. It has it all; a good drinker. (406 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle, the head dissolved at a medium pace. Left little to no lacing on the glass. Looks are as one would expect an amber to appear, nice orange glow unfiltered with lots of little particles hanging out doing their thing at the bottom of the glass. Smells malty, and low and behold so is the taste. Its malty sweetness is the first thing picked up with little carbination with bits of bitterness bringing in the rear. Drinkability is smooth and easy going, I like it. (482 characters)

Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 897 ratings.