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

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

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

2,440 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,440
Reviews: 866
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 94
Gots: 164 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,440 | Reviews: 866 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not a big fan of this style, but this is a really good beer. Bold, robust and malty. Good use of dark grains and malt. It's a liitle hoppier that most ambers, but it doesn't interfere with the sweetness or the body. Has more of a pronounced alcohol flavor and feel into the body and finish. Has some earthy / yeasty flavor along with hop flavoring. Less clean than I like, but still, good beer.

BEERchitect, Aug 04, 2005
Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

kjkinsey, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

mikesgroove, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +4.4%

jaydoc, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

womencantsail, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger off white head on a slightly hazy near pure amber body.

S: caramel malts, toffee, brown sugar and light hops.

T: sweet caramel malts and toffee are the major players. grain and earthy hop notes.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: One of the more full flavored amber ales and very drinkable.

kylehay2004, May 17, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a classic Amber Ale. The beer poured out with a nice reddish looking color with a pretty good looking head on top that isn't afraid to stick around for a little while. The smell of the beer is well balanced between the hops and malts. The taste of the beer was pretty good too, much like the nose. There are plenty of hops and malts working together to make this a nice drinkable beer. The mouthfeel isn't overwhelming at all it's drinkable and easy to have a few in a sitting if you want to. Overall this beer is worth trying I think.

Knapp85, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

oberon, Aug 07, 2003
Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

TMoney2591, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

SocalKicks, Apr 14, 2014
Photo of emerge077
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

emerge077, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, a souvenir from a foray into Dearborn, Michigan last week.

This beer pours a hazy medium orange amber hue, with one finger of tight foamy pale beige head, which leaves some sparse streaky, wave crest lace around the glass as it fades away. It smells of thin caramel malt, mildly tart fruit, and a bit of yeast. The taste is quite in line, with a more pronounced caramel malt, edgy fruitiness, and floral, leafy hop character. The carbonation is average, and kind of fuzzy, the body medium weight, but with a flinty nature that takes away major smoothness points. It finishes bittersweet, fruity, and fairly clean.

An ok amber ale, the expected fruity sweetness turned on its head, opting for the acidic in lieu of the sugary complement.

biboergosum, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

zeff80, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

NeroFiddled, Sep 02, 2014
Photo of Jason
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Jason, Jun 12, 2002
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

WVbeergeek, Oct 20, 2003
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

nickfl, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Jun 01, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

RblWthACoz, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Slatetank, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  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

russpowell, Sep 23, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev +11%
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!

feloniousmonk, Apr 13, 2003
Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

drabmuh, Aug 06, 2011
Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

oline73, May 28, 2013
Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 2,440 ratings.