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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
87
very good

2,508 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,508
Reviews: 871
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 104
Gots: 188 | 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: 2,508 | Reviews: 871 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of popery
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thank you to deliriumfest for our recent trade (the first of about 30) which gave me the opportunity to try this beer. Bell's Amber is a quite good amber with a fresh full feel and a balanced earthy flavor. The color is spot on for an amber, whatever that means, but the head dissipated quickly and left little lacing in my DFH glass. The smell is bready and full of caramel malt. The flavor strikes an interesting balance between spicy, earthy hops and doughy, sweet malt. The feel is thicker and fuller than expected. It's rather chewy. There's some apple or raisin note in the background. Bell's Amber Ale is an enjoyable, sessionable and solid beer. Quick edit: I'm actually going to bump my taste score up a half notch. The malt flavor is really growing on me.

popery, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of JamesS
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color with some good head and nice lacing, and a fair bit of lacing. Good sweet scent, hints of rice, sugar, and caramal, along with a great tart aroma; the scent reminds me more of an Irish red than an American red. The taste, though, is more American; though there is a bit of Irish tart, it's mostly a great blend of malts and hops, sweet at first with a nice hit of bitterness as you finish each drink. Gets better with each taste. Goes down very smooth, if a bit overcarbonated. Excellent beer.

JamesS, Mar 05, 2009
Photo of Pedro07
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah yes, an old standby. Sadly I think I've seen the price of a sixer go up noticably lately.
This one is quite nice and available almost everywhere in W. Michigan.
A- Nice glowing burnt orange/reddish hue, with a one finger whiteish head. Decent lacing.
S- The smell is there, it's decent. Lots of your basic good malts. Hints of hops pop in and out.
T- This one is well-rounded. I get malts up front, malts in the middle, and malts on the back. There is no one point during which the hop flavor comes up. Similar to the smell, it randomly appears.
M- This one is good. It feels like you're drinking a top-fermented, ale beverage.
D- SESSION BEER. This one fits the mold for me. It's got enough taste to satisfy, but a low enough abv. where your not tripping after two!

Pedro07, Mar 05, 2009
Photo of TheDoorman
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy translucent orange with minimal white head and little lacing. Aroma is floral, perfumy, and malty. Taste follows the nose. Reminiscent of spring flowers with a light spicey malt backbone. Carbonation is present in the body. Light, effervescent and sweet. A pleasant beer, but nothing special.

TheDoorman, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of bamadog
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was able to have this on tap about a week ago and didn't have anything to write with at the time, but once again, that has proven to be a detriment to the review game -- I picked up a six-pack today and while it's very good in the bottle, it doesn't really compare to the tap. Oh well, still solid.

Appearance: Nice coppery/amber in color with a solid 1 and 1/2 finger head that would eventually fade to a thin skim on top with some serious life to it. Lots of sticky lacing are being left on the glass as I drink it down. The body appears to be a little cloudy and there seems to be some sediment getting churned around by the solid carbonation.

Smell: Didn't get a whole lot out of the nose, but it does smell a little bitter from the hops - no real kind of fruit attribute to the hops either, it is however, slightly grassy and metallic.

Taste: More malty up front than I would have expected and that brought a slightly sweeter, (very slightly) breadier quality to it. The hops seem subdued, but there is a bit of a bitter aftertaste to it.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy, I would have expected a bit more tingle from the type of carbonation that is showing, so it's a pleasant surprise. Coats evenly and leaves a bit of a stickiness to it as well.

Drinkability: I'd give it a solid 4 on this - it's not overwhelming and the lower ABV makes it easy to get through them. It's not an especially heavy beer either so I don't feel weighted down by it.

bamadog, Mar 01, 2009
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.

maltusaurelius, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A-Tan head, fluffy with ok retention. Amber brew, somewhat hazy with small-particle floaties.

S-Toasty and bready, light.

T-Moderate bitterness over a toasted malt and bread flavor base, with just a hint of semi-sweet malt. Hop character is minimal, perhaps a hint of spiciness. Slight caramel character.

-Medium-high carbonation, gives this medium-bodied beer some pizazz.

D-This would be a great session brew; its smooth flavor and ease of drinking makes it so. Complexity isn't necessarily high, but the quality of the characters that this beer has is good.

CHSLBrew, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of kels
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've always liked Bell's brews, but this one never made it into the rotation with all the bigger releases. About time I tried it. Review from a bottle poured into my pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a lovely golden-red-brown with a lot of clarity that highlights sediment and carbonation suspended within. The thick, white, pillowy head forms at about 2 1/2 fingers with good retention and soft, sheetlike lacing.

Smell: Hardly detectable despite so much head. Slight grainy malt and slight piney sap.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Excellent taste is deep and complex without being heavy. A real toasty malt presence meets a crispy, cracker-like malt along with some slight piney hops and a crispy green apple presence. They give a clean and bitter effect to the malty undertones. Mouth is creamy thanks to the retained head, with good carbonation as well.

Drinkability: Very high and would pair well with a lot of different foods.

kels, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of Bung
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Light red pour, whitish head. Sweet malt, some pine aromas. Malt and toffee flavors throughout, little raisin or something green fruit. Nice bittering hops through the finish. Well balanced and drinkable, but nothing outstanding. There are some pale ale tones in this one, which some will find off putting. One of Bell's more sessionable ales. Also pretty equal on draft or bottle.

Bung, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's- Amber

A- Hazy reddisn brown with a small light foamy head.
S- Cherry licorice and buttery malt.
T- Sweet sugary cherry licorice and caramel malt. Good buttery shortbread biscuit. So malty.
M- Thick sweet malt throughout. Slightly spicy and dry in the finish.

Overall- Very good, so easy to drink. Sweet like candy, my pint was empty in less than 10 minutes.

NJpadreFan, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of BierFan
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle lists an abv of 5.8%. Batch number of 8869 tells me it was bottled on December 3rd 2008. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light tan head. Hazy amber. Pretty good head retention.

Smell: Bitter with some light citrus and grapefruit.

Taste: It's just a damn good amber ale. Bitterness and hop flavors are dominant. Seems more bitter from the bottle than when I had it on-tap.

BierFan, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of mdwalsh
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very nice light amber color. Yeast was suspended, but it's bottle conditioned, so that's ok. Head was about 1/2 inch in pint glass, help fairly well. Overall good looking.

Scent: A good mix of scents, a little sweet, a little carmely. not a terribly overwhelming hop smell. Very slightly floral smell

Taste: A thin, malty taste when first touching the tongue, then leaving a bitter, hoppy aftertaste which diminished towards the end of the glass. Too hoppy in my opinion for an amber ale.

Mouthfeel: Beer felt good, slightly smoother than homebrew, and a little thin, but not very. Perfect carbonation, especially for a bottle conditioned beer.

Drinkability: Overall, alright, but not something I would target again. The hops are just not what I'm looking for in an Amber.

I bought this beer because I never got to visit the brewery as I had planned when home in Chicago over Christmas. I should have assumed based on who referred Bell's to me that it would be hoppy. I'll be sure to avoid any pale ale's from that direction, but I wouldn't refuse this beer if offered again.

mdwalsh, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of mooseisloose
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells of red licorice and a slight bit of butterscotch. Pours to a slightly red light brown color with a multi-sized bubble head. Taste is again some red licorice, beer laces nicely on the glass. Very well balanced ale. Great body, silky smooth mouthfeel. Taste is neither sweet nor bitter, but both. A little more malty in the front end and slightly more bitter at the finish. Not overly bitter, though with malts coming through tarty at the very end. Very drinkable, tasty brew.

mooseisloose, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of droomyster
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful hazy amber, full of fine particles gently suspended mid-body. A small tan head to top it off. Aromas are subtle but extremely good. Sweet drizzly malts like molasses and citrus hops. The taste is stunningly good. Perfectly balanced; complex malts with flavors ranging from tropical fruit to toffee, toasty goodness backed by equally complex hops that span the floral spectrum and with a touch of oranges. Extremely tasty. Medium body is sticky; its flavors linger long. I could become a evangelist for this brew. Exceptionally good taste in an eminently drinkable beer.

droomyster, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
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.

jujubeast6000, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from TexIndy, Thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a cloudy copper with a bubbly white head that shows some staying power. Smells of caramel and dough, mild citrus hops in the background. Taste has much of the same with a more pronounced hop bite. Sweet malts mix up a grainy, caramel, bready taste. Citrus Herbal hops play a supporting role. Sweet sticky syrupy in the mouth, medium body crisp carbonation. Good little session ale, nothing spectacular, but definitely drinkable.

johnnnniee, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of pasdachuri
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good amber ale. This is a balanced, very tasty and drinkable ale, light but full of character with subtle complexity. It's caramelly, doughy, and toasty with lightly toasted bread and light, caramel malty sweetness balanced with mostly citrus hops.

pasdachuri, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

Pours a slightly chill hazed neon orangey amber which becomes clearer as the liquid warms up a bit after some time in the glass. The head is a bit of a let down as is rather thin and sopy looking and is about a half in thick at the most and then proceeds to fade rather quickly into whispy lace. Speaking of lace, this one leaves behind sparce traces at the most. The bright and inviting color is what saves this one from going any lower.

Aroma is very sweet up front, a hoppier version of Fat Tire is what I am sort of imagining here. Heavy emphasis on the malts, which is nice to see, and is far more estery in charcter rather than the go for broke fruitiness a lot of beers like this tend to display.

Taste again brings the malt sweetness to the forefront. Sugary, busicuity maltiness greets the tongue, almost want to say there is a touch of maple syrup splashed in among the caramel sweetness and slightly toasted aspects of this beer as well. A soft, estery hop profile lingers in the background and only gives off seblances of bitterness. The only thing that really bugs me about this beer is that it tends to get a little grainy near and into the finish. A new sip is needed to clense this away but after each one, more and more of this taste tends to linger and brings down the overall enjoyment factor for me in the end.

bluemoonswoon, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of trbergman
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

A - Rich copper brew with plenty of suspended particles and a short, sticky beige head.

S - Sourdough, toast, slightly nutty, a bit of burnt toffee, herbal hops.

T - Rather bland, stale toast flavor with a spicy hop bite. Bitterness lingers on the palate for some time after each sip.

M - On the thin side, not quite watery.

D - Reasonably quenching, but not exciting. Not sure why this is the Bell's flagship beer. I remembered it as the least impressive of the mixed case I had last year and it's setting itself up for a repeat this year. When Bud makes a beer like this I'm impressed; coming from Bell's it's just disappointing.

trbergman, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of SLeffler27
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Fills a pint glass cloudy, golden-honey under a one-inch rocky almond head which drops to deposit some sticky lace.

Upfront hoppy resins with orange, followed by caramel and very pleasant fruitiness, but not particularly complex.

Far more malty sweetness than bitter hops. Clearly caramel with some orange, coriander, and a touch of green tea. Balance is upside down to begin, but finishes very nicely.

Slick texture, with a light body and soft carbonation is cleansing with a hint of metallic notes.

Lots of flavor and light body makes this easy to quaff. Let 'em flow for any occasion, particularly when looking for a thirst quencher, tailgating, or any large gathering.

date consumed: 10 Dec 2008

SLeffler27, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of spointon
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on tap at Galway Tribes on 1/7/2009.

A= Poured a hazy amber color with a 1/2" off-white head that quickly dropped to a skim. Slight lacing down the glass.

S= The aroma was filled with a big nutty, toasted grain character on top of a nice malty base.

T= I found malty sweetness which quickly was run over by that delicious nutty character noted in the smell. Faint toffee and some citrusy hops in the middle and finish.

MF= Medium body with a moderate carboation level.

D= I like this beer a lot in the bottle and I liked it even more on tap. Very drinkable and quite sessionable, especially with food.

spointon, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of sonicdescent
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a copper color with a moderately small off white head. Very hazy. High carbonation.

The first hint of the nose is a citrus scent, surprising expecting the advertised malt to jump out. A little agitation gets some of the sweeter caramel scent. Very nice.

Taste..Very very good. A great balanced drink that doesn't equate balance with weakness. There is definitely some hop and malt action here. Begins sweet and ends bitter, with a citrus aftertaste.

Mouth is appropriate. Relatively thin bodied and relatively high carbon.

Drinkability is very good, this is one of my favorite of this style and if I am in the market for an American Amber, I would go here.

sonicdescent, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of Jekster
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a dark amber red / orange that lightens toward yellow on the edges. The glass is laced by a nice one to two finger off white frothy head.

Smell: Sweet malt and bready overtones take the forefront in the aroma of this beer. Hiding behind that are slight fruity aromas like apple or pineapple. A slight American hop character is also noticeable.

Taste: Fruit comes through in the pallet along with a distinct yeasty bread flavor. I taste sharp tart apple like a nice dry white wine. The flavors dissipate rather quickly when swallowed leaving a slight presence of alcohol esters to peruse my mouth. There is a slight lingering bitterness along with a drying aspect probably due to the alcohol (near 6%).

Mouthfeel: This beer is fairly effervescent for an amber ale which contributes to the overall dry light feel of the beer. It's thirst quenching while not being a completely light and wussy beer.

Drinkability: This beer is pleasant without being overpowering. It's easy to drink and what I would call a quaff-er. I could sit back and enjoy quite a few of these with some light snacks during a movie or while eating pretzels and shooting pool. It's what I would choose if I wanted something with a balance between a sweet bready backbone and a American hop bitterness.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I would easily buy this beer again. It's a nice beer when you don't feel like blasting your mouth with hops yet want something that is not overpoweringly sweet. It has nice complexity yet is simple and refined at the same time.

Jekster, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of skrib09
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

really nice hazy copper/amber color to this beer. nice creamy head.

smells well balanced. a touch of hops with some sweetness from the malts.

tastes great! great balance to this brew. again, a touch of flavor and notes from the hops with the balance from the malts. not overly sweet, just a touch, just enough.

great mouthfeel. a touch of the alcohol towards the back of the palate.

great drinkability.

skrib09, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of snaotheus
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good amber. It's not overly sweet, it's not overly bitter. It's extremely well balanced.

Very nice looking beer. Deep amber color, thin film of beige head, light lacing, looks like some sort of sediment suspended. Thick in the mouth. Smells slightly earthy and sweet. I now wish I had bought more than a six pack.

snaotheus, Jan 03, 2009
Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 2,508 ratings.