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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.
very good

904 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 904
Hads: 2,826
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.09%
Wants: 127
Gots: 396 | 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: 904 | Hads: 2,826
Photo of cb500rider
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Being from Kalamazoo, where Bell's was originally made before moving five miles down the road to Comstock, I must admit I am a bit biased in my opinion of Bell's beers. However, they didn't brew their first batch until two years after I left home to become one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, so, my bias is purely geographical.

I discovered bells about ten years ago when I was visiting home. Being a fan of darker fare, I went to the Bell's Gastro Pub in Downtown, site of the original brewery, and had several beers including Kalamazoo Stout, Expedition stout, and the Best Brown. All of which are excellent.

Not until returning to my humid existence in rainy.. err.. sunny Florida, did I try Bell's original beer, the Amber Ale. WOW! this is an excellent beer. Hoppy, sweet and bitter, with unfiltered sediment in the pour. A tall, yet light head at pour. Yet not too heavy for the Florida heat. I love this stuff.

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Photo of malvrich
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from brown bottle into a pilsner glass
a: a good hazy, rusty orange/gold color. beer is very cold so a gentle pour only yields a small amount of head. minimal lacing and little visible carbonation in the sediment. this is not a clear beer.

s: slight hops with a spicy bit of sweetness, very subtle smell overall.

t: mild but upfront hop bite gives way to a sort of fruity sweet malt taste. oranges and pumpkin bread? quite well balanced with nothing stealing the show. extremely refreshing despite the haze and easily sessionable. very tasty beer. i was expecting more alcohol hotness but thankfully it is not noticeable.

m: soft but full. maybe a little wheaty which i generally don't care for but is nice here. carbonation is present but very subdued. lingering flavors seem to maintain balance with maybe a bit of hop stickiness dominating the finish.

o: my first experience with Bell's Amber was a good one. nice tasty and well balanced beer will not put off anyone except maybe those freaked out by cloudy appearance. not a favorite but definitely glad I tried it!

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a straight pint glass. Bottled on 05/22/14

A- Pours a hazy medium amber with a two finger slightly off white head.

S- Light spiciness, light banana, sweet bready notes.

T- Light flavors of sweet bread, light spiciness, very light pine, finishes with a light raisin bread flavor and a very mild bitterness.

M- Very easy drinking beer, a great beer to have 2-3 in a sitting, like I'm doing now. Still has some a nice full mouthfeel for a beer with a lighter flavor.

O- This beer is special to be as it is the first craft beer I was exposed to when I was a kid and saw adults drinking things that weren't BMC products. I really enjoy this beer as a nice sessionable malty beer and I also enjoy the history of this beer as it was Larry Bell's flagship offering back in 1985.

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Photo of hophugger
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

pours a deep golden color with decent head. aroma is slightly malty and a touch of yeast. this ale is slightly bitter in a good way and has a nice balance that is not too heavy. Overall, a very nice beer and another winner from this brewery

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Photo of Axeforhire
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

This was one of the coolest beers to look at. After I poured it I could immediately see it bubbling but it looked more intense than I had ever seen. On closer inspection, sediment was actually in the beer. I had never seen it quite like this before! But I assure you, the beer wasn't spoiled in any way: it was one of the best tasting brews of this type that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking!

The smell was great. Slightly sweet, very floral. Fantastic aroma!

The taste was superb. If everything else was good, this was great. The balance of flavors was almost perfect! A refreshing, lightly sweet taste was followed by the slightest hint of malt and hops. I love a good hoppy beer, but when I don't want overwhelming hops I go for things like amber ales. This was almost exactly what I look for in an amber ale! Thank you, Bell's!

Mouthfeel was good, about what you would expect from a beer like this. Slightly thick but still very light. Doesn't stick in your mouth forever.

Overall, this is a masterfully crafted brew. This is the first I've had from Bell's, and I'll be going back for more!

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Photo of TippedMixology
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How happy was I to find this beer right across the street from my apartment!

Appearance - Unfiltered, so don't mind the little pieces floating around in your glass. Light amber, honey, blond. Light, sticky head.

Smell - Floral and sweet. Hints of citrus, floral herbs, and floral hops. Light and not overpowering.

Taste - Pretty similar to the smell, light, but crisp and refreshing. Lightly sweet with a really nice balance between malt and hop at the end--not overpoweringly hoppy. One of the best ambers I've had.

Mouthfeel - I'm always left wanting a little bit more. Not overpowering on the alcohol, but coats your mouth on the aftertaste with an extremely pleasant malty note.

Overall, this is my first beer from Bell's, but I'm keeping my eyes open from anything they're offering from now on. They have a fan in me!

-Adam from Tipped Mixology

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Photo of Augusta3
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber color- pretty cloudy
Aroma: toasted caramel and toffee malts
Taste: very soft and fruity with a toasty finish. Nice balance of sweet and bitter flavors.
Overall: This beer is very food friendly- It would go great with some nice red meat!

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Photo of Tylergross1
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It was a little darker in color then I typically would prefer. The smell was very good, smelled of caramel and a little bit of citrus similar to Oberon. The overall taste was very good, although the alcohol content was a little higher it was very smooth and crisp overall very good.

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Photo of WillKorn
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a very good amber style beer with great flavor. To me an amber ale is a very basic beer that is just well balance with an all around good flavor, and this embodies that. I enjoy drinking this beer in the Fall when is starts to get a little colder outside.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bell's really went out of their way naming this one. Per usual for the style, it is a very appealing color. This one has only a bit of head and lace. The aroma is sweet and malty. Nice.

The taste is a first rate malty amber ale taste, just as it should be. The aftertaste lingers cleanly.

Overall this is a very refreshing, well made amber. Well balanced and easy drinking.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear copper hue with an eggshell white head of 3 cm that fades slowly to a thick surface layer. Tightly packed lattice on the glass after each sip.
The aroma is grainy malt and a little bit of cereal. I also get some grassy hops and what I can only describe as a chalky scent. The nose overall is very faint but not really flawed, just not huge or the driver on this beer.
The first sip reveals an average body with very and tingly carbonation.
Flavor is some grainy malt and a little caramel, finishes with some grassy hops and very dry on my palate.
No hint of any alcohol and the beer is easy to drink. Nothing outstanding on any component but no flaws either. Worth a try if you really like ambers but not worth chasing down in my opinion.
I could probably drink several of these in a sitting and would choose it over other sessionable beers.

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Photo of blevel
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First review

A - poured in a pint glass, a cloudy copper with a one finger head. Looked very drinkable.

S - noticed malt and some light nutty aroma

T - very smooth with a good combination of malts and grains. Unlike most ales I've tried this was not bitter all the way through.

M - a little on the heavy/thick side which I liked

A very nice beer. I would pick up a six pack next time around.

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Photo of burntoutphilosopher
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

great filtered beer. i expected unpasteurized. mildly cloudy. nothing like if it were on Lees

sharp but good

Really top notch. surprisingly so. great amount of bitter for a neutral Ale. and has a perfect balance of malt and sweetness that is still tastable.

on par with killian's or Sam Adams.

A Very Good beer. taste is king to me and this has it. two layers of bitter and sweet. not a bit watered down like Goose Island or Sam Adams hopology.
For what you get though, i felt overpriced. not on any lees, says unpasturized but mine pours very clear.

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Photo of Amalak
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A tamed yet flavorful amber. Has a feel of a pale ale but a nice honey malt undertone. There's a bit of a celery-type taste. A dark fruit hint; grape. It's very smooth and medium bodied. Easy going feel to it, nothing strong about it. A mild honey and hoppy scent. A lovely caramel brown color, hazy with tons of sediment.

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Photo of SFNC
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My wife picked this one up for me knowing my love of Bell's, but not knowing that I don't really love Ambers that much. That said this one surprised me pleasantly.

A-Hazy dark onrange with a soft and quickly vanishing head. A little scrim of foam held in there for the duration. Very hazy. My fingers are just shadows in the light.

S-Kind of yeasty, sweet caramel malts, grassy and oddly not unlike some Belgians I have had.

T- Rich and complex malts, clover, well hidden hops, sweet, but not too sweet. There is a light tingle of bitterness in the aftertaste. Overall, a good rich balance of flavors.

M- Thicker than most Ambers that I remember. The tingle of bitterness is nice. Carbonation is just right.

O- I should never be surprised by Bell's, but this is a very good beer that I will try again.

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Photo of barczar
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy light amber with a sense, frothy khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Aroma is very subtle, with toasted nutty malt and floral hops dominating. There's a metallic note.

Flavor reveals more subtle character. There's a hint of underlying citrus, but the toasted malt backbone and specialty malt fruitiness dominate. The finish is nutty and a touch bitter. Floral hops become evident late, but the malt dominates. Metallic notes surface in the aftertaste.

Body is moderate to a touch light, with moderate carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Not an amber by today's standards. Far less American hop character than we've come to expect. The malt is nice, though. Wish I liked this more.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: hazy amber, with a load of dark, speckled sediment in suspension... don't know if this is normal, only having had this out of a bottle 2-3 times now... the haziness has been there each time

S: moderate-to-bold caramel... light bread crust, underlying herbal-earthy hop... background of red, cherry-ish fruit and perhaps a hint of roasted red pepper skin... complex... subtle culture funk?!... overall, very inviting to maltophiles (i.e. me)

T: supremely rich-malty - caramel up front, fruit and understated bitterness midway, toasty and bread-crumby finish... caramel carries and lingers throughout... floral hops in the aftertaste... actually fairly bitter - increasingly as it goes on

M: like a dextrin-rich 'stock ale' a la North Coast Old Stock or Founders Old Curmudgeon... slightly viscous... the alcohol is felt rather than explicitly tasted... long, smooth flow with a little fizzle on the back end... liquid love

O: fantastic, unique amber ale - unique in that it has a ton of the right flavors going on, perhaps crossing into a few style categories with its rich maltiness and body... worth a try - I've witnessed some casual beer drinkers digging this a lot

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.31/5  rDev -39.8%
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.

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Photo of lochef81
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering pours a deep burgundy color with a small off white head that gives way to a nice film and lacing. The nose is subtle but pleasant with a nice balance of malt and hops as well as an underlying alcohol note. It sips smooth and clean with a light to medium body. The flavor is pleasant and quite balanced between the sweetness of the malt and the bitterness of the hops. This is definitely a beer that you could sit and drink a number of and enjoy each one. Not particularly complex or remarkable but very balanced and damn good.

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Photo of TheDoctor
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear red-copper with a healthy beige head that quickly drops to a film with a ring around the glass. Decent retention; some lacing.

Pervasive alcohol sourness with malt notes. Spicy caramel up front with sweet aromas and some hoppy astringency.

Rich, full flavor. Mellow malt tastes with a little caramel and a quick touch of dry hops at the end. Very nice.

Medium body and a little thin-feeling with prickly carbonation and a coating, silky finish.

Good amber.
Mellow, inoffensive, and drinkable. This beer is certainly nothing to write home about but is a solid red beer and would make for a good session beer or could be a good stepping stone into craft for non-beer-drinkers.
Might have again if I had access; a safe bet for a solid, generally enjoyable brew.

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Photo of FLima
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber color with a thin off-white head with low retention.
Light aroma of honey and caramel malt.
Flavor of papaya, apple juice, American yeast, toasted malts, fresh oranges and earthy hops. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Medium body with low carbonation.
I had high expectations on this, that is a very good beer, but far from blowing my mind.

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Photo of plaid75
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On draft at Draught 55, NYC.

Poured a dark copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light caramel malt with a spattering of grassy hops.

The taste consisted of soft caramel malts with a balancing hop spice.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a smooth finish.

Overall a tasty and well balanced amber.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured bottle into glass. 5.8% abv

Appearance- Medium amber and cloudy with a thick foamy white head.

Smell- Fresh biscuit-like aroma with toasty maltiness.

Taste- Nothing really pronouned up front. Some bready and earthy malt notes with a touch of grass. Hop bitterness on the back end but not strong.

Mouthfeel- Highly carbonated but a bit watery in body. Less than moderate.

Overall- Not bad, but nothing out of this world. I was more impressed by Bell's two hearted IPA, in fact was blown away so maybe my expectations were set a bit high. I thought this beer could have been more complex. As stated, still an ok brew.

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Photo of Imaginefication
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice and hazy, golden/orange/red color. head starts off good but very quickly dissipates. lacing is average but does not stick.

S - Not great. Sweet with a fairly sharp and grainy hops scent.

T - The hops are strong, sharp, spicy, narrow, and lingering, but very well hidden by intensely sweet caramel malts. It lacks some of the darker roasted malts that are typical to an amber ale, yet it is incredibly flavorful and drinkable..

M - Smooth, not dry or astringent, a little watery making it very easy to kick back. low/medium carbonation.

O - Really good beer, lighter and sharper then typical amber ales.. but I can dig it, plus at 5.8% its rather intoxicating. Still, if Im in the mood for a classic amber ale, I'd have to look elsewhere.

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Photo of Lorenzai_Konstantinov
2.38/5  rDev -38%
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.

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Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 904 ratings.