Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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

898 Reviews
THE BROS
97
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 898
Hads: 2,775
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 121
Gots: 370 | 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
Reviews: 898 | Hads: 2,775
Photo of barczar
3.62/5  rDev -6%
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. (730 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
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 (1,175 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 lochef81
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (540 characters)

Photo of TheDoctor
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A:
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.

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

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

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

O:
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. (791 characters)

Photo of FLima
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (354 characters)

Photo of plaid75
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (387 characters)

Photo of PA-hunter
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
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. (628 characters)

Photo of Imaginefication
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (751 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 JackMcAwesome
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Look: It pours a hazy golden brown. The one finger head thinned out fairly quick, and left a thin ring of foam all around. This fed the lacing quite a bit, and made it paramount.

Smell: A bit bready, a minor kick of hops, and not all the much else. But just because I can't pick out anything else, isn't a knock to this brew at all. The aroma is very pleasant, and it can adapt to any season. I could enjoy the smell all year long with this one.

Taste: The nose is there for sure, the bread notes and the bitterness from the hops are very well balanced. There's also a bit of black pepper to it as well.

Feel: Medium bodied, with a bite of carbonation. No hint of the alcohol, which is to be expected with a 5.8 abv. It just feels like a very well done brew!

Overall: Pleasantly surprised by this. I wasn't expecting it to be anything special, but it's a very well done ale. I'll be revisiting this one for sure. (943 characters)

Photo of ChrisL24481
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A frothy, khaki colored head raises to about an inch. The beer is a clear, copper color with visible carbonation.

Aroma - Smells of malts, toasted bread, caramel sweetness with some hops in the background.

Taste - Similar to the smell, nothing overpowering on the palate.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation a bit upfront with a medium body and a sticky finish.

Overall - A decent brew but nothing earth shattering. (420 characters)

Photo of AwYeh
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled November 20, 2013.

A: Hazy copper-amber body with a finger of foamy white head. Spotty lacing.

S: Toasty malts and some earthy hops. Light but pleasant.

T: Mild and sweet caramel/bread malt flavor with earthy, floral, and citrus hops.

M: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, very smooth and creamy, goes down easily.

O: Incredibly easy to drink. I hadn't had this in a while, but it reminds me of how a lot of people (myself included) treat Bell's Oberon in the summer- very sessionable (not in terms of ABV, but balance and enjoyability). (553 characters)

Photo of Kendo
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Hazy honey-amber in color with a small off-white head. No lacing.

S: Modest caramel malt and earthy hops.

T: Biscuity malt foundation with a modest leafy, earthy hop bitterness at the finish with a touch of lemon. Nice balance. Reminds me of a good ESB.

M: Light-to-medium in heft; carbonation is modest and fine.

O: A nice easy drinker. (344 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in color with a fair amount of sediment floatin around. Head Is about a finger and a half in height, off white and retains nicely.

Smell has some good lightly sweet malty aroma forward that is balanced nicely with some slightly floral sligtly earthy hops.

Taste follows the nose with some lightly sweet bready malt forward on the palate which is balanced nicely with some delicate floral hoppy flavors with a very mild heathy spicey bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good, mild carbonation and medium body leaves this drinkable but not to light.

All around great balanced beer. (584 characters)

Photo of breakingbland
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle dated 1/13/2014 into a pint glass.

Appearance: A rich reddish, gold with a small off-white head that dissipated quickly.

Aroma: Malty with a slight hops presence.

Taste: Like the aroma but with the addition of a hint of breadiness and a pleasant malty sweetness. The aftertaste is mainly of hops.

Mouthfeel: A nice level of carbonation with a medium rich body.

Overall: This beer is a nice example of this style. Don't know why it took me (a Michigander) so long to discover this beer - although I don't think it's overly prevalent in the stores and bars that I frequent. It will be my go-to beer when it's available and I want an amber ale. (667 characters)

Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Samuel Smith's pint glass. Pours a clear copper with a finger and a half of creamy, white head that dissipates quickly and has a lot of visible carbonation. Smell is malty, but not strong. I do get buttery biscuits and light caramel, but there is not much to this. Taste is malty and light, and it drinks very easily. Leaves behind a beady aftertaste that lingers.

Overall: Not much too this one, but that doesn't make it unenjoyable. It's light and sessionable, so it has it's place in the beer drinking world. (527 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I get a finger of bright bone-colored foam on-top of a deep amber beer with rich hop/yeast haziness. The head settles at a medium pace and leaves a little bit of lace on the glass behind.

Cereal grains with a near-brown ale toastiness. Loaf bread, slight minerality, chalkiness, and an air of floral and semi-citrusy hops. Not very fruity, at all. Very standardized, but hunky.

Spicy hops and rigorous toastiness melds in with rich amber malts. The maltiness is pretty dominant, yet curt on by-flavors, in an American way. Crispiness from the hops pulls out interesting hints of brown sugar and almost cinnamon or clove from the steeped grains. Hardly noticeable is any alcohol. Hops are more spicy and floral than anything else, however, there is a backdrop of citrus pith. No sweetness from the hops, and only a malty sugar sense from the fermented grain remains with still-persistent dryness. Fuller-bodied for an amber ale. A lot went into this beer to produce a fantastically clean, refined, and simple beer. Bell's Amber offers a solid-bodied drink with a crisp, effervescent mouthfeel that really pulls out all of the quality ingredients in their naked simplicity. Good. (1,179 characters)

Photo of utopiajane
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed amber orange. Cloudy with a loose head of foam that fell fast to a thin ring. Leaves soapy lace to fall as you drink. Nose is faint. If I dive right in I can get some light caramel and bread and the faintest hop floral. Taste is mild. The grain is toasted to amber perfection and has a nice round and full flavor that presents a natural sweetness but the caramel is almost too faint to be observed on the palate. it tastes like whole grain bread. As it warms it starts to develop a hop floral that is a bit sweet on the nose and in the drink. It has soda like carbonation so quite strong. It finishes with a bit of bitter but mid palate it's just bland. It could have used more malt depth and more malt sweetness. The body of the beer is thin and has a bit of slickness to it. Finishes semi dry with an aftertaste of flaked cereal grain. There is a hint of citric tartness also int he finish but it seems like too little , too late. (946 characters)

Photo of confabulatedgod
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Just a random pick up in a choose your own 6-pack. I've had a few other Amber ales that weren't bad, but nothing I'd join a site just to review and remember. My expectations weren't too high, which made it all the better. It looks good, and smells great, but that's just the start. Slightly hoppy, slightly bitter, slightly smokey, great feel. Overall it has all the elements of a great beer, and they're in harmony unlike other beers that overkill one element. I think it's my new favorite all-season beer. (507 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty copper, amber color with a quarter of a finger of off-while head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very bready and malty. Lots of fresh bread, and floral notes, like honey and clover.

Taste: Very similar to its aroma, it’s very malty and bready upfront, followed by some honey-like sweetness and finished by some floral notes of hoppy bitterness. Excellently balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light, but with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.8%, there’s just the slightest hint of alcohol on the palate, but not much.

Overall: This is a damn good amber ale. Very easy to drink, very refreshing, and very tasty. Solid offering. I’d certainly get it again. (823 characters)

Photo of WillWillows
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bell's Amber in the bottle. I poured it into a pint jar. Very nice and pours a nice reddish gold with a good head that dissipates. Taste is stronger than other Ambers, such as Abita, and has a better mouthfeel, no backbite. Nice. Two for two on Bells having consumed an Oberon recently. I will be back for this one again, I bought a sixer just in case. The five remaining are in grave danger of a quick disposal.

I am drinking the last one now. I slow poured it into a Mason jar and let it sit for 3 minutes until the head was down and the lacing was left. The taste and the temperature were perfect. This is a fine ale. (621 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Packaged on 10/03/13.

A: Pours a hazy amber ruby with a fairly large off white head. Little too opaque to see any visible carbonation. Some nice rings of lacing are left on the sides of the glass.

S: Mild malt aroma with a touch of hops in the background. Not overwhelming in the aroma department. Bit of breadiness

T: Well balanced approach to an amber ale here, starts off with a mildy sweet carmel malt, then some bittering hop hits your taste buds. Aftertaste rounds out with some wheat like malt.

M: Smooth body with a creamy feel. Average, perhaps slightly low carbonation. Nice drinkability on this one.

Overall balance is key with this one. Is smooth and something anyone could enjoy. (737 characters)

Photo of Chiefy770
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (packaged on 7/12/2013) into a nonic pint glass.

A fluffy eggshell-white head formed on top of a hazy dark-orange body.

Toasty malts stand out in the nose. Minor hints of citrus also come out.

This amber ale is very well balanced. A sweet malty taste blends in perfectly with very mild hops. The subtle citrus flavors from the hops leave a mild tangy feeling in the mouth.

Overall: This is an Amber Ale done right. I find it hard to crown a beer the "best" of its style but Bell's certainly competes for a top spot in my book. It is very easy to enjoy a few of these on a mild autumn afternoon... or anytime for the ambitious ones.

Bottom Line: If you are a fan of Amber Ales, go out and find this. Definitely worth trying. (751 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bell's is a brewery I used to drink beer from in high school. I loved Oberon back then and I'm excited to try the Amber Ale! Bottled 5/24/2013

A – 3.5 – Nothing that impressive, nice brown/amber color to it, hazy. Basically no head, looks heavily carbonated. Yeast in suspension.

S – 3.75 - malty, breadiness, caramel, floral hops

T – 3.75 – Real mellow, earthy, bready, malty, caramely, easy hop bitterness to it, with not too many specific hop flavors coming out.

M – 3.75 – Heavy carbonation, medium body, alcohol completely hidden.

O – 3.75 – It's alright, I'm kind of disappointed though because I got such great feedback on it from my friends back home in Michigan. It's an Amber Ale, for sure. (726 characters)

Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 898 ratings.