1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bell's Winter White Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Winter White AleBell's Winter White Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

1,643 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,643
Reviews: 645
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 13.77%
Wants: 39
Gots: 102 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Witbier |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast, this blend of barley & wheat malts yields a mixture of clove and fruity aromas, all without the use of any spices. Deliberately brewed to retain a cloudy appearance.

(Beer added by: maxpower on 02-22-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,643 | Reviews: 645 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bamadog
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review is from notes taken on 11/19/09. Poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, golden straw color; body is cloudy and shows some sediment and fairly slow bubbling carbonation; starts with a one finger white head that fades to a very thin and light scum in the center of the surface; no lacing is present.

Smell: Sweet and tart fruitiness (grape and pear) and a nice spiciness (corinader), a bit perfumey. Nice overall, and fairly potent.

Taste: Very nice, but I really don't feel that this screams "winter" to me... Much like the smell, the sweet and tart fruit falvors blend quite well with the coriander spiciness; a bit musty in the aftertaste, nice and smooth yeast presence as well.

Mouthfeel: Body is light, juicy and my mouth is left watering a bit; carbonation is strong and prickly; belly is left warm, which is kind of odd since the ABV is only 5%.

Drinkability: Nice and robust flavors; body is fairly light and doesn't sit heavily at all; the ABV is more than manageable. Nothing wrong here, and I could easily sit through several of these - a potential sessionable beer.

bamadog, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of elNopalero
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on Oberon day, 2012. Bottled at the end of 2011.
This poured a hazy golden-straw color. Thin, tight foam, almost champagne-like bubbling, along with a champagne-like effervescence on the palate.

It has a bouquet of estery aromas. I get some yeasty floral clove and banana and a touch of bubblegum even? It’s floral, floral, floral.

Flavor is more of the same. The clove and coriander spices dominate, but lightly so. Finishes well, with that aforementioned effervescence keeping it light.

I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of the style but this is a good one. Sure, I’ll have another.

elNopalero, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of ZAP
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To me this has more Hefe characteristics than Whit characteristics but there are some of both...Pours a cloudy yellow....nice nose of swet bananas..also some ginger evident..is not as charged up as expected...more creamy... medium body..thicker than the typical hefe or whit...nice tasting brew...bananas..some bready characteristics....vanilla...some ginger on the long finish..has some spicy notes as well.

Seems to be a hybrid of some sort...very enjoyable though..not a BIG winter brew but worth a six-pack of enjoyment....no off flavors...

ZAP, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of gdfan47
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: pours a clody/ orange color with a small foamy head
S: nothing at all like a typical winter beer! can def smell the corriander smells very inviting, as a good session beer shoud
T: just smooth,a little more going on on the tounge then lighter belgian whites
M: creamy and easy to drink
D: cant say enough about how great this beer is and the low abv makes it a great great session beer

if you like this one, def make sure you check out Elysian Bi Frost

gdfan47, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of Mavigo
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Green Dot Stables in Detroit the other day, was served to me in a pint.

A: Is a cloudy, pale yellow color, had almost no head and very little lacing, few white streaks on the glass.

S: Smells quite sweet, though a very light aroma. Still, smells quite sweet, honey, wheat, grains, bread, yeast as well.

T: Very smooth, good flavor, sweet honey, wheat, grains, malts, yeast, with a hit of spices at the finish, along with a bit of hops

M: Medium carbonation, very crisp, very light, a deviation from the darker and higher ABV holiday beers that are floating around.

O: It was a good beer, very light, refreshing and sweet, good carbonation, very decent, could drink large quantities of this without getting bored.

Mavigo, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy bright yellow/orange with a small head that rolls down to a ring around the glass. Spotty lacing lies in its wake. Nice big yeasty wheat nose with notes of cloves and coriander. Big and inticing!

First sip brings a nice citric, yeasty wheat maltiness nuanced by spicy cloves, coriander, pepper and a bit of banana as well. Tasty and well balanced...this is a fine wit right here.

Mouthfeel is good with just enough body to roll over the palate smoothly..good carbonation. Drinkability here is very nice...easily sessionable. I personally think this would be better as a summer seasonal. As a side note...the label picture is beautiful..kudos to Bell's on another tasty brew.

orbitalr0x, Feb 17, 2005
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at a Bell's tasting at the Brickskeller.

Appearance: Cloudy lemon yellow, slight white head that left little bits of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Banana esters are quite prominent. Faint bubblegum aromas.

Taste: Peppery and medicinal, slightly clovey. Banana on aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very light and crisp.

Drinkability: A hefe/wit hybrid. Smells like a hefe, tastes more like a wit. Uses both Belgian Trappist and hefe yeast strains in the fermenation (according to powerpoint slide from the head brewer). Quite drinkable, but I liked Oberon better. Still, an interesting idea for a winter beer.

ManekiNeko, Oct 23, 2003
Photo of WakeandBake
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

ON TAP .A creamy hazy orange color with loads of yeast swimming around,small white fluff head.Aroma is somewhat heffish,with some mild banana,cloves,orange zest,and grassy notes.Flavor is wheaty with loads of banana, bubblegum and and spice, maybe even pineapple. Very drinkable, refreshing after a long days work. Would make a solid summer brew too.

WakeandBake, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of chiefydawg
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Came out a little more clear than I expected until I remembered the sediment packed at the bottom. Swirled and poured out the thick, nutrient-rich haze to make a translucent, straw-colored glass of beer. That sediment is in there tight. Wondering about the expiration date, especially being a Winter Ale. Deep head that dissipated quickly, and without as much lace as I expect.

Getting a yeasty banana clove scent like a many wheat beers, but with a sweeter scent. Not much hoppiness; but even for its apparent age it still smells somewhat fresh.

Tastes like a luxurious and well-made heffy. I would never put fruit in one of course, but especially not this. There is enough bite from the wheat and yeast, with nearly invisible hops, to weigh out the sweet lushness of the body of it. Really no conflict or aftertaste to this. Which brings up the alcohol snap. Not catching one, even towards the end. Either I am drinking it too fast, Bells hides it well, or it's unusually low for a Winter Ale. Still well done.

The mouthfeel, although I usually mix it in with the taste, deserves a special mention here. There is something plush and velvety about this that makes me want to sip and chew a couple just for the sake of enjoyment.

chiefydawg, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Bell's imperial pint.
5% ABV, 11509 PKGD 09/27/12

A - Poured, swirled in sediment, and topped off the pint, White Winter Ale is a gorgeous, totally cloudy deep straw yellow color that's crowned by a short-lived white head. The frothy foam sinks to a skim without much of a trace.

S - Crisp as the cold winter air, this beer's aroma has a fresh appeal that's reminiscent of a clean snowfall in the woods. Soft wheat and grainy pale malt support the beer's zesty spice nose which offers faint banana esters, white clay, pepper, coriander, and citrus peel. Aromatic and inviting!

T - Balance is at the forefront of the flavor, reeling the spiciness back and offsetting it with a kiss of sweet pilsner malt alongside the soft wheat and pale base. Banana still seems open in spice though, lightly overshadowing the clay, coriander, and citrus zest.

M - Carbonation cuts through the wheat's smooth, soft feel for a sharp tingle which lasts through the light-bodied beer's body to it's dry and crisp finish.

O - Bell's Winter White might not be a hearty, rich, high alcohol brew loaded with holiday spice, but this classic features just enough heft and yeast profile to provide a witbier unlike it's summer counterparts. When you're looking for an escape from the bold and strong beers of the season, look no further.

BeerFMAndy, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of civilizedpsycho
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured bottle into mug.

Appearance: Pale golden color with a cloudy appearance. I had no head on mine.

Smell: Strong wheat malt and yeast aroma with maybe a hint of banana in the background.

Taste: Very sweet and refreshing. Quite smooth.

Mouthfeel: This beer had a pretty good body. I found it to be pretty full considering it wasn't a Stout or Porter.

Drinkability: Loved this beer. Could have it over and over again.

civilizedpsycho, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of turnstile
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright yellow-golden color. Cloudy from a huge yeast content that was stirred up and poured on top. Thin off-white head which sticks around after the initial pour. Some light carbonation noticeable. The head slowly dissipates with no lacing.

Smell: Spices - coriander/cloves. A pleasant wheat and biscuity yeast aroma with a faint hint of lemon.

Taste: Nice and crisp as I would expect in a witbier. The spices dominate, the wheat up front with a slight lingering citrus bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy, smooth body with mild carbonation that gives it a nice bite.

Drinkability: It's a great winter selection. The heavier body certainly distinguishes it from its summer counterparts. Would love to have another.

turnstile, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of NCSUdo
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, batch 8250

A: Pours a hazy pale yellow/straw under a fizzy small white head that dissipates quickly, with no lace.

S: Coriander and bubble gum up front, with some citrus behind. Eventually gives way to a very nice wheat character.

T: Bubble gum up front, wheat is very apparent, a little yeast, some subtle hints of citrus and a peppery quality in the finish. Very nice taste.

M/D: Nice light body, carbonation is high but seems right for the beer, very crisp and refreshing. At 4.5%, refreshing, really no off qualities aside from a lackluster appearance, this one is highly drinkable and highly reccomended.

Are there better, more complex wits out there? Absolutely. But this one is very very solid. My opinion, stock up near March and enjoy during the summer months as well.

NCSUdo, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of DIM
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a hazy golden straw color. It was served to me with a small, frothy cap.

s: I feared that was going yo be heavily spiced with "seasonal" crap like nutmeg. I needn't have worried. I smelled fresh, prickly wheat, zesty citrus, and hints of corriander.

t: A refreshing blend of fesh citrus, twang-y wheat, and peppery bite at the end.

m: Crisp with prickly carbonation.

o: There are a hell of a lot more bad wits than good ones in this country imo. This was one of the latter.

DIM, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of Mitchster
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out to a milky pale golden with orange accents, forming a modest rocky white head with average retention and fair lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is punctuated by mild orange peel, bready yeast and coriander...very distant banana and cloves if one concentrates very, very hard. Mouthfeel starts kinda zippy with a medium body and a semi-tart wet finish. Taste begins with mild wit yeast funk with a slight cheesiness, coriander, orange peel appears in the middle, and lingering notes of cloves and light bananas are suggested in the finish. The bitterness is right in balance and rather mild, letting the yeast flex it's muscle. Lemony bitterness is predominant in the finish compared to most other wits. Slight metallic off-note and "macro wheat" peeks through in the middle. No other off-flavors and alcohol is imperceptable.

This is an interesting hybrid between a hefe-weizen and a wit. I think this brew is actually much better out of the bottle than it was the few times I've had it on tap. If I couldn't find Holy Moses or Celis White, this may be an acceptable alternative.

Mitchster, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of Skidz
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 6584

Pours a cloudy light straw and sits even cloudier dull golden straw in the glass with a small white head.

Smells of wheat, bananas, orange, lemon and a touch of yeast. Full aroma really draws you in.

Tastes big and wheaty up front, you can just taste the grains. Orange peel and light hints of lemon come in and make up the majority of additional flavors; banana flavor is minimal, like dried banana slices if anything. Nice light, mildly bitter finish with good yeasty character.

Nice smooth and creamy feel with easy carbonation and an even nicer body. Keeps it real and makes me want to let it massage my mouth all night. Tasty brew all the way.

Skidz, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of martyl1000
4.14/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Somewhat unfair to be drinking this after my favorite witbier of all time, Hitachino Nest White Ale. But what are you gonna do?

Pours a Hazy straw color, with a lemon juice look to it. Fast-dissipating white head with fluffy bubbles.

An aroma instantly recognizable for the style, it's spicy and yeasty in the nose, with some wet cardboard. Green grapes, other indeterminate fresh fruits, maybe pear, maybe melon.

On the tongue it's grass and white pepper, first. Coriander, awesome winter spice profile.

Eminently refreshing, yet with seasonal fruits, including tart apple and a hint of banana. I like the spices, which are admittedly on the subtle side. Plus the wheat and yeast of Belgian whites that come off as comforting old patterns.

Moderate carbonation keeps everything bright and sharp.

Have I mentioned how refreshing this is? The complexity is all in the fruits, which may sadly overpower the spice. Not quite on par with Allagash White, but close.

martyl1000, Nov 20, 2013
Photo of Neorebel
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A translucent yellow with a minimal-to-no head.

Smell: Aroma is typical for a Witbier. Grainy with a touch of fresh sweetness.

Taste: Wow! Totally unexpected vibrancy here - bright banana flavor followed spices and a crisp snap of hops towards the end.

Mouthfeel: Coats the mouth nicely and is very refreshing. A bit of a dry finish which is in contrast to the more 'juicy' initial feel.

Overall: Although the first impression is not great going by the appearance and aroma, it's one of the better Witbiers I have experienced. Well done once again, Bell's!

Neorebel, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of TheKingofWichita
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an extraordinarily hazy yellow orange color with a thick white head that sticks around awhile. Smells of oranges and spices probably from the yeast. Tastes of clove, oranges, and other spicy yeast and plenty of that awesome wheat flavor. Mouthfeel is thick and carbonation is heavy. Drinkability is above average.

TheKingofWichita, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of praufs01
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Milky orange yellow color with a frothy white head.

Aroma - Banana, orange zest, and lemon

Mouthfeel - Fizzy small bubble carbonation.

Taste - Light orange and lemon flavor with a hint of banana in the background.

Overall - This is a great looking beer. It looks just like an orange creamsickle that has been melted in a glass. The flavors are great although the orange, lemon, and banana are little subdued. If the banana and Orange flavors were a little stronger this brew would be euphoric.

praufs01, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of dogger6253
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours out into my glass a hazy, light-yellow color, very pale yellow. Almost looks like grapefruit juice. Think, white head dissipates extremely fast leaving almost nothing behind. Some floaties pour out as well.

Aroma strongly consists of bananas and a yeasty wheat. Some floral scents are hidden inside along with hints of spice.

Strong wheat taste in the foreground, followed by cloves and lemons. Bit of a banana taste, but not as much as I'd expected. There is more of a peppery bite at the end as well.

Mouthfeel is sort of dry and bread-like, pretty refreshing despite low carbonation.

dogger6253, Mar 27, 2007
Photo of Sconnie
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pale in color, with a light haze. Very little head. Smells more like a hefeweizen than a witbeer, with banana and clove overtones sticking out. A tasty beer, crisp and smooth with banana and clove like the smell, and some light malty sweetness. Not a lot of hop flavor. Nicely drinkable; wouldn't mind kicking a few of these back in front of the fire on a cold winter night.

Sconnie, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of weasbri
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an interesting pale orange/yellowish hazy color, with a decent head. The head didn't hang around, and didn't leave much lacing on the glass either.
The wheat is quite apparent from the get-go in the aroma. Very pronounced wheat, with definite spiciness coming through too. The flavor holds the wheat substantially on the tongue, with a tad bit of a citrusy tinge to go with the other mild spiciness.
I enjoyed this one. It was almost a nice bit of summer in a land of winter warmers and stouts.

weasbri, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of GilGarp
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold in a pint glass.

Pours a hazy pale yellow color with thin white head. The head settles very quickly leaving no lacing behind.

Aroma is slightly spicy, slightly fruity.

Flavor is pleasant and appropriate for the style. It has a bright fruity, light and citrus, taste with mild corriander spice.

Light in body and moderate in carbonation, all about right for the style.

Overall a good witbier and enjoyable. It's nice to see one as a winter seasonal instead of summer but it probably works better in the warmer months.

GilGarp, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of Brodie_Lewis
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%

Brodie_Lewis, Aug 31, 2014
Bell's Winter White Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
83 out of 100 based on 1,643 ratings.