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

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Bell's Winter White AleBell's Winter White Ale

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675 Reviews

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Reviews: 675
Hads: 1,961
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 22.62%
Wants: 53
Gots: 247 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Witbier |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 02-22-2003

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 675 | Hads: 1,961
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An OK wheat, rating lower than this brewery's standard. Sweet with cloves, ginger and orange from yeast. Combo winter warmer spices and wheat. Reminds me of herbal tea xmas stuff. Brought by contributing Yankee to Doug Shoemaker's All Star Beer Tasting.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy light pale yellow in color and has a high amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high bright white head that died down but consistently left a thin but dense layer of bubbles covering the surface along with lots of lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: The smell has light to moderate aromas of wheat along with some hints of spices—cloves seem to stand out in particular.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has some notes of lemony citrus and hints of bananas.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The spices in the taste seem to lend a bit of dryness to the finish.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink but lacks any refreshing and thirst-quenching properties. However, the added flavors of spices seem to make this a nice choice to drink if you want to enjoy a witbier during the winter.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The first beer I have ever had from bells that was a let down, and honestly one of the few that wasn't amazing. This pours thick and murky tired yellow with basically no head from the tap. It's got a ton of viscosity and minimal carbonation, the opposite of what I look for in the style. Banana yeast and spice and orange esters in the nose, some citrus to the taste, but way too much grain here, especially the wheat. It lacks all the delicate features of the bets wits, and warms up ugly. I'm surprised this came from bells. It's not a bad beer, but it's nowhere near their full potential. I see the winter side of it, and appreciate the attempt, but I just doesn't pan put here

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Orange-amber color; maybe more toward apricot. Decent head.

S: Lots of wheat along with plenty of spiciness--fits the winter theme quite well.

T: Lots of spiciness. Perhaps coriander, along with some citrus flavors.

M: Medium body with good carbonation.

D: Great drinkability when fresh. This is a solid witbier, and fits in perfectly with a roasting winter fire.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours out as a hazy yellow color with a fluffy white head. There was a slight amount lacing on the glass. The smell was a little spicy and had some wheat aromas. The taste has a light spice to it with a kind of refreshing lemon zest. Mouthfeel is a little light and is a little watered down. Overall I've never understood why a white ale would be a winter release. I prefer the dark winter brews personally. This is an ok brew.

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a meringue of a head that leaves plenty of lace

Smell: Perfume of banana, bubblegum, anise and a dash of lemon pepper

Taste: Starts out with a banana bread flavor, that adds the lemon and anise flavors by mid-palate; after the swallow, the lemon fruit flavors build and there is a final dash of pepper in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with moderately high carbonation

Drinkability: Not a classic wit as I understand it is brewed without spices, this is nevertheless a tasty wheat beer that has elements of a wit and a hefe; nice job

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An odd choice for a Winter Ale. Very wheat-ey. They upped the gravity to make a creamier and more flavorful Belgian Wit, but it still lacks the punch in malt complexity and alcohol for me to consider it for a winter beer. Having said that, it's a good beer. spicy, sweet, bananna-ey, citrucy, peppery, sweet, and subtle. Little dryness or lingering. Creamy and silky to the palate. I'd put another lable on it and drink it into the spring and summer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.62/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Plucier: Poured extremely cloudy whitish/yellow color ale with a nice small pure white foamy head with good retention. Aroma of medium wheat with some very subtle spice note. Taste is lighter then expected with some wheat but no bubblegum notes that I usually appreciated in an hefeweizen and some very subtle spices and therefore no coriander that I usually like in my witbier. It appears that by mixing those two I am not getting the best of both word. This is probably one of the weakest offering from this fine brewer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surprisingly unhazy amber with the slightest suggestion of orange. Maybe the yeasties will be added with the next and final pour, though I don't see much cloudiness in the few ounces left in the bottom of the bottle. The cap is lightly yellowed ivory, like old newspaper, and isn't up to Bell's usual standards. It looks a little mealy as it falls and isn't tacky enough to deposit more than a few stray strands of lace. Not bad, just not great.

The nose makes a spirited comeback, as I was pretty sure it would. There's a fresh wheaty bottom end, upon which the usual aromas of coriander and citrus are arrayed. I wondered whether a 'winter' wit would emphasize coriander at the expense of the more summer-like lemon and orange. I needn't have worried. The citrusiness that I love in this style is present and accounted for.

This is a wonderful witbier, even if it isn't as delicious as my favorite domestic versions (Allagash and Great Lakes). On the palate, coriander holds a slight edge over orange and lemon. Each provides a fair amount of flavor, although not an abundant amount. The mild sweetness of the wheat is perfectly countered by the bitterness of the hops, allowing the drinker to taste the best of both worlds. This really is a balanced, measured wit.

The mouthfeel is more full than average, but only slightly. A vigorous amount of carbonation keeps things light and airy without sliding over into an annoying fizziness. It seems to me that neither a more full nor a more light body would serve this beer as well as the one that has been provided. Drinkable? Absoposilutely.

Even though it isn't among my handful of favorite witbiers, this is still a fine effort from the master brewers in Kalamazoo. I continue to be impressed by the excellence displayed by Bell's across the entire spectrum of craft beer. Winter White Ale is merely the most recent example and is a beer that I recommend without reservation.

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Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out am orange/golden yellow color with a small, fizzy, white head. It left a few small rings of lace.

S - It smelled of coriander, orange zest, lemon, clove and some wheat.

T - It tasted of wheat, yeast, citrus and a little caramel malt. Some spices and there was a slight licorice flavor , as well.

M - It was fizzy, crisp and sharp. A light bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good wit. I really liked the blend of fruity flavors with some spice and licorice flavors.

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Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap a hazy lighter yellow with some peach colored hue a thin quick to fade head atop.Toasted wheat clove and some bannana reminisentmore of a Bavarian style sheat than a Belgian white in my mind.Pretty standard wheat flavors somewhat clovey and toasty with a faint hint of citrus in the back end.Decent and basic beer, my wife would enjoy this, me well I thought it was ok.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Believe it or not this was might nightcap of all things. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this was enjoyed on 01/01/2011.

The pour was nicely done, albeit very light and a touch overcarbonated for me, I still think it fit rather well. Light yellow in color with tons of carbonation and a huge fizzy white head that let down quickly. Aroma is light banana, clove and citrus, nice and light and airy with touches of lemon zest and fresh spice as it warms. Very clean taste, perfect hints of citrus and spice layered on the banana based malts. Quick, clean, light and very drinkable. This one was gone like a flash.

Overall a very solid little ale and one that I needed to take a break from the rest of the evening!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff for sending me this one.

A: The beer pours a pale golden/yellow color with a minimal white head, but plenty of carbonation.

S: Some wheat, but a bit of a corn type smell and mustiness. Light spice notes, coriander is certainly prominent and there's a bit of orange peel. Sort of sweet, overall.

T: The flavor is significantly better. Nice wheat and bread flavors providing sweetness. The typical spice of coriander, which is probably the best part about this beer. A light peppery note on the back end.

M: Light in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: A pretty middle of the road and mediocre Witbier. Not my favorite.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tried during a recent trip to the Brick Store Pub. Suspiciously, there was no batch number listed on the back in the white box allotted for it. I briefly considered signing my name in it.

Appearance: Pours out a near clear, pale yellow body with a smallish, brief, white head.

Smell: Bell's WA doesn't offer a particularly aromatic bouquet, with only mild notes of barley and wheat with some perfunctory citrus and spice thrown into the mix as well. A bit of a wimpy wit, to be honest.

Taste: Sweet tastes of malted barley and lightly tangy wheat lazily bathe the tongue. Mild flavors of citrus peel and coriander. Faint bitterness. Lightly tangy, lightly citrusy finish; there and gone in a flash. It's one of those simple beers with little to really say about it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Well, for starters, it could benefit from a bit more effervescence in the mouthfeel department, but even still, it's just rather mild and bland and doesn't really deliver in terms of a fine, refreshing witbier or a winter-based anything.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Figured I'd take this one down now, seeing that Winter is in its death throes 'round here (knock on wood). It pours a thoroughly hazy pale straw topped by a finger of white froth. The nose comprises lemon zest, coriander, mint, pine, orange peel, and wheat. Honestly, the sharp bit of mint I get does nothing good for the smell, but it's luckily not enough to sabotage the entire occasion. The taste, though, does away with this unpleasantness, while straying none too far from the path already laid out by the smell. The orange peel, though, is a touch stronger than before, and a pinch of black pepper is thrown in there as well. The body is fairly light, with a moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a nice wit. 'Nuff said.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Winter White displays the typical appearance of a Belgian wit with a hazy golden-orange body through which very fine bubbles can be seen steadily rising. Its thinly-creamy head of bright white holds fairly well but leaves only spotty lace about the glass. The nose is also quite standard with notes of coriander over a wheatish malt base. In the mouth it's light/medium bodied and the carbonation lends a mild caress to the tongue. It has a lower carbonation level, and less effervescence than many of the better known examples from Belgium. The flavor delivers a delicate blend of semi-sweet wheatish malt; a delicate tartness and some fruitiness from the yeast; and a flick of spiciness and some flavor from the coriander. The low-key bitterness is propperly coralled, and it's immaculately balanced. It finishes with a touch of tartness on the front of the tongue and delicately spicy coriander at the back of the mouth. It lingers shortly and then fades, never building on the palate and lending greatly to its drinkability.

This one's a real winner; and if you think about it, it's not such an odd choice for a winter beer from a brewery that makes more than a half a dozen stouts year-round.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours clear gold with a finger of brite-white foamy head. Leaves behind a thin, wispy retention that provides some decent lacing. The aroma is standard Witbier with notes of wheat, yeast, clove, and an almost astringent citrus scent.

The taste is a nicely balanced mix of wheat and yeast, some coriander and clove spice, and a zesty orange note that gives the profile some pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lively carbonation.

I've always wondered why Bell's goes with a Witbier for their Winter beer (that's why I waited for the weather to warm a bit before getting into this)? In any case though, while this isn't the strongest beer from them by any means, it is still pretty tasty and at 4.5%, very sessionable.

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Photo of jlindros
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this one in a great trade with Noslenwerd. I wanted to help out his cause for 365 beers in 365 days. For those who haven't heard of his quest, try this website:

Anyways, he sent me a bunch of stuff I can't get here, including a slew of Bell's beers, and I decided to review a bunch tonight. This is the next on the list, and helps me to go through a bunch of winter beers that I'm questing to do as well.

A: Has a light airy and fluffy 1/2 finger head that keeps itself well. It's an incredibly hazy, so much so I almost expect the blob to step out of this thing. It also has a murky pale bright yellow color.

N: Nose is loaded with wheat, banana, and spices. It has a lot of reminiscence of a Belgian wit beer. Lots of wheat as a base, then a nice creamy banana flavor, and some spices, perhaps clove, coriander, and hints of yeast. And even some hints of orange peel but very light.

T: Very similar to the nose, but the spices come out a lot more. This is now loaded with clove, coriander, orange peel, and other winter spices, but its not overbearing, just over the top. The some wheat and banana try to come through on the back end. A very light sweet malt flavor.

M: Semi thin, decent carbonation but I would expect more for the style, a little spicy.

F: Comes off pretty dry on the finish, with a big load of banana and more spices. It has a touch of spicy heat, some acidity. The spices seem to linger for a while, with even more orange peel this time. Its not a bad beer, a decent Belgian wit crossed with winter warmer, which is starting to become commonplace. This goes a little heavy on spices but not too much to still enjoy it.

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Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy yellow color with a brief head in the Affligem chalice. The best feature is the creamy, sudsy mouthfeel that would do a German brewery proud. Faintly aromatic with a flowery, citrus nose.

Mellow and biscuity. Lightly fruity with a lemon curd note. A litle sweetness. Some yeasty taste and bitterness in the aftertaste.

Surprisingly drinkable. The whole concept is a surprise, but it's a pleasant wheaty brew. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from feloniousmonk, 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 light gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, strong spices, light malts and some citrus.

T: The taste is spicy up front with flavors of coriander and clove. There's a good background of Belgian yeast and light malts along with some complimentary citrus flavor. The hops presence is mild as you would expect. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not filling at all, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a very good mild beer to drink several of over the course of an evening.

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Photo of Jason
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz tallboy with a freshness date. Sample from the brewery.

Cloudy and heady. Yeast, grain, spice, & bread in the nose. Ample crispness leads to a deep smoothness. Peppery, clove spiciness, rind-like, coconut water, nutty yeast, pineapple, dusty biscuits, & faint medicinal notes in the aroma and palate.

Damn cool, fermented with Belgian yeast ... no spices used so this is sort of a pale lighter Belgian winter warmer and not a Witbier at all in a sense but it is none the less.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and white branded pry-off pressure cap acquired for $1.79 at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN and served into a stem-tulip. Expectations are fairly high given the brewery. Reviewed as a witbier; it identifies as a white ale on the label. Packaged 10/18/13. 5.0% ABV confirmed per the label.

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of white colour. Okay thickness. Not much creaminess. Retention is well below average - maybe 1 minute. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a translucent semitransparent orange-copper of average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

It's not cloudy like every traditional witbier I've ever seen, which is a bit disconcerting. It's far from unique or special. No egregious flaws.

Sm: Belgian pale malts, flaked wheat, banana, clove, coriander, pilsner malts. Lemongrass. Faint lemon citrus. Light floral and fruity hops. A clean aroma of average strength.

No alcohol is detectable.

T/Mf: Lightly floral and fruity hop notes. Lemon peel. Lemongrass. Clean barley. Wheat - possibly flaked. Belgian pale malts. Banana. Clove. It's got a crisp yeasty character.

No alcohol comes through.

A clean balanced flavour profile which isn't quite gestalt, but is certainly cohesive. Not real complex or subtle. Not all that intricate or nuanced either, but then this style is about elegant balance and mastery of simple ingredients.

Smooth, wet, crisp, and medium-bodied. Nice thickness. Decent body. It's got a good refreshing presence on the palate. Complements the flavour profile well. A biteen overcarbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough.

Dr: A drinkable and enjoyable American take on a witbier, but ultimately it's not amongst the best in the style. Bell's has provided a solid go-to witbier for the local market, but it can't compete with the best traditional Belgian offerings - or even Allagash White, for that matter. I could easily session with this stuff, but it isn't world-class. Certainly likable, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends or buy it again.

High C+

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Photo of Rifugium
2.83/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Hazy, yellow color. Minimal white head.

S: Light citrus, and light, dried fruits, banana, etc.

T: Wheatish bite, some citrus and banana, and a little bit of spice.

M: Light body with moderate carbonation.

D: Somewhat drinkable. At this point, I'm losing interest in witbiers, but still a good summertime diversion.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy orange yellow. No head visible. Nose is a lot of citrus and a yeasty funk. Flavor is very true (in it’s own way) to a witbier. Nice spicy and yeasty tones. Seems a bit too vibrant, but not so much that it kills the whole experience. Standard feel for the mouth with a bit of a lower carbonation. I think this is a very nice witbier. Sure it is American produced, but it could stand up against others from across the pond.

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Photo of russpowell
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No batch#, hmmmm

Pours a slightly hazed straw color with a thin beige head. Not much lacing & zero head retention

S: Grassy & some lemons

T: Coriander, grainy bread, white peppers & lemons. A touch of phenol with some juicy fruit as this warms, plus a touch of lemons & pears. Finishes fruitty, a touch dry with white pepper

MF: Light/medium bodied with light carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, a pretty good Wit. My problem is why do a wit as a winter release? Bell does plenty of others sooo I guess it doesn't matter...

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Bell's Winter White Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
83 out of 100 based on 675 ratings.