Bell's Pale Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Bell's Pale AleBell's Pale Ale
1,201 Ratings
Bell's Pale AleBell's Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by SheepNutz on 12-11-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,201 |  Reviews: 620
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the glass hazy pale golden with a low white persistent head which lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity and citrusy. The fruit had a bit of pineapple sweetness coupled to some light caramel. The citrus presence was lightly orange and hop derived.

The flavor was malty with a nice presence of caramel which was well balanced with hop bittering. The bittering was pleasant and the hop flavor was citrusy. Nothing about the flavor was overdone, just a basic malty pale ale balanced with some citrusy and lightly grassy hops.

The finish was dry with lasting light malt and hops into the aftertaste. The body was medium with a moderate carbonation and an almost creamy texture to the mouthfeel. The dryness was spot on and left me wanting to take another drink. A really nicely achieved pale ale.

12 ounce bottle.

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Photo of Grundle20
2.87/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is straw gold in color with a touch of haze. There is an ample eggshell white head with splotchy lacing and some good retention.

This beer smells funky which is surprising because it's fresh. The scent is very similar to that of a compost pile. There is some minor floral hop notes but they are completely overpowered by whatever that awful scent is.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again the taste is rather gross. The beer doesn't taste infected. It more or less tastes as if I was chewing a mouthful of straw with a mild hop bitterness. The beer also drinks a little flat but the mouthfeel is about the only thing decent about this beer. Quite the shocker I must admit coming from Bell's.

The smell and taste just aren't up to par for extended drinking or session drinking.

Bottom Line:
Any indicator of this being a bad bottle or old bottle are out the window, this was simply an unimpressive beer. Pass.

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Photo of Neehan
2.57/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A light and hazy pale orange-yellow with a moderate head and some lacing. Looks more like a wheat beer than a pale ale. The taste is just very lacking in flavor. It enters the mouth with promise but has a pleasant mouthfeel that doesn't scream of over-carbonation but very carbonated in flavor. I was disappointed in this particular beer, mainly because this company's other brews are outstanding.

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Photo of jpkoch1962
2.62/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

This is one of thier weaker beers. The ale poured a cloudy bright orange with decent head and lace. Unfiltered with plenty of chill haze. Aroma was neutral with some floral hints. The front end had mild malt aroma, some bitterness took over in the middle, but finished a bit sour. Mouthfeel was watery at best. Carbonation levels weren't bad, so I'm assuming this low gravity ale just needed something to give it character.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, batch 7701 - packaged 11/01/06. It pours a mildly-hazed gold with some floaties and a finger of white head that leaves light lacing. The bouquet consists of pale malts, spicy/floral hops, and maybe some yeast. It tastes of a pale malt background - mainly for balance - with a nice mix of piney/grassy/spicy hops and hints of grapefruit/perfume, combining to deliver a medium bitterness. It feels nice on the palate, with natural carbonation and a lightly tingly, dry body that leaves a medium to long finish. Overall very reminiscent of SNPA except with more bitterness and less of a malt profile. Definitely sessionable if you can get it.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.04/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This unusually plain pale ale is a pee yellow, and has an aroma of musty basement inhabited by a cat. Flavor is better with a restrained malt and hop presence. It is a little less than ideal for a standard American Pale Ale, but will certainly do in a pinch when decent beer is needed for mindless television watching. Having tasted the Bells Two-Hearted Ale, ans some of their stouts, I am a little let down by this rather average offering, yet I admit that most American Pale Ales that really knock my socks off could actually qualify as IPAs in disguise, much like a 20 year old senior on the Highschool Varsity football team.

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Photo of becktone
3.11/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When decanted Bell's Pale Ale is a lemon yellow in color and is fairly cloudy. It looks very alive as carbonation bubbles float to the top. I can also see sediment falling out of the beer settling to the bottom of my glass, this beer was been bottle conditioned. The head starts off fluffy, creamy, and pillowy white, but receedes from two fingers to a much thinner version of its previous self. The lacing it leaves behind is quite appetizing.

The aroma of this beer is pretty neutral. Very clean, no hop character jumping right out at you, and no pronounced malt backbone. I believe that this beer's aroma could be improved if it had more of an aroma, smells much like a lager. More hop aroma would give more aromatic character to this beer. Don't get me wrong there is a definite hop aroma-herbal and flowery-, but it is not very pronouced. Underneath the quasi weak hop aroma is an even weaker malt aroma, lightly kilned pale malt aromas support the hops.

Right away hop bitterness hits you, then it backs off and is replaced by lightly toasted and pale malt flavors coupled with hop flavor-floral. The initial bitterness is lingering staying quite a long time after one has swallowed a sip. Malt flavors consist of a light caramel and light toasted flavor. There is an overall metallic tang in the flavor of this beer that lingers with the bitterness after it has been swallowed.

The beer fells good in the mouth, light bodied and somewhat creamy as the head suggested. Carbonation does not interfere with the flavor of this beer. This could be a good session beer, however I think that there are better representations of the style out there. this one is alright, but I'll definitely be trying others before I come back to this one.

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Photo of dickroop
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was out in Illinois recently and was able to score a single of this beer. With new restrictions for carry-on articles, it had to come home the risky way, in my checked luggage (whoa!!). But it arrived safely and now has come into my mug - wotta treat.

The ale pours dirty golden, cloudy, & bubbly. The cloudiness is a promising sign - is it unfiltered? laden w/ nutritious dead yeast? who knows! The head wasn't much to start but was retained as a fine foamy ring and slight foam presence. The smell was malty and bready, but little hop aroma.

It tastes pretty good, some spicy hopiness without any really distinctive flavor notes, and good balance with the malts. I guess it's sorta floral. Substantial flavor and a nice clean and bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium to light, mildly astringent, pleasant to sip and savor.

And that all adds up to solidly good drinkability. This would be sessionable, I'd love to try it on tap. I'd have no qualms about scoring a sixer of this, I think it's more representative of the more reserved, English-style PA than the raucous APA, but wot do I know? Pretty good brew, recommended. But I want more hops.

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Photo of mynie
4.25/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional pour, especially for the style. A bright golden orange that's a shade uncommon to beers but very sparkly and pretty and covered with a remarkably retentive white soapy head.

Smells like crisp grain. Nice and crisp, but whoa where are the hops? This is supposed to be an APA, right?

The hops come through a little bit in the taste, thank god. The grain starts things off, sunshine fruity with hints of hay and flowers. The hops come in near the back, light and dry, and are followed up by an end of very crisp fruit yeast. Wow, that yeast is really great, like something you'd normally find in a Belgian only not bogged down by hops or alcohol. Bitterness is present in the aftertaste.

Nice. Certainly not what I'd expect from an APA, but an interesting take on the style.


As I came to know this beer, it's smell proved only to break my narrow expectations of the style, not to be anything less than wonderful.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is a yellow-orange and hazy. Head is abundant and fairly tacky (meaning, seems to stick).

Odor is phenolic and sour. Taste is spicey-yeasty, and not what I expected. I was expecting something more hoppy and more like a Two-Hearted. Still, though it is fairly straight-forward, not bad. Not sour nor hoppy.

Bottle purchsed at Breeze-Thru in Milwaukee.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a warm yellow crystal clear body with a ton of tiny little bubbles racing in every direction. There is a thick bubble snow white head that last for a good bit.

S- The smell of light green hops has a perfumed soap hop smell to them with a faint pale malt hint and more of a raw grain note as it warms.

T- The taste of bitter green hops has a bite to it with a light grapefruit rind note in the hops aswell. The light dry pale malt comes through a bit after my tongue gets used to the hops. There is a spicy note that comes to the hops in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a fizzy finish.

D- This beer has a bitter punch from the hops but not that much depth in the aroma or flavor of the hops. The malt is very faint and it would be nice to taste it a bit more to contrast the bitterness.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy orange-amber color with moderate white puffy head. Impressive lacing.
Smell is light and summer fruity, with some bread-loke malt tones also present.
Taste is initially blonde ale sweet, but a very firm hop bitterness begins to dominate.
Finishes with more dryness and very refreshing.
Great drinkability.
I would have enjoyed a little more malt and a bit less hops, but still a very nice beer.

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Photo of Phatz
4.38/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is quite possible my favorite Pale Ale to date.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with a huge white fluffy head and loads of lacing.

Smell: It has a rich nose of malt, yeast, orange an other citrus flavors along with a hint of honey and flowers.

Taste: It has an interesting sweet banana yeast citrus flavor that remind me of Oberon on the very front but then it instantly gets more grapefruit. It is completely unique and I would have a hard time classifying it as a pale ale. It is buttery and creamy; but what do you call Oberon meets an IPA and a Blonde ale? The aftertaste has a lingering bitterness that keeps me salivating.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth with a citrus dry tingle and bold finish.

Drinkability: Wow! I am not always big fan of Pale Ales but this one is certainly and exception. I may end up with another case of this stuff. =)

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of akorsak
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The ale is a golden color with hints of auburn orange. There is a slight haze to the beer (not from a cold beer poured into a room temp glass though). The head was thick on pour but dissipated.

S: The ale has a biscuity malt aroma that dominates the nose. Periodically, a fresh citrus hop aroma emerges from the ale.

T: The ale has a very subtle, low-key taste. The hoppiness grabs you first, giving the tastebuds a jump start with some citrus and grapefruit. The malts come next but they don't overshadow the hops, allowing for a slightly cereally flavor that is well-hopped.

M: The crispness of the hops is very pleasing, as is the relaxed malt body.

D: Very drinkable, an enjoyable beer that I was concerned about (as I bought the variety pack specifically for the sixer of Kalamazoo Stout). Well worth a look.

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Photo of beermanbrian
3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale orange/yellow brew. Nice foamy white head. Nice caramel malt smell with a nice hint of floral hops. Taste is nice and malty up front with a good bitter balance. Very smooth drinking beer. This is a very solid brew and could be a great have around the house kind of beer. I'm really liking this one. Another solid brew from Bell's, way to go guys.

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Photo of Osiris9588
3.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, no freshness date. Pours a light honey color with blonde and gold undertones. The the white is fluffy, but not very stiff, dissipating quickly, leaving some strands of random lace.

The aroma conists of hops, malt, and some yeast, maybe a faint ester of citrus. The flavor is pretty flat--theres a little bit of sweet malt, some mild yeast, a hint of grain, a flicker of lemon, then burst of hops.

The mouth is light and not very complex, a little creaminess in the center before the dry hop finish. It seems somewhat out of balance and lacking a bit of character. Seems to perform better on draft based on my own experience. Not one of Bell's better selections.

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Photo of Naerhu
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Panichi for bringing this beer all the way to Japan.

A - Hazy honey colored body with small pure white head.
S - Yeast and apricot on the nose. Some orange.
T - Full of yeast with overly restrained sweetness. A fruitness that is not held up by the saltine dry malt. medium polite bitterness.
M - Medium bodied. Nice carbonation and smooth.
D - A decent beer, but decidedly too dry.

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Photo of pvsob
3.06/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A nice pale golden color with a one finger head that fades slowly and leaves a nice film and decent lacing.

Smell: Personally, nothing really jumped out at me on this one besides a faint hop aroma.

Taste: It starts off with light hop bitterness and ends very dry. A little bitterness sticks around until the next swallow, but quickly fades.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thin with medium to high carbonation.

Drinkability: If you really had too, I imagine this would make a decent session beer, but there are better APA's out there. This is by no means a terrible brew, but personally it didn't impress me like some of the other APA's that I've had.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.11/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger head with good retention, and lots of good lacing. Body is a slightly hazy, but mostly clear, bright gold. Looks good. This will also be this ale's high point.

Smell - Grassy and spicy hops over a weak saltine-cracker-like, slightly toasty malt. Not mouthwatering, not that it's off-putting, it's just not inspiring.

Taste - pretty much the same as the smell. Crackers, and sour grassy, herbal hops. Doesn' t really impress the palate.

Mouthfeel - full to medium bodied, smooth, slight slickness.

Drinkability - not a great beer, not bad either, but not good enough that I'd want another serving after I finish this 6-pack, especially since I can get ( and will, of course ) so many other excellent offerings from the normally excellent Bell's.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy light blond ale with a thin cap of soapy suds and decent lacing. Not all that great looking in the pint glass, but I love Bell's bottles. They are very refined and classy.

Smells a bit lagerish and dull to me. Bready and biscuity, but rather weak.

Tastes very mild, sweet and lighty hoppy with a nice bicuity lemon finish that is slighty on the dry side. This could use more hops IMO.

Decent carbonation and light bodied watery feel make this brew less of a winner that I was expecting from Bell's.

Good sipping beer, but nothing much to write home about.

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Photo of frazbri
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bell's Pale Ale poured golden with a tall white head and a little yeast sediment. Aroma mainly consisted of citrus and pine. Flavor was solidly bitter, bready and yeasty, with a little citrus zest. Medium body and carbonation with a dry finish.

This was okay, but not as good as I expected from Bell's. The yeast charactor was a little too prominent.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.44/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, batch 7163 (11/28/05). I guess this beer is a little old, but my Dad just bought it in MI 3 weeks ago, bummer. Pours a hazy, glowing golden orange with some suspended yeasties. It has a fluffy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is bready malts, some citrus, grassy floral hops and a little DMS.

The flavor is very sweet and fruity malts at first, followed by a decent hop bitterness which lingers through the aftertaste. There is a touch of sourness. The sweetness and bitterness are not well balanced. The mouthfeel is medium and slightly watery, yet bubbly.

Overall, a decent pale ale. It has good bitterness, but is not well balanced. I wonder what this tastes like fresher.

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Photo of mjd83goblue
2.46/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle, Batch 7556, packaged about a month and a half ago, so it is fresh...

A: Pours yellow-orange with a small head. Lots of yeast floating about that is 'suspended', and never really settles.

S: Smells like oranges. Old sour oranges.

T: Basically tastes like watered down Oberon with some bittering hops at the end. Bitter orange peel aftertaste. I don't get it.

M: I guess its alright.

D: It can't be that drinkible if I don't like the taste right?

What the hell happened Larry? I just do not like this beer. And I've had it from at least 3 batches, so it wasn't a bad bottle or anything. It amazes me that I love their IPA (2-Hearted) so much, but disliked this. I know some people have liked it from the reviews, so its a decent beer, but I personally will avoid it.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this last night in a 12 oz. with friends at the Dilly Deli – no freshness date to speak of…

Appearance: Like all Bell's beers, quality seeps from the bottle. When pouring any of Bell's beers, you know there's fine craftsmanship involved. This poured a medium to thick bodied beer into my traditional pint glass. The beer poured an attractive yellow, almost copper-ish ale which was cloudy in color. There was a small white foamy head that had good retention, leaving stringy lacing as I drank it.

Smell: Sweet! First and foremost, I got a sweet punch of citrus flavors, especially grapefruit and light hops. Not the smell I would expect from an American Pale Ale, but pleasing, regardless.

Taste: I consider this the best part of the beer. As mentioned above, Bell’s well made. This was a solid and sweet, “malty” flavored brew. Definitely medium bodied.

Mouthfeel: Quite enjoyable actually – good amounts of carbonation on my tongue. Not what I will instantly think of as a Pale Ale, (or a lightly hopped, sweeter version of one), but unique the whole time.

Drinkability: I will definitely have again. Surely worth a try.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Dertbert for the sample.
Pours a hazy gold, yellow, orange. Nice white head that retains well. Spiderweb lacing covers the glass.
Aroma is earthy and spicy. Where are the hops?
The flavor reminds me a lot of a wheatbeer. Bready, buscuits, lemon and other citrus flavors. There is a bitterness, but it's not a typical APA hop bitterness. It's almost a spicy makes your mouth burn bitterness.
Mouthfeel is fair. There is a zest in the mouth and a burn.
Overall it's not a bad offering, but Bell's has set the bar so high. I would go with one of Bell's other offerings.

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Bell's Pale Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.41 out of 5 with 1,201 ratings
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