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

Bell's Pale AleBell's Pale Ale
BA SCORE
3.41/5
1,201 Ratings
Bell's Pale AleBell's Pale Ale
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
620
Ratings:
1,201
pDev:
14.66%
Bros Score:
2.7
 
 
Wants:
20
Gots:
76
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,201 |  Reviews: 620
Photo of niknar
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a straw color not too distant from the typical color of a macro. Here is where the similarities stop, however. A thin, white head that quickly disappears leaves a decent amount of lacing. Notable "floaties" in the body of the beer, but I'm not particularly scared away by such things. Aroma is strongly citrus with hops and pine serving as a background. From the appearance I expected this offering to be overcarbonated, but I was wrong. The taste is fairly typical of the style - strong hop notes with a dry finish. Nothing that breaks the mold, but still a very pleasant beer. Mouthfeel is slightly weak in the body compared to many others in the style, but not enough to be a deterrent. Drinkability on this one is pretty good, as long as you have a love hops.

 773 characters

Photo of nota
3.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very cloudy and yellow. When put up to the light I see floaters swimming around. Smells very much of floral. The taste starts with a piney spice and ends with a hops bitterness. Other taste I detect are citrus orange peel. With this beer I would say you felt like you drank something, plenty of taste.

 301 characters

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

Poured from a 12 oz. longneck bottle - no freshness date.

The color is a soapy golden yellow with a thin white head. Thick clinging lacework.

Scents of sweet doughy goodness with fruity citrus rind from the hops.

Sharp flavors of bitter hops and grainy, gritty malt backdrop. Tangy lemon notes mingled within an overall dominating dryness.

Mouthfeel is steadily carbonated with a light-medium body. Crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability is good seeing this beer is neither over-the-top or shy. It's very sharp, crisp and dry - all the qualities I love in a pilsner. I respect Bell's interpretation of this style, but I'm not a huge fan of this pale. A quality offering, just not quite for me.

 702 characters

Photo of vladtheimpaler
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a necw yellow, with the nicest white head you will find anywhere. Some floaties are about and swirling around in the carbonation. Nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is fruity with a touch of hops present. No defects. Lively fruity flavor, with plenty of hops and a nice malt presence. Hops linger on the palate. Nice mouth feel for a light ale, with perfect carbonation, and nice malt body. This is one easy drinkin' brew that could easily be consumed in quantity.

 467 characters

Photo of BeerFink
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out blonde, with a slight haze to it. Foamy white head which sticks around and leaves some good lacing. Color is a little too light for this style. Aroma of grass, pale malt, a bit of lemony hops, and not much else. Taste is creamy with lots of malt, however it quickly leads into a tannin filled bitter metallic taste. An almost honey sweet malt taste is balanced by spice and a little citrous hops. Although it is a smooth beer, the drinkability is hampered by that tannin taste. Not at all what I was expecting in an APA.

 530 characters

Photo of ypsifly
3.98/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no dates.

Cloudy golden amber with a thick white head. Good retention. Lots of carbonation.

Smells lemony with a little malt and hop. Not what I would expect an APA to smell like, but not bad.

Not as much bite like others in this style exhibit, but it does have a decent malt body and a nice dry finish. Medium mouthfeel, a sixer of these goes down pretty easy after a long summer's day.

 427 characters

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

12 ouncer sampled, pours light orangy, apricot. Cloudy with sediments, just a wisp of a white tiny bubble head, no lacing to to get excited about. Nose is sweet, bready and peppery. This is another nicely crafted and enjoyable from Bells. Moderate citrus hop bite, pepper evident. Quite dry in the finish. Fine sessioner

 320 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.88/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hefe-cloudy golden yellow with a small, downy white head. Looks a lot like many witbiers that I've had, only with a smaller head. Nose is made up of lemony citrus hops over a slender, biscuity malt base. It's got that [expected] Bell's yeast character to it as well. Lively carbonation delivers juicy, lemon zesty hops to the tip of the tongue. Light malt backbone follows. Kinda sugary but not very sweet and leaner than I like. Tart, lemony hops swell into the piney, yeasty, malty finish. Medium-bodied with lively carbonation; refreshing. Not bad, but not my favorite Bell's beer.

 584 characters

Photo of mobyfann
3.53/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $8.99 for a mixed 6'er from Wild Oats...

The beer pours a hazy golden base with a medium white head, average retention and a few nice lacing effects towards the end. The aroma is pretty weak, smells like a euro lager mixed with with a lemon with some hops.

The taste is alright, you'll be overwhelmed with the pale taste from the start, after the beer settles it's a good mix of basic malts and sweet hops. The mouthfeel is good as with all of the Bell's beers. It's not too roguh on the palette but let it settle and things will be fine. The drinkability is also good, at 5% for an APA, it work well for a session beer, but after 3, it'll get a little old.

Final Thought: Not the best from Kalamazoo BC's brewhaus, especially at a steep price, I'll stick with SNPA for a staple APA.

 797 characters

Photo of Quaffer
3.08/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in Missouri. No available here in Kansas.

Appearance: This beer was a light, golden yellow. Much lighter than I was anticipating. Even with a careful pour, there was a decent amount of sediment that made it into the glass. The head rose up perfectly to two fingers and settled down very, very slowly. This was mainly due to the absolutely huge amount of bubbles (caused by the sediment) that was rising up from below and feeding it. The head was sticky, and became dense and fluffy as is dissipated. There was a ton of lace left behind, creating solid sheets of foam on the side of the glass.

Smell: Mild and malty sweet. The malt character was lightly roasted as well, keeping the aroma from becoming too sweet. It was borderline corny sweet, especially right after the pour. The hops were mild but balancing, spicy and lightly citrus-like in quality.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied and flat feeling in the mouth.

Taste: Not much malt presence in the taste. There is a little sweetness upfront, but it is thin and lacking. Citrus hops kicked in in the middle, but they didn't provide much bitterness. More than anything else, they were just sour. Finally, well into the aftertaste, some grain flavors arose, though they didn't have any depth to them.

Thin and uninspiring, in my opinion.

 1,310 characters

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

bottle 151 on rate beer.com doing it with a mich. beer .poured a golden color with lots of floaties with a med size white head. aroma malt, caramel, molasses, citrus(orange) honey. dark breads.flavor malts, earthy, fruity,hints of grapefruit.not a bad beer will buy more

 270 characters

Photo of karengarys
4.05/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours nice and cloudy light amber, just how I like to see my beer. Leaves only a slight ring of foam around the edge, minimal to no lacing.

Smells good and robust, overpowering hops, with a little hint of a dusty smell. I presume it is fresh, I just picked it up at a store which moves its stock. Though slightly dusty, at least there is a lot of character in the nose.

Mouthfeel isn't bad, creamy up front which dissipates to a watery butterey feel.

Taste, to me, is overpowered by the pine bitter hop. Not my cup of brew, but, for the style it is excellent and sits nice. Slightly seltzerey.

Finish is of more pine, but the bitterness dissipates to a slight citrus rind almost sweetness.

It leaves a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Guess I'll need another!!

If you like pale ales, do give this a try. It is a worty contender.

 841 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.02/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy yellowish orange color with a thin 1/4" head. Some light lacing developed. The aroma is fruity and floral. The flavor was a tilting act between too sweet and nicely bitter, with an orange zest tone in the background.

Medium bodied and a smooth mouthfeel. The finish was somewhat dry and smooth, and the bitterness and citrus stuck out most here. Overall I thought this was a nice pale ale, and is a good tasty brew you can drink a few of.

 455 characters

Photo of Brian700
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice blonde color and has a head that looks creamy white with larger air bubbles scattered about.
Very nice floral smell mixed with the smell of wheat and mild hops.
It has sort of a bitter grassy flavor. I can pick up more of the hops in its taste than I can in the aroma. Very good. A little soapy at the end of the swallow but I'm not saying that is bad. I like it.
Decent mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation and a medium body. Its a very drinkable beer. I like it a lot. I realize I like it more now than I thought I did. I guess I just had to sit down, review it, and pick it apart. I highly recommend trying it if you can get it in your area.

 669 characters

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

Pours a hazy golden, with a fluffy head with large bubble pockets and slight carbonation. Smells of mild hops and wheat, with mild malt underpinnings. Smells like a pilsner. Light hops with a slight spiciness, again shades of a pilsner, a tiny touch of fruit, apples maybe, with the slightly citrusy hops. Unfortunatly, it gets a bit watery too. A very pleasant beer, that is very smooth and light, a good summer beer. But as I sit here and drink it, it's 'grade' starts to slip. The wateriness becomes a bit too apparant, overpowering the otherwise very nice flavor. Pushes the definition of APA, at least in regards to my other experiences in the genre.

 655 characters

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

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. There are some floaties present. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent with some citrus hops dominating, but not overpowering. The taste is good. It has a light pale malt flavor with a very bitter hop aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine American pale ale. It has good aroma and flavor, although they could use some body and munich malts.

 502 characters

Photo of Ahhdball
3.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Gold orange, no head or lace. Shown red tones when held to the light.
Slight burnt nose with a small citrus honey honey overtone. Not exactly a bad smell but I was left dissappointed.
I've heard so many great accolades about Bell's but this is my second and I've yet to be impressed. Yeast, citrus, malt. None of them flowing into one another at all. Not very good.
Mouth was oily and left a small hint of bread. I may have this agin but I doubt I'll pay for it.

 465 characters

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

Slightly murky looking initially, clears pretty quickly. Check that, the addition of the last portion of the bottle results in quite a bit of suspended yeast. Rich banana-amber with a bone white head that is both sticky and rocky and leaves a much better than average amount of lace.

Where are the hops? Has anyone seen (okay, smelled) the hops? I'm a little confused. The label says 'pale ale' on the front and 'blond ale' on the back, and this page says APA. The only reason that I bring it up is that it doesn't smell like an APA. I'll go with either an APA that has had a hopectomy or a blonde ale. At any rate, there's a light, lemon citrusiness in the nose that's overpowered by untoasted pale malt.

The flavor is also blonde aleish to me. Lightly sweet malt countered by a mild hop bitterness without much attendant hop flavor. There might be a touch of 'white' spiciness, as in cardamom, but I'm probably reaching. I have no real complaints about the body, it's neither too full or too light, but is juuust right. Sorry, I had a flashback to a bad porridge trip there for a second.

So which is it? As an APA, I find Bell's Pale Ale to be lacking. As a blonde ale, it ain't half bad. I guess I'll just score it on its own merits, regardless of style. I've had much better beer from Bell's, but this one is still enjoyable in its own way.

 1,354 characters

Photo of Shaw
3.51/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My friend and co-worker's girlfriend brought a mixed sampler of Bell's beer down to us Florida Crackers from Indiana. Thanks for sharing Adam!

This is the most mainstream of the Bell's I tried. Its smell is quite mild but the taste is better. While I don't think it is that bitter, it has a good hoppy quality, but I would expect to be able to smell that too. Weird. This Pale Ale is quite easy to drink and would be a good session beer.

 440 characters

Photo of abents
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy yellow color and chunky white head with great lacing. Very big on the citrus hops right off the nose. Taste is very citrusy up front with nice yeast flavor mixing around in there. Very crisp beer that's almost a creamy texture. Goes down really smooth, a very drinkable pale, but nothing incredible here.

 317 characters

Photo of JackTheRipper
3.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Live life unfiltered, indeed. Pours a cloudy yellow color with a thin white head and scant lacing. Lots of sediment noted in the glass, I loved unfiltered beers. Chunky stuff used to scare me, now I find myself looking forward to it.
S: First impression is a citrusy hop aroma. After warming just a bit, some nice yeasty/bready smells come forth.
T: Nice hop profile up front. Moderately bitter without being too over the top. After the initial flash of hops, a very nice sweetness hits you. Finishes a lingering bitter hop.
M: Carbonation seems a bit too high for this style. Body is medium with a slick sort of mouthfeel. ETOH seems a bit higher than the stated ABV%.
D&N: Another fine offering from Larry. Very nice tastes and smells, and the fact that it's unfiltered lends it an interesting look. Nicely done.

 821 characters

Photo of marcellaproust
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, hefeweissen yellow with a great coarse and fluffy head. Very slight smell, floral and I could swear a hint of stale marshmellows. Great taste, like a Bell's Two Hearted which decides to take the afternoon off. To 2hearted's grapefruit on viagra, we have sour citrus fruits underwritten by vegetal hints which make for a more complacent hoppiness. Flavors bow out half way through to a long, bitter finish. The carbonation is as spunky as 2heartd. I might just prefer this pale ale if I'm not in the mood to pucker my tongue for the night.

 554 characters

Photo of UncleJimbo
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz longneck bottle.

This pale ale poured a hazy, golden (peach) color with creamy, smooth, white foam that clung to the glass a bit. The smell was fruity and malty, with a nice, mild hop aroma and traces of grain and yeast. The taste was a sharp malt and hop flavor (almost lager-like) with some floral hops and a bit of soapy hops in the finish. The mouthfeel was sharp and crisp and dry and hoppy with medium body and moderate carbonation. This was a decent pale ale overall.

 483 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
3.02/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Subtly artistic label suggesting a balance betwixt hop and malt.

Glugs slowly into my glass with an impressive and characteristic soapy head that quickly falls to nothingness and leaves only a tiny lace. Delicately light bronze.

Milkiness is the first unflattering note detected on the nose, followed by a slightly tart citric hop character. Then the oft-overzealous Bell's house yeast sneaks into the nostril. Sweet grainy metallic notes follow.

Refreshingly, the taste does not suffer the same fate as the aroma. Nice sweetly thick malt character with heavy oaty bread textures is cut by clean lemon hops. A full mouthfeel that borders on the cloyingly milkshake-ish.

I had no problem with this one, but wouldn't reach for another too quickly.

 758 characters

Photo of PSUDREW
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was not overly impressed.

pour a hazy orange, with lots of sediment and a quicly dissapating head. It has a rather "hearty" smell, with some interesting over tones.

the best way to describe it is hop-tastic, becuase that is all you really taste. I found no malty goodness, just the citrusy and bitter flavor of hops (not that it is a bad thing)

Not bad. Not bell's best, but not bad

 393 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.