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

620 Reviews
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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.

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Reviews: 620 | Ratings: 1,201
Photo of maleman
3.92/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz, freshness dated bottle, into a pint glass. Color was true to name, with a creamy white, one-finger head that maintained good retention. The nose was bready with a bit of flower noted. I liked the taste as it followed the nose with a good bit of biscuit and a bit of black pepper. Medium-bodied with a lingering aftertaste. Overall, a pretty good offering. I'll partake again!

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.52/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Light yellow fizzy beer! Ut oh...Foamy white 2 inch head and plenty of lacing.

Smell - Pale wheat malts, lemon, piney hops, bready, floral. Some minor sugar and spice.

Taste - Very malty with a strong lemon-ish bitter butter like flavor. Piney hops also add a citric bitter flavor. Lots of spices and wheat also. No alcohol is present, or any heat. Grainy, malty, and plenty of wheat.

Mouthfeel - Light but pretty bitter and wheat malty. Tounge gets hit with floral hops, bitter malts and a earthy feel. Palette gets remaining hops, malts and some sugars. Aftertaste is weak and sour.

Overall - This is more of a wheat ale then anything, with added spices, hops and such. Not bad but doesnt work for me. Too bitter for being what it is, and really, not overal great flavor at all. Decent and easy enough to drink, but nothing special.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a slightly hazy golden straw color with an ample white head. Lots of lacing left on the glass adds to the experience. Nothing special going on with the nose; mainly malt scents with a slight citrus scent. The malts are up front in the taste, followed by a bitter floral taste in the finish. At first I liked the taste, but as I drank more of it and it warmed, I enjoyed it less. I'll take the average and give it a 3.5. Mouthfeel was above average for an APA. Bell's makes some very impressive beers, but this is not one of them.

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Photo of soju6
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden color with a decent head and some lacing.

S: Nice clean aroma of pine, bit of citrus, fresh grain with a hint of spice.

T: Taste starts with an initial crisp nip, light malt sweetness and a bit of spice. A nice bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium body, crisp, smooth and refreshing. Nice balance, not overpowering.

O: Nice beer, goes down easy and good for a few.

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Photo of hippityhops85
3.76/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour from a 12oz bottle acquired via a $10 mix-a-six at Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Bottle date of 8/30/11.

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a clear, bright golden color with obvious sediment swirly around the carbonation. Perhaps two fingers of rocky white head that dissipates down to about a cm leaving some nice lacing on the glass.

Nose has subtle hop bitterness, light, bready malts. Not an extremely strong nose.

The taste again has the mildly bitter hops along with a nice, light, malt characteristic.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with active carbonation but not overly so.

This is an good quaffable brew. Not sure why this isn't rated higher to be honest. I could sit and watch the game and down a sixer of these easily and not be unhappy.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.06/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured at room temp in insulated clear glass

A: clear amber with a one-finger head that dissipates relatively quickly
S: soapy hops are prominent
T: Strong flavors of bitter hops, but sterilized by cloying character (perhaps the temperature; chill it a bit and see how it works)

It's a mature pale ale, but it's not outstanding in the field.

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Photo of cratez
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh 12oz bottle purchased at International Beverage in Grand Rapids.

Pours a light golden hue with one finger of white foam, lots of bubbly carbonation in the body, some chill haze, and strands of stringy lacing on the pint glass.

Smell is grainy pale malt, lemon zest, orange jujube and marmalade, toasted wheat, floral, earthy and herbal hops, and bread dough.

Flavour is citric, zesty and floral hops, grainy-bready malts, toasted wheat, faint mineral note, spicy, prickly and astringent bitterness with lemon juice on the cough. A strange little pale, as the IBUs seem pretty high for the style, and yet this tastes more like a blonde or wheat ale than an APA. Either way, it's a delicious session beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, medium-bodied, slightly creamy, juicy and citric lemon peel bitterness lingers in the long, drying finish. A great, refreshing thirst quencher.

Overall, I could crush a sixer of this bright sunny brew in no time. I suspect it's underrated because it doesn't conform to the APA style guidelines. If they called it a blonde or "golden" ale, the reviews would probably skyrocket. In any case, Bell's Pale Ale is a scrumptious beer with eminent drinkability, and I'll be seeking it out in future.

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Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of freshly baked cheesecake, bready malts and muted citrus hops in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of bready and grainy malts. Only hints of bitterness are perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I would have no problem drinking this beer all night long. It’s not that complex but is very sessionable.

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Photo of Neorebel
3.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a golden blonde color, with a healthy head. As I take the aroma in I detect bready malts and coriander, with a slight hint of hops. The taste has a floral touch, full of wheat and rich graininess, and a citrus background. It finishes with a alight bitterness on the tongue. The mouth feel is medium and overall, no one thing dominates. I began to appreciate this beer more as I went through it for its subtleties. Underrated.

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Photo of Shibbykaiyai
2.63/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

While not a bad beer, this definitely is the weak link in the Bell's arsenal.

I have had this brew a couple of times and it still has yet to impress me. In a tough field that includes most of the heavy hitters like Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, etc., it is a beer than hopes to draw more on local ties than actual quality.

Not a bad beer at all. But in a crowded field, it is nothing more than a cheapest beer available purchase. Which is how I purchased it the last time and remembered why I should have spent an extra buck on Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew poured out as a traditional hazy yellowish gold color with a fluffy white head on top. The head had a pretty good retention to it and a good lacing also. The smell of the beer had some fresh grain aromas with some hoppy aromas in there as well. The taste of the beer was average in my opinion. The flavors of grains and bitter hops seemed to be pretty well balanced here. The mouthfeel was light bodied with a tingling carbonation to it. Overall this beer was decent.

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Photo of CHickman
3.38/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow gold color with a foamy 2 finger snow white head that looked like snow and faded slowly leaving good lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells of corn husk, grains, sweet malt, herbs, light floral hops, cracker and biscuit. Smells like an English pale ale with malt and graham cracker dominating the nose, not the hoppy aroma of an APA so it loses style points there for being misclassified. If this were an English pale ale then this would be spot on with the malt and grain domination.

Tastes like grains, sweet malt, herbs, light floral hops, flowers, grass, peat moss, hay or straw, cracker, biscuit, citrus, vegetable husk and some mild spices; this is OK, and while the flavor is not bad it just didn’t excite me all that much. This beer is great to pull out of the fridge, crack open and start pounding, but as it warms it shows that it’s a tad unbalanced and too malty to be a stand out APA.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with low carbonation that was almost fizzy, a light body and a grainy aftertaste that was a little bitter and almost dry.

This beer was decent and while I’m glad I had a six pack, I’m not so sure I’d get another one as there are a lot better APA’s out there like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anchor Liberty Ale. It was easy to drink, so that makes it above average overall.

2/20/13-Just had this again and feel the same way. Perhaps I've been spoiled by all of the hoppy and more flavorful APA's out there, so this one remains average in my book.

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Photo of pBRale
2.58/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From tasting notes 10-13-11
Poured into a wine glass

Appearance: Hazy pale golden in color with huge chunks of sediment. There is a big, foamy white head that also has chunks suspended in it (they are orange), and the head settles slowly with a little bit of retention and a beautiful lace.

Smell: Very spicey with a hint of floral notes that is reminiscent of hibiscus. The chunks seem to be spices. Also, I smell a nice grainy aroma.

Taste: Distinctive spiciness throughout; there is a nice pale malt backbone but the spices take over the taste. The finish is crisp, dry, and very spicey. Twangy aftertaste is also unappealing.

Mouthfeel: Light body, medium carbonation, with a crisp finish. Refreshing, at least, even though the taste isn't.

Overall: Nothing impressive here; I find the taste unappealing and the aftertaste even more-so. By far the most disappointing Bell's beer I've had.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.09/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A soild beer but a forgettable beer. The only thing I really enjoyed about this beer was the floating sediment in the glass which gave it a cool look. With this being a pale ale, I expected more hoppy bitterness and it just wasn't there. Outside of the look of this brew, everything else was average and I think my score reflects that.

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Photo of titosupertramp
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pale, golden color with lots of floaties. Maybe a finger of white head that receeds quickly into the beer, leaving a nice amount of lacing and film with large bubbles around outer edges of glass.

S: Sweet malts, and faint lemon grass hops. Not much else, really. Not bad, not great.

T: Same here. The sweetness of the pale/bicuit malts is very well balanced by the hop bitterness.

M: Nice amount of carbonation provides solid mouthfeel.

O: This isn't a bad beer, but I guess I'd like a little more from an APA. Would this be better as an Eglish Pale Ale? Yep. This recipe would probably make a very good Pilsner. Oh well. Not a bad beer, but nothing I'd seek out again.

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Photo of andrewjraab
2.82/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Clear and Golden. Half inch of white head. Nice Lacing rings that had a good stick down the glass.

S - Fruity undertones, clean on the nose.

T - medium bitterness with a faint banana peel taste.

M - Meh. Nothing special here. Almost has too much of a bubbly taste.

O - I thought Bell's could do much better in this space. This beer tasted mass produced.

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Photo of DCon
2.93/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bought a 12 FL OZ (355 ML) bottle of this from Lukas Liquor in Ellisville, MO for $1.99. Poured from the orange/yellow sun colored bottle with a thief climbing up a stock? into a 16oz Pint Glass. This picture still puzzles me... It does have 10098 on the back of the bottle (whatever this means).

Aroma- Has a light hop aroma with a bit of malts hanging around. Average-Good because of how well balanced it is. No single characteristic is too overpowering or dominant.

Appearance- Pours a 2 finger head that has decent retention. Has a pale golden color body and may be slightly hazy. Leaves good lacing behind!

Flavor- Has a mild hop flavor with some citrus behind it. Citrus is very weak and mostly has a sweet malt taste behind it. The bitterness is a light-medium in the scale of Hop Bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Light-Medium Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Smooth, Clean, but then too much for this style... Should have bite and more hops present. Want more hop Bells!!!

Overall Impression- How can you call this an APA? Not enough hop or attribute behind it. I would call it an English Pale Ale but not an APA at all. An easy drinking pale ale but I'd rather go for others in its style or even others from Bell's. Will not be returning to anytime soon...

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Photo of abrand
3.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from 6 pack poured into pint glass.

Pours an amber color with 2 finger white head. Quick fading and leaves little lacing. Smell is pretty straight forward with plenty of malts, some sugar, and little hop presence. Average smelling beer. Taste is also just average. Somewhat watery. Some malts and toffee on the palate. Mouthfeel is pretty thin. Overall this is pretty drinkable but really doesn't stand out in any way.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.
Bottled 8.24.2011.

A - Pours a light hazy orange with an average sized off-white head. The head slowly fades, but never completely and leaves good lacing on the glass.

S - Very pilsner like, wheat and sweet corn.

T - Wheat, lemon, malts.

D - Good carbonation, lighter body.

O - It's a Pale ale, hmmm. not much here.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.11/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours an unfiltered golden orange into my Brooklyn tulip glass with a solid finger of seemingly dense near white head, great lacing and good retention

S - Grainy, slightly grassy and malty, not too impressed here.

T - Very grainy/bready and grassy, wheaty malts. Slight yeast flavors linger

M - Lighter bodied, pretty well carbonated, drinkable

O - Less than optimal boldness/hoppyness. Really just tastes grassy, dont really like this one as much as I hoped, I figured since I live and die for 2 hearted ale that I'd give this a try, probably wouldnt drink again on my own unless a friend preferred something like this. Definitely not terrible, definitely not great

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Photo of NWer
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle.
Unimpressive pour. Pale yellow not conducive to a Pale Ale at all. No head to speak of.
I've had adjunct lagers that taste no worse than this. Very thin and watery tasting.
Not craft worthy. A big disappointment given Bell's reputation.
update: On closer scrutiny (and a few more beers) I believe I was too harsh in my initial evaluation. The pour is quite nice with a nice tight head. Taste is much better than any adjunct lager and I upgraded this beer accordingly. Still not overwhelmed though.

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Photo of FanofHefe
3.06/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden color and is crystal clear. Good two-finger, eggshell white head with good retention and scattered rings of lacing.

More of a grainy, malt aroma than hops, but not overly sweet. The hops are light, but tend toward a light citrus and a touch tropical.

The flavor is fairly bland overall, as neither the malt nor the hops shine. Not a very favorable mix of flavors.

Light texture in the mouthfeel. Not Bells best effort.

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Photo of smakawhat
2.58/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A very light blonde body with a cloudy appearance. Head forms about three fingers nicely and has good foamy character with some solid cap retention. Described as blonde so I will for go the criticism of this being too pale. Minimal lacing at all put a simple puck presented while consuming.

Nose is husky grain, borderline adjunct smelling but mostly just husky. Not much else no sense of hops either, not really digging this malt profile. Some time passes and there might be some slight DMS in the background.

Taste is weird and all over the map. Hop presence makes its debut by jumping out of nowhere then slamming your fave bitterly. This is not a pleasant hop bitter its sharp and off kilter. Sense of bile and brine on top of a toasted light malt that doesn't mix well. Texture is.pretty solid with an actual thick malt body. Aftertaste is malt liquor dry and cottonmouth numbness.

Overall this just seems strange, unbalanced, and barely even to style. Floral sense as mentioned? Not even close. I always wondered why there never seemed to be anyone buying this or mentioning this brew from Bell's considering some of their really good beers. Now I think I know why.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.85/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at Dema (Westin) in Detroit, Mich. Color was pale golden. About ½-inch of head. Light lacing on the top. Hardly any film on the sides.

Smelled of wheaty malts, slightly grassy. Just a hint of citrus in there.

Wheat malts led the way in the taste. Not as much grass as the smell.

Medium body. Average-to-lively carbonation.

I enjoyed this beer. It was the first of four Bell’s I tried and I ended up going back to it a few times.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz draft into a pint glass at The Ugly Moose, PA gets this, But I never had it.

Bell's Pale comes into the glass splashing a golden tan shade with a nice bright look. Pouring real hard, I got a decent cap to stare at, just a dead calm, some small etchings of lace as well. Smell is mostly pale malt and some grass and light aroma hops, nothing to large though. Taste is lackluster, faint hops, earthy, hay, no citrus, no real pine, no real nothing. I got more out of Bell's Amber which is saying something. Pale malt is not to heavy which is commendable. The body seems on point, light and crisp carb, it's just lacking any taste from remaining on the palat for more than a few seconds. I drank it and thats that.

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Bell's Pale Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.43 out of 5 based on 1,201 ratings.
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