30th Anniversary Ale
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

30th Anniversary Ale30th Anniversary Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Imperial Stout
ABV:
11%
Score:
96
Avg:
4.33 | pDev: 6.7%
Reviews:
301
Ratings:
1,457
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  79
Gots
  521
SCORE
96
World-Class
30th Anniversary Ale30th Anniversary Ale
Notes: Our 30th Anniversary Ale is a testament to three-plus decades of hard-work. It honors all that has helped us get to this point – hard work, quality and authenticity.

It reminds us of where we’ve been, how we’ve grown over the years, the challenges we’ve faced and at the same time, looks forward to what comes next.

Also a nod to another Bell's favorite, Expedition Stout, flavors of dark chocolate and fruit meld to create a full-bodied, roasty stout.

A fair amount of Polaris hops lend a brightness and a nice character that will help carry the beer in its early stages making it incredibly drinkable and interesting. Malt characteristics will continue to develop over time, so that beer drinkers who choose to cellar it can enjoy the beer for years to come.
Reviews: 301 | Ratings: 1,457 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2015 vintage.

A: Motor oil black with a nice brown head that eventually settles to a thin cap. Spotty lacing.

S: Straight fudge sauce up front. Brownie batter, double chocolate cake, chocolate covered espresso beans, woody roast. Suggestions of concord grape, black cherry, and blackberry at its core. Interesting floral/fruity hop note still pulling through.

T: Fudge sauce at the outset. A thick blanket of woody roast soon begins to dominate. Sooty, a bit acrid, burnt coffee, chocolate cake. Subtle darkfruit flavors of concord grape, black currant, and sweet black cherry peek through. Some oxidation is perceptible in a sherry type of way, revealing its age. Faded floral hop notes. Long, sooty and roasty finish.

M: Thick, rich, and chewy. A little bit coating. The kind of mouthfeel you could cut with a knife. Deep creamy smoothness. Gentle carbonation.

O: I'll confess I was a little worried about this one, being five years old at this point. It's just one of those bottles that got lost in the back of my fridge. There's definitely some oxidation present, but it wears it well and is still drinking pretty nicely. No regrets, just a great beer that stood up well enough to the time.

 1,234 characters

ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts, Mar 30, 2020
Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 2015 pulled from my cellar.

A - Pure black pour, but with almost no head in the pour, what little there is being tan, but very quick to fade, and leaving only minimal ring and a few stray bits of lacing.

S - Strong hits of alcohol warmth and toasted malt darkness.

T - Opens with a dark fruit and chocolate start, quick to move to more toasted bread notes, then bittering in the finish, adding a note of char that lingers with a final chocolate aspect that trails off very slowly in the close.

M - Clean and surprisingly moderate given the ABV and powerful flavor notes.

O - Glad I decided to crack this one. It is impressive and satisfying, but I am not confident that further age would do the beer much good. As is, this is a very well built stout, and a worthy anniversary brew.

 790 characters

Tsar_Riga from Indiana, Jul 24, 2019
Photo of draheim
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a tulip. Pours an oily black—10W-30—with just a thin collar of reddish-brown foam around the side of the glass.

Aroma is rich and roasty, dark and stout. Bitter dark chocolate, espresso.

Taste follows nose. Rich and delicious, perfectly balanced. Roasty malt, chocolate, coffee.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slick, slightly bitter finish. Dry and balanced.

Overall an outstanding imperial stout, worthy of Bell's 30th anniversary.

 453 characters

draheim from Washington, Jul 01, 2019
Photo of Beersnake1
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from fridge temp. Pours motor oil black with very little dark brown head. Aroma is chocolate, lactose, dark fruit, and a touch of black licorice. Taste is a tad bitter upfront - coffee grounds, dark chocolate, anise, dark fruit, and molasses. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy - aftertaste is a bitter dark chocolate. Overall, a fantastic stout.

 348 characters

Beersnake1 from California, Feb 17, 2019
Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very nice Imperial Stout! Been hanging onto this one for a while, decided my 15th anniversary was as good a time as any to pop the cap. Poured into Bell's snifter. Dark and oily in appearance with a finger of khaki foam. Nice aromas of dark cocoa, roast coffee, dark cherry /fig. Flavors similar to aromas, with char, roasty malt, baker's chocolate and dark fruit mingling together. Smooth, silky feel.

 402 characters

Photo of AyatollahGold
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring a 12 oz. bottle dated 8/27/15 into a snifter taster. This beer pours out as dark as night and forms a tan crown. The smell is a burnt sweetness with some almost chewy tobacco notes. The taste is the same with some almost black licorice presence. Mouthfeel is dry. This is damn good.

 290 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cellar find at Quenchers (1979-2018), farewell beer at the bar.

Jet black with tan foam and spotty lace.
Chocolate, carob, raisin aroma, slight oxidation but not distracting.
Similar flavors, bitter dark chocolate and lingering hop bitterness.
Full bodied and rich, with a chewy creamy texture like marshmallow fluff.
Overall this drinks like a slightly smoother Expedition. Nice stuff.

A fitting tribute to Chicago’s first beer bar, here’s to Quenchers one last time.

 476 characters

emerge077 from Illinois, Jun 15, 2018
Photo of Quackershnoc
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So glad I got to have a few ounces of this at a beer tasting with some buddies. Thanks to Joe for sharing the wealth!

Appearance: Really black; thin dark khaki head

Aroma: Malty, roasty, chocolate, coffee

Taste: This is excellent; big roasted malt; some great chocolate notes; really nice sweetness; dark fruit;

Mouthfeel: Full bodied; silky smooth

Overall Impression: this is fantastic; such a great beer; huge and complicated; you can't even tell it's 11%

From notes taken on 2/10/2017

 493 characters

Quackershnoc from Michigan, Mar 18, 2018
Photo of cyclonece09
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. Pours pitch black with very small light brown head. Smells of dark chocolate and slight fruitiness, especially grapes, nice deep aroma. Tastes of chocolate with a slight citrus hop bite, not a bad combo. Beer is full bodied and a nice sipper, but just smooth enough to be dangerous. Overall, a very good beer.

 349 characters

cyclonece09 from Wisconsin, Mar 10, 2018
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with bitter black chocolate notes is quite nice. Taste is a robust mix of roasted malt with some string black chocolate notes with some bitterness and light residual sugar notes. Body is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no real apparent alcohol notes. Quite the robust imperial stout with not as much residual sugar as I was expecting which might be a good thing as it increase the overall drinkability.

 560 characters

Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Feb 13, 2018
Photo of buschbeer
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black in color and was topped with less than an inch of mocha head that leaves decent lacing.

The smell is dark roasted malt, anise and hints of chocolate and coffee.

The taste starts with dark roasted malt. get hints of dark chocolate and black coffee. Anise flavor lasts throughout.

Full, thick mouthfeel

It is not dissimilar from Expedtition stout. It is overall a bit smoother though.

 448 characters

Photo of jkblr
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled 8/29/15 poured into a snifter at fridge temp 11% ABV. The beer pours dense black with no highlights. The head started at about 3/4" and receded to a ring and paper thin cap of chocolate brown color. The aroma is rich with dark chocolate, licorice, and roast malt. The taste is more dark bakers chocolate, roast and a medium bitter finish. There is only a hint of sweetness and very little alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is full bodied, adequately carbonated and mostly dry in the finish. Overall, outstanding. This is the fourth of five of these beers I've tasted. Maybe not better than fresh, but still great in terms of balance and style. Recommended.

 673 characters

jkblr from Indiana, Dec 27, 2017
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pulled this out of the cellar at the end of brewing today. Poured in to a Stella pedestool glass.

Appearance: Midnight black with a slight tan head. I think it should have a bit more head.
Aroma: Coffee, dark chocolate, alcohol, dark malts, chocolate cake.
Flavor: Bakers chocolate, espresso, black malt, alcohol, hint of toffee, hint of caramel.
Mouthfeel: This beer is thick/full bodied, but velvety on the palate, smooth for 11%.
Overall: This is a killer beer, reminds me of 7000 or 9000, the 2007 Eccentric Day release. If you can come across one it is worth the sample. Imperial Stout is one of my favorite styles and this beer represents the style very well. But then Bell's in the early days was known as a porter and stout house. They still knock them out of the park.

 778 characters

plaztikjezuz from Michigan, Dec 16, 2017
Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with medium brown head, pours thick, cola
S: Roasty, sweet, dark fruit, licorice, chocolate
T: Roasty, bitter dark malt, sweet molasses, cacao, dark chocolate, hint of alcohol, espresso
M: Full, silky, mouth coating
O: Very nice imperial stout that doesn't need to rely on adjuncts. No oxidation after almost 2 years.

 331 characters

Rimbimhoot from Illinois, Oct 09, 2017
Photo of Jeffo
3.62/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from rutger a couple summers ago. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter
Bottled 29 August 2015

APPEARANCE: Pours out clear black and yields a two finger, medium looking, slightly foamy tan head with good retention. Black body with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head slowly fades to a good wisp and leaves lots of lacing on the glass as it empties. Touches of wisp remain until the end but leaves no real lacing.

SMELL: Roasted malts, leather, tar, some molasses and light soy notes on the nose. Touches of coffee and chocolate in there as well. Plenty charred.

TASTE: Roasted malts, tar, leather and tobacco up front. More roasted and charred flavors at the swallow with a punch of booze too. Bold and lingering finish of roasted malts, ash, leather, tobacco, with plenty of bitterness. Touches of chocolate and coffee as well. Pretty flavorful stuff and plenty roasted too.

PALATE: Medium body with slightly higher levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a scratch and finishes a bit sticky.

OVERALL: Good stuff. This is definitely more European in style, what with the more pronounced char and tobacco character here. Bell’s tends to be hit or miss with me but this one worked out well. Thanks again for the brews, rutger!

 1,304 characters

Jeffo from Netherlands, Sep 27, 2017
Photo of Sabtos
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Onyx black with a thick, dense mocha foam that settles to a pale, milk chocolate ring.

Not drastically distinguishing itself from BA Expedition, which honestly is not a bad thing at all, Bell's 30th Anniversary Ale features excessively roasted nuts, molasses, licorice, smoked almonds, and a really intensely kicked up woodiness over the dark chocolate malt.

 359 characters

Sabtos from Ohio, Aug 24, 2017
Photo of chinchill
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 8/29/15 and poured from the 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Opaque black-brown body with a thin size, semi-durable tan head. Low carbonation. On oily brown coating can be seen on the glass upon tipping it, along with a modicum of lacing.

Aroma - an inviting mix of alcohol, dark dried fruits, ripe pitted fruits, chocolate, roasted malts and toffee.

Bitter-sweet rich flavor. Partially hidden 11% ABV; drinks like ~9%. Hints of dark chocolate, raisins, coffee, toffee and dark toast.

Full, thick, smooth body. Low but adequate carbonation. Warming but not hot.

Overall: a superb, rich, well balanced RIS. I'd like to try this at the same time as Black Note -- maybe next time.

 696 characters

chinchill from South Carolina, Jul 19, 2017
Photo of teddibrewski
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

pitch black smells like horse food, molasses coated oats and grain. taste like molasses,tobacco. super thick creamy silky feel. Overall very good stout, one I wish they would regularly brew

 190 characters

teddibrewski from United Kingdom (England), Jun 25, 2017
Photo of Bartleby91
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bell's continues to kill it in the stout game. Bottled on 8/29/15 and poured into a snifter.

The appearance is pitch black with a tan head that dissipated quickly. Also alcohol legs are visible.

The aroma is dark fruits, chocolate, tobacco, roasted malt, coffee and caramel. So decadent and full.

The taste follows the nose with raisins and dates along with tobacco, coffee and roasted malt.

The palate is full with a nice lingering sweet malt character that mixes well with the dark fruits and tobacco.

Overall this is an awesome beer and one that I wish they would brew again. I wish that I could try the barrel aged version.

 637 characters

Bartleby91 from Illinois, Jun 11, 2017
Photo of Tampalocal5577
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a 12oz bottle into snifter glass. Virtually no head. Sweet and roasty smell. Silky mouthfeel. No bitterness at all in the taste. Notes of fig, malt, toffee, coffee, and chocolate. 2 years aging made this a beautiful beer! Wish I had another!

 248 characters

Photo of BWood
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: nice black beer. Khaki head with some decent pace.

S: nice roast smell. Definitely malt forward. A hint of toffee and chocolate.

T: very very good. Very complex. Some sweet chocolate. Dark licorice is there. Hint of vanilla.

F: ultra smooth and creamy. Hides the alcohol amazingly.

O: exceptional beer. Very nice to see a beer this good without using any adjuncts or barrel. The stout that others should want to be.

 426 characters

BWood from California, May 12, 2017
Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought On-line

12 oz. Bottle

Poured into a goblet a very nice dark brown color, pretty nice carbonation, with a pretty nice thick/creamy one-finger light tan head, which leaves some oil slicks and sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some nice chocolate/toffee notes, vanilla, licorice. The taste is malty, chocolate/toffee, vanilla. licorice. Full Body, ABV hidden pretty well, a complex brew. Overall, a very tasty brew.

 433 characters

Wasatch from Colorado, Apr 02, 2017
Photo of jds16
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks how I want a stout to look: pitch black, tan head that fades to a ring. Smells like black licorice, molasses, tobacco. Taste is very complex; coffee, licorice, tobacco, chocolate, molasses, roast, dark fruits. Aged 1.5 years, no alcohol burn at all for an 11% beer. Mouthfeel is perfect for an imperial stout to me, thick and slick motor oil. Outstanding stuff.

 367 characters

jds16 from Ohio, Mar 05, 2017
Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Arrives at the bar nearly pitch black with a mocha cap; a few strands of lacing linger behind

Smell: Very roasty and charred, with dark chocolate and coffee tones

Taste: Charred flavors dominate the front end, with dark chocolate and dark fruit elements; earthy bitterness builds, through the middle, with some coffee notes in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; still a bit hot despite the age

Overall: A little too charred for my palate but still an impressive beer with a lot of complexity

 539 characters

brentk56 from North Carolina, Feb 27, 2017
Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black color. Small brown head. No retention or lacing. Mild chocolate with a little bit of licorice at the end. Taste is about the same but with stronger licorice at the end. Heavy bodied mild carbonation.

 215 characters

30th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1457 ratings