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

30th Anniversary Ale30th Anniversary Ale
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Style:
Stout - American Imperial
ABV:
11%
Score:
96
Avg:
4.33 | pDev: 6.7%
Reviews:
302
Ratings:
1,460
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  79
Gots
  517
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: 302 | Ratings: 1,460 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by yesterdayfaraway:
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer.
T: Big roast and not bitter. No trace of alcohol.
F: wow, the mouthfeel on this beer is perfect! It's velvet smooth, creamy, thick and so smooth.
O: This will age well, but might fine right now. By comparison, easily better than founders imperial and ten tidy.

Dec 07, 2015
More User Reviews:
Photo of Raime
Raime from Greenland

4.81/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bell's 30th Anniversary Imperial Stout.

FINALLY FUCKING ARRIVED IN MY CITY. Nobody does a limited release quite like Bells, and judging from the reviews and ratings I am in for one hell of a treat with this one. Enough talk, let's drink!.

Look - How in the bloody hell did they manage to fit Charlie Murphy into a bottle like that?! Pours pitch black with a slowly forming small head that only sticks around for ablut ten seconds and recedes to cloud formations amongst the top of the motor oil in my snifter. Carbonation is impossible to read due to the darkness. Only spotty remnants of lacing remain after the brew is finished.

Smell - Bright and vibrant, almost chocolate ice creamy in nature on the initial whiff. Coffee js there in large amounts as expected along with freshly baked dark breads and just a smidge of anise. Noticably hoppy but not overpowering the usual suspects.

Taste - This is a chocolate forward stout through and through. As I stated, the chocolate flavor is comparable to taking a quality ice cream abd letting it melt in your mouth and savoring it with the tongue. Espresso makes an appearance in moderate amounts as the beer warms. Dark cake batter richness follows and lingers around the mouth for what seems like an eternity. The 11% ABV is nowhere to be noticed. This is one rich beer with a high sweetness level that never once becomes cloying to the taste buds.

Feel - Body is well rounded though not overly full. Velvety smooth on the tongue and around the mouth. The alcohol makes its appearance here and slightly tingles the tongue and numbs the mouth. Swallows like a dream and leaves you craving another sip.

Overall - If this beer is available to you, I HIGHLY suggest that you purchase it. Maybe not in my top ten beers of all time, but certainly one of my top stouts of all time. Very quaffable for the alcohol volume. Don't age this stuff, it's ready to be drank NOW. The ladies and gentleman at Bells need to pat themselves on the back for this one. Compares well to Expedition, I'd say even edging it out by a slim margin.

EDIT : Second bottle finished. I lied about this not making my top ten. Changing the ratings a bit due to an improved experience dispite the fact I thought it couldn't possibly get any better.

Oct 11, 2015
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wdberkley from Illinois

4.96/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Simply put, this is a downright amazing beer. We're talking club baby seals in front of Green Peace to get as much as a drop of this delicious black liquid to fall to your tongue amazing. Bells did not miss a single detail.

Pours black as Charlie Murphy. Perfect thick tall head that dissipates into a thin milk chocolate colored ring.

Great nose of chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, little hit of hops. Not too boozy for an 11%er. Cannot say enough good things about this beer.

Do whatever it takes to find 2 bottles - drink one now with a loved one and put the other away for a couple years to see where this goes. Thank me later.

Sep 21, 2015
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bowzer4birdie from Illinois

4.86/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is the Big Brother to Expedition (with a bit less of a hop bite)! Deep roasted malt, chocolate / cocoa, toffee and caramel, a hint of ash and smoke. Excellent mouthfeel as well. One of the best non-BA stouts I've had in awhile.

Oct 04, 2015
Photo of _RL_
_RL_ from Maryland

4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours thick, engine oil black. Smells bitter, like a stouts, much like a good non-BA stout (like a regular SN stout). The taste is a stout but with a bitter, bitter note throughout the entire taste. My god. So much bitter. It's like a coffee bitterness without the coffee aspect. The beer feels thick, but not chewy. This would be a great to amazing beer if it had a sweet aspect of some kind (maple, brown sugar, chocolate, something). Try it. Everything is there but the bitterness is off.

Oct 06, 2015
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headbangingteacher from Maryland

4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

At a price cheaper than a draft of Miller Lite at the bar, how could one pass this fine gem up? I read the hype, I tasted the beer, and it is a winner.
Pouring a soulless black, I felt as if I was dabbling in something sinful as I watched my cauldron fill with the brew.
The scent on this one is enchanting. The chocolate and spices mix with a light touch of coffee, and as the potion warms up, the intense boozy aroma begins to tickle the olfactory senses.
The taste is much like what some other fine Imperial Stouts eventually develop into. The alcohol is pronounced, but still surprisingly subdued by the strong, decadent flavors.
I am looking forward to a few more of these over the winter months and another few for standing against the test of time.

Oct 16, 2015
Photo of richj1970
richj1970 from Alabama

4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle.

A: Very dark and bordering between brown and black. One minute I think brown, and the next black. Thick 2 finger mocha head with retention for days and leaving some nice lacing.

S: Roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, and molasses.

T: Following the nose. Rich roasted malts backbone, very dark bitter chocolate, and an almost tobacco like quality.

M: Full bodied with a creamy and almost murky feel to it.

O: An excellent stout that hits a lot of the flavors and aromas I enjoy. Just wish I had more than the one bottle.

Oct 23, 2015
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Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So this is it. I've come full circle. My first BA review was Bell's 25th Anniversary and now my 1500th will be Bell's 30th Anniversary. Let's do this.

Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. Back label says Pkgd 08/29/15.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/4 inch medium brown head that doesn't retain long before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Huge roasty aroma with notes of black licorice, dark chocolate and smoke. There's also a considerable booze fume.

T- Big rush of dark roasted malt that starts off sweet but abruptly turns toward a smoky, bitter cocoa characteristic. Notes of molasses, honey, vanilla and more dark chocolate. As it warms, the smokiness comes out even more but the accompanying sweetness gives it a honey barbecue tone. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M- Soft, luscious and creamy. Medium-low carbonation and the fullest of bodies.

O- Though I don't see how it's that much better than Expedition, this is a very bold, tasty stout that has a straightforward bitter roast quality to it.

Nov 16, 2015
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Rimbimhoot from Illinois

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.

Oct 09, 2017
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manfromanotherplace from New York

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

For those guys chasing Bourbon County around, stop....hunt this.i got a six pack of this for $19 and did a side by side with the new Bourbon County and this was every bit as good. In fact the best way of describing this beer would be that its bourbon county without the bullshit. Jet black with a pour that demonstrates its thickness, the smell is licorice,bourbon, tobacco and leather....superb. the taste is just as good....for how easy this was to obtain and the price, this could be the beer of the year.

Dec 04, 2015
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NickSMpls from Washington

4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Review is on the 8/29 bottling. A 12oz bottle into two wine glasses, which is a highly recommended way to approach it. Utterly black - no light through even the smaller portion. Pours heavy and thick. No head, no lacing even with a regular pour. No doubt a sipping beer. Not much in the aroma department, maybe because carbonation is so low but there's a whiff of dark roasted grain and alchohol. Taste is dense - so much going on all at once. I get blackstrap molasses, licorice and the hops settle in and make themselves at home. This one stays with you for a long time. Recommended for a cold, blusterly late fall evening where heavy grey skies portend a snowy end. If you seek a polar opposite to a "lawnmower beer", you have found it.

Nov 21, 2015
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Expedition was my gateway stout years & years ago, so I was glad this was still hanging around the Twin Cities for me to poach. First of the six 12 oz. bottles headed south.

The pour is…drum roll please…black. Plenty carbed. The nose brings light chocolate, light coffee, perhaps a nut skin or two. Surprisingly light.

Bell’s 30th Anniversary tastes as light as a midnight viewing of Schindler’s List. Massively sweet malts careen into molasses territory, & now I have to go look it up - nope, doesn’t look like there’s any in here. That’s a nice trick. Lovely espresso/roast, cream. Dark chocolate barks in the middle, impressive hoppiness slips me the tongue, black licorice. Feels chalky & dry in the mouth (black chalk) while being full, filling, & probably at least 89 octane. No booze. Goodamn, but I could be a bass in this stuff.

I was hoping for a home run & it looks like this one was laid in there by Ricky Nolasco, because it’s going about 440 feet to left-center. I’d like to cellar a bit of this masterpiece, but why? It’s already so good these might not live out the month. Another great beer from Bell’s.

Oct 27, 2015
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Boca-X from Missouri

4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A beautiful, heavy, thick, chewy. Imperial stout.

Layers upon layers of flavors...fig, plum, raisin...dark chocolate, rich vanilla, marshmallow and root beer. It's smokey and bitter on the finish, a mix of rum, scotch and bourbon play together as the slight sting of heat mixed with honey and molasses linger for quite some time on the finish...dry birch...so many flavors, playing so nicely together...this is a gem.

Jan 05, 2016
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Omnium from Pennsylvania

4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle > Snifter Glass

A - Pitch black motor oil color with a very thin layer of fizzy copper colored head, no lacing.
S - Rich roasts of dark chocolate, some dark roasted coffee, really dark fruit cherry, fig kinda notes, some ashy kinda notes as well.
T - Flavor stands up with the aroma, huge dark roasty adventure. Burnt toffee and caramel, some coffee roast, dark chocolate and roasted malty sweetness, black cherry and fig. Just awesome
M - Velvety rich thick and viscous, alcohol presence is barely here which is stellar.
O - Excellent Imperial stout that is a perfect sipper.

Dec 11, 2015
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ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.51/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has a complex, nuanced nose: I pick up roast, chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and brown sugar. The alcohol is a little raw, though. The flavor profile tries to follow the nose, yet is constantly embellished by the booziness. Having said that, the roasty flavors are really nice. It feels really creamy (if not quite thick) with the gentle alcohol drying the finish some. A fine imperial stout, but it's a bit imbalanced fresh. It should age beautifully, though.

I had another bottle at five months old, and it was a definite improvement over the "fresh" bottle. Keep an eye out for a re-review at 1 year old.

3.51/5: Give this some time in the cellar, and it will become fantastic

Oct 17, 2015
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jkblr from Indiana

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.

Dec 27, 2017
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Gemmell from Illinois

5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As you can tell by the score I gave this beer, it was awesome. It poured like motor oil, just as I hoped it would. The head is a rich mocha color that takes a very long time to die down. The nose is all coffee and dark chocolate with a hint of some dark fruits, kind of like Expedition Stout. There is a ton of flavor packed into this beer; chocolate, coffee, plums, black cherries(Expedition Stout), and heavy roasted deliciousness. Absolutely a full and well balanced mouth feel. This is great right now, and I'm guessing the small amount of burn that exists will fade over time. This beer will cellar with the best of em. Cheers.

Oct 19, 2015
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Tlab3 from Michigan

4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I had the 30th anniversary Tuesday on draft and tonight from the bottle. It pours a big head that clings to the glass but dissipates to a half finger, it has a creaminess that sets it apart from Expedition. The main flavor profile is a smooth chocolate wheraeas unaged Expo has a strong initial bitterness that leads into dark fruit favors for me. There is a milk stout like quality with a boozy backbone to this beer and frankly I'm in love with it. I'd argue that it's biggest weakness is the nose. I think this beer is great now, while I perfer Expo with at least 8 months on it.

Sep 11, 2015
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Karnivool1 from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stout definitely needs some time to age, a little too much heat right now. Very curious to see what a year does to this. Love the thickness and smell, but a tad bitter.

Oct 04, 2015
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1000lbgrizzly from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Boring bottle art, but it has a liquid tar black oily thick sludge body, after pouring a delayed ring of brown head forms. Hell. Yeah.

S: Toasted malt, licorice, molasses, soy sauce. Faint hop mint.

T: Alcohol, sadly, is the first thing noticed, although it is only moderately powerful. Following that is rich dark chocolate, warm malt, and molasses. Oat. Faint hop bitterness. The promised dark fruit flavors come across more as soy sauce, although delicate enough to appreciate it as another flavor rather than a flaw.

F: Oily, smooth, prickly fine carbonation, only medium body.

O: Any flaws it has are minor and can be taken as a side effect of producing such a full-flavored brew. Aging would definitely help by taming the alcohol. As it was, definitely not your common stout. Lots of complexity, hops surprisingly noticeable yet well integrated according to the style, and well balanced. Congratulations Bell's, here's to your first 30 and the many more to come.

Oct 13, 2015
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mcrawford from Michigan

4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours pitch black with a minimal dark tan head. Amazing aroma of roasted malts, sweet cinnamon, and light raspberry. On the palate is dark chocolate, light roasted coffee notes, followed by a slight hop bite. Bitterness is nowhere near the level of expedition. Creamy full mouthfeel that is about as good as it gets. A little boozy which really brings out the nose but I don't find it "hot" like others are claiming. Bought a case blind because of Bell's reputation with big stouts, so glad I did! Very drinkable fresh unlike expedition. I can see this holding up well and possibly getting better over time also! Bell's proves that you can stick with the basics and don't have to barrel age or add adjuncts to produce a world class beer.

Sep 25, 2015
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SerialTicker from Michigan

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First off, cheers to Larry Bell for 30 years of excellence!

i got a few bottles of this stuff for $3.49 at my bottle shop. Bottle dated 8/27/15, and poured 9/23/15. I've been waiting for this one for quite awhile, so I'm really looking forward to having this beer.

Appearance: An abyss. Even with sunlight shining right on my glass, there's no seeing through this beer. A beautiful two finger creamy tan (almost orange) head floats on top for a little while before going down to just about nothing but a ring. Unfortunately, not much lacing on the glass. It looks awesome regardless.

Smell: Deep roasted malt that gives off a modest coffee vibe, with notes of dark chocolate or cacao nibs. I occasionally pick up traces of smokiness as well... almost like a smoked meat, which I get time-to-time in big, burly stouts like this one. Accents of stone fruit and a bit of cherry specifically sweeten things up at the end of the sniff. There is also some definite alcohol coming through on this one as well, which may be expected for an 11% stout. Very nice, eclectic aroma on this beer.

Taste/feel: Unfortunately, I don't find that the phenomenal smell translates all that well on the taste buds. No doubt about it, this is a delicious beer, but it's not as deep as I was anticipating. Some sweet dark fruit on the back of tongue, dark roast -- borderline burnt roast -- on the middle, and a long, bittersweet, and modestly ashy finish. Where this beer shines more than anywhere else, in my opinion, is the body: Bell's 30th has one of the best mouth feels I've experienced... perfectly silky with the slightest carbonation. At the end of each sip, the alcohol dries up my tongue and has me going back for more.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer. It looks nice, smells great, and has a phenomenal mouthfeel. While this beer tastes very good, it doesn't deliver quite like I thought it would. In my opinion, this is either only very slightly better than Expedition, or equal. I know some people are bummed out that this beer wasn't barrel aged, and in a way, I am too, since I've found that in nearly all cases, bourbon barrel aging improves a stout. However, I commend Bell's for the decision to leave the bourbon qualities out of this beer. After all, this is a beer brewery's 30th anniversary... Larry's letting the BEER shine.

Cheers!

Sep 23, 2015
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scxcrunner from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours jet black with a tan head. Smell: heavy on chocolate and chocolate. Taste: Chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, booze. Mouthfeel is thick, this is a great stout, really happy i was able to grab a few in a trade Bells needs to start distributing to MA!

Dec 17, 2015
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Prager62 from Colorado

4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Crossed the border to Michigan to get because Indiana distribution sucks and we may not see it for many weeks and in small quantities. Bottle date of 08/27/15 poured into my Bells tulip glass.

Look- Pours a very oily and semi thick black color. A finger of mocha colored foam rises to the top and quickly settles to a thin ring.

Smell- Sweet chocolate, dark roast, a bit of char, and mild alcohol in the back.

Taste- Bakers chocolate, figs, tobacco and mild char.

Feel- Oily and chewy. It just seems to coat your mouth in decadence like a great dessert. A slight alcohol bite in the finish.

Overall- A really flavorful and robust stout. It reminds me of Expedition Stout with 1-2 years on it. It's fantastic now, but I'm very curious as to where this one may go forward. I'm sensing it could turn into some fine chocolate. I plan on squirreling a few away for science.

Sep 17, 2015
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imonhiatus from New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

wowie zowie!!!! this one hit town today...snagged a 6 pack and i might need to run out and grab as much as possible. this one is a keeper!!! of all the one-offs lately, this one is top of the line. far superior to jupiter and i would even give this one the nod over expedition. super silky stout with a great full body that is robust in flavor but unbelievably drinkable. one of the best impy stouts i've had. killer!

Nov 04, 2015
30th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1460 ratings