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

very good
364 Reviews
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Bell's Sparkling AleBell's Sparkling Ale

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

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002

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Reviews: 364 | Ratings: 536
Photo of Mitchster
5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fermented with both Trappist and Belgian yeast.

OG=1.075, 8.2% ABV.

Geesh almighty! After opening the bottle with a solid "whoosh", this beer pours out brilliantly clear golden with orange accents. After a careful pour, the head touched the rim of the glass, but like a Chia-Pet, it literally forms a peak before your eyes, escaping out of the glass! The head is white with a meringue-like consistency atop small to medium-sized bubbles. There is monster carbonation, but absolutely perfect for the style, and not overwhelming like the Mythical White Grand Cru or Duvel. Obviously, with any Bell's product, there is going to be variation amongst batches, and some have less or more carbonation than previous batches. The bubbles forms eddys and streamers, and there are little bits of something floating in there (looks like orange pulp?). At any rate this is an exceptional looking beer! Truly a "Sparkling" ale. Adding the yeast forms a cloudy peach with sediment suspended heavily in the thick nectar. The aroma is mouthwatering...spicy, crisp hops, funky basement and dust, hints of burnt rubber, tons of sweet green and red apples, and a brisk wheat note hidden in there as well...Amazing aroma. Lacing is solid sheet of white lace with little punched out holes like patterns on a butterflies wings. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth with a remarkably delicate yet dense body despite the amount of malt used. Taste starts out with a sharp spicy sourness with tons of spicy and phenolic cloves, fading into a remarkably smooth and soft sweet malt body. The malts are firm but amazingly well-balanced. There is then a hefty bunch of sour green apples followed by sharp burnt rubber, an extremely clean and mild hint of the alcohol that is lurking in this brew, followed by a warming sensation in the gullet. The finish is exceptional...toasted grains and smooth bittering hops nicely complementing the lingering wheat briskness and remote flavor of peaches. There is a somewhat rubbery feeling in the mouth despite the moderately dry finish.

I am floored. Reminding me of a cross between La Fin Du Monde, Celis Grand Cru, and Great Lakes Anniversary Ale, this is one of the most exceptional brews I've ever had, comparable to the world's best Grand Cru's. If you love Unibroue's 10 or 11, this is a must-try! This beer is pure punch-drunk love. I'm giggling, and a shit-eating smile erupts across my face. I'm in love.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.84/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a white frothy head. Cloudy, pale appearance. Fresh hop aroma. Maybe candi sugar aroma? The aroma reminds me a bit of some of the better Belgian beers that I've had (like De Dolle Stille Nacht). Very slight alcohol taste. Not as much as you'd expect from a 10+ % beer. There is a sour taste present similar to Belgian Beers also. There's a hoppy taste, but this beer is not bitter like an IPA. Pretty easy drinking for 10+ % alcohol. Kalamazoo website describes this beer as a tripple pale ale.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.82/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to JCB for this extra.

Pours a slightly hazy orange yellow with small yet fluffy head. The nose is very yeasty and wheaty. smells like a witbier. Wow! wonderful triple flavors! awesome yeast and wheat flavor with a touch of banana on the finish. Nice and creamy and very very belgian in character. The mouthfeel is flawless. I beleive this is a wonderful tripel! Incredibly drinkable and by a ways the most belgian tasting american made "tripel" I have tried as of yet. Mad props to JCB for this inclusion. Very very good. I am jealous of those with easy access to this!

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Photo of jtw5877
4.77/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a clear golden hue with a white head. An excellent ale, Malty, Yeasty, Spicy, and warming. This is a really good representation of a triple, yet from Michigan. A very enjoyable beer. It's cool to see brewers take on complex styles like this.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.67/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a plain white head that settles over a cloudy orangey/amber liquid. Some very slight sulfury notes in the nose that are whisked away by a nice fruity-yeasty aroma. The taste...oh the taste, it's a stunning mix of Belgian candi sugar, tropical fruits, sweet chewy malts, bitter hops and alcohol. You can actually taste each individual flavor component here, ultra-complex and delicious! It finishes as awesome as it began: kick-ass bitter, fruity and potent. Another Bell's winner here! Oh how I wish I lived where these beers are availiable locally :o)

Thanks CRJMellor!

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Photo of NODAK
4.57/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The nose here is very sweet and very full of spice. One of the spiciest beers I can remember.

Immediately, loads of sweet esters hit the tongue (banana, peach) followed by a very healthy dose of cloves. This fades into a thick, sweet finish that has a smattering of hop bitterness on the sides of the tongue but it's very minimal, along with a little peppery spice. Some smacking sweetness sticks around in the aftertaste with some spice. Alcohol not noticeable, which is impressive given the high ABV.

I'm very impressed with this beer. Very drinkable despite the ABV and very tasty.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.57/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 750 bottle
Glass: Snifter
From: Bell's General Store
Price: $13

Appearance: deep yellow not quite clear. some sediment floating. slightly off-white head, about a finger that slowly fades to almost nothing.

Smell: Honey, citrus, florals, slightly fruit. Smells wonderful

Taste: pretty similar to the nose, honey, citrus, florals with a touch of fruit. followed up by a bitter slight hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: fairly light and smooth. has a crispness to it and slightly warming sensation. leaves mouth dry and wanting another drink

Overall: I have been searching for this beer for quite some time and was expecting a lot from it. It did not disappoint. I am glad that I found it at Bell's. Very good in every aspect and pretty close to a perfect american tripel.

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Photo of zerk
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy golden, with a thin but persistent white head that leaves a nice lace. A nice musty aroma of orange peel, coriander, and malt.. somewhat sweet and doughy. The aroma is somewhat reminiscent of Duvel. Flavor is musty as well... with yeast, toasted malt, coriander, and slightly sweet citrus notes. Very good full body, and a smooth mouthfeel. This is a very good Belgian pale... and is quite unique. Highly drinkable, and deceptively strong. I couldn't believe that it's actually 10.25% ABV! A definate must try if you like Belgian beers!

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.52/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Left a two finger head that receded to surface skim, left little lacing. Body was a hazy orange yellow.

Smell - Fruity esters and phenols. Bananas, overripe pears, and apples.

Taste - same as the smell. Bananas, overripe pears, and apples. Some mild alcohol warmth ( but not harsh ) on the finish. Surprisingly straightforward, and very good.

Mouthfeel - medium fullness, smooth, low carbonation, and a semi-dry finish.

Drinkability - this is very good, and it goes down well, high abv limits sessionability.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice golden colour with an ample, creamy, white head. The aromas were of Belgian yeast, candy sugar, various spices, and fruits. The taste? Very fruity, spicy, and delicous. This reminded me of a De Dolle Stille Nacht-light, or a lighter version of unibroue 10 or 11. The mouthfeel was a bit light and the drinkability is very good for such a high alcohol beer!

Cheers to KennyD for the sample!

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Photo of marcpal
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a chalice. Picked this one up in Philly a bit back and finally dusted it from back of fridge.

A: Sparkling yellow gold, with lots of bubbling.
Hazy with a little bit of sediment. Clear and transparentand the thinnest of heads as you can get.

S: Belgian yeast, spicy and fruity. Right on track to what an american tripel could and should deliver. Thin veil of a bright white head. In the end, all bananas and yeast in the back of the nose.

T: Sweet sugars, dominated by honey. American in flavor and one hell of a take on the style. Sweetness of the bananas and sugar entangled with the spices is awesome. Some heat comes through but this was delicious. Sweet honey, virtually absent of citrus, and biting chewiness.

M: Super carbonated, oily for a tripel. Sparkling indeed and the alcohol creates layer after layer.

D: Packs a punch that is what you'd expect from a US tripel. The sweetness is not overbearing and goes down mad easy for the high abv. In all, it has flavor but just seems to have some piece missing.

Bell's is the most hit or miss brewery I can think of. This one, pun intended, is a hit- perhaps a triple.

Well rounded and worth seeking out. I want more.

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Photo of battlekow
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tons of suspended sediment, looks like apple juice-colored orange juice, with a white fizzy head. Smells fruity and yeasty. Really does have a nice sparkling, "glass of the bubbly" quality to it, effervescing enthusiastically, pop-pop-pop all over your pallette and tongue. I guess I equate fizziness with thinness and lack of body, because when the dust cleared and I was left with a mouthful of bready, earthy, slightly sour, full-bodied beer, I was surprised. The qualities really complement each other well. There's a tinge of the 8.2% alcohol that slightly mars the finish.

Cool beer, and a fun one to drink. One of the few beers I've had that overwhelms its (relatively) pedestrian taste with its accoutrements. The, uh, Bell's and whistles work nicely for the Sparkling Ale.

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Photo of putnam
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a misleading and confusing name for this beer. It has nothing to do with the original "sparkling ale" style originated in Australia. Shame on Kalamazoo Brewing Co.!

Foggy orange in color with a brief, white dome of creamy suds. The aromas are an enticing blend of toast, butter and orange marmalade. On the palate it is pleasantly bitter - from beginning to end - and drenched with flavors of peach skins, root vegetables, orange peel, and noble tannins. Cutting edge, bitterly hopped Belgian-style Triple and one of the best Bell's beers of any style.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The color is golden, with a nice white head with good retention. The smell is a honey sweetness. The taste is honey sweet, with a very fruity, floral character to it, and no really noticable alcohol. Mouthfeel was average. As for drinkability, could have several of these.

This is honestly amongst the best tripels I've ever had. A nice floral sweetness with only a slight yeasty character makes this a great beer, and one I'll hope to have again in the future.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.44/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.
A smell of fresh squeezed apples is noticed at first pour. Clovey spices, oranges and floral hops spring into action. A hint of alcohol lingers in the background.
Sweet caramel flavors, biscuity malt and the taste of fresh baked bread lay the foundation for the taste of fresh whole hop flowers and citrusy bitterness. A proper dash of cloves, peppery spices and coriander flavors compliment the overall glass. I was expecting more of a Champaign-like effervescence, and was relieved that it was more like what I had hoped for. Nice Beer!
Thanks Feloniousmonk!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heavy sediment visible through the brown glass bottle. Pours with a gigantic head, several inches at first. Heavy yeast sediment in the glass, with a foamy off-white head that lingers long. Smells of alcohol, with woody earthy flavors, yeasty with slight clove and other spice smells. Taste is also very earthy and woody, like it was barrel aged, very dry on the pallette, too. Body is very effervescent, much like champagne. Taste is very complex and delicious, a great belgian-style brew from the midwest.

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Photo of jreitman
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A quite outstanding brew. Was not expecting a belgian style ale, but was happily surprised to find one in the bottle. The aroma of candi sugar and tropical fruit was a wonder to behold. The flavor was nicely balanced between sweet chewy malt and acidic grapefruit flavors. An obscenely well crafted brew and a pure joy to drink. Could easily make this a session beer if it weren't for the high alcohol as it is incredibly easy to drink.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A huge, thick effervescent white head crowns a hazy orange color. Some yeast still floats around, then settles at the bottom of the glass. Aroma is sharp, fresh, and lively , full of citrus, (lemon, orange)and spices. The name gives no indication of style, but it's clear , before tasting ,even, that they're going for something in a Belgian style, something close to Duvel, maybe.
Taste is divine, with great hop spark alive on the tongue. Yeast comes in big on the palate, and a large amount of sweetness, too. When I first tried this beer last June, I noted :"Did the sugar truck back up into the vat, and dump it's load?" I don't know if it's me, or if it's this batch, but I'm not turned off by the sweet factor, which isn't as strong.
In the middle, more fruitiness comes through, peach, apricot, but sugar is still strong . Light in body and texture, but full of flavor, and bursting with playful hops. "Sparkling" is the appropriate name for this ale, and Bell's has crafted the best Duvel imitation I've ever tasted, from Belgium, the U.S., or anywhere else in the Universe.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.41/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Mesmorizing glowing golden orange amber hue with a fluffy growing massive white head leaves thick patches of lacing so good evenly dispersed. Aroma: Herbal clove combo with the funky yeast characteristic that every Bell's brew has, a warming sweetness but no acohol ridden nose. Taste: Excellent ties everything together so well, seems farmhouse funkyness of peppery spices and then the bread yeast characteristics, with an herbal clove and underlying fruit sensation this is good stuff. Mouthfeel: Fluffy very right on the mark for carbonation spritzy but still holds together some great texture awesome. Drinkability: Dangerous I could chill with these all day but a bigger beer means beware, so good clean well made triple awesome one of the better American brewed versions.

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Photo of weasbri
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pale gold color. Average head with a little lacing on the glass.
Yeasty, sweet aroma. Definitely throws me into a Belgian state of mind.
Very fruity, very sweet taste. There is a little bit of peppery bite, but the orange sweetness tends to dominate. Smooth going down too.
Wish I could be more descriptive, but getting over a minor cold is killing me. Even so, my senses were awoken by this beer. Very good.

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Photo of Morris729
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden color with noticeable flakes of sediment floating throughout the beer. Nose is quite sweet with aromas of candied sugar, fruity yeasts, and a bit of Belgian spice. Light to medium in body with a very fine carbonation that is a bit zesty and spritzy in nature. As with the aroma, the taste starts off sweet with flavors of cane sugar and apricots followed by some citrus fruit and sweet malt. Next comes a good deal of spiciness with notes of coriander, clove, white pepper, and some vanilla extract towards the end. To me, this was sort of like Duvel with a good dose of extra sugar added—pretty darn tasty. Thanks to faernt for the sample!

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Photo of BHwks
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a duvel tulip. I estimate that this is from the 2008 bottling, as I believe this is the last time it was bottled. Unfortunately, the bottle I have does not have a batch number.

A - In terms of color, one of the most appetizing beers I've seen. A really nice deep golden color with many bubbles rising in the glass. Very little head for a tripel, possibly due to the age.

S - The smell is dominated by bananas, a little clove, and a lot of general fruit character. This smells great.

T - A lot of banana and some spice, if I'm not mistaken the spice has mellowed from what I remember (not surprising after 2 years). The flavors have really come together nicely. The beer finishes with a slight hop/alcohol flavor, especially as it warms. To me, this really defines an American take on a tripel - bright, bold flavors, a definite American style yeast (very little funkiness like Belgian examples) and just a really clean taste in general. Little to no oxidation either, which I'm a little surprised by.

M - Very smooth and slick on the palate.

D - Good, though as the beer warms the alcohol becomes more prominent so this takes a little way in terms of drinkability. For this style though, this beer is surprisingly clean and light tasting, and I mean this in a good way. Some Belgian examples, as good as they are, can get a bit cloying as you drink them.

I really enjoy this beer. I know this gets mixed review on this site, though in terms of American tripels this is pretty high on my list. My guess is that it gets dogged a bit because it's not exactly true to style (when compared to Belgian tripels) though I really think this is a prime example of an American take on this style (kind of like IPAs - you've got your hoppy American styles and your more subtle British varieties). My review reflects my opinion of this being sort of a subgenre of tripel, thus I scored it pretty well. Against other Belgian tripels, I could see how this wouldn't do as well if someone was expecting a similar flavor profile. If you can get a hold of it, this beer is well worth trying and truly underrated. Approach it purely on it's own merits and I think you'll like it.

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Photo of pbrian
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pale golden orange, mildly hazy, small lacy head. Sweet & sour spicy aroma, fruity and yeasty. Taste starts sweet but then the confusion begins. A sourness rolls past the tastebuds. Is it an attempt at a lambic? Nah. Coriander next. A strong Wit? Stupid idea. Dries a littte but stays sweet, finishes astringently bitter. I like this beer but have no idea what I'm drinking.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This pours a cloudy golden straw color with a tight foam cap. The aroma is nicely spiced with yeasty esters. It’s floral with honey notes, along with some orange peel and coriander. The flavor has a light yet pleasing bitterness. I get orange peel coriander, yeasty esters and a light funk which I imagine might emerge as it develops in the bottle or over time. The effervescence keeps the flavors lively. This is by now a common style but under Bell’s craft it just stands shoulders above the majority. Good stuff!

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Photo of Southernbrew
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely golden orange with a nice big, soft head.

The aroma is lovely. Nice citrusy fruits, doughy yeast and a bit of spice. This reminds me of Duvel.

Medium-full body, lots of lively carbonation. Some sweetness and yeast up front move into a nice soft, sweet fruits. Leaves a pleasant fruity and Belgian sugary sweetness.

This stuff, frankly, goes down like water. I look at my glass and find it empty. The alcohol is completely unnoticed until you finish, when you are left with a feeling of complete calmness.

Awesome beer. If I want a Belgian, I want a Belgian pale and man, this hits the spot. Another thanks to Feloniousmonk for this one!

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Bell's Sparkling Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.82 out of 5 based on 536 ratings.
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