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 kajerm
2.01/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours moderately cloudy gold; I imagine this would be heady but I can't say for sure.

Now, let me get this out of the way early. I don't like slamming beers. Or at least, I don't like slamming beers from good breweries. I want people to buy everything Bell's makes, even if it's absolute shit, so that they'll make more Hopslam and sell it everywhere (except for Illinois, alas.)

But this beer is awful.

The aroma and the taste are both nauseatingly estery, like a heavy-handed four year-old's imitation of Duvel. I never thought that a beer could have too many bananas in it, but this is that beer. Malty sweetness is present as well, but it tastes like an afterthought.

Mouthfeel is decent if unremarkable-- medium-bodied, very slightly chewy-- typical for a Belgian-style beer.

Every sip is an eternity of torment.

Sorry, Larry, but this one didn't do it for me.

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Photo of Minkybut
2.33/5  rDev -39%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was pilsner looking and I was excited to try something along that line from this great company. Head was good and white. Smell was hoppy. The taste was NOT good. Very fruity and a tad sour. It tasted like a Belgian ale to me which I'm not all that fod of. Alcohol was over the top also. If you like Belgian sour beers (Abbey) then try this. However I will not try it again.

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Photo of asabreed
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: I poured it hard on purpose to try and get the head built up, but alas, it died down fairly quickly. Yeast and floaties amidst the body, the color a golden yellow.

Smell: All banana and candi sugar, but as if it's been sitting out for a long time. It may be fresh but it doesn't smell like it. Slight bubblegum. All sugar and hardcore sweetness with not a lot of nuance and complexity. Not to mention a not-too-pleasant surge of alcohol as it warms.

Taste: All too sugary and banana with bubblegum, candi sugar, and overdone fruit. Again, no nuance here, just hardcore watered-down attempted Belgian flavors with malt and yeast. Entirely overdone and unbalanced.

Mouthfeel: Way too thick and cloying without a lot of carbonation. Everything seems to be unbalanced.

Drinkability: Yikes. A decent experiment I suppose, or one that should've been, but I'd stick to the other failsafe Bell's brews. I was curious about this from the beginning, because I wasn't sure, with what their brewing staples are, why and how and if they could pull this off. And I wouldn't want to try this again. Thankfully I just got the one bottle. Go for a 4-pack of an import or a nice corked and caged Belgian. Cheers to branching out, but not if it's going to be a seemingly mediocre attempt.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.66/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reviewed 10/17/2006 (12oz bottle):

Pours an extremely cloudy, somewhat fizzy orangish color. Small head, white, somewhat lasting. Small bubbles. Strong sweet Belgian ale aroma. Floral, alcohol, very strong overall. Warm mouthfeel, flowery, pollen aftertaste. Somewhat sweet, slightly bitter. Strong alcohol. One flavor dominant - flowers.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.7/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Super clear and pale. Almost no color at all but the color thats there is bright yellow. No head left at all. Some tiny bubbles floating to the top.

S- Faint smell here. Green banana peels, musty yeast and some fruitiness.

T- Banana again. Some more sweetness. A chemically aftertaste thats not very pleasant.

M- Light and crisp and bubbly. Finishes dry.

D- This one has a strange taste on the end that Im not too fond of. Ive definitely had better tripels...*cough*La Fin Du Monde*cough*

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Photo of mwilbur
2.76/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bottle into flute. Golden hue with high carbonation and sediment. Almost no head...first sign of trouble. Smell is lemon/citrus. Taste adds spice and maybe coriander, but is much weaker than anticipated. For a self-styled tripel--this is one of the weaker versions. On the positive side, it is light and drinkable (especially considering the ABV), but I expect more from Bell's.

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Photo of Fuzzywort
2.82/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought a six pack of this ale and drank the bottles over a two to three year period.

Pour: pours a dark orange with amber at the sides and some scribbles of brown, gave a one finger head initially that thinned to a cover, this ale is can be seen through but there are lots of large particles that took away from enjoy the presentation of this ale.

Aroma: aroma of malt and candy sweetness, soft fruit esters of peach, orange sweetness and citrus fragrances.

Flavor: flavor is candy sugar sweetness with orange fruit, faint bread and yeast, pepper and spices on the tongue that presents itself more at the finish, alcohol warmth is felt on the palate.

MF: mouth feel is medium, has a touch of syrupiness to it, it may be that the carbonation has died off some and it has gone a little flat, it appears not to be as bubbly as I would have liked, has a bit of stickiness to it, I found the mouth feel to be plain and boring.

Notes: this ale is not as clear and pretty as some of the other Triples, also, the taste is sort heavy on the sweet side for a Tripel, there are other examples of this style I enjoy more.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.87/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip. There should be a batch # printed on the back of this like all Bell's beers, but this one does not have one.

(A)- Pours a clear golden orange to yellow color that produced lackluster head formation, in fact, there was none, just some white bubbles even after a rather vigorous pour. Sparkling ale? Doesnt look like there is much carbonation in this.

(S)- Bits of banana, pear, mango, & a flower-like clay & yeast presence.

(T)- Very similar to the smell, but with a musky & weird metallic finish. Yeasty.

(M)- Ok, so yes there is carbonation in this, but definitely not on par for the style, let alone a "sparkling" level.

(D)- Kind of a bland beer actually. It has some flavors & smells that fits into the style, but overall a disappointing representation of what makes a great Tripel. Not one of Bell's best efforts.

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Photo of nortmand
2.89/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Cloudy orange pour, with a quickly dissipating head.

The nicest part of this brew is the banana ester smell. Notes of supportive rich yeastiness.

Wet dog hair flavor up front. Ends with an unpleasant bitterness. Alcohol is overrepresented. This beer leaves a burning rampage in the esophagous. Lingering aftertaste is the equivalent of dead sidewalk worms in the sunny minutes after a rainstorm.

Nice "overattenuated" Belgian reminiscent carbonation.

The unbalanced alcohol makes this beer not real drinkable.

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Photo of cokes
2.91/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I honestly do not see what the hype is about here. Is it a unique, high potency brew. But not one I would drink on a regular basis.
It pours a great frothy head with some nice aromas of yeastiness and bread.
The belgian profile is minimal. However, it is somewhat similar to the style in the bready malt character. There is a bittering hop presences not typical of other brew of this sort. So far, so good.
What was really unsettling was the alcohol taste. Very vodka-like. And I, for one, detest vodka. So it was this flavor that really made this beer less-than-enjoyable.
I don't recommend it unless you like the hard stuff (vodka). Even beyond this taste, there is little to speak highly of. There are plenty of other beers out there that I find much more palatable. Especially for the price ($10 for a sixpack)
Bell's does much better than this.

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Photo of beerwolf77
2.95/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint.

A: Crystal clear gold, tiny wisp of head no lace, looks like a glass of apple juice at this point

S: sugary sweet, lots of candied fruit and spices sort of like a tripel

T: what happened to the sweetness in the nose? very dry and malty a solid amount of clove and pepper not very good

M: light dry body decent amount of carbonation

D: Overall a bit of a misstep from a world class brewery. Fuck it. They can't all be Black note

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Ugh. Pours a copper, chunk-filled body with a small, wispy white head.

Smell: Some malts, of course, but the bulk of the aroma is made up of coriander, orange peel, yeast, and fruity banana esters.

Taste: Maltiness with a jarring candi sugar sweetness. Plenty of banana, and to a lesser degree, pear, along with sharp hints of coriander, orange peel, pepper, and sour yeast. A dash of mineral water. Finishes with a lingering sugary-spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Slight stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: No thanks. Cloying and somewhat of a chore to finish the single bottle.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.06/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Chimay Chalice. Wow, I can honestly say this is the first beer from Bells that I didn’t completely enjoy. I knew that day would come but I didn’t think it would be today. Poured a hazy golden with lots of suspended yeast. It had a big head that disappeared quickly, left no lacing. Aroma is sweet maltiness with bananas and spices. Taste is strong on bananas and yeasts. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty dry. I can see how many people would like this beer, just not me.

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Photo of gunnerman
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured this into a pint glass, pours an awesome yellow with some serious suspension in the glass, hold it up to sunlight to see what I mean, this is about the best thing I enjoyed about this beer. Smell has that belgium smell with nice fragrance coming from the nose very sweet with hints of lemon and outdoor freshness. Taste to me was pretty difficult, the alcohol was very present and hard for me to drink this, taste was a bit of a mess like a nice hefe with a strong weird alcohol grape taste in there, boy was this a mess. Well to put it midly Bell's brews some of the best beers imo in the world, this is not up there.

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Photo of winomark
3.08/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beautiful medium gold with a very thick bone white head. Very vigorous carbonation. Herbal notes dominate, with some good malt and (wheat?) tones. Lots of tropical esters; bananas and stone fruits. Mild hop herbiness subtle in the finish. Light mouthfeel, but fairly flavorful and slightly sweet. IMO, a good interpretation of a tripel style ale. Not a fave of mine, but worth a try.

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Photo of martymoat
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: poured in a pint glass, pours a cloudy golden brown with a thick foamy head that settles away to nothing shortly after pouring. Shortly after that I notice small globs of yeast from the bottem f the bottel in the glass. Was not expecting that to be in the bottem of this ale

S: smells yeasty, very similar to homebrew in fermentation after the 3rd or 4th day of fermentation. After that if you give it a good sniff you get the strong smell of alcohol and sweetness

T: taste up front is good , sweet and malty with small trace of fruitiness followed by a strong spicey taste that lingers in mouth till next sip.

M: smooth and drinkable, not as carbonated as I had thought it would be.

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Photo of grover37
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle with no batch number. It says 9255 on the bottom but that's not a Tripel in the batch finder. Either way, it's about 1.5 years old from the second half of 2009.

Appearance (2.5): Light gold. I thought it was very clear but looking closer there are some floaties. This is surprising because there was absolutely no sediment, even for an aged bottle. The head was just over a finger of off-white dense bubbles. This reduces to nearly nothing. Minimal lacing. Not very impressive but still pretty clear.

Smell (2): Not exactly what I'd expect from a Tripel. Very bready which mingles with the typical Belgian spicy yeast. Also a touch of band-aid which is a bit unpleasant but not terribly obvious. There is also a bit of dish soap. It's not nearly as spicy as I would like.

Taste (4): A sharp spiciness up front, as well as orange rind and a background of the breadiness in the aroma. This bready, pilsner malt flavor kicks it up a notch in the middle and then it finishes spicy again, but much more mellow and yeasty. The taste is much better than the aroma and all the flavors meld together well without much ethanol at all for such a simple, yet strong, beer.

Mouthfeel (3): A bit slick at first, then mouthcoating in the finish. Medium to full bodied with medium to low carbonation. I expected much more effervescence.

Drinkabiility (3): I don't think this is a Tripel I'll come back to. Even with the benefit of some age to not down the alcoholic heat, the flavors weren't that impressive although they went together well. Maybe that was a product of the age as well though. Still, this is a below average Tripel in my book.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, batch 7134 (11/9/2005). Pours a cloudy tea color with lots of floaties. The head is white and creamy and quickly recedes to a thin film that laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet and sugary malts with some banana and melon and pepper and a little alcohol.

The flavor is sweet melon and banana followed by some spices and butterscotch and a little alcohol in the finish. It pretty smooth and mellow. The mouthfeel is medium to full and very creamy.

Overall, an OK trippel. It's a little sweeter than usual. The flavors just rub me a little wrong.

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Photo of brentk56
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a modest head that drops to a ringlet without leaving much lace

Smell: A hint of pineapple and some sugar, but a lot of bandaid phenols and a bit of fusel alcohol

Taste: Opens doughy but fruit flavors quickly develop in a mango direction by mid-palate; becomes peppery and pithy in the middle; after the swallow, the alcohol and bandaid flavors appear and detract from the finish; metallic aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: Chalk this one up as another domestic failure to pull off a Belgian tripel; for some reason this style gives our better brewers fits

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Photo of ZAP
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks great and smells very nice...but tastewise this it has a strong sour/ grain alcohol presence. I guess at 10% you might get that but I would never buy this one again. Really a sour finish...I'm not a big Belgian fan to start with and this one really doesn't sit right for my personal preferences.

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Photo of Brent
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was a bit let down by this beer. The aroma was very nice - quite spicy with orange, coriander and clove - along the lines of a spiced-up witbier. Not a lot the aroma translated into the flavor. Up front a quick hit of some yeast fruit, and then the flavor washed out. The middle was rather flavorless, and the finish was a nondescript bitterness. The label noted that it was an "American tripel" - I guess this is like the "American wheat" interpretations - bland and without soul.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Straw color with a nice, tight, white head. Plenty of lacing and very nice staying power. Very tiny bubble lazily meander their way to the top of the beer and try to replenish the head, but they are out of gas before they get to the top :(

Smell was okay. Seemed there were some vegetal aromas in there that werent very pleasing. Sweet, slightly hoppy, bubble gum, cloves. Something about the aroma was off.

Flavor was okay as well. Slightly sweet in the beginning, and then the hops greet the palate at the end. Somewhat bitter, almost enough to balance the sweetness that arrives to the party first. More bubble gum and slight banana.

Medium bodied, slightly sticky, nice carbonation.

I was slightly disappointed with this Bell's offering as I really enjoy most of their offerings. Kind of sweet. This was a subpar belgian, in my opinion, but a nice effort. 8% abv + so the drinkability is somewhat low, but arent most Belgians? Just a bit off overall to me.

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Photo of mynie
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass... oops. Had no idea it was a Tripel.

Still that's one helluva pour. Dark gold with a moderate haze and an absolutely killer head.

Smells firm, spicy and soapy. The yeast is a wee bit overpowering (as is the wont with Tripels and especially with Tripels brewed in the US). A solid, spicy hop profile becomes more present as the beer warms but it never quite achieves the kind of balance I like in a good tripel.

Taste starts very, very yeasty and spicy. This moves into a lightly soapy middle that tastes alternately of chemicals, pepper, and very ripe fruits. Some nodes are grand, some are slightly off putting. The balance is way off.

It never fails to amaze me that so many excellent American brewers seem absolutely incapable of making good Belgian knock offs. Rogue's no good at it, Three Floyds is no good at it, and now Bell's is no good at it. This beer isn't horrible, it's not or even bad, but it's not up to snuff with what you expect from a brewery of this caliber. `

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Photo of Cresant
3.22/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a snifter. Batch #7134, bottled 11/9/05 (one year, 3 months old). Dull, light honey colored body with minimal head. The bottom of the glass looked like spiced apple cider dregs.

Smell was cloves/spices. Belgian yeast. Perfume-like. Alcohol.

Taste was rich and liqueur-like. The alcohol comes through pleasantly, not harsh. Pineapple Lifesavers candy. Caramel maltiness. Honeydew. Some banana hints.

Mouthfeel was slick and creamy with prickly alcohol/carbonation. A sweet film coats the lips.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.22/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I scored a bottle of this at the local craft beer store. Neat label, but at first glance I thought it was a golden dragon. It had the numbers 7134 printed on the back, but not certain what that referenced (batch number?)…

It poured a cloudy, dark golden with big bubbles. Head retained well.

After smelling, I picked up on a semi-complex mix of Belgium candy, malts, cherries and alcohol.

The taste was medium-bodied and resembled the nose. It sat heavy on me and did not taste refreshing to me.

I enjoyed this beer and can tell there was definitely quality & craftsmanship involved in it's making; but it's not the best tripel I have ever had.

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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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