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 MarkBlackout
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This stuff is just OK. Not much aroma, at least at the cool temperature at which it was served to me. That's OK, I'm not much of a beer huffer. I tend to smell once and go right for a gulp. Looks nice enough, amber ale appearance with average but adequate head. I like a good looking beer, it adds to the appeal. Lacing, etc., whatever. Nothing special.

Taste is good, but not anything that really stands out. I'll leave it to others to suss out the nuances, but this is more of a belgian pale ale than a tripel. Alcohol is nowhere, at least after a 20oz. Alpha King. I'm at MacNiven's on Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis, for the record. I like this place, and they have wireless! It's a bit bourgeois for my taste, but not horrible. They play music, its busy, the beer isn't THAT costly, and they have good stuff on tap. Bombers are prohibitively expensive, though. Oh well, I drink bombers at home, I come here for stuff on tap. But I digress. Pretty one-dimensional ale. Not much of a yeast presence, but its there, sort of a sour-sweet thing going with it. Not a heavily spiced or really heavily flavored ale to speak of. I can appreciate its simplicity but its hardly worth having as a special. Glad I got to try it as I probably never would have bought a six pack of it. Malty. Some hops. You get it.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

32 oz. swing top growler.

The beer is mostly transparent, just slightly hazy. Orange hued with nearly an inch of white head that recedes to a thin layer after a few moments, leaving some decent lacing on the glass. The aroma offers malt, yeast, spice, ripe oranges, hops. The flavor is not up to par with the authentic Belgian tripels. I appreciate that it has a different hop character and is not necessarily trying to replicate something Belgian, however, Bell's Sparkling Ale lacks the delectable quality found in the upper tier examples of the style. Yeast character is lacking. Malt presence is there, but could certainly be more robust and present. Middle class in the style, yet solid and worth a try.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared by Huhzubendah- Thanks Matt!

Pours a medium gold color w/ a thin off-white head. Very clean and clear looking for the tripels I'm used to seeing. Average lacing on the side of my snifter glass. The nose is apple, pear, anise, pepper, and some spices. I'd really like to smell more yeast and malt in this brew, and it's a little on the weak side for me. Taste is fairly sweet, with fruit, spices and pepper coming forward in the flavor. I don't get any of the 9% alcohol at all. Feel is fairly light and dry, w/ a tiny bit of alcohol burn on the aftertaste. Overall, this is a solid brew from an excellent brewery. I would get this again- Cheers.

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Photo of Crossmd
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a tap into a shaker pint, probably 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pours a lucid copper with a thin white head, quickly dissipating.

Smells of some slight pilsner skunk, some florals and weak yeast. Not overly well projected.

Tastes to me like a smoother, maltier, even buttery pilsner. Feels like an effervescent, but malty blend of both a pils and a Belgian style dubbel, or tripel. Smooth and relatively enjoyable, if not with a ton of personality.

Overall, I think an excellent food beer, supremely drinkable, with some of the robustness of a Belgian tripel. I wish for a little bit more finish, but overall an interesting blend of different styles that are rarely mixed. Worth grabbing on a whim, IMO.


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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the brewery in early April 2011.

The beer pours a copper semi clear color with no head or lacing, has the look to me of a lighter spirit. The smell has a nice white grape smell with sweeter yeasty notes to back it up with classic belgian style ripe fruit.

The taste is better than I expected from Bell's, as I never had anything else that was Belgian style from them. True to tripel style with yeast and malt reminiscent of classic tripels and fermented grape flavors and spice. Some farmhouse dry straw like flavors mix with a honey sweetness, something I'm starting to see as a signature from this brewery.

The mouth is brisk and crisp with a lighter feel and no alcohol. Just overly bubbly for me, which gets annoying.

Overall the beer is good, though I get tired of it after a awhile. Nice.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from raznug, courtesy of the Under 100 III BIF so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, light caramelized malts, honey, some fruit, some spices and a bit of hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with a strong flavor of Belgian yeast and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. Then some sweet flavors of honey, spices and fruit quickly follow. The hops presence is mild but brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it's a solid beer but there are better ones within the style.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From my notes:

A= Pours a crystal clear gold with no head. Looks really still.

S= Smell is syrup, yeast esters, banana, clove, apple.

M= Taste is smooth grain, banana, clove, sweet malt finish.

M= Mouthfeel is sparkling as the name indicates but actually not too carbed.

D= Drinkbility was good, I enjoyed this. Yeasty flavor can be a little overwhelming at times, though.

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Photo of jsanford
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Brewvival 2011.

Pours a clear golden color with a lovely creamy, fluffy white head. Smells and tastes of sweet bready malt, bananas, cloves with a nice peppery Belgian yeast. Banana really dominates the flavor, which is ok in my book. Slightly peppery and spicy. Medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. Nicely drinkable, I wish I had bought bottles of this when I had the chance.

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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 thagr81us
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had while at Brewvival! Served from tap into a sampler Brewvival imperial pint. Poured golden yellow with a half finger pure white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, subtle banana, and just a hint of alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, wheat, banana, and grain. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew, but not very memorable. I had forgotten that I had tried this one until I found it in my notes. After all of the other great brews I tried, this one just wasn't very memorable. Still had a nicely balanced flavor, just not very robust. Worth trying at least once, but that's about it.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour was very nice. Rich light amber in color with a light cloudiness to it. A good sized head of white came up over the top and settled down nicely into a small layer of foam across the top. carbonation could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma was very nice and very complex. Light grain in the base and then a blast of sour notes coming through. Very, very nice. Light apples, pears, peaches, hints of anise and lovely earthy notes coming throughout. THe flavor was clean, crisp, sharp. Alcohol was totally hidden here beneath of blanket of nice fruit and light spices. Smooth finish here left a subtle tartness in the mouth and a really nice light grain flavor and a hint of green apples. Smooth mellow carbonation and a really fine finish,

Overall for a triple, this was fantastically drinkable. No hints of alcohol at all and really just amazingly complex. I would love to try this one on tap as I heard it is mind blowing. This is one that needs to be sought out!

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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 Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a tulip on Thanksgiving Day 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a fairly clear light golden color with a fairly large off white head and a good amount of lacing as it goes down. Nose brings a fair amount of Belgian spice and hints of fruit, as well as a bit of sweet bread. Taste adds in a bit of sugar, although it is mostly dry. The earthy spice and fruit flavors are present, but faint. Feel is light and airy, with good carbonation. Drinkability is decent, but isn't much compared to many of the Belgian versions of the style.

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Photo of harpus
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a slightly cloudy bight golden color. Reminds me of a pilsner. A finger of white, fizzy head remains for a while, reducing down eventually to a thin layer. Good lacing to go with good head retention.

S- Bananas, orange, peach, other subtle fruit smells. A bit spicy, but not nearly as much as I was expecting.

T- Once again, fruit flavors dominate, especially the banana and citrus. A bit buttery also, sadly none of the spices seem to show up. A bit boozy as well as the beer warms.

M- Light bodied and well carbonated. Has a prickly mouthfeel to it.

D- Very drinkable, the 9% ABV barely shows itself except for in the flavor just a bit. I could easily drink a couple of thes

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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 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 mcann2pu
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a light golden-yellow color with bubbles rising from the glass, not much head, no lacing.

Smell: light spice aroma, maybe some faint clove,

Taste: light spice taste,

Mouthfeel: fairly highly carbonated, bubbly

Drinkability: high drinkability, it's a light bubbly ale that goes down easy for 9%.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A semi-hazy golden orange brew with plenty of lively carbonation bubbles an. d a thick white head that slowly dissipates with some lacing. Aroma of light bread malt, orange zest, some yeast and a touch of grassy hops. Flavor is zesty ,peppery with flavors of semi-sweet malt, bready yeast and some spiced oranges,Medium body , clean mouthfeel , dry peppery finish , very drinkable and quite good

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at City Tap House for beer week 2010. I love this city!

Sparkling ale pours out a bright golden color with bright penny highlights. Some rising bubbles but nothing producing a head or a cap. Not all that sparkling. Smell is pretty weak all things considered. Getting some faint fruits apples, pears, and plum, but they are very light. A sweet malt hit and just a bit of sugars. Corn. Taste is a step up with the fruits souped up with pears coming out on top with apple and plum after. I do get some corn/ adjunct flavor, light but noticable. Some yeasty bread in the back. Not memorable. This was good but does not hack it style wise. Im a De Dolle guy myself, but I've had better american triples.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, bright gold color with low, yet spritzy carbonation, minimal head and lacing. Scent is very floral, rose water, pear, apple and fresh grapes. Taste is unique for a tripel, slight candied sugar taste accompanies the rose water, hibiscus, vanilla, pear, apple and grape flavors. Somewhat creamy body, dry finnish and moderate carbonation. A unique beer for the style with a lt of nice floral and fruit notes.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Sparkling Ale from 2004 (a local distributor held some of these back in '04 from unknown reasons)

Poured into a Lindeman's Flute

A. Pours a clear gold with a billowing white head that sticks around for awhile then fades with very little lacing.
S. Pears on the nose once I open the bottle. In the glass raspberries and white peaches make an appearance along with white grapes. I'm excited to take a sip.
T. More alcohol upfront than I expected from the smell. The fruit is still there, but more subtle than I expected from the nose. Dry champagne-like flavors on the finish.
M. Medium bodied with a low level of carbonation - less sparkling on the tongue than I'd expect from a sparkling ale.
D. More like champagne than I expected - higher alcohol in the mouth than on the nose, light and fruity on the nose, but a little lackluster on the carbonation. Not a great representation of the style, but a surprisingly champagne-like beer: they hit the bottle's stated target on the mark, but I'm still disappointed that all of the wonderful scents didn't fully transition into the taste.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

A nice light golden colour, there's minmal foam but pretty good lacing.

The smell is fruity, spicy(mostly pepper), kind of an earthy maltiness. A good nose.

The taste starts off very fruity and has a yeasty taste to it, branches off to some grainy notes, some dashes of pepper, and some candi sugar and maybe honey? The finish is slightly bitter with some light tartness. Some interesting flavours that *I* think could do without the graininess. I'd like it better..

Close to full bodied and fairly light carbonation. A good mouthfeel.

Drinkability? Maybe a little too grainy... now that I'm deeper into the session, I'll call it more earthy than grainy, to give it great drinkability for me. I don't know, the flavours come across as a little harsh so I'll say it isn't the easiest drinking Tripel I've tasted but it's interesting. Give it a shot if you see some. You may like it more than I do.

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Photo of urwithdave
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my snifter.

A- pours golden yellow in color. A fairly small white head that disappears almost immediately. There is some lacing but not enough to get all smitten over.

A- yeast jumps out at me right away. Its followed up by subtle hints of aplle and pears.

T- the yeast is def in charge. There is a slight hint of cloves. The malts are around as well. There is a belgium candy taste that dominates everything except the yeast.

M- medium bodied with a lot less bubbly than I had expected. It finishes pretty sweet but not overly so.

D- not my favorite style but is drinks really easy. Not a hint of the abv present.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice clear golden color with some white head that leaves little lacing. Smell is largely of some belgian yeast, a bit of clove, and some pale malt notes. A bit of fruit there too. Taste follows suit, with some bigger hop notes than I expected--some grass and leafy-ness. It's good, just more suited to the BSPA category than Tripel (not fruity enough, IMO). Decent MF, a little lacking in the creamy/filling department, could have used a bit more carbonation. This one, however, really wins on the drinkability, easy drinker with well-masked ABV. Good stuff, just not my favorite from Bell's.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into pint glass, grabbed at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville.

Pours hazy gold, hints of a white head that never really amount to much of anything.

Nose is big on the yeast up front, tropical fruit, just a bit earthy, tangy.

Taste follows suit - tangy up front and a bit peppery with a lot of yeast wrapped around a candy-sweet fruit character that contains notes of pineapple, white grape skins, pears, bit of spicy alcohol, and a grassy hop note rounding out the finish with a firm bitterness that lingers alongside the tangy fruit on the palate. Fairly well executed, though not quite to my taste. The grassiness is just a bit much for me.

Mouthfeel is well done, full bodied, with a well-defined carbonation that is just crisp enough while still feeling velvety soft. Bit sticky is the only downside.

Drinkability isn't bad, but the grassiness interferes more than it balances to me. Still, a well made beer that impresses in more ways than it doesn't.

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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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