Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
307 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Bell's Smitten Golden Rye AleBell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Drawn from one of our oldest recipes, Smitten Ale began as part of a series of rye beers at our Eccentric Café. The combination of sharp citrus & resinous flavors from the hops with the earthy, rustic overtones of the rye malt contribution yield an interesting take on the American Pale Ale.

Added by Biggness on 06-14-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
307
Ratings:
1,687
Avg:
3.76
pDev:
11.7%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
320
For Trade:
3
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 307 | Ratings: 1,687
Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served on-draught into a plastic cup at the Elephant and Castle in the Crowne Plaza, Chicago on St. Patrick's Day. Reviewed from notes. Complimentary with my room (which, incidentally, was also complimentary with priority club points). I had high expectations given the brewery.

A: Pours a one finger head of white colour. Fair cream. Decent thickness. Nice retention. Body colour is a nontransparent murky peach. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Generally appealing for the style.

Sm: Floral hops, rye grain, milky citrus, and light grass. A mild strength aroma. Generally appealing. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Floral hops, rye grain, and milky citrus - with some buried orange notes. Nicely grassy. A bit of yeasty character. Clove. Pale malts. Balanced but simple. Lacks subtlety and complexity.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Pretty good carbonation. Lightly crisp. Decent presence on the palate.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but not great. I do like it, but I'm not impressed. I could take down a sixer of this with ease, but the quality just isn't high enough to warrant purchasing again. It's a solid offering from Bell's for what it is.

High C+ (Borderline B-)

 1,205 characters

Photo of Neorebel
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a warm golden-brown color, with a puff of white foam over top, which clings nicely to the sides of the glass. The aroma brings to mind buttery bread crust, faint floral notes, and a trace of Rye whiskey. There's a strong taste of piny hop varieties accompanied by rye bread. It's got a medium mouth feel and quite the bitter finish. Greater than the sum of it's parts, it's a very solid Rye Beer all things considered.

 424 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.11/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: This poured a hazy gold with lots of sediment and a little white head.
S: It smelled like earthy copper hops with some citrus zest and bread crust.
T: It tasted like citrus zest and copper hops, with some spicy rye and earthy bread crust. It had a somewhat clean bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Ok body.
D: This was not a great rye beer. The scent was sub-par, and the taste and body weren't a big improvement. The finish wasn't bad but wasn't great. No real impressive or redeeming element. Not recommended.

 547 characters

Photo of stakem
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to ClockworkOrange for gifting me with a bottle of this. 12oz poured into a pint. The brew appears a hazed golden with particulate stuck in suspension. A fluffy white cap rests atop with patchy lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma is lemony essenced with a grassy to noble hop character. A bit of biscuit to cereal grain quality provides a pleasant contrast/backing to the hops.

The flavor is fresh and grainy with a bit of toasty taste about it that is minorly like cereal sweetness. Some lemony citrus hops break things up before getting progressively more herbal to more dank and piney in the finish.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is a nice summertine refreshing brew with lots of enjoyable hop aspects. I could see where someone who doesnt dig pale ales or IPAs might be turned off by this as it has quite a hop punch to it. Thanks again Jason!

 907 characters

Photo of Lawl3ss
2.86/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75

Chilled 12 oz. bottle into a 33 cl snifter. Bottling date 1.14.13.

Look- Pale Amber, lots (and I mean LOTS) of suspended particulate. Looks pretty unappealing, actually It's not that old and it's been in my fridge the whole time, so I'm not sure what's up with that. Three fingers of pillowy head fall quickly, nice lacing.

Smell- Bready, definitely saison feel. Light spice, melon, apricot.

Taste- Very saison-like, light biscuit and a little funk, noticeable bittering, mild soft fruitiness. Grassy hop flavor and light metallic twang builds as the glass empties. Aftertaste of shortbread and white tea.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, medium carbonation. Juicy, full feel but dry, slightly chalky finish. Has a hard water feel to it. Easy drinking.

Overall- Meh, I'm not really a fan of this brew, doesn't really come together for me and it's neither light nor dry enough for what I want it to be. Spicy, bold ale? No. Light, crisp ale? Not really. Too middle-of-the-road I suppose, and the rye characteristics are overshadowed by the yeast and what I interpret to be the liquor/water characteristics. I probably wouldn't avoid it, but I'd likely not order it for myself either.

 1,178 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden yellow, almost orange. Lots of yeast. Very rustic, but a tad flat. Overall, the lacing is very nice...again...rustic.

Smell: Freshly mown lawn and dandelions, like the one on the bottle. Slightly sour.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Sweet corn and a hint of flowers. Quite herbal. Not a whole lot of rye. Pretty good. Fairly creamy, but a bit too thin. Too light-bodied for a rye.

Overall: A light rye beer is a cool idea, put not great in practice. It is good though.

 476 characters

Photo of 701beer
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a hazy golden color that is slightly copper. White head that appears fluffy and disapates slowly in a beer clean glass. Leaves moderate amount of lacing on glass with each drink.

A: Smells of hoppy citrus and spicyness from the rye that reminds me of a saison, like Tank 7. As it warms some fruitiness shows through with slight peaches and pineapple and orange oil. Moderate maltiness.

T: Spicy and peppery, with citrus notes. As it warmed the fruity characteristics that were present in the nose showed up. Aftertaste of citrusy hop bitterness.

M: Perfect carbonation. Malt profile creates a medium bodied beer.

O: Great warm weather beer that is somewhat reminiscent of a saison. Won't break the bank and stands up well to many foods, I enjoyed a few with some green curry chicken in the past. Hops make the heat of the curry stand out.

Soild offering from Bells. Also great on tap.

 899 characters

Photo of bnes09
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bright orange brew, somewhat hazy with lots of yeast chunks. Huge head on the pour, great retention and big frothy lace blotches.

Fresh, floral and citric aroma.

Mild rye bread in the flavor. Assertive citric, grassy hop which is well balanced. Tart, tangy on the dry side in the finish.

Medium bodied, snappy carbonation, crisp, dry finish.

Great rye brew. Love the fresh citrus flavor.

 391 characters

Photo of lsummers
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured a bright golden orange. Tons of floaters that give it a nice dense Haze. There's a two finger fizzy head but it recedes to a nice layer and leaves some lacing behind.

Smells of light spices clove and wheat. Kind of subtle on the nose.

Tastes of citrus and cloves with a peppery spice. Subtle grassy hop note blends well with the touch of grains and rye.

Moderate carbonation and that peppery spice is reminiscent of A saison.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer that is nicely balanced and light on the tongue.

 520 characters

Photo of mdcrouser
3.99/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Golden like the name says, hazy whitish head, great lacing - every half inch, there's a dedicated line left behind.

Wheaty, some rye spice, a very small bit of citrus.

Rye spice up front, a bit of mustiness, but it quickly fades to leave the rye behind. Earthy, a bit of spice, rye bread, lemonade. Uniquely summerlike.

Lightly carbonated, smooth throughout - easy to drink.

This is a different, much lighter take, on what can be done with rye. Not great, but enjoyable.

 478 characters

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass at cellar temperature.

L – Pale amber color with a nice 3-finger, frothy, foamy, cream-colored head. Awesome retention and some fantastic rings of lacing. Clear with a good amount of bubbles but with lots of floaters, giving the beer an almost gelatinous appearance.

S – The aroma consists of grainy, bready malt, spicy rye, and a nice bouquet of hops with citrus and grassy notes. It smells like a solid pale ale with some rye thrown in.

T – The taste opens up with the spicy bite of rye and bitter blast of grapefruit, orange, grassy, and floral hops. As those stronger flavors subside, citrus sweetness and grainy, caramel, and bready malt take the forefront.

F – Medium-bodied with great carbonation, a creamy and sticky mouthfeel, and a bittersweet, spicy, and very dry finish. Citrus hops and caramel malt probably linger the longest out of all of the flavors.

O – I really liked this beer. It really had all the things that I look for in a pale ale, plus the addition of rye to make it a “rye beer.” There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but it’s definitely tasty, drinkable, and a great example of the style.

 1,195 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.19/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smitten pours a golden golden color, with a nice large lacing head. The aroma is a bit similar to a bathroom, luckily its not too strong. The taste is crisp a nice strong citrus, and a nice bit of bitterness. Nice full flavor. Overall a not bad beer, good citrus flavors that work well in this beer.

 299 characters

Photo of Hopswagger
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Cloudy golden orange body with loads of specks and floaters. A whipped creamy off white head that hangs out for a good while.

S: Orange peel and oil, toasted rye, lemon zest, faint peaches, pineapple and earthy notes.

T/M: Spiced orange, toasted rye, sweet malt, chalky yeast, honey, and herbal tea. Zesty body that leave the palate subtly chalky and lingers bitter orange peel and spice.

O: Refreshing and easy drinking porch beer. The hop and malt profile are clean and simple yet play well together. A seasonal ale that doesn't break the bank.

 555 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours hazy golden orange with an off-white finger width head. Good retention, leaving behind a healthy layer of microbubbles atop the surface. Spotty lacing with good stick.

Smell - Bready, slight caramel, with moderate citrus tones and a touch of rye spice at the tail end.

Taste - Strong bready presence upfront and throughout. Rye spice kicks in shortly thereafter, and coincides with the juicy orange hop character, both of which strengthen toward the finish. The result is a sweet, bready, orange aftertaste with a mellow peppery spice.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, with low to moderate carbonation. Somewhat creamy. Finishes semi-dry.

Overall - This is a pretty awesome pale rye ale. Flavor-wise, reminds me a bit of Deschutes Red Chair. Solid all-around balance, with an interesting mix of flavor. Bring this to California, please!

 853 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale. Hey, at last a new Bell's seasonal offering that I can actually find on the shelves and won't cost me $16 for a six-pack. I had a pint of this on tap at a bar a few weeks ago, and like it, then. Looking forward to sitting down and tackling it in the quitted of home, with a mind undistracted.

First off, what about the name? Cute, dear, darling. The dandelion with the petals pulled? Are they shooting for a female market? Perhaps the colors, images and name are looking for ladies who want to be pulled towards something approachable, but substantial, not the same old honey wheats and wits they're used to being marketed to? Just some thoughts. Now let's get to the beer…

Highly hazed, with plenty of particles, but a beautiful golden color despite that, under a slim, sure white dotted head, leaving a little film behind.

Aroma: Bright, fresh hops lead the way, citrus-y, spicy, but not too bitter. Floral hops meets spicy, bread-y rye malt. A nice combination.

Taste: That one-two combo jumps right on to the palate, when the liquid lands on the tongue and floods the mouth. A very vivacious flavor in the mouth, a fantastic combination of slightly bitter hop profile and sweet and spicy malt mouthfeel. Light to medium body, smooth to somewhat tickle texture.

I'm really getting it now. I'm suspicions about the name, branding and imaging are proven true. The flavor is a step up from Oberon, for the craft beer fan needing a little something more, …not so much from hops, but enough. Not too much from malt, but the right amount to keep things tasty, light and easy to drink.

I like this. Might not choose it myself too often. But I recommend it. Refreshing and delightful. Maybe I'm smitten?

Here's the typically terse but clever label verbiage from the bottle: "With wonderfully bitter citus notes, resinous hop flavors and earthy overtones, this interesting take on the American Pale Ale doesn't leave a lot of room to wonder if you'll love it." Well done, but I'd skip the superlatives. "wonderful" and "interesting" should be left to the consumer to decide. True enough, it's a very likable brew.

 2,150 characters

Photo of screamking
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle dated 01/14/13 poured into pint glass.

This pours a hazy golden straw color, nice thick white head. Very nice looking beer with lots of lacing. A very slight citrus aroma. You also get a little of the rye spice in there, not as strong as I though it would be. Smell on this could have been stronger.

The taste is kinda surprising, not heavy on the rye. Instead it has a much more tropical tone. Lots of pineapple and mango. After that, the rye starts to kick in, but is subdued by a bitter aftertaste. The feel is on the fuller side of light, if that makes sense.

To me this would make a good summer beer, I'm not totally sure why its bottled in January. It's very drinkable and price point is right on track with most craft sold today. My only real gripe is if its a rye ale, I think it should use a much heavier rye recipe. Overall a nice little beer for a hot summer/spring day.

 900 characters

Photo of ToddT
3.29/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

L- Somewhat hazy orange topped with an off white fluffy head, that fades slowly to a cap and leaves a good bit of lace on the glass.

S- Light notes of rye malt and floral / citrus hops, not a very strong aroma.

T- Citrus notes right away, hints of lemon and orange, soon balanced out by the rye malt. Finish has a hint of hop oil but otherwise is pretty clean and dry.

M- Medium in body and decent carbonation, a bit of a creamy feel to this one.

O- A decent experiment, the hops and the rye clash a bit but not to a degree to make it unpleasant. The 6.0% ABV is a nice little kick and is well hidden.

 606 characters

Photo of NoleDoc
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served from bottle to glass. Had a thick head that was about 2 fingers thick. Rich yellow color with some sedimentation floating in the glass. Had a great smell of citrus. First sip hits you with bitter citrus notes and slight hit of hops. Has a smooth mouthfeel. Good summer Ale.

 280 characters

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle with a 1/14/2013 'bottled-on' date into a pint glass. Since it's not an IPA, the three month time-period hopefully hasn't caused any major loss of character.

Appearance - An orangeish-tan color with notes of gold and tons of floating sediment. Clearly an unfiltered beer. The head starts off foamy--about a finger of off-white head--but dissipates to a rim of bubbly carbonation around the edge and a layer of thin foam on the top of the beer. The lacing is silky and lingers before disappearing.

Smell - Spicy, bready rye aromas are dominant on the nose, but evolves into notes of citrus peel, hoppiness and some hints of malty sweetness.

Taste - The malt character is much more present here and makes up most of the flavor profile. The finish is earthy and herbal, with some of the bitterness from the hops finally poking through and rounding out the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Nicely carbonated, but mostly smooth and slick. Just enough carbonation to avoid any impression that the beer is flat. Very clean finish.

Overall, a solid beer, but I seem to have a favor for lighter rye beers. I love the way the spiciness of the rye comes through when paired with lighter flavor/smell profiles. I would easily find myself buying a sixer of this brew.

 1,269 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Listening to Dr. John on Spotify goes great with this light summer/spring brew from Bell's...color is a kiss of orange/apricot preserves with a whipped head that brings a beige cream colored head forms thick with fine even banded lacing poured into a Tripel Karmeliet chalice. Aroma heavy hitting with floral citrus based hops, underlying hints of spicy rye malts with signature Bell's house yeast strain glowing through like your favorite artisanal crusted bread. The nose hits with orange marmalade like notes heavy on the peel, glazed with sweetness from the malts and balanced with the rye sharpness. Flavor is melding well, heavy bitterness with minimal crashing waves of alcohol seeping through this beer is sending out a lovely message, refreshment with hop bitterness. Someone had to do it I'm glad it's a great company like Bell's, I'm going to quit trying to act like somebody else and just enjoy what's good and not what's popular. I don't see this beer getting raved about, let me start the bandwagon, it's fuckin' good simply pleasurable well crafted American pale ale. The more I taste and smell this beer I'm getting limoncello with spiced rye grains bleeding through the alcohol, not nearly as strong but the same presence. Mouthfeel is creamy textured with hints of nuttiness on the sides of my palate, ample flowing carbonation this beer is smooth but still has that lingering rough hop oil bitterness that most "normal" beer drinkers don't care for, however I'm a "hophead" and I wouldn't expect anything less. Overall high quality well thought out beer, that I'm pleasured to sample a bottle of keep 'em coming good stuff from our friends up in Michigan.

 1,674 characters

Photo of Onenote81
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tall tulip. Pours a pale gold with a yeasty haze. Thick lustrous white head rests on top. Leaves perfect sticky lace rings after each sip. A beautiful beer. A dry cracker-like aroma, with some pale fruit and lightly floral finish.

Easy drinking and smooth. Carbonation level is moderate, but this beer drinks a little slick at times. Nice mellow spicy profile from the rye, moderate bittering hops, grassy notes, and a smidge of fruity flavors on the back end.

A nice beer here for sure. Admittedly Rye's are not my favorite of styles, but this one was refreshing and tasty.

 604 characters

Photo of Vonerichs
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pale orange body and it has a ton of chunky and suspended sediment. I even let it settle for a while but this crap just wanted to hang.

Grainy smell with some lemon and grass.

The flavor is also very grainy. The lemon is a bitter pith and some intifada orange. Light rye spice in the finish.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated and light.

Eh, I wasn't very impressed at all. It seems like a user friendly beer for people just switching over to craft.

 451 characters

Photo of thedoubler55
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: A golden orange, with yeast all over the place, looks kind of like a blue moon in appearance, has a nice finger of off white head at the top and leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass as you drink.

S: The rye is present, with hints of biscuits. Lots of hops and malts mixtured but the very present in the nose.

T: The taste is nothing special, very normal for a rye beer, nothing to wild on this one, same as the nose, with a good balance.

M: Full body and good amount of carbonation, a simple drinker good for the summer.

O: I saw this six pack when I visited Bell's two weeks ago and I just had to try it, nothing crazy very simple rye beer.

 661 characters

Photo of Ri0
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured 16oz can into snifter. Hazy burnt orange body with 2.5 finger white head. Fades quickly and leaves webbed lacing on my glass. A soft rye scent with a sweet citrusy aroma. Orange, grapefruit, and pine hops with a caramel malt. The rye flavor is rather soft and pleasant, but still has a spice to it. Hops are citrusy, orange, grapefruit, along with pine. Malts are sweet caramel. Finish is bitter. Soft carbonation and medium feel. Dry and spicy on the finish. Easy drinking and delicious APA.

 499 characters

Photo of garymuchow
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh hop aroma with hints of the rye spicing it all up. Fresh and nice.
Big off-white head with lots of fullness. Rather cloudy and lots and lots of carbonation from the nucleation. Lacing from the head.
This really is a straight up APA with rye interjected and that's exactly what it tastes like. The rye is mildly balanced and mingles nicely, although some may wish for a little more presence. Striking bitterness middle to finish and a long lingering on the finish with some hop flavor thrown in too.
Solid moderate body with pleasing softness.
Solid drinking beer. Kinda' surprised this come out in the winter (maybe it's an all year beer) as today it tastes like the hope for spring that I need.

 702 characters

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 307 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe