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

very good
308 Reviews
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Bell's Smitten Golden Rye AleBell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale

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

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

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Reviews: 308 | Ratings: 1,700
Photo of droomyster
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden body with lots of yeast suspended and swirling around, with a small white head with decent retention. Aromas of honey and grain with slight hints of flowers and pineapple. Taste is consistent with the aromas and extremely well balanced in the malt to hop ratio, and finishes dry with a flavor of orange pith. It's worth trying if you don't mind chewing yeast.

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Photo of mattkoon
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

smitten golden rye ale is pretty bold. less citrus than an ipa with a more bitter finish. it smells hoppy and crisp. the look of this beer is cloudy and golden with small chunks suspended like fruit in jello. this isnt a bad beer at all pretty full flavored. id drink it again.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Green Dot Stables in Detroit, Michigan. $3 for a 12oz mug. Gimme!

Appearance: A beautiful golden color with a tiny head. The lacing's patchy and not that great, but the appearance surely isn't what matters most.

Smell: I tried, tried, and tried some more to get aromas out, and for some reason I didn't get that many, but they were more than pleasant. Rye, floral aromas, some sweetness, maybe like a honey... very inviting.

Taste/feel: Great stuff. I've only had about three or four rye beers in my life, and this one tastes different than most... but I think that's a good thing. The sweetness of this beer is something I'm not used to, because ryes generally seem more bitter to me. The floral notes with the sweetness and, really, light rye makes this a super tasty beer. The rye doesn't come out very strong, but a good beer's a good beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Giant in the mix-a-six cooler enjoyed chilled from a willybecker.

The color is slightly darker golden with light amber accent with mild haze and thick pale cream of about 2.5 fingers and retention is very good with lace stickage on the glass. The smell is nice with some floral hop elements and mild nutty and grainy malt in the nose with slight citrus in the hop aroma with light orange rind and grapefruit tinged nose. The feel is very good with moderate bitterness and mild sweetness with slight husky grain presence midway through with semi-dry and moderately astringent aspect toward the end with spicy and gently acidic quality in the finish

The taset is pleasant with citrus peel hop flavor and gentle earthy malt with slight grassy taste from the hops w/ light tannic element which seems like a tea-like hop astringency with toasted maltiness in the back end. Overall a pretty tasty rye w/ nice balance and plenty of hop flavor which is almost a Rye IPA in terms of perceived bitterness with fresh taste and dry feel that brings you back for more.

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Photo of busternuggz
4.71/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Center poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Bottle date of 1-18-13.

Beautiful golden/straw color with a puffy, finely bubbled head. Leaves a thick ring of sudsy lace.

Big, sharp, bright aromas of bitter orange, spicy rye, fresh grass, grapefruit zest. A little bit of grainy bread. Very nice, full and inviting.

Lively rye malt leads in to nice bitter grapefruit and orange zest, rye spice, bitter grassiness. Hop forward but very well balanced. Finishes dry with a long, pleasantly bitter herbal/rye aftertaste. Harmonious, bright, and very clean. Manages to be both intense and very drinkable at the same time. This beer is beautifully made.

Crisp, light texture, very smooth, ends clean and dry. Fades out with subtlety and leaves you wanting more.

This beer is immaculate. Superbly crafted, amazing balance, straightforward and clean with a nice complexity. This beer is about everything I could want from an American pale ale. My favorite beer this year so far, hands down.

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Photo of shand
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smitten pours out a hazy orange color with a nicely retaining head. The aroma is nice and rye-forward, with light malts and hopping. The taste, again, is rye forward, but it doesn't smack you upside the head with spiciness. The rye is also brilliantly matched by an APA-level of bright citrus hops. The mouthfeel is light and moderately carbonated, and the drinkability is exceptional. Bell's Smitten is an excellent rye beer, one of the best I've had. It provides an insanely delicious level of balance that keeps me coming back for more.

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Photo of oberon
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours into a standard pint a clear light to medium golden with a great looking sticky over one finger white head that lift multiple rings of broken lace as it settled into a frothy mass.Aromas were just mild with a sharp note of rye over top of light citric hops,again pretty light.Flavors have some decent citric hops and sharp rye notes but they end ebruptly and nothing really lingers.There is some earthiness that comes into play but the flavors seem to die out pretty quickly after a good start.Not one of the better rye ales I have had but it's not horrible by any means.

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Photo of wspscott
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in Sam Adams glass
bottled on 1/15/13

A: A careful pour still ended up with a lot of yeast floaties, is this a different yeast from Two Hearted because I don't remember this much yeast in the glass. Topped with a 1 finger bright white head that leaves lots of lace.
S: Smells bright and citrusy
T: A definite citrus hop along with a dryness that I associate with rye combined with what I think is a yeast driven fruitiness.
M: Crisp and highly carbonated, if a little lighter in body would make a great lawnmower beer.
O: In the end, I think this is a very good beer, but I am not sure how often I will buy it. I think I would always prefer two hearted over this especially since this is 6%. If this was a 4.5 - 5% beer, this would end up in the fridge more often. Like it, don't love it, but worth trying.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Thanks to Momar42 for the 12 oz bottle! Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a golden orange color with a ton of yeast particles floating around. The head is a two finger white shade. Both texturing and retention are pretty damn good, and the lacing left by the receding head is quite attractive as well. Pretty face, ugly body, let's split the difference here.

S: I do notice a bit of rye to it, along side some piny, herbal hops. The hop profile seems to fit the rye malt quite well. It becomes a bit maltier as it warms up, and grows a biscuity component as well. Aromatically, it could be a little less muted.

T: One thing that lets me down right from the onset is the lack of distinctive character to it. It starts and finishes with a combination of earthy, spicy malts and piny hops. After a while, the finish will develop a grassy hop quality to it that I enjoy somewhat. This really is the type of beer more conducive to simple drinking than actual reviewing...

M: Rougher than I like, which is exasperated by the coarse yet strong carbonation and fuller body. The back end is quite clean and crisp; so maybe this would be good in the summer time?

O: Not bad - but I'm certainly not smitten with it. It's too sharp in feel for its nondescript flavor profile.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Bells Smitten Golden Rye Ale

Pours a honey gold color with a white head and a bit of lace. Large chunks of yeast or proteins are hanging in suspension. Aroma of clean maltyness, some floral and sweet fresh doughy bread. In the taste, bready malt sweetness balanced by a citrusy hop character and a bit of grainy rye. Mild bitterness with notes of grapefruit. Medium bodied with a chalky finish. Overall, this was an ok beer but a little disappointed. This ale could use some cleaning up.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smitten is golden in color with alot of sediment floating about. A tall white head sits on top with gentile carbonation seen through the haze.
It smells dank and of oily hops, earthy too. Malts are present with spicy rye punching through.
Taste is mostly malts with a spicy and subdued sour taste from the rye. It's not that hoppy, some peak through with a floral and or earthy taste but very understated.
Drinks rather bitter with a dry finish.
I like this beer the rye is nicely balanced and not over powering which is good because I'm really not that big into rye beers. Plenty drinkable.

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Photo of jkrich
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a freshness dated 12 oz. bottle: bright golden hue with the characteristic Bell's suspended sediment. The foamy white head recedes slowing leaving some nice lacing.

Strong piney aromas are evident along with some rye aroma.

The flaver is very crisp and dry with a solid citrusy profile mixed with a noticeable rye flavor. The rye presence is represented more in the this ale than any other "rye" ale I have tried. As the ale warms, a little malt backbone comes through, giving the ale a pleasant balance.

The mouthfeel is light, flavorful and refreshing with a pleasing level of carbonation. Bittersweet flavors linger on the palate

This is my favorite rye ale thus far. You can actually taste and enjoy the addition of rye in this one. Quite quenching and sessionable, this would also make a great ale for summer.

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Photo of viverlee
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It starts, as it usually doesn’t, with something special. What the hell are these little pollen dusts doing in my glass, and why are they turning me on? Am I drinking beer today or chicken stock from a Michelin starred kitchen?

These Rye Beers have put me on full tilt. Like Emmy Rossum, I can’t stop thinking about them.

So I let this brew with the IPA nose sit for a few weeks before granting myself the privilege of tasting it. The moment had to be right, as it is now. A near Spring day, momma bear and little b napping, and little ol’ me with nothing to do except relax with a pint that smells like cantaloupe, coriander and pine.

It’s not my favorite in this style, no. But it is a decent effort, highlighted by a refreshing weight. It’s rare to find a cool-your-mouth brew with enough body that you have to be reminded to swallow. Maybe I’m overreacting to last night. Or maybe not. I think it really does have that balance.

When the lips meet the glass there’s also rye bread (more obviously than with others in this style), bitter honey, dried leaves and mostly there roundness that’s sullied only by the absence of a citrus, ideally tangerine, note.

Beeradvocate Rating: 85

ratebeer Rating: 87

Hayward Abbey Rating: 85

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Photo of Zachtheporter
4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a medium yellow golden color with a fat, fluffy, three finger, white head. Very clean and clear looking. Excellent head retention.

S- Fruity, spicy, grassy hops. Some notes of citrus fruits. Spicy rye bread and sweet grains.

T- There is a nice spicy, citrusy hop aroma right up front that blends very nicely with the spiciness of the rye. The flavors really help to balance each other out quite nicely. Some notes of apricot and bready grains as well.

M- Full bodied with a bit of rough carbonation but overall it is very smooth and goes down quite easily.

O- This is a very well balanced pale ale. There was a lot less rye flavor than I initially thought that there would be, however the amount present turned out to be perfect. I can not emphasize how drinkable this beer is. I drank my first bottle waaay to fast, and I'm not usually a fan of rye. A very nice spring offering.

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Photo of timc100
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very hazy pale orange with lots of chucks floating around. Solid foamy white head that sticks around.

S: Very mild. Lemon citrus, very slight orange/coriander, bread. Very dry

T: Much like the nose, but brighter. Biting citrus, hay/bread/spice melange of sorts. Dry and refreshing

P: Nice, do not really notice it - active carbonation, light-medium bodied.

O: Nice beer, would be better in hotter months.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.16/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass. Bottled on 01/18/2013.

Appearance: Pours a fairly hazy golden orange with a lot of fast rising bubbles. Big four finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Aroma is a mix of spicy rye and a mix of hops and malt. Big hints of rye giving a big kick of spice. Earthy and floral hops along with a scent of citrus orange, pineapple, tangerine, and lemon. Also some grass and pine. Soft malts with hints of biscuit, hay, caramel, and yeast. A little bit of honey and a slight hint of peat. The rye and citrus stands out the most from the mix. A pretty good spicy smell.

Taste: Follows the smell, a spicy and citrus forward taste of rye and hops. Big taste of rye spice throughout. Solid mix of earthy, floral, and herbal hops. Good taste of citrus orange, tangerine, lemon, and pineapple. A little sugar and honey. Soft pale malts with notes of biscuit, hay, caramel, toffee, yeast, and a little peat. Taste is somewhat laid back but well balanced and solid. The spice from the rye is pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, spicy, and somewhat juicy. Finishes dry.

Overall: A pretty solid rye beer. Good spice and citrus taste.

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Photo of beerweevil
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pleases me a lot, in part because there are too few beers with this sort of bitterness (as far as I know there is not a vocabulary in English to distinguish differing qualities of bitter). Perhaps it's the rye I am into. Otherwise I'd love to know which bittering hops were included. The substantial body (for a "pale ale") seems to help keep that flavor lingering long enough that I can really relax into it. In contrast, some very tastey beers have fleeting flavors that I would rather hold onto longer. Perhaps I'll have some criticism after a few more, but the first two just taste balanced and delicious.

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Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly, orange color with a one-finger, white head of foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of spicy rye bread with some caramel.

T - Some toffee and caramel sweetness. A very subtle spiciness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale.

O - This was really tasty. I wished that I had another one as soon as I finished the first.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

12 ounce bottle - $1.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

11726 - 01/24/13

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark golden body with a tall, growing, near white head.

Smell: The aroma is weak, hesitant, with a faint degree of maltiness, a touch of rye grain, and a some dried flower petal undertones.

Taste: A little toasted grain to the maltiness, with a definite rye kick to it. Very low sweetness on hand. Firmly floral throughout. Medium bitterness. Some sustained spiciness on the bitterish, bone dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I found it to be tiresome and tedious, frankly.

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Photo of jucifer1818
4.26/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: dark straw, with a large head

s: Floral, fruity hops dominate the aroma, with some bready nodes

t: This beer has the sour and spicy tastes from the Rye, and they are complimented by a strong bitter hoppy backbone. A bit of grainyness is also present (most likely from flaked rye). A excellent Rye beer

M: Creamy from the Carbonation with a bit of grainyness

Overall: this is a great American Rye ale. One of the best comnerical examples Ive ever seen
Highly recommended


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Photo of Cylinsier
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz.

Pours a hazy lemony gold, particles in suspension. Half inch white head dissipates slowly.

Smells of rye and mildly piney hops, with some honey and light citrus notes.

Rye and hop bitter up front with a tart citrus finish.

Medium body with a stinging carbonation on the tongue.

A nice light hoppy ale, good rye flavor but it could stand to have a little more rye. Easy to drink and worth having. I would drink it again.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Honey tangerine color. Excellent lacing. Creamy white head with insane retention. Bartender had trouble subduing the carbonation on this beast.

Citrusy hops are light, but upfront. Lots of herbaceous notes. Lightly floral with a dry rye-ness speaking for itself.

More rye than I was even expecting. Floral hops with flourishes of summery orange citrus. Hints of lemon and wheatgrass. Decent bitterness level. Quite refreshing.

Mildy carbonated in the mouth. Smoother and lighter body. Supremely drinkable. Just what it's good for.

A tasty spring seasonal that I'm short on words for. Worthy of a six-pack purchase, however.

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Photo of Florida_SC_Trojan
4.44/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer and brewery. I wish this was a year round beer for this brewery. A true good representation of a rye beer. Beautiful golden hazy color with good retention. Floral with a spicy rye finish, another very drinkable beer. Not alot of depth but a great initial flavor that is very easy to drink.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top with nice label. Bottled 1/14/13. Glad Bell's finally went to the straighforward date-stamping, rather than the old code system. The old system wasn't bad, but in the days before smart phones, you wouldn't know how fresh the beer was until after you'd bought it. Into a 16oz nonic pint.

Appearance: Rich gold brew, with tons of flaky sediment in suspension, both from my sloppy pour and (I'm assuming?) copious dry-hopping. Nice sticky eggshell cap with good retention.

Smell: Citrus-and-pine hops, along with a rustic earthy quality (is that from the rye, maybe, I haven't really learned to pick out rye in a beer yet?). Straightforward, but pleasant.

Taste: Big fruity (though not as citrusy as I was led to expect from the description) and bitter earthy/piney hop notes, supported with a dry, slightly peppery graininess. Very light notes of fruity yeast in the background? This is fairly balanced, with a slight advantage going to the hops. Not a lot of depth, but pleasant flavors, and a firm, relatively clean hop finish. I'd estimate somewhere between 35-45 IBUs if I had to take a shot at it.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and just shy of feeling like 6% abv...quite drinkable.

Overall: Smitten is a really tasty APA. It definitely belongs in this category, and not that of American IPA, which is where I anticipated it belonging at first whiff. APA isn't a style I purchase all that often, but this one's interesting, and quite drinkable. However, with most of Bell's offerings going for $9-11 around here, this probably won't be something I'd pick up again, largely because of the price. Nonetheless, if APA is your thing, this one's worth checking out for its nice flavors, balance, and drinkability.

B = 84-85

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Photo of oline73
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter at Churchkey.

Pours an orangish amber with a layer of off white head. The nose is abut weird. I'm getting rye and some citrus but there is also a slight medicinal quality. The taste is better. Rye spice teams up with citrus peel hops. The malt backbone is quite nice. Quite enjoyable but not spectacular.

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Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,700 ratings.
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