Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
307 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 307 | Ratings: 1,691
Photo of DragonzBreath
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Big orange color with a bright white head. Cloudy at first to floaters everywhere.
a kaleidoscopic of sediment.
nice smell and light bite.
With a mild bitter at the end

a very pleasing way to move into IPAs.
Abv 6.0

 275 characters

Photo of NODAK
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is pretty light on this one. Definitely some pine notes there....but rather clean for the most part.

Golden in color, somewhat cloudy with a fair amount of sediment.

Taste is nicely floral upfront, much like a nice American pale ale....not too strong but certainly flavorful. Afterwards, the spicy rye comes out a bit and adds another layer to this beer and makes it a bit different. The bitterness is fair on the end and lingers a little while. Fairly clean otherwise. Pretty good stuff, a good take on an APA.

 519 characters

Photo of HopsMathias
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle.
Yellow to copper color with a lot of sediment.
The sediment doesn't make it hazy more just suspended pieces which actually detract from the appearance.
Very light hop aroma.
Initial taste is very light with a hoppy and slightly peppery finish.
Mouthfeel is very light as well.
Overal not bad for an IPA. Less hoppy than some.

 352 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy golden orange. Sticky white head. Leaves great lacing and nice surface foam.

Smell - Simcoe-like hop nose. Strong grapefruit aroma. Trademark garlicky notes. Rye isn't blatant, but gives it a slightly floral aroma. Some sweet notes there too.

Taste - Much less hoppy than the nose. Stronger rye and a ton of grainy malt flavor. Bitter and grainy in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium light in body. Well carbonated. Grainy bitter finish gets a bit abrasive, but easily consumed anyway.

Overall - I liked this more at first and then was less enthused as I drank it. Rye flavor isn't enough to keep it interesting and the hop profile isn't my favorite.

 692 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden and semi-cloudy due to massive chunks of sediment. My bottle is dated only a month ago, so I have no explanation for this. Regardless, there's a wealth of lovely and attractive lace.

Nose is malty and appealing, with a hint of hops. Not bad.

Taste is pleasantly hopped, with nice citrus notes and a slight bitterness. Didn't get a lot of the rye in the mix (which is fine with me), just a well-hopped pale ale. Tasty, well-done, and very enjoyable!

 463 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
3.49/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy golden honey color with a frothy, white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of faint citrus notes and a bit of rye.

Tastes of a nice rye and hop combination upfront followed by a grainy malt base. Sharp rye notes lead off with a bit of spiciness. Hops follow suit with some pine and citrus notes to add to the mix. A bit of herbal and floral bitterness stays around as the grainy malts come through and add sweetness to the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly crisp amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a solid rye beer and worth some consideration.

 588 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

New season from Bell’s – let’s see if this is Bell’s Amber Ale-Pale Ale or Hopslam-Expedition Stout quality.

Brewed one month to the day before the date of this tasting (PKGD 01/14/13).

A: The perfect pour: a translucent golden body with a dense, fluffy white head that reaches all the way to the brim of the glass. It takes minutes for the foam to settle, and when it does, there’s a skin of lacing all the way around the glass.

S: Sweet, earthy scents of biscuit, caramel, pumpernickel, and peat – a lovely rye aroma – topped with grassy, piney hops. Hints of thick pine, bright tangerine, and juicy mango to finish.

T: Tart hops blaze a trail of pepper, lemon rind, and grapefruit across the palate, though they never get overbalanced or astringent. The grain bill delivers a mix of soft, fresh bread, salted cracker, and lightly buttered pumpernickel, flavors that remain to balance the hops and nothing more; this beer has no leaning toward bitter or sweet. Finishes with hardly any aftertaste, only a thin lemon tinge.

M: Very drinkable but only because it’s very thin – this is a lawnmower beer. Light, watery body with only the slightest carbonation leaves this one a refreshing drink.

O: This is more of a summer ale, but February’s as good a time as any to have a tasty, thirst-quenching brew. If I could get this under $10 for a six-pack, it might become a go-to when I want something relatively sessionable.

 1,445 characters

Photo of Chaney
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Packaged 1/14/13.

Never even knew this beer existed.

Served in a Port City tulip.

A: Poured an extremely murky, tangerine orange color with a nice pillowy, silky 1 finger froth on top.

S: Orange juice with added Wasa cracker is the best descriptor to my mind. A bit of earthy, peat moss in there as well.

T: Nice bitterness on the front and back, with a sort of mothball-esque quality that washed over the orange peel. Definitely no grapefruit in here.

M: Nice carbonation bill and lacing. The sweetness was kept in check, but unfortunately, I found the bitterness to be a bit cloying after a few sips.

O: Not bad, but it pales in comparison to Founders "Red Rye" and "Red Rocket," both of which are roughly the same price as a sixer. Sure, I'll grab this one again on draft sometime.

 791 characters

Photo of carlborch
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant golden-tan with a significant amount of minuscule flocculates - almost hazy. Produces a creamy, thick, 2 inch off-white head. Poured a second carefully and "candled" - stopped pouring when the flocculates reached the neck. The ale does have a slight haze! Beautiful, fresh citrus and hoppy nose. Bright, clean, spicy palate that lingers. Totally moreish. Perceptively sessionable, although the 6% ABV may be a concern. Develops a very nice Belgian lace. Forward bitter notes with lingering malt and woody-earthy notes! Poured a third . . .

 557 characters

Photo of andrewjraab
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a straw like yellow with three fingers of white head. Smells of hop resin, grass, citrus notes. Opens with a mellow sweet bit of honey followed by a crisp hop jab for balance. A medium bodied brew that has a tart almost sour aftertaste. This is very solid brew that is easily and dangerously sessionable.

 310 characters

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

This isn't a bad beer but I'm finding it fairly bland.

A- Golden color with minimal head yet quite a bit of lacing. Lots of sediment throughout the glass.

S- Not much here; just a faint hop smell.

T- A very mild beer with a slight hop taste. Not too strong or weak, and seems like it'd be a good summer beer.

M- Not too thick or thin; satisfying.

Not sure if I'd get this again, but it's not bad for a single bottle.

 424 characters

Photo of Jimmys
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle. packaged 1/24/13.

A: I would say a slight haze on an otherwise very bright blond body. head is bright white with moderate retention. solid lacing.

S: a light, very herbal hop aroma. a little bit of vanilla. lemons. hibiscus. slightly floral. the aroma certainly grows on me more and more as I continue to drink.

T: chewy and herbal. not a ton of rye or a ton of hops, very similar to the nose. the rye dries things out a bit. finish is very grainy.

M: tingly carb on a light/medium body.

D: good, but I wanted this to be hoppier and more rye focused. without either of those aspects it is a tad middle of the road imo.

 642 characters

Photo of GRPunk
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (batch #11,695 date 1/14/13) poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- It had a hazy, golden body with moderate carbonation. The 1-1/2 finger, off-white head settles out to a nice, foamy, film. It left behind some awesome lace.

S- It's definitely a rye beer, though kind of delicate at first. Fresh, citrus hops might even give off some herbal tones. Everything about the aroma suggests that it's quite fresh.

T- Nicely balanced. A solid dose of rye mixed with grainy malts and citrus and slightly herbal hops. Really refreshing as rye beers go.

M- Medium-to-full bodied. Moderately carbonated. Slight hop/rye bite. Very pleasant.

O- I like it. It's a little more delicate take on a rye PA than its local counterparts from Founders and Arcadia. It's also a bit more drinkable in a "yeah, I'll have another" sort of way (which I might just do after typing this). It makes me want a fat Reuben sandwich right about now. I could see this as a really nice spring/summer brew.

As I've heard there could be a looming price rise/switch to a four-pack on Red's Rye, this could be a different, but totally suitable, replacement.

 1,129 characters

Photo of TTAmod
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle born on 1/14/13 poured in S.A. perfect pint.

A: Old school appearance: hazy yellow with lots of sediment. One finger white head that has good retention and sticky lacing.

S: Smell is fairly tropical. Heavy orange and lemon scents dominate the nose. Floral and grass notes are present, as well.

T: Starts off with a mellow orange taste, but then the rye kicks in. Halfway through, a spicy, earthy wave of flavor crashes over the palate. The end is slightly bitter and has notes of lemon zest and orange peel.

M: Medium bodied and ample carbonation. A bit watery on the back end, though.

O: This is a good, hearty, old-fashioned ale. It has a very old-school feel and taste about it. You would think the citrus would heavily clash with the rye, but this doesn't really happen. The actual sweet tropical notes are quite low. This beer has more of the bitter, zesty aspect of the aforementioned citrus, which seem to complement the rye well; it ends up being slightly dry. In my opinion, this is an excellent rye beer. I hope to see more beers like this in the future.

 1,086 characters

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 1/14/2013. Pours very cloudy golden amber color with a nice 1-2 finger dense white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of orange zest, grapefruit, lemon, pine, floral, spicy rye, grass, bread, and light herbal. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of orange, grapefruit, lemon, pine, spicy rye, bread, toast, floral, grass, and light herbal. Fair amount of piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, floral, rye spiciness, bread, toast, and grass on the finish for a bit. Very nice flavor balance of hop/malt, with good complexity; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, lightly sticky, and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice rye pale ale! Nice balance of hop/malt flavors with good complexity; and extremely smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,089 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Packaged 01/14/13

Pours honey colored with a thumb of beige head. Pretty good head retention & some lacing

S: Grassy, bready, some dry hay, some floral notes

T: Grassy, lemon, floral & pepper notes up front, along with some herbal hops. Slight lemon pepper notes as this warms, just a touch of grapefruit & some grain husks. Finishes crisp with lemon zest, grainyness & grassyness

MF: Light body with subtle carbonation, decent balance

Easy to drink, but nothing I'd buy again. I'll take Red's Rye any day. I would take this over Oberon to be sure

 553 characters

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

a: cloudy golden amber. One finger head. Leaves behind nice, sticky lacing

s: grapefruit, rye, orange peels, lemon citrus

t: breadiness & grapefruit hops fades into a nice rye spiciness.

m: light to medium body. crisp. finishes slightly dry

o: This is a nice, crisp, refreshing ryle ale. A great way to get into the mood for spring (if the weather alone doesn't do it). I'll certainly pick this up again next year.

 419 characters

Photo of drinkochoice
3.09/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into craft pint glass.

Beautiful golden orange body with a 1/2" white head.

The smell is like fresh picked flowers and of earthy minerals.

The taste mirrors the smell with flowers and earthy minerals but what makes these flavors flow is the bitterness. The taste is surprisingly well balanced through the after taste.

Not to much carbonation as expected from the style.

Overall a very easy going little ale with large amounts of flavor.

 461 characters

Photo of Golfbeer
4.71/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I picked up a 6-pack of this beer the other day at Franklin Fine Wine in Royal Oak. I have never had a Bell's beer I didn't like, so I figured this one would be a good choice. And it was. I like just about any craft beer, but this is one of my favorites of the month. It had great flavor. A nice hearty flavor, but not bitter and not too filling. This is a great beer. I encourage you not to run to the store and buy them all, because I'd like to have them all for myself.

 472 characters

Photo of babaracas
3.03/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On the label it claims this pale ale will be citrusy and resinous. They oversold it, big time. Pours a cloudy amber with thin white head, spots of lace on the glass. Smell: wheat, soft graininess (rye), spicy, just a hint of lemon peel. Taste: tastes like a pale wheat with rye subbed in, light caramel. Hops are spicy, lightly earthy, a little but not enough citrus to advertise it on the label. Dry finish. Yes, the rye is featured decently, but it's not a very good beer, and the marketing team screwed up. Glad it was only a single. Bottled 1/15/13.

 553 characters

Photo of Luke4
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

One of the better RyePA's out there. It has a great appearance with a lingering head. What sets it apart from its Sierra Nevada counterpart is it's more comforting mouthfeel. It's not as harshly bitter as the Ruthless Rye ( which is a great beer, don't get me wrong). One of my favorite Rye beers.

 297 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden yellow/light tan, nice 1 inch foamy head, plenty of sticky lacing.

Smell - Nice grapefruit hops, rye, orange, lemon, spices, A little barnyard/saision like funk.

Taste - Big grapefruit hop kick at first sip. Lots of orange, lemon, pineapple and Rye! Pale malts add a bready/farmhouse flavor. Some added spices give it a pepperish flavor also. Decnt amount of bitter but the sweetness of the floral hops and sugars balance it out alot.

MOuthfeel - Hops coat the tounge at first, Then the rye comes in along with some spices at balance out the bitterness. Palate gets alot of rye and bitter hops. The finish is bitter, peppery and malty.

Overall - Very tasty, easy to enjoy, and plenty of rye. Think sierra nevadas ruthless rye made a big enough impression that bells had to bottle this one. Very solid, not to bitter, not to pale malt forward, great balance, a must try for rye fans.

 930 characters

Photo of Naters333
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip from a 12 oz bottle dated 1/15/13.

A- Poured a nice golden color with a great pure white sticky head that doesn't recede very quickly. Leaves great lacing. Not filtered. All kinds of floaties in this beer. As I drink, keeps a nice 1/4 inch white head.

S- I have a cold, so this doesn't work as well. Bread,grass, hops, slight orange peel. Flowers, fresh, malts.

T-Very smooth. Nice bready, grainy taste going on. Really, really nice. Slight bitterness, with that just smooth grainy taste on the back end.

M-Nice mouthful. Great for the style. Smooth, yet bitter. Delicious.

O-I enjoyed this beer. The appearance was the best part and the lingering aftertaste. Just a really smooth easy drinking rye ale. Would love this on a nice spring day.

Update on 2/8/13
I had this on tap and its a bit different. There are no floaties, which must mean they are at the bottom of the barrel and the finish is really bitter. The bitter end, really takes away from that bread finish you get this beer.

 1,014 characters

Photo of SerialHiker
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a lovely deep golden orange…80% opacity, there’s tons of sediment floating about…just off white head formed nice, thick and settled to a thin layer…livens up a bit when I swirl it around…(4/5)

Smell: I could smell the floral hops as soon as I began to pour…from the glass, I’m getting rye malt, perfume, floral hops…very flowery, almost like daisy petals up close…all that with a hint of bitterness and maybe a dash of yeast…I wouldn’t call it strong, but it’s aromatic…pleasant, inviting, fresh, light…(4/5)

Taste: Hmm, this is no ordinary beer…it’s bitter, sour, floral…there’s some lemon/orange peel…there’s some pale malts, some earthy bitterness…there’s a nice bit of peppery/rye bite that I’ve been digging lately…tons of flavor…it’s light, it’s zesty, it’s interesting...(4.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body…there’s a good amount of life and carbonation to this brew…it fluffs up creating a cloud of citrus/floral bitterness that is more refreshing than off putting…refreshing and crisp…finishes noticeably dry…fantastic! (4.5/5)

Overall: This is a superior brew…the flavor is unique and distinct…Bell’s took the “APA” concept on a journey, got a bit guidance from a magical liopleurodon and ultimately found candy mountain with this one…it’s super good, zesty, lively, refreshing, but there’s a touch of sour that I actually like…the peppery/rye flavored brews have taken over for me as the choice seasonal, I’m gonna be on the look out for more of these in the future…I could drink this flavor all night and now am curious how this is out of a tap, I really need to make a trip to Kalamazoo…total score, I’m definitely picking up another sixer for later…(4.5/5)

 1,791 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottled Jan 24, 2013. Served at 40F.

Pours lightly hazy golden amber with a one finger white head that leaves nice webs of lacing behind and recedes to a small cap.

Aroma is noble hops, grassy, earthy, touch sulfur, some lemon citrus, spicy rye, floral. Good to very good strength.

Flavor generally follows suit, noble hops with a grassy mildly sulfur taste, lemon citrus, spicy rye, some bready malt, mild to moderate sweetness in the middle, nice bitterness on the finish, minimal alcohol.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, somewhat oily, good carbonation.

Light, refreshing and easy drinking, would be great for the warmer weather. I get a good bit of Pilsner qualities in this...like a hybrid of Prima Pils and a Pale Ale with a dash of rye. Pretty good...better than their regular Pale Ale.

 808 characters

Bell's Smitten Golden Rye Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.76 out of 5 based on 1,691 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!