Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's 25th Anniversary AleBell's 25th Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcallister on 07-28-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 347 | Ratings: 513
Photo of irishevans
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking and reviewing this under some sad circumstances. my best friend and fellow BA's dog, Pilot, whom he had for half of his life (literally) had to be put down in the last few days, due to complications from age. So this bottle was consumed and reviewed in memory of that awesome dog, and the "vitamins" poured into the pacific ocean for him.

A-Fairily transparent medium brown, with no real head to speak of, just some small grayish patches of bubbles. the color of the body reminds me of an english barleywine.

N- a mix of fruit smells and a strong rye aroma. the fruit I can pinpoint is cherry, also some currant maybe.

T- Clean! can taste the currant, and the rye flavor makes itself known too. a good bit sweet, but also with tiniest bit of a tart pinch on the finish. it's like a very malty American barleywine (there is some hoppiness to it that the nose doesn't let on about, hits up front but quickly fades as the taste evolves).

M- Extremely "clean" you will. low carbonation, and it hides it's ABV% very well

D- I'm a fan. Drinks easy for it's alcohol content and has an awesome taste and feel. I WILL be drinking this again.

*Bye Pilot, you really were a one of a kind, unique, awesome Shepard. Thanks for being my friend too, while you were here.*

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.29/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9871 bottled on 8/12 pours a slightly cloudy mahogany color with a nice tan head that retains well considering the ABV. The aroma is really exceptional with notes of caramel apples, juicy citrusy hops, orange marmalade, toffee, toasted bread, dark fruits (cherry, blackberry, plum) and some alcohol. The flavor starts off with some piney and citrusy hops, along with some caramel and toffee, fruity esters, toasted bread, dark fruits (fig, cherry, plum) along with some metallic notes and alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich, and drinkability is good for the ABV. Very nice beer from Bell's that is impressively hoppy while also showcasing the unique flavor of the Michigan barley. It's got kind of a midwest Arrogant Bastard vibe to it.

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Photo of tmcelvain
4.26/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My overwheliming impression of Bell's 25th Anniversary is candy. Not sure quite which candy flavor, but this well-balanced ale tastes strongly of the same sugar flavor that a child's sucker displays. good carbonation, drinkability, and mouthfeel. This is a big, bright, refreshing beer that keeps your palate on its toes. Reccommeded.

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

Pours a clear amber color, a nice steady stream of bubbles rise up to a fingers worth of off white head, the head falls to a top coating that leaves rings/webs of lacing.

Smells like cocaine? Im smelling pine, tropical fruits and citrus...very pungent with hints of toffee.

Taste is sweet and fruity up front with a peppery heat and numbing on the back-end. Reminds me of juicy fruit! There is a big malt body, but the hops still shine and dominate the flavors; at least when fresh.

Medium body with a velvety fizz...just a bit of bite.

This beer reminds me of Nugget Nectar! No wow factor??? Maybe because everything is so well balanced!!! This is one fine beer IMO.

Consume this one fresh if you can.

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

Bell's tulip glass, check. Bell's coaster, check. Bell's bottle opener, check. Now on to put them all to use in drinking up some Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale.

Appearance, : clear, dusky crimson coloring, small but staying beige head. Looks good!

Aroma: rich, sweet caramel notes. Malt-driven ale all the way, very little hops coming through. Hints of molasses. A little spicy.

Taste: Mmmm. Hard to pigeonhole, tough to describe. Dark and slightly smokey, rich malt, viscous mouthfeel, alcohol becoming apparent. This feels most like a barley-wine, maybe something like a scotch ale, and a little like a Belgian strong dark. Caramel and toffee ahoy! The official description mentions "generous dry-hopping", but it's lost on me, even the "fragrant hop character."
All I'm getting is rich, sweet dark malt.
But very even-tempered, and I am now getting the hops, and they are well-balanced with the malt. Which is why it doesn't totally resemble a barley-wine, the sweetness is kept in check with hops wonderfully.
A wonderful, relaxing ale. How I wish I could actually get this in quantity. I'd love to have 2 or 3 of these in a row for a really righteous session.

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Photo of Spiekerbox
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep amber with a medium thickness yellow head that recedes leaving some lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet, spicy grain scent with a slight pine hop background that comes out at the end, very good smelling beer

T- Sweet caramel flavor is strong and overpowering at first but in time the other flavors come in. The next round of flavors that come are the pine hops and a bit of a dark fruit flavor, all balanced by the sweet malts. The end has a strong alcohol warmth, much more so than I would expect with an 8.5% beer, but it is a welcome feeling.

M- Medium-thick body with more carbonation that I would have expected, actually quite a bit of bubbles in this one. A nice creamy texture that compliments the alcohol presence.

D- Not disappointed by this offering of bells, not the best of their small batch offerings that I have had, but still quite enjoyable. Maybe not quite worthy as a 25th anniversary brew but still a respectably good beer.

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Photo of hwy61mb
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 9871, 12oz. bottle poured into a snifter

I have been enjoying this beer off and on since I picked some up in the fall of 2010.

This mother pours a reddish-amber color, not too dark, slightly cloudy, with a half inch head, and a little lacing. I can smell the hops along with a bright sweetness. It reminds me of fruit, but not the dark fruits that I am used to in this style, also not citrus. The smell is amazing.

It gets me first on the sides of my tongue. I can taste the hops up front, but something else at the end. I think it's more bitter than it is sweet, but almost balanced. There is a fair amount of carbonation and it's light in the mouth. I could drink kind of a lot of these if I had more. I like this one a lot.

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Photo of avalon07
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a somewhat cloudy consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A fragrant, sweet aroma of hops, fruit, and malt.

T: Tasted of fruit and hops up front with a malty finish. An interesting, unexpected flavor. The fruit seems to dominate this category.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: An odd beer, but definitely drinkable.

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Photo of stewart124
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful copper color with a thin head.

Strong caramel in the nose with some citrus. Sensing a nice sweetness.

Whoa this is very drinkable!. Nice amount of light caramel with a light to medium body. Very good piney background bitterness. High alpha hops add a great punch to this pleasant American strong ale. Delicious!

Not sure what I was expecting from Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale but I am pleased to say the least. Did I say this was drinkable? Pulls toward a lighter barleywine but really doesn't hold up in body. This really is easier to drink than most strong ales. This would really sneak up on someone.

Another job well done by bells.

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Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of off-white foam on top of a perfectly clear, amber-brown body. The head recedes rapidly and leaves moderate lace in its wake.

S - Rich, brown malt with lots of caramel and biscuit notes. Some pine hops and a little bit of fruity ale yeast.

T - Toasty, bready malt up front with lots of rich toffee flavor. Hop notes begin to come out in the middle with a peppery, mustardy character that blends well with the toasted malt character. The malt remains rich and sweet in the finish with lots of toffee character and moderate hop bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - Excellent, this beer is full of rich malt and spicy, resinous hops. The malt is dark enough to have toffee, toast, and caramel character, but it is also sweet enough to keep these flavors from becoming acrid and cloying as they too often are in dryer brown beers. The hops are spicy with a pepper and mustard character that is common in the best beers of this type. Well balanced and very drinkable, this is an appropriate beer to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a great brewery.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served into a tulip glass

Pours a crisp Princeton Orange color with warm amber overtones. It is mostly translucent but has enough darkness that you can't make out all of the carbonation rising to the top. 1.5 fingers of buttermilk colored head - loosely compacted though composed to small bubbles - forms on top but doesn't retain past a minute or two. Adequate lacing.

The hop bouquet comes at you first and foremost. There is something familiar but artificial about the fruit aromas coming from the hops here. Very tropical, lots of citrus juice, but lots of sweetner in there also. Bell's 25th Anniversay smells an awful lot like Five Alive brand fruit juice blend. The tang of pineapple juice and orange juice and just enough mango and some sugar in there too. As the beer warms the malts start to peek through all that hop lupulin. Earthy brown notes come to the nose, something like a spiced rum cake. The hop profile is pretty unique in that it smells more like fake renditions of the fruits than the fruits themselves. That uniqueness takes this beer a long way but I don't think that the hops and malts cohere to make a great aroma profile. There's something off; I think it may be an abundance of sugary scents.

This tastes like Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale went to England and made a new life there. These Michigan-grown malts are very English in flavor. Nutty, rich. A bit of fruitcake flavor. Those fruity hops don't manifest themselves in such a tropical way on the palate. I get more astringency and earthy notes from them. They dry out the malt a bit, making for a leathery sort of taste. But then, with warmth, the earthy nature opens up to full-on English tea. There's something floral informing the tea flavors too; its close to lavender or cardamom but isn't exactly either one. Every now and then I get a brief pang of pineapple juice, but it quickly yields to the tea-like combination of herbal hops and unique malts. This is unique and quite tasty. The only off notes for me are slight abundance of alcohol and a steely, mineral quality that comes up on the finish.

This beer is somewhere on the cusp between being on the thick side of medium-bodied and being outright thick. It just misses a syrupy consistency but there is still a considerable amount of heft to the body. It is quite fun to lap this around in your mouth. The drinkability is also good, for the style. You can taste and feel the 8.5% ABV. This is a sipper for sure.

I see quite a few reviews in the B- range for Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale and I am not sure why that is. Perhaps they just didn't enjoy the herbal flavors or they don't rate to style to the degree that I do. I find this beer to be a joy to drink; a unique beer that simply lets its ingredients shine in natural ways. It'd be interesting to see what age does to this one.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (batch #9871) poured into my Duvel tulip.

A- This one had quite a unique look to it. A moderate pour left about 1 finger of tan head. The head dropped to a full film that kept throughout the glass and left good sticky spots. The body was really complex. I picked out a lot of brown and red as it poured, but the more I looked at it the more I saw something of pink and peach hues that made me think of a dark rose or blush wine. Carbonation was, for lack of a better term, medium.

S- There was a real onrush of piney and grassy hops at first. Sweet, brown sugar malts presented themselves on further inspection. Alcohol waited just off-stage at first. It becomes sweeter and more alcoholish (but not astringent) with warmth. I need to better acqaint myself with premium liquors to better describe these types. The best I can come up with is a well-aged rum.

T- Quite rich at first. Brown sugar malts show a toasty side if you look for it. Piney hops balance the flavor through the middle (and came out during a few burps). There's a slight alcohol note in the finih. With some warmth, there's kind of a fermented fruitiness that grows. Maybe a buttery, dark, aged rum like I described in the aroma?

M- Quite viscus initially, though it seems to mellow later. There's a strong bite from the combination of hopping, tight carbonation, and alcohol. There's a pleasant warming, alcohol quality in the finish that's quite dry from the hops.

D- It's a definite sipper. At 8.5% abv, I wouldn't say the alcohol is particularly well hidden, but it's soft enough to be enjoyable. I'd compare it to the 3rd Coast Old Ale that's been stepped up a notch. I would buy this as a yearly fall/winter seasonal if it were available. I'd also like to put a little age on a few bottles to see how it matures. A good way to celebrate 25 years for Bell's.

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Photo of xpoweruser
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy amber color. Off-white head.

Aroma: Nice malty aroma, caramel, toffee and fruit. Some citrusy and floral hops come though.

Taste: Very nice balance between the hops and malts. Nice caramel, toffee, and fruity malt flavors with a touch of dark fruit flavors. Balanced well with nice hop kick, very citrusy with some floral and pine notes. Slight alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth mouthfeel, full-bodied, slightly syrupy with a very nice level of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good balance going on with this beer with some nice complexity. Very good execution of the style!

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Photo of r3o
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep amber color, reddish. The head's about 1/2 inch and lingers. Minimal lace.
S: malt mostly, it's sweet, like brown sugar
T: a little sweet at first, with a long after taste, got a little of cherry, but mostly a caramel flavor
M: a little chewy, creamy, mild carbonation
D: could definitely have it again, overall a very good experience.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wintbs379 for this beer.

A: Pours out a nice caramel color with deep hues of red. There is about one finger of khaki colored head that seems to last forever. There is some great lacing as it drinks.

S: This beer smells sweet and malt, almost like a barleywine, with a touch of spice in the background. I'm getting malt, wheat, bananas, oranges, ginger, and clove. I'm digging it.

T: I get a blast of sweet malt right up front, but that flavor quickly transitions to citrus (orange) and clover. The sweetness never fades, but it becomes more subtle toward the finish. I get some nice spice and fresh cut grass in the finish.

M: Medium bodied beer. The flavors indulge the palate with quick bursts of ingredients, and all of them simmer slowly into oblivion as it drinks. Nothing is too overpowering or sticky. The sweetness lingers but not for too long.

O: I'm really impressed by this beer. I have been let down by a bunch of Bell's offerings, but I'm very happy with this one. It seems incredibly complicated, with no real definitive style, but that's ok with me. This beer is a winner. Happy 25th!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!

Batch 9871, packaged August 12, 2010. Love the batch finder on Bell's website!

It pours a rather gorgeous a hazy brownish red, 2 finger head of foam that's backed up by very nice lacing.

The nose is dominated by bready malt, some sweet caramel, no bitterness at all and I wasn't hoping for any, given the style.

The taste is the same as the surprises. Big bready malt with a nice caramel sweetness that isn't over done. I can taste some notes of toffee as well. Again, no bitterness and that pleases me. If you like malty brews, this one is worth checking out. Another plus is the lack of an imposing alcohol presence.

Medium bodied, lightish amount of carbonation, and I have a very smooth brew. Love the mouth feel.

Drinkability is pretty darned good. The flavours seem to mesh very well and with the alcohol being pretty much a non factor, I'm flying threw the bottle rather quickly. I'm pretty impressed; thanks Bell's and thanks again Russ!

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Photo of bertram
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich deep amber with an ample head; scents of citrus and band-aid; mouthfeel is nice - the mixture of flavors excite multiple areas of the tongue; the flavor is smooth, with a good amount of maltiness and a hint of sweetness. An excellent beer that I'd gladly enjoy again.

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Photo of morimech
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish amber color with a small head that quickly went away. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. Not the liveliest beer around. Aroma of sweet malt with hints of vanilla and toffee. The hops are well hidden with maybe a touch of floral and fruit. The alcohol is also well hidden. The flavor is really well done. Plenty of malt upfront that gives a sweet caramel base. But the hops come alive. The hops give plenty of floral and tropical fruit notes. Bitterness is getting up there but is in balance with the malt. A little warmth from the alcohol in the finish. Body is a little larger than medium. Carbonation is sufficient to give some lift to this somewhat heavy beer. A very interesting, well balanced beer. Well done. Here is to the next 25 years.

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Photo of mbusster88
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle, batch 9871.

A: Pours hazy copper color with off white head of two fingers. Medium bubbles in the head and good lacing. Some carbonation is evident on the glass but not much at all.

S: This one smells strongly of brown sugar and cookies. The nose is very strong of sweetness and not very much by way of hop aroma. Good strong malt profile in the nose and a really nice warming aroma.

T/M: The sweetness from the nose comes into the taste as well. Great amount of body here, but not overly thick. Love the slight hop bite in the back that balances out the sweet flavors that you get right on the front of the tongue. Very nice flavors and balance as well as a smooth finish.

D: Great overall beer, not typically my favorite style, but I did like this one. Glad I got a chance to try this one for sure. Really nice impression of this beer and makes me want more of this style.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.16/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Darker Apple Cider. Minimal head after 5 minutes of pout. Lacing the same. No retention.

S- Very malty, dark fruit. Well done.

T- Down to the T for Dark Strong Ale. Very well done. Dark Fruit, slight molasses.

M- Good M for this style. Smooth, very smooth.

O- I really enjoyed this strong. More than a lot that I have had. Enjoy one

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

decided to open this one up with lunch today while watching a movie with my son. consumed via ap int glass on 11/06/2010.

the pour was a nice dark amber color with a very clear look to it. a nice medium head of white rises up from the bottom of the glass and sticks to the sides quite nicely.

aroma of deep citrus hops are quite sticky and very well defined with a fresh resin like feel to it and a full and sweet malty backbone. each sip was very full, gotta love an ale with that deep full feel to it. really tastes and drinks like a big ipa with the hops really steeling the show. almost blood orange like sweetness with hints of butter and a warm finish with hints of dryness that make it quite sessionable.

overall a solid offering and another outstanding hoppy beer from bells

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Photo of decadance
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one tap during the 25th celebration, but lets say I did not drive home that night.

A - It is a pretty rust/amber with about an inch of head which dissipates fairly quickly.

S - Sweet candy notes with a piny hop in the backround which is subtle.

T- Well, the Smell is right. Its like a hopped up amber. it is nice.

M - Its a medium coverage beer. A bit shocking for a "strong ale," I thought it would be more assertive.

D - This is a tasty brew which I find highly appealing. Much (read: miles) better than batch 9000.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color, a half finger of tan head that dissolved to a fine film. No lacing.

Nose was fairly big: lots of sweet, fruity malt. Some earthiness. Citrus in there, but some caramel in there too.

Flavors were similar - a lot of sweet malt, fruit (pineapple, orange, as well as raisins and some other dried stuff). Light warming alcohol. Earthiness again.

Medium to full body, appropriate for the style.

Overall, this is a nice brew, although not one of Bell's premiere beers. Still, interesting and definitely worth a look.

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Photo of ZAP
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Burnt orange color...little head

S-Awesome aroma of tropical fruits, sugar covered berries, plums, and molasses.

T-Not quite as impressive as the aroma but perhaps I was expected too much. This is very good. Not as bursting with flavor as i expected from the aroma, but it has a nice sugary maltiness complemented nicely by the fruity notes of the aroma.

M-High side of medium bodied but I don't think I'd call it full bodied...a little bite of alcohol on the finish which fits in nicely with the sweeter taste profile.

D-Very enjoyable. Not epic but very good.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a MJ Tasting Glass.

Pours a deep amber with a light tan head. The head does not last, but leaves some lacing behind.

Aromas of malt, malt, and, did I mention(?), malt. Some dark fruits. And a touch of alcohol.

First sip is of caramel, red licorice, dark cocoa, and malt. Some slight bitterness, but only to balance the malt. Definitely a malt forward brew.

Mouthfeel is medium/full, but not sticky sweet or cloying. Some light prickliness from the carbonation. Some lingering bitterness.

Very drinkable beer. Very nice. The kind of beer you kick back and sip slowly.

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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.74 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
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