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

Bell's 25th Anniversary AleBell's 25th Anniversary Ale
Liked This Beer
3.74 w/ 513 Ratings
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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Ratings: 513 |  Reviews: 347
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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Photo of RunForYourBeer
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. From batch 9871.

A: Pours a rich copper color with a thin off-white head.

S: Smells of floral/piney hops with a bit of alcohol and dark fruits.

T: Lots of dark fruits and caramel with a bit of brown sugar and some alcohol warmth. It starts with sweet malts then fades into a light hop/alcohol flavor. The finish is hoppy with some piney/grapefruit flavors.

M: Medium with moderate carbonation.

D: Fairly high for the abv.

I enjoyed this beer a lot. I believe it is the 1st "special" beer I've had (limited release, special occasion, etc.). I like about everything I've tried from Bell's and this is no exception. Here's to another 25 years.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A HUGE thanks to Kevin (kzoobrew) for this great beer. Cheers buddy!

Appearance - Pours a surprisingly clear dark amber color into my Bell's Tulip. About two fingers of slight tan head is achieved with a moderate pour that dissipates at a relatively slow pace leaving some nice looking lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Again, surprisingly hoppy, citrus, honey, slight caramel malt backbone. I don't know what I was expecting from this beer but it honestly is not what I thought it was going to be! Not to create a stir but it smells just a hint like Hopslam?

Taste - The taste is a bit different from the nose, but not insanely far from it. The flavor is relatively sweet up front with some slight hops and citrus. There is a definite floral/grassy attribute to it, and roasted malts combined with caramel. Not to rush it, but I'm not sure why this beer has such a low (well figuratively speaking in comparison to what BA considers a "high" rating i.e. A or above) rating. A very unique and interesting taste to say the least!

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes a hint sweet.

Drinkability - For the ABV, I taste no Alcohol nor do I get any warmth. This is a great beer and I am glad I was able to try it. This beer is very flavorful and has some great "Bell" attributes. Again, I'm not sure why this garnered "only" a B+, but alas, not everyone can be pleased. A damn good beer.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Is an amber-brown color with a thin, creamy head.

Smell is strong, with grape, currant, alcohol, yeast, and a bit of leafy-oak. Very earthy in aroma.

Taste is complex; starts with a buttery resin feel/taste, qiuckly becomes bitter and leafy, all the while with an underlying woodiness. Behind these tastes there's a caramel malt trying to peak through, lending a sweet taste toward the finish.

Medium to thick in the mouth, and warm down the throat, this beer has a pleasant mouthfeel.

I bought this as a singleton, but would love to try this again, perhaps after a bit of aging.

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Photo of zachary80
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 9871

White Head is initially nice and frothy to the top of the tulip glass. It diminishes somewhat but maintains a nice ring and some semblance of what it used to be. The clear body is amber like many "red" beers. There is just a little lacing on the glass.
Very malty... no hoppy... no malty. Nice balance that goes back and forth. Sweet and complex, can't get enough. Hops give it a grapefruit/citrus edge. There is some sort of spiciness to it.
Not really how to describe the taste, it's a unique blending of flavors. The hops are prominent but not really the focus, which is on the malt. The alcohol is hidden. There is some lingering bitterness and sweetness. Unfortunately, the beer seems overly sweet.
The body is thicker than I expected. It is a little syrupy, although not in a bad way. Carbonation is just right. Very smooth.
I'm sipping this slowly. The complexity (good) and sweetness (too much) slow me down on this. I don't really want a second bottle after this, but I'm fine with 12oz.

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Photo of kstbeer
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is very good, brought a smile to my face! Im not quite sure what style this beer is, but it almost taste like an imperial style beer (although it looks to be a nut brown ale), with a small nutty taste with the malts and grains with a small citrus taste Can someone give me some feedback?

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Photo of THORN
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into Snifter. Served around 50 F.
A: Reddish brown with off white foamy head. Retains half an inch.
S: Hops, grapefruit, and brown sugar.
T: Fruity hops, caramelized sugar, and toasted malts. Short cake is followed by sweet bitter linger.
M: Medium light on tongue. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable and is warming.
D: Fully of flavor and well balanced.

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Photo of dudemuskie
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a deep orange with soft reddish-amber highlights. Fluffy soft tan head lingers and laces nicely.

Aroma- Soft candy-like sweetness with a touch of toffee maltiness, and a hint of warming alcoholic strength. Noticeable estery fruitiness with a bit of bready malt and delicate floral hops. Slight hop spice also present. Quite complex in the nose, looking very forward to the first sip!

Flavor- Rich maltiness up front with caramel and toffee leading the way. Resinous hop bitterness is quick to enter the middle and intensifies into a nicely balanced finish between pungent, bitter, mouth-coating hops and a complex, rich, sticky malt. Just a touch of alcohol noticeable, but pretty well hidden for an 8.5% brew! Nice lingering finish too.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied with big malt and hop presence. Moderate CO2. Definitely some sticky residual sugars on this brew. Just a bit of warming alcohol, but fairly easy drinking considering the strength.

Overall- What a way to celebrate 25 magical years in the craft brew biz! A very nice beer young that will likely get better with a little time. Strangely, I could easily drink several of these...trouble! Congrats Larry and company!

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: pours amber orange verus red. low head and rentention.

smell: nice caramel smell as expected. some hop detection and some nice apple/spice notes

taste: decent bitterness, but a nice malty, and caramel dominate, subtle sweet, some apple flavor, nice and hefty beer.

mouthfeel: medium body

drinkability: not their best but still a fanatstic beer. sessionable for the high abv.

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Photo of Chaney
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden, yet cloudy brew with a very slight head. However, the head that the pour did produce stayed until I put the lights out.

S: Pixie stick dust, shrill citrus such as pineapple, tangerines, oranges, and even a hint of grapefruit (although I honestly didn't get that sort of bitterness).

T: Same as the nose, only more intense. Sweet, but in a candy sort of way. This is basically a fruit bomb and not one of the citrus variety.

M: The sugar is there, but the coat doesn't bother me in the slightest. The carbonation is spot on and the alcohol stays under the radar.

D: Despite the ABV, this is highly drinkable. It's basically a mini version of "Oracle." Good stuff!

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Photo of beer2day
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong orange pour with dense, tight, medium tan 1-finger head. Faint retention, but decent lace. Light, small bubbled carbonation.

Nose is a fruit and caramel mix. Slightly sour, dry fruit with cherries and apricots as well as caramel malt. Definite alcohol presence.

Taste matches the nose well. Same fruits present. Bread malt all over the middle of the profile. Caramel malt starts the finish and transforms into a dry, earthy, tart ending.

Body is oily and resiny. Alcohol makes a strong showing.

Very nice sipper.

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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 58.5% out of 100 with 513 ratings
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