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 Miketwolf21
1.78/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured into a snifter, this beer was off to a good start. Then came the first sniff... This beer smells about as bad as any beer I have smelled. The aroma of sour milk, watermelon, and banana overpower what would be a solid beer. Underneath the off flavors I can tell there is a session-barleywine, with your average barleywine traits. There are hints of toffee and caramel with plenty of vegetable sweetness. But the bad flavors are dominant. This beer tastes like a sweet cheap oxidized amber ale. Plenty of alcohol coming off of it too. The worst american strong ale I have ever had, easily. I haven't reviewed for a year, but terrible beer made me want to warn others. maybe if I had it in a bottle and had a plugged up nose it would be average, but the aromas are terrible.

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Photo of bobhits
1.93/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Cherry red amber color, some bubbles lingering, 2 finger white thin head.

There isn't much nose on this. The dry hopping is just not in the aroma. Some fruity dark cherry aromo, and strong sweet malt.

Smoke, strong malt body, soft hop finish. Well balanced if you don't want the hops or the malt to stand out. Dark fruits, caramel, toffee, smoke, alcohol, hoppy cheery flavor? It's interesting.

Fairly thin for a special beer, ok carbonation, goes down easy, but for a strong ale this isn't what i want.

It's tasty, I don't dislike this, but I've had countless better beers.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
2.22/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

poured into a pint glass, nice amber color decent fluffy head.

smells somewhat grainy, apple skins, toasted bread, brown sugar. just all very faint.

kinda bland. big grainy malt flavor, some toasted bread flavor going on. the aftertaste is somewhat offputting. not very bitter and is void of hop flavor.

overall, this beer doesn't do much for me. i wouldn't actively seek it out and it wasn't worth the 15.99 sixpack price.

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Photo of billshmeinke
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a nonic.

Amber/golden clear body two and a half fingers of off white head. Retention and lacing are quite nice.

Smells of caramel and malty sweetness. Hints of oxidation. Not much else.

Taste follows smell. Slightly bitter and very malty. A bit acidic with some lemony hop flavors. Finish is caramel, and slight sherry oxidation notes.

Slightly spicy and acidic. Full bodied, but lots of carbonation breaks up the body.

Well, this just wasn't that great. Don't really know what else to say, pretty one dimensional, and that dimension isn't all that great.

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Photo of peabody
2.46/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out very clear dark ice tea color with very little suds and some lacing.
Smell is sugary caramel and alcohol. Some yeast and some hop but very little.
Taste is very medicinal. Like the really bad cough syrup from my youth. Gross.
Mouthfeel is dirty and bitter. Some stickiness here but mostly dirt.
Drinkability is nothing because this beer is nasty.
Bells screwed up with this.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.51/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale. 

Served in DFH signature glass

A:  Pours brushed medium amber with insubstantial head. No lacing. Average effervescence. 

S: Smells like a poorly-executed Tripel: spice, white pepper, golden raisin, tomato, flowery and spearmint. 

T: Tastes, more or less, like it smells. Very spicy and flowery. Most other elements are muted. Medium bitterness. 

M: Medium body and carbonation.  Creamy mouthfeel. 

O: I found Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale messy and unimpressive when it was first released. It hasn't improved. 

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Photo of weatherdog
2.52/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Bells Snifter. Batch 9871

It pours a transparent amber with a off white soapy 2 fingered head that lasted for a little bit before dying off. A medium amount of lacing clings to the side of the glass.

The nose is a mixture of some grassy vegetal hops and really grainy malt. I don't know what it is but the nose just rubs me the wrong way. It's like a clash of aromas but neither side is very good.

The taste a minor improvement over the aroma but still clashy. A pretty firm bitterness with a lot of spicy hops. The malt is very grainy though and it makes for a really confusing taste. The finish is also pretty sweet which really cuts down on drinkability.

Mouthfeel is decent with the right body and mouthfeel but the sweetness really hampers the drinkability. Overall I'm disappointed with this beer from a usually solid brewery.

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Photo of hopsbreath
2.58/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got one of these as an extra in a trade from Thorpe429. Thanks man.

Pours a moderately dark amber into a tulip with a half finger of butterscotch head sits on top. No lacing is present.

Smell is very faint. It is in fact non-existent when cold. When it warms up, a little passion fruit and alcohol is barely detectable.

Tastes like caramel malts, tropical fruits, banana, more alcohol than is stated, and metallic bitters. There's really nothing special happening here.

Mouthfeel is lightly heavy and sticky.

Drinkability aint great. Not really something I want again. Larry missed the mark and this anniversary will not be a notable one to remember.

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Photo of Sideswipe
2.58/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle courtesy of beerbeerbeerbeer. Thanks Kevin!

The beer pours an opaque, deep copper color with two fingers of off-white foam. Head recedes quickly leaving a fair amount of lacing. The nose is big caramel malt. Not much in the way of a hop profile in the aroma. Taste follows with huge caramel and toffee notes. Mild hoppy bitterness presents itself mid-palate, but it is quickly beaten into submission by the more dominant malt profile. The finish is dry with hops making a valiant last stand by attempting a slightly bitter aftertaste. Feel is medium bodied wihh an appropriate level of carbonation lending a somewhat creamy texture to the beer. Overall, this offering from Bells seems to have a bit of an identity crisis. It could be a DIPA with an overdose of caramel malt, or a Strong Ale with a tad too much hoppiness. Glad I had the opportunity, but not one I'd seek out again.

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Photo of ahking
2.66/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very dark amber color leaving bits of white lacing down the glass. Rich, sweet aromas of spice, herbal hops, hints of root beer, vanilla, black licorice, and circus peanuts.

Bitterness is medium here, not light on the hops. Starts sweet and tangy but finishes a bit herbal with a flash of vanilla and a touch of bourbon.

Overall, I can't say I enjoy the flavor. Too herbal and sweet for me. The aroma is interesting but the taste is a little too much for me. I would bet that if you loved Jagermeister, you would really like this beer. Could not drink more than one of these, so glad I bought a single and not a sixer.

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Photo of gregshead
2.76/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to NickD for this one:

A: Pours a copper red w/ finger of head that dissipates quickly.

S: Lots of sweet smells. Sugary caramel smells.

T: Tastes of fake cherry and cough syrup mixed with raisins/figs but not in the good quad way.

M: Thick but the the appropriate amount of carbonation.

O: This one disappointing but not terrible. Just below average for this style.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.8/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

$3.10 for a 12oz single @ Jacks. Batch 9871. 8.5% ABV. Per the website, "packaged August 12, 2010", but no ingredients listed. The bottle states it is brewed with Michigan grown barley malt.

Pours out to a clear medium amber, forming a sticky, resinous yellow head with excellent retention and thick sheets of lacing. Carbonation is very mild. Minimal sediment in the bottle. The aroma opens with what smells like Centennial hops, fruity with a hint of mango and pineapple, followed by vanilla, cherries, apple juice, and when swirled, a little sour milk. Mouthfeel is thick, soft, and syrupy with a dense body. This beer falls in the Old ale/American Strong Ale category for those who are wondering. The taste begins with the piney hops, and is followed by an odd malty sourness/bitterness combo with figs and dates. It's hard to put my finger on it, but the malt is definitely sour and the bitterness has a chemical/metallic component to it that is very peculiar. Aftertaste of tobacco, green wood and pine.

Hrmmm, this is a weird beer. I expect better quality from Bell's, let alone a 25th anniversary brew. This one is nothing to get excited about, and I'm definitely not inclined to buy another.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.86/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/26/11
*From notes

A: Bleeding copper maroon in color. Cloudy - a two finger head yields some lacing, but nothing to write home about.

S: Raisins. Big time raisins. When I really stick my nose deep into the glass, I detect hints of salty parmesan cheese, which as you might imagine, isn't the most desirable quality in a beer.

T: Bready, almost like a cinnamon raisin loaf. It feels fortified, as the heavy dose of raisiny, pruney essence slaps me across the tounge. The alcohol is fairly well masked.

M: A bit thin, though the carbonation is reasonable.

O: A weird beer. Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale is certainly different, though sadly it's something I don't plan on returning to for quite a while. Looks like I'll lose that last bottle in the cellar for a few years and see what happens. As it stands now, it's unremarkable and a bit of a dissapointment.

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Photo of axeman9182
2.94/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle that came to me via the generous StormKing47. It's Batch 9871, meaning that it was bottled on August 12th, 2010. It was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale pours a rich red-orange, and it's fairly yet not entirely murky. A three finger light tan head comes together, and shows some pretty impressive head retention. Lacing is also very good, plenty of it left all the way down my glass. Nose is predominantly caramel, with a still noticeable alcohol burn present and just a hint of sweet fruits (think figs). It's a little weak to be honest, and there's a bit too much alcohol present, especially for an 8.5%ABV beer. I'm really struggling to find any hops present. There's maybe a bit of herbal spiciness on the back end as I sip on the beer, but that's basically it. After the same sweet malty flavors lead off, the same overbearing booziness drowns out any hop bite this beer might have. For a big, malt forward strong ale the body is a bit too thin. At the same time, carbonation is a little bit high, and the result is a beer that I would describe as "slightly fizzy". Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale is a beer with an inexcusable amount of alcohol presence and a poor mouthfeel, and the result is that I'm not exactly gulping this one down. Bell's is still one of my favorite breweries in the country, it's just a shame their 25th Anniversary beer is a bit of a let down.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a dark golden veering on copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and some lacing. Aroma of weird cereal notes with a big rush of sugar and some off balanced hops. Taste is a weird mix of everything that was left to brew around the brew house that day including half caramelized malt with weird unrefined cereal notes with a dry hoppy finish. Body is quite full with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. This one is a bit messy in a similar fashion that batch 10,000 was messy.

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Photo of Buebie
2.96/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up this single 12oz bottle for $3

Poures a very pale copper/ amber color with over an inch of tan head. Leaving a solid cap of retention and sticky webbings of lace.
Aroma is sweet, malt dominant, with mild hop bitters and metallic fruitiness.
Taste is a bit strange, it has fruity off flavors, plenty of buttery malt backing, banana bread and a little heat.
Fell is slick and full bodied.

Interesting beer for sure, noticeable alcohol, bittering hops through the finish, but some oddball flavors that were not so desirable.
Placing one in the cellar, lets see what a couple years does.

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Photo of crusian
2.97/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottle from Scoobydank in MN.

pours like a ginger-ale... like it was force carbonated. and the head shows it also, quickly fades with zero lacing. Color is a light amber, average...
alcohol on the nose, and thats about it. Maybe a bit of caramel malt, and sweet... but I have to stretch for it.
Taste, sweet, but honestly, not much to it. Disappointing, especially for their anniversary series. Taste of stale hops also.
yeah, overall, not impressed at all. I really wish it was better, as I have never had a strong ale from Bells before, and they do everything else really well.

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.98/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an amber color with a finger of head that camps out for a while.

Aroma is earthy hops, nuttiness, and some caramel/fruity sweetness.

The flavor is a bit musty with a healthy dose of caramel maltiness and earthy hops. Some waxiness in the finish.

The body is medium and carbonation is low and a bit watery.

Overall this beer was meeehh....tasted OK but not worth the time it took to drink it

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Photo of Krakistophales
2.98/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours light red/dark orange with a finger's worth of off white head that recedes into a thin layer of bubbles atop the glass.

S: Caramel, malt, slight toffee, slight earthy hops. Not much going on here.

T: Initial bits of citrus, followed by some earthy hops, grassy hops and a slightly bitter aftertaste. Even less going on here.

M: Good carbonation, light body, if not for the blandness of it, highly drinkable.

O: Not impressed with this one at all. I find the batch 8,000 and 9,000 and hopslam to be far superior to this one. Like, solar systems apart.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.01/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Finally finished off the sixer I had of this. I drank this one fresh and through out the past year.

A- Pours a slightly hazed reddish copper color, that's pretty bright when held up to the light with a fairly thin egg shell colored head. A bit of spotty lacing is left behind.

S- Kind of a muted smell with nothing here really turning me on. Picking up bready malts, touch of alcohol, spice from the hops and maybe a bit of something sweeter.

T- Quite a bit of bready malts here. Again pretty boring a bit of life from the hops which are spicey and a touch of pine.

M- A touch on the fuller side of medium and carbonation was medium at best.

O- An average beer at best, but with 17 bucks a sixer prieces makes this one take a back seat to many other brews.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Copper color with a finger of head on it that left a decent amount of lace. Not bad looking.

S - Lot of phenol qualities, stonger yeast presense than I expected. A bit malty with some candied fruits.

T - Chemical phenol on the end kills this one for me. It wasn't bad, there was a decent fruit taste with moderate yeast, but the chemical nature of it made it a strong ale that had too much bite. Was not a real fan, average.

M - Sugary, medium bodied, syrupy, moderate carbonation.

D - Gets a little hot, not great tasting enough to get down easily.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. A generous extra from boatshoes. Thanks, Fletcher!

A: Pours a hazy orange-amber body topped with a light beige head. The dense bubbles fall in sections and leave some lace as they do.

S: Barleywine-strength caramel, toffee, nuts, grapefruit. A strong, pungent aroma.

T: This tastes like purple. That was my first thought. Then I realized I was thinking of the grape lollipops I used to eat as a kid. It has that same artificial grape flavor. Caramel, toffee. A spicy rye bite. Grapefruit hops that seem to have faded or lost their intensity; there's a staleness to this that I don't care for.

M: Medium body. Good carbonation. A clean finish, though there is some booze to it (not something forgivable at less than 9%).

D: I was pretty unenthusiastic about this one. It was nice for a while, but halfway through I lost interest.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.05/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch 9871, bottled 12 August 2010. Clearly whatever hops were present have faded by now. Picked up a bottle a few months back, not sure why I waited so long to try it.

Pours a hazy medium amber, a rather dull color, to be frank. One finger of cream-colored head, fades fast, little lacing.

Smell is an odd mix of fruit that I can't quite place. It's like one of those tropical fruit punches, with pineapple, apricot, some citrust, maybe papaya. Sweet, pungent, and nose-filling in a surprising way. My nostrils feel like they're being assaulted by fruit juice.

Taste is, surprsingly, quite similar to the smell. Has that same weird fruity character that the smell does, but here it's tempered somewhat by a bit of bitter hops. But what I found pleasant in the smell, I find somewhat off-putting in the taste. This is one of the stranger beers I've tasted - tastes more like tropical punch than any beer I've had.

Mouthfeel is good - medium-bodied, good carbonation, smooth. Flavor does a disappearing act in the finish - not dry, but quick.

Overall, a really odd beer. Had me doing searches to figure out what the heck they put in it. I realize the age on this has probably brought out the sweeter, maltier, side, but wow is it strange. Not terrible, but not terribly enjoyable.

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Photo of gatornation
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a a beautiful slight hazed copper color with a small tan head nice lacing on glass..smell is sugary hops and citrus with sweet candy toffee smells..the taste is very sweet candy like with malts ..then hops then some toffee a little smoke and alcohol burn..mouth feel is medium and over sweet like rock candy..its too sweet and candy like for me i would not call it a strong ale it is all over the place i dont know what to call it except not good..for a 25th mark this did not hit with me way to sweet

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Photo of Khazadum
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grabbed at my local Binny's on a lucky day for me! Chilled and poured into a pint glass.

A-Absolutely perfect amber color that belongs only on adornments. Pure white head that rose to an acceptable height and died away to the traditional laced collar and archipelago arrangement. Multiple carbonation streams noted within the glass. Easily able to read through the glass, but dark enough to know this bad boy is a beer.

S-Sweet cherries, none of that tart crap here. Faint malts reminding me of brown sugar and fructose. Alcohol laden apples? Definitely astringent something.

T-Alcohol really comes out for an 8.5%. The finish just bites you in the mouth with antiseptic qualities that slowly dissipate to a minor hop solo.

The good things to note about this is how clean it is on the opening. It comes out as a mystery with mild sweet flavors before it goes downhill. Its not bad, but its just not what I was expecting. The nose was an anomaly because nothing similar to it can be found in the flavors.

M-Bit watery lending it a smooth character, tingles are what I was expecting from how this looks, no residue except for the finish on the back of the tongue.

D- If you are okay with having alcohol be a dominant player, than this is a solid ale. The drawbacks are there isn't much else to it. Its heavily alcoholic, minor amount of flavors, and decent to sniff at. Not much else can be said for this. Least it goes down easily enough. I doubt I'd ever buy this again.

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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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