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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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 347 | Ratings: 510
Photo of Bendurgin
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another one from Grant. Thanks again! Poured this into a snifter. This one pours a deep caramel color with about an inch of bubbly beige head. Lots of sticky lace.

Musty dark fruity aroma on this. Plumbs and dates with hints of toffee. Slight floral hops in the background of the aroma. Smells like a barleywine in my opinion. Faint flavors of citrus in the profile with bready malts. This finishes with a bit of toffee sweetnes. Not bad, but it all seems a bit underwhelming.

Medium body on this one with kind of sharp carbonation. Overall, not a bad brew. A bit underwhelming but enjoyable. I wonder if this was a bit better when it was fresh. Or if it would be better with a bit more age.

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Photo of billab914
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a deep amber/orange color color with a thin white lacing barely covering the top of the beer. The head clung to the edges of the glass and left a bit of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweeter, malty flavor with some honey and caramel sweetness along with some nutty, toffee like flavors. A bit of a floral like hoppiness comes through in it as well.

The taste shows a lot of sweetness to it. I get a honey, malty sweet flavor throughout the beer. It has a lighter, more floral hoppiness with some citrus presence as well. A little bit of the caramel and bready flavors come through as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is decent but not great. It really showed off the malty Michigan barley, but could have been a little more balanced overall. It felt a little sweet at times, especially in the finish. Pretty good beer overall, but not a great one.

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Photo of greenmonstah
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle batch 9871

A - Light copper with a finger of tan head.

S - Sweet raisin and toffee complemented by bitter and earthy hops, plus alcohol.

T - Some raisin, brown bread, toffee, caramel, maybe nutmeg. Tastes like wort... The hops are subdued and not very well acquainted with the malts, the two flavor genres seem separated in some way. Strong warming effect.

M - Medium body, smooth, with a slight reminder of the above-average carbonation.

O - Overall this isn't much to write home about. Fairly bland and ill-devised hop profile that doesn't blend in the with the only-just-above-average malt profile. Not a bad beer, but for a special release like this is should have been a lot better.

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Photo of vtfan77
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep reddish orange with about a half inch of head that dissipates very quickly to a tiny ring of lace.

S- Sweet caramel malt and and an apple-like fruitiness. Not bad, but there's not a whole lot going on.

T- Somewhat tart upfront and surprisingly bitter throughout; the hop presence is much stronger in the taste than in the smell. Not nearly as sweet as I thought it would be; the malt gives a bready flavor rather than the sweet caramel I was expecting based on the smell. The malt and the hops are in pretty good balance with neither overpowering the other, but neither one asserts itself a whole lot either. Finishes dry and moderately bitter.

M- Fairly full-bodied and bordering on syrupy, but the carbonation is fairly high and balances it out nicely.

D- Not too bad. The alcohol isn't particularly noticeable and the beer goes down easily. I'll have no problem finishing the bottle, but I probably wouldn't get another.

Pretty run-of-the-mill strong ale here. I'm not sure what Bell's was trying to do here. Is it supposed to be a barleywine? An IPA? Neither? Both? I typically don't mind it if a beer has a bit of an identity crisis if it tastes good, but this one just isn't that great. It's not horrible, but I wouldn't get it again. Disappointing effort.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into large snifter glass

Pours a very nice cherry auburn with a decent head. Frothed film retains well, leaving rings of lacing on the glass.

Plenty of caramel and dark fruit sweetness in the nose with crispy malt and some citrus hops.

Hop bitterness right up front alongside pine and lighter citrus tendencies. Sweetness slices through, almost unexpectedly, with figs and raisins. Hints of molasses and caramel are evident. Alcohol warms the palate towards the end, along with more piny hops and some lingering fruit.

Medium bodied, but very chewy, and a little dry. Drinks okay, but I just don't know about this one. I love Bells, but this is my third time trying this beer and I cannot get into it. The sweetness feels a little off, and I was expecting a better hop profile.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks FlandersNed for this one...

A - Pours a hazy amber/reddish color with white froth. Good lacing occurs and remains on the glass.

S - A nice caramel malt scent with some hops. A few burnt sugar scents along with a very mild cinnamon note mixed in with some oats and dates too.

T - Caramel malt is dominated with some hops. Some faint taste of cherries in there as well. Different. Not much else in there though. I was hoping for a little more.

M - Very sticky but smooth.

O - A very interesting ale. Not bad. Wish I had more to try.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch number 9871. bottled on 08/12/2010.

poured into snifter.

Appearance: medium orangish/red bodied beer with nice clarity. Half a finger of fizzy white head that drops quickly to a ring around the glass.

Smell: dark fruits(raisins) and booze. Caramel malts with a touch of brown sugar. Got some vinous/wine qualities noted in the nose.

Taste: heavy oxidation. White grapes and sweet white wine. Caramel malts that overly sweet. This beer is just too sweet for my tastes. you can still get the hops and they taste stale as they should. Finishes dry with a mild bitter note.

Mouthfeel: high end of medium bodied beer. carbonation is still hold up nicely around a moderate carbonation level. It got a little bit of creaminess to the beer also.

Overall: This beer is okay, but nothing special for the style. Probably a better beer fresh.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark reddish amber color with 2 inches of off white head and light carbonation evident. Little bit of lacing.

s - Smells of caramel malts, dark fruit, sugar, bready malts, and lightly toasted malts. Smells pretty sweet.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, alcohol, bready malts, and dark fruit. Not nearly as sweet as it smelled.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent strong ale, but I wish the alcohol wasn't as prominent in the taste. Glad I tried it but probably wouldn't seek out again.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A boy of michigan I am, out here on the coast fighting with chickweed and thistle. I yearn for my homeland, except the cold and snow and depressed economy. Ok, fine, I don't yearn for much of Michigan except the beer.

The bottle speak of dreams, soup pots, and a little bit of religion. This bottle may not convert me, but it could warm me up to the cute mission girls. An awesome orange red, the color of a harvest moon with a toothy bite. Creamy white head rolls off fast, but no matter, it smells of sweet caramel and bitter hops. Big bitter hops covered in a thick sauce of honey, dried figs, virgins and Wild Turkey. A bit of heat for such a sweet 8.5 brew, but nothing offensive, just suprising.

Mouthfeel is kinda sticky, too much so. Overall I feel it lack depth, a vapid teenage missionary with big dreams. Thank you Bells, for you give me love for my homeland. That, and thanks for that cute deadlocked princess from the Eccentric Cafe. May she shoot her pistol while listening to Warren Zevon until the end of time.

Bells- Bring me Lawyers, Guns, and Money. And a beer with a prayer flag attached, if you wish.

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Photo of BigPapiBrewingCo
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy amber/reddish color with white froth. Good lacing occurs and remains on the glass. A nice caramel malt scent with some hops.- Caramel malt with some hops . a little oxidation should have had it fresh. drink it now dont wait can see it going way down hill

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Photo of ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into my Samuel Smiths Imperial pint, Bell's 25th is orangish brown with a small off-white head that leaves light, scattered lace.

Smell is sweet, fruity.

Taste is similar, a really interesting candy aftertaste, very familar. Kind of generic sweet strong all, some floral hop flavor but no bite or bittterness.

Mouthfeel is drier, medium bodied.

Drinkability is okay, but this is pretty uninspired for a anniversary beer. Very generic.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Congratulations Bell's. They have been pumping out some sweet new stuff this past month in celebration. I must say Im excited for this beer. I dont know what to expect from this beer at all.

A- Bright ruby red/deep amber. A nice fluffy head caps it and leaves lacing as it fades.

S- Interesting, and quite sweet smelling. Lots of caramelized malts and juicy fruits. Cherries and citrus. The nose isnt big and in your face. Its not what I expected at all, but whats there is nice.

T- Pretty sweet with a floral and citrus hopping. Caramel, toffee, cherries, oaky vanilla, grapefruit rind and a touch of pine.

M- Fluffy and soft. Pretty dry. Carbonation is high but not sharp or prickly.

D- I enjoy this but its not anything extremely interesting.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, sweet alcohol, subtle citrus, dark fruit, and very subtle citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. The flavor was pretty well blended and smooth on this one. However with that said, it wasn't overly good nor was it overly bad. It was complex though which is always nice to see. The aroma wasn't very impressive though. Worth trying at least once, but I plan to leave it at that...

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Photo of warnerry
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 1/30/2011

A - Pours deep amber with three fingers of pillowy head. Head has moderate retention and leaves a decent amount of lacing behind.

S - Caramel malts predominate, though some grains are also present. Aroma is nice but a little underwhelming.

T - Again, dominated by malts with a distinct tea flavor on the finish. Some slightly sweet notes in the taste, but no specific flavors I can pin down. Taste pretty good, but non-descript.

M - Medium light mouthfeel with some slight drying on the finish.

O - Definitely drinkable, if not particularly memorable or desirable. Perhaps the Batch 10,000 should have been the recipe for this anniversary beer as an homage to their roots. This just doesn't stand out in any way.

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Photo of fear025
3.44/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Aroma:Nicely hoppy, some carmalized malt aromas, also some dark fruits in the nose.

Appearance:Deep amber in color, low head, low lacing, low retention.

Taste:Lots of sweet malt and aggressive on the foretaste. The hops are mostly piney and continue strongly through the midtaste. Also in the midtaste, there are bitter citrus notes, like grapefruit rind. In the aftertaste, I get some strange tea-like flavors.

Mouthfeel:Medium body, there is some hop astringency in the mid and aftertastes that burn my throat a little.

Drinkability:Overall this beer has what I like to call 'adult' flavors, a little dark, bitter, with a little bit of sweetness to balance it. As this beer is so new, I think it probably needs to age for a while to let the flavors settle down.

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Photo of boralyl
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into my over-sized tulip glass. When poured it produced a small 1/4 inch of off-white head that fades pretty quickly without leaving any lacing. The beer is dark amber in color and clear.

S - The nose consists of syrupy caramel and citrus notes. "Syrupy caramel" are the best words I can think of to describe this aroma. It's a very sweet smell.

M - Medium to full in body with medium carbonation. It feels a little too tingly. I expected the carbonation to be less based on the sweetness and fullness of the beer.

T - It's very similar to the nose. It begins with a syrupy sweetness that fades into caramel with citrusy hops appearing in the background. There is a little bit of alcohol and dark fruit present in the finish.

Bell's produced an interesting beer for their 25th. It doesn't fit into any specific style. I would compare it to a barleywine if anything. It's an above average beer, but not quite as delicious as some of their other offerings.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Stella Artois 40cl snifter type glass. Beer is amber rose in color with a small, wispy white head. No lacing is left on the glass and the head receds rather abruptly.

Aroma is malty and alcoholic. Caramel malt, fresh popcorn, sugary sweetness.

Flavor matches the aroma quite well. Caramel and bready with fruity alcohol notes and chardonnay barrel characteristics. White wine like.

Not bad. Bitter in the finish which isnt bad. This one seems to be a little too carbonated for my liking. Finishes really dry and has an overall chardonnay wine characteristic to it. Thin as well, needs more body. In my opinion, this was just average.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a CCB snifter. Batch 9871, bottled 8/12/2010.

Appearance - Deep amber with enough head to balloon at the top of the glass. I didn't leave it much space, though. Island of foam on top and some even sticks to the glass.

Smell - It doesn't smell very good. Cardboard aroma and some apples. Caramel and some paler malts in the nose as well. A touch boozy.

Taste - Better, I guess. Doesn't taste oxidized, maybe just a touch in the finish. Otherwise the apple smells persist along with the pale and caramel malts. Bitter throughout. Reminds me of a less impressive Fred. Biting bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Quite drinkable, really. It's a well balanced beer, if that means anything at all. Boozy, but otherwise I don't have a problem drinking it.

Overall - It's just kind of unexciting and I think getting a little old. It leaves me with a sickly aftertaste also, though. Not sure why.

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Photo of Darkale
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What a peculiar beer this is. I don't really know what to call it. It is hugely malty - it has more layers of malty complexity than I usually encounter, with thick layers of smoky sweetness. My local beer store friends told me this would be like a barleywine, but it is not quite in that category: it does not go so deep as that. It has a lot of malty complexity, but it does not have the thick, chewy density of my favorite barleywines. In fact, its mouthfeel is pretty thin.

I am glad that I tried it - Bell's is one of my favorite breweries - but at the same time I am glad that I bought it off the singles rack. My final thought is that this is too boozy, especially for so thin a beer.

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Photo of BBP
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A clear dark amber color with some of the best carbonation I've ever seen. After I poured it looked like an inverse whirlpool coming from the bottom. Also sported a creamy thick head. Spectacular. Left great lacing as well.

S- Hops immediately. Some spicing, and a sweet slightly fruity malt aroma. A bit of citrus too and some pine.

T- This is where it went downhill for me. There was a good hop flavor, and good spices, but after not too long the taste just fell off of my tongue. The aftertaste isn't impressive either. It almost has an old fruit taste. Notes of caramel which don't last for long either. If I focus on the minute pine taste from the hops that's left behind I can appreciate this one a little.

M- A little less than a medium body. Quite creamy though and carbonation is good. Somewhat dry on the finish.

D- I'm gonna let this one slide as something they could have just tossed together for the 25th Anniversary occasion. It doesn't represent the taste that's available in their other offerings, and just seems off. This is my opinion. I'm glad that their other beers are the ones they're making more of.

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Photo of oberon
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer started out great for me before fizzling out in the end.Poured into an oversized wine glass a clear rich amber with thinner but well retained white head,great complexity in the nose,a mix of resiny hop, and caramel,fruity malt.The palate was a bit of a mess with real sharp alcohol flavors and some over the top sweetness,I will say it went down better with a little chocolate I ate with it.Not one I would search out,its just to sharp on the palate for me.

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Photo of jsanford
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Bell's Tulip.

Pours a clear, dark copper with a think white head that fades to slight ring and wispy haze. Sweet caramel malt and pine resin hops dominate the nose. Taste is close to the nose, lots of sweet caramel malt, toasted bread, pine resin, and citrus peel. Tasty, but not too complex. Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy, with a medium body and lowish carbonation. Decent beer overall, just forgettable.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle - Batch 9871

a - pours a deep copper color, one-finger ivory head with decent retention and lacing, slight haze

s - surprisingly hoppy aroma with lots of orange and pineapple hop notes, substantial caramel malt and light biscuit malt as well, very faint boozy heat

t - much less hoppy on the flavor than on the aroma, moderately sweet up front with lots of caramel and bready flavors, orange and pineapple bitter hop notes on the midpalate with the moderate bitterness flowing into the finish and cutting the caramel sweetness, light boozy heat lingers on the palate along with some orange marmalade notes

m - full bodied, moderate carbonation, nice alcohol warming, pretty well-balanced finish

d - not overly drinkable, flavors are just kind of dull and not interesting for what I usually expect from Bell's, that said, it's still an above average beer

A little bit of a letdown mainly because I have high expectations for a Bell's special release beer. Worth trying if it finds shelves in your area, but I'd stick with a single or two rather than a sixer.

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Photo of therobot
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Nice toasted amber color

S: Pretty mellow smell, not overly hoppy has a hint of sweet and booze

T: Malty start followed quickly by a strong, toffee/caramel flavor which dominates my tongue, the sweetness lingers and mellows

M: Fairly thick, which I like, small amount of carbonation, and it sticks around for a good time after

D: Going to rate this pretty low on drinkablilty, for me a little too sweet, a bottle is about all I want to get through

Bell's is a great brewery, this commemorative edition ale is unique and certainly worth a try. I could see it being right up some people's alley's just not mine.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 8-24-10
Batch 9871
Bottled on 8-12-10

Pours a hazy amber/brown color, with almost no head and just a few bubbles of lacing. Viscous looking, and a bit menacing.

Smell is sweet and subtle, a little caramel malt, with slight aromas of clove and smoke. Not particularly strong, or complex.

Taste is thin malt, a little earthy and boozy, maybe flavors of coffee and caramel, with a sharp hop finish. Unique, but nothing special.

Mouthfeel is slick with a good thickness, accents the malty flavors nicely.

Drinkability is decent, but the surprisingly light flavors leave the alcohol nowhere to hide.

Overall, not what I expected from a Bell's special edition. A few will go in the cellar though.

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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.74 out of 5 based on 510 ratings.
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