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 AdamBear
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-transparent amber with a thick light tan head that stays. some lacing

S-smells like hops and caramel, with more focus on the caramel. the scents aren't too strong. smells similar to a barley wine.

T-hits the tongue with great grassy hops, then transitions it to a great mix of sweet caramel and molasses. it reminds me of candy. i like it. its definitely a sweeter version of the style.

M-soft and creamy medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-a decent and different strong ale. the taste stays. its definitely worth a try. i perfer the Batch 10,000 myself.

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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 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 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 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 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 srandycarter
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Muddy amber, nice head falls fast to ring. Not much lace.

S - Bready, heady goodness. Deep malt and my favorite thing about this beer.

T - Malty, nice, but thinner than smell suggests.

M - Again, thinner and less complex than I thought. Good carb, ok balance.

D - Fort eh ABV, very easy to drink.

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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 LiquidBread219
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - Lightly hazed amber/orange color with a beige head that thinned to a ring and left a few trails of lacing.

S - Sweet dark fruit aroma with a light scent of floral hops.

T - Mainly sweeter flavors of dates, raisins, figs with some earthy undertones and some drying bittering right before a sticky sweet taste on the lips.

F - Medium bodied with good carbonation for the style.

D - It was quite enjoyable, I look forward many more beers from Bell's one of my favorite breweries!

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Photo of meatyard
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, dark, amber with a 2-finger, white head that has pretty good retention and splotchy lacing.

The smell is sweet and toasty caramel malt, a bit of cracker and a little alcohol.

The taste is sweet malt, a bit metallic & a light citrus flavor left over from it's 8/12/10 bottling. Feels more like a barleywine.

Mouthfeel is nearly medium and slightly drying.

Overall: This seems like a bit of a miss for a Bell's 25th Anniversay beer. It has some nice qualities but I was expecting more from such a good brewery like Bell's. Maybe it made more sense last September with a stronger hop presence.

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Photo of richkrull
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark amber color with a good amount of beige head on it. Smell is pronounced. Bit of cherries with some maltiness coming through. Taste is pretty great malt upfront with a nice bitter hop finish. Medium bodied beer. Very good all around beer. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of portia99
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (batch 9871) poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours a mostly clear bright orange amber color. A thick finger of cream colored head briefly lingers leaving behind an uneven skim coat and tall collar/lacing on the glass.

S - Fruity, citrusy hops up front - bright and orangey with hints of pineapple. Underlying toffee and light caramel malt flavors and a hint of alcohol. Not amazingly complex but it has a very balanced aroma overall with everything well blended and consistent in intensity.

T - More sweet and malt forward in the flavor than the aroma would indicate. Very much of a hoppy barleywine type character. Fermented pretty cleanly with a big malt bill leaving behind a good amount of residual sugars. Sweet, caramelly, lightly metallic, noticeable alcohol component that is just a touch warm. Bitterness is medium overall and sufficiently balances the sugary malt base. A bit toasty in the background with some green, grassy and citrusy hops flavors for good measure. Pretty well balanced here too.

M - Medium/medium-high bodied with a firm carbonation. Noticeable alcohol which lingers behind after the swallow and on the exhale - not hot, but definitely a factor in the feel. The slighest amount of syrupy fell can also be felt on the tongue and is rather satisfying.

O - Overall, everything works pretty well here. There is excellent balance throughout the aroma and the flavors. I'd call this a nice hop forward barleywine. This is pretty enjoyable - I think its good for one more in a session too. Goes down pretty easily.

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Photo of bgildea
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark murky amber color. Has very little white head that faded quickly and left little lacing.

S: Smells delicious. Strong sweet smells of honey and berries.

T: The taste mirrors the smell. Starts off with a nice sweet taste of honey and what seems like blueberry and raspberries. Finishes with a slight slight slight bitter flavor, but overall the flavor was a nice sweet beer.

M: Pretty thin beer. Not too much chew here.

O: I thought this was drinkability... but... Overall its a pretty good beer. It's a sweetish beer, but carries itself nicely. I'd definitely recommend this beer to other.

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Photo of waldoiverson
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Nonic

A: dark copper, slightly offwhite head, with very active carbonation and moderate lacing

S: a bit of apple, caramel, and some lemon, strong malt overtones

T: rich malt with a pretty rapid hit of bitterness from the hops, fairly yeasty, earthy

M: not as carbonated as it appears, starts sweet but with a very dry finish

O: I'm glad to have had it but it is, unfortunately, fairly forgetable. I wish there had been a real standout quality. It was just yeasty and malty with a dry resinous finish.

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from notes 1-9-11

A: Pours dark amber with a finger of light brown/tan head. head leaves some lacing after it settled to a very thin layer.
S: a dry nutty malt which also lends some sweetness along with being a tad bready.
T: again nutty, malty and very bready. there is a certain fruity almost apple bread flavor. also a bit of alcohol as it begins to warm up.
M: this will sound odd but lightly thick, medium low carbonation
D/O: has some bock qualities as well as strong ale.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.11/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Bell's 25th pours a deep, slightly hazy copper color with ruby highlights. About a 2 finger slightly off-white head forms, that has pretty nice retention and lacing.

Smell: I get a lot of caramel malts on the nose, and some graininess. Also some citrus hops. To me the malts and hops in this beer clash a bit. Maybe it's just the fact that a ton of caramel and citrus don't go together for me; I can't quite put my finger on it.

Taste: Lots of caramel malts and citrus hops. That's about all I pick up on. The hops and malts don't clash as badly in the taste as they do on the nose, but this beer is still just average, maybe slightly above.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This beer is definitely light bodied for an 8.5% ABV beer. It does drink fairly smoothly due to good combination but still, just decent. Overall, just a slightly above average strong ale. Definitely worth a shot, but you'll find much better offerings from Bell's.

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Photo of herman77
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep golden orange with a small light khaki head. Okay lacing.

S: Sweet carmel malt, some cereal grains. A hint of citrus hops. Not much going on here.

T: More carmel malt and breadyness. Decent amount of pine and citrus hops, though they do seem a bit faded since this was bottled on Aug 12th. Short finish, that stays a bit hoppy and sweet, then nothing.

M: Medium to lighter body. Moderate carbonation. Pretty standard

D: Decent drinkability. Can kind of pick up the ABV. Nothing too special, though I was thinking this beer would be more special.

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Photo of Snow81
4.62/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice and Hazy orange

Smell: Light citric, sticky maltyness on the nose

Head: bit small not even a finger length and a little tan for color

Taste: Wow big floral hops with some mango or a exotic fruit with a touch of heat on the back

Weight: I would say about medium on the body and a bit lower carbonation than I was expecting

Finish: Mouth full of hops, lips get nice and sticky, a bit of a heat is still present, dryness hits the palate

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Photo of jsulko
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought as a single

Poured into a shaker pint

Pours a amber color with a off white foamy head

Smell is malty with the piny hops present as well

Taste was somewhat overwhelmed by the hop presence and not in a great way

Beer just was a bit much for me.

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Photo of harrymel
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dhren1979 for this extra, cheers Doug!

A: Pours a golden amber with excellent clarity and a single finger offwhite foamy head which dissipates over the next ten minutes leaving a central cap of the same. No evident lacing.

S: Caramel, toffee, malt backbone. Initially lots of metallic notes (bad). Not much hops. However, maybe the hops are in this observation: for some reason this reminds me of pineapple flavored gummy bears....weird.

T: Alcohol was not covered very well here IMO. The malts take second base to fusel that makes my jaw clench. Over the top of this is a great malt blend, sweet and enjoyable. Hints of tea-like flavors.

M: Smooth and slightly creamy. Lower carb. Leaves film in mouth. Not bad.

D: The beer definitely has potential. And I really like it, I will look for more (as extras).

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.15/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. 8.5% ABV, Batch # 9871 (packaged Aug. 12, 2010)

Thanks to sweemzander for this brew!

A - 25 pours a beautiful clear crimson bronze color that's gorgeous and vibrant but topped by a weak bone-colored head. An arch of lace and ring of loose bubbles is left above the almost naked beer.

S - The immediately crisp, hopped-up aroma fades quickly into an amber malt and doughy-bread-based ale with subtle fruity esters. The once strong, citrusy American hops vanished quickly leaving the malt fairly balance-less in the aroma. Thin solvent alcohol notes in the back.

T - Some of the citrusy American hops pull into the flavor much more adding balance to the doughy, bready amber malt. Almost no finish or follow-through though which is largely my problem with it. It disappears very quickly.

M - While the flavor has a somewhat thin consistency, falling almost flat mid palette, the actual feel is rather thick and chewy. Smooth from very low carbonation on the finish. Retro-nasal alcohol warmth comes through.

D - For a 25th Anniversary brew, I find this lacking all around (for a Bell's product) especially the sharp drop-off in flavor on the tongue. No finish, odd feel, this is definitely a one-and-done for me. I wouldn't really want it again.

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Photo of treehouse
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark wheated ruby...

smells like an oaked semi-clean horse wants to be a siason....cherries...figs...some tobacco coming through...


wheat and fig newtons...a decent hop presence rounded by oats....complex enough...i can drink two more pints...!...wonder if being on tap would make this less horsey..more hopful....

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold."

--Maurice Setter

Bittersweet orange with a fiery tangerine behind the snifter that is the rising sun. Nearly two fingers of toasted almond colored cream was produced on the pour and does its job with style. Enough frosting sticks to keep the appearance score right where it started.

Unfortunately, the nose lacks a major olfactory hook. The beer smells amber-like and somewhat caramel malty, with a hoppiness whose origins aren't immediately obvious. Here's hoping the usual Bell's magic makes an appearance on the palate.

American strong amber ale was an interesting design choice, but I suppose these guys have brewed just about everything else. Even though it's obvious that Bells' 25th AA is well-brewed, it's also is a little short in the personality department when it comes to flavor, which is where it matters most. Warming helps in that regard.

Golden American barleywine is probably the most apt comparison. The malts are primarily mid-range, with equal parts toasted whole grain bread and caramel-toffee. The hops are orange peel fruity and herbal-spicy as well. Sweet is favored early in the mouthful and bitter is favored late. A lingering finish and good alcohol masking help the cause.

Still generous alpha acids attempt to scrub the tongue clean after each upending of the glass. This must have been one resinously hoppy beast last fall. This really is enjoyable big beer, so the drinkability score (now carrying more weight, thankfully) will be bumped with pleasure.

The mouthfeel can best be described as buzzily creamy. More laid back bubbles might have been preferable, but it's hard to argue with the energetic wakeup call that each mouthful provides.

More was expected from a 25th (silver) anniversary ale from a brewery as accomplished as Bell's. Having said that, these guys still have a perennial place in my top-10 American breweries of all-time. With the demise of the Batch Series, it would be great if they continue to find a way to surprise us with inventive, one-off ales from time to time.

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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 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.
3.74 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
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