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 Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Champagne's Cellars. Medium golden body with lasting white fluffy head. When this clears, I get a nutty sweet aroma that carries on in the taste. A lovely balanced sweet strong ale, that is unique among American strong. The hops are in the secondary. Tremendous drinkability.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sending me this one!

Pours a hazy honey orange with a 1 inch foamy orange-white head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of sweet malt, brown sugar, orange juice, citrus fruits, and citrus zest. Taste is pretty much exactly like the smell with a very nice set of citrus juice, fruit, and zest flavors coming out. Almost no bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a smooth and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good strong ale with some nice citrus aromas and flavors. I am glad I was able to try a bottle of this one.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.21/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I expected this beer to be much more impressive that it was. This beer poured out as a copper color, with a white head on top that really didn't really stick around too much. The smell was a little boozy and had some light Belgian aromas to it. Nothing much really stood out to me on this. The taste was malty and was a little tart. Kind of a strange brew. The mouthfeel was decent but nothing out of the ordinary. Overall this beer left me unimpressed. I feel that this beer doesn't do the justice of celebrating something like 25 years. Perhaps if this was aged it would improve but I'll probably never know.

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

Toffee sweetness meets resiny bitterness in Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale.

Their 25th pours a solid amber/copper color with a mild haze, creating an even glow. A dainty creame of a head forms on the beer and fades into a lace around the glass fairly quickly. I would have liked a froathier look.

Balanced aromas of deeply caramelized barley malts and earthy/piney/citrusy hops keep each other in check so that one never dominates the other. Low in esters, the sharp fruitiness is all hop derived.

Caramel, toffee, and peanut brittle sweetness gives the impression of Cracker Jacks candy. But those hops give a jolt of orange rinds, ruby red grape fruits, gin-like spruce, and a sappy grassy taste. Very complex taste to say the least. Still the hop compounds and malts seem disjointed, as if there are two beers here in a single glass.

Sweeter flavors lead to a heavier and thicker feel with only moderate creaminess and dryness. Lightly syrupy, the beer seems somewhat English-like in feel. The finish lacks the dryness and crispness that could improve the beer dramatically.

I keep looking for a toastier or more sharp bitterness that pushes the balance into a more hop or acrid balance. But this ends up being a sweet beer with bold hop flavor. The bitterness and toast never materializes and keeps the beer balanced. Needless to say, I'd prefer a slightly more crisp and bitter beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a rocky head that fades rather quickly though it leaves some webbing behind

Smell: Caramel sweetness with fig elements and offsetting pith

Taste: Caramel and fig, up front, provide an interesting interplay, with a developing pithy hop flavor that holds the sweetness in check; after the swallow, the malt forward elements resume their supremacy, though the beer never becomes cloying

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Lots of complex flavors in this brew; a bit of a style bender that has elements of Winter Warmers, Barleywines and Strong Ales

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Photo of emerge077
3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saturated burnt copper, concentric rings of lace form under a flurry of spotty flecks all around the glass. A nice color, reminds me of a barleywine.

Oddly sweet crystal malt aroma, almost funky and not the most pleasant. Brown sugar, toffee, cotton candy, a bare hint of hops that's a bit too subtle.

Rich, smooth barleywine feel, huge bready, toasted barley flavor. Moderately sweet, with a mild hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Fairy average, but strong. Glad I only had a single and not a full 6.

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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 zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, bronze color with a thick, tan head. It was long lasting and left behind some sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of citrus fruits, mostly orange and some floral notes. There was a sweet caramel presence, too.

T - Very herbal tasting with a floral hop presence. Nice bitter bite with a burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a pretty good ale. I'm going to try to see how some age effects these.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly rusted red-copper. Slight off-white head without too much lacing as it goes down. The nose is...unique. I'm having a hard time describing what's going on. Maybe a bit of bready yeast scent with hints of caramel and amber malt in the background. Strange, but kind of reminds me of the smell characteristic of most Harpoon beers, which I've always attributed to their house yeast.

Taste is similarly difficult to describe. There's a noticeable bitterness that was not present in the nose. Slightly earthy/floral for the hops, although not to a large extent at all. Slight alcohol tinge. Bitterness coats my mouth after swallowing. Slightly dry mouthfeel. Dry. Drinkability is enhanced by there mere fact that I really can't stop drinking to figure out exactly what is going on. In the end, I'm really not making all that much progress. I've got a sixer or so left, so I'll have to see how this one ages.

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Photo of mothman
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Bells snifter

Pours about a finger of off white head. Fades to a thick ring. Leaves some splattered lace. Color is a bright copper orange.

Aroma: Fairly hoppy. Reminds me a bit of a dipa with a lot of citrus fruit. Pine hops, mangoes, grapefruit, and lemons show. A hint of spice as well.

Taste: I have no idea what this beer is, but it seems as it if is trying to be something hopped up with dashes of spice. A bit of caramel malt, pine hops, grapefruit, and mangoes.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, smooth, and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sticky with some alcohol showing.

Overall, a decent strong ale (whatever that means). I really didn't know what it was trying to be, but I kind of liked it. Pretty good overall. Decent drinkability.

Happy 25th Bells!

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Photo of superspak
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours clear red orange color with a really dense 2 finger off white head with insane retention and insane lacing. Aromas of citrus, caramel, some fruits, and oak. Taste of rye, citrus, and caramel, with some fruit notes. Some slight bitterness on the finish. Creamy medium body and carbonation. Alcohol is no where to be seen despite 8.5%. Overall this was pretty interesting stuff, but another tasty brew from Bells for me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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 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 mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for this bottle.

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a just off-white head upon pouring. Quick reduction to a very thin layer on top and a more foamy ring of foam around the edge. Not much lacing.

S: Some caramelized malt and a hint of citrus hops. There is a bit if a buttery aroma on the finish though.

T: Lots of sugary caramel and some toffee with a bit of fruit as well. Some light fig and raisin as well as a little bit of grassy hops.

M: Medium to full bodied, has a slight syrupy feel to it.

O: Not a bad beer, but nothing really stood out for me.

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Photo of russpowell
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this at macadoodles in Jane, MO...

Pours a super effervescent amber with a sliver of tan head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Plummyness & doughyness, some raisin

T: Follows the nose, also herbal hoppyness, brown sugar & dryness up front, plus leafy hops. Warming figgyness with some dryness as this warms, plus toffee & just a touch of leafy hops. Finishes dry with leafy hops & slight caramel sweetness

MF: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, fairly good balance

Drinks good, not a bad offering, but was expecting way more quite frankly. I just as soon have 3rd Coast Ale, not really close...

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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 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 womencantsail
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a clear copper color with a fluffy off-white head.

S: The nose is the brown sugar, caramel, citrus sweetness present in so many strong ales. A bit oxidized (cardboard) already, which is strange for a beer so recently released.

T: The sweetness is moderate and so is the bitterness. Mostly toffee and molasses with a bit of caramel for the sweet side (with some more mild oxidation notes) and a touch of grapefruit peel on the hoppy side. There are some hints of pine and a subtle creaminess.

M: Medium to full in body with a smooth carbonation.

D: Not bad at all, but surprisingly oxidized for a beer that is pretty newly released. It was good, but I guess for a 25th anniversary beer, you might expect more of a "wow" factor.

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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 TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

VDubb86 is a good man for splitting this sixer with a wretch like me.

Hmm...maybe I should save a bottle for my 25th anniversary... Anyway, it pours a clear garnet-amber topped by about a half-finger or so of off-white foam. The nose is kinda IPA-ish, with some citrusy hop aromas clashing with some heavy caramel notes. The taste leans heavily toward the caramel, almost like a past-its-peak IPA, but with a duller hop sting and a much more pronounced alcohol burn (though this isn't that hot of a burn, frankly). Nothing much else beyond that, really. The body is a hefty medium, with a rather low carbonation and a nearly syrupy feel. Overall, I'm a little underwhelmed with this brew: it's not really bad, per se, but I'm not really seeing much going on here. It's okay, and a little too boozy to really be called "drinkable" to any great degree.

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

The beer is copper hued, with a decent sized head and random traces of lacing on the pint glass. The aroma offers a heavy malt bill, with some hops and alcohol. This definitely smells like an American strong ale. Similar to Bigfoot in some regards. The flavor is nice, and feels more potent than 8.5%. I would say the beer is hop forward, though there is a formidable malt showing. Mouthfeel is medium to thick, with a pronounced hop presence throughout. This beer almost drinks like an imperial IPA with a strong malt bill. Tasty stuff. A good beer to split with a friend. Cheers!

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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 WVbeergeek
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I didn't know that Bell's was hitting 25,I didn't hear much about this release so it was a pleasant surprise to see this beauty sitting in the cooler up at Bocktown. Pours a ruby amber colored body with a light khaki head wth thin sporadic lacing. Aroma is full of pine/citrus hop pungency coated with some sugars and a bit of alcohol and a nice slightly sour mash cereal grain finish. As it warms I notice ripened fruits and hints of oak finishing, again I haven't heard much I have no clue whether this has hit the barrel or not. This one is ready for the cellar a big strong ale brewed with Michigan malts, and American hops...hop flavor is actually well integrated in this beer. Vanilla, caramel, a bit of diacetyl but it's not offensve. Pine/citrus well blended hop bitterness, alcohol is evident not overwhelming. Mouthfeel coats the palate a bit of residual sugars left on the palate not too cloying especially for a strong/old ale. Carbonation is mellow, body is medium to full nothing here to complain about. Drinkability is a nice sipping brew, definitely strong flavor profile. Light up a cigar as it warms I'm sure it would be a great combo, sit out on the back deck this fall and enjoy.

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

Poured into a SA sensory glass, Bell's 25th anniversary ale appears a perfectly clear amber color. A finger of yellowish stained head appears and dissolves almost immediately to a fine ring around the inside perimeter of the glass.

The aroma of this brew is quite sweet smelling like that of caramelized malt which is very, very similar to belgian candy sugar. Some light floral hops are included along with a light sting of solvent alcohol in the nose.

The taste is matching with an equal amount of caramelized malty sweetness, lightly toasted. A contrasting flavor of solvent alcohol comes through to wipe out the sweetness and a bit of herbal hops linger in the background blending with the alcohol character.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate to light level of carbonation. The flavor of this brew is caught somewhere inbetween toasted malt, candy, fusel alcohol and herbal hops. It really doesn't mesh well together and is a bit of a mess that didnt quite do it for me. Perhaps some age with blend these flavors together better but as it is now it is a flop.

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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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