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

347 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 347 | Ratings: 513
Photo of katan
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a heavy amber to brown color. Not much for carbonation or head formation - mocha in color. Opaque but hot hazy.

S - Heavy amounts of malts, sugary sweet, caramel, raisins, not much for hopping. Alot bit acidic, perhaps from age.

T - Starts off sweet, raisins, plums, dark fruits. Mid-stream does bring in a pretty strong american hops profile, lots of citrus, some piney flavors, overall pretty earthy. A good balance. Finishes mostly malty, sweet, sticky.

M - Full bodied and a light amount of carbonation. Some alcohol warmth. Sticky.

O/D - A good example of an american strong ale. Strong, balanced, lots of deep malts and a hefty american hop bite. ABV is strong but not over the top.

 723 characters

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

Pours a copper color with a nearly non-existent off white head, really just a slight ring. No lace.
Smell is caramel and malt, a sourish wood note and a light grape/apple note as well. Good balance.
Taste is woody malt, a charred whiskey note and a light caramel and apple hint , too.
Medium plus body, drying, lightly effervesced. For a strong ale this comes across a little weak in body and subdued in flavor. Alcohol is very restrained though a nicely building warmth.

 471 characters

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

Pours a hazy rusty amber color with a dense half inch cream head that lingers.

Aroma is very sweet, brown sugar, with figs, dates, and plums adding complexity. There's a touch of alcohol and an herbal hop note at the finish. Bruised cherries emerge as it warms.

Flavor is completely different than the aroma. There's less sweetness present. Toasted malt and bitter grapefruit pith form the backbone, leading into a peppery, alcoholic finish. Dark fruit flavors of bruised cherries and plum are subtle.

Body is fairly thick, with moderate carbonation, and significant alcohol heat...almost fusel.

Overall, a juxtaposition of aroma and flavor. Bitterness dominates, and the flavor was lacking in complexity, compared to the aroma. Alcohol was overwhelming.

 758 characters

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.

 909 characters

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.

 523 characters

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.

 843 characters

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.

 705 characters

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

12oz bottle poured on 1-20-12
Batch 9871

A - A very dark orange with a thin light tan head that fades fairly fast.

S - Very sweet and malty. Carmel, toffee, and oranges are all present.

T - Carmel, raisin, and slightly metallic.

D - Lower carbonation, a very heavy body.

O - Old ale that is sweet with a heavy fruity body.

 327 characters

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wintbs379 for this beer.

A: Pours out a nice caramel color with deep hues of red. There is about one finger of khaki colored head that seems to last forever. There is some great lacing as it drinks.

S: This beer smells sweet and malt, almost like a barleywine, with a touch of spice in the background. I'm getting malt, wheat, bananas, oranges, ginger, and clove. I'm digging it.

T: I get a blast of sweet malt right up front, but that flavor quickly transitions to citrus (orange) and clover. The sweetness never fades, but it becomes more subtle toward the finish. I get some nice spice and fresh cut grass in the finish.

M: Medium bodied beer. The flavors indulge the palate with quick bursts of ingredients, and all of them simmer slowly into oblivion as it drinks. Nothing is too overpowering or sticky. The sweetness lingers but not for too long.

O: I'm really impressed by this beer. I have been let down by a bunch of Bell's offerings, but I'm very happy with this one. It seems incredibly complicated, with no real definitive style, but that's ok with me. This beer is a winner. Happy 25th!

 1,114 characters

Photo of syrupjoe
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into pint glass. Pours a deep amber with light tan head.

Nose is extraordinarily malty - honey, biscuit, and sweet toffee.

Taste is rather light and smooth - less than I expected with the nose. Lots of biscuit and malt, a slight amount of grain, and a bit of booze.

Low carbonation with a sweet but tight finish.

Overall this is an okay beer, but it's nothing great. It's well-rounded but I wouldn't seek it out and will probably give away my second bottle.

 475 characters

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.

 1,284 characters

Photo of sholland119
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a pretty amber red, crystal clear, low carbonation but a little ring of off white head.

S-Lots of bready malt and some caramel sweetness.

T-Surprisingly bland, especially for a Bell's beer. Malty, bready but disappointingly watery.

M-Low carbonation, medium body, thin.

O-A letdown all in all. Bummer.


 317 characters

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.

 765 characters

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.

 431 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle obtained in a trade with Thorpe, I gave him nothing and he gave me 2 of these, not sure why but it does not bode well for this beer. I like Bell's and have neglected their beers thus far, time to start seriously pursuing them as a brewery. Served in a DFH glass because I don't have a Bell's tulip or snifter. D'oh!

Beer is brown with a mild haze, huge head, lots of lacing, looks like soap on the glass.

Aroma is sweet, like candy, caramel, malt syrup, smells fine.

Beer is good, not great, super sweet, heavy on the palate, sweet finish, very strong. Mild alcohol, it is just sweet sweet sweet. Very strong, overall interesting but not a great ale. I probably won't have it again.

 692 characters

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.

 739 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Cigar City pint glass. No readable freshness date to be found on the bottle.

A- Pours a dark amber with a very thin white head that disappears halfway through the drink.

S- Initial hoppy aroma gives way to malts that balance nicely. Alcohol is present but not too heavy. If it's any indication as to what the flavor will be like, I'm gonna enjoy this

T- Yep. Just as I thought. Wonderful balance of hops and malts. The hops are pungent yet subdued enough to not be overpowering. The heavy malt backbone this beer is sporting is also very enjoyable. The aforementioned alcohol aroma is even more hidden in the flavor. I can tell it's 8.5% but, judging by the taste, wouldn't think it's even .1 over that. I get bready, toasted notes from the malt. Hop profile is somewhat citrusy but moreso herbal like British hops. Seems clear that more than one variety was used.

M- Thin viscosity. Slightly heavy carbonation. Gives me kind of a burn when I swish but it's not a bad one.

O- The word for this beer is certainly "balance." To me, the malts are more dominant than the hops but the hops have their own significant role. Quaffable indeed. Way to go Bell's. Do you guys even make beer that's any less than awesome? (Obviously a rhetorical question)

 1,263 characters

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.

 586 characters

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.

 676 characters

Photo of amidabha
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch 9871 august 12, 2010
(the website says this has a shelf life of six months so i may have waited too long to drink this one for the best results.)

a vigorous pour into an imperial pub glass produced a frothy in head with minimal lacing. this has a deep hazy amber that matches it's sweet malty smell.

this is a beer that has some great consistency from the smell through the taste, it all seems to combine perfectly. a great complex beer start to finish with a sweet, but not too sweet, taste and a thick mouthfeel to coat the tongue.

this is a pretty good beer for a somewhat chilly night but not a high ranker for me on the bell's list. i love bell's so this is not a negative toward them or the beer. i'd buy more of this if it wasn't a limited release.

 765 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

big thanks to both Thorpe429 and CruisaC for hooking up this want.

a - opened the bottle and filled my E snifter. poured semi opaque orange red with an off white bubbly head. has a real barleywine look to it. more orange to the light, more red when on the table. semi-sticky lacing.

s - very nice toffee like malt. sweet, but not cloying...vanilla hops with a fruit medley. toffee is really the dominating smell on this one. smells nice...again, barleywine-ish.

t - leads with a fruit medley. there are a lot of flavors going on in this brew...almost too many. little sangria like. booziness is more souring.

m - a bit tingly, medium bodied...not as thick as you'd expect. the booziness gives it a bit of a sour bittern finish.

o - overall not bad, not great. smells very nice, then seems to be too much going on in the flavor and it becomes just boozy sangria. a bit reminiscent of bigfoot.

 896 characters

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

Thanks Taturbo for the trade!

A rich, dark amber with a slightly off-white head. Although this beer isn't cloudy, it's not watery either. One thing that stands out about this beer is how milky and yellow the head is.
Furthermore, the lacing is sticky and ample.

Strong caramelized sugars with some hoppy spice and bitterness. The beer's alcohol doesn't come off strong initially, but is present when looking. There are notes of tobacco, fig, and other dark fruits that make this beer smell rich.

This tastes like all the other strong ales that Bell produces (ie. 9000, 10000). It's well made, rich in flavors, but still doesn't stand out against other beers in its class.

Medium bodied with both initial and residual sweetness. The beer's contrasting bitterness and depth is through the incorporation of bittering hops and stinging alcohol. The aftertaste is napalm sweetness and some tobacco.

I love a well made strong ale, which this is, but can't say it's a special beer worth seeking out. I have not been disappointed by bell's beers and this is no exception.

 1,117 characters

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!

 581 characters

Photo of doughanson78
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to GCurlow for this.

A: Dark amber with redish and orange highlights when held to light. Pretty hazy. A slight quarter finger head that pretty much vanishes as fast as it came. Slightly off white, almost tan. An alright lacing sticks to the glass.

S: Big dark fruits dominate the aroma in this one. Black cherries and raisins mainly, with notes of figs and dates. A buttery bread/biscuit smell. Caramel and toffee malts are light. A very faint flowery aroma underneath. Pretty complex.

T: Sweet malts upfront with a slight burnt flavor. The dark fruits take over in the middle followed by a decent dose of alcohol. Finishing fairly hot and slightly roasty, with a light black cherry aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied. Medium to high carbonation. Lots of alcohol in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

O: Way to much alcohol coming through on this one. Has lots of potential. Should've let this one sit a year or two. But how was I to know. If I end up with another in a trade I'll know what to do now.

 1,040 characters

Photo of burnstar
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a coppery read with a small head. Smell is sweet caramel. Dark fruit notes. Nice caramel and toasty malt flavor. Some herbal hops provide some balance. Again some dark fruit. Maybe a touch of warming alcohol in the finish. Full bodied with somewhat low carbonation. Overall a nice strong ale with good malt profile. Fairly drinkable but I wouldn't want to drink this in large quantity.

 391 characters

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.74 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.