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 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 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)

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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 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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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Photo of beagle75
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with less than one finger of diminishing turmeric-tinted foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Heavy malt is present, featuring brown sugar, faint smoke, and husky grain. There is an earthy presence that lends additional savoriness. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with caramel and lesser estery fruit that is straight-forward and largely unaffected by any hop presence. Acidity is mild into the middle, which develops a slightly metallic edge focused in the corners of the mouth. The finish is slightly spirituous, retaining significant sweet malt and developing a mellow scotch-like quality.

M: Medium viscosity, syrupy and sticky on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: While the hops have faded significantly, this beer projects a deep and appealing profile that is fairly clean in its execution. Sipping this is a pleasure, and it is easy to imagine with a bolder hop presence, bringing it in range of Arrogant Bastard.

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

Poured into a nonic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 oz bottle courtesy of thewizzard. Thanks buddy for this great extra! Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a deep red-copper with a nice frothy almond-colored head whose thickness is about the size of the Twix bar I have lying on the coffee table. Moderate retainment for the most part. Dissipates into broken lilypads floating on the surface.

Smell: Really, this is classified as an American strong ale? Strong burnt malt and caramel gives this more of an American barleywine type of aroma. Slight subtle hints of broken-down hops, as if the hops have fossilized. You know they used to be there, but can't experience it now with your own senses.

Taste: Like a watered-down and weaker barleywine. Flavor profile consists of weak malts, caramel, and toffee that are unbalanced and suffering from a severe identity crisis. Little sweetness, no hop character. Very simplistic and nothing overly complex or extraordinary. OK, I'll stop avoiding not saying it...I am disappointed.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is well-done but the body is a bit thin for what I was expecting. Based on how my olfactory system interpreted the nose, I was seeking something chewy and creamy. Oh well, C'est la vie.

Overall: For a 25th anniversary celebratory brew, I would have thought Bell's would really have tried to shoot for the stars with this one. But that certainly won't stop me from trying everything else that Bell's has to offer.

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

12oz bottle courtesy of beerbeerbeerbeer. Thanks Kevin!

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

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Photo of 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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3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Bruges tulip. Batch:9871

A: Pours a half a finger head, which is off-white. The body is a murky copper haze, that has a hint of red in the body. The carbonation is low on the visual. The lacing is left in a swath pattern.

S: The aroma is still high in hop profiles, while holding a nice caramel malt note. Strong note of American Strong Ale. Medium intensity on the overall aroma.

T/M: The mouthfeel is fairly smooth and not too heavy, with a nice silky experience. The malt does dominate the flavor profile, but hints at a weak barleywine are present. The hops have faded dramatically, but a hint at slight bitterness still holds true.

O: Overall this is a very smooth brew, but for the overall taste, it is missing a level of intensity, even with some age, the flavors have only developed and matured slightly. Good brew none the less.

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

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale. 

Served in DFH signature glass

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

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

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

M: Medium body and carbonation.  Creamy mouthfeel. 

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

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

Pours a slightly hazy, dark copper color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight citrus hops, slight floral hops, slight alcohol, hint of syrup, and a hint of wood. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, slight wood, slight citrus hops, sweet malt, and hint of floral. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and blend.

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

12oz bottle poured into pint glass. from notes.

A - This beer comes out a dark copper colour, slightly murky, but could be the chill haze. Nicely developed rocky head. Looks good

S - Caramel and toffee sweet malts. Some lemon and orange citrus. Some ethanol.

T - Lots of flavour here, some which works and some that doesn't. The caramel malt is the biggest percentage rounded out with some dates, cherries, grass and oranges. I actually get a distinct green tea flavour in the back, interesting.

M - Sticky, medium, slightly hot

O - An interesting beer, I thought it was pretty good and looked really good after the pour. I'd try it again if I had one!

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.52/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pretty beautiful. A reddish amber color, just glowing. The head is white and healthy, with good lacing. Not clear, but not really murky either.

S- I get some belgian notes, and some light hops. I get some slight malt and caramel as well, but nothing crazy. Not what I expected...

T- A nice crisp ale with plenty of hops. To me, this is more of a DIPA that has faded out than any sort of strong ale. The flavors are good, but nothing crazy or too complex.

M- Nice and crisp initially, the carbonation and mouthfeel are pretty nice. The flavors fall a bit flat though after the initial hit, and the aftertaste is nothing special.

O- I had one of these fresh a while back, and I felt it was drinking a lot better. The hops have faded, and it just doesn't have the malt to age particularly well. Still crisp and dry, but the flavor isn't getting any better.



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Photo of mynie
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this about a year ago, and I've been taking real good care of it ever since. Folks told me to age it for a while, so I did.

Pours ruddy. Hazy red, nearly headless.

Smells more like an old ale than a strong. Not that there's really a formal difference between the two, just that one is an unclassifiable, strong beer and the other is an unclassifiable, strong beer that's been aged. Hmm... Anyhow, pleasant fruit nodes from the thick malt, and some generic-smelling hops are still present.

Tastes like nicely aged, fruity malt, lightly bitter hops, and sweet yeast. It's old, but the age brings everything together quite nicely. Starts outs with nodes of plums and apples, moves into a lemony yeast flavor, ends on a node of old, bittersour hops.

Ladies and gentlemen, this beer was meant to be aged. Because of this, it don't taste like a regular big beer. Instead, it's a shining example of a neglected style.

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Photo of MaxBrewell
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my brewing pal, Jesse for this one.

12 ounce bottle.

A - Clear reddish orange color with dense,off-white head with nice retention and lacing.

S - Citrus, caramel, some dried fruits.

T - Citrus, and caramel malts and some fruit notes. Slight bitterness on the finish. Nicely balanced. There is an un-accounted for taste that I can't quite describe.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden, despite 8.5% ABV. Not a typical American Strong Ale.

D - Overall this was a very unique beer. And I was glad my friend Jesse was nice enough to share it.

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

Thanks to NickD for this one:

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

S: Lots of sweet smells. Sugary caramel smells.

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

M: Thick but the the appropriate amount of carbonation.

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

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