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

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Bell's 25th Anniversary AleBell's 25th Anniversary Ale
513 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 513 |  Reviews: 347
Photo of pzrhsau
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice amber orange/leafy color that really settles well with fall and has a nice finger measure of head.
S: nice rich malt flavor with a great subtle hop aroma at the end.
T: Great sweet bready malt flavor and some nice hop bitterness that finishes the flavor. Great balance and masks the alcohol content
D/M: Very clean flavor that is very drinkable. It was interesting considering what I usually expect from Bells commemorative ales.

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

Bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours beautiful clear deep amber, tones of ruby and deep copper, with a huge, dense, khaki three-finger head on top. Loads of bubbles flowing from the bottom of the glass. Fantastic retention and lacing on this one as well.

Nose is a great mix of beautifully bready malt, some caramel and toffee, nice bit of earthy grapefruit, just a bit toasty. Just enough alcohol heat to keep things interesting.

Taste is nice as well - absolutely perfectly balanced off-the-shelf strong ale. Earthy hops are just a bit resiny, bit of grapefruit rind, over a nice malt body that's packed with caramel, a bit bready, though never quite emerging from those earthy hops. Finish is moderately bitter, resinous, mild alcohol warmth. A bit of caramel heading out.

Mouthfeel is slick, very lightly carbonated, full bodied with just a bit of a tingle. Lingering bitterness.

Drinkability is actually pretty good. Nice balance, no aspect too aggressive, quite a pleasant beer.

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Photo of Boitnott
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Has a light brown caramel color to it. Also has a hint amber color. Not much head at all.

S: Hoppy smell with a hint of honey and citrus. Also a hint of malt. Nice smell for the fall season.

T: Tastes very good. The nose is sweet and smooth, and has a hint of citrus in it. In the finish the hops come out much more, but the other tastes still remains. It is not full bodied which fits well with this combination of flavors. I would never have guessed this beer to be 8.5 ABV till I tried it.

M: Smooth and not light-bodied. I would like more head on the beer, but this might be due to the fact that I poured from a bottle.

D: I could down a bunch of these. The smoothness and disguised ABV makes this as easy beer to drink.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top; nice classy label, batch 9871

Appearance: Dark burnt orange, slightly hazy beer, nice ivory cap with good retention

Smell: Fairly subdued aroma; some orange-liqueur hoppy notes, mild sweet caramel malts, not a lot else. Pleasant, but simple.

Taste: Lots of sweet malt, a nice mix of herbal and citrus hops, medium firm bitterness. Light notes of cotton candy or somethin similar as as this warms a bit...Kinda reminds me of an English-style old ale or Scotch ale with an American hop kick. Simple, straightforward, and pretty nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full

Drinkability: Medium-high

Conclusion: Nothing over the top here; tasty for sure, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to pay 15-18 bucks for a sixer. Glad I got to try it though, and I bet this might age a year or two pretty gracefully.

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Photo of Pencible
4.02/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a hazy copper with some light tan head.
S: It smelled like sweet honey and light citrus, with some floral hops. Nice, but not much depth or boldness.
T: It tasted like sweet honey and citrus hops, with some roasted barley and lingering florals. It had a clean and bitter aftertaste.
M: It was slightly thick with moderate carbonation. Surprisingly thin for a Bell's beer.
D: This was a good beer with nice hops that were well balanced by the malt, like a strong amber ale. The body was ok and the alcohol was well hidden, so it was very easy to drink. But ultimately there was nothing special or unique about this beer. It was good, but not nearly what I expected from a special release anniversary ale from such a solid 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 DrDemento456
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - I get an inch of head and a nice dark amber color. Pretty.

S - You get slight hops, yeast, along with some dark raisin and plum. This should be interesting.

T - Starts off fruity with a hint of plum and hops (which balanced pretty well) and then rounds out to a little yeast and sweet semi bitter finish. Nice!

M - Very medium bodied. If I didn't know any better I would suggest 6 or 7 tops.

D - Well it really was good and a shame a four pack is around 14-15 dollars. I really think PA affects my drink-ability for the prices but I would drink this again with some age but overall great beer!

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Photo of AgentZero
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Copper color with a finger of head on it that left a decent amount of lace. Not bad looking.

S - Lot of phenol qualities, stonger yeast presense than I expected. A bit malty with some candied fruits.

T - Chemical phenol on the end kills this one for me. It wasn't bad, there was a decent fruit taste with moderate yeast, but the chemical nature of it made it a strong ale that had too much bite. Was not a real fan, average.

M - Sugary, medium bodied, syrupy, moderate carbonation.

D - Gets a little hot, not great tasting enough to get down easily.

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

Poured into an imperial pint. It pours a deep amber orange. Thin tan head formed then dissipated. Not much lacing left behind.

Aroma is sweet and malty and citrus hoppy. A big, rich aroma.

Taste is very sweet and caramelly with hints of toffee and raisins. A big smack of hop flavor, too -- mostly piney and orangey citrus hops. Very rich and malty beer.

Thick and chewy mouthfeel. One pint is easy to drink but quite filling & satisfying. Nice beer.

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Photo of movingtrain
3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into and sampled from a 12 ounce snifter.

Pours an amber-red with little head. Doesn't seem to be much carbonation in the body at all.

The aroma is heavily hoppy. Lots of citrus aroma, red grapefruit, butterscotch, and some floral smells in there, too. There is a bit of a bready malt background in the nose, as well. Almost like a grainy cereal with bitter fruit on top.

The flavor is in line with the aroma. Quite hoppy up front, giving way to a very bready, malty middle. The beer finishes clean with hints of sour grapes and citrus. The flavor here is reminiscent of a hoppy barleywine. Big hop flavor balanced by a sweet malt profile.

On the tongue this beer is quite warm and astringent. It is very flavorful, but more than one of these and you can kiss your palate goodnight.

Overall, this is a good beer with some interesting characteristics to it. Worth picking up a single and giving it a try.

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Photo of adrock7309
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Found a six pack at Edina Liquors in MN a few months after this was released and I thought was gone forever.

Shared with a few guys at Darkness Day 2010.

Beer was well rounded with a nice hop character to balance out the heafty malt bill.

I will continue to let this sit for a few months before I try again.

Overall a very nice brew.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounces of liquid deliciousness, sent by awesome BA hoppymeal, poured to a shaker pint (Oregon Craft Beer Month). Bottle is labeled with a fairly mundane '25th Anniversary Ale' front, Batch #9871 on the back.

A: Mildly hazy auburn, a coppery tint. Clear enough that a plethora of steady bubbles are on full display. Starts with a pile of ivory creaminess, a full finger that tapers over a couple minutes to a scant film, lolling lace.

S: Bold and aromatic, a malty sweetness that drifts several feet from the glass. Candied fruit, a little orange zest and spicing. Cakebread sweetness

T: Zesty spice and tangy pine/resin, married with a fairly sugar-sweet dose of toffee and dark caramel. The more sips I take, the more brash the grassy hops become, a cloying bitterness starts to build. Sipping tends to ward of the depths of rawer flavors, but this suffers from some imbalance.

M: Toasty warmth right how - wow, I'm surprised by how much fusel burn there is right now! Drinks like more than its 8.5% girth; I am often more apt to remark that alcohol is well-hidden in a beer, but that's not the case here. Fairly creamy feel, but lingering spiced burn. What's surprising the most: feel is relatively thin.

D: Despite a heated feel, this sure is one I'd like to try again. Alas, one is all I have - so unless another bottle (or more) comes along, I'll never know what this Anniversary Ale will be like with some age on it (because that could be quite wonderful). As is, a pretty good beer that needs more age and mellowing...

Not among my favorites from the good folks at Bell's, but I still wish them the best. Happy 25th!

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

12oz single - plenty of this around, though that didnt stop the hoarders from wiping out Star on the release day. sixers are stacked upon sixers elsewhere

congrats on 25 years.

appearance: served in my ale asylum chalice, glowing orange-amber body, light beige lace

smell: grapefruit and other citrus, caramel, brown sugar, malty

taste: hard to pinpoint - kind of a mild barleywine...sticky citrus hops, big caramel malt profile, caramelized brown sugar, rich dark malts, dark fruit, booze, spruce, orange rind. This doesnt seem like a 25th anniversary beer (neither did the 20th anniversary for that matter) - still enjoyable, but not of the most memorable bells offerings

mouthfeel: medium-light bitterness, decent amount of booze comes through

drinkability: ok

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Photo of axeman9182
2.94/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle that came to me via the generous StormKing47. It's Batch 9871, meaning that it was bottled on August 12th, 2010. It was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale pours a rich red-orange, and it's fairly yet not entirely murky. A three finger light tan head comes together, and shows some pretty impressive head retention. Lacing is also very good, plenty of it left all the way down my glass. Nose is predominantly caramel, with a still noticeable alcohol burn present and just a hint of sweet fruits (think figs). It's a little weak to be honest, and there's a bit too much alcohol present, especially for an 8.5%ABV beer. I'm really struggling to find any hops present. There's maybe a bit of herbal spiciness on the back end as I sip on the beer, but that's basically it. After the same sweet malty flavors lead off, the same overbearing booziness drowns out any hop bite this beer might have. For a big, malt forward strong ale the body is a bit too thin. At the same time, carbonation is a little bit high, and the result is a beer that I would describe as "slightly fizzy". Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale is a beer with an inexcusable amount of alcohol presence and a poor mouthfeel, and the result is that I'm not exactly gulping this one down. Bell's is still one of my favorite breweries in the country, it's just a shame their 25th Anniversary beer is a bit of a let down.

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Photo of weatherdog
2.52/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Bells Snifter. Batch 9871

It pours a transparent amber with a off white soapy 2 fingered head that lasted for a little bit before dying off. A medium amount of lacing clings to the side of the glass.

The nose is a mixture of some grassy vegetal hops and really grainy malt. I don't know what it is but the nose just rubs me the wrong way. It's like a clash of aromas but neither side is very good.

The taste a minor improvement over the aroma but still clashy. A pretty firm bitterness with a lot of spicy hops. The malt is very grainy though and it makes for a really confusing taste. The finish is also pretty sweet which really cuts down on drinkability.

Mouthfeel is decent with the right body and mouthfeel but the sweetness really hampers the drinkability. Overall I'm disappointed with this beer from a usually solid brewery.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a MJ Tasting Glass.

Pours a deep amber with a light tan head. The head does not last, but leaves some lacing behind.

Aromas of malt, malt, and, did I mention(?), malt. Some dark fruits. And a touch of alcohol.

First sip is of caramel, red licorice, dark cocoa, and malt. Some slight bitterness, but only to balance the malt. Definitely a malt forward brew.

Mouthfeel is medium/full, but not sticky sweet or cloying. Some light prickliness from the carbonation. Some lingering bitterness.

Very drinkable beer. Very nice. The kind of beer you kick back and sip slowly.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 10/22/10

Batch 9871

Pours a golden amber color, though in the glass it flirts with copper, rust, crimson & ruby depending on the light. Turning back to the beer after a moment, the one finger head has since skimmed out, forcing some bubbles toward the edge. Modest strings of lace.

The aroma is certainly malt-forward. Likewise, it surrenders overtones of alcohol & sweetness. Candied malts, raisins & plums, deeply seated caramel & a touch of brown sugar. There's an initial floral, almost juicy, notion. Underlying hints of bread.

Ye olde 25th isn't too sweet & it's mostly on the front end. Toasted sugars & dark fruit ethers are balanced by a subtle, but welcome, hop presence. Brown sugar, toffee, raisins & such give way to a surprisingly dry middle & finish. While the hops aren't particularly bitter they offer a decent kick.

I reckon it's more than medium bodied but not quite full; maybe closer to the former. Grittiness abounds. Carbonation is moderate & appropriate for the style. The finish is pretty quick for this potent of a beer, having also a coating feel & brief, dry bitterness.

Bell's 25th is pretty good overall; it's easy enough to drink & plenty tasty. The price of entry eclipses the actual beer but, meh, I'm glad I tried a bottle. Besides, this being my first beer after just seeing Roger Waters rock the hell out of The Wall, I don't really have any room to talk when it comes to spending exorbitant amounts of money.

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

Thanks to ewright for sending this bottle to me in a trade.

Poured in to Duvel Tulip. Batch #9871

A - A nice dark amber colour with a small amount of cream coloured head.

S - Sweet caramel malts and some earthy hops. Overall a very sweet nose.

T - Sweet caramel malts dominate. Some nice bitter hops come through in the background with some light earthy and citrus notes.

M -Medium body, slight chew, lightly carbonated.

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Photo of cjacobsen
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, and it came out a nice dark amber color with shoots of red when the light hit it. Decent 1 inch white head on it.

It smelled of alcohol and hops. Some spice notes wafted out here and there. It smelled great.

The taste was hefty on the hops. It had that red ale taste right up front, almost like you can taste the copper color. It was hearty and flavorful.

As from the tasting note, it was almost metallic but not tinny and crappy like a canned Miller Lite it. The carbonation and alcohol was pretty balanced so it didn't cause a crazy attack on your taste buds.

This is a decent brew and is worth a try. I think its one of those "good but maybe not worthy of THAT price" sort of brews.

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

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Batch 9871 on back label. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.00.

A: Ruby-amber with sticky 1-2 finger off-white head, tightly bubbled, with good retention and scattered lace down the glass.

S: Extremely floral and fruity aroma with a honeysuckle quality. Aromatic hops is right with citrus, herbal, and spruce combining with fruity sweet caramel malts.

T: The flavor is not well-mixed with sharp sweetness and complex hops that produce an estery brew which is as floral as any I have efver had. The hops are hefty with herbal tones, but the spruce and herbal notes are very strong too. It unfortunately overwhelms the subtleties of the malts.

M: The coating quality is the most prominent and the low carbonation provides a very smooth feel overall. The aftertaste is very sweet and floral.

D: A good not great brew with lots of complexity which doesn't always work well together.

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

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Beautiful, deep rose body with bright red highlights under a thin eggshell head that drops to a thin collar & just a dusting across the surface. No lacing, but the foam breaks & cascades down the side of the glass after each sip.

Smells of light caramel, a kind of generic "fruitiness," like Juicy Fruit gum, & mild citrus hops. Good, but restrained.

More hops at first, citrus & piney with a moderate sharpness, then coated with the caramel & mild toasty flavor, with a pleasant warming from alcohol. Again, not hugely complex, but what's there is very pleasant. The aftertaste is basically a muted replay of the taste, so good stuff there, too. Some mild cinnamon (the hot kind) shows up as it warms.

Medium-full-bodied, some activity & a little tingle from hops without being "bite-y" or abrasive. Pretty smooth.

Very pleasant beer for a fall evening: flavorful, not overdone in any way, a little booze but not enough to create any real heat or fusel dryness. A solid "good" all the way across, one is plenty but two would be satisfyingly indulgent.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle drank from my Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out a translucent dark reddish brown colored boy with a small light tan colored head on top. the head takes its time falling and leaves behind small spots of lacing.

S- the first thing i notice are sweet caramel malts with a little bit of toffee. after that come some hops. theyre strong, but not what i was expecting. pine, grapefruit, and grassy hops come through. this one smells pretty balanced.

T- the sweet toffee and caramel malts i could smell come to the front of this. once again its hoppy, but not nearly what i was expecting. this is a pretty malt dominated beer. some floral, piny, and grapefruit hops along with a little bit of grass in here too. a bit of alcohol comes through in the finish.

M- medium bodied and overly carbonated. slight warming from the alcohol.

D- this beer left me wanting more. i was expecting something really special and it wasnt delivered. it wasnt offensive or anything, but i think bells could have done something more to celebrate 25 years of brewing. itll be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of Chaney
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden, yet cloudy brew with a very slight head. However, the head that the pour did produce stayed until I put the lights out.

S: Pixie stick dust, shrill citrus such as pineapple, tangerines, oranges, and even a hint of grapefruit (although I honestly didn't get that sort of bitterness).

T: Same as the nose, only more intense. Sweet, but in a candy sort of way. This is basically a fruit bomb and not one of the citrus variety.

M: The sugar is there, but the coat doesn't bother me in the slightest. The carbonation is spot on and the alcohol stays under the radar.

D: Despite the ABV, this is highly drinkable. It's basically a mini version of "Oracle." Good stuff!

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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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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 513 ratings
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