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

A fitting gift from my dad for the 25th anniversary of my born-on date...
Dead-on copper in color, a slight haze, and a half an inch of creamy head that settles into a thin, lasting sheet. Very clean American hop aroma dominated by Cascade, with maybe some Warrior as well. Some nice biscuit flavor and a thick caramelly sweetness are there as well, but alcohol is barely detectable. The malt takes a step forward on the palate, hinting at barleywine depth. Alcohol is much more noticeable on the swallow. The hop aroma led me to think this would drink like a malty IPA, but the flavor lacks the sharp bitterness associated with said style. "Not that there's anything wrong with that." This is a finely-balanced beer that finishes slightly on the sweet side. The perfect medium body doesn't linger too long. All in all, this is a very good beer, but not something I could drink all the time. If "light barleywine" was a style, this would be the top example.

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Photo of abar22
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Ruby red with a thin white head. Solid ring.
Sweet candy-like smell. Minerally like a vitamin. A hint of alcohol as well.
Flintstone vitamins with piney hops.Toffee and alcohol.
Body is a hair thin but still solid.
Tasty beer overall but leaves me wanting a Stone Arrogant or Double Bastard.

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Photo of montecristo2
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle at Fireworks Pizza in Leesburg, Va. in a pint glass.

Pours a dark mahogany, sort of like a lighter brown ale. Clear, two finger head that dissipates to a light lacing on the sides of the glass.

No discernible aromas from the beer upon the initial pour.

Taste surprised me quite a bit. I was expecting a hoppy flavor, typical of Bell's beers. Instead, what I got was honey and a strong malt presence. Very flavorful, smooth and drinkable. Very refreshing and smooth for an american style Barley wine.

At 8.5%, probably a beer I would only have one-I enjoyed this at the end of the meal after having two Two Hearted ales. A nice meal, a great finish!

I bought a few to put into storage. Definitely worth a try. Bell's is still one of my all time favorite breweries!


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Photo of BamaViper1
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

The Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale pours amber brown and slightly opaque into the glass forming a 1/2 inch thick creamy off-white head. This head dissipates quickly, leaving a soap-bubble like film over the top of the beer. There are very few whisps of lacing left on then side of the glass.

The smell of this beer is what makes this beer truly interesting. The front end is full of tropical fruit, starting with notes of banana cream (like whip cream heavy banana pudding) and maybe mango and ending with notes of pineapple. These smells are quite luscious and full. Eventually other notes of citrus and a sugary malt can be discerned as well.

This Bell's beer opens with a quick taste of that tropical fruit, but that is quickly overpowered by a strong hop-forward center, bitter with notes of grapefruit and possibly some mild pine. This lovely hoppiness is balanced by a round caramel/creme brûlée-styled malt. The finish, however, is long and bitter. A well done ale.

The beer has nice weight in the mouth, medium-bodied with good carbonation. Sadly thus weight instantly disappears as swallowing occurs, causing the finish to feel thin.

This is a solid beer by Bell's, and one that I wish were more available. I could easily drink a lot of this beer, to say the least. As a huge fan of the Hopslam and a super-repeat customer of the Two-Hearted, I thoroughly enjoyed this offering from the Michigan brewery.

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Photo of Ambiorix
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, bright amber pour, with a foamy, tawny head. Decent lacing, but a fairly fast fade.

S: Caramel. Hoarshound candy. Red currant jam. Pineapple juice. Maybe a little tiny bit of spicy hops, but it's completely overshadowed by the malt character.

T: Big malt. caramel, pineapple juice. What at first seemed to be a decent hop bitterness morphed into an almost unpleasant astringency on the tongue. Hint of alcohol.

M: Full, slghtly sticky, balanced with a decent level of carbonation keeping it from being cloying.

D: Nice maltiness, but a little astringent in the finish.

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

dark wheated ruby...

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


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

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Photo of 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 onefmatt
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a 20 oz glass.

Appearance: Copper hue, pours with a very little cream colored head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Definite caramel aroma, sweeter smell, perhaps of darker sugar, hints of crystal malt perhaps?

Flavor: Caramel notes to match the smell, big malt taste, sweet but not overpowering sweetness. A drier finish that leaves you seeking that sweetness at the beginning. Hop character is minimal, but enough to bring some balance to the malt.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and moderate in body.

Drinkability: Due to the higher ABV, and high sweetness, it would be tough to spend a night drinking more than 1 or 2 of these. 8.50% ABV is evident towards the end of the beer. Very tasty though and a well thought out Strong Ale.

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Photo of ComfortablyBum
3.59/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a DFH glass

A - dark amber with a huge head. Head stayed for awhile, but faded into lot of lacing.

S - Smelled like alcohol and cascade hops with some sweet smells.

T - You can taste the alcohol more than the hops. There is a sweet taste.

M - Medium mouthful with medium carbonation and high alcohol.

D - Smooth and strong. Would be good for a party.

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Photo of Miketwolf21
1.78/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured into a snifter, this beer was off to a good start. Then came the first sniff... This beer smells about as bad as any beer I have smelled. The aroma of sour milk, watermelon, and banana overpower what would be a solid beer. Underneath the off flavors I can tell there is a session-barleywine, with your average barleywine traits. There are hints of toffee and caramel with plenty of vegetable sweetness. But the bad flavors are dominant. This beer tastes like a sweet cheap oxidized amber ale. Plenty of alcohol coming off of it too. The worst american strong ale I have ever had, easily. I haven't reviewed for a year, but terrible beer made me want to warn others. maybe if I had it in a bottle and had a plugged up nose it would be average, but the aromas are terrible.

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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 hwy61mb
4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 9871, 12oz. bottle poured into a snifter

I have been enjoying this beer off and on since I picked some up in the fall of 2010.

This mother pours a reddish-amber color, not too dark, slightly cloudy, with a half inch head, and a little lacing. I can smell the hops along with a bright sweetness. It reminds me of fruit, but not the dark fruits that I am used to in this style, also not citrus. The smell is amazing.

It gets me first on the sides of my tongue. I can taste the hops up front, but something else at the end. I think it's more bitter than it is sweet, but almost balanced. There is a fair amount of carbonation and it's light in the mouth. I could drink kind of a lot of these if I had more. I like this one a lot.

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

Appearance: Hazy amber color. Off-white head.

Aroma: Nice malty aroma, caramel, toffee and fruit. Some citrusy and floral hops come though.

Taste: Very nice balance between the hops and malts. Nice caramel, toffee, and fruity malt flavors with a touch of dark fruit flavors. Balanced well with nice hop kick, very citrusy with some floral and pine notes. Slight alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth mouthfeel, full-bodied, slightly syrupy with a very nice level of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good balance going on with this beer with some nice complexity. Very good execution of the style!

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Photo of beethousand
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

25th Anniversary pours a clear reddish orange burnished copper. There might be an almost purplish hue in the light coming through the glass, but that could be imaginary via the smells I am also picking up. The ivory head has a presence with some lacing, but does quickly become the scantest minimal layer across the top of the beer. My sniffer says that this beer has some of the same grape candy smell that was in the Christmas Ale, although more subdued; there is also some rich caramel malt sweetness and brown sugar, but grape is the dominant aroma. Flavors start fruity and malty, giving way to a drier biscuit malt and grape flavor in the middle, along with minimal amount of bitterness. The finish is sweet, and slightly sticky, with a touch of alcohol flavor that leaves a slight warming sensation on the palate. 25th Anniversary Ale has a chewy, bright but viscous mouthfeel until the finish, where it does become a slight bit sticky. The alcohol warmth is light but noticeable--I'm guessing that a bit of aging would lessen the brighter alcohol flavors and build the malt and fruit complexity, mellowing and marrying the elements across the profile. The carbonation is medium, bright enough to end the beer on a lighter note, but not enough to completely minimize the heavier malt feel on the palate at the end. Nonetheless, like all things Bell's, a solid and enjoyable beer.

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

Deep ruby to tan in the glass with no collar of foam to speak of. Sweet toffee and caramel on the nose, very malt driven with some baking spice notes. Sweetness on the aromas are confirmed on the palate, some earthy hop notes come through on the back end. Bitterness lingers with a long finish. The alcohol comes off sweet, not enough hop presence to balance to beer out however. Overall I like it but definately don't love it. I am glad I bought one of them and not a six pack.

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Photo of Jales140984
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful amber color, light burgundy - looks like the inside of a plum,gorgeous!

smell was good subdued barleywine-ish smell- void of the pronounced hops... definitely dark fruit and sweet caramel are pronounced..

taste was great, very unique - good follow through with smell, caramel, dark sweet fruit, had some good hop, but the hop was like a mist, there one second gone the next, enjoyable- great flow of flavor, but had something to be desired...
Extremely drinkable, 2 makes for a great night!

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Photo of Nelsonbaggins
4.9/5  rDev +31%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Best Bell's beer I've ever had, hands down. Color is medium amber. Two finger off-white head and sustained lacing. Big malt flavor & sweetness hides the 8.5% ABV very well. Nice velvety mouthfeel. It says ale on the bottle but in a blind taste test I'd say lager because it is so crisp, clear and clean. It tastes like a high gravity Oktoberfest or Märzen. Unlike any ale I've ever had. I bought a single from the Bell's General Store but will head back for a six very soon!

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Photo of mdterps187
4.39/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has really turned a corner. I only vaguely remember it from when I bought a sixer back in 2010, but I recall a muddled malt profile and some out of place soy sauce/umami. It's a shame this didn't sit in storage longer because now I wish I'd saved all six of them.

Pours a slightly opaque ruby-amber with an off-white head. Carb is fairly low though higher than expected for a 5+ year old bottle.

Smells like an English old ale. Any hop aromatics are long gone. There's some added dried fruit from the yeast to add to a caramelly, toasted bread malt aroma.

Tastes of raisins, dates, dark caramel, crystal malt with the faintest hint of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. This thing sticks to your tongue with a surprising amount of body- more like some beers with double the strength and gravity. Carbonation is low, slight prickle from the alcohol content.

Overall, I'm really impressed with how this has rounded out. Some beers taste like they need a little refinement when they're fresh but this one needed a total overhaul. Time, bottle conditioning, and some slight oxidation for the better have treated this bottle well. I hope Bells makes this again but leaves it in storage for a good long time before release (or at the least takes a page from Dogfish and instructs the buyer to bury in a hole and forget for the better part of a decade).

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

This is very good, brought a smile to my face! Im not quite sure what style this beer is, but it almost taste like an imperial style beer (although it looks to be a nut brown ale), with a small nutty taste with the malts and grains with a small citrus taste Can someone give me some feedback?

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Photo of j3stradi
4.65/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got it day of release at Bell's General store, 08/20/2010

Appearance: Dark Copper, head starts strong but diminishes with light lacing and a thin, spotty head that hangs on

Smell- traces of deep burnt sugar tones with a strong alcohol presence. Very sharp - typical of a SERIOUS dry hop. It masks a lot of the amber qualities a beer like this should have, but i'm not let down.

Taste- Very sharp at first. Tinny and thin but mellows out to a full amber-body and a smoothness that isn't an attribute of any typical 8.5 abv + beer i've had.

Mouthfeel- not too heavy which is misleading of a beer with as heavy of a malt profile that this seems to have. Plenty of alcohol.

Drinkability- Relatively high. I'd place this in the ranks of their sparkling ale.

Overall- fantastic. A great offering from Bell's, and a great way to celebrate 25 years. Not very sessionable, but a great way to start a night.

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

Picked up a bottle of this at my last "only going to buy one bottle of a pumpkin ale" beer run that turned into a small beer buying orgy. The shiny silver packaging totally got me.

Appearance: Pretty reddish orange - creamy foam disappears immediately despite a fairly aggressive pour.

Smell: So. Good. Citrus, apples, honey - it smells like the kind of cake you might bake this time of the year - summer sweetness with fruity acidity, and just a hint of fall spice. Wish they made a candle or perfume in this scent.

Taste: Honestly, a bit sweeter than I would like. It's going to take a while to get through this one. Hold it in your mouth a bit, and the lemony citrus takes the stage to the point where it almost seems like a Ricola cough drop - medicinal herbs cut in hardcore.

Mouthfeel: Pleasantly thick, but the carbonation is noticeable enough given the sweetness.

Drinkability: Between the sweetness, the medicinal characteristics, and the ABV, I'm glad I only bought one bottle. Tasty for a VERY slow sipper, and I might buy another single at some point, but this would have been a rough six pack to get through.

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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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