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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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 347 | Ratings: 510
Photo of drpimento
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Found this beer squirreled away in a place that's been dark but quite warm for a long time. Aroma is malt and raisins. Flavor's like nose plus herbs. Great palate. Nice beer. Wonder what it would've been like properly cared for.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Bells tulip...What is this beer, a muted dipa, a hoppy strong ale? Who knows, but its pretty darn good. Its strong hops in the aroma and taste, a little malt but then a lot of alcohol. The alcohol comes through like a dipa, but there is a depth to malt that shows it not an ipa. Interesting brew, a little too strong but worth giving a shot.

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

12oz bottle, $2.99 each in MI. No description of the beer on the bottle, cool label though.

The beer pours a dark orange-copper color with a thin off-white wet-looking head. It smells kind of IPA-ish to me, stronger in hops than anything else, strong malt in the background to contrast it. The beer tastes not at all like I expected from the aroma. Hops are there for sure, but along with that is some peppercorn and more noticeable ethanol than 8.5% ABV would indicate. Strongly bitter aftertaste, seemingly from hops.

The beer is thicker than usual, coupled with the ethanol flavor I suspect this might be >8.5% ABV. But who knows... Anyway it is more a sipper than chugger, but the glass is draining quickly nonetheless. Another great Bell's beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a tough con to run down in the Twin Cities, & it took a while to finally have a six-pack in hand (from a generic, municipal liquor store of all places). Time for it to stop gathering dust & start pleasing me.

Pour is beautiful. If sterling silver turned into a translucent, clear red, it would look like this beer. Smell is pleasing...& borders on the undefinable. Very fruity, watermelon sweet. I like it, but it's completely unexpected.

Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale is akin to no beer I've tasted before, & maybe unrelated to one I'll taste again. No one taste is dominant. The first one that I notice is the gentle hops, obviously lobotimized, but bearing flowers & wearing a citrusy perfume. The fruitiness reasserts itself quickly, still watermelony, very sweet. Malts are distinct on the downslope. Sticky, sweet, coating, with a dose of alcohol. This feels more like a barleywine than anything else, but defies categorization on my tongue. The fruit plate throws my palate loopy every time I try to dive in for another look-see.

Not really sure how to judge this. Good, but very odd. At the very least, salut to Bell's for 25 years of great beer & taking a risk with this one!

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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!

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Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at Corner Tavern on Edgewood.

Pours a hazy dark copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of robust caramel malts with good amounts of pine and earthy hop aromas. Also present are hints of sweet toasted malts.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Sweet - but not overly so - caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of pine hop flavors. Slight amounts of toffee join in shortly thereafter until they're chased by earthy hop flavors. Slight toasted malt flavors make a brief appearance before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very smooth thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall there was a lot going on in this beer (fair for an American Strong) and it worked, though not spectacularly. Not worth seeking out but worth a shot if you see it around.

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Photo of ZAP
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Burnt orange color...little head

S-Awesome aroma of tropical fruits, sugar covered berries, plums, and molasses.

T-Not quite as impressive as the aroma but perhaps I was expected too much. This is very good. Not as bursting with flavor as i expected from the aroma, but it has a nice sugary maltiness complemented nicely by the fruity notes of the aroma.

M-High side of medium bodied but I don't think I'd call it full bodied...a little bite of alcohol on the finish which fits in nicely with the sweeter taste profile.

D-Very enjoyable. Not epic but very good.

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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 ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into my Samuel Smiths Imperial pint, Bell's 25th is orangish brown with a small off-white head that leaves light, scattered lace.

Smell is sweet, fruity.

Taste is similar, a really interesting candy aftertaste, very familar. Kind of generic sweet strong all, some floral hop flavor but no bite or bittterness.

Mouthfeel is drier, medium bodied.

Drinkability is okay, but this is pretty uninspired for a anniversary beer. Very generic.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.15/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. 8.5% ABV, Batch # 9871 (packaged Aug. 12, 2010)

Thanks to sweemzander for this brew!

A - 25 pours a beautiful clear crimson bronze color that's gorgeous and vibrant but topped by a weak bone-colored head. An arch of lace and ring of loose bubbles is left above the almost naked beer.

S - The immediately crisp, hopped-up aroma fades quickly into an amber malt and doughy-bread-based ale with subtle fruity esters. The once strong, citrusy American hops vanished quickly leaving the malt fairly balance-less in the aroma. Thin solvent alcohol notes in the back.

T - Some of the citrusy American hops pull into the flavor much more adding balance to the doughy, bready amber malt. Almost no finish or follow-through though which is largely my problem with it. It disappears very quickly.

M - While the flavor has a somewhat thin consistency, falling almost flat mid palette, the actual feel is rather thick and chewy. Smooth from very low carbonation on the finish. Retro-nasal alcohol warmth comes through.

D - For a 25th Anniversary brew, I find this lacking all around (for a Bell's product) especially the sharp drop-off in flavor on the tongue. No finish, odd feel, this is definitely a one-and-done for me. I wouldn't really want it again.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into large snifter glass

Pours a very nice cherry auburn with a decent head. Frothed film retains well, leaving rings of lacing on the glass.

Plenty of caramel and dark fruit sweetness in the nose with crispy malt and some citrus hops.

Hop bitterness right up front alongside pine and lighter citrus tendencies. Sweetness slices through, almost unexpectedly, with figs and raisins. Hints of molasses and caramel are evident. Alcohol warms the palate towards the end, along with more piny hops and some lingering fruit.

Medium bodied, but very chewy, and a little dry. Drinks okay, but I just don't know about this one. I love Bells, but this is my third time trying this beer and I cannot get into it. The sweetness feels a little off, and I was expecting a better hop profile.

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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 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 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 cpetrone84
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a hazy reddish grapefruit color with an off white head leaving a pretty sizable lace.

S-the nose is strange, notes of dough and bread up front, some spicy rye aromas, hints of pine and a decent bit of ctirusy hops with some model airplane glue behind. the glue is so wierd, not the part of getting high from it (the acetone), just the gluey smell.

T-the taste is also different, light notes of dough and bread, spicy rye, piney and hints of wood, a nice bit of citrussy hops, peach, grapefruit, mango. there is a light soft bitterness but not strong or lingering.

M-smooth and syrupy feel, good carbonation, crisp slightly grainy finish. its actually rather creamy on the palate with a good medium body.

D-this is quite tasty, the airplane glue scared me a little but it actually seemed part of the aroma. the flavors are good, this seems to have some spicy rye in to me. well balanced, interesting beer!

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Photo of jera1350
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnt orange in color with a foamy light tan head that has a little retention and a little lacing.

Smells nice enough, but it's pretty faint. Getting some malty sweetness and some fresh and juicy hops, but they are just too subdued to really enjoy them.

Apple and pear juice with a lightly cherry taste. A bit of pineapple and some piney hops. A little peppery spice and some alcohol warmth. Sweet malt backbone. Very interesting and pretty unique. Not in your face in any way and a little subdued in the flavor department.

Mostly smooth, a little sticky with some fuzzy carbonation feel.

A different beer for sure. Kind of reminds me of a light barleywine with some fruit juices. Drinks just fine. For the occasion, it just doesn't seem to live up to the hype. It's a good beer and worth a try for sure, but don't worry too much if you can't get your hands on any.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Mike for letting me have one of his, otherwise I don't think I would've ever gotten my hands on one of these. Pours an elegant blend of amber and copper with a very slight, rustic orange tint to it. Light translucency clings to the edges, but this beer is mostly opaque throughout. A small khaki head forms after a pretty aggressive pour; some carbonation was possibly lost during this beer's three year journey.

The aroma is familiar yet different and kind of hard to pin down. It's pretty sweet with lots of light, brown sugar notes floating about. I'm picking up some candied, dark fruits, like plums, grapes, and dates. It's got that "sticky sweet" kind of aroma to it, although there's something cutting through the sweetness that tames it just a bit - maybe a light, earthy hoppiness. Caramel and molasses in the finish are most likely consequences of the malts used. It almost smells like a barleywine, but it's not quite there. Not as sweet, not as rich. A little enigmatic overall.

Malts pave the way first and foremost upon taking a generous swallow - caramel and toffee with a bit of sweet molasses quickly following them up. The malts also lend some bread and butter type notes that are a bit more subtle. Lots of seemingly residual sugar, although again, the sweetness is actually controlled pretty well. Brown sugar-covered dark fruits; plums and figs pop out the most. There's a light oxidation in the finish that brings out a mild, wet cardboard flavor. The booze is noticeable but not abrasive. You can definitely tell this is 8.5% ABV, but even after some warming, the boozy flavors never become too hot or uncontrollable. Body is on the medium-thick side with low carbonation and a somewhat sticky and oily mouth feel.

For a 25th Anniversary beer, being such a "big" milestone in the lifetime of basically anything, I would have expected just a little more from a brewery so well defined in so many categories. "American Strong Ales" always seem like such a "catch-all" category, so you never really know what you're gonna get. I feel like this one might have been a little better fresh, maybe a stronger hop presence would have made it a bit more lively. Nothing stands out, but it definitely wasn't bad. The problem is that Bell's has already set the bar too high for themselves! Thanks again to Mike for this one.

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

This beer pours an amber-brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into a small cap of lacing. The aroma is of grapefruit, orange, pine, with a hint of caramel underneath. The taste is hoppy with a lot of pine resin, and some fresh grapefruit. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a nice beer that I would happily drink again.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.43/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, sweet alcohol, subtle citrus, dark fruit, and very subtle citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. The flavor was pretty well blended and smooth on this one. However with that said, it wasn't overly good nor was it overly bad. It was complex though which is always nice to see. The aroma wasn't very impressive though. Worth trying at least once, but I plan to leave it at that...

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deceptively tamed ale that emerges with a complex and rather approachable range. Here's to another 25 years!

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Simple design with a dark grey and silver label around the name of the brew and brewing motives. Back label offer a small note about the celebratory occasion of the brew and the all Michigan barley malt used. Notes bottling batch (9871 i.e. aug 12 2010), and Alc. by Vol. (8.5%). Served in a tulip glass.

A - Medium amber pour, 1"+ head with average retention, fair surface memory and good lacing.

S - A bit of a shy nose early on that come a sturdier point as the brew progresses. Caramel malt, with sense of dark fruits in the back, dash of hops.

T - Like the nose there is a soft entry with that range, caramel, touches of fruit, a dash of hops that progresses to something more complex and enticing. Nice flow. Toffee, caramel coated grapefruit is there, a bit of a herbal touch under all the malt current. There is also quite a hefty hop side to it, but it is relatively well integrated under the complex malt character, it's like a tap on the surface, you know it is there but it never quite emerges. It works for me in the end.

M - Medium body feeling a tad heftier towards the end. Smooth with some stickiness and a dry dash in the finish.

D - Here is where all comes together and the brew shines. If one likes it, and I do, this is worth the second one, maybe more... And surely picking up more.

Notes: Sure enough, this is not a hefty extreme commemorative, say like a batch 9000, but it develops a nice complex range and offers a nice highlight for Bells with a good point of accessibility. Nice one in any case, and here's hoping to have brews of this quality for many more years to come.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange-ish to copper color with an off white head. In the aroma, faint grapefruity hop, hint of alcohol and a nice malt presence. In the taste, small black licorice, small hint of grapefruity hops, and a dry alcohol hint in the end. A small spice bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry hint of black licorice and alcohol in the aftertaste. Interesting licorice hint, nice ale. Congrats to Bell's!

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Photo of morimech
4.17/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish amber color with a small head that quickly went away. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. Not the liveliest beer around. Aroma of sweet malt with hints of vanilla and toffee. The hops are well hidden with maybe a touch of floral and fruit. The alcohol is also well hidden. The flavor is really well done. Plenty of malt upfront that gives a sweet caramel base. But the hops come alive. The hops give plenty of floral and tropical fruit notes. Bitterness is getting up there but is in balance with the malt. A little warmth from the alcohol in the finish. Body is a little larger than medium. Carbonation is sufficient to give some lift to this somewhat heavy beer. A very interesting, well balanced beer. Well done. Here is to the next 25 years.

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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 tavernjef
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great color of rusty amber with a slumbering dark golden edging thats dully lit. Slim yet firm and healthy capping of medium ivory foam sits well on top. Slippery lace of spots, dots, and thicker strings coat the glass sporatically.

Aroma is clean, sweet and a bit slim at first, but gains some boldness as it gains air. Slender sweet and soft tones of orange, tangerine, raisin, and plum parade with a nice malty presense as it melts together with caramel and a lighter puff of molasses and a stronger poof of etH.

Taste is a well molded tone of sweet, semi darkened maltyness. Moderately plump and fruity with darker nuances of plum, raisin, and starfruit with just a nudge to some darker orange and burntish/toasted grapefruit. Caramel and molasses is buried underneath. All very soothing and malty big. Doppelbock comes to mind...

Great chewy-esque tone and medium bold, nearly full body. Smooth, soft, chewy, malt laden tone with a soothing hint to it's 8.5%

A solid brew to be sure, but was hoping for something a little more over the top for the 25th. As is, this is a yummy malty treat that sure grows on you as you go. A very relaxing and enjoyably easy going brew!

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Bell's 25th Anniversary Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.74 out of 5 based on 510 ratings.
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