Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Bell's Amber Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
942 Reviews
Bell's Amber AleBell's Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Amber Ale deftly balances a mixture of toasted grain & light caramel notes with a range of floral, citrus and herbal hop notes, capped by a clean bitterness. This balance of flavors makes Amber Ale quite versatile as a food pairing option, not to mention being rather tasty in its own right. Whether serving as a jumping point to other styles or as a familiar standby, Amber Ale is central to the Bell’s portfolio.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-12-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 942 | Ratings: 2,999
Photo of Immortale25
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a D'achouffe snifter. Says packaged on 8/29/11.

A- Pours a dark, slightly hazy copper color with a one-finger head that reduces to a 1/4 inch and has somewhat decent lacing.

S- Smells sweet and balanced with no one ingredient more apparent than the other. Some apple maybe. Ah, after a large whiff, some hops show up but you've really gotta dig.

T- Once again, great balance. The malts are definitely there with the hops a close second but they work perfectly together. When that happens, usually there's a yin-yang bittersweet vibe but with this it's more sweet than anything. After a few sips, the bitterness finally sinks in but it's more earthy than citrusy.

M- Medium-high carbonation with soft, pillowy bubbles. A slight alcohol tinge that's to be expected since it's so close to 6%.

O- Makes sense that this is the original Bell's beer since it's so flavorful yet drinkable and just an all-around great session beer. Cheers

 947 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very clear rusty hue enteers my glass with some friendly bubbling. The aroma is a slightly thick amber malt with some real subtle English hopping. This mix gave the aroma a very biscuity aroma. The taste is equally biscuity that takes on a more sweet Hawaiian bread profile. A little grityy on the tongue but good carbonation to clean that up.

 345 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy consistency. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of sweet malt, a bit of hops and fruit.

T: Taste consisted of fruit, sweet malt and some hops. A mostly bitter flavor, but generally well done.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: I'm not the biggest fan of ambers, but this one is a pretty drinkable example of one.

 451 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber capped with a short white head that settles into a solid ring. Some fine bubbles ended up sticking to the glass. Malty caramel and brown sugar aroma with a bit of toasted grain husk. Fruity as well, with floral and citrus hop character. Pleasant malt sweetness with balanced bitterness and moderate hop flavour. Some caramel into the finish. Medium/light body, medium carbonation with a solid mouthfeel. Quite nice. Another top-notch beer from Bell's.

 463 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: amber, medium carbonation, cloudy, with a small head

Smell: sugar, malt, and a bit of citrus

Taste: hops, malty bread, and caramel

Mouthfeel: smooth, light, small hoppy taste in the middle followed by a semi-sweet finish

Drinkability: With apologies to Nugget Nectar, I think I may have just found my favorite version of this style. Perfectly drinkable this beer seems made for me and may have been my favorite from my Philadelphia trip. An awesome mix of malt and hops. I could easily session this...Now if only Bells would ship to Massachusetts.

 563 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle from Sunoco in Lake Placid. Packaged 7/12/14.

A - Nice golden colour, close to an amber-ish. Good carbonation and some bits floating up. One finger of white head on top. Good lace wall and a half finger of retention.

S - Nice maltiness. Toasty and biscuity. Raisins and a small hop note that's barely there.

T - Rich and malty with a bit of a twang. Sweet with biscuit notes and some caramel/toffee. Not much in the way of a hop presence.

M - Good carbonation, medium body and a sweet toffee finish. Clean.

O/D - While this is a good amber, it's certainly nothing to write home about, especially given the reputation of the brewery. A decent kick at the can, but lacking in depth and hop character for sure. Not worth seeking out.

 743 characters

Photo of RBorsato
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bronze color with lots of tiny suspended sediment, a full pillowy light beige head, decent carbonation, and decent lace. Light spicy malt aroma. Spicy malt flavors on the forefront; almost a bit like it was oxidized or infected but I doubt that. A bit on the sweet side. Medium-light bodied with a decent balance; not too sweet.

Not a rebuy ... bland.

Per Bell's website:
Mostly Pale Malt with some Munich and Caramel Malts
OG: 1.056
ABV: 5.8%

Batch # 7757 ('6329' lasered on bottom)
Tasted: 01/20/07

($7.99 / 6-pack)

 534 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. 09/27/11 packaged date.

(A)- Pours a hazy amber color. A small cap of white froth & lace.

(S)- A nice malty backbone with some subtle fruits; grainy.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A nice malty backbone with some subtle grainy fruits.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Simple and straightforward, but smooth and malty.

(D)- A solid, straightforward amber. Malty, but smooth and easy drinking.

 436 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 28 June 2012. The back label mentions this was first brewed in 1985!

A mildly hazy amber with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and great lacing, this is beer is a looker. The nose is great. A moderate, complex malt character is present, with a blend of caramel, toasted bread, a little bit of a grain character, and even a little bit of dough. A mild hop character is present, pairing really well with the malt profile. A little bit of citrus, a hint of pineapple are the most prominent notes.

The palate opens with a nice blend of toasted and caramel malt with some cotton candy, brown sugar and bread notes, all light and in great balance. The is accompanied by the hop character, which is soft and resplendent, with a blend of sweet grapefruit, pine and oranges. Medium-light in body with a mildly chewy feel and mid-palate, this beer is moderately carbonated and is a treat on the palate. This is a pretty excellent amber if you ask me. Highly recommended.

 990 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A darker shade of amber thats for sure. Head in the 1" range, off white, good retention. Overall a solid appearance of this amber ale. Aroma really kicked down as much citrus as I can remember in an amber ale.

This is a hoppy amber ale. Its not juicy like the nu NE ipa craze, but it imparts citrus sweetness. Its good stuff, not line up in the rain kind of good, but its plenty serviceable and significantly better than average. Usual caramel malt notes.

 464 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, served in a pint

Appears a medium amber with a fluffy light khaki cap. The head fell fairly quickly and left some mild lacing along with spotty patches along the top of the beer. A moderate amount of bubbles are seen shooting upwards.

Leaning in, this guy has a caramel malt dominant aroma with an earthy, grassy undertone that lays very low. Pretty straightforward.

A sweet caramel malt flavor with a toasted bready character quickly in tow. Some light hops come through for a muted, earthy finish.

Light medium body with carbonation right where it should be. Lightly sweet up front with a dry, crisp finish. This is very easy to drink with no off-flavors. Definitely enjoyed this more as I worked my way through it. A solid example of the style.

 759 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color: Cloudy amber color with a thin one-finger head and ample carbonation.

Aroma: Sweet and malty with mild hop bitterness. Light as well. Nothing overpowering.

Taste: Sweet with a decent breadiness. Clean. Smooth. Mild hop bitterness. Seems quite drinkable. Goes down very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Sweetness, malt and mild hop bitterness. Clean on the palate. Breadiness is present.

Drinkability: Clean and drinkable. Unremarkable though. Still a good choice for an amber ale if you're looking for one.

 504 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.18/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for bringing this one biegaman!

Pours a hazy amber, off white head forms, goes pretty fast, leaves a few lace spots. Smell is sweet, vegetal, citrus, some bread, nothing special, bit of citrusy hops. Taste is sweet, some caramel, yeast, bread, very light, floral in the finish, light bitterness. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low to medium carbonation. Drinkable, but a good example of mediocrity, maybe past its prime a bit? Thanks Jan!

 448 characters

Photo of markgugs
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass

A: Pours a sparkling clear copper with a large, frothy head of off-white foam and leaves some thick, sticky lacing. Looks good.

S: Gives off a moderately nutty, toasted aroma, with perhaps a dash of yeasty doughiness.

T/M: Initial sips produce some light citrus notes, then bigger, bolder flavors of toffee, butterscotch, and even milk chocolate take over. A very nice sweet, malted finish. Beer features a medium-bodied, slightly oily mouthfeel and is carbonated well.

D: This is a very solid beer, I could drink large quantities of this with ease and would do so if I could find them more regularly!

 663 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is cloudy deep golden with orange tinting. Very slight head. Not a lot going on in the aroma. Some sweet malt tones are noted. The beer has that trademark bready yeastiness to a small degree. Pretty good maltiness, but it is not so huge with the caramel malts as some ambers are. This is a refreshing example of the amber ale style. Some nice little spicy hop notes. Fruity tones are also of note. Solid brew, but there are many other Bell's beers that I enjoy a lot more.

 490 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.
Batch 103?

A - Pours a cloudy amber brown with a khaki colored head. Good retention and light lacing.

S - Sweet carmel, barley.

T - Lots of carmel, malts, barley.

D - Average body and carbonation.

O - Decent, sweeter and very carmel forward.

 284 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark copper pour, ample head. Great aroma, very citrusy and orange from an amber.

Hoppy taste, even for Bell's, and definitely for an amber. Makes it more interesting, even if it can be criticized as simply being a hoppier version of a traditional style. Cool with me. A little sweetness from the almost balanced beer. A little oily as well. Not hopped over the top, should appeal to a wide variety of drinkers. I used to think this was a little pricey at 8.99 a 6er, but now everyone charges that it seems.

 509 characters

Photo of Bung
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Light red pour, whitish head. Sweet malt, some pine aromas. Malt and toffee flavors throughout, little raisin or something green fruit. Nice bittering hops through the finish. Well balanced and drinkable, but nothing outstanding. There are some pale ale tones in this one, which some will find off putting. One of Bell's more sessionable ales. Also pretty equal on draft or bottle.

 395 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.49/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty much the definitiion for an Amber Ale. Poured at about the right temperature for a small to medium, light tan head that soon settled out. Color is a clear honey amber with some bubble trails. Aroma is malt, beer, and a little roast, hop, and fruit. Flavor is similar to nose with just a little sweetness to balance the carbonic tang and slight roast and hop. Body is superb, with excellent carbonation. Finish is like flavor and slowly fades with no off notes. Super easy drinking beer.

 493 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from the tap into a pint glass.

It pours a clear dark amber with a huge white head that lasts several minutes with decent retention.

The aroma is light not a whole there with a little hops.

The taste is pretty good, overall very drinkable for an amber ale.

 272 characters

Photo of claspada
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas of bready, caramel, biscuity, nuttiness and a hint of spice. Nothing too complex; some light indistinguishable hop notes.

The taste begins with some light spice and caramel maltiness, followed by some decent hops bitterness. As you re-examine you can detect some lesser toffee and toasted breadiness.

The mouthfeel is light-bodied with moderate, soft carbonation. Pleasant, finishes crisp and clean.

Overall this is a decent example of an amber but nothing too extraordinary. I want to give it more credit than it deserves but find it just too plain. It is was it is supposed to be, a sessionable Amber/Red ale. I just wish it had more memorable characteristics.

 672 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours out a dark orange/light brown with a lot of floaties in it. The head is white and foams up to be two to three fingers in size. It retains pretty well and ends up falling to a white cloud that covers the whole beer's top. A coat of fine lacing is left all over the glass.

S- A balance of fruit notes and caramel malt. The fruits are definitely lighter ones like pear, apple and white grape. I really don't pick up any citrus. The caramel malt is nice in the background but the aroma needs some more strength.

T- The taste, like many beers, is like the smell if it had more strength. The light fruits are very nice, apple, white grape and pear are very noticeable with some citrus peel notes. The malt has caramel notes and some very nice bready aspect to it. The hops lend a light-moderate bitterness that feels right for the other flavors.

MF - Body is light-moderate but has very nice creaminess to it. The carbonation levels are medium and suit the flavors well. The bitterness stays on the tongue after taking a sip along with some light fruit notes. The beer is a tiny bit warm but I like the feeling.

DB - A pretty straight forward amber with a nice malt/hop balance. The light fruits are nice for a change. This one is certainly sessionable but not for me since I only have a six pack from PA. The price was good and the beer was of good quality. I will try more and more Bell's when I start trading or go back to PA.

 1,437 characters

Photo of barnzy78
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, Batch 15051, PKGD 11/11/15. It has to be at least 5 years since I had this beer. Amber ale - what ever happened? Now they're all overly hopped IPA's and "Session IPA's". Nice to come back to reality, thanks to my friend, Ken, for buying and sharing.
A - amber colored ale with a creamy ivory head that slowly fades to a foam
S - earthy, floral, and very herbal hop aroma coupled with caramel, grain, and pale malt
T - earthy and herbal again here with yeast, caramel, toasted grain, toffee, faint fruitiness and some tea-like notes
M - medium body, ample carbonation, finishes semi-bitter
O - not my favorite amber ale and always seems to be one that I want to love more; either way this is definitely a trip down memory lane. It reminds me of when I first started out rating/trying/reviewing beers. I've never been crazy over herbal hops, and this one is no exception. I always end up liking this one less than I feel like I should, and it ends up being just mediocre for me.

 989 characters

Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the last of my haul from the Liquor Loft in Tallahassee.

Pours a nice amber color with some orange tint when held up to the light. A one-finger white head recedes into a light layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is not very sticky.

Smells good. There's a solid light hop smell - mostly floral, and some malt aromas, both sweet and bready.

Tastes a little better than it smells. There's a floral taste up front, followed by a sweet malt taste. The taste transforms into a breadier taste with a hint of caramel as the beer warms. A mild amount of bitterness comes through at the end.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's thicker than most other Ambers, and it's almost creamy. Very smooth.

Drinkability is good. This goes down very easily with a pleasant aftertaste.

Overall I was once again impressed by Bell's. Hopefully they'll make their way to GA soon. Until then I'll seek them out anytime I can get my hands on them.

 956 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – As the name implies it has an amber color with a light haze. Upon serving there was a one finger off white head that faded quickly to leave only a light amount of lacing.

Smell – The aroma was of caramel and toasted bread. Mixed with these were some lighter notes of citrus and some nuttiness.

Taste – The taste starts out as a mix of roasted malt and caramel. While sweeter in the beginning, it some dries out and bitters some as some citrus and pine hop tastes enter the flavor profile. While these never get too strong they do a nice job of balancing some of the sweet in the beginning. Toward the end of the taste some nuttiness comes to the tongue and overall a very nice roasty flavor is left to linger.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is smooth but not thick and the carbonation is on the average side. The creaminess is very nice and helps accentuate the nice more roasted flavors of the brew.

Overall – A pretty tasty amber Well worth a try.

 1,019 characters

Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.85 out of 5 based on 2,999 ratings.
  • About Us

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

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!