Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
936 Reviews
Bell's Amber AleBell's Amber Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
936
Ratings:
2,970
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
11.95%
 
 
Wants:
147
Gots:
490
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 936 | Ratings: 2,970
Photo of dexterk1
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Color is little hazy reddish brown. Head was small and dissipated relatively quickly.
Odor is pleasant and is malty and sweet with some caramel notes.
Taste is good overall. First you get some malt and toffee. Finish has some hops bitterness and a little more malt.
Mouth feel is not too bad. Does not linger too long and feels a little light on your tongue.

 399 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have a soft spot for Bell’s, but mainly for their big beers: Hopslam, Expedition Stout, The Oracle. It’ll be interesting to try one of their <6% ABV beers, then…

Brewed within the last few months before this tasting (can only make out the /12 of the year on the Packaged On date).

A: This Amber Ale is…well, amber. Slightly red, and with a sizeable white head of creamy bubbles. Retention is thin with slight, spotty lacing.

S: Sweet, satisfying malts first: creamy caramel candy, maple oatmeal, and cookie dough. It’s a subtly earthy graininess mixing with the sugars – cinnamon-sugar and clarified butter on slightly toasted bread – and just a hint of floral hops. Malty, but thin.

T: Leafy malts: maple, cashew, caramel, and toasted grain come together in mild, creamy fashion. Peaches and cream are notable, as well, before the tastes of mild bitter herbs take over. These hops are just a tad astringent and only slightly juicy – characteristic for an amber ale – just prickly enough to be a sizeable part of the palate. It’s a nutty, creamy vanilla aftertaste.

M: A little silk on the tongue and some bubble on the back end. As far as texture goes, it sits quite idly on a medium body.

O: An amber ale that’s all about traditional flavor, not bold, unique character. And in that way, it’s all that it can be. Quite sessionable.

 1,367 characters

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper colored with a finger's worth of tan head. The head is fairly dense and leaves some sticky lacing behind as it fades. Over all the beer is a bit hazy and there is a healthy amount of floaties suspended throughout the glass.

A sweet malty aroma, some caramel with some mild hop spice in the background. There's not a lot going on here. The flavor is also a caramel sweetness with less hop profile. It's interesting in it's simplicity. The hops kick in for a bit in the finish but there's still some sweetness lingering there as well and it's hard to tell what wins out in the end.

Fairly light bodied but not thin by any means. A good drinking beer that I would definitely go back to if it was not bed time.

 715 characters

Photo of denver10
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich amber with a thick, frothy khaki head. Wonderful retention and lacing, shockingly so for an amber. A nice sweet bready aroma mixed with a little fruit. A sweet and smooth flavor. Sugary, toffee, a little banana, bread, and a touch of lemon. I usually dislike toffee but they do a nice job with it here, it isn't too strong and dominating. A creamy medium bodied to this, not too much carbonation. A very representation of an an amber, though not my favorite amber I have tried. I've long been wanting to check out some Bell's offerings so glad to have finally tried something by them. Still wish it could have been 2 Hearted instead though!

 653 characters

Photo of barczar
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy light amber with a sense, frothy khaki head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Aroma is very subtle, with toasted nutty malt and floral hops dominating. There's a metallic note.

Flavor reveals more subtle character. There's a hint of underlying citrus, but the toasted malt backbone and specialty malt fruitiness dominate. The finish is nutty and a touch bitter. Floral hops become evident late, but the malt dominates. Metallic notes surface in the aftertaste.

Body is moderate to a touch light, with moderate carbonation and light alcohol warmth.

Not an amber by today's standards. Far less American hop character than we've come to expect. The malt is nice, though. Wish I liked this more.

 730 characters

Photo of unclejimbay
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I have had a few 6 packs of this beer over the past few weeks. I enjoy the taste and smell of this brew, but have found a noticeable amount of flaky sediment no matter how the beer is tired, poured or handled. It seems the yeast in this beer does not compact and always gets stirred up no matter how I pour.

Appearance is copper in color with satisfactory head and lace. Flaky sediment gets stirred up even with the most gentle/careful pour.
Smells of caramelized malts and brew day delicisousness.
Tastes as it smells with s nice balance of caramel malts and mild hop balance. Tastes mildly sweet but enjoyable for an amber.
Mouthfeel is medium body, medium+ carbonation.

The only turnoff on the beer is the annoying sediment. I don't mind a bottle conditioned beer as long as you handle it properly. This beer seems to always pour with flaky sediment and is a turnoff. After my 3rd six pack over the past 2 weeks I will stick with Two Hearted or Oberon.
I love Bells beers, this is my least favorite to date. Apparently they use the same yeast in most thier beers, I don't know why Amber behaves differently?

I will try this again in the future, maybe we have some old or bad batches around here?

 1,202 characters

Photo of boogles
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This reminded me a lot of the lager, which people have rated lower, but with more of the same. Different from the masses, I really liked the lager (and its malt) but did not care for the amber. The amber is fuller and better balanced, but not special, for me. I did think it was a good beer, however, just not as good as others from Bell's. Maybe if it were more red, more hops, it would be a winner for me.

 407 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a hazy, medium gold body(odd for an amber) with a skimpy offwhite head that quickly vanishes. Minimal lacing.
Aroma is initially hoppy, with grapefruit and orangerind. Caramel pale malt notes lurk in the background.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with appropriate medium carbonation.
Taste is above average for an American Amber, but not spectacular. Hops are dry and bitter, grapefruit and citrus rind is barely balanced by the caramel sweetness. Finishes clean and even.
Well balanced, overall, and very sessionable. Just not one of my favorites for the style.

 582 characters

Photo of tvv375ia
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A- cloudy orange with a finger of head that lasted a couple minutes before fading

S-not a lot of smell but it was Carmel/malt type smell

T- nutty malt taste with a hint of pine hops

M-medium creaminess

O-good solid beer I will get again

 281 characters

Photo of mzingie
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Attractive 2 finger head with average lacing covering a honey color. The smell has something in it I find absolutely repulsive that killed this beer for me. Reminiscent of diapers. The taste is actually pretty good. Clean balance of hops, very subtle citrus, solid carbonation. The mouthfeel is what it should be, fairly heavy with the presence of alcohol in its aftertaste. Overall I am disappointed in the brewery that brought me two hearted ale but if it were not for the smell I would probably but this again.

 513 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from good ta go beer store in PA for 1.99 - thanks to jfam for this

Appearance - Slightly hazy ambercolour with a large size fizzy/frothy beige head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes. There are also some particles floating around.

Smell - Malts, caramel, dark fruits, light hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, fruits (apples/grapes?), and a bit of hops. There is also a bit of a floral flavour to it. It ends with a sweet caramel/malt flavour with some light fruitiness.

Overall - While tasty, it's pretty run of the mill as far as ambers go. I'd take a stone levitation over this. Still worth a try though.

 767 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

A: Slightly hazy, light amber color with one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Moderate stepwise lacing remains on the glass and profuse solids hang suspended throughout the column.

S: Bready, with mild caramel and crystal malt.

T: Begins dry, with refined bread, mild herbaceous hop aromatics, and a whiff of caramel. Acidity is of minor presence into the middle where grain becomes maltier before earthy flavors step up to dominate in the mildly bitter finish.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and slightly astringent on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This amber ale is satisfactory in its ability to capture some English plae ale qualities while remaining clean and versatile. Hopping is light but appropriate, while malt components are varied and interesting without being challenging.

 864 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hard to believe it took this many years to give this one a review.
Bottled in Sept. 2010, so it's within the brewery recommended 6 month window.
Strong malt presence with the aroma and a mixed, kinda' earthy hop background. Kinda' unsweet caramel malt with some pale male in there too.
Pretty big off-white head that forms an interesting shape in my SA glass. Amber and somewhat cloudy. Gold highlights.
Still malt forward, but less so than the aroma. More balancing from the hop flavors and bitterness. Touch of sweetness with a bit of caramel in it. A real blended sort of drink with ample complexity and nothing really distinct. There are no flavors of concern, just kinda' mix of flavors tampered down a bit.
Sufficient carbonation and body for style. Feels a little heavy on the bubbles (filling).
The previous comment takes away from last category. Too bad. It seems to be going for an everyday sort of drink - I believe it was referred to as the brewery "flagship" beer, in which it probably under-represents what this fine brewery is capable of producing. Nonetheless, a adequately drinkable beer, that I'd like to give a shot to fresh and on tap.

 1,155 characters

Photo of Aenema
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a brownish orange, similar to the color of syrup with melted butter, a thin off-white head and little lacing.
Smell - Caramel malts, hay and grass.
Taste - Toasted, caramel malts, a nice hoppy finish - a smooth, well-balanced beer.
Mouthfeel - Moderate carbonation, medium bodied and creamy.
Drinkability - Drinkable, but not a beer I would want more than maybe two of.
Overall - A fine beer worth trying, but not one I will revisit any time soon. It was not particularly good or interesting.

 511 characters

Photo of jayb
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

orangish red in color. Sediment throughout the glass. An off white head that settled quickly. Lacing was non-existant. Aroma was of sweet malts and a slight citrus tang. little bit of caramel as well. Taste was of sweet grains, herbal spice, slight roasted bitterness. Carbonation has a real bite to it. Very dry. Caramel and roastiness keick into full gear towards the end when the brew warms up. A pretty soild amber in my book.

 430 characters

Photo of tpd975
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy amber colored hue with a nice thick off-white head. Moderate amounts of lacing.

S: Bready, sweet pale malt aroma with hints of brown sugar. No real hops noted.

T: Tons of malt up front. The malty is yeasty and sweet with some buttery tones as well. The hops are nearly non existant in the taste as well.

M: Light and refreshing.

D: Not a favorite when it comes to taste, but it is very sessionable.

Overall: A solid American Red. The taste is pretty solid and it is very drinkable. An Amber loving buddy of mine raves about it on draft.

 554 characters

Photo of Shrews629
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very nice amber, copper color showing some orange hues. Substantial off white head that hung around for a bit and left a solid amount of lacing. Mostly clear body.

Smell - Attractive caramel malt pulling its way to the front of the nose. I'm also detecting a bit of a peach smell. Seems to be a bit more fruity in the hops department than most Ambers I have encountered. Nice and well balanced in the nose.

Taste - Malty at first in the taste, but gives way to the fruit kick. The malt is still the main ingredient however. A nice stab of the alcohol comes in at the end and brings a bit of the warmth and toastiness.

Mouthfeel - Seems to me to be a little thin on the mouthfeel, but it does finish rather dry and crisp. Coats the throat and tongue delicately.

Drinkability - This, all in all, is not a bad little brew. Nice bit of warmth at the end. The beer looks great and is very enticing. I'm glad I gave it a try. It's a brew that I wouldn't have a bit of trouble quaffing for and evening.

 1,013 characters

Photo of hardy008
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Amber color, somewhat cloudy. Pours a white, 1 finger foamy head which has nice retention.

Smell - malt and citrus.

Taste - Mildly sweet and malty, with a hint of citrus bitterness. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and light to medium bodied.

Drinkability - Easy to drink, would make a good session beer.

 321 characters

Photo of JustinBathurst
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice bronze colour. The smell is excellent--a bit of sweet floral, some malt, well-rounded. A yeasty bread loaf scent is also there.

Mouthfeel is average, but not bad. Taste makes up for this.

Subdued sweet start, some orange peel taste, sweet kick without being too overpowering, bitter chocolate-roasted coffee finish. Bitter aftertaste that lingers for a little while. Some hops to make it worthwhile. This would be an excellent session beer, I think. High quality and easy to kick back while still enjoying the taste.

 527 characters

Photo of JAA
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Okay, i really couldn't care less about a beer's label art, but a Heron? Come on, it doesn't exactly scream "Buy me". However, out of the bottle and in the glass, it appears more respectable. A good lookin' dark and cloudy amber with a nice and fluffy, one finger head. The head didn't stay long, but fortunately, neither did the beer. Probably due too it's outstanding drinkability. More on that later.

Kind of a let-down on the aroma. A faint cararmel note is about the only identifiable smell in there.

The taste however, did not disappoint. A good example of the style. Not overpowering in the hops department. A biscuity malt foundation, mild bitter hoppiness, and a clean white grape finish. Nothing overpowers.

Mouthfeel is, dare i say it(?), a little watery. Come on, it's one of their weakest brews, they can make a beer for a hot, sunny, sunday afternoon and not be called wimps.

This beer is exactly what i called it in the last paragraph. A five and a half percent amber ale, meant to be a refreshing, yard work beverage. The only shame that Bell's should feel is the similarity of Budweisers' American Ale. Or maybe, they should feel pride that a giant of the industry picked one of their products to clone.

Don't get me wrong though, this is a far superior amber ale when compared to Budweisers'.

 1,322 characters

Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle ---> pint glass. Hazy dark orange with medium sized white head. Sticky walls of lacing.

Smell is mostly cereal grain and malted barley. A floral blend of aromatic hops add an herbal essence to this beer. A touch of fruitiness rounds it out.

Taste is mostly sweetened malts and grain with some light floral hop character and some wet grass in the middle with dried berries and nuts. Perfect amount of lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.

Slightly undercarbonated and smooth.

Recommended if you enjoy lightly hopped, sweet ambers.

 546 characters

Photo of Sydney10
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Visual: Pours a clear amber color.
Smell: Malty with light fruit undertones of strawberry and lemon.
Taste: Bitter, smooth beer. A bitter taste of a green caramel apple.
Overall: Average beer that is light on the tongue.

 223 characters

Photo of tone77
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark caramel color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is dominated by malts. Taste is caramel malts up front, some hops, slight bitterness at the finish. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall this is a solid beer.

 252 characters

Photo of BierFan
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle lists an abv of 5.8%. Batch number of 8869 tells me it was bottled on December 3rd 2008. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light tan head. Hazy amber. Pretty good head retention.

Smell: Bitter with some light citrus and grapefruit.

Taste: It's just a damn good amber ale. Bitterness and hop flavors are dominant. Seems more bitter from the bottle than when I had it on-tap.

 414 characters

Photo of JunkYardJake
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bulls Head Pub in Lititz.
First time having Bells Amber. Looks good sitting in the glass with a creamy off-white head and sharp clarity. Nose is subdued but smells fresh. Mostly caramel and bready malts but there is a bit of earthy hop aroma coming through. Palate is quite mild, even compared to the nose. Clean caramel malt flavor with a small hop profile. Moderate body with a proper level of carbonation. Easy drinking brew that could easily be sessioned. Although I enjoyed it, I was expecting a bit more from this beer in the flavor department. Nonetheless, worthy of a try.

 590 characters

Bell's Amber Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
87 out of 100 based on 936 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe