Bell's Eccentric Ale 2003 & Older (released 2004 & Before) | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

very good
21 Reviews
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Bell's Eccentric Ale 2003 & Older (released 2004 & Before)Bell's Eccentric Ale 2003 & Older (released 2004 & Before)

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

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 39
Photo of alleykatking
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to Eric (gratefulbeerhead) for giving me this bottle! Bottle from 1993 offering.

A- Pours a deep brown color. Some light amber hues when held up to the light. No head really ever forms although there is some light white spots on the top of the beer. No lacing on the glass although it does leave a light coating on the sides of the glass.

S- Big time caramelized malts in the front of this with some light oxidation. Banana comes out in the middle with a hint of clove and a lot of sweet maple syrup. Alcohol is huge in the ending of this beer.

T- A hint of banana in the front gets streamrolled over by a huge maple syrup flavor. Middle of the beer shows some big time alcohol with slight oxidation. Ending of the beer shows the same maple syrup with a ton of alcohol heat at the end. Simple and sweet...the flavors never are over complex.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is pretty dead. Heavy maple syrup and hints of oxidation is left on the palate. Aftertaste is warming alcohol, maple syrup, and hints of banana. Flavors were not complex at all which I think mellowed down overall over the years. Oxidation was in the beer which I expected with the age. Heavy alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer was all that I could expect from a beer of this age. Bell's made a nice average beer here with all the age on it. I am not complaining at all but the alcohol heat does come through at the end a little much. This bottle was shared with friends which it should be.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.02/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1998 bottle. Bottle opens with a very slight hiss. Pours a dark ruddy crimson with no head. Nose is thick, sticky brown sugar, figs, booze, and a touch of spice like mint. Very weird flavor. Rife with oxidation, almost expresses itself like a collage of herbs and spices -- mint, rosemary, things like that. I just think this is too old. Some raisins and figs, fairly sweet, but it's muddled and just very oxidized. Interesting.

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Photo of mcallister
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle of '98 Eccentric ale thanks to cmore.

What a beer and it has held up quite nicely. Also had a '97 which was good but nothing on this '98 as well as a batch 3000 in this sitting.

Brooding mahagonny in color with very little head. Matte in appearance.

This one starts off big with a malted milk ball, chocolate concoction in the nose. Thick with many happening, anise, black fruits, black tea, fig, date, and caramel sauce.

Complex and full bodied with only a slight hint of oxidation. So many things going on in this. Blueberry, black tea, kerosine, malted milk balls, captain crunch, more black fruits, candy like chocolate, and so much more. Thick and creamy and full bodied with a long finish. Just a great beer...still

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Photo of Crosling
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage, forgotten about bottle, accidently aged in my garage for approximately one year. Dark ruby/brown color. Powerfully aromatic, with notes of oxidation, spices, squash and pumpkin. Taste is fantastic with holiday spices, ginger, perfect sweetness. It’s aged great. This is a mighty fine big pumpkin ale. I wish I had more.

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Photo of blackie
4.64/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: No head...absolutely flat. The beer is a rich, reddish-brown in color.

smell: Ginger infused milk chocolate with a load of caramel, toasted, and toffee malt aromas. Even a little minty with some clove notes and various herbals. The pumpkin, squash (butternut?), and salty sweet potato mentioned on the label are pretty evident. Yes, roasted butternut squash doused in butter and brown sugar. Pulpy hop aromas come out as the beer warms. Light alcohol prick in the nostrils. Like a sweet and spicy, fruity bourbon-malt liquor.

mouthfeel: No carbonation. Though a little would be nice, in this type of beer it doesn't matter a whole lot. The body is full and, unchecked by any carbonation, comes across as pretty slick.

taste: Sticky sweet flavors just ooze all over my tonge with each sip. Big, sweet malts dominate the palate with flavors of spicy sweet potato. Various other pie-type spices are noted. Chocolate, ginger, and chai. Pumpkin becomes most notable in the aftertaste, though still subtle. No hop flavor comes through until the finish, where they impart a moderate, drying bitterness. There's just so much going on here that it's a little intimidating, as with the other Eccentric release I've had. There's a considerable dull, pulpy hop flavor just behind all the craziness.

drinkability: Very good, and with enough interesting to go around. Ethanol well disguised. While the lack of head and carbonation in the mouth can be forgiven, it does hamper drinkability. Or maybe I like the beer as it is, flat...a little torn on that one. I think I was drinking on this 12 oz. for over two hours. Over that time, as it opened up, I went from thinking it was damn good to loving it; and adjusting scores here and there. Definately one to take your time with, and savor.

sent straight from K-zoo by CRJMellor...batch 6688

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Photo of granger10
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 bottle. Thanks to Mike for sharing and Craig indirectly for giving to Mike. The Sweet Potato, Squash, and Pumpkin reference on the label was very intriguing.

A dull burgundy/ dark auburn color. No head or sign of carbonation. It really doesn't look good at all.

Aroma is intense and awesome. It comes at you. Pumpkin pie, spices abound, Belgian yeast qualities. Almost citric but not quite, woody, wintergreen gum, Canadian Maple syrup. I kept getting new flavors each time I inhaled.

Taste is also ridiculously complex. The spices kind of swirl in the mouth. Belgian qualities are there but not as noticeable as in the aroma. There's a moderate toffee upfront but the spices come in and steal the show. There's a green herbal taste at the back end. A main flavor in the body seems to be sweet potato, moreso than pumpkin, and I like it. I don't really taste the alcohol or hops but breathe them in the aftermath and feel the burn going down.

Mouthfeel is odd. Yeah it's thin and lacking carbonation but I am amazed at how the alcohol flavor is restrained and how the spices are so dominant yet I didn't grow weary of them like I do with many other spiced beers. The complexity is stunning.

This beer is a heavy hitter and drinkability will suffer from the sheer weight of alcohol it offers. But I could drink quite a few of these and ponder the numerous flavors that emerge before I reach a state of inebriation. I was definitely left wanting to try more.

Fitting name, quite Eccentric.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003 release.
Saved over 2 years to commemorate review #2000.
Yippee, yay.

Opaque plummy appearance, dark and in-depth, slimmish foaming above...I can forgive small faults in this instance.

Aroma is amazing, and unearthly, wafts out from cracking the crown...a complex mess of flavors to smell, here, but easily epitomized as barleywinish...brandy, cognac, berries, cherries, dates, spices, ...a little sour, but not much...hard to describe..twisted prunes on a's that?

Taste: oh, yes...ummm...whoa...doppel, no quadrupelbock, syrup, molasses, fruit, Johnson Brothers,...morass of a melange of a slick, sticky cherries and prunes, on a leather strop..grabs the tongue and rides it long and hard, kicks the sides, sets the spurs in...but gently...although I know the booze is high, here, it comes on as a cloud, and softly settles into the senses...

...gets comfortable in the mouth, but doesn't pummel it...full flavored, but not destructive...this is astonishing, amazingly good...candyish, in the sweet, liquory effect...holy moly...

I can only complain that this ought to be readily available, at the perfect age, and in plentiful supply...of course, and pardon me while I allow the pigs to fly out of my netherside portal.

a lururious, luscious absolutely lovely ale...elegant...gorgeous...put this in a liter bottle with a fancy top and extragant bells and whistles, charge $50 a bottle, serve it to yuppies with too much money and tell them it's cognac. I swear you'll be successful. But be sure to invite me and give me a taste...this 12 ounce bottle left us too quickly...alas...poor Eccentric Ale, this world is not meant for one as beautiful as you...

my glass is empty...poor, poor me...ah, well, life goes on, there are other beers, but not any such as this!

Thank you, Larry!

And, thank you, Craig, 2+ years later!

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Photo of bditty187
4.69/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Edition

It pours clear until the end; I dumped the yeast sediment by (more or less) accident. Thus the liquid is hazy, bronzed plum in color with some ruddy copper highlights. There was no head, only a few bubbles around the edges of the glass but so few bubbles I can’t even call it a “soapy collar.” No sign of carbonation. This beer looks lifeless but very mysterious at the same time. I am curious to move on from just looking at it. In that sense, the appearance did its job.

The nose jumps out of the glass. Bam! Wow! At first I thought I smelled a big-ass barleywine. It was awesomely malty with warm alcohol notes and tons of dark fruit like dates and raisins. I went back for more, this time I swear I smell spiced squash. Maybe. Well, I think I do. Caramel, molasses, mint, and pepper were definitely in the mix. I found hints of Italian herb blend. Cloves. Leather and earth in spots with rum and vodka... some cake too. My word there is so much going on here. The potency is loud and, surprisingly, the nose is very articulate. Sure it says a lot but I hear it. Old Ale mixed with something funky from Belgian mixed with a Pumpkin Ale and maybe this nose could be duplicated. I doubt it. Inviting to say the least but can the palate really be as complex as the nose leads on? And if it is will it taste good?

Yes. Oh god, yes. Yes it can. The palate is more then the nose let on. It is much richer. Way richer. It is so full of flavor… I… I… became dumbfounded. Huge malty sweetness from start to finish, caramel and molasses with chocolate hints, cake soaked in rum and vodka. Then the fruit arrives with raisins, dates, and array of tropical fruits. Pineapple. With all of the sweetness my tongue gets the occasional jab of piney hops and a smattering of bitterness. Earthy tobacco at the back, the finish is hot and raw. It is like drunken porno sex. Again, I think I taste some spiced squash. Pepper, herbs, cherries, tobacco, and leather… this is insanely complicated and amazingly bold. Hot. Very hot. It is almost to the point of distraction or perfection. But there is so much going on I find the rawness to be a welcomed conclusion. It is the period of the sentence. The burn causes me to sip slowly, to savor, I can’t rush this beer. I don’t want to either. This is a crazy-ass beer that hits all the right notes with me. Perfect.

Full body; thick and filling on the tongue, no carbonation. The mouthfeel is filling… relaxing. It fits the palate perfectly. “Slow down” it says with every swallow. My god, does this beer need some rich cheese and fresh fruit. What a nightcap.

I have had this beer in the DBF for almost a year. Why haven’t I drunk it yet? Stupidity. Ignorance. Misunderstanding what this beer really is. I want more of this beer. It might take me all night to drink the one I have but I have the time. (It did take me quite awhile to drink this, it got a *tickle* sweet for me so I paired it with a banana and some pumpkin pie. That was a very tasty combination.) This is a truly great beer. Thank you mentor! What a gift.

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Photo of neonbrown82
2.95/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured hard with absolutely no head. Dark and plum colored. Not bad looking.

Smells quite plum as well, maybe even a bit woody. Spicy and earthy.

Tastes very strongly spiced, qutie similar to the smell. Not very highly drinkable, and not much else to say.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.69/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Neck label states 2003 - Pours out burnt orange, no carbonation present as the last quarter of the bottle is all but thick yeast sturring the orange into a tornado of brown sludgey mud. No head, no lace. It sits like milk. Chunky flakes of yeast float around as if in space.

Hefty lush aroma with tons of chewy soft caramel, spicy claro tobacco leaves, scorched orange and pineapple, big blackened piney hops, and evocatively rich, big alcohol noting to that of a spiked milkshake.


This is dreamy. Thick, lush, warm, and palate soaking caramel malt lightly laced with chocolate alcoholic warmth. Then slipping off to a trailing sweeter tropical fruity center of shish kabobed pineapple, orange, and dates wrapped in a dark and rugged piney hop bitterness. The onslaught continues. Earthen tobacco. More chocolate laced heat, more caramel, more really dark hops. Again, more chocolate. Its a three course meal of flavor and length.


Super lush feel; thick, full, warming, returns and returns of layered chocolate, heat, caramel, and touches of earth. Finish gains a cosmicly ragged but bitterly acceptable full hop cone of dripping pine sap. Coats the back of the throat late with creamy leftover caramel, fruits, chocolate, and tobacco.


If you like Third Coast Old Ale as much as I do, you'll like this just as much if not more. Comes across as a barleywine in my book.
Big. Burly. Strong. Loaded. Lengthy. Large. Lush. Pushy. Perfect.

Thank you! Mentor.

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Photo of ppoitras
2.87/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle obtained via trade with CRJMellor. Thanks for the opportunity... 2003 bottling. Brewed with pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes and natural flavors?!? I'm scared!

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed nohead whatsoever over the murky chestnut brew. No lacing here either. Aroma is pervasive of dark fruits and alcohol. Taste starts with a hearty fruitiness, and quickly gives way to strong alcohol notes. Having trouble wrapping my mind around this one. Mouthfeel is sketchy as well, with the total lack of carbonation a downer off the bat, and then alcohol dominance off-putting as well. Drinkability is low, don't know if I'll even be finishing this one.

Disclaimer: I didn't go for Heavyweight Gruit either, so maybe I'm not really into these "eccentric" brews.

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Photo of walleye
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this was shared at a gathering at kuhnhenn 3/19/05. number 401 on ratebeer got to start the next 100 with a michigan brewery.poured a reddish brown with a off white head. aroma alcohol, a nice mixture off spices and malts, cinnamon and hints of caramel. flavor wow the spices and alcohol comes right out and graps you than the hops come out a very good beer.

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Photo of merlin48
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 bottling, thanks to a trade with mentor. Label says this ale is brewed with pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, and natural flavors. Served slightly chilled in a tulip glass, this pours a murky chestnut brown body with a small beige head that quickly relaxes and settles into a permanent collar. Lacing is not really apparent.
Aroma is very much of a strong old ale with eccentricities. Rum, raisin, molasses, maple syrup, candied yams, some spices, and an earthy hop note.
Mouthfeel is thick and heavy. Somewhat syrupy, with an ethanol punch. Robust is an understatement.
Taste has a strong old ale backbone of rum accented maple syrup and molasses. Steamed butternut squash and candied yams are also prominent. A mild spruce hops presence and an array of pumpkin pie spices rein in the sweetness, as does the spiced rum ethanol component. Some grassy and earthy hops somehow manage to climb into the finish. Lots of stuff going on here. Extremely complex to the point of being confounding.
ABV is surely more than the 11% listed. This ale had me speaking in tongues well before the finish. Very unique, and aptly named. No quick quaffer, but this is definitely worth a try if you can find it. This one needs its own category!

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Photo of mentor
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle (bottle date is 2003) purchased from the Eccentric Cafe in December, 2004 and consumed the next evening.

Pours thick with practically no carbonation. Hard poor and a there were only a few bubbles. Sediment bits floated within but settled within 1/2 hour to reveal a crystal clear, but dark mohoganey beer. Dark like a stout, but with definite redish hints. Smells of chocolate, licorice, alcohol and a bit of you'd get from smelling fresh ginger. Taste is sweet malt, then spices, and finally a mild alcohol finish. Malt is caramel and chocolate. Spices are anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, and perhaps some ginger. If there are hops present, they are mixed in with the spices such that I can't pick them out. A year after bottling...I'm not sure how much hop can be expected to still be around. The flavors work very well together. Despite the thick mouthfeel, it is not overly sweet. The bar-keep said this was 17% and I'm surprised the alcohol kick isn't much stronger. Took me the entire evening (3 hours) to put this bottle away. Not every sip was entirely pleasurable. Plan to share it or sip it like a cogniac.

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Photo of CortexBomb
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottling, consumed shortly after Eccentric Day (10th of December) 2004.

Pours out ruddy brown with red highlights along the edge. Almost no head, even with an aggressive pour, a small bone white ring. Clings to the glass upon shifting much like Expedition Stout.

Smell, bizarre and spicy. Some hints of lemon are there, as well as malts (a sweet aspect...), and something that reminds me of cocoa but....isn't.

Talk about a complex flavour....a gentle hop bite gives way to an odd spice combination that I can't even begin to describe combined with a sweet potatoish tone, followed by another hop bitter, followed by yet another segue into vaugely citrus tinged spice while a caramel like sweet tone sits on the end of the tongue along with what I would call a softly roasted aspect, like stout, yet not aggressive at all. A bready / yeasty tone is definitely around as well. The taste finishes with a short bitter aspect which then fades into spice a final time. Remarkably depthy and unique beer.

Mouthfeel, spot on. Like other Bell's heavies this one has that oil like viscuity that I absolutely love. Drinkability...well, not bad at all for a beer this big, but I certainly wouldn't have more than 2 in an evening, and not just due to the high alcohol content. Just a strong, unique flavour.

Eccentric Ale is just one more notch in Bell's belt. While I consider their mainsteam offerings to be only so-so, these limited releases show the creativity that they can unleash when they have the freedom to cater to the beer snobs. (On an aside, for those interested in getting this stuff: Bell's releases Eccentric Ale every year on Eccentric Day, most of it is consumed on the day of, but limited quantities are generally available shortly thereafter in their small general store. I paid 5$ per 12 ounce, high, but worth it for very limited pre-aged beer of this calibre IMO)

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Photo of Rastacouere
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dirty brown, totally opaque and wearing a light off-white ring. Aroma is weird and powerful. Biscuity basil, very earthy thailand spices mixture, grassy cherries, cinnamon, rhubarb.... Rather complex and quite well blended in the funky spicy beer category. Sucre d’orge and caramelic malts are also of the fest. Spicy palate, but never agressive, coffee, molasses and caramelic sweet malt profile are easily countered by the hard to believe grassy spices (ginger, basil, cinnamon). It remains very sweet overall, with candyish vinous peaks, but expertly hidden alcohol. Low carbonation, medium to full bodied. As experimental as expected and worth a try or 2, but not a particularly spectacular beer. Thanks to raindog once again.

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Photo of aracauna
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eccentric is right. I don't have a clue what is going on here because there's so much to it. I can say that it's a murky medium brown with an ok head. Wasn't much to look at, but the aroma and flavor made up for it. Lemon and oregano, maybe coriander stuff that I don't even now about. Some alcohol, but the rest of the ingredients keep it in check. Thick, slick mouthfeel. Weird, but I like it.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.55/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to francisweizen for this brew.

So this is a red imperial stout? The nose is spot on with Expedition Stout, rich with cocoa and deep, dark, rotting berries.

As viscous as the pour was, I was frightened to drink this. I couldn't prove that this isn't just coagulated blood, but I'll trust Larry Bell and assume it's beer. This is an imperial stout, goddammit, and I couldn't care less how odd it looks (more along the lines of an authentic Belgian kriek than whatever the hell this is). Actually, it's more of an old ale. Wait, what the fuck is this?

Voracious hopping on the end-palate balances the rich malt and alcohol. The hops lack the sticky, stomach-churning resins of West coast beers. Bell's goes after richness in this beer and so the pornographically luscious malt is backed by green, leafy, and lightly spicy hops with a laser beam of medicinal cherry and cough syrup on the finish.

I should have just stuck with my initial description: This is a red Expedition Stout and I can't get over how amazing that is. Or maybe it's a mix of Expedition, Storm King, and Deschutes Jubelale. Lightly fruity, maybe even with some licorice and ginger (I'm reaching now), this is the most eccentric beer I have ever had.


Relax, relax.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Edition: This stuff is the colour of blood, cherries, and burnt tobacco. The aromas almost follow suit, with some medicinal tones, as well as some hints of dark fruits, and tobacco/leather. The taste is quite interesting with those same dark fruit and leather notes floating about as well as some interesting spiciness and alcoholic notes. The finish is nearly ever-lasting and the mouthfeel is a bit thick, but also well-rounded. The drinkability is pretty damn good too.

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Photo of brakspear
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Released only once a year in limited numbers this ale is hard to fit in any standard style. It pours a murky brown with very little to no carbonation. Its aroma is sweet, deep, and malty....with some alcohol notes. The taste is rather complex, sweet and malty upfront, followed by a balancing hop bitterness and a slight alcohol burn. Very chewy and thick mouthfeel, but not cloying, All in all this is a vrey good specialty beer. Not a session beer, but one searching for if you can get it.

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Photo of cretemixer
3.17/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Well, they sure got the name right on this one. I have been hoping to try this beer for a long time and the Chicago Real Ale Fest gave me the chance. It poured the color of murky apple cider. The aroma is medicinal, with a touch of sweetness. Spicy bitterness hits me at first, then candy sweetness. It’s thick and chewy too. It did grow on me after the first couple of sips but it’s not something I would go looking for again, that’s for sure.

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Bell's Eccentric Ale 2003 & Older (released 2004 & Before) from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.86 out of 5 based on 39 ratings.
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