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Bell's Winter White Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Winter White AleBell's Winter White Ale

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

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast, this blend of barley & wheat malts yields a mixture of clove and fruity aromas, all without the use of any spices. Deliberately brewed to retain a cloudy appearance.

Added by maxpower on 02-22-2003

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Reviews: 728 | Ratings: 2,185
Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Orange-amber color; maybe more toward apricot. Decent head.

S: Lots of wheat along with plenty of spiciness--fits the winter theme quite well.

T: Lots of spiciness. Perhaps coriander, along with some citrus flavors.

M: Medium body with good carbonation.

D: Great drinkability when fresh. This is a solid witbier, and fits in perfectly with a roasting winter fire.

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Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap a hazy lighter yellow with some peach colored hue a thin quick to fade head atop.Toasted wheat clove and some bannana reminisentmore of a Bavarian style sheat than a Belgian white in my mind.Pretty standard wheat flavors somewhat clovey and toasty with a faint hint of citrus in the back end.Decent and basic beer, my wife would enjoy this, me well I thought it was ok.

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Photo of jlindros
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this one in a great trade with Noslenwerd. I wanted to help out his cause for 365 beers in 365 days. For those who haven't heard of his quest, try this website:

Anyways, he sent me a bunch of stuff I can't get here, including a slew of Bell's beers, and I decided to review a bunch tonight. This is the next on the list, and helps me to go through a bunch of winter beers that I'm questing to do as well.

A: Has a light airy and fluffy 1/2 finger head that keeps itself well. It's an incredibly hazy, so much so I almost expect the blob to step out of this thing. It also has a murky pale bright yellow color.

N: Nose is loaded with wheat, banana, and spices. It has a lot of reminiscence of a Belgian wit beer. Lots of wheat as a base, then a nice creamy banana flavor, and some spices, perhaps clove, coriander, and hints of yeast. And even some hints of orange peel but very light.

T: Very similar to the nose, but the spices come out a lot more. This is now loaded with clove, coriander, orange peel, and other winter spices, but its not overbearing, just over the top. The some wheat and banana try to come through on the back end. A very light sweet malt flavor.

M: Semi thin, decent carbonation but I would expect more for the style, a little spicy.

F: Comes off pretty dry on the finish, with a big load of banana and more spices. It has a touch of spicy heat, some acidity. The spices seem to linger for a while, with even more orange peel this time. Its not a bad beer, a decent Belgian wit crossed with winter warmer, which is starting to become commonplace. This goes a little heavy on spices but not too much to still enjoy it.

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Photo of mothman
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a large pilsner glass.

Color is a very hazy yellow. Very cloudy. Pours a thin head that doesn't last at all.

Smell is similiar to a hefeweisen, just not as strong; cloves and bananas. Taste is quite similar. There is a smooth malty taste also.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. A slight bitterness with a touch of alcohol being present.

Overall, this is one of my least favorites from Bell's. There really isn't anything to special about this, but it is easy to drink.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours clear gold with a finger of brite-white foamy head. Leaves behind a thin, wispy retention that provides some decent lacing. The aroma is standard Witbier with notes of wheat, yeast, clove, and an almost astringent citrus scent.

The taste is a nicely balanced mix of wheat and yeast, some coriander and clove spice, and a zesty orange note that gives the profile some pop. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lively carbonation.

I've always wondered why Bell's goes with a Witbier for their Winter beer (that's why I waited for the weather to warm a bit before getting into this)? In any case though, while this isn't the strongest beer from them by any means, it is still pretty tasty and at 4.5%, very sessionable.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 11/15/2013. Pours opaquely hazy bright golden amber color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, banana, pear, apple, orange, wheat, bread, floral, grass, clove, pepper, herbal, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and fruity/spicy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon, banana, pear, apple, orange, wheat, bread, clove, pepper, herbal, floral, grass, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of lemon, banana, pear, apple, orange, wheat, bread, clove, pepper, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of fruity/spicy yeast ester and malt flavors; with a great malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and very smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present on the finish. Overall this is a damn nice witbier. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast ester and malt flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Winter White displays the typical appearance of a Belgian wit with a hazy golden-orange body through which very fine bubbles can be seen steadily rising. Its thinly-creamy head of bright white holds fairly well but leaves only spotty lace about the glass. The nose is also quite standard with notes of coriander over a wheatish malt base. In the mouth it's light/medium bodied and the carbonation lends a mild caress to the tongue. It has a lower carbonation level, and less effervescence than many of the better known examples from Belgium. The flavor delivers a delicate blend of semi-sweet wheatish malt; a delicate tartness and some fruitiness from the yeast; and a flick of spiciness and some flavor from the coriander. The low-key bitterness is propperly coralled, and it's immaculately balanced. It finishes with a touch of tartness on the front of the tongue and delicately spicy coriander at the back of the mouth. It lingers shortly and then fades, never building on the palate and lending greatly to its drinkability.

This one's a real winner; and if you think about it, it's not such an odd choice for a winter beer from a brewery that makes more than a half a dozen stouts year-round.

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Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy yellow color with a brief head in the Affligem chalice. The best feature is the creamy, sudsy mouthfeel that would do a German brewery proud. Faintly aromatic with a flowery, citrus nose.

Mellow and biscuity. Lightly fruity with a lemon curd note. A litle sweetness. Some yeasty taste and bitterness in the aftertaste.

Surprisingly drinkable. The whole concept is a surprise, but it's a pleasant wheaty brew. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego.

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Photo of chinchill
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2 Nov. 2011 bottling, served in a pint glass.

Golden-yellow color with thin, and short-lived, white head. Cloudy. Looks like a typical wheat beer rather a typical "winter ale", but then this is a "Winter White" and is a witbier.

Aroma -- Wheaty and yeasty with hints of citrus and apricots.

Taste -- Largely follows aroma: Wheaty and yeasty with hints of citrus, bananas, nutmeg, cloves and apricots. Lightly tart.

O -- a fine example of the style, with only a slight departure from normal witbier prep. -- without the packaging, I would not have noticed this one is "seasonally nuanced". A winter ale for the tropics, perhaps.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Surprisingly unhazy amber with the slightest suggestion of orange. Maybe the yeasties will be added with the next and final pour, though I don't see much cloudiness in the few ounces left in the bottom of the bottle. The cap is lightly yellowed ivory, like old newspaper, and isn't up to Bell's usual standards. It looks a little mealy as it falls and isn't tacky enough to deposit more than a few stray strands of lace. Not bad, just not great.

The nose makes a spirited comeback, as I was pretty sure it would. There's a fresh wheaty bottom end, upon which the usual aromas of coriander and citrus are arrayed. I wondered whether a 'winter' wit would emphasize coriander at the expense of the more summer-like lemon and orange. I needn't have worried. The citrusiness that I love in this style is present and accounted for.

This is a wonderful witbier, even if it isn't as delicious as my favorite domestic versions (Allagash and Great Lakes). On the palate, coriander holds a slight edge over orange and lemon. Each provides a fair amount of flavor, although not an abundant amount. The mild sweetness of the wheat is perfectly countered by the bitterness of the hops, allowing the drinker to taste the best of both worlds. This really is a balanced, measured wit.

The mouthfeel is more full than average, but only slightly. A vigorous amount of carbonation keeps things light and airy without sliding over into an annoying fizziness. It seems to me that neither a more full nor a more light body would serve this beer as well as the one that has been provided. Drinkable? Absoposilutely.

Even though it isn't among my handful of favorite witbiers, this is still a fine effort from the master brewers in Kalamazoo. I continue to be impressed by the excellence displayed by Bell's across the entire spectrum of craft beer. Winter White Ale is merely the most recent example and is a beer that I recommend without reservation.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tried during a recent trip to the Brick Store Pub. Suspiciously, there was no batch number listed on the back in the white box allotted for it. I briefly considered signing my name in it.

Appearance: Pours out a near clear, pale yellow body with a smallish, brief, white head.

Smell: Bell's WA doesn't offer a particularly aromatic bouquet, with only mild notes of barley and wheat with some perfunctory citrus and spice thrown into the mix as well. A bit of a wimpy wit, to be honest.

Taste: Sweet tastes of malted barley and lightly tangy wheat lazily bathe the tongue. Mild flavors of citrus peel and coriander. Faint bitterness. Lightly tangy, lightly citrusy finish; there and gone in a flash. It's one of those simple beers with little to really say about it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Well, for starters, it could benefit from a bit more effervescence in the mouthfeel department, but even still, it's just rather mild and bland and doesn't really deliver in terms of a fine, refreshing witbier or a winter-based anything.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from feloniousmonk, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, strong spices, light malts and some citrus.

T: The taste is spicy up front with flavors of coriander and clove. There's a good background of Belgian yeast and light malts along with some complimentary citrus flavor. The hops presence is mild as you would expect. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not filling at all, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a very good mild beer to drink several of over the course of an evening.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.83/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Hazy, yellow color. Minimal white head.

S: Light citrus, and light, dried fruits, banana, etc.

T: Wheatish bite, some citrus and banana, and a little bit of spice.

M: Light body with moderate carbonation.

D: Somewhat drinkable. At this point, I'm losing interest in witbiers, but still a good summertime diversion.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Believe it or not this was might nightcap of all things. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this was enjoyed on 01/01/2011.

The pour was nicely done, albeit very light and a touch overcarbonated for me, I still think it fit rather well. Light yellow in color with tons of carbonation and a huge fizzy white head that let down quickly. Aroma is light banana, clove and citrus, nice and light and airy with touches of lemon zest and fresh spice as it warms. Very clean taste, perfect hints of citrus and spice layered on the banana based malts. Quick, clean, light and very drinkable. This one was gone like a flash.

Overall a very solid little ale and one that I needed to take a break from the rest of the evening!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff for sending me this one.

A: The beer pours a pale golden/yellow color with a minimal white head, but plenty of carbonation.

S: Some wheat, but a bit of a corn type smell and mustiness. Light spice notes, coriander is certainly prominent and there's a bit of orange peel. Sort of sweet, overall.

T: The flavor is significantly better. Nice wheat and bread flavors providing sweetness. The typical spice of coriander, which is probably the best part about this beer. A light peppery note on the back end.

M: Light in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: A pretty middle of the road and mediocre Witbier. Not my favorite.

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Photo of russpowell
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No batch#, hmmmm

Pours a slightly hazed straw color with a thin beige head. Not much lacing & zero head retention

S: Grassy & some lemons

T: Coriander, grainy bread, white peppers & lemons. A touch of phenol with some juicy fruit as this warms, plus a touch of lemons & pears. Finishes fruitty, a touch dry with white pepper

MF: Light/medium bodied with light carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, a pretty good Wit. My problem is why do a wit as a winter release? Bell does plenty of others sooo I guess it doesn't matter...

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Photo of Jason
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz tallboy with a freshness date. Sample from the brewery.

Cloudy and heady. Yeast, grain, spice, & bread in the nose. Ample crispness leads to a deep smoothness. Peppery, clove spiciness, rind-like, coconut water, nutty yeast, pineapple, dusty biscuits, & faint medicinal notes in the aroma and palate.

Damn cool, fermented with Belgian yeast ... no spices used so this is sort of a pale lighter Belgian winter warmer and not a Witbier at all in a sense but it is none the less.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy to hazy light to medium golden yellow in color with some light amounts of orange highlights and moderate amount of gentle visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall white head that slowly reduces to a small patch of medium sized bubbles, a very thin film covering almost the entire surface of the beer, and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of wheat with light to moderate notes of citrus and spices (mostly coriander). Very subtle notes of banana/clove.

T: Light to moderate flavors of wheat with just a touch of bready malts. Lightly sweet with notes of coriander and citrus (specifically orange peel). Almost a touch of lemon pepper in the finish and banana/clove.

M: Light bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy to drink and enjoyable - light in mouthfeel and with pleasant flavors and aromas. Definitely able to be a session beer. Some aspects of a hefeweizen in addition to the traditional witbier flavors/smells.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Figured I'd take this one down now, seeing that Winter is in its death throes 'round here (knock on wood). It pours a thoroughly hazy pale straw topped by a finger of white froth. The nose comprises lemon zest, coriander, mint, pine, orange peel, and wheat. Honestly, the sharp bit of mint I get does nothing good for the smell, but it's luckily not enough to sabotage the entire occasion. The taste, though, does away with this unpleasantness, while straying none too far from the path already laid out by the smell. The orange peel, though, is a touch stronger than before, and a pinch of black pepper is thrown in there as well. The body is fairly light, with a moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a nice wit. 'Nuff said.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to THECPJ for this bottle.

A: Pours an extremely clear light yellow with carbonation bubbles being released from the bottom of the glass. Small white head forms, but dissipates quickly to a very fine layer of bubbles on top.

S: Light banana and cloves, a little bit of tasted grains and spice at the end.

T: The bananas and clove come back, very similar to the nose.

M/D: Light bodied, very clean and crisp. Refreshing and easy to drink. Overall solid.

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Photo of billab914
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

Pours a hazy bright yellow with a fluffy white head that disappeared quickly.

Aroma is wheat and citrus, perhaps orange and lemon. Some spiciness as well, coriander mostly.

Taste is zesty and citrusy at first followed by the spiciness and coriander. Moderate bitterness as well.

Mouthfeel is light with above average carbonation.

Drinkability is good, drinks more like a warm weather beer to me but that isn't a bad thing.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

a - Pours a somewhat transparent golden-yellow color with less than one inch of white head and high carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bananas, cloves, spices, yeast, wheat, citrus, and light fruity malts. Gets a lot better as it warms up.

t - Tastes of wheat, bananas, pepper, spices, and light citrus.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

d - A nice, above average witbier. Some nice bananas and spices in the nose and taste. Nothing about it wowed me, but I would have it again if I was looking for a witbier.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whatever Vecenie's did for the Pittsburgh area it's amazing setting up the deal with Bell's to bring in their products was a huge step but now we're getting a taste of their winter white ale, wow thank you? Appearance: Cloudy peach golden with a nice chunky whtie head nice full sporadic layer of patched lacing. Aroma: Spiced up, banana an excellent Bell's wit. Taste: Slightly creamy sharp sweetness of malted wheat, creamy at first but then the coriander and zest of the peppery hops takes a nice turn toward oh yeah. Mouthfeel: Medium to light in body kinda beefed up Oberon ala winter white, pretty damn good I'm a fan. Drinkability: Awesome session all the way solid all around one of my favorite wits so far.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can. Light golden and nearly clear body - suprising for a wit. Half inch of soapy white head. Aromas of wheat, apples, oranges, grass, cracked pepper. Moderate spice / pepper character with tangy oranges. Light to medium in body with a subtle fruity sweetness. Mild coriander in the nose and flavor. Easy drinking. Pretty good.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Wot?!? I have NEVER reviewed Bell's Winter White Ale in ANY serving style?!? How is this possible? I know that I drank it at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse once upon a time when I was still doing field reviews with a notebook, so this seems strange. It does not matter now, since I have a CAN from The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop cooling and ready to go. Viva The CANQuest (tm)!

From the CAN: "A seasonally nuanced wheat ale that's a refreshing and flavorful alternative to the to the traditional winter warmers. Embrace winter."; "Unpasteurized [-] Unfiltered [-] Best Kept Refrigerated".

The Crack! revealed a brimful craft CAN and I was so elated that I decided to throw caution to the wind and CANduct an inverted Glug of a pounder CAN. Kids, do NOT try this at home! It began slowly, but suddenly let loose in an unexpected Glug that filled half of the glass instantly. Whoa! I backed off and allowed it to puff up with two foamy, soapy fingers of bone-white head that fell just as quickly as they appeared. Color was a hazy (not really cloudy, despite numerous agitations) Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 -5), but due to its lack of clarity, the Golden Triumvirate of Mammon, Croesus and Midas declined. Nose was spicy, perfume-y and somehow reminiscent of a scented CANdle. I was getting Grains of Paradise, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger. Wow! Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The flavor was redolent with spices, but it was hard to separate them like I could on the nose. I would go with coriander, cinnamon and black pepper if you really pressed me, but I would fold like a house of cards if you challenged me on it. Finish was dry and how could it be otherwise with all of that inherent spiciness? It is not really my style of choice, but it was not unpleasant, either.

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Bell's Winter White Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.67 out of 5 based on 2,185 ratings.
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