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

BA SCORE
83
good
747 Reviews
THE BROS
84
good
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Bell's Winter White AleBell's Winter White Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
747
Ratings:
2,257
Avg:
3.68
pDev:
13.04%
 
 
Wants:
67
Gots:
416
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 747 | Ratings: 2,257
Photo of mactrail
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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 dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
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 BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
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 mdaschaf
3.57/5  rDev -3%
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 russpowell
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
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 mikesgroove
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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 billab914
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
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 Jason
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
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 womencantsail
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
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 mdfb79
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
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 TMoney2591
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
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 woodychandler
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
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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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
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 vfgccp
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pear juice color. Low head, lace & retention.

S - Fruity. Banana, pear, fresh peach.

T - Wheat, banana, black pepper, hay, paprika. Tarragon / lemon mid profile.

M - Light and refreshing body. Nice carbonation. Touch of bready sweetness on the backend.

O - A very nice brew. Honestly, I'd rather have a glass on a hot summer day than by the fire, but really there's no bad time of year to enjoy a good beer : )

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.23/5  rDev +14.9%
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 RblWthACoz
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy orange yellow. No head visible. Nose is a lot of citrus and a yeasty funk. Flavor is very true (in itÂ’s own way) to a witbier. Nice spicy and yeasty tones. Seems a bit too vibrant, but not so much that it kills the whole experience. Standard feel for the mouth with a bit of a lower carbonation. I think this is a very nice witbier. Sure it is American produced, but it could stand up against others from across the pond.

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Photo of smakawhat
2.66/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tall glass displaying a 50/50 realm of clear to opaqueness quality. Golden in color, very nice, but slightly weak head. Virtually no lacing upon finishing.

Bouquet is missing the wheat bread characteristics which are faint being dominated first by a chemical "like" smell. Almost slightly macro in smell... not big though so at least it isn't totally off putting.

Taste and flavor profile leads to a very muted taste, and light body. No spices, nothing of distinctness to come out other than some sweetness.

Drinability is straight down the middle. Meh... I've had considerably better. Lord knows.. I've had worse.

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Photo of jwc215
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle - Packaged 10/07/15:

Pours hazed golden. A thin white head leaves lacing.

The smell is of orange, pineapple, clove, wheat tang.

The taste is of orange, pineapple, clove, wheat tang. Crisp finish.

A different twist on a witbier, yet it still fits the style. An interesting brew. Not sure where the "winter" part fits in.

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Photo of Billolick
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can w/ an 11/12/14 pkgd on date on the bottom

Pretty typical wit look going on here

Def ginger on the nose

More ginger, coriander, oranges and lite peppery spice thing happening.

Decent flavor, and more then moderate body for the style.

Easy drinking and gotta love 16 ounce cans

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2-07-04
I've since had this one many more times, fresh off of a new keg, and found more to appreciate than before, and have raised my ratings from the original appraisal to reflect this new appreciation. No, it's not what I'd look for in a winter beer, but that's no reason to rate against what it is...which is a smooth, tasty wheat...here's the original, but I'd definitely recant the low opinion of the aroma...maybe it was the bar I was in at the time...also, banana is felt keener, as well...

Appearance: cloudy dull orange, opaque, with a solid, bone-white head, 1/2", long-lasting.
Aroma: on the mild side, yielding minor notes of spice and citrus, doesn't stand forward in the least, though, but nicely woven, nonetheless.
Taste: neat spiciness starts off on the palate, coriander, chiefly, with the citrus character continuing in the taste, though terribly muted compared to other wits. Compared to their own Oberon, which is a bright, juicy explosion of fruity/yeasty goodness, it's a mellow affair, with the finish, too, on the downlow, though it fades happily off the tongue. The citric twang on the palate is persistent and well-liked by this tongue.
Drinkability is quite good, but in the final summation, this Bell's fan would sooner reach for a TwoHearted or one of their spectacular stouts. I hope it appeals to others, as it's not a bad beer in the least. Just not great.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fun, another Bell's beer on draft at Churchkey served in a snifter. Beer is yellow and hazy with a white head, low retention, moderate carbonation, looks good.

Aroma is a little citrusy but not overly so, interesting nice witbier character.

Beer is light and mildly spicy with a nice finish. I liked this beer but it is an average not very orange-y / citrusy backing to it. Interesting but not great.

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Photo of liamt07
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Sicilianos, 12oz into a tulip. Batch 11537, bottled Oct 10/12.

Hazy orange/straw yellow, finger of white head with medium retention and ok lace. Nose pops with some wheat, very subtle spice and some citrus zest. Good bit of banana as well. Taste has more wheat and pale malt, a bit of banana, light coriander and yeast flavours. Medium body with a bit of texture/chew. Medium high carb, appropriate for the style. Quite tasty, I'd session this if I had a case in the summer.

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Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In short, this is a sweeter and slightly thicker wit beer. It's more basic than Oberon, without much spice. The aroma is of sweet pale grains and wheat, with a very similar flavor. There might be a little coriander or orange peel in there, but it's hard to discern spice from yeast character.

Now I know they're calling this a winter beer, but for the style there isn't a crisp mouthfeel like you expect in a wit. Instead it's more on par with the medium body of an American amber. I guess if you're looking for a wit to warm you in the winter, this is your beer.

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Photo of tone77
3.51/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy light brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some spices and citrus. Taste is good, light flavors of citrus and spice. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and goes down with ease. Overall this is a quality beer.

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Bell's Winter White Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,257 ratings.
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