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

BA SCORE
83
good
2,264 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good
Read the review
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
Ratings:
2,264
Reviews:
749
Avg:
3.68
pDev:
13.04%
 
 
Wants:
68
Gots:
422
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,264 |  Reviews: 749
Photo of Kurmaraja
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chinchill
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 633 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

 370 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
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:
http://365beers.wordpress.com/

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.

 1,681 characters

Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

 389 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

 858 characters

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.

 1,043 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev 0%
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.

 761 characters

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.

 478 characters

Photo of Rifugium
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

 321 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of smithj4
3.79/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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.

 481 characters

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 : )

 418 characters

Photo of atrocity
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

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...

 524 characters

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.

 1,073 characters

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.

 467 characters

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.

 1,931 characters

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 485 characters

Photo of paulish
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

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.

 1,773 characters

Bell's Winter White Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,264 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.