Bell Ringer | RJ Rockers Brewing Company

188 Reviews
Bell RingerBell Ringer

Brewed by:
RJ Rockers Brewing Company
South Carolina, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our high gravity offering weighs in at 8.5% ABV and is delightfully loaded with malt and hops. This is an ale worthy of your sturdiest goblet or most treasured stein. Ring it!

Added by mikesgroove on 08-16-2007

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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 473
Photo of Chug-a-lug
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It is without a doubt a STRONG ale.

Very nice amber color. Cloudy.

Had to pour it fast to create a nice finger thick white head. Beautiful lace.

Aroma pretty much nonexistent. I don't smoke.

The hops come on strong initially. Reminds me of eating a grapefruit.

First couple of swallows tasted the sweetness on the back end. Replaced by a slight burn after that.

Holding a mouth full the flavors blended well. Taking straight swallows they didn't.

Nice weight, not too heavy, not too light.

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Photo of tbryan5
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- A reddish copper with a one finger head that dissipates pretty quickly. And some yeast can be seen floating around.
S-Lots of bread. Smells more and more like a bakery as it warms. Amazing.
T-More bread but less than the smell indicates. Followed by a nice balance of hops.
M- Medium carbonation and thickness. Nice.

If I can find another single to put in a make your own six pack then I am all over it. And it's really good for it's 8.5% abv.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear copper with no head to speak of. A smattering of froth.
Smell: not much happening at all.
Taste: a bite of hops up front with a bit of malt that softens the bite. These don't balance IMO, they're battling a little.
Overall: I know this sounds contradictory but the beer was a more satisfying experience as a whole than it would seem from the individual scores. Gonna have to revisit this to make sure I give it a fair shot.

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Photo of acevenom
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. The beer pours orange copper with a creamy white head, lots of tiny bubbles, and some floaters. The head sticks around for a while. The beer smells nice and malty with some sweetness. The beer tastes bready with some hint of bread crust and some toffee and earthiness. The body is medium to full with moderate carbonation. The finish is a little dry, but it drinks pretty well for the higher gravity. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured chilled in hotel glass

A: dark brown; thick creamy head; nice lacing; good carbonation
S: sweet malt aromas, much like a porter or milk stout
T: malty; molasses and brown sugar; flavor of chocolate and nuts with overtones of banana; relatively simple flavor profile, but more interesting than the Euro strongs I've had in the past; hops at a medium level; well balanced
M: thick mouthfeel

A decent beer; the alcohol is nicely matched with the flavor profile, so would be worth having on tap.

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Photo of mattkoon
3.44/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

i have had this on tap before- but this is the first i have had "bell ringer" in a bottle. it pours cloudy and brown with a nice almost red tint. the smell is almost non existent. its not unpleasant, just not very potent. the taste starts off pretty hoppy and finishes with a strong alcohol finish. i like this beer. it lives up to its name.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the 12oz bottle into (as suggested) a goblet.

A: The beer is a rusty amber sort of color. Blood orange and cloudy with a 2 finger thick off white head that sticks around for a few minutes and then settles to a half finger layer that stays around for much of the remainder. Nice looking beer.

S: Very malty up front with lots of bread, caramel, toffee, toast. A buttery note in the middle. Has a nice twinge of sweetness in there with apricot and some other fruit. Indeed balanced.

T: Beginning is nice and balanced with light malts getting the palate warmed up. Very boozy/strong up the middle, then finishes strong with a nice blast of hops to the back of the tongue. Finish is of piney hops, and a pleasant way to end an alright, if a bit strong tasting, ale.

F: Very smooth, nice velvety texture up front but then leave a drying sensation near the end that keeps you wanting to back for another sip.

Overall: Lives up to its name. This thing will knock you around a little bit, but a good offering from a solid SC brewer.

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Photo of morimech
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a full, overflowing glass of foam. Continues with each additional pour from the bottle. The liquid, when it eventually forms, is an attractive deep amber color. A lot of lacing is left down the glass. Yeast sediment from the last bit poured in. Knocking the score down because of the obnoxious pour. Seems the bottle-conditioning got carried away.

Smells sweet. Fruity esters and caramel malt. Also some musty grain in the background that adds some interest. Also get some English type of hop aromas.

Flavor of caramel, raisins, prunes, bready malt, and alcohol. Overall a sweet beer. Alcohol is definately there, but is not overly hot or harsh. Bitterness is low with just a slight herbal hop flavor. Tastes like the yeast did not really complete their job with the raw malt flavor.

Full bodied with a smooth texture. The carbonation lost a bit with the pour but still enough left to give a pleasant feel.

An above average beer that was not exactly well executed. There is potential there that was not fully realized in this example.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at cellar temperature.

L – Medium amber color with a big 3-finger bubbly cream-colored head. Really nice retention and excellent lacing. Clear with lots of bubbles – lots more than I was expecting.

S – It’s tough to get much of an aroma here, but I’m getting bready and rich caramel malt, peppery yeast, and some citrus and maybe pine hops. There’s maybe a little bit of alcohol here, too. Not much in the way of dark fruit or molasses that can usually be found in strong ales. We’ll see what the taste brings.

T – This is more like it. It starts off sweet with bready and caramel malt, molasses, plums, and oranges. As the taste progresses, hop bitterness builds with grapefruit, orange, pine, and earthy notes. Lots of hop/yeast spiciness comes into play at the finish.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky, creamy, and chewy mouthfeel, and a bitter, spicy, and dry finish. Hop bitterness and spice lingers nicely and blends well with the throat-warming sensation from the alcohol.

O – This turned out to be a nice strong ale. I was a little skeptical after the aroma, but the taste, mouthfeel, and look were great. The taste is maybe not as complex or layered as better strong ales, but the beer is still very tasty. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, and the spice and alcohol heat combination makes for a great finish. This is definitely better than I expected it to be coming from Spartanburg (sorry, Sparkle City). Tasty and drinkable beer.

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Photo of thain709
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy and cloudy muted amber hue with two fingers worth of thick and creamy head...the head is an off white color and retains nicely leaving some decent lacing

S - Rather light and pretty sweet with a grainy backbone...can't pick out too much

T - Here's where the beer really turns around, especially from the lacking nose...a surprising fruitiness is present with citric fruits leading the way...apricots and oranges...everything working together creates a sweetness, but nothing that's overpowering...there's a graininess coming through towards the finish...but the finish has a mild earthiness to it

M - Medium bodied...smooth, soft carbonation, some chewiness

O - When I was given this bottle I was told it was a style of it's own...and I would have to agree with that...I see the notes say an Imperial ESB, but the bright citrus flavors go against that...other than the light nose I enjoyed this one

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Photo of scvance
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy light amber color with a thin white quickly disappearing head. Aroma of malt and citrus with a little pine. Taste is very complex of malty sweetness, citrus, piney hop bitterness, well balanced. Ends with a slight alcohol note and a lingering bite of hops. Medium carbonation and a full body slightly creamy mouthfeel. This beer is very interesting and keeps me coming back for more and more sips. Easy drinking, and a very well done Strong "Imperial" Bitter. I will probably be having this beer again, and would recommend for those that love bitters or pale ales especially.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky honey brown with a 1 inch foamy orange-khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of citrus fruit, citrus zest, brown sugar, and malt. Taste is of candied citrus zest, brown sugar, and toasted malt. There is a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of jifigz
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Commis for hooking it up on the trade.

Okay, so the appearance is a very hazy orange colored beer that is filled with sediment. The head is small but very long lasting and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is fruity with esters in the nose with the hops and the malts dancing nicely together. The flavor is rich and tastes almost like Fruity Pebbles at first and then yields to intense malt sweetness. The lingering aftertaste is very enjoyable. It is slightly burnt and toasted and lasts quite a while. The MF is thick and creamy and rather chewy.

Overall, this is a pretty tasty offering. I would gladly enjoy this one again.

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Photo of soulfly1492
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: High munich, crystal and pils malt aroma. Very little esters. Hops are floral and mildly fruity. Rather mild for an American Strong Ale. An touch of wortyness.

Appearance: Glows a deep bold orange. Very hazy. Tan head develops into little height. Great retention and lots of lacing. Some sediment at the very end of the pour. Very little stuck to the bottom of the bottle.

Taste: Bold Munich and pils malt. Bitter lemon and some butterscotch. Hops are moderate and taste floral. Some dark worty malt at the aftertaste. The residual yeast at the end of th pour improves the taste some.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Chalky. Mild and smooth carbonation.

Overall: This would be more of an American Strong Pale Ale if this style was even recognized. A far cry from the Belgian Strong Dark Ales and Stone or other top American Strong Ales.

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Photo of ZAP
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A malty strong ale...caramel breads...brown sugar....real bready on the aroma....not much for a hop bite which is fine with me I like how this drinks....not immense in stature....maybe high side of medium bodied....finishes with just a little hop twang but this is a malt-forward ale all the way with big bready caramel/brown sugar notes..

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Photo of tdm168
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a faint orange hue that has a big, thick, dense, off white head that has great retention

S - bread, plum, figs, alcohol, cherry, medicine

T - plum, cherry, bread, faint pine, faint herbal hops, dark fruit, alcohol, faintly medicinal

M - a bit crisp, medium bodied, warm, a little overcarbonated

This is a rather complex and flavorful beer, but unfortunately there are a few off flavors in my opinion. The cherry in both the nose and taste are a bit medicinal which over power the bready malts and nice dark alefruits. There's a nice underlying hop character which lends a little balance. Overall, not a bad beer, but a bit of a more balanced flavor would really make this an awesome ale. As it stands it's worth a try, but I'll probably avoid it in the future.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into a pint glass. It has a burnt orange color body with no head, just a real thin lace around the edge of the glass. The smell is of sweet malt and a little bit of fruit. The taste is maltey and tart fruit. I don't get a lot of hop taste just a tiny bit on the back of the tongue. The mouth feel is ok, kinda leaves a after taste in my mouth. Overall this ia a ok beer in my book, i'm not a big malt loving guy.

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy golden yellow in color and poured into a snifter glass with a two finger high off white head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a small head covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of booze and malts in the nose; these are similar to a barleywine but not as pronounced.
T: The taste is a bit sweet and has flavors of fruit and malts along with hints of caramel and oak.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and leaves some warmth from the alcohol in the finish.
O: This beer is not too difficult to drink considering the strength; the alcohol is noticeable but doesn’t detract from the taste. It’s a real guzzler coming out of the bottle so you need to pour it carefully so you don’t get a glassful of head.

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Photo of BB1313
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a hazy burnt orange, sediment and floaties are present. Really nice fluffy white head and tons of lacing. The initial aromas were awesome and full of fruity hops, but the caramel malts quickly dominate and take over for good. There's a nice breadiness to this one. Lots of caramel and butterscotch. Mild hop bite with a touch of orange. Similar to a candy apple. Mouthfeel is heavy with low carbonation, very smooth and creamy. Alcohol goes undetected. Unique beer, I like it and would drink it again for sure.

The subtle flavors and aromas actually end up working in the beer's favor. This isn't an intense and aggressive beer, but it's well crafted and dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of cvm4
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy orange or almost amber in color. Thin white head that dissipates quickly.

S - Toasted malts with a sweet smell, may'be caramel or butterscotch.

T - Malt goodness with plenty of hop balance. Just enough bitterness and flavors from the hops (pine and floral?).

M - Medium on the palette and carbonation. Alcohol tastes doesn't escape this beer.

O - Malt and caramel with great hop balance. This beer blurs the lines of what it actually is. But, it's interesting to drink and one that keeps you entertained.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky orange body. Thin ivory white head. Light bits of lacing. Bit of a spiked fruit punch aroma a la arogant bastard. A little pineapple. Some cherry. Light alcohol on the nose. Flavor is solid, but nothing really stands out. Some definite alcohol linering afterwards. Biscuity malt. Tropical hop flavors. Decent.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an A-B flute on 4/11/12

A three finger, off-white head sits atop a cloudy, deeply honey-hued body of beer. Bubbles rise slowly. The head drops slowly and deliberately, too heavy to allow much lace to catch. Lace starts to cling a few sips in; a lot is left dripping by the end.

Caramel, bread, butter toffee, floral hops and hints of candied fruits make the aroma rather inviting. Faint, juicy overtones. No sign of booze. One sip finds slick, sweet sugars rolling about - caramel and toffee with juicy entrails. Toasted bread and and earthy, piney hops round out the back half for a rather dry finish and mild bitterness. The feel is a a comfortable medium with an alcohol slickness. Carbonation has a quick zing and tapers off quickly, letting the flavors breathe.

Overall impression - I'm not sure what the style is on this one. Not quite barleywine, not quite dead DIPA. Strong ale, perhaps? In any case, I think it lives up to it's namesake quite well. Worth a shot, at least if you come across a single bottle.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.8/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average. Acquired as part of the RJ Rockers variety box - which I purchased at Hi Time Liquor in Costa Mesa, California.

Served refrigerator cold.

A: Pours a one finger head of light fluffy cream, decent thickness, and good retention for the ABV. Colour is a semitransparent dark amber-copper. No yeast particles are visible. Nothing unique or special here.

Sm: Cream, toasted malt, butterscotch (diacetyl?), and dark malts. A moderate strength aroma. Not especially appealing, but generally inviting I suppose.

T: Clean malts with butterscotch atop - quite a pleasant addition. Nice amber hops are scarce but present. Cream. Mildly dark malts form the foundation. A simply built but enjoyable brew. Balanced and built decently. Lacks complexity or subtlety, but it's pleasant to drink.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some cream. A touch overcarbonated, likely a byproduct of mass production. Thick enough. I find it too smooth.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. Fans of the style will enjoy it but it's nothing to write home about. Hides its ABV well. I wouldn't have it again, but I don't regret purchasing it. Might be better on draught or even nitro.

A poor candidate for aging. Might pair well with gloucester.


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Photo of DIM
2.59/5  rDev -30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

a: This was a clear, golden blood orange color. It poured with a large, firm, sticky head.

s: Potpourri or tea-like fruit and some toffee.

t: Weak tea-like fruit and a short, sugary finish.

m: Pretty this for the high abv.

o: Bland and uninspired.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

RJ Rockers Brewing Company, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Bell Ringer, Handcrafted. Every Beer, Every Drop, Every Time.

What style is this? I don't know, I'm plunging on in.

Amber hued and utterly opaque, 1/4 " head, lasting, off-white, good-looking.

Aroma: sweet and malty, fruity and funky. Definitely some Belgian yeast action happening here. Lovely.

Tasting it: ah, nice. Not too anything, this ale, warm, smooth, and tasty. High in alcohol, I bet. 8.5 %. Just enough hops, and plenty of malt goodness, mixed with Belgian yeast funky freshness. A little bit of bitter gives some great texture and play on the palate. Excellent complexity, many layers of fun in here.

Let's go ahead and look at the label copy: "Our high gravity offering weighs in at 8.5% abv and is delightfully loaded with malt and hops. This is an ale worthy of you sturdies goblet or most treasured stein. Ring it!"

Still no word on the style, or what actual ingredients or processes are involved. Ah, well, we can only let our tastebuds be our guide. And this is delicious stuff.

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Bell Ringer from RJ Rockers Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 473 ratings.
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