Tuesday, October 5, 2010

417. Bell’s 25th Anniversary Ale

Bell’s keeps bringing it. Just like the Wu Tang—again and again. We’ve had more Bell’s than you can shake a stick at—well, I guess we could still shake a stick at them, but it certainly wouldn’t intimidate them or scare them away. You can just add this to The Oracle, Oarsman, Bourbon Barrel Hell Hath No Fury Ale, Batch 9000, Hopslam, Cherry Stout, Sparkling Ale, Winter White, Christmas Ale, Third Coast, Oberon, Octoberfest, and Two Hearted. Woot.

25th Anniversary pours a clear reddish orange burnished copper. There might be an almost purplish hue in the light coming through the glass, but that could be imaginary via the smells I am also picking up. The ivory head has a presence with some lacing, but does quickly become the scantest minimal layer across the top of the beer. My sniffer says that this beer has some of the same grape candy smell that was in the Christmas Ale, although more subdued; there is also some rich caramel malt sweetness and brown sugar, but grape is the dominant aroma. Flavors start fruity and malty, giving way to a drier biscuit malt and grape flavor in the middle, along with minimal amount of bitterness. The finish is sweet, and slightly sticky, with a touch of alcohol flavor that leaves a slight warming sensation on the palate. 25th Anniversary Ale has a chewy, bright but viscous mouthfeel until the finish, where it does become a slight bit sticky. The alcohol warmth is light but noticeable—I’m guessing that a bit of aging would lessen the brighter alcohol flavors and build the malt and fruit complexity, mellowing and marrying the elements across the profile. After all, it does taste a wee bit young. The carbonation is medium, bright enough to end the beer on a lighter note, but not enough to completely minimize the heavier malt feel on the palate at the end. Nonetheless, like all things Bell’s, a solid and enjoyable beer.

From the bottle: “We started in 1985 with a soup pot, a dream, and quite honestly a prayer. Thank God we made it! Please enjoy this special ale made with Michigan grown barley malt and celebrate with us.”

From the Bell’s website: “Celebrating 25 years of brewing, this strong amber ale carries on our tradition of flavorful, balanced beers. Brewed with 100% Michigan-grown barley, 25th Anniversary Ale starts with caramel & light toffee flavors. These are paired with generous kettle & dry-hop additions, yielding a crisp, assertive bitterness and hop flavors ranging from citrus, floral, and piney notes.”

ABV: 8.5%
OG: 1.084
Batch Number: 9871

Party at Larry’s house?


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