Bell’s – Amber Ale

Tasting: July 20, 2011
Style: Ale (red)

This one is called the flagship of the Bell’s stable. There are other beers that come to my mind when you think of Bell’s — like Hopslam, Two Hearted, Oberon or Kalamazoo stout. But there’s no dispute that Bell’s is a world class brewery and they trot out good beer after good beer. I acquired this one as part of a mixed case on a recent trip to Shangy’s in Emmaus, PA since Bell’s isn’t available in New Jersey.

On the label, they describe this beer as being brewed with pale malt and having a sweet quality. Pale malt is a staple of brewing — also called caramel malt (because of the resulting sweet caramel flavors). So, describing the resulting beer as sweet makes perfect sense. Also from the label — 5.8% ABV. Pours a rich red with not much of a head. I’m a little surprised that I don’t get much sweetness just grain like overdone toast on the nose. I’m even more surprised with my first sips that there isn’t much flavor going on here. I have to check the label — it’s a fairly fresh live beer (bottled on June 7). I’m trying to concentrate the beer on the tip of my tongue (where the sweetness tastebuds reside). Really no luck. I get ever so slight impression of the caramel — I’m just going to call this is a very demure ale that’s more “bread-ish” than it is bitter or sweet. Mouthfeel is thin and somewhat fizzy. Not a favorite — 80 points.

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