Bell’s This One Goes to 11 Ale: 11% abv
Okay. Bell’s put this one out for their 11,000th batch, and they got a little out of hand with the number 11. I’m not sure what the significance of the word 11 is, or if there is just a lot of things you can do with it, but they sure did a lot to emphasize it. You’ll notice that its name is so cleverly crafted, AND it is at 11%. Oh Bell’s, you never cease to impress. Okay, onto the beer. This is an imperial red ale, which we haven’t seen a whole bunch of, but it sounds good enough. So what’s it like?
Well, the nose is pretty impressive. Right of the bat, you can find grapefruit and fruity citrus notes come out in the form of lemon and grape acidity. There is also the addition of red apple, pear, pear skins, barley grain, pine resin, pineapple, and agave. So with this slew of notes you should think we’re crazy. The point is it has a fruity, but slightly bitter nose with some sweetness and maltiness to it. It is complex and enjoyable. Now I’ve told you the good news? Do you want to hear the bad news? Too bad. The arrival starts off well, with a sweet, mellow overtone of malt, with caramel, creaminess, molasses, agave, and some pine tastes to it. That pine obviously introduces the bitter into the beer. The body is malty, with caramel, lemon rind, slight bitterness, slight apple, and some hops. So not very complex, with primarily grain and bitterness to offer. The finish is identical with the addition of grapefruit. Translation: more bitterness.
Don’t get me wrong, this beer isn’t excessively bitter in comparison to some of those beers out there, but it just doesn’t have other flavors to justify it. Now, there is a footnote to this as well. Generally speaking, this would garner a harsh score, but we have had some inventory issues, so this beer has been sitting around for about two months. We’ve been told that this beer is at its prime fresh off the shelf. We can’t score this as a winner, but there is a potential that what we’ve reported could be less than what this beer’s maximum potential is.