The Beermonger Review: Bell’s Rye Stout

So, I won’t be going into a long tanget today. This was a review I promised on the Twitter and so it shall be delivered.


I can’t explain it but sometimes I don’t like being surprised; when I don’t know something’s coming I feel as if I’ve failed in some way. It’s like if Bruce Wayne is walking down the street and he sees the Riddler running around—he’d be like ‘How’d that guy get out? And why did no one tell me?‘. It doesn’t happen all the time, in fact I found a couple of beers yesterday that I had no idea were coming and had no problem at all (reviews coming soon). But when I walked into one of my local beer haunts a couple (or 3 or 4) weeks back and saw this somber looking face on a Bell’s six-pack, I was secrectly furious. How darethey sneak one by me?

From what I’ve been able to find out about it (not that the Bell’s website is any help—god forbid…) Rye Stout hasn’t been released in something like 3 or 4 years. I’m a big fan of all things with the words ‘Bell’s’ and ‘Stout’ in them, so this was a no-brainer. First impressions are of the sad face and complete lack of description on the label. Evocative, if not helpful. I actually kinda like it.

The beer pours a toffee brown color, with a very fizzy appearance to the carbonation. It looks a lot like a glass of coke or root beer; whatever you prefer. As long as it’s root beer.

My glass had a faint aroma of slightly sweet malts. I’ll admit to not expecting to be blown away. Rye Stout is very smooth and light on the palate. At 6.7% ABV (according to Beer Advocate, anyway) it’s no Imperial for sure. That being said, Bell’s Rye Stout is the most drinkable Stout I’ve had in a long time. The dominant flavor is of a malted milkshake, robust and filling while staying smooth and light. The Rye nature really comes through on the finish, giving a grainy bitterness that balances all that rich malt and keeps the whole experience from being too ‘soft’, if that makes sense.

I’ll admit to not thinking much of Rye Stout before the first sip or two, but I came to be blown away by how not ‘Hammer of the Gods’ it is. This beer harkens back to a time of Stouts that didn’t sit like a stone after half a pint or knock you on your ass if you had the temerity to drink a whole bottle. It’s a Stout made with an interesting ingredient that keeps a sense of tradition. Those who seek the Big Beer once-per-year Event experience may find dissapointment here, but I will recommend this beer wholeheartedly. With two caveats:

1. Bell’s needs to put this out year-round. I would totally put this in regular rotation in my fridge if I could.

2. Put the word out a bit. Maybe mention the beer on your site.

And next time, somebody tell me it’s coming. Yeah, I guess that’s three but that one really only matters to me, right?

Next time: Why Cantillon rocks my socks and if you don’t agree you’re wrong.


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