Bell's Big Head San Diego Style Ale

Formerly brewed at Bell’s Brewery
Style: Imperial IPA
Galesburg, Michigan USA
Serve in Shaker, Snifter


on tap


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RATINGS: 151   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.91/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 332   ABV: 11.07%
What is San Diego Style Ale? It is an ale that’s made with more attitude than hops. And boy are there a lot of hops.

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jake65 (3978) - Meridian, Idaho, USA - FEB 28, 2009
Bottle: Amber pour with a finger of beige head. Sticky lacing. Mostly heavy citrus in the nose with some sweet and malty notes. Resin too. Flavor is tons of piney resin notes and citrus. Caramel and florals with heavy lingering bitters. Simply outstanding. Thanks cpferris.

hellbilly (3248) - scottsdale über alles, Arizona, USA - FEB 9, 2009
k8369 bottle by way of ucusty... hazy burnt orange colored pour capped by a soft light tan head which leaves lots of fluffy spotty lace as it retreats. holy flower shop aroma!... loads of floral hops, grapefruit, grass, cooked orange skin, caramel, light resinous pine and spice with a bit of a boozy burn. the palate is sweet and buttery to start but turns mean and bitter as it finishes... there’s a noticeable ashiness in the flavor combined with notes of spice, rich caramel, pine, grapefruit skin, wood and an earthy sweetness similar to agave or pine sap honey. it finishes really floral and full of alcoholic vapors. there’s a long lingering aftertaste of bitter citrus pith which helps to maintain some sort of balance. the body is certainly full with a smooth luxurious mouth feel before the onslaught of dryness. it’s a bit too sticky for me to give it a five rating (but that’s far too common for the style) and i’d be hard pressed to drink any more than this... 8/4/7/4/14/3.7

jkwalking05 (4743) - Arlington, Texas, USA - JAN 25, 2009
Copper in color with a good sized off-white head. Aroma is of toffee, carmel, raisin, light hops and alcohol. Taste is moderately hoppy with some caramel and toast.

BelgianBeerGal (4116) - Panama City, Florida, USA - JAN 23, 2009
Bottle via trade with weeheavySD. Holy hops but also a strong malt backbone holding this together. Could not believe the 11 ABV. My melon felt it but I honestly could not taste it other than a little heat and astrigency. Very piney hops that were almost sticky. A little spice in the finish. IIPA is not typically more style but no complaints with this one.

StFun (567) - Indiana, USA - JAN 17, 2009
Pours a dark amber, with a thin white head and medium lacing. Aroma is hops and yeast, with a good amount of malt. Flavor is much more akin to a Barleywine than a west coast DIPA. Hops are there, but with a big malt backbone. Touches of spice, yeast, and citrus fruit. Very astringent, way too much rubbing alcohol. Not too keen on this one.

dmac (6387) - Toms River, New Jersey, USA - DEC 12, 2008
12 oz bottle via trade. Ok I know this is a DIPA but boy were the hops long gone on this one. The large malt proflie that remained made this one seem more like a barley wine but it was still a solid enough beer. Poured a deep orange/amber with a super huge frothy whiteish head. Aroma and flavor had an all malt backbone....mostly caramel, toffee some grain. Suprising was that although no hops remained in the aroma or flavor this beer finished incredibly bitter. Hmm at 11.07 ABV this very well could have been a barley wine hiding as a DIPA after all.

travita (5006) - Dallas, Texas, USA - DEC 4, 2008
Bottle thanks to BMan1113VR. Smell is hops, grass, malts, and caramel. Looks is golden copperish with a decent white head. Taste is malts, caramel, hops, alcohol, and flowers.

bu11zeye (13029) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - OCT 28, 2008
(Bottle, courtesy of BMan1113VR) Pours a clear orange body with a small white head. Aroma of toasted bread, orange, floral, light cocoa, some pine, and noticeable alcohol burn. Flavor of caramel and toasted malts, hops (orange, resiny, floral), chocolate, and alcohol with a bitter finish.

SphinxTX (2875) - Mata Gorda, Texas, USA - OCT 26, 2008
UPDATED: SEP 7, 2009 Bottle thanks to BMan1113VR. Pours a Hazy amber with nice beige head. Aroma is very hoppy, dark fruit and malty, nice. Flavor is sweet with lots of hoppy flavor, some dark fruit bitterness and alcohol spice. heavy body with med carbonation. Good stuff, is a sipper.

BMan1113VR (7931) - Los Angeles, California, USA - OCT 19, 2008
UPDATED: MAR 9, 2009 Bottle thanks to zathrus13. Shared with the Dallas crew at bu11zeye’s place. Beer has more attitude than hops...way bad that’s not always a good thing. Pours with a largish white head (would hope so given the name), with a clear amber body. Great lacing and decent retention. Aroma of floral and spicy hops with a very sweet note and a bit of booziness. Taste is fruity with darkish malts, boozy with a very bland and unbalanced citrus hop profile. Syrupy mouthfeel. Seems like the brewer just threw everything randomly into the pot.

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