Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury Ale

Tonight I’m drinking an oddity from Bell’s Brewery – “Hell Hath No Fury Ale.” There’s some debate over what style to assign here, as it’s brewed in the style of an Abbey Dubbel, yet it departs from that Belgian style in that it’s brewed with roasted malts very similar to what one would find in an American stout. I’m going to call it a “Dubbel Smoky” (yeah, I made that up). 7.5% alky by volume.

The label is rather humorous, depicting a little devilish dude cowering before an angry, matronly-looking woman with stick legs and a huge caboose. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Per the back label, “a brew that gives you either sympathy for the devil or the courage to face him. Goes especially well with your favorite lost my girl/truck/dog/trailer song.”

The pour does show quite dark for a “Belgian” style, so there’s my first clue as to the presence of roasted malt. It’s very nearly stout-like, but more like a very dense cola color.

Like many dark ales in the Belgian style, the nose gives me suggestions of rum raisin ice cream; also of maple and pecan pie. There is, however, some espresso-like roastiness in the middle of the aroma and even a little green anise every few sniffs. None of the components are overblown, and integrate very well. It’d be hard to dispute that this beer throws excellent aromatics.

There’s a quick rush of sweetness up front, along with a noticeable warming. The sweetness doesn’t last too long, replaced by a chestnut flour-like sensation and mild astringency. Pecan and maple follow, in the sense that you’d find such flavor notes in some coffees – there’s the lightly smoked malt character I was expecting. It’s just a little hit of “campfire,” as if one was trying to make coffee over a desert campfire and got some mesquite ash in the brew.

This is pretty complex and accomplished, no surprise for the beer geek-approved Bell’s Brewery. As a hybrid, it ties together the Belgian Dark and American Stout brewing traditions with an even hand; it doesn’t feel forced at all. That said, this isn’t exactly the most refreshing beer out there – probably not the one most people would pick on a humid 80-degree mid-November night in Miami. It would be fine by itself on a cooler evening, but otherwise I would look for food pairings – I think this one would have wide application.

Owing to the lightly smoky character, this will be a natural match for any grilled or caramelized food – I could see this working perfectly with anything browned, from grilled asparagus to grilled steak to creme brulee. That’s a wide range. I’m also thinking of the Rogue Creamery’s “Smoky Blue” cheese, and starting to drool a little.

Available in local stores “while supplies last.” Cheers!

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