Bell's Christmas Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale

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1,506 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,506
Reviews: 495
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.13%
Wants: 45
Gots: 176 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BierFan on 11-06-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,506 | Reviews: 495
Reviews by midlifec:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Man I love a little cheer from the north country,I didnt know they grew hops back in the home state,ya learn somethin new everyday.Poured into a standard pint glass a hazed lighter amber/copper with a nice frothy 1/2 finger white head that left broken lace as it never fully settled.Wow love the aromas,a mix of full sweet malt and spicey hop,with even a hint of winter-like spice to it wich I dont think it has.Toasty and warm up front with some brown sugar and caramel sweetness,and again I get a hint of Xmas spice,a big herbal racey hop finish ends nicely.Wow this beer is rated pretty low but hot damn I love it,another gem from K-zoo.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.26/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours into my New Glarus Uff-da Bock Nonic (one of my favorite pieces of glassware) a slightly murky cinnamon with a thick but shortlived beige head.

Aroma: More hoppy than I would have expected. Primarily citrus hops. Mellow maltiness of biscuits and caramel. Very little spice, if any...

Taste: spice. Toasty beady malts and a little oatmeal. No peat to speak of. Finishes with a hint of orange and touches of leafy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very light, too light...are they allowed to call a beer a Christmas ale if it is like this?

Drinkability: Very drinkable but not exciting or exceptional in any way. I guess I'm being unfair because I expect more from Bell's. There isn't anything wrong with this beer. It just isn't what I look for in a Christmas beer.

Photo of tectactoe
3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a middle of the road copper color with reasonable clarity and a slightly off-white, small head that dissipates quick and doesn't leave much lacing to speak of. The aroma was hard to pick up on, at first I wasn't getting much of anything. I let it warm a little bit and started picking up some apple slices with peppery overtones, along with some other kitchen spices that were difficult to identify. Taste is crisp and full of spices, nutmeg and cinnamon being the most noticeable, along with the pepper flavor that rides the full wave. Some leafy bitterness at the end leaves you with an overall dry finish.

This beer is okay, nothing special. I'm glad I tried it, but there are many Christmas-time seasonal beers I'd choose over this one. Still worth a shot, though.

Photo of brownbeer
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a pillowy tan head.

Toffeeish malt, a bit of fruity, powdered candy comes to mind. Earthy hops in the background, but overall too subdued.

A nuttiness up front with fruity yeast notes. It sort of tastes like a fairly generic amber ale at times, finishes with an interesting bitterness.

Not bad, but also not a standout in any way.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Christmas Ale, Scottish Ale style with 5.4% alcohol. Poured into a pint glass with a mild vigor.

A- Dark caramel color with a slight off white head that falls to a rim and froth, lacing is decent with strands holding on for dear life.

S- Scents of sweet pine sap, sugary malts, and a slight citrusy hop nose appear on first breath. Caramel and chocolate appear after the nose gets its second helping.

T-M- Dull flavors upfront of tangy citrus mostly lemon and tangerine, this is followed by a destinct dark oak backbone with alcoholic undertones. Medium to light bodied with a slick and watery finish.

Overall not bad and not so solid... Could use more malty charactor for the style but a hell of a quafter... cheers!

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.26/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this lurking in the cellar. '08 Release. Pours into my glass a nice red/orange hue with good clarity and an inch of khaki foam on top of the brew. Sticky lacing moves into aromas of caramelized grains. Earthy accents with a bit of spice. Plums and dark fruits mix in with bread. Mellow herbal hops.

First sip brings solid crisp malts upfront with some caramel sweetness and toasted accents. Earthy spice flavors meld in with some plums, dark fruits as it flows down. Herbal hops sneak in with some bitterness on the finish. Somewhat one dimensional to me.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Nice and malty overall. Still the flavor is just a bit too mild for me and I guess I'm not personally a big Scotch Ale fan. I was happy to sample it but it doesn't make me want to grab another. If you're a malt lover check it out.

Photo of warnerry
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 10/13/11

A - Pours a slightly cloudy amber/copper with one finger of dense tan head. Head has great retention and leaves nice lacig all down the glass.

S - Sweet malts, a bit of spice and some fruity aromas. Smell is subtle but interesting.

T - Slightly sweet malt up front, some piney hops I didn't pick up in the aroma, and some spices that provide a dry finish. Not sure what makes this a Scotch ale, but this is a pretty enjoyable brew.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - A pretty good brew overall, but not something I would seek out in the future.

Photo of smptenor
4.79/5  rDev +33.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a beautiful brown to red color with a finger length head. Smell- I can smell beautiful types of fruit, some honey, some wheat. Just a beautiful smell I really love the smell of this beer. Taste- So I have to be honest. I am from Cleveland Ohio and I am going to college in Michigan and very upset because Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas ale just came out in Cleveland and I can't get it in Michigan so I saw this at the store and said I'd give it a try not expecting much. I'm shocked. It's great! It starts with a hoppy like honey taste and finishes with a beautifully smooth yet strong cinnamon taste. I think it competes hard with Great Lakes Christmas Ale the only thing I don't like as much about it as it is only 5.5 abv and Great lakes is 7.5% abv. Other than that I'm loving this beer. This is my second beer by Bell's and I'm loving this brewer. Mouth feel- the moth feel is exactly what it should be for this type of beer. I is easy to drink and smooth but has a perfect amount of carbonation. This beer is great and makes being away from my hometown of Cleveland and away from my Great Lakes Christmas Ale a little bit easier. Just a Great Beer. A Must Try! Just to say though I think my rating might be a bit higher because it totally surpassed my expectations.

Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle-Packaged 11-4-13

Pours hazed medium amber, typical medium khaki head, lasting nicely. leaves a thicker film, some low sheeting and nice looking strands of fine lacing.

Warm malty nose.

Smooth and tasty, nicely malted up beer. Notes of maple, caramel, vanilla and malty goodness.

Nothing special going on here. Worth a try if ya like da malt. Not overly sweet, with some muted hops drying out the rear.

Photo of mrquartetman
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark coppery color with a decent head that dissipated fairly quickly.

S - Malty aroma with some caramel

T - Malty, as it should be, with a subdued sweetness. Nicely balanced. It isn't quite as complex as some of the heavier Scotch Ales.

M - A pleasing feel, not too thin, not too dense.

D - A very drinkable winter, though not as "strong" as most winter warmers

I expected more of this beer. I liked it, but hoped for a good, chewy, strong winter warmer Scotch ale. It's not quite that.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1 inch head, high carbonation, orange-brown in color, hazy

Smell: cherry, bread, dark fruit, and holiday spice

Taste: earthy pale malt malt, cherry, bread, dark fruit, and holiday spice

Mouthfeel: medium body, sweet with slight earthy bitterness especially at the end, high carbonation

Overall: A bit more pale than I would have expected and I got more winter warmer here than Scottish ale. That said I like the spice combination. A good not great beer that I would get a six pack of each holiday if it were available here.

Photo of bsp77
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber-orange with very thin head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Cherry, caramel, tea, citrus and light spicy hops.

Taste: Dried-out caramel, cherry and tea malt backbone with a nice spicy English hop counterbalance and maybe a tinge of citrus.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, dry finish. Maybe too much carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: Pretty good balanced English/Scottish style ale. Like a more malt driven Bitter. Definitely drinkable but seems a little out of place for the season.

Photo of Prospero
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, it has a nice hazy orange color, light bodied. The aroma is of orange peel and herbal scents, followed by some yeasty notes. The flavor is quite bitter and you lose the citrus and breadiness of it. The toffee-flavored toasted malts are too apparent as there is a lingering aftertaste and slight alcohol finish. Not bad, but couldn't see myself sitting around the fireplace long enough for a session, like I normally expect a fine Christmas Ale to be.

Photo of deebo
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Bulldog-uptown
Served in a pint with a thin finger of white head that laces the glass. Looks like Christmas-copper/amber and clear. Smells of warm spices and breast caramel toasted malt. Slight aroma of pine tree hops. Taste is smooth. Malt forward with a nice finish of NW US hops. A full bodied brew with a hint of astringency/hop resin in the finish. Overall a very nice winter beer. Aromatic, malty with some nice complexity.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber in color with some red tinting. I see an abundance of light sediment suspended in the body. There's a half inch of small and tightly packed foam that appears beige with a hint of amber. I smell some slightly earthy barley and I don't pick up anything else. I taste that earthy to gently sweet barley along with a subtle use of piney hops. The hops are definitely muted with no bite and are meant to keep the barley sweetness in check. The mouth is creamy and smooth.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl - brilliant light brown, spicy, almost fruit cake, very soft carbonation, very pleasant and festive.

Photo of Osiris9588
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A= semi-amber color with a rusty tint; two finger white head with decent retention.
S= mild and warm malty aroma
T/M=pretty light, even lighter then an average scottish ale, sweet on the tongue, then the malt kicks in and it finishes with sticky cherry with hints of apple.
D= it's pretty simpatico on the tongue, but the sticky finishes could wear on the palate after a couple.

Not nearly the best of this ilk of seasonal brews.

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Bottled 10-19-11.

Appearance: Pours a deep and slightly hazy copper orange with lots of rising bubbles. Big six finger off white head with good retention. Lots of lacing sticking around the glass.

Smell: Lots of lightly toasted barley malts with good hints of caramel and toffee. Along with the malts is a subtle but noticeable hop presence with some citrus orange and earthy pine resin. Aroma reminds me of an English Bitter.

Taste: Very bready and fruity. Lots of toasted caramel and toffee malts up front giving a strong biscuit flavor. Notes of citrus orange and lemon follow along with some subtle herbal pine resin. Malt forward but the fruity hops make their presence known well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Crisp, creamy, and lightly prickles the tongue. Finishes somewhat dry.

Overall: A pretty solid Christmas brew. Nice use of malts and hops. It did pretty well without the spices as the Brewery website states.

Photo of madeofsteel
4.08/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on Halloween this year.

A - Poured into a pint glass, pours a lovely mahogany color. Builds up about a two finger head, settles down to a thin layer after a few minutes, with nice lacing.

S - Sweet, fruity malts. A little bit of spice and hops in the back.

T - Biscuity malts, and very citrusy hops. Fruit and toffee flavors show up, but kind of get lost in the fold. I'm surprised at how hoppy this one is. Nice balance.

M - Creamy, with a bitter dry finish.

O - I liked this one a whole lot, and was happy that they didn't try to flavor it or something like that. Very drinkable, and a pretty good festive brew.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a glowing orange amber hue when held toward the light, I guess this one has some hops from and barley grown in Michigan, how cool dude! Large thicket of off white head looks delicioso while staring at my full frothing pint in front of me, lacing is left in thick chunks between sips.

Aroma is pretty clean with citrus pine and a mild spicy characteristic that is hard to pin point. Mild mint and herbal tones with caramel malts backing the party. Not in my face christmas just a nice table ale with nuances of the festive season bring more on soon please, this was a 1.89 a bottle not bad. A nice yeast driven bread like note goes on and on in this brew, an easy to fall in love with characteristic in this substance some call liquid bread.

Flavor is subtle with herbal, pine, mint, and citrus pith. A solid team of effervescent carbonation, semi sweet malt that has a great slice bread appeal with a peppery biscuit finish. Mild tart tang the yeast unfiltered Bell's offering provides warmth and sustenance in the winter months. I love the label the beer the brewery, what a trifecta.

Mouthfeel is solid slightly textured with hop oils and mild spice bitterness, this carbonation level just works sturdy yet natural. The semi hazed unfiltered approach adds a bit much more body than your average low alcohol Christmas ale just like artisan bread.

Drinkability is delivering this beer will be searched out for, I'm in love while the limited release we need to get some down here in Steubenville, I picked this one up in Boardman. Last year it hit Pittsburgh but I missed it sold out everywhere quickly.

Photo of chinchill
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz undated bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a nice clear medium amber with less than 1 finger of bone head. Head has good retention and lacing.

Somewhat sweet aroma featuring caramel (?) malts.. More toasted malt than hops, but hops are detectable.

Taste is good but quite mild, although the finish is a little bolder and more toasted than anticipated.

M - smooth with good carbonation level.

O - rather blase offering, particularly for something called a "Christmas Ale", but should appeal to many people, especially fans of amber ales.

Photo of glid02
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last year's version purchased from Brawley's in Charlotte quite a while back.

Pours a chestnut brown color with a 1.5-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted caramel malts with hints of nondescript fruit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramel and toasted malt flavors up front carry through to a sweet ending. As the beer warms very slight fruit flavors enter into things but they're not as intense as the aroma would indicate and they take a backseat to the malts. Not a whole lot of complexity here but everything's done well.

Mouthfeel is good. There's a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing the bottle and could have another.

Overall this is a solid low ABV scotch ale. Worth a shot.

Photo of coryking
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For a Christmas release, I was expecting more of a beer. Light, unexciting, but obviously crafted well being from Bell's. Its labeled as a Scottish Ale here, dont know where that came from, but reviewing it based on that now, the beer is still just OK.

Nice, clear, caramely color. Nice head with sticky lacing. Aroma is light, not really overly inviting or exciting. Can pick up on the yeast character and malt. Medium mouthfeel with light toastiness. Finishes just fine.

Photo of Auraan
3.71/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a cloudy amber orange with a thin ring of white head and a lot of chunks of yeast floating around. Not exactly the best looking beer, kind of homebrew-esque. Scents of sweet malt, grape juice, sugar cookies and some faint floral hops and perfume in the background. This seems like a lot of aromas, but its actually a very subdued scent, and its pleasant in its own way. Flavor begins with dry, cracker-like malt flavors and some toasty malt with a moderate level of hop bitterness, mostly floral, but with some slight bitter citrus zest in the background. Toasty malt becomes more apparent in the middle of the sip, with some yeasty flavors, pine resin and faint apricot towards the end. The finish is semi-dry, with a slight bit of sweet malt. The aftertaste is dry, with floral hops dominating. Its a pretty good flavor profile, though more dry and bitter than the aroma hinted. There is also a bit more toasted malt than sweet malt, which the aroma certainly didn't let on to. Its good though. Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied, a little chunky from the yeast, but also slightly watery with moderate carbonation and a drying mouthfeel. Its an odd, almost paradoxical combination of feelings, but it works, and the mouthfeel certainly doesn't make it hard to drink. Overall this is a decent beer. Its doesn't have the most complex aroma or flavor out there, but what it does it does pretty well. Its got a nice bitter, dry and toasted flavor which is good for Winter and it doesn't load up on sweetness and spice like a lot of Christmas beers. I enjoyed it for what it is, a good, modestly hoppy and toasty beer.

Photo of degerbah
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mber with a tremendous amount of head. Huge hop smell for a beer that the box says is supposed to be a malt forward christmas beer. The head is still around a few minutes into drinking which is one of the only strong points of this beer. There is plenty of hop flavor making it more like an amber than a scottish ale. I wonder why Bell's is putting it out as a christmas seasonal when a winter warmer or another stout would probably be more apt for the season. A little thick for easy drinking, on second thought its not a bad beer, just not at all what I expected.

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Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,506 ratings.