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

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Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale

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483 Reviews
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Reviews: 483
Hads: 1,506
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 7%
Wants: 46
Gots: 179 | 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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 483 | Hads: 1,506
Photo of NCBeernut
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pillowy head on top of a burnt orange body with a dust of sediment - looks similar to celebration but with a little less lacing and "glow." Earthy aromas with hints of smoke and hops. Lots of pleasant buttery toffee flavors infused with caramel. Taste is definitely malt-forward with a twist of belgian yeast. A touch of ester fruitiness, but just in the background. More smoke in the taste, but very subtle. A little bitterness near the finish helps to balance. I like the Scotch Ale classification on BA, but a bit more light and drinkable than the heavy Wee Heavy ales that I have had. Very solid Christmas ale. Really gives off good holiday vibes. Further solidifies my feeling of Bell's brewing superiority. (712 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.01/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy burnt orange coppery appearance. Thick head that settles down to a still significant amount of lacing after an hour.

S: Malty, floral and sweet.

T: In addition to the smell notes, the hops lurk quietly and subtly. I'm not picking up a whole lot of spice.

M: Slick, medium bodied, slight creaminess with ample carbonation.

D: High marks here. Although only 5.4% ABV, this feels pretty full. Highly sessionable brew. Would be great to drink all night while playing euchre. (484 characters)

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.01/5  rDev +12.3%

12 oz brown bottle with excellent Bell's style label art. A Christmas tree sitting in the middle of a Michigan field. Nice brief description on the back and overall a very Christmas looking bottling. Poured into a Bell's standard pint glass.

A - reddish amber in color with a hint of orange in the light. Cloudy body with tiny bits of sediment floating about. Head pours fairly nice, but looks a bit thin due to the size of this ale. Off white in color forming a thin ring of lace that surprisingly leaves some stick. I enjoyed the look of this brew.

S - sweet sugary malt, faint barley, and Christmas like sugar cookies. A touch of dark fruits with the smallest hint of hop spice. This is exactly the way I want a Scottish style Christmas ale to smell. Brilliant.

T - soft sweet Bell's Amber style malt up front. Some toasty malt follows quickly after. Notes of dark fruit and bread like flavors balance one another nicely. A touch of citrus hops toward back with a malty and smooth finish. Yeast is a highlight of this one.

M - lighter medium bodied with the usual Bell's texture and thickness. It's an easy drinker and very session like all while keeping the thickness I want and expect. I had no problem knocking back 4 of these. Something anyone could enjoy on this Black Friday lunchtime.

O - A different take on a Christmas ale, but well done in my book. It's a bit of a change of pace from your typical Winter Warmer/Spiced up ales the Christmas season brings us, but there is still a place for Bell's Christmas. It's of the same mold as their Year Round Amber ale, but still different enough to create its own fan base. This is something I could drink any cold evening. Again, a different take, but still very very good. (1,734 characters)

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +12%
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. (539 characters)

Photo of deebo
4/5  rDev +12%
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. (439 characters)

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl - Pours brilliant light brown crowned by a 2" cream to light tan foam collar. Spicy, almost fruit cake, very soft carbonation, very pleasant and festive. (188 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,030 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This one pours a very hazy and attractive light reddish brown color. It's topped off with two fingers worth of suds that are off-white in color. Retention was very good and a very sticky coat of lace clung to the glass.

Smell: The nose is slightly sweet and malty up front. Smells like caramel malts mostly. It has a touch of a biscuity smell to it. Surprisingly, it has a nice mix of spices coming through. Smells like cinnamon and some other unidentifiable characters. The yeast smell lingers throughout. There's some hops (mostly floral). Smells a little earthy on the tail. All in all, pretty nice.

Taste: The flavor profile mimics the nose pretty well. Caramel malts are sweet and give it a nice base. It's very yeasty and biscuity. There is a little spiciness in there, but it's not very pronounced. Cinnamon is there, but I have no clue what the others might be. Hops provide a little bit of a bit which gives it some character. Tastes mostly floral in that respect, but it's not a strong hop flavor. It is a little earthy and grainy. Very interesting for a Christmas beer. I like it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and is relatively smooth. Carbonation feels very active and limits it to a degree. Nonetheless, it goes down easy. Drinkability is good. I could handle a few of these in a sitting.

Bell's has an interesting and pretty impressive Christmas release here. I prefer this to the Winter White release. It is a step overall, especially in terms of style in my opinion. Certainly recommended. (1,535 characters)

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's does a nice job with this style interpretation. I didn't get much of the traditional peat note, but there was a nice caramel malt aspect which seemed to carry the barest whiff of smoke. Overall the beer was lively and consistent from front to back. There seemed a faint echo of a spice at the finish. Overall, a reserved seasonal offering, but hearty. (358 characters)

Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev +12%

Not sure what a Scottish ale has to do with Christmas, but nevertheless a tasty and very easy drinking ale. Three of the six pack gone in the blink of an eye, could have easily killed the other three if it had been one of those type of nights. Shlante! (256 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange-ish/ amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, sweet caramel maltiness. In the taste, sweet malt, nice presence of caramel and a nice bitter all the way through. A bitter and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry, piney hop in the aftertaste. Nice hop presence and nice maltiness. (310 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy burnt amber color. The head is an inch and a half in height, rocky, and recedes very slowly into thick, chunky lacing. The aroma is caramel, with a solid fill of herbal hops. The taste is very balanced for a Scottish Ale. There is surely a tone of malt, but there is also a significant amount soft herbal hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a velvety texture, and mild carbonation. Overall, this beer is too hoppy for the style, but tasty nonetheless. I would love to see Bell's adding this to the yearly offerings. (546 characters)

Photo of Billet
4/5  rDev +12%

I like this one a lot. I was expecting some spicy flavors, but there was little to none. Instead I had a very smooth malty brew with a medium-light body. It reminded me of a malty Pale Ale or maybe an ESB, both of which I like very much. Nicely done. (254 characters)

Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Xmas- disappointing, Not a scottish ale or christmas ale, mislabeled. but a decent, balanced amber ale. but hey it was a good beer.

We did a large christmas and winter beer tasting panel and this was one of the many that we tried. Most of the beers we tried we solid including this one that the panel liked. (315 characters)

Photo of hackmann
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice looking winter ale
S: Nothing bold, but nice aroma
T: Light toffee and earthy hops, bitter orange peel with some nice pine notes. Balance flavor between the malts and hops. Nice bite to the hops.
M: Smooth on the palate. No lingering taste.
D: Yes. Due to the mouthfeel. (278 characters)

Photo of Gatch
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taste of Tops in Tempe, AZ.

A - deep amber in color with a thin, white head. Not much head formation, but it could have been due to the bartender's pour.

S - Malt, slightly roasted. Caramelized sugar.

T - Sweet, sugary malt & caramelized sugar. Raisins. A little smokiness. Slight alcohol that warms in the throat & stomach.

M - very slight carbonation, smooth, sweet, drinkable. Good representation of the style. (417 characters)

Photo of theHoff77
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pokal glass.

A - Hazy dark orange/amber color, like an apple cider color. Thick foamy white head. Just off first glance I got the impression this was going to have a fruity taste to it.

S - Fruity in smell. I get an apple vibe from it.

T - Tastes a lot like Dead Guy Ale, which I happen to really like. But I don't make the connection as to how this is a scotch ale. Once again I get a predominate apple flavor, which is good but it's not complex.

M - Has a dryness about it like a cider. Crisp and clean though.

O - Maybe I'm totally off with the apple theory but that's what I'm getting; Bell's Christmas Apple Ale. I thought this was pretty good beer though, enjoyed the flavor and it was easy to drink. (728 characters)

Photo of Seanibus
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a pleasant surprise. Christmas ales tend to be packed with extra flavor, a heavy, soggy fruitcake of a beer to greet the holiday. But this one was light, subtle, and delicious - like an unexpectedly delicious fruitcake.

Pours a clear rubyish with a decent head and rich lacing. Aroma is like a cherrywood tobacco. Flavor is strong and tobacco-like, like my grandfathers pipe. Cherry and fruitcake, with a solid malt backbone and a woody bitterness. A little phenolic clove develops as the beer warms in the glass, but it is delightfully subtle. Mouthfeel is creamy, emphasizing the sour cherry bitterness. Good. (621 characters)

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into beer glass -best by date 10019 ?

Poured a cloudy amber with one finger head good lacing with lots of carbonation .

Smell of malts, light hops, mild citrus .

Taste was light barley hints with light hops ,very little spice notes (Surprising for a beer called Christmas), I wasn't expecting this to be as smooth as it was.

Drinkabilty actually got better as it warmed a bit, you can taste the malts and light hops not very spicy at all, I found it to be rather easy to drink ,I savored it slowly.

Overall - I would buy again and wouldn't mind sharing with some friends during the Holidays. (620 characters)

Photo of mick303
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large snifter which yielded a healthy creamy head with good retention and lacing. Colour is an amber brown-copper, nice carbonation.

Smell has a very fragrant nutty, clove spicey malt. A light roastiness, and remains overall light and slightly fruity, apple and a bit of grapefruit, a subtle citrus tartness, some brown sugar.

Taste is initially a nice roasty malt with plenty of plumy fruit character. A touch of brown sugar caramel sweetness but also a bit of hops to counter this. Some candied orange and all-round good flavour that seems quite festive, none of it gets in the way of the beer though. Some vanilla oakiness towards the end, finish is dry.

Mouthfeel has a high carbonation and it really refreshing and sessionable, moderate body, and highlights the beer and hard to ask for much more. Leaves a dry fruity aftertaste.

Really enjoyed this, it incorporated a good range of flavour, decent complexity into a pretty well balanced ale, and avoided being overly sweet. A nice treat, could be more interesting but this is a nice easy-drinking xmas beer and worth a try. (1,098 characters)

Photo of LestatSabastian
3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to say this beer was smooth.
the appearance Nice clear a but of rust color but pretty.
smell was so mellow for a Christmas beer with spices it fell short of its taste which was smooth nutty hent of cinnamon flavor
the mouthfeel was so nice. thin and went down smooth.
very drinkable will try again
Beau (311 characters)

Photo of KeefD
3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Significantly hazed copper orange color with a nice tan head that falls slowly, lots of suspended particulates (always a welcome staple of Bell's) and some lacing. Aroma is very fruity. There's some orange, and lemon in the nose backed up by some sweet malts. It has a nice flavor but kind of misses the mark for a Wee Heavy. It's slightly sweet, with a nice bitterness in the middle and slightly dry on the finish. Nice use of hops in this one, but never becomes too bitter for those who like slighyl lower IBU ratings. Caramel coated orange slices is the best way to describe this beer's flavor. It's light-bodied, however, but what it lacks in body is almost made up in the flavor. Slightly creamy, light carbonation. This beer is pretty damn decent but nothing spectacular. I could have gone for a little fuller mouthfeel, but it was tasty and quite drinkable. Another example of how Bell's makes some of the most solid brews around. (937 characters)

Photo of melitameister
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle already 18 months old from great beer store on Topsail Island, NC. Was in the cooler and apparently well kept.

Not much to remind me of a Scottish Ale and surely not typical of a Christmas ale. Label says "malt driven," but fairly dry, more like a very well made pale than a Scottish.

Appearance - Burnt orange with some cloudiness with a nice creamy head. That and yeast in the bottom says this is a live beer.

Smell - Orange, citron, pine and malt.

Taste - Full but dry malt balanced with hops bitterness and some dry hop fruit. Lots of subtle esthers carry on to make the taste last.

Mouthfeel - Light but creamy. Despite not getting what I expected from a Bell's Christmas, a highly drinkable and delicious brew. What I have come to expect from Bell. (778 characters)

Photo of lhaqq
3.97/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light copper with a light tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly.
S: Smells of spices and alcohol. Also some sweetness of darker fruits.
T: The spiciness starts off the taste, but it shifts into the (light) sweetness of dark fruits and some maltiness.
M: Good; I think a beer where the mouthfeel would leave it enjoyable cold or at cellar temp.
D: When I ordered it, I assumed I was getting a winter warmer. But scotch ales are one of my favorite styles, so I didn't mind that it wasn't. Yet it didn't really taste like any other scotch ales I've had. Not sure what category I'd have put it in. Nevertheless, probably would get it again. (651 characters)

Photo of Megahertz
3.96/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a New Belgium Globe. Bottled on 10/15/12, consumed 12/02/12.

A - Clear deep red with a massive, pillowy head and very tight lacing. Beautiful.

S - Surprisingly sweet freshed baked bread with a subtle citrus & resin note in the background.

T - Fresh baked bread, crust and all, with a serious toasted note in the middle. Considerable ale esters - raisin, plum and cinnamon. Hop bitterness is present but very mild, clean and gentle. Medium dry finish. A refined flavor.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

O - A very nice ale - distinctly American yet complex. Nothing to do with christmas, but I'll drink it any time, anywhere. (666 characters)

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 483 ratings.