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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

1,309 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,309
Reviews: 467
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 41
Gots: 94 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BierFan on 11-06-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,309 | Reviews: 467 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mindspin315
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nutty brown color with orange/amber hues coming through. Good amount of head and the head retention is solid. Mild lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma is very sweet. Sugar coated plums, cherry juice, cereal grains, and a mild nuttiness. Also a sort of grape candy/juice sweetness hits the nose.

I'm getting that grape candy sweetness right away. A hint of grape medicine flavor as well. Toasted bread with jelly. Mouthfeel is rather thin. Not as much flavor compared to what I got on the nose.

Expected a little bit more flavor from this one. Also the overall style and feel of this beer seems disconjointed. On one hand you have a scottish ale...that would make sense to be on the heavier side for a winter (Christmas) beer, but is actually on the lighter side. Which also lacks a solid and strong flavor. Not that the beer has to be heavy but is missing some elements. Adding some spices or maybe a darker malt, would bring this together a little but more. I like Bell's but don't like this one.

[70/100]

mindspin315, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of wedge
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazed orange-amber with a tall, fluffy head. Spotty lace. Smells...not like any Scotch ale I've ever had. Sweet fruit, hops, light bread, lemons. Herbal hops, delicate sweetness, spices, and peppery phenolics. No rich maltiness, no smokiness...why call this a Wee Heavy? It's not a bad beer, but they'd be better off leaving "Scotch ale" off the bottle. Medium bodied and fairly easy to drink, though it's strength is lower than what it should be. Meh...

"Malt driven Scotch ale" does not describe this beer at all.

wedge, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of Spider889
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Mad Mex. Not my first choice given the reviews but it was one of the cheaper offerings.

This was a cinnamon/amber color that was pretty clear. Had no head, left no lace. I can't fault Mad Mex because my other two beers that night had a great head on 'em.

Smells of weak cinnamon and honey, clover flowery notes waft in a little as well, I imagine as a relation to the honey.

Taste is strong honey, light cinnamon and other not-so-forthright spices. Mild orange rind permeates through the bland under spicing. Very light caramel crackery malt that doesn't add much body.

On the light end of medium bodied. Lighter carbonation than I would like for the style.

This was very simple and drinkable, but not very inspiring of the season it claims to represent. At a party or something I imagine this would go over well, but there are too many damn good Christmas beers around OH to waste my money on this one.

**Edit**
When I ordered this I did not realize it was a Scottish Ale. This only further proves the point that this beer isn't up to snuff - I had no notiion at all that this was anything other than an attempt at a spiced Christmas Ale.

Spider889, Dec 21, 2010
Photo of lessthanhadley
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Really unimpressed by this beer. I bought it even after seeing a few negative reviews just because Bells is a brewery who I tend to give everything that they put out a try. Generally one of my favorite breweries just didn't get it right here at all. Its a mix of christmas spice, citrusy zest and belgian yeast that just never identifies with anything and really just is not enjoyable. While not a drain pour definitely not something I'd ever go back to.

lessthanhadley, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of theviper
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm generally a fan of Bell's beers. The look and pour fit the bill of my past experiences--rich in amber color, nice head. The smell was a faint spice that this reviewer could not place. The beer was smooth going down, but its flavor was rather bland and nondescript (a touch of toasted malt and sweetness). It's easy to drink, but why bother?

theviper, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of BlueCat1
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Christmas holiday beers are always something to look forward to. Frankincense and myrrh make for some pretty funky additives! Over the years many crafts have offered interpretations of an undefined style, so there's not really any right or wrong.
Bell's Xmas Ale, at least for 2010, is tame and uninteresting. It has a reasonably nice amber color. But beyond that there's nothing that strikes a notable chord. Not much hop taste exhibited, and the malt aspect is weak and almost watery.
There are many excellent holiday offerings out there. If you're looking for something to excite you don't look here. If you're looking for something that your Lite drinking sister-in-law might consent to drink you might try this.

BlueCat1, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of Bitterbill
2.63/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!
Coded 10023.

It's a hazy orange-red-brown with a 2 finger head of foam. Foam of the stubborn kind. A great looking brew.

I'm sticking my nose right into the glass as the smell is trying to evade me. Ok. I'm getting some malty/sugary sweetness. More whiffing and it's more of a fruity sweet.

The taste is kind of sweet, kind of tart/bitter as in fruity bitter. I've got me a weird tasting beer here. Getting some spicy notes now but not much of a malt profile, at least not to my palate and I've never tasted a Scottish Ale that tasted anything like this. Mixed feelings.

Good overall mouthfeel though maybe a bit brisk with the carbonation.

Getting down and dirty, I've decided this isn't my cup of tea at all and I'm, somewhat, struggling to finish the bottle. Bell's makes some really excellent brews so it's no big deal that I didn't find the Christmas Ale to my liking.

Bitterbill, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of Mdog
2.63/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Red-amber, good head.

Smell: Weird--cloves and upholstery? Slight grassy hop note.

Taste: Weird again, a candy sweetness followed a strange hop flavor like mint. Some spicyness shows up later.

Drinkability: I don't think I'll have this again.

Beer #2 of the winter mix 6 pack. I thought this was a winter warmer, but it's listed as a Scottish ale. In either case, it was strange smelling and strange tasting. Swing and a miss with this one for Bell's.

Mdog, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
2.69/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN for $1.79 and served into a stem-tulip. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. 5.5% ABV according the label. Packaged 10/09/13. There's no indication on the label that it's a Scottish ale, so I'm reviewing it as an open-ended Christmas ale.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide had of white-light khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Retention is above average - about 3 minutes. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a translucent nontransparent orange-amber. Robust. Fine floating yeast particles are visible. Average vibrance.

Overall, it's a festive looking brew that isn't unique or special. There are no egregious flaws. I'm looking forward to trying it, but nothing stands out as exemplary.

Sm: Caramalts, candi sugar, bready malts. Fruity hop character is the only noticeable hop note I find. On the sweeter side.

Not much yeast character is detectable. There's no overt alcohol presence here. Not finding any spices. No off-notes.

I was expecting some festive spices given that it's a Christmas ale, but overall it's pretty pleasant. A clean aroma of average strength.

T: Candi sugar lends it a questionable sweetness. I'm shocked by how shallow the depth of flavour is; each note is barely evocative and comes off feeling a bit empty. Bready malts, bread crust, toffee, caramel, malty sweetness. Has a vague hint of unrefined sugar - maybe brown sugar or even piloncillo. Lightly syrupy. Balanced enough, but ultimately unimpressive. Cohesive, but not gestalt.

Average duration of flavour. Subpar intensity of flavour.

Lacks discernable complexity, subtlety, intricacy, and nuance. Very one-dimensional stuff. I'm not a big fan, but it's enjoyable enough.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through. There's no spicing.

Mf: Smooth, wet, fairly syrupy. Thick and medium-bodied. Overcarbonated. Okay presence on the palate. Unrefreshing.

Doesn't suit the flavour profile all that well.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Not for the discerning drinker. It's downable but forgettable stuff, and is disappointing coming from Bell's. Not sure what they were after with this one, but it's a pretty mundane Christmas Ale. I wouldn't trifle with it again or recommend it to friends. Really shallow.

C-

kojevergas, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of sickpuppy
2.7/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer poured a ruby to dark red color with a cloudy appearance. The aroma is of faint spices and plum notes, almost herbal with a hint of malts and hops detected.
The taste is malty and medium bodied and although a great beer, it is a bit unremarkable for a Scottish ale in my opinion. With that said I think this is a great beer to share with family and friends around the Christmas holiday.

sickpuppy, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of thudean
2.75/5  rDev -23%

thudean, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of ackeeper
2.75/5  rDev -23%

ackeeper, May 22, 2013
Photo of JJFordick
2.75/5  rDev -23%

JJFordick, Nov 14, 2012
Photo of mwbrady12
2.75/5  rDev -23%

mwbrady12, Jul 17, 2013
Photo of d5001986
2.75/5  rDev -23%

d5001986, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of richeddi
2.75/5  rDev -23%

richeddi, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of beercanman
2.75/5  rDev -23%

beercanman, Apr 03, 2013
Photo of poodog
2.75/5  rDev -23%

poodog, Oct 24, 2012
Photo of _morandi_
2.75/5  rDev -23%

_morandi_, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of Givemebeer
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Givemebeer, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of alexipa
2.75/5  rDev -23%

alexipa, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of CraftBeerGuild
2.75/5  rDev -23%

CraftBeerGuild, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of hilgart1
2.75/5  rDev -23%

hilgart1, Dec 23, 2012
Photo of rustan
2.75/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pale ambers with thin white head.

S - Faintly of honey, but not getting much more than that

T - Grapefruit, yeast, finish with subdued bitterness

M - medium body, foams, dry

D - One was enough

Overall this was not what i was expecting. It was more pale and less spiced than your typical holiday seasonal. I can see how such a departure could be of interest, but this attempt fell short. Wouldn't have called this a scotch ale in a blind taste test either. Overall I was not impressed and happy that I only bought a single of this batch.

rustan, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of Filabee
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Filabee, Apr 04, 2014
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,309 ratings.