1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,188 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,188
Reviews: 461
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 30
Gots: 54 | FT: 1
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,188 | Reviews: 461 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of paulozanello
paulozanello

Brazil

3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with a nice white head that has good retention and amazing lacing.

Smells of caramel malts, biscuit and some spicyness.

Taste follows nose with sweet malts upfront and fruity, spicy and mild tartness and bitterness in the finish.

Body is moderate to light with high carbonation.

Overall a malty and nutty beers with faint hop presence. Not very impressive for a brewery like Bells.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 03:26:14 | More by paulozanello
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a mostly clear consistency. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A very subdued aroma of malt, caramel and hops.

T: Pretty much tastes like it smells: Malt and caramel up front with a slight hoppiness in the finish. Not a very dynamic or memorable flavor, but not terrible either.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Bell's has done better work, but this isn't a wholly undrinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 13:04:15 | More by avalon07
Photo of Lauthaha
Lauthaha

Michigan

4.58/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pure tan. Fizzy white head bubbles down to a wispy but present lacing on top of the beer and around the edge of the glass. Slight reddish tint to the beer. Somewhat cloudy, active carbonation.

Smell: Wheaty...cloves, raisins...just a touch of caramel in the malt, maybe. Very pure, a great smelling Scottish ale!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Mmm, very mellow, low (but present) bitterness, warmth from the alcohol, sweet bread or raisin bread, a great beer to chew for a moment. Cloves in the aftertaste. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It deserves a 5, in my book. Very tasty, not overly estery, not cloying, not weighed down in malt but not empty-bodied either. Perfect.

I love Scottish ales, and this is a good example by an American brewery.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 02:32:52 | More by Lauthaha
Photo of bsuedekum
bsuedekum

Missouri

3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bottle into a snifter.

A - Has about a one finger head that fades slowly to a thin head that remains along with carrying a solid lacing. It's a dull rust or copper in color.

S - malt and is it weird to say I get some field grass smell in there. It's a slight aroma overall that I'd say is best described by calling it an earthy malt smell.

T - Another reviewer calls this taste "rather plain and unexciting" and I think that nails it. It's not bad, but it's nothing special by any means. I've never felt more confident marking this down as an "average" beer in taste.

M - It does carry an effervescent mouthfeel.

D - At 5.4% it's definitely not hard to have several of these. And it isn't a bad beer by any means so I'd say it's slighty abover average as a drinker.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 02:18:22 | More by bsuedekum
Photo of gopens44
gopens44

Virginia

3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Decent enough looking beer with it's frothy head and dark red appearance

S - I didn't notice a ton of aroma here. Light toasty smells with hints of spice, but not overwhelming by any measure

T - Similar to the nose, not overwhelming. Perhaps some hints of dark cherry and a light hop presence. Malty would be the best base flavor description in my opinion.

M - Light and well carbonated. Not a ton of aftertaste.

Meh. Not my favorite seasonal this season, but it was balanced decently. Easy to drink if you aren't looking for an overwhelming taste bonanza.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2010 18:52:10 | More by gopens44
Photo of StoutHunter
StoutHunter

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this the other day since I have never had it before and because I love bell's. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- This beer poured a nice amber color with 2 fingers of chunky white head and nice lacing.

S- All I really pick up is a medium amount of malts, not much going on here. Smells more like an American lager then a Scottish ale.

T- Thankfully the taste is far different from the nose. There is a good amount of mild fruitiness that sticks out fairly well. The malts are present mixed with some mild spices and the hops have some pleasant bitterness and citrus on the finish that really helps tie this beer together.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, and a nice crisp finish.

D- I would have one or two of these before I moved on to something else, more then that might be too much sweetness and spices.

Overall I thought this was a good beer, I was not wowed by it but I would buy this again, specifically for the holidays. The combination of fruits and spices make this a worthy Christmas ale. Good job Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2010 03:49:41 | More by StoutHunter
Photo of Frosty80
Frosty80

Michigan

3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours clear, light golden brown. sits clear, slightly dull copper

Smell: low malt sweetness with low diacetyl and spicy hops

Taste: watered down. very balanced malt sweetness and hop flavor. very low diacetyl with next to no bitterness. finish is light with a hint of graininess

Mouthfeel: clean and crisp. low carbonation. medium-light body

Notes: where did the flavor go? im re-reviewing this and is nothing like my notes. sometimes i wonder who is tasting for consistency!

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2010 03:17:09 | More by Frosty80
Photo of photon3130
photon3130

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 10027

Poured from the bottle into a merlot glass. Golden in color with a little bit of ruby red. There's a 2 finger white head that has good retention and lacing. This isn't a strong smelling beer, but I get some light fruit and floral aromas. The taste follows the nose and also has some added nutmeg/winter spices. The main fruit tastes I noticed were cherries and apples. The carbonation on this is a little high, but gives it a nice crisp, clean finish, especially with the spices. Overall, I enjoyed this beer and would have it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2010 03:05:16 | More by photon3130
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed coppery brown color with decent cap of khaki head. Scent brings forward a mix of sweet carmel malts, roasted nuts, citrusy hops and some prune/fig like qualities. Taste starts with the citrusy hops, followed by a 50/50 mix of sweet malts and roasted nuts, the back end features the lingering notes of dark dried fruits. Medium bodied, slightly high in carbonation. A decent beer, but the strange mix can overpower the palate - akin to a very hoppy brown ale in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2010 15:16:59 | More by rfgetz
Photo of Giggy
Giggy

Michigan

3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not a typical Christmas seasonal. I've tried this one every winter over the last few years. Taste changes from year to year.

Appearance: Red/Brown tint, slightly cloudy

Smell: Toasted sweet caramel malts

Taste: Roasted malts with a delicate citrus overtone

Mouthfeel: Spritzy and light in body

Drinkability: Sweet with a crisp finish

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2010 01:22:23 | More by Giggy
Photo of claminat420
claminat420

Michigan

3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- poured a transparent amber color with an off white/ tannish colored head. a bit frothy.

S- just some plain weakass malt scent like you would get if you sniffed a budweiser. are there hops in this thing?

T- like a good pilsner but with a weird yeasty apple taste hitting the palate.

M- light to medium bodied. good carbonation.

D- got a single from my bro. i wouldn't mind picking up a 6 pack later down the road.

Overall- i didn't know what to expect from this beer. i heard many of tales. some say they can taste some hops like an american pale ale to some say it was a weaker brown ale. to me, this brew is what i would define as a basic brew. it's not to much of one thing but in the middle. i bet they use the yeast in their two hearted as the same in this brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 11:31:27 | More by claminat420
Photo of Birchgrove77
Birchgrove77

Illinois

3.13/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Bright amber color with minimal carbonation. Nice off-white head that quickly dissipates to nothing. A bit fizzy in appearance.

S- A very adjunct lager-like aroma with a hint of plum.

T-Better than the smell hinted at, but not as malty as the label describes. Plum, maybe a touch of dried apricot, but a light sour character does exist. A nice light holiday spice character, very nicely done, but the spices don't seem fresh.

M/D- A bit sticky on the lips, but not sweet. Reminds me a bit of wassail, but not something I would seek out an entire six pack. Could be a great beer to use during the holidays to convert noncraft dinners though.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 04:34:38 | More by Birchgrove77
Photo of micromaniac129
micromaniac129

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear deep amber ale with an off white foamy head.
Aroma is weak but sutle hints of roasted malts are present with underlying aromas of Christmas scents such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
Balanced tasting beer. Hop and hop bitterness are at a minimum here bring out a nice dry malt bill. Christmas spices are present, but are not overpowering.
medium to thin body that's smooth and soft.
Good drinkability over the Christmas season.
Drink well to all, and to all a good drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2010 11:45:45 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear and orange with a half inch of head that generates a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is relatively subtle, with notes of malt, fruits, and alcohol.

T: The beer itself is mildly fruity, with a sweet malt flavor. It's rather plain and unexciting, but altogether drinkable. This is certainly a different, and refreshing in most cases, take on a Christmas ale, in that it is not loaded with spices. None of the flavors are particularly bold, but everything flows pretty well together.

M: The feel is medium-thin bodied, with a mellow hop presence in the finish.

D: Simple in nature, and relatively easy to drink. I wouldn't want more than one, however.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 20:25:14 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of jrsully77
jrsully77

Pennsylvania

2.98/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark Amber color

Bitter and fruits

You get hit with a lot of cherries and then the hops. The cherry flavor is overpowering

Light crisp beer for a Christmas Ale

The taste of cherry makes this a difficult beer to drink. Would not recommend more than one.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 19:35:17 | More by jrsully77
Photo of kylehayworth
kylehayworth

Indiana

3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I stole this from my brother's fridge while prepping some Thanksgiving day food, a little early for X-Mas, but oh well...

A: Has a nice amber color with light tones of orange and moderate tones of red, the white head rsies and falls.

S: I get a decent amount of spice upfront, with a hint of caramel and mild hop. All working with a malty/bready'ness.

T: Moderate amount of what was eluded to in the nose; malty'ness, with some caramel, followed by a very faint hop presence that helps to round out the sweetness.

M/D: Good carbination, somewhat sweet with a crisp finish. It was just a good beer, nothing breath taking. However, perfect for friends and family, nothing to overwhelming...

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 13:02:52 | More by kylehayworth
Photo of NeutroMan
NeutroMan

Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Mostly clear copper color with a large creamy off-white head.

Smell: Malty sweetness is somewhat muted. Not picking up much else - hop bitterness and the earthy aroma one normally associates with Scottish ales are nowhere to be found.

Taste: Malts are a little more pronounced with a faint hint of smokiness. Although certainly an improvement from the aroma, still lacking a bit in the flavor department.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low bodied with low carbonation. Has a somewhat grainy finish.

Drinkability: Certainly inoffensive enough to drink several, but it's just a little too boring.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 02:30:17 | More by NeutroMan
Photo of Swill5786
Swill5786

Kentucky

3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orangish-amber with one finger head and good lacing. Nose of caramel malt and scotch/peat smoked malt essence. Sweet sugary malt at the front, hoppy finish, wheat in the aftertaste. Medium light body and highly drinkable. Decent brew for the season!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 01:23:41 | More by Swill5786
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

3.18/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear amber/red color. A two finger white head forms at first, but recedes in a second. A watery film of lace is left behind.
S: Dank hops, sweet malt, and a metallic aroma.
T: Some watery and thin hops. Sweet caramel malt. Not bad, but nothing out of the ordinary.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A little bit in the thin side, but fairly smooth. Easy enough to drink. I will put a few away this holiday season.

Overall, pretty bland, but not bad. Just kind of neutral, but simple enough to be a good one to share at a holiday get together. Though far from a Scottish or Christmas Ale in any sense.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 22:50:28 | More by champ103
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this at Twisted Kilt while watching UFC. Batch 10,023. Served in a pint glass.

A - Pours with two fingers of soapy foam that settles to a solida cap, leaving behind a few spots of lace. The body is a mostly transparent, amber-bronze body.

S - Tastes of light English hops and big toasted caramel malts. Not overly smoky - feels like more of an American amber than a Scottish Ale.

T - The taste is more toasty and less sweet. More biscuit and Christmas cookie in there as well. There's some faint fruity yeast character.

M - Zesty carbonation, lightly dry finish, with some light residual oily resins. Body is medium, and of average viscosity.

D - This was surprisingly decent. I'm glad that they didn't spice this like every other Christmas on the market. It was one of the best options available at the Kilt, so I may be having it again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 03:53:26 | More by MasterSki
Photo of yemenmocha
yemenmocha

Arizona

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with generous sized white frothy head. Nose is on the lighter side but clearly bready and grainy. Palate is mostly toasty flavors, perhaps with some dry twigs in there too. Hops have some light spicing to round it out so the malt isn't terribly sweet. Overall finishes toasty again, perhaps biscuity.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 03:44:21 | More by yemenmocha
Photo of peterittenhouse
peterittenhouse

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I agree with the other reviews on this beer. Pretty straight forward. Doesn't fit the Scottish Ale profile.

Overall, a nice session beer but not a lot of bells and whistles(please excuse the pun).

Seems to me to be an Amber Ale. I had two of these tonight and barely detected much character.

This is still a well made beer. Just needs to a minor adjustment in style.

Happy Holidays!

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2010 04:56:48 | More by peterittenhouse
Photo of buschbeer
buschbeer

Ohio

3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A sloppy pour yielded half a glass of beige head. The beer is burnt amber colored. There is not a lot going on with this beer. I get some caramel malt on the nose and a little bit of citrus hops. The taste is caramel malt. That's about it. This is a simple beer that goes down easy, but if you want a lot of taste this isn't for you. I'm not sure why it's a Christmas beer. It seems like an everyday drinker.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 23:52:34 | More by buschbeer
Photo of atsprings
atsprings

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a standard pint glass a crisp amber with a thin khaki head. Aroma is a nice amount of burnt caramel malts. The taste is smooth caramel malts with slight sweet fruits and a hint of cinnamon. The beer is fairly light bodied with mild carbonation. This is a decent Winter beer, but it seems like beer that could be enjoyed year-round.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2010 18:08:58 | More by atsprings
Photo of Leviathan
Leviathan

Virginia

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Christmas Ale is somewhat tame by holiday beer standards. Not quite sure where the Scottish Ale part comes into play. With most Christmas Ales/Winter Warmers, I find it hard to drink more than a few before the spice/vanilla/clove profile overwhelms my taste buds. However, I really enjoy these beers when they are released and make it a point to seek them out.

Bell's Christmas ale has a subtle spice and vanilla smell along with more pronounced malt aroma. The beer pours golden amber with a nice head. It has a medium mouthfeel, similar to any quality ale, and doesn't linger too long on the tongue. Taste is a typical well balanced, malty ale, with a slight vanilla and clove flavor. The flavor profile strikes a nice balance between piney hops and caramel malt.

Bell's calls this "a malt driven ale" and that is exactly what you get. This is a very drinkable beer and does not rely too heavily on spicing to trick up the beer. Those looking for a unique experience will be let down. Bell's always makes solid, reliable beers and this is no exception. I rather enjoy the simplicity of this ale and would appreciate its humility after drinking some of the more powerful Christmas ales on the market!

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 00:06:18 | More by Leviathan
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,188 ratings.