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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

492 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 492
Hads: 1,541
Avg: 3.58
pDev: 22.91%
Wants: 46
Gots: 208 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 492 | Hads: 1,541
Photo of JimKal
3.61/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: A clear dark amber with a nice white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly but doesn't seem to go away. As it sinks it leaves some very nice lacing on the side of the glass. there is a lot of carbonation in this beer that lasts the whole beer. It also appears yo have some floaters that sort of dance around with the carbonation. For me, it added to my enjoyment of the appearance.

S: A light bread/malt aroma.

T: While you can taste the hops they are not a major feature here. The malt presence is definitely there and dominant but not as malty as a good Octoberfest.

M: While this doesn't grab you with the mouthfeel, it is one of the better features of this beer.

O: This is a nice, pleasant beer that will pair well with a lot of foods. I think I'll enjoy the six pack but I haven't decided if I'll revisit this in the future. I will say that it is nice to have a "Christmas" ale that hasn't been tricked up with a lot of spices.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 10/15/13. Pours amber with a full off white head that lasts coupled with excellent lacing. Nose is hops, pine and citrus, against a spicy background. Light medium body. Well carbonated. Taste is well balanced with the focus being on spice - nutmeg and ginger - which become more pronounced as the beer warms. Hops are present, but in the background and compliment the spices. Finishes cleanly with a slight hop bitterness that lingers along with the spices - ginger being most prevalent. Addition of dark malt would make this beer outstanding.

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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.

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Photo of xcduke
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a deep bronze

S: Not much aroma a little malt

T: You can taste a little Malt although tough to find the spice

F: Medium to Light body very drinkable

O: Solid Ale and very drinkable although probably won't make the regular rotation for the fall

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

10/13/11 Bottle Date; Sampled February 2012
A steady pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a two-finger thick, pale amber tinged, tan colored head that leaves some nice lacing on the sides of my glass. The beer is a dark amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, bright amber color when held up to the light. The aroma has a fruitiness to it up front that speaks of hop character; berry notes along with a bright citrus character that reminds me of tangerine zest, big-floral concentrated orange flower nectar, sweet floral peach, and, a touch more tropical in character, big notes of lychee. The bright hop character is backed by some earthy, toasted whole grain , touches of sweet tea, caramelized crystal malt character, but these play a clearly supporting role to the dominant, brightly fruity hop character. The nose of this beer is quite promising, I was not expecting much from this beer, but based on the nose I can’t wait to take a sip.

A light medium body up front is coupled with a biting, though not overly aggressive bitterness; as the beer moves across the palate it picks up a really distinct fruitiness, it is not purely citrus, not really tropical, but almost musky in its fruity brightness. The hop fruit character is made up of super ripe tangelo zest, definite lychee, some musky tropical fruit notes, and just a really floral, concentrated fruit character of some sort. The bitter hop bite in the finish couples with a hint of pine notes and some herbal, spicy hop character that lingers a bit on the palate; this last is brought out by the prickly carbonic character that is contributed by the carbonation. A caramelized malt character accentuates the fruit character and there is a touch of biscuit and cracker like malt character towards the finish, but this is really a hop dominated beer. The body has enough texture to carry the hops, but this is still eminently quaffable, I could easily drink a couple bottles of this in an evening and be quite happy.

This is a really nice beer, it is sort of like a malty, definitely hoppy Pale Ale; really though the hop character is quite dominant; it makes me think of a smaller version of Sierra Nevada Celebration. The distinctive hop fruitiness is also really interesting here as well. The reviews on this beer are quite interesting, I am not sure why people think this is a Scotch / Scottish ale; this is definitely a hoppy Pale ale of some sort & it is really interesting how many people missed the dominant hop character b/c someone mistakenly labeled this as Scottish (whatever that means).

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Photo of soju6
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark bronze color with a decent off-white head that fades to some lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, and some caramel.

T: Taste of roasted malt , some caramel sweetness and bit of spice. Mild bitterness and a fairly clean finish.

F: Medium body, smooth and quite creamy texture.

O: Nice seasonal beer but nothing to get excited about.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.95/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Crap. Amateur pour on my part, sediment everywhere. Pours ruby orange with a half finger white head that lingers a bit. Smells like a basic lager, and don’t get much spice or scotch ale here. Flavor is sweet malt, and not much else. Light mouthfeel and dirty finish. Not a very good effort here by Bells. Not terrible, but I would not get it again.

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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.31/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured this Scottish Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured a hazy amber color, produced a thick creamy off white head, nice retention and it left nice amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma consisted of toasted malt, caramel, apple and a slight hint of citrus. Medium bodied, a foundation of malted grain, fresh baked bread and sweet toffee. The flavor profile rounds out with a hint of orange citrus- slightly bitter- Overall it's merely average- a little thin and watery for a "Christmas Ale". Easy to drink- I suppose it's a decent beginner craft beer. Not something I would seek out again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a quarter of an inch of thick, soft, white, pillowy head that has great retention

S - caramel, a bit grainy, bread, baked apples

T - baked apples, faint caramel, a bit bitter in the finish; the flavor here is dominated by fruity esters

M - crisp, medium bodied

This is a rather "run of the mill" beer. There isn't much to it. It's all esters and caramel malt. This isn't bad, but I certainly won't buy it again.

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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.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i poured this into a pint glass, it had a reddish color body, with a 2"tan head to it. The smell is sweet of malt. The taste is sweet of malt and has some citrus hop on the finish. I didn't detect any spices. The mouth feel is very nice, smooth and well carbonated. Overall a good beer. This is only the the 3rd scottich ale i have had.

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Photo of liamt07
3.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Siciliano's. 12oz into a tulip, batch 11572 bottled Oct 22, 2012.

Hazy reddish orange with a few fingers of cream coloured head. Nose has a sweet cakey malt, some fruits, a bit of grass/herbal and some grains. Taste has grainy notes, some dried fruits, citrus zest, and some spice. Mild bitterness, malt is sweet. Medium carbonation. Nice flavour profile on this guy, I'd revisit.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass at cellar temperature.

L – Medium amber color with a 1.5-finger bubbly, cream-colored head. Pretty good retention and some nice lacing. Lots of yeasty floaters make the beer appear murky.

S – Lots of caramel malt, some nutty and toasted malt, and some earthy and faintly smoky aromas, too. There may be some very faint orange hops in here, as well.

T – Sweet caramel malt up front giving way to toasted, nutty malt and some earthiness. Possibly a presence of bitter citrus hops can be appreciated at the finish.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and somewhat creamy mouthfeel, and a toasted and slightly bitter finish.

O – This is a pretty good beer. It just seems a little watered down, especially for a Christmas beer. I think it would do well with some more of that sweet caramelized malt and definitely some more smoky and earthy aromas and flavors. Still, this is a tasty and very drinkable beer. Even when Bell’s misses, they don’t miss by much.

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Photo of Jerone
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A - Hazy golden tan one finger head, some lacing. With every beer from my six pack I got large sized floatables that I do not like at all.

S - Nice malt smell, bready, touch of yeast, touch of hops.

T - Mostly bready malt with a kinda weird and nice aftertaste of yeasty bread with a hint of hops.

M - Mouthfeel was good, medium carbonation, pretty light body.

O - Meh, nothing I would buy again, could be done much better and I don't know why I kept getting large floatables in my beers, and yes I was very careful when pouring.

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Photo of Mojo
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle -> dimpled mug

This offering from Bell's Brewery pours up a kind of hazy copper with a big fluffy two finger head with great retention, and plenty of lacing. The smell is kind if grassy and pine. Taste is kind of dry and flat, not very strong at all. It isn't bad but it certainly wasn't as good as I expected it would be. Mouthfeel is okay, but has a mild lingering unpleasant aftertaste. I've had worse, but this was kind of a disappointment considering the brewery.

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Photo of bigaltemple
3.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Bottle Packaged 10/16/12

A - Bright copper with lots of yellow and orange. Two-finger, foamy, off-white head settles to 1/4" thickness and remains that way throughout. Thick sheets of lacing coat the glass after every drink. Just an amazing look to this beer!

S - Light caramel malts. Some muted spices. Small hint of orange peel and mild bitterness. Nothing really standing out here.

T/M - A bit spicy and lots of malt initially. Has some citrus rind bitterness, with a little hops bite. Light to medium body. A little thin. Very crisp carbonation.

O - After being stoked about the appearance of this one, everything else just stuck to a pretty average brew. Easy to drink, and I could very easily handle a few, but can't say it makes me want to seek it out.

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Photo of wingman14
4.08/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy orange caramel with a frothy off white head. Smell is sweet and malty, a little bready, very different and inviting. Taste follows, less sweet than expected but a unique malt flavor, with not much else except a hint of bitter at the end. I was surprised to read on bells website that they use no spices, considering the smells and flavors. A nice smooth medium mouthfeel. Overall a unique Christmas ale, definitely worth trying.

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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.

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Photo of mick303
4/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 11.29.12

A - Pours a cloudy light brown with a one inch tan head with good retention.

S - Malts, orange peel and some toast.

T - Spice, Orange peel, and mild malts.

D - Good carbonation and a mediumb body.

O - Mild all-around - meh. Needs more in one direction or the other.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
2.99/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Horny Goat pint glass

Appearance- The color is a hazy peach with a solid finger of off white head that only dissipates a small amount. Leaves a decent amount of cascaded lacing.

Smell- Some carmel, pine and bready malt.

Taste- First off, I have to say this barley reminds me of a scotch ale at all. I suppose there is a case to be made that it could be a winter warmer/scotch ale experiment gone wrong. You get this Wheat beer flavor with an orange peel flavor that is quickly cut off by a ton of smoke.

Mouthfeel- Nice medium body with medium carbonation that creates a crisp semi dry finish.

Overall- This beer is all over the place with the flavor and scent profile. As I described above, it is a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a reddish amber color with a nice one finger off white head. The head has a good level of retention giving a quite nice level of lacing.

Smell – The nose is overall quite light. It consists of a light bready smell mixed with some light citrus and brown sugar.

Taste – A bready and malty flavor greets the tongue. A decent sweetness is upfront being of a caramel and brown sugar flavor. Dark fruit flavors then come to the taste more toward the middle. While the dark fruit comes to the taste, the sugary tastes dwindling a bit. Some flavors of a smoky nature soon come to the tongue more toward the end and are accompanied by a light spice as well as some bitter citrus. These flavors, in the end, leave a malty but hop and sweet balanced flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the brew was on the thicker and creamier side for a brew of only 5.5 % abv. The carbonation level was on the slightly lower side, but very close to average. The combo of the thicker body and medium carbonation made it a bit of a slower drinker, but not too slow where it wasn't still refreshing and to where all the spice and sweet flavors lost their draw. Quite nicely done.

Overall – A great drinking Christmas ale with a good flavor and mouthfeel.

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Photo of 2BDChicago
4.5/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty redish amber haze, on top is a fluffy foam head that's kinda of kahki color.

Grabbing me with totaly non-standard flavors...esp for style (not always a fav).

Very low note of sotch ale on top of bubblegum.

Spice bombs are a distant memory.

What a mellow holiday brew, that has a personality. I could see this as a go-to brew on a long x-mas eve.

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

A: Pours a very hazy (almost cloudy) dark copper in color with some orange and ruby red highlights, moderate amounts of visible carbonation, and moderate amounts of small visible yeast particles in suspension. The beer has a two finger tall creamy beige head that slowly reduces to an even thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Overall, there is a rather light aroma to this beer with some light notes of toasted bready malts, spices, dark fruits, and yeast.

T: There is a moderate amount of maltiness to this beer - some caramel, some toasted, and just a hint of peat smoked malts.There are some lighter hints of spices and dark fruits in there as well, giving it a touch of sweetness upfront. There is a light to moderate amount of citrus/orange peel hops that contribute some light bitterness that lingers. Just a touch of yeastiness to the overall flavor as well.

M: Light to medium bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Not really what I expected, a little light in smell and taste for what I expect in the style - I expected something a little less generic from Bell's. Overall the flavor is pretty well balanced and enjoyable. Easy to drink because it is ind of generic.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, bottled on date reads 10/15/2012 so this beer is nice and fresh at only about 2 months old.

A - Pours a hazy dark orange with lots of sediment floating around and lots of bubbles rushing to the top creating a nice two finger head that lingers around.

S - I'm getting a lot of crisp malts in the nose, and a strong bubblegum smell, but not much else.

T - Nice roasted malts hit the palate right away, maybe a little bit of a hop presence, and definitely a touch of fruity sweetness hidden in the back somewhere.

M - The mouth holds a nice level of carbonation, not too weak, not too heavy. The resinous feel of the hops chills in the back of your mouth somewhere, as does the roasted malt flavors.

Overall, this isn't a bad beer to kick back and chill with in front of the hearth, after a nice fat holiday dinner. Nothing remarkable, but highly drinkable stuff.

Bell's Christmas Ale ---3.5/5.

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Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 492 ratings.