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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.

1,237 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,237
Reviews: 462
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 36
Gots: 63 | 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: 1,237 | Reviews: 462 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Eriktheipaman
2.75/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a murky amber with white head that left about no lacing.

The smell was very weak and only on biscuit.

The taste had a nice not too over powering bitter to it with a little dry bread on the back.

Overall this beer wasnt very impressive at all. It was just very bland and lacked and special character or solidness to it.

Eriktheipaman, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
2.58/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark orange amber with a thick and full white head.

Nose is very light, even at room temperature. There was an initial "flash" or light orange marmalade and then, literally, nothing! No nose, despiste room temperature and some swirling in a nice tulip glass.

Mouthfeel is clean and simple with nice balance and light creamy character. "Feels" well made.

Flavors are simple toast and lightly roasted grain. A modest beer that tastes like a decent brown ale. No spice character, nothing to indicate a Christmas or holiday brew.

Finish is simple light bitter coffee.

GRG1313, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of KickInTheChalice
2.98/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Out of the bottle this is a pure translucent copper color with a foamy off-white head that fades to a ring and leaves little lacing.

Smell: This is a very subtle aroma. Toasted malt and a touch of earthy hops.

Taste: The taste is very mild too. Lightly toasted biscuity malt, some peat, some earthy hops, and that's it. Finishes mostly clean, with a little bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The body feels kind of light, with lots of bubbly carbonation popping on my tongue.

Drinkability: Wow, this is pretty sad. Bell's normally delivers in the flavor department, but this was just flat and boring.

KickInTheChalice, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of psuKinger
2.9/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle given to me by my buddy Ryan. Bottle poured into my standard curved shaker-pint glass.

A: Pour a light red translucent color with a nice 1 fingered off-white head on top.

S: Muted smell of yeasty sugars.

T: This is a very underwhelming beer. Mild flavors of Christmas spice. Cinnamon and cotton candy. Just a touch of hops to help round out the beer. There isn't much of anything here to dislike... but there's also not a whole lot here to love, either.

M: Light and crisp, properly carbonated and a touch of frothy creaminess if you hold it in your mouth.

D: This beer is fine. Uninspiring, but fine. I would have another one back-to-back to this if something else wasn't available, but if a selecation was available to me I would choose to move on to something else.

psuKinger, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of russpowell
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes, had this about 2 months ago
from Batch 10023

Pours an effervescent amber with 2+ fingers of cream colored head. Good head retention and lacing

S: Leafy & herbal hops, figs

T: Follows the nose, plus a touch of lemons & pine, plus a kiss of toffee & orange rind up front. Breadyness & herbal hops fight it out as this warms,along with leafy hops, tangerine & figs. Finishes with herbal hop bitterness, dryness, caramel. figgy notes & woody hops. .5 deduction for drifting off style

MF: Chewy enough, low carbonation, good balance & a nice warming sensation

Drinks easy enough, a nice one to relax by the fire with. This one did not age well, had a couple bottles a month after purchase & it was going down hill fast

russpowell, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. The pour yields a clear, dark, reddish-orange amber colored body. A spongy head of khaki colored foam settles quickly, leaving a frothy skin on the surface and some jagged flares and spots on the glass. Despite the malty claim on the description, this is one hoppy scotch ale which isn't really true to its style. Notes of pine, grass, and grapefruit come across as a "christmas-y" taste lending bright, bittering notes to the underlying base of toasted bread, honey, and Lightly bronzed sugars. Flavors are similarly structured, striking a nice balance between resinous, citrusy hops, dough, toast, and light toffee-honey sweetness. The palate is medium-plus in stature, lively carbonated, finishing grassy, resinous, and semi-dry. It is a weird and non-traditional scottish ale...

CuriousMonk, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of garymuchow
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #10022.
Initial pours little sweet toasty caramel aroma. Moves to a more neutral ale yeast fragrance in a bit.
Nice looking. Full off-white head covers a amber slightly cloudy body with lots of bubbles rising from the bottom of SN Tulip glass.
Surprisingly light in flavor as with aroma. Malt based with slight drying in the end. Low overall sweetness. Slight hop taste on the edges with aides in the drying too. Somewhat dry on the extended finish.
Carbonation seems a bit high for style but it would take away that good looking head too (trade-off I guess). Moderate body.
This is okay. Better than bad versions, but not as interesting as good versions.
Bell's interesting. Some many exceptional beers, and quite a few every day drinkers that could be a notch up. All in all though one of the best brewery's in this fair country.

garymuchow, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of djbreezy
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance - transparent amber, mild lacing

smell - mild and roasty malt profile

taste - malty and a bit grassy, some caramel, mostly nutty

mouthfeel - light but heavily carbonated (way too much)

drinkability - way too much carbonation, fairly mild flavor, not much there especially for the abv

djbreezy, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of gmfessen
3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, Bell's Christmas Ale is an amber-orange color with a frothy white head. Probably on the lighter side of the color spectrum for a Scottish Ale. The nose is a mixture of crystal malt, caramel and west coast citrus-y hops. The flavor has a big upfront hoppiness to it (citrus and pine resin) and then mellows into a better balance as the sweeter caramel notes come out; however the brew does lean towards the hoppy side. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, slightly dry with a creamy carbonation. Overall, a very drinkable beer, a very good beer but I'm not sure how it fits in as a Scottish Ale - I think it may have rated better in a different category.

gmfessen, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of zoso493
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Stone straight-sided pint glass.

Appearance: Bell's Christmas offering pours a copper amber that is looks more like an IPA than anything. I would hesitate to describe this brew as hazy, but it maintains a bit fair bit of translucency. A bubbly one-finger head is found atop the beer, which fades slowly to coat the top of the brew.

Smell: The nose is definitely on the lighter side of things, in both character and pungency. There are some bready, toasted malts that emerge first, followed by some grassy, herbal graininess, perhaps being provided by the hops.

Taste: The taste is equally as light as the smell, with the toasted malts and yeast playing the lead role. The grains are less present, however, and the hops are solely there for the bittering. This is actually not a bad Scotch ale by any means.

Mouthfeel: This is a very crisp beer, as it's pretty highly carbonated. A lot of maltier beers can stick to your a palate a bit, but this one is clean and refreshing.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable and one that could be made into a session if need be. It's light, it's crisp, and it's refreshing, though it might be better suited to another season than winter for heavy consumption.

Overall, Bell's Christmas Ale is a very good example of a Scottish ale. I spent 6 months in Scotland last year and tried my fair share of Scottish ales, and this brew is one of the better examples I've had. That being said, I'm not a huge fan of Scottish ales, as they are too light on the flavor, but I've enjoyed this beer.

zoso493, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
4.33/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Out of all the on tap offerings today this one was the best!

A - Looks to be a deep color amber with a nice bit of foam and the best lacing on the sides of my glass. Great presentation!

S - Smells faint but I can get cinnamon and nutmeg with some hops and malts.

T - Very good! I can pick up the cinnamon, maybe some all spice, and nutmeg but also a mild cherry tone. Tastes awesome!

M - Very light to medium bodied. Was able to finish the sample pretty quick.

D - I don't remember it being this great out of the bottle but it sure impressed me on tap! Great flavor and surprisingly smooth low ABV scotch ale!

DrDemento456, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of billab914
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Starr Hill shaped glass. It poured a deep copper color with a frothy, inch thick head to it. The head faded to a thin transparent layer and left just a hint of lacing on the glass.

The aroma shows some herbal, earthy hops to it along with a moderate bready and malty flavor. I get just a hint of nuttiness to it as well. Not bad, but also not that much to it.

The taste has more caramel and nutty flavors to it, and less hops compared to the aroma. Some malty and bready sweetness come through as well. The hops are very faint in the finish and probably lend more of a balancing bitterness than anything else.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability isn't bad, it went down pretty easily and had some decent flavors. It wasn't bad at all but it also just wasn't all that special either. It seemed pretty plain for a Xmas beer as well.

billab914, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of WJVII
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew was a nice red amber color, mostly transparent with a 1 finger white head that dissipated to a thin cap with decent lacing down the glass. The aroma was nice with a good citrus hop presence and a solid caramel malt essence. Truth be told I was expecting more of a winter warmer style which tends to be too over the top spicy with cinnamon and clove and the like but this brew being a scottish ale was nice and balanced. The caramel malts hit the front of your tongue while the slight citrus and pine hops hit the finish with moderate carbonation and a crisp finish this is a fine ale to sip on. Good session brew in my opinion.

WJVII, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of RickS95
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks like the standard issue winter beer. It's a brownish, copperish orange, just dark enough to be slightly opaque.

It's differnt than other winter beers in that there are no spices evident in the nose. You pick up some hops and that's all. Not a bad smell, just not much of it.

The taste is pleasant. Malts and hops hit the palate, and it's got a fruity sweetness to it.

The mouthfeel is complex due to the hoppy bitterness and the fruity sweetness. The two feelings feed off each other giving a crisp feeling.

This goes down well. The fruity flavors make each drink worth it. The moderate alcohol mean you can have several.

RickS95, Dec 30, 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 beerphan
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle -> american pint
CODE: 10027

Pours a clear burnt copper with bright orange highlights. A small delicate head quickly disappears and deposits only a few dots of lace. Carbonation show up big on the pour, then retreats to a steady stream of bubbles of all sizes.

Nose: Light caramel, some herbal funk

Medium semi creamy almost slick mouthfeel. A full on blast of malt sweetness with candy caramel and sticky toffee. Some deep biscuit tones battle the caramels. A medium bitterness tips the sweet scales slightly and finishes the brew semi-dry and sticky sweet.

Another quality Bells offerering, not your typical spiced Christmas Ale brewed with locally grown ingredients, kudus Bells.

beerphan, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of Shrews629
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - A reddish/burnt orange/copper color with a very large soapy, off white head that stayed around for a bit and has sufficient lacing. The beer is mostly clear with several bubbles rising. The head settled to a nice film on top.

Smell - Faint bit of an earthy malt tone. Some ginger bread aromas. Detecting some nuttiness. Maybe almond. The aromas seem more laid back than I had anticipated.

Taste - The taste provided the ginger again along with some nutmeg spices I thought. A touch of a custard taste.

Mouthfeel - Medium/thin mouthfeel. Mostly smooth and mostly dry. Left suitable flavor on the palate. Would like to have had a fuller mouthfeel with a Christmas themed brew.

Drinkability - This beer is alright. Wouldn't be my first choice for a Winter/Christmas brew, but ok none the less. It's easily drinkable with tame aromas and flavors. I would drink it again if it was offered.

Shrews629, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of asabreed
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Pilsener glass.

Appearance: A nice copper color with layers in the glass and good carbonation, leaving an off-white head at the top.

Smell: Definitely floral, with a good sense of caramel maltiness and some fruit esters going on too.

Taste: As it warms, notes of spices come in, mostly cinnamon. But it's a fairly floral brew overall, both from what I imagine is the fruit esters and the hops. Finishes slightly bready with nice fruit esters and citrus hops and spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with nice, full carbonation.

Drinkability: A cool take on the style for the season. Drinkable, sessionable, and a good amalgam of flavors for the season. Merry Christmas everyone.

asabreed, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of dogger6253
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark amber color with a strong, foamy, glorious head on top. The head is really something special, the body not so much, but nothing off-putting.

The nose is sort of an amalgamation of floral hops and chocolate and tobacco. There is not much there, no power in the scent. Aromas are there, but they don't really sing.

Taste is nice and bready with a candy-like sweetness. There are barely any hops to speak of, no real bitterness of any kind. I'm searching for the chocolate and tobacco I smelled, not really there. The flavor is quite nice, but no real depth to make this exceptional.

This beer is quite refreshing and not heavy on the gut or the head. I might make this a go-to session beer this holiday season.

dogger6253, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of ZAP
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not a scottish ale...more of a floral pale ale with a nice candy sweet maltiness...

A-Burnt orange...substantial creamy off white head

S-Hopes shine through...floral/herbal characteristics..

T-More of a candy like maltiness to the taste with earthy/floral hop notes..

D-Nice drinkable beer but there are a lot like that. If I want a Holiday Beer from Bell's I'd rather reach for an Expedition...scratch off the label and write HOLIDAY BEER in black market to appease myself. As a beer this is decent. As a Holiday special beer it is a disappointment. I'll rate it as a beer...an APA..

ZAP, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of projectflam86
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an orange color with an amber hue. A nice thick head leaves some lacing.

S- Sweetness and some toasted oats in the nose. Not really picking up much?

T- Nice malted grain flavor with some sweetness in the finish. A touch of spice and the slightest bit of hops shine through.

M- Crisp clean flavor. High carbonation and hardly any alcohol is noticeable.

D- Highly drinkable because there isn't too much to think about and it won't wear your tastebuds out. Although I was expecting a bit more flavor.

projectflam86, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of damndirtyape
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle (Batch 10019) poured into a Tulip glass.

Appearance: Poured a clear coppery-orange color initial with a gradual pour to keep the sediment in, but some of it got through making the beer a hazy to translucent coppery orange. Due to the slow pour I got a thin light tan head, but it grew a bit as I drank it down. Nice lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Sweet malt with some hint of oranges and citrus hops.

Taste: Like many other reviews, I have a hard time believing this one is really classified as a Scottish Ale. An American Pale Ale maybe, but not a Scottish Ale. It certainly doesn't taste like one, with a balance between caramelized malt and orange-like citrus hops. When cold the orange flavors are much stronger, and the die back a bit as the beer warms up.

Mouthfeel: Good to high carbonation, thicker than water and clings to the teeth a bit. Above average but nothing special.

Drinkability: The orange aspect to this beer is unusual, but I think it works for a Christmas Ale. I think of oranges as gifts during the holidays, and with the orange balanced out by the malt, it comes out as a sipping beer to savor on a cold evening - it's certainly festive. However, I found I could not have another one by the end, one is enough. But it is definitely not a Scottish Ale and should not be thought as such nor rated as such.

damndirtyape, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of maltusaurelius
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm not sure why this is labeled a Scottish Ale on BA. Nothing on the label or anything from Bell's calls it a Scotch Ale. I'd put it firmly in the American Amber category, and it is pretty similar to Bell's Amber Ale.

It doesn't have any spice and is not a "big" beer, so it is atypical for a Christmas seasonal offering. I don't mind having something new to try this time of year that tastes like a good, standard beer - i.e. something sans exotic flavorings that doesn't overwhelm the palate. On the minus side, with the Amber already in their lineup this seems somewhat redundant.

Pours a dark amber color, with an off white fluffy head that dissipates after a few sips to leave a light foam on top. Minimal lacing on the glass. In color I think it's a half shade darker than Bell's Amber (I'd have to look at them side by side to tell for sure) - call it a brownish amber.

It's a malt forward beer, but with enough hop bitterness to make it balanced. Notes of toast, caramel and a slight hint of cotton candy are present. It would be good to drink with a meal - it's got enough flavor to pair with a wide variety of foods without being overwhelming - or as a session beer. I like it pretty well but if you are looking for something with some seasonal spice or something big and hearty this won't fit the bill. If you're entertaining and want to stock a beer that's drinkable, but has enough flavor that beer snobs won't scoff, this would do nicely.

maltusaurelius, Dec 21, 2010
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.

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 Maerzen
3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm really torn on how to review this beer. First of all, it's very good and I've really enjoyed drinking it. However, it doesn't have any qualities that I would usually associate with a Christmas Ale. In fact, I'm noticing on the description at the top of this page that someone as listed it as a Scottish Ale. hmm. It reminds me a bit of a light Marzen.

A - It pours a nice copper color with good foam and some lacing.

S - Nice hints of malt. However, no spice at all.

T - A very nice scottish ale. Too bad it's supposed to be a Christmas Ale.

M - This is actually the best attribute of this beer. Nice creamy feel.

D - This beer is very drinkable. However, it would not be what I was expecting or wanted if I were ordering a Christmas Ale.

Maerzen, Dec 21, 2010
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,237 ratings.