Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

491 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 491
Hads: 1,537
Avg: 3.58
pDev: 22.91%
Wants: 46
Gots: 205 | 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: 491 | Hads: 1,537
Photo of spinrsx
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle - thanks to cfrancis for this

Appearance - Slightly hazy reddish/copper colour with a large size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hay/straw, cherries, grapefruit, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and some herbal notes. There is also a cherry sweetness mixed with light hops. It ends with a malty and spicy aftertaste.

Overall - The beer definitely has a taste all it's own. It's a mixed bag of all kinds of flavours, unfortunately one of them is a little too artificial. Still a beer with a taste that is interesting enough to warrant trying it.

 757 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.71/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rusty, ruby amber with bright copper highlights. Great two finger head after the pour that recedes to a lovely thick skin of foam that lastst the whole twelve ounces. Great bubbling too. Very faint note of spices in the nose that add a nuancing glaze to the dry tasted malt nose. Toasted whole grain bread starts the taste,then a some spearminty hops come in the middle. The finish is a spicey herbal note. Hints of cardamon and even a little cinnamon play with the minty hops and bready malts. Pretty hoppy for a Scottish ale. Bready and grist in mouthfeel. Good mix of flavor, hough I don't think it falls under the Scottish ale category.

 648 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Batch #9422

(A)- Pours a clear red amber that produced a white head with good retention. Some lacing present.

(S)- A lightly sweet honey & spice with a toffee nuttiness to it.

(T)- A light sweetness with honey & nuts with a light spicyness. Has a very generic corn-husk flavor to its profile.

(M)- Good balance and carbonation level with a simple, but good feel to it. Straightforward.

(D)- Good, but was expecting something more than this. A great session beer, but definitely not what I thought this would be. Didnt think this was a scotch ale until I looked it up. . . definitely doesnt smell or taste as such :/

 667 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.31/5  rDev +20.4%
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!

 614 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.94/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle at Cloverleaf in Royal Oak, not wanting to commit to a 6-pack until I tried one first. The beer sort of light colored for a scotch ale, darkish yellow with a 2-finger head. The smell is malty with a little, very little, hops fruitiness. The taste is toasted and malty, with a really nice fruit after-taste. I could drink quite a few more of these just for the after-taste, so good. I'm getting a 6-pack before Christmas, and recommend the same to everyone else.

 482 characters

Photo of glid02
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last year's version purchased from Brawley's in Charlotte quite a while back.

Pours a chestnut brown color with a 1.5-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted caramel malts with hints of nondescript fruit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramel and toasted malt flavors up front carry through to a sweet ending. As the beer warms very slight fruit flavors enter into things but they're not as intense as the aroma would indicate and they take a backseat to the malts. Not a whole lot of complexity here but everything's done well.

Mouthfeel is good. There's a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing the bottle and could have another.

Overall this is a solid low ABV scotch ale. Worth a shot.

 819 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev 0%
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.

 515 characters

Photo of barczar
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%

Aroma is slightly sweet caramel malt, with soft notes of cinnamon. Fairly subtle. Flavor reveals a clashing slightly sour/specialty malt fruitiness and a bitter finish. Toffee notes are welcome, but clash again with floral and perfumey hops.

 241 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, batch 8802 - always nice to see a new bells release

appearance: poured into a hopleaf tulip, murky and muddy amber body, light beige head with very minimal retention

smell: light malty aromas, a touch of nut and a touch of grain.

taste: This beer just doesnt do much of anything for me...it has some traces of promise but falls pretty damn flat. There is a festively spiced hop profile and a light earthy malt base but it certainly isnt your fathers scotch ale and it just doesnt have much flavor at all

mouthfeel: smooth, medium-light

drinkability: fine

 572 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Batch # 9422 (October 21, 2009).

Thanks to Sweemzander for hooking up two bottles of the Holiday spirit!

A - This pours a beautiful clear amber orange color with a two-finger off-white head. Very dense and creamy looking. Great retention and some thick lacing on the glass.

S - The mellow aroma smells of light malts and a refined honey sweetness. A little bit of brown sugar pokes out. There is also this overarching mango, fruity nose. Very fruity. No hops in the aroma.

T - Smooth mellow malts with an underlying honey sweetness. The fruitiness is there but goes to the back burner. Up front is a delicate hop flavor that's a bit floral and all subtle.

M - Very creamy and smooth in the mouth, it's medium-bodied with a light dry but crisp finish. Well balanced.

D - Not all that Christmas-y but it is darn good. A mellow and smooth beer with a little crisp bite to the end that smells, looks, and tastes good.

 959 characters

Photo of xnicknj
3.37/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

on tap at devils den

Pours a clouded auburn with a solid white head. Fades to film which disappears rather quickly, leaving hardly any lacing.

Some malty peat and chocolate in the nose, with notes of breadiness as well.

Begins with citrusy hops and pine, followed by notes of chocolate and bitterness. Slight smoke and leather with some caramel malt. Finishes a little dry with some bread crust and lightly roasted malt.

Thinner medium body, higher carbonation, a little chewy. Drinks okay, but I really wasn't impressed with the flavor and pretty much wanted to be through with this to get to something better.

 618 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 486 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes out of the bottle clear and coppery with a thick and persistent off-white head. Aroma is malty and slightly fruity and spicy. Malty flavor has spicy undertone, mainly cloves and cinnamon and a fruity touch. Texture is strongly tingly and fairly smooth.

 258 characters

Photo of bsuedekum
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

 780 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a middle of the road copper color with reasonable clarity and a slightly off-white, small head that dissipates quick and doesn't leave much lacing to speak of. The aroma was hard to pick up on, at first I wasn't getting much of anything. I let it warm a little bit and started picking up some apple slices with peppery overtones, along with some other kitchen spices that were difficult to identify. Taste is crisp and full of spices, nutmeg and cinnamon being the most noticeable, along with the pepper flavor that rides the full wave. Some leafy bitterness at the end leaves you with an overall dry finish.

This beer is okay, nothing special. I'm glad I tried it, but there are many Christmas-time seasonal beers I'd choose over this one. Still worth a shot, though.

 775 characters

Photo of Durge
3.84/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beauty from the Ohoove cellars looks cloudy rust colored with a decent off-white head and solid lacing. The aroma has a big earthy malt, maybe peat and allspice and banana clove. Very nice. The first taste brings a ton of carbonation with bright grassy hops and light toffee malt. It's mid to light bodied. The hop bites the tip of the tongue with just a hint of clove. It's very angry with tiny bubbles. I get some apple mash and a bit of belly warmth. Overall a good if unspectacular brew but also not evident of any traditional holiday characteristics. Drinkable enough, just wish it tasted as good as it smelled.

 621 characters

Photo of champ103
3.18/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

 615 characters

Photo of drpimento
3.49/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Welll, interesting. Poured with a nice, white, foamy, frothy head and lotsa lace. Color is a very clear medium-to-dark amber. Aroma is malty. Flavor is more hoppy than what I'd expect. Body is thinner also than what I'd expect; ditto carbonation being almost spritzy. Not a bad beer in general, but as a scotch ale, not as much. Still, a good beer and easy drinking. Could be a session beer especially if you're not too demanding of allegiance to style.

 453 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper color with a creamy tan head. Wonderful lacing.

Nose has quite a bit going on. I get some candy apple fruitiness, a mix of grassy and citrus hops, graininess and some green grapes. Reminds me of a box of gobstoppers jaw breakers.

Taste is mostly of pine needles and fresh grains. Hints of light fruits...golden apples and pears. Quite hoppy upon further inspection, but is balanced well. Not getting much scotch ale characteristics here. A pretty decent beer, but I don't think it is quite up to par with the rest of Bell's stellar lineup.

 553 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
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..

 588 characters

Photo of Immortale25
3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. Label says packaged on 10/13/11.

A- Pours a medium copper color with a 1/2 inch head that retains a bit and fades into an 1/8 inch head with considerable lacing.

S- Has a glassy, metallic smell with some sweet spiciness.

T- Tastes clean and balanced but there's not a lot of flavor. Weak hops and only a bit stronger malts give way to very mild spice notes. Almost tastes like a lager.

M- Medium-high carbonation with a mouthfeel that seems too thin considering the color of the beer.

O- What is it with Bells' winter seasonals being so unexciting? This and Winter White Ale are both not bad, just boring.

 651 characters

Photo of Bung
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Suprisingly light amber pour. Disapating off white head. Some malt, raisin aromas, but more piney/citrus hops than would be expected for the style. Tastes similarly. Finish hop bitter clean. Overall, pretty drinkable, but I would classify this as somewhere between a pale and a scotch ale. I expected more with this style being one I've taken a liking to and Bell's usually producing quality in the traditionally stronger flavored/abv styles. Bell's still has it's standouts, but many of their low gravity style beers are becoming rather mainstream.

 549 characters

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.

 1,328 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.49/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Bottled 30 October 2015. Can't believe I've never seen this one before.
A: Gorgeous ruby red. Almost glowing. Beautiful with a half-finger of head. Pellucid and lovely.
S: It smells like artificial cherry. Cheerwine or cough syrup. How strange!
T: Weird beer. It's...syrupy strange. Malty, but the fruit (cherry) character is the strange bit. Otherwise, spruce and freshy hops, with a lightly spritely citrus-hop aftertaste to temper the thick sweetness.
M: Herbal-fizzy mouthfeel, slightly sticky endtaste. A bit chewy. Caramel malt.
O: I hate to say, but I don't love it. It's a bit weird, muddled. Thickish and sort of syrupy.

 682 characters

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.

 539 characters

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 491 ratings.