Bell's Christmas Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Ratings: 1,214 | Reviews: 461 | Display Reviews Only:
4/5 rDev +12%
Pours a hazy orange-ish/ amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, sweet caramel maltiness. In the taste, sweet malt, nice presence of caramel and a nice bitter all the way through. A bitter and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry, piney hop in the aftertaste. Nice hop presence and nice maltiness.
01-29-2009 00:38:58 | More by OWSLEY069
3.73/5 rDev +4.5%
12 oz. bottle. Batch 8803. Pours a cloudy amber to copper color, with a fair amount of sediment. Tan rocky head. Pretty good head retention and lace.
Lots of toasty malt in the nose. A bit of toffee. Some earthy notes. Certainly malt driven in the nose.
Good dose of caramel, slightly toasty malt. A bit of an odd metallic edge. Some earthy bitterness at the end.
Medium body, with a good dose of carbonation. Very easy to drink. While I wouldn't call this a wee heavy personally, it is a good beer. I am not sure how this beer ties in with Christmas, but it is worth a shot.
01-25-2009 15:42:49 | More by Bierguy5
3.15/5 rDev -11.8%
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.
A - Murky orange/amber with about 3 fingers of off white head. Retention is decent, some minimal lacing.
S - I have a hard time believing this is a wee heavy. Some caramel and brown sugar but very faint. A spicy/hoppy note is most prevalent in the nose, with some pine and grass. Weak and unfocused nose in general.
T - Again, not exactly a wee heavy. Moderate sweetness accompanied by mild fruit and brown sugar flavors. The hops are quite apparent with grassy and hay like notes from the nose with an oniony flavor reminiscent of body odor. Small bitterness wraps things up with some graininess in the aftertaste.
M - Light to medium bodied, certainly too thin to showcase the malt or to call itself a wee heavy. Carbonation is moderate and while initially it feels overdone, it would probably be less noticable with a fuller body.
D - Bell's Christmas Ale is an above average beer, but I'm having a hard time thinking of this as a wee heavy; this might be closer to an American brown. Quite drinkable, but the thinness, hop forwardness, and lack of malt presence render this very different from a wee heavy.
01-21-2009 07:53:50 | More by PatrickJR
3.5/5 rDev -2%
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.
01-20-2009 20:05:21 | More by twiggamortis420
3.48/5 rDev -2.5%
Let's get one thing out on the table, right now. I don't see how "Scotch" fits anywhere in the description of this ale. I just had to get that off of my chest before I went any further.
A: A 12 oz. brown bottle with a most uninspired Christmas tree in the middle of what appears to be a field of wheat or barley on the front label. Seriously, that tree should have been taken out of its misery years ago. It pours a deep orange with a nice 1/2" of slightly orange, creamy white head that leaves some wonderful lace. Very hazy with a great deal of yeast particulate floating around. This is the only part about this beer that I really like. It actually screams Christmas to me, but this is the only part that screams. It certainly looks nothing like a "scotch ale" as described on the back label.
S: The nose is not very strong, but Christmasy enough; mostly cinnamon spice with a hint of caramel and orange peel in the background. It's OK, just not big enough to compete with the big boys.
T: This beer took some serious warming and swirling before I actually started to enjoy the taste. A heavy dose of Munich malt comes through in the flavor profile. Once again, caramel (just a touch), cinnamon and orange peel lie in the background. I'm still sticking with my original score, but I really did enjoy the flavor after about 45 minutes.
M: The mouthfeel is medium and very smooth.
D: Although certainly not at all what I think Bell's is capable of, it's still a very drinkable beer.
Notes: see first paragraph.
01-20-2009 03:50:07 | More by GruvisHops
2.93/5 rDev -17.9%
A - Unique color for a beer, a mix of tangerine and peach... Slight tan head fades leaving big chunky bubbles in the center of the glass and a moderate lace of small crisp bubbles around it... Still with a very slight haze to it...
S - Slightly medicinal... Malty... Bubble gum... A hint of spiciness... A faint musky scent...
T - Spice... Malt... Perhap a hint of hops... Overall, quite medicinal... This brew seems to have a severe identity crisis... Lots of distinct flavors, none of which seems to work well with each other...
M - Lots of carbonation... Medium bodied... Slight oily texture...
D - Overall this was quite dissappoint from a brewery that I typically have a lot of respect for... You can't hit a homerun everytime, but this was more a foulball off of their foot... Sorry Bell's, but it's the truth... The worst part is that there is nothing that I can grasp that leads me to believe that this is in fact a Wee Heavy... By far the most dissappointing Christmas brew of this holiday season...
01-17-2009 02:48:45 | More by philbe311
3.7/5 rDev +3.6%
Classic ochre with a blizzard of swirling yeast that stays in suspended animation. I love the look of unfiltered beer! The head is a thick chunk of firmly creamy, pastel orange foam that has character to burn. It's also very good at laying down loads of delicate lace. What's not to love?
The nose for one thing. To be fair, I don't *not* like it, I'm just not thrilled with it. It's too weak and doesn't seem like it belongs to a beer of this (supposed) style. Each sniff brings toasted malt, almost no earthiness and a hint of citrus fruit. Simple and subtle.
Christmas ale is too light to be a wee heavy or a Christmas ale. It's definitely well-brewed, but there aren't enough malty guts and there isn't a very distinctive personality. No spices either, which is fine by me (and wouldn't have fit the style anyway). I guess if Larry had wanted to brew a bigger beer, then he would have brewed a bigger beer.
This is as basic a Scottish ale as you're likely to run across. If peat-smoked malt was used, you couldn't tell it by me. The flavor profile consists of toasted bread-like malt (probably some combination of Vienna and Munich) and what tastes like German hops with added orange peel. The flavor intensity knob needs a good firm twist.
The body/mouthfeel is typical for this brewery. In other words, it's at least medium for the ABV (not the style!) and is supremely smooth and soft. Just like Great Lakes, Bell's always gets mouthfeel right.
Christmas Ale should be renamed Summer Scottish Ale. That way, Mr. Bell can give us the *real* Christmas Ale next year. You know, the 8.0% beast that is packed with smoke and caramel malt that melts in the mouth like warm toffee. Now that would be a beer worth drooling over.
01-14-2009 14:25:18 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.63/5 rDev +1.7%
A modest almond, rocky head develops over an opaque, dark amber, almost red beer. A very nice glow emanates when put to the light as the head drops leaving lots of lace.
The aroma carries sweet orange and bubblegum as well as other pleasant but unusual scents.
Loaded with malt and spices with a subtle, lingering bitterness.
The alcohol is barely noticeable in this light-bodied, very slick beer with soft carbonation and a touch of metallic notes.
Bell's Christmas Ale goes nicely with pizza and bar food. One could easily make a session with this selection.
date consumed: 12 Dec 2008
01-11-2009 20:30:00 | More by SLeffler27
3.48/5 rDev -2.5%
I was fairly unimpressed by the newest edition to the Bell's line-up. Usually all of their beers are stellar. When I heard that they were coming out with a Scottish Christmas Ale, I was eager to try one.
A mild Scotch Ale with an orangish amber color. A malt based ale with an sweet hop presence and a touch of holiday spice. Brown sugar and caramel malt give this winter warmer ale a full-bodied, crisp finish.
This holiday beer is still quite drinkable. The holiday spice does not overpower this ale like most do. Still a decent beer, but not one of Larry Bell's finest.
01-09-2009 16:59:26 | More by Gouxman
3.23/5 rDev -9.5%
poured a light amber with orange highlights and a fair bit of suspended particulate creating a light haze. A two finger head of a light cream color fades leaving behind some impressive lacing to the bottom of the glass.
malt-centric aroma, with sweet and toasty aromas dominating. hints of pine and a touch of fruit - dried apples and grapefruit? mild on the whole.
Taste is malty up front, giving way to a sweeter roasted malt with hints of chocolate and vanilla. Some fruity esters show up in the middle, with apples, citrus and plums. Candi sugar and a touch of hops finish, giving a fairly neutral lasting hop bitterness.
mouthfeel is smooth with ample carbonation. Very light and thin for a scotch/wee heavy though. I was expecting a bit thicker and fuller.
All in all, not a horrible brew, but not one I'd seek out again. Glad I tried it, but that's about it. It's labeled as a scotch, but between the lightness of body, lightness of aroma and flavors, and the odd fruit and spice flavors creeping in, it doesn't really fit the style all that well. All in all, a fairly disappointing brew that was far from satisfying.
01-08-2009 16:41:53 | More by djeucalyptus
3.35/5 rDev -6.2%
Poured into a pint glass.
A-Thick off-white head, attractive and with great retention, slowly going down to a strong reduced head. This dark amber beer is hazy with some floaties.
S-What was there was toffee and sweet malts; very appropriately malt-centric. Not as much aroma as I expected and/or desired.
T-Prominent toffee and nutty, scotchy malts. A very present bitterness helps to keep these malts from going hog wild on my palate. Finishes clean.
M-Medium-high carbonation. This is a nice, slippery but substantial, medium-bodied beer.
D-A brew appropriate for a cold night indoors (or outdoors, I suppose). As far as Scotch ales go, though, it seemed perhaps a bit too small on the flavor and aroma. Overall, enjoyable but lacking.
01-06-2009 22:22:41 | More by CHSLBrew
4.35/5 rDev +21.8%
Quite a bit a of light tan head atop this hazy copper colored beer. Decent lacing along the sides but I was expecting more after seeing three fingers of dense foam.
The smells coming from this scotch ale are malty, bready and a touch of citrus hops. Some earthy/floral aromas as well.
This has a very nice mouthfeel coupled with a smooth creamy body. Plenty of caramel malts add a nice sweetness with a biscuity/bready character. There is also a little bit of citrusy spice from the northwestern hops.
This is very drinkable and very tasty. Nice American version of a scotch ale.
01-06-2009 02:12:43 | More by stewart124
2.53/5 rDev -29.1%
Of all the Bell's Beer I've tried, i probably liked this one least (by far). Poured a medium amber color with a thin head that went away quickly. Aroma consisted of light malt, not a whole lot there, especially for a Christmas Ale. Tasted like malt and candy sugar, a little cloying.
01-05-2009 02:32:52 | More by Atricapilla
3.98/5 rDev +11.5%
A: Pours a light copper with a light tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly.
S: Smells of spices and alcohol. Also some sweetness of darker fruits.
T: The spiciness starts off the taste, but it shifts into the (light) sweetness of dark fruits and some maltiness.
M: Good; I think a beer where the mouthfeel would leave it enjoyable cold or at cellar temp.
D: When I ordered it, I assumed I was getting a winter warmer. But scotch ales are one of my favorite styles, so I didn't mind that it wasn't. Yet it didn't really taste like any other scotch ales I've had. Not sure what category I'd have put it in. Nevertheless, probably would get it again.
01-04-2009 01:24:32 | More by lhaqq
2.15/5 rDev -39.8%
Pours a cloudy amber. I expected a little darker for a Scotch Ale. The smell was very faint. Sweet bready aroma and some yeast in there as well. The taste was nothing like I expected. Not the usual raisins and figs you expect. Actually, it wasn't much of anything. The mouthfeel was far too light for the style. Not a good beer and I will not be buying again. Big dissapointment.
01-03-2009 00:58:31 | More by hops4me
3.08/5 rDev -13.7%
Pours out a murky, rusty red-gold, with a good inch of rocky white head.
Light malt and cherry aroma. I expected a heavier aroma out of a scotch ale.
Bready malts and a hint of cherry. Some spiciness at the back end, but overall, a bit bland.
Mouthfeel was quite light for the style. Scotch ales should be thicker, heavier, more coating.
The drinkability is pretty decent, but not something I would look to drink much of - it's just not that great of a beer.
01-01-2009 21:46:46 | More by Drewcifer
4.83/5 rDev +35.3%
Ok, I'm a big fan of Bell's so I came in assuming I would already love it. For a Scotch, it's a little weaker than I would prefer, but regardless I really enjoyed this brew and went back for more.
My favorite beer appearance is a reddish/golden look and this matches up perfectly. Nice froth on the poor, not too much lace left behind, and an excellent ale aroma. A nice beer that tastes like a beer, something I'm always looking for.
01-01-2009 18:16:27 | More by BellsGuy
3.48/5 rDev -2.5%
On-tap at Three Squares. Appeared a very hazy amber with no head. The aroma and flavor are heavy on phenols and a I get whiff of medicine at first. Later more fruit, like cherries, comes out, but the medicinal phenols rule. Frankly I had no idea this was a scotch ale, I took it for an odd Belgian. It was drinkable to the point where it wasn't hard to finish, but I wouldn't order another. I think this beer needs a little more work.
12-30-2008 16:22:08 | More by tempest
3.4/5 rDev -4.8%
The aroma is hay like with some earthiness. The taste is also very earth like and sweet. It has fruity bitterness to it with a little bit of spice. The aftertaste has some citrus tones. The body's color is cloudy with a copper color. The head is thin but there is a lot of lace to make up for that. Both the head and lace are tan in color. I sloshed this beer as I poured it and there was still only a minimum head. Overall I would have to go with decent.
12-30-2008 12:57:31 | More by MTNboy
3.35/5 rDev -6.2%
Purchased a bottle Rozi's Wine House in Lakewood, OH.
A: Two finger plus buff head - thick with good stand. Nice dark amber hue with good clarity.
S: Peaty malt aroma. Metallic, sweet, some hop character.
T: A clean if not boring taste. Subtle. Malty sweet with a whisp of bitterness on the back end. I'm not really digging this at all.
MF: Medium body - lightly carbonated.
D, notes: A boring beer. If you're going to call a scotch ale a Christmas Ale you need to come with some robust flavor - this doesn't.
12-29-2008 16:15:50 | More by Nipitato
3.95/5 rDev +10.6%
Appearance: Dark orange (almost red) body, nonexistent head, heavy amounts of carbonation suspended in the glass. Even aside from the bubbles, this is a very hazy beer -- I can't see through it to the other side except vague lights.
Smell: Clean dry malts, very bready. Other than the strong aroma of grains, not much else to the aroma. No hops present. It's good, just not complex.
Taste: Sweet caramel malty start, slightly dry in the finish. A touch of astringency to the aftertaste. A nice flavor, not very complex -- little I can really say about it in detail.
Mouthfeel: Moderate. Coats the tongue well but not quite as thick as you'd expect from a good Scotch Ale.
Drinkability: This is a good beer that is perhaps a tad mislabeled. I'd consider this closer to a bock than a Scotch Ale -- it's not high enough in alcohol or thick enough to justify the label its given. Not a lot of complexity, but a great flavor that makes it worth picking up.
12-29-2008 00:50:37 | More by danielharper
3.15/5 rDev -11.8%
Pours a nice looking golden amber. Lace stays on the sides. Pours a little head with not much carbonation staying.
Smell is very winter. Sweet spices (nutmeg, allspice) followed by some pine and then a sweet roasted malt at the end.
Taste is sweet and then really malty. Nice dark roasted malt give it a deep roasted taste with lots of sweet and spice at the end.
Mouthfeel was a little lacking. Very creamy at first but fades almost instantly. Could have been better.
Drinkability is so-so. If it was christmas eve then maybe but not an all day beer.
12-28-2008 22:16:41 | More by slvrmon82
3.55/5 rDev -0.6%
I picked this bottle up at Brass Rail in Campbelltown.
Poured chilled into my cervoise.
A - A dark amber w/ sunburst gold at the base w/ particles throughout (yeast or hops?). The head is 3 fingers and rocky w/ tight beads and light cream color. The lace clings to the glass well.
S - Smell is like christmas w/ pine hop scents and roasted nuts w/ a smell of dried fruit from the yeast.
M - Medium full carbonation w/ dry malt textures and subtle yeast spice
T - The taste of malt is both dry nutty, grainy and biscuit-like The caramel malt finishes and the PNW hops give a nice spice to balance the scotch ale w/ a pine essence and the yeast gives it crisp and clean scotch flavors which is both spicy and bready w/ nutty+ toasted notes
D - This is a tasty and drinkable scotch ale w/ plenty of flavor in respect to the moderate abv. The hops are pretty tasty but slightly more upfront in the flavor. Overall I find the drinkability of this to good and this is a pleasant Christmas offering
12-28-2008 16:12:30 | More by Slatetank
4.18/5 rDev +17.1%
A - Opaque, with a deep amber color and light tan head. Good retention and lacing.
S - Smells of sweet baked goods with a touch of frutiness.
T - A surprising bit of hops hits you at first, but malt sweetness quickly takes over. The finish is slightly smoky and bitter. No hint of any spices or other flavors associated with a Christmas Ale.
M - Light body and carbonation. Nothing exceptional here.
D - I find this to be a very easy drinking beer. It doesn't have a lot of complexity, but it's nice for relaxing on a winter's night. I also believe this should be categorized as a Scottish Ale, not a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. It's too light for a Scotch Ale, but as long as you know what you're getting, it's a very good beer.
12-27-2008 04:07:39 | More by gabe23
3.85/5 rDev +7.8%
Pours kind a rusty/copper color,with a one finger offwhite head. Aroma is complex as it warms,pretty much all malt,caramel,cereal, hints of roasted nuts,and tiny hints at some smoke.Flavor is all over the place,but in a good way,an earthy balance between sweet and dry,caramel, cinnamon,vanilla,honey,cereal, nutmeg,many aromas and flavors going on here but nothong that dominates. Thinner on the mouthfeel than I had expected but very drinkable. I'll buy this again next year.
12-26-2008 15:55:34 | More by WakeandBake
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,214 ratings.