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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.

1,289 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,289
Reviews: 466
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 40
Gots: 82 | 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: 1,289 | Reviews: 466 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Vancer
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

For a starter Xmas beer, I'm cracking the Bells version. Poured into my holiday Corsendonk tulip, she be clear amber with a frothy tan head.

Subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg in the aroma, a hearty quaff adds malt with a raspy wood finish. Nothing Scottish about this brew, nor does it pack enough punch for a Xmas ale. And when you add in the over $10 a sixer price, this will not make it back to my DBF anytime soon (or later).

Vancer, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of righthereisay
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a single bottle.

It was a very dark Amber with a big head. Really nice lacing.

Smell was not impressive.

A little bitter, maybe too much carbonation. Nice flavor. For a beer titled Christmas Ale, I expected more flavoring.

I could drink a bunch of these, especially on Christmas. But I wouldn't pay more than $20 for a case of this stuff.

righthereisay, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-Tap at Monk's

A- Bell's Christmas is a medium dark amber color with some burnt gold hazed within. This one is bordering on light copper. Much lighter than what I was expecting for a scotch ale. A nice white cap that left hardly anything resembling lace.

S- The smell is of a light Scottish ale that really does not resemble a Christmas ale at all. While there is a light (and Im being generous there) spicing the beer label is a bit misleading. Caramel with some light fruit.

T- I kinda like this. It's not a Christmas ale, and it's not really a scotch ale. While it leans towards the latter, it's kind of a light version with a bit of roast some caramel, vanilla and some nuts in the background. The spices are light and don't scream holiday time, it's something different that I cant put into words. a bit of cinnamon and a taste of faded hops.

M,D- A light scotch ale, not very roasty, above light bodied with medium carb, leaves a small crispness on the buds but goes down smooth. Not spicy at all, it wont overwhelm anything. Easy drinking and small alcohol. This is good, it's just not memorable.

BARFLYB, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brass Rail Deli on 12/3/09.

A - Emerged from the tap as a very effervescent, deep amber/orange liquid, reminiscent of a snow globe, with a solid finger's width of creamy beige head that retained well and deposited thick foamy lace down the sides of the glass.

S - Light bready notes and subtle spices akin to gingerbread cookies or ginger snaps. Otherwise, the aroma is muted and kind of ho-hum. This could definitely benefit from a more fragrant nose.

T - The flavor is a bit more well-rounded with a hefty bready, grainy malt profile complemented by caramel sweetness, a hint of vanilla and ample winter spices (especially ginger). Some light citrus hops appear in the backend, followed by a hint of brown sugar.

M - Pretty firm medium body with soft carbonation, especially given the bubbly appearance. Mouthfeel is actually pretty creamy and pleasant overall.

D - Easy drinking holiday ale overall. Although a little weak in the aroma department, I was pleased that the flavor of this brew wasn't too overly spicy, like many Christmas beers tend to be. While this wasn't too terribly exciting, it was enjoyable overall.

ffejherb, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.05/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

BeerFMAndy, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of beermanbrian
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Brass Rail a few week's ago and picked one up to review.

Nice clear copper with a nice off white head that drops to a soap suds cap. So so lacing.

Smell of some very faint spicing and light maltyness. Really nothing stands out. Taste is also light with some grainy malt flavors and if you try real hard you can pick up some very faint spiceyness. Too thin on the mouth with really nothing to bite into. Overall this one is a letdown. Was a little better on tap but still nothing special.

beermanbrian, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of Seahorse
2.48/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A big disappointment,especially for a beer brewed by Bell's. Absolutely no taste or hint of spices or the flavors associated with Christmas Ales. Weak attempt at a Scotch Ale. Only thing I liked about this beer was the design of the label. Would not buy this one again.

Seahorse, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of wheatyweiss
2.9/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve once bottle into a shaker pint.

Pours a light amber with a towering head that refuses to die and leaves ample, sticky lace. Clarity is good.

Aroma is of mild malt, light and not very prominent. Floral aroma rides in the background.

Flavor is light and tannic. Malt is subdued and hops are floral and not bitter in the least. Finishes with diacetyl and husky, dusty grain.

Mouthfeel is watery and thin and carbonation is adequate.

I don't know that I would even come close to calling this a "Scottish Ale". I wold maybe lean toward a red ale. On another point, if it is categorized right then it is way too thin and light, even for a light export. The diacetyl was a definate deal breaker as well.

wheatyweiss, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of ThaBobfather
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pours a nearly opaque copper color with a darker center and a toping of fluffy beigish head.
Smell is light spice with some minor malt smattering.
Taste is solid with hints of some spiced malt.
The finish is a little muddy, but some after-taste hits my palate for a small left over.
Drinks pretty well, but even though this is a Scottish, I like something a little heavier for my Christmas Ales.

ThaBobfather, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of Suds
3.13/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy copper color with a tall white head. It has a notable amount of carbonation...more than necessary, really. The aroma is initially faint, although a distant herbal hop smell presents itself after the brew warms. The taste is mostly dry, with a resiny and slightly astringent character. It has a pale malt flavor, along with some wood and hops. It's not as malty as it could be, and the exceeding dryness could use something to balance it. Hops come forth more and more through the experience. It's okay, but a bit of a let down.

Suds, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared bottle with BeerFMAndy. Thanks for the christmas cheer buddy.

The beer pours a cloudy orange amber hue with about an inch of off white head. Some spots of lace are left behind.

The aroma is sweet malt, hints of dark fruit, roast nuts and wheat crackers.

The flavor is dry malt. Not much sweetness at all. I has the usual corn chips thing going on for me. Almost marzen like.

Medium body moderate carbonation.

Overall just another malty beer. The only thing christmas about this beer is the tree on the lable.

beerwolf77, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of Pencible
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a clear copper with moderate light tan head. It smelled like sugary malt and nutty malt with some strange artificial fruit and perfume. It tasted like bready yeast and nutty malt with some sweet strawberry and caramel and bitter copper. It was slightly thick with some carbonation, and had a mild bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a very strange taste like artificial sweetener mixed into more traditional Scottish malts. It had good body and was fairly easy to drink, but I just couldn't get into this beer. I wish it had more normal Christmas spices like vanilla, cinnamon, etc.

Pencible, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of Seanibus
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a pleasant surprise. Christmas ales tend to be packed with extra flavor, a heavy, soggy fruitcake of a beer to greet the holiday. But this one was light, subtle, and delicious - like an unexpectedly delicious fruitcake.

Pours a clear rubyish with a decent head and rich lacing. Aroma is like a cherrywood tobacco. Flavor is strong and tobacco-like, like my grandfathers pipe. Cherry and fruitcake, with a solid malt backbone and a woody bitterness. A little phenolic clove develops as the beer warms in the glass, but it is delightfully subtle. Mouthfeel is creamy, emphasizing the sour cherry bitterness. Good.

Seanibus, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Cyberkedi, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of cnally
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ho ho ho.

A really massive head on this one, untamed and ridiculously huge, off-white in color. The beer itself is a cloudy brown amber.

Spicy, sweet aroma, with nutmeg and cinnamon.

The flavor begins a bit bitter, but melds into a creamy malt, with a nutty, almond and walnut taste. Finishes sweet and malty.

Creamy mouthfeel with a great level of carbonation.

Could I drink this by the yule log? Yep. Could I drink it at Christmas dinner? Sure. It is balanced enough yet completely underwhelming? Oh yeah. That is a bit of an endorsement.

cnally, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of Traquairlover
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Clear dark copper, small but firm off white head which clings to glass as it recedes.

S = Earthy scents, dried grass, fresh baked white dinner buns, maybe just a slight bit of iron which tickles the nose almost like the smell of blood.

T = Caramel, balancing bitterness but no prominent hops flavors, perhaps some dried biscuit. Aftertaste has an almost artificial caramel flavoring tinge to it with the same metallic notes hunted at in the nose.

M = Medium to medium-light body, decent mouthcoating, slightly too much carbonation sting.

D = On the one hand this goes down relatively easily. On the other, it just doesn't draw me back to repeated sips the way some others of the style do. I'd say this is a very decent beer which I would definitely take if offered but with a wider selection to choose form not near the top of my favorite Scottish style ales for a Winter beer.

Traquairlover, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of adamette
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review. Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle that my wife bought me as a gift last weekend. 9431 stamped on the back label. Poured into my Great Lakes Christmas Ale goblet/glass.

A 2 inch light brown fluffy head over a dark caramel body that glows a moderate to dark orange in front of direct light. The body is opaque as it is difficult to make anything out when trying to look through the body. It actually looks a lot like GLBC Christmas Ale, and not just because of the glass. 3.5

S Moderate roast malt with some hop presence and maybe some Christmas spices of cinnamon, allspice, ginger but I am not sure about the spices. 4.0

T Tastes like a nice amber with some increased spice and hops. A nice, classic taste for a seasonal beer and a Christmas beer. 3.5

M Good, reasonably thick body with some smoothness. Good, appropriately full feel. 4.0

D Really pretty good. I found the bottom of the glass within a few minutes. 4.0

adamette, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a glowing orange amber hue when held toward the light, I guess this one has some hops from and barley grown in Michigan, how cool dude! Large thicket of off white head looks delicioso while staring at my full frothing pint in front of me, lacing is left in thick chunks between sips.

Aroma is pretty clean with citrus pine and a mild spicy characteristic that is hard to pin point. Mild mint and herbal tones with caramel malts backing the party. Not in my face christmas just a nice table ale with nuances of the festive season bring more on soon please, this was a 1.89 a bottle not bad. A nice yeast driven bread like note goes on and on in this brew, an easy to fall in love with characteristic in this substance some call liquid bread.

Flavor is subtle with herbal, pine, mint, and citrus pith. A solid team of effervescent carbonation, semi sweet malt that has a great slice bread appeal with a peppery biscuit finish. Mild tart tang the yeast unfiltered Bell's offering provides warmth and sustenance in the winter months. I love the label the beer the brewery, what a trifecta.

Mouthfeel is solid slightly textured with hop oils and mild spice bitterness, this carbonation level just works sturdy yet natural. The semi hazed unfiltered approach adds a bit much more body than your average low alcohol Christmas ale just like artisan bread.

Drinkability is delivering this beer will be searched out for, I'm in love while the limited release we need to get some down here in Steubenville, I picked this one up in Boardman. Last year it hit Pittsburgh but I missed it sold out everywhere quickly.

WVbeergeek, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.08/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very rich deep red with hues of dark orange and light brown. Thin off-white head which leaves little lacing. Very clean/transparent with some upward cascading bubbles.

S - This one was a little bit sub-par on the aroma for me. For a scotch ale it didn't have as big a malt smell as I would have hoped. There were still hints of caramel in the nose but very faint.

T - Again, a little bland for my liking. It does have a good malt balanced flavor with the specialty malts shining through. Not much flavor derived from the yeast though. The finish has a hint of earthy hop bitterness which is somewhat nice.

M/D - It has a medium body with a little too much carbonation in my opinion for this style. Overall easy to drink but definitely not a sipper like most Christmas time beers.

To me, just an average scotch ale that offers little distinction within the category to separate itself from the others. Not one of Bells better beers

VaTechHopHead, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of dstc
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rusty orange color with a big yet thin light tan head that falls somewhat slow to a very minimal one. Very thin lacing on the glass.

Very mild malt nose with a somewhat sweet metallic aroma. Thin fruits and Christmas spice coming through.

Tangy fruit taste with malt undertones and a mild hop background. Bit of a tangy cherry taste makes it seem like a Christmas ale vs just another brew. Pleasant.

Medium bodied in the mouth with moderate carbonation.

Very easy drinking beer. I quite like this one and am surprised by the B rating. While not the greatest it is a a worthwhile brew. More of an A- to B+ in my opinion.

dstc, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of drpimento
3.5/5  rDev -2%
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.

drpimento, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of hwwty4
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Boulevard Smokestack goblet. This beer pours a burnt ruby with a good 3 inch, creamy white head. As the beer recedes from my glass, sticky lacing is left all over the goblet. Bell's really knows how to do some head. The aroma is weak, especially for a Bell's beer. Hints of sweet malts, caramel, toffee, and some orange zest. Like others have pointed out in reviews, this really just doesn't set for a Scottish Ale. The flavor is unfortunately very similar to the nose. Caramel, toffee and orange rind. There is also a flavor there that distinctly reminds me of tea Man, I had really high expectations on this one. Really thought it would be big and bold, full of mouth watering toffee, caramel, chocolate, with a good, peaty aroma. Not really any of that. The mouthfeel might be medium bodied, but it seems pretty light for that. Nice carbonation. This beer probably just kicked Sparkling Ale off its pedestal of "Most Disappointing" Bell's beer. I love you Bell's, keep bringing the big beers.

hwwty4, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 bottle, one of six. Cant remember the price.

Appearance: Amber with the slightest haze. The head is quite nice-- big foamy bubbles around the outside and a big marshmallowy dollop of finer creamy bubbles in the middle. Fades to a thin layer. Pretty nice lacing. Good looking beer.

Smell: Lackluster. Not bad, just underwhelming. Some sweet caramelly malt and a little whiff of slightly grassy hops, but not much of either.

Taste: Malty, sweet. Sort of metallic or steely, but only slightly. The hops come in on the back and provide some bitterness. Not as bad as this description sounds. Its ok really.

Mouthfeel: Its smooth and goes down nice. Good carbonation. A little light on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not too impressive overall, but not at all bad and very easy drinking. I'm not upset about having a six pack.

rapidsequence, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of spointon
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this beer from a 12oz brown bottle into my DFH stemmed glass.

A= This ale poured a clear dark copper/amber color with a 2" foamy, creamy white head and lots of carbonation release. Big hunks of sticky lace left behind on my glass.

S= Surprisingly muted (one might say weak in the nose). Some toasted nutty malt that reminded me a lot of Fat Tire. Faint hops and what I swear was a hint of alcohol despite the moderate ABV. There was a bit of spice but it was so subtle I couldn't pinpoint which spices.

T= Subtle to the Nth power. Sweet and nutty malts paied against hops that were reminiscent of dry leaves. There was a mild astringency to this beer that I attributed to the spices, which were so subtle they almost were off the radar. Finished balanced and fairly refreshing.

MF= Medium bodied with a crisp carbonation feel.

D= Not a bad beer, but sort of disappointing. There was nothing about this that ever made me think of it as a Scottish ale, and the spices (usually what sets a Christmas ale apart) were way too meek. Worth a try but I probably won't buy this again.

spointon, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Christmas Ale, brewed with Michigan grown barley and hops according to the label.

Pours a solid copper in color with a rocky off white head. Clumps of lacing.

Aroma of bready malts and some fruitiness poking through. Floral hops are present as well.

A malty tinged brew with a nice spicyness. Not sure if it was brewed with spices or if thats just the hop. Scottish style malt and an earthy hop presence. Juicy with muted fruit notes. A distant dry roastedness finishes it off.

High level of carbonation and a nice crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability is fairly decent. A nice ale with a good amount of flavor and complexity.

Stinkypuss, Dec 08, 2009
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,289 ratings.