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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.

1,291 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 1,291
Reviews: 466
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 40
Gots: 83 | 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: 1,291 | Reviews: 466 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Tone
3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and slight lacing. Smells of hops, citrus (strawberries?), and spice. Seems to stretch the boundaries of what a Scottish Ale can be. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of citrus, slight hops, slight spice, and strong yeast characteristic. The malt is really lacking, which is odd in a Scottish Ale.

Tone, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of cdizinno
4.13/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz. brown bottle as pictured.

A: Slightly hazy orange amber, almost ruby red. Off white head with moderate lacing.

S: Citrus hop with nice sweet malt smell. Mild pine hop scent in the background.

T&M: Tangy sweet taste with an underlying hop feel and flavor. Almost like a mild berry fruit or spices, but very mild, if any. Finishes with a bitter hop or curant type berry bitterness. Light to medium bodied.

Nice holiday ale.

cdizinno, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Soneast
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly cloudy, amber-ish color with a 2 finger thick, light brown colored head, that showcases above average retention, slowly condensing to a thick creamy layer.

The aroma was quite mild consisting predominately of a very mild toasted caramel scent...and well, frankly, little else that I could pick up.

The flavor follows suit and delivers a very mild package made up of toasted caramel and slight nuttiness and a slightly spicy hop presence towards the end, which admittedly you wouldn't need much to balance such a light malt character.

Light-medium in body with a mild amount of carbonation. Everything about this beer seemed mild, from the aroma and flavor to the carbonation and body. Certainly not exciting, but far from bad. I could easily drink a few of these, and wouldn't be sad to do so. It's also nice to have a Christmas seasonal that isn't a spicy mess. For the style (Scottish Ale) this beer is great...for my preconceived notions of a "Christmas Ale," this beer fails.

Soneast, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bell's Christmas Ale poured light amber with a bubbly two-finger head that quickly dissipated.

This ale is sweet, malty, and yeasty, with no real distinct flavor. The feel is thick and bready and it is very drinkable. It's an enjoyable beer and would be very good on warm days, but it's not what I expect from a Christmas ale. The color is too light and there's no unique flavor. Better Christmas ales also have warmth from higher alcohol content. Bell's Christmas Ale is not enough of a cold-weather sipper to deserve the name.

MetalHopHead6, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.23/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker amber with a relatively thin head, but what head there is sticks around for quite some time as a thin cap. Smells malty sweet, and with a hint of parrafin and a bit of nuttiness. Fairly light for the style, with a somewht watery grainy sweetness. Lacks depth and firmness, end up a little flabby in the mouth. Not their best effort.

Georgiabeer, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of pzrhsau
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice reddish/tan color with a good froathy head.
Smell: I get a hint of the malt but it almost has a fruity scent to it.
Taste: The combination of malts almost give it a pine aftertaste. I can taste the malts which blend well with the hops but there is always that interesting undertone.
Drinkability/mouthfeel: Its a nice clean beer which almost seems to taste like Christmas. Very easy to enjoy.

pzrhsau, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of Clydesdale
2.98/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a slightly translucent reddish-orange color. The orange/tan-tinted head is quite tall, reasonably dense, and foamy, with a somewhat rocky texture as it slowly fades. Lacing is superb, layered continually down the sides of the glass.

S: Some toasted malt, with mild caramel notes. Some subdued leafy and perhaps herbal hop notes. Mildly fruity as well.

T: Robustly toasty, breadlike malt flavor up front. Sweetness is subdued. Hop flavors are again herbal and leafy, with a focused, moderate bitterness into the finish. Slight fruity hints, along with mild notes of brown sugar and toffee.

M: Medium bodied, perhaps on the light side. Generally soft and well balanced, with a moderate drying finish.

D: This is an unusual, underwhelming winter seasonal from Bell's. As a Scottish Ale, the flavor profile just seems a little off. This could use a more emphatic malt presence especially. Not the worst beer, but I'm glad I only grabbed a single of this one.

Clydesdale, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of Tromba
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams "signature glass".

A: Pours a clear gold/orange with moderate off-white head that leaves a nice layer on top. A little bit of loose lacing.

S: A faint sweetness with very subtle floral notes.

T: A lot of sweet malt character followed by some mild bitterness. Not too complex. More of an Oktoberfest than a Scottish Ale in flavor profile.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Clean finish.

D: Very drinkable. Not heavy at all - good session beer, but not realy what I think of as a "Christmas Ale"

Tromba, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.38/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Batch 9431. According to the website, this beer was packaged on October 28, 2009. Sounds pretty fresh to me! Pours from the bottle into a pint glass. Beer emerges clear but with some hazy proteins floating about. Topped with a massive, rocky and very frothy head.

BA says this is a scottish ale but the aroma would not lend that assertion. Aroma is amber ale like with a bit of hop spice. A little sour smelling as well.

Flavor was a big let down. The bottle says "From our fields to your holiday. A malt driven ale, made with 100% Michigan grown two-row barley malt and a mix of Michigan and Northwest Pacific hops. A bit of cheer from the north country, sure to make any occasion festive". I disagree. This one has more hop bitterness than malt flavor and doesnt have any special aromas or flavors to indicate this is a Christmas-type beer.

A bit thin on the body, especially for a scottich ale. Finishes quite dry and with a puckering bitterness.

I didnt like this one at all. Definitely not a scottish ale. Its kind of like a winter warmer, which I really dont like. I would pass on this one. Holiday cheer my ass!

SaCkErZ9, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours into my New Glarus Uff-da Bock Nonic (one of my favorite pieces of glassware) a slightly murky cinnamon with a thick but shortlived beige head.

Aroma: More hoppy than I would have expected. Primarily citrus hops. Mellow maltiness of biscuits and caramel. Very little spice, if any...

Taste: Yep...no spice. Toasty beady malts and a little oatmeal. No peat to speak of. Finishes with a hint of orange and touches of leafy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very light, too light...are they allowed to call a beer a Christmas ale if it is like this?

Drinkability: Very drinkable but not exciting or exceptional in any way. I guess I'm being unfair because I expect more from Bell's. There isn't anything wrong with this beer. It just isn't what I look for in a Christmas beer.

DaPeculierDane, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of civilizedpsycho
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Has a slightly amber color that is fairly cloudy. It had a very small head.

Smell: Has a sweet malt base that is almost reminiscent of a hefeweizen, but not quite. Has a light fruit smell that just teases the nose.

Taste: Strong fruit flavor permeates through the whole drink, but again, there seems to be a bit of wheat in the background. Very smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: Has a fair body considering the apparent low carbonation. It feels mildly thicker than water on the tongue.

Drinkability: Quite good. Something I could drink any time of the year, not just Christmas time.

civilizedpsycho, Dec 01, 2009
Photo of mwa423
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber with so much head it would overflow just about any glass. Had to pour three times just to get the beer in the class. Very disappointing.

S - Slight malt and the rest of the smell is spice.

T - A bitter malty taste that coats the mouth. Once you swallow, all of the spices hit every inch of the tongue. Far milder then most christmas ales, but a good tasting beer.

M/D - Mouthfeel is above average, goes down very smooth and creamy. This beer is more drinkable than your average christmas ale because of the less spice and great mouthfeel.

mwa423, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of degerbah
3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mber with a tremendous amount of head. Huge hop smell for a beer that the box says is supposed to be a malt forward christmas beer. The head is still around a few minutes into drinking which is one of the only strong points of this beer. There is plenty of hop flavor making it more like an amber than a scottish ale. I wonder why Bell's is putting it out as a christmas seasonal when a winter warmer or another stout would probably be more apt for the season. A little thick for easy drinking, on second thought its not a bad beer, just not at all what I expected.

degerbah, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of jsh420
2.53/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

batch 9422

pours amber orange with a 1+ finger head that faded fast and left no lacng

smell of sweet malts and nothing else

taste is much of the same - just sweet malts??

mouthfeel is a medium body beer very smooth and creamy

drinkability is ok - not much flavor to this beer
glad i bought a single

jsh420, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a shaker pint. Bottle conditioned. Batch 9423. Poured a slightly hazy amber with less than a finger of off white head. Malty caramel aroma. Medium bodied. Nice malt base with some more caramel. Bit of a hop bite. Decent beer, more of an amber ale, very drinkable, but nothing spectacular.

homebrewhawk, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of MPLS
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap the other night, decided to crack open the bottle that I had lying around.

A: Dehydrated desert urine in color with a great frothy eggshell head. Layers of lace adhere to the pint glass and carbonation slowly rises to the top of the glass.

S: Sweet malt, yeast, and inkling of alcohol.

T: The malt structure makes this beer very bready, crisp, with a hint of orange/lemon peel. Christmas Ale would lead me to believe there are spices and an larger ABV instead of this mellow ox.

M: Medium, noticable carbonation throughout, rather smoothe.

D: I enjoyed the beer, great looking beer with bready malt qualities, but I seek out bigger ales for Christmas I suppose, on to the next ale...

MPLS, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of bort11
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a thistle glass. Tall off white head that is slow to recede. Minimal lacing around the glass. Color is a hazy orange caramel.

Smell has a mild caramel sweetness. There is a bread quality to the malt aroma. Taste has a dry all-grain cracker quality. No hops or other spices present.

Mouthfeel is pretty light for a Scottish Ale. This actually comes off as more of an Amber Ale. I have to admit I'm pretty disappointed with this. For a holiday seasonal I was expecting more character.

bort11, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of montecristo2
4.25/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass at Mother Murphy's Irish Pub in Chicago. Served on tap!

A nice reddish/mahogany colored ale. Nice head in the glass, good lacing.

A really tasty Christmas Ale-one I could drink all night, actually. Not overly spiced, and the alcohol is tolerable, in fact, barely noticeable.

I really like Bell's Brews, and this is another to add to the already delicious lineup. Whatever they are doing works for me. I enjoy everything they do, and this Christmas Ale will go on my list for future purchase.

montecristo2, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of CMW
3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber with a huge off-white head that has incredible retention.

S - Malt with some nice sweet spices mixed in.

T - A little different than your normal Scottish Ale but the heavy malt profile is there. So is some cinnamon and nutmeg spice mixed in with some chestnuts flavors.

M - A little watery but the heavy malt gives it some chewiness.

D - Very easy to drink and with the abv. low it would be a non-issue.

CMW, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of brownbeer
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a pillowy tan head.

Toffeeish malt, a bit of fruity, powdered candy comes to mind. Earthy hops in the background, but overall too subdued.

A nuttiness up front with fruity yeast notes. It sort of tastes like a fairly generic amber ale at times, finishes with an interesting bitterness.

Not bad, but also not a standout in any way.

brownbeer, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of GordonQuid
4.75/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a bells pint glass.

Clear copper with a hue of ruby red with a one inch tight head and ample lace.

Smells of blended malts, honey and cinnamon with a nice spicey hop variety.

I agree with this categorized as a Scottish Ale; the flavor profile is VERY malt driven. I am very impressed at they way they utilized the malts to create such a unique and satisfying elixir in coordination with the hop variety both local Michigan hops and Pacific coast. It is hard to explain how perfect this beer is.... I love it!
Rich caramel and munich malts, cara-vienna and crisp marris otter blended with fresh wet hops locally grown and blended with possibly Warrior or yakima magnum gives it a nice alpla bite. THis stuff kicks ass!

Easy as hell to drink!

Buy a case and share with friends and family!


GordonQuid, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of aubuc1
3.78/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle (9431 batch) poured in to a pint glass.

Pours an almost clear light brown with a steady off white head.

Smell is a sweet grapish and light malt with a crisp hoppy end.

Taste is a clean lightly sweet. Certainly not normal for a scottish ale. Very different.

Mouthfeel is very good, but drinkability is extremely high.

this is a surprisingly different beer, and not one for labels. Simple and clean but delicious.

aubuc1, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of kshankar
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper.red color with a white head. Layer of foam recedes to a cap..which stays the whole way down.

Aroma is bready malts, hops, and some spice from the hops as well. Pretty good combination

Taste is malts balanced with the spicy hop flavor. Bready. I like it.

Mouthfeel...medium bodied, a bit of a creamy texture, finishes clean.

I'd say all of that makes for a pretty drinkable beer.

kshankar, Nov 18, 2009
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,291 ratings.