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

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Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale

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1,433 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,433
Reviews: 477
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.41%
Wants: 43
Gots: 133 | 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: 1,433 | Reviews: 477 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rajendra82
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear rust colored body, and gentle but steady carbonation greeted me after the pour. The aroma was surprisingly hoppy for a Scotch Ale. I was happy with the distinctly citric that the smell indicated. The taste was unfortunately much too watery for the style, and lacked both the malt backbone and the peaty character. The beer was thin and wispy on the palette, and a bit unsatisfying. It was very quenching and gulpable, but not appropriate for the intended use as a winter seasonal.

Photo of JayS2629
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was not what I expected for a Christmas beer, but it was quality. No spices, but a well balanced beer. Nothing to celebate about.

A- Deep hazy dark copper with white foamy head that leaves nice lacing.

S- sweet toffee and malts, spruce and floral hops.

T- Roasty, caramel and hazelnut. Floral hops balances it out with a hint of spruce.

M- Medium body with a crisp hoppy finish.

D- Very drinkable and well balanced. It wasn't what I expected for something called Christmas though. It was just a nice ale.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.05/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance: Handsome hazy copper with big foamy tan head.
smell: Not so much. Not bad, just not much happening. The malt is there but so watered down.
taste: As the nose predicts. Like a nice Christmas Scottish that was watered down.
I'm a little baffled. Not used to mediocrity from Bell's. No hint of a skunk. According to their site they're looking for a "sessionable" Christmas Ale. Guess they hit the mark and that's all.

Photo of Star80
3.13/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper, sort of reddish color. Good head, about an inch thick, some degree of carbonation. Smells of some toffee like malts, some mild hop aromas, and a slight soapiness? Smells is not quite as aromatic as I'd hoped. Hmm, taste is kinda weird, almost reminded me of a fruity grape, flavor at first? It is not what I'd expected, not bad, but not necessarily malty. Let me try this again, some roastyness in there, caramel malts, a clean palate cleansing hoppiness. I can see where people are saying this isn't like a scotch ale, not anything like I am expecting from the style. The mouthfeel is kinda thin too. Hmm, not a bad brew, but off in some way. Not smokey, or peat-like in any Scotch Ale sort of way, not spiced like some Christmas beers, and not even necessarily that malty or that hoppy!? WTF? Glad I bought this in a single, and not a six pack. An interesting experiment of a beer, but not a something that great or worth repeating. Bell's is a great brewer and brave enough to try things on the fringe, but for something as seemingly simple as a Christmas beer I would say this is sort of a mess.

Photo of schoolboy
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't like scottish ales much, but I am a fan of Bell's, and when I purchased this bottle I didn't know what style it was. That said, this is one that could make me like the style.

It is pretty in the glass, and seems a bit milder, less smokey than some Scottish. I wish it were a bit maltier and hoppier, but then it might need a new style name (American-Scottish).

It definitely has nice balance and drinkability. You should never refuse one of these.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle at 42* into a pint glass.

A: The pour is an amber/bronze color with a finger of head that doesn't hang around long but leaves good lace.

S: It features pale malts, a moderate level of hoppiness, and some toasted bread (not exactly what the "scotch ale" category led me to expect).

T: It has some sweet berries, a mild hoppy taste, some nuttiness, and the aftertaste is dominated by cereal malts and other grains.

M: It is light and refreshing with a fair amount of carbonation.

D: This is a decent beer but I think it's miscategorized. I'd say it's somewhere between an APA, IPA, and Amber ale.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 10023

Appearance -- Pours a rosy-tinted amber, high clarity, with two fingers of fizzy head that quickly dissipates to wisps.

Smell -- Toasted malt, faint caramel sweetness, some raisin and floral hops. Not especially aromatic. Wait, am I reviewing the right beer?

Taste -- Toasted malt, faint hints of caramel and dark fruit, floral hops to balance.

Mouthfeel -- Medium full in body with an abundance of gentler carbonation.

Drinkability -- Not a bad beer, but very far from the mark stylistically. Gentle malt sweetness tempered by euro-style hops lends itself to being consumed in succession. Good beer, very drinkable, but a Scotch Ale it ain't!

Photo of Spiekerbox
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Brown-red with a small but lingering white head.

S- Sweet malts with some caramel present. A little bit of a bready scent with a little spice in it too.

T- Lots of sweet malts with a little bready flavor and a distinct nuttiness. Not near as much of the scotch spice flavor as others but still makes for a nice beer.

M- Medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly sticky in the mouth but nothing overwhelming.

D- Pretty easy to drink, could be a session beer though not my favorite really. It is good but I would like for more to it, it really is quite tame and mostly just sweet maltyness. Also not my favorite style of beer either but overall still an enjoyable brew

Photo of FreshHawk
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Radiant orangish bronze color with about an average sized, foamy, creamy, white head. Average retention leaving a thin layer of lace.

S - A lot of malt on the nose. Some caramel, some bread, and some nutty aromas. A touch of spice and typical Scotch Ale aromas. A little citrusy and very small hint of spruce aroma. A little faint though, a bit of a subdued Scotch aroma with a good amount of malt.

T - Like the nose. Plenty of caramel and bready malts along with plenty of nuttty flavors. Nice toasted flavors. Spiced, Scotch Ale flavors although not big on peat. The caramel and toffee malt is strongest. Some fruitiness as well. Fairly sweet overall with a bit of spice.

M - Medium (maybe on the lighter side) body with a good level of carbonation. Pretty crisp feeling.

D - Pretty drinkable, while it is sweet it is not cloying. Goes down nice and easy, and it is quite enjoyable.

Notes: Batch 10022. I like this, but I don't love this. It is a nice Scotch Ale, but isn't huge on Scotch flavors. Plenty of caramel and toffee malt and nuttiness with touches of spice. It's nice and it works for a winter beer. Overall worth trying, and another solid beer from Bells, but it didn't wow me. Still worth a try though.

Photo of Buebie
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$3 pour, not bad.

Into a pint glass producing just under an inch of off white head. Receding a bit slow to leave a nice solid cap. Lace is thin leaving very little drapery.
Deep copper color, redish amber. Transparent. Had to let it sit a bit it was served colder then desired.
Aroma is sweet with malt, juicy caramel, grassy hops are muted a bit but mildly present.
Taste is not as sweet as aroma might lead you to belive. It actually tastes a bit different then I remember. Cereal grains, a touch of bittering hops and mildly charred caramel flavor. A bit of fruity esters too.
Mouthfeel is slick and well carbonated.
I had an '08 bottle last month that tasted much better then it does fresh.
Age does nice things to this beer. But again, this isnt how I remember it, recipe tweak?

Photo of bsp77
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber-orange with very thin head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Cherry, caramel, tea, citrus and light spicy hops.

Taste: Dried-out caramel, cherry and tea malt backbone with a nice spicy English hop counterbalance and maybe a tinge of citrus.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, dry finish. Maybe too much carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: Pretty good balanced English/Scottish style ale. Like a more malt driven Bitter. Definitely drinkable but seems a little out of place for the season.

Photo of JizackFH
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color which was kind of surprising. There was a very large head on this beer that stuck around for quite a while leaving nice lacing on the glass. Smells very malty, with some dark malt notes and some caramel. The taste is creamy and malty. There are definitely caramel notes, and a hint of some roated malts. Some of the flavors were a little bit light. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Went down smooth. Nice creamy texture, with the body being a little bit on the lighter side. Drinkability was decent, I think it will be a good beer for christmas. I think its a nice christmas beer since a lot of the ones I have seem to be a bit over spiced. This one was nice though. Good job Bells. Cheers.

Photo of Crittervision
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

reviewed on 12 april 2010

deep copper body, a pinky finger of head that recedes quickly.

smell is almost barleywiney. some darker fruit, fresh plum, candy-like, partial red ale, and faint hops.

taste is light caramel, hints of dirt and dry peanuts, more hints of a red wine thats lost its kick. a faint bitterness provides balance. a little dull.

highly carbonated, spritzy, light, and a touch thin of medium.

drinkability is good, but this one is fairly average.

Photo of Anthony1
3.13/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

dark amber in color with a nice layer of off-white carbonation. biscuity pale malts and a generous dose of caramel, red apple, some grainy sugars balanced by an earthy hop aroma, more sweet grain complexity develops as it warms to room temp. carbonation delicate, around moderate level, medium bodied. pale malt base with heavy strokes of caramelized toffee, on the sugary side but balanced with a mostly benign English varietal hop flavor that gives a moderate bitterness, a touch of butter lingers

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's July and I think it's time for some winter cheer.

Pours hazy brown with a nice big head. Good, but not extravagant.

Smells nice, like spice, candy, and a little hoppy bitterness.

Tastes pretty good. The hoppy bitterness is first, followed by candy. Lots of sweetness in the tail end.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but a little on the light side. Not bad at all.

This is a pretty drinkable brew, even when it is in the 90s outside with Florida summer showers. Good beer.

Photo of coryking
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For a Christmas release, I was expecting more of a beer. Light, unexciting, but obviously crafted well being from Bell's. Its labeled as a Scottish Ale here, dont know where that came from, but reviewing it based on that now, the beer is still just OK.

Nice, clear, caramely color. Nice head with sticky lacing. Aroma is light, not really overly inviting or exciting. Can pick up on the yeast character and malt. Medium mouthfeel with light toastiness. Finishes just fine.

Photo of akorsak
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from Al's of Hampden.

A: The Scottish ale has a large head, nearly overflowing my glass with approximately 3 oz. left in the bottle. The dense head that results laces nicely, coating the mouth of the glass. The ale itself is a ruddy brown hue, opaque.

S: The nose is malty, heavy with caramel and darker breads. A touch of peaty thickness, rather light aroma-wise, runs around the background.

T: Sweet caramel malts, lightly roasted, take over from the first sip. A fruity apple flavor, thanks again to the malts, pairs with the caramel nicely. Theale is a comfort beer, I just feel better sipping my way through it. Beyond the caramel, flavors are a little light.

M: The mouthfeel is weighty upfront, warming the tastebuds early before settling down. The front of each sip delivers the best aspects of the beer.

D: I just sorted my Scottish ales and was reminded of Abbey Wright's Smokey Oak (mmmm, the best Abbey Wright beer ever). This is no Smokey Oak but it works in bad weather.

Photo of BTPete
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 3/6
12oz bottle to tulip

A: Dark amber with a big off white head. Spotty lacing.

S: Malts and more malts. There was a tiny if barely noticeable hop presence. Really nice carmelly malt smell though.

T: Really smooth and creamy tasting. Hints of roasted malt and caramel.

M: Active and well carbed.

D: very drinkable and a pretty solid beer.

Photo of MEverritt
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into my Tulip. Poured a amber/orange color. Almost like a watered down iced tea.

S- Slight hint of caramel malt with some fruity notes in there.

T- Very smooth mellow malts in the front with a fruity finish. Apples, pears, and the taste of sweet oranges.

M- Smooth med-bodied. Finishes crisp with lingering fruitiness. Well balanced.

D- I wouldnt call this a christmas ale. Its almost a summer beer for me. Like Id drink it after I mowed the lawn or something. Id drink it again but not gonna rush to the store to buy it.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass (February 26, 2010). Rear label says it's batch "9423" and the Bell's website says that it was "packaged on October 22, 2009." This was part of a mixed six pack of Christmas seasonal brews picked up at Armanetti Wine Shoppe and Beverage Mart in Chicago.

Eyes: Pours a very hazy deep orange with hues of red. Almost one finger head forms and dissipates in under a minute. A significant stream of bubbles arises from the etching on the bottom of the glass.

Nose: A soft combination backed bread and caramel, but a very modest profile overall.

Tongue: Malty, sweet. Actually tasted a bit metallic, some earthy components here, and a hint of hops. There is only a hint of the nutty spiciness that usually accompanies Christmas offerings.

Mouth: Medium body, decent carbonation.

Libation: I must admit it doesn't scream Scottish Ale. Very drinkable, but kind of average in almost every area. Goes down easy, but not memorable.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.15/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 02-17-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Nice 2 fingers of foam, sits pretty well. Doesn't disperse quickly with a light tan head of foam, golden colored with carbonation present

S - Sweet spices and malts, hints of caramel and nutmeg and citrus, orange peels, very faint hop aroma

T - Medium to light bodied. Strong in the malt flavor, no hop bite aftertaste to speak of

M/D - Pretty good brew out of bells. For sure not a hopslam or Batch9000 but of course different brews all together, not comparing but noticing. I like the idea that Bell's can go to a very strong brews and turn it down a couple of notches to create a very drinkable seasonal and on the edge of a session able brew. I would recommend you pick some up and try for yourself.

Photo of techfed87
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle is from Batch #9,431

Pours a big, heavy head, very slow to dissipate.

Scent is fairly hop-laiden.

Taste is very satisfyingly malty, with an almost oatmealy quality to it. Has a touch of a honey-like sweetness, which is balanced well with the subtle bitterness of the hops.

A very nice, neat beer.

Photo of Gyle41386
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Dark orange pour. 2+ fingers of foam retain very, very well and stick nicely.

Malty, malty, malty. Lightly sweet, and maybe even a little musty. Earthy hops. Not a particularly exciting flavor profile. Seemed more lager-y to me. Grainy.

Body a little lighter than I expected. Appropriately carbonated. Pretty smooth, easy drinker. Just not a very exciting one.

Photo of Durge
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of hackmann
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice looking winter ale
S: Nothing bold, but nice aroma
T: Light toffee and earthy hops, bitter orange peel with some nice pine notes. Balance flavor between the malts and hops. Nice bite to the hops.
M: Smooth on the palate. No lingering taste.
D: Yes. Due to the mouthfeel.

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,433 ratings.