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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.

1,300 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,300
Reviews: 467
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 41
Gots: 87 | 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: 1,300 | Reviews: 467 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hops4me
2.15/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

hops4me, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of Drewcifer
3.08/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Drewcifer, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of BellsGuy
4.83/5  rDev +35.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

BellsGuy, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of tempest
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

tempest, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of MTNboy
3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

MTNboy, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of Nipitato
3.35/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Nipitato, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of danielharper
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

danielharper, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of slvrmon82
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

slvrmon82, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Slatetank, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of gabe23
4.18/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

gabe23, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of WakeandBake
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

WakeandBake, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of mobyfann
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $8.99 for a growler at The Party Source...

The beer pours an amber-colored base with a medium white head, good retention, and minimal lacing effects. The aroma is spicy, malty with a touch of caramel.

The taste is fresh, sweet malts and floral hops with an extremely clean finish... smooth in the mouth with low carbonation and at 5.4% abv, not a bad session beer!

Final Thought: Tastes very good in growler form, may suffer in bottle form (low scores)?

mobyfann, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of budgood1
3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pours out a turbid rust red/orange colour with a quarter inch frothy head that sticks for awhile. chunky lace as i drink. looks festive enough. light, airy nose...producing a definite spicy aroma, probably hop driven, with a subdued malt aroma to balance. light on the tongue also...with a fruity hop flavour accentuated by some slightly smoky, spicy, herbal, and grassy notes. there is a solid malt backbone, but it does little to jazz up the overall flavour profile. this is a delicate beer...nuanced, subtle and a touch boring. the body is medium at best....with a somewhat smooth, albeit scratchy mouthfeel no doubt due to the different hops used. it finishes quite dry with a lingering bitterness. drinkability is high, due to the overall sessionability and easy drinking nature.

overall impressions of this christmas ale are quite disappointing...it doesn't really fit any "scottish, scotch, or wee heavy" categories...and as a christmas or winter type of beer it falls tremendously short.

on the other hand, i find that this is a tasty, uniquely hopped (the star of this ale), red leaning ale. but for the price and expectations, it falls short.

budgood1, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of nickfl
3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - One finger of off white head with nice retention and good lace. The body is orange-brown with decent clarity.

S - Some malt and a bit of nondescript spice, otherwise there is surprisingly little going on.

T - Malty with some toasted notes and more of the nondescript spice from the aroma. Some cinnamon and maybe nutmeg. Slightly fruity yeast and mild hop bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - Mild and drinkable, but I really expected more from Bell's. Kind of bland and a bit disappointing.

nickfl, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of gford217
3.15/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottles courtesy of johnd513 and masonjer poured into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy reddish amber with a creamy one-finger head that hangs on for a while and leaves decent lacing.

The aroma is very much bready with some barley whiffs, not the sweetness of caramel malts I was expecting. There are also earthy hops in the nose as well.

The taste is also more grainy than sweet with a biscuity character that dominates throughout. The grassy hops are in the background and taste, like the smell, is less sweet than any scotch ale I've ever tasted.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, maybe a little thin for me, with moderate carbonation.

I don't say this about a Bells beer, but I was not too impressed with this one. As a scotch ale, it's subpar, but it's still generally a decent beer.

gford217, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of Shumista
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

A- Bell's Christmas Ale pours a hazy golden reddish orange, with a medium off white that recedes fairly quickly.
S- Sweet biscuity malts are the only major smell I notice.
T- Light sweet caramel and biscuity malts and some light hoppy bitterness at the end. A pretty mild flavor overall.
M- Light to medium bodied.
D- I can rate this beer pretty highly here because I think it would make a pretty good session beer.

Overall this certainly isn't a bad beer, it actually tastes alright, I just have a few problems with it. First, its not a Scotch Ale in my opinion which is one of my favorite styles. I was very excited when I saw that Bell's calls this a Scotch Ale and was let down because it was not what I expected. Second, nothing about it says Christmas or winter to me, the only thing "Christmassy" about it to me is the time of its release. And finally, while its an alright beer it is certainly not memorable.

I don't see myself buying this again, there are just too many other winter seasonals that I enjoy more.

Shumista, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of khiasmus
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color that's cloudy and does not boast much head, perhaps a finger. The head drops quickly, leaving wisps behind with the ring-around-the-glass... No lace clings to the sides, lending this one a "just plain beer" sort of look.

Aroma is biscuity, with very faint peat and a bit of bacon. The brunt of the work is done by the malt, however, dashing its way towards the nose in a melba-toast-barley-field sort of way. There are a couple of hops tagging along, cutting off strips of pine bark as they try to keep up... the light resin aroma clings to the air.

The first flavor to leap out is that of a biscuit, perhaps with sprinkles of bacon, or perhaps just cooked in a bacon-smoky oven... the meat and peat is a very subdued affair, giving all the prominence to the biscuit and the melba toast... and there are those pesky hops again, must have snuck in the back door... "control your children, won't you please?"

As the whole party dances on the tongue, it seems almost a bit spicy for the carbonation... body is not slender by any means... healthy, though, not particularly big-boned. As the grand finale plays, the back of the throat feels an almost silky drift of liquid that leaves a distinct emptiness... "Yet another, will you?"

"Quite a festive affair it was, what with the smoking outside and the dances all night... the biscuits and bacon went really well, did you notice some honey dripped on mine? The taste was interestingly delicious. I heard of better parties that selfsame eve, though... I heard there was one at the "old chubby pub," and another down where those dirty bastards always hang out... still, I'd go again. A good time was had by all, and I'd certainly bring you along with me if you like a wee bit of a scottish evening."

khiasmus, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of nrbw23
3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a cloudy orangish brown color with a light orange colored head. Retention is decent and the lacing is excellent.

S- Smells malty, touch of smoke, citrus hops and some dark fruits.

T- Overall, pretty malty with some bready and fruity notes. Touch of hops gives it a nice dry finish.

M- Low carbonation and light to medium in body.

D- Easy drinker for sure. Different compared to most brews of the season.

nrbw23, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of burnstar
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly murky bright orangish gold with a medium persistant white head. Aroma is hoppy- citrusy, and sweet with a bit of bready yeastiness. Taste has a nice clean malty character. Moderate sweetness with some light fruit notes. A bit of citrus hop flavor and low bitterness. Medium bodied. A very drinkable and pleasant beer.

burnstar, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of HopDerek
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with bright red highlights and some floaties. Two fingers of frothy cream colored head has good retention and nice lacing. Smells of sweet malt, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, citrus, and dry grassy hops. Tastes of caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon, fruits, biscuit, a touch of cocoa powder, light scotch notes, and a subtle dry grassy pine finish. Medium in body and full in carbonation. Smooth and sweet with a good balance and lots of flavor. A little odd at first for a "Christmas Ale" but it doesn't take long to get used to it, and the Christmas spices put a nice spin on the style.

HopDerek, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.33/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew from SirSketch, Thanks Zach!

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - cloudy orange/amber color with a beige head that left good lacing.

S - toasted malty sweetness with a bit of earthiness in the background.

T - starts out with malty sweetness and then a nice touch of bitterness sneaks in before a light, dry finish.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

D - Merry Christmas!

JoeyBeerBelly, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

TurdFurgison, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of BMoney575
4.1/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 12-19-08
Batch 8802
Bottled on 10-24-08

Pours a cloudy orange/brown with a zillion tiny floaters and an awesome off-white head and craggy lacing.

Smell is sweet, with an earthy quality, a little cinnamon/nutmeg, and even a slightly lemony hops. Surprisingly complex.

Taste is alot like the smell, light and citrusy, but with the malt to back it up. The finish is a little bitter but very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is good, just the right thickness to accent the hops.

Drinkability is also good, just a tasty beer.

Overall, not a scotch ale. But a recommended winter warmer.

BMoney575, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of kkosmoski
3.23/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Longneck served in a goblet after coming up in temp a bit out of the fridge. This beer was a nice find at a recent holiday beer swap at the local homebrew club's Christmas party. Very hazy and muddled dark orange after pouring some of the sediment in from the bottom of the bottle. Sparce white head that barely covers after a few moments. Smells of fruity yeast, caramel, and bready malt. A bready yeast flavor takes hold at the forefront and seagues into some light caramel and biscuity malt tones. A touch of piney hop balances in the finish. Sharp carbonation distracts from absorbing the full flavor of the beer. Fluffy foam erupts on the tongue as the CO2 dissipates. Drinkability based on the flavor of this beer is good due to its balance and mildness. Drinkability based on the feel of the beer in the mouth is not very good at all due to the quality of carbonation.

This beer was not at all what I was expecting. I was looking for a stronger ale with a darker color and more intense malt profile. For a wee heavy (if that is what it really is, because I'm not convinced) this is quite light. I don't mind cloudy beer from some loose sediment if the beer is naturally conditioned. Based on the sharp feel of the carbonation in this beer, I would have to guess that it was force carbonated, so the sediment is not really welcome. The carbonation really took away from the nice, delicate malt flavors of this beer and was very distracting. Not a bad beer, but I think it could be done much better, or maybe its just a bottle thing. I'd like to try it fresh on tap.

kkosmoski, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of LordofTime25
3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a amber-orange color with a light tan colored head.

Smells of citrus, malts and a little bit of hops.

Has a slight sweetnes from the citrus which also adds a tanginess. The hops are very mild as wellas the malts.

A ligth bodied brew with a light finish.

Not a bad beer and pretty good.

LordofTime25, Dec 19, 2008
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,300 ratings.