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

Not Rated.
Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,478 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,478
Reviews: 490
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.13%
Wants: 45
Gots: 154 | 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:
Beer added by: BierFan on 11-06-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,478 | Reviews: 490 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of plfahey
2.52/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Medium amber color. Clear. Generous beige head with pretty good retention and nice lacing.

Aroma-Aroma overall is rather low. Some caramel malt and light citrus hops-not much else. Certainly not what I would expect from a Scotch Ale.

Flavor-Flavor falls flat. Up front bready, grainy, and caramel malt flavors appear first, followed quickly by soft citrus and herbal hop flavors, with moderate hop bitterness. Also has somewhat of a carbonic bite to it from the moderately high carbonation. Not terrible per se, but it bears almost no resemblance to a scotch ale or a christmas ale.

Mouthfeel-Moderately low body is augmented slightly by the moderately high carbonation. No alcohol warmth.

Could I drink a lot of this? Sure. Would I want to? No, not really. This beer certainly doesn't fit it's description, and that withstanding, is still not a great beer by any stretch of the imagination.

Photo of xnicknj
3.37/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

on tap at devils den

Pours a clouded auburn with a solid white head. Fades to film which disappears rather quickly, leaving hardly any lacing.

Some malty peat and chocolate in the nose, with notes of breadiness as well.

Begins with citrusy hops and pine, followed by notes of chocolate and bitterness. Slight smoke and leather with some caramel malt. Finishes a little dry with some bread crust and lightly roasted malt.

Thinner medium body, higher carbonation, a little chewy. Drinks okay, but I really wasn't impressed with the flavor and pretty much wanted to be through with this to get to something better.

Photo of AgentZero
2.58/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch 10093. Nice looking bottle.

A - Poured an amber-red color with a two finger head that had nice retention. Faded to an uneven cap.

S - Honestly, there is not a whole lot to talk about here. Smells like a lot of caramel, with some english hops. Not particularly good, but not offensive.

T - Tastes like a caramelly amber beer with some sort of english hops added just to try something. I don't really like this at all, pretty much is a bad mix, like a watered down scottish or failed attempt at a holiday beer.

M - Smooth, low carbonation, medium bodied. Needed a bit more kick on it.

D - This is a very easy to drink beer, which should be expected. It is not good though.

Photo of msfoster77
4.31/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this beer was a great buy. I like christmas ales tha don't taste like you are drinking a spice ball. This beer smelled of hops and oranges. It poured an orange red color and looked almost pulpy after I poured it, but that was probably a product of the pour. It had great carbonation.

The taste was of hops and citrus, and small hints of spices. I thought it was great, but it tastes more like a mild IPA than a christmas ale.

Photo of tjsdomer2
3.36/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Good brown thickness and tan foam that sticks to mug. Carbonation is nice overall as well.

Smell: Mineral water and some vague hops. A fair amount of caramel malt as well. As far as Scottish ales go, this one fizzles a bit.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Initially a strong alcoholic presence with bitter hops. This beer is pretty bitter overall, but not in bad way. The aftertaste comes off a bit sour and this is unfortunately a thin beer all around.

Drinkability: Accessible to drink, since nothing is overwhelming.

Overall: Not nearly as good as Oberon.

Photo of BlueCat1
2.63/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Christmas holiday beers are always something to look forward to. Frankincense and myrrh make for some pretty funky additives! Over the years many crafts have offered interpretations of an undefined style, so there's not really any right or wrong.
Bell's Xmas Ale, at least for 2010, is tame and uninteresting. It has a reasonably nice amber color. But beyond that there's nothing that strikes a notable chord. Not much hop taste exhibited, and the malt aspect is weak and almost watery.
There are many excellent holiday offerings out there. If you're looking for something to excite you don't look here. If you're looking for something that your Lite drinking sister-in-law might consent to drink you might try this.

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

First had: ?

A: Reddish brown, and slightly hazy, with a nice moderate head.

S: Slightly malty, slightly citrusy, slightly spicy.

T: Well balance of smooth malts, citrusy hops, and subtle spice. Not as flavorful as some holiday ales I've tried, but nice and subtle and well-blended. Slight alcohol tinge.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

D: Drinkable and pleasant.

Photo of Spica66
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip.

A: Reddish brown and slightly hazy. Excellent head formation and retention.

S: Malt and citrusy hops on the nose with an undercurrent of spices (like nutmeg maybe?).

T: Extremely nice malt profile with a strong dose of hops and the finish leaves the spices rattling around on your tongue, but not in an overpowering way. I like this one much better than last year's.

M: Medium body with perfect carbonation level for smoothness in your mouth.

D: With no overpowering spices this year, this beer is a joy to drink!

Photo of Frothboss
2.1/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Pours a light brown color with light brown head about two fingers high

S - Very light hop and malt, not much smell to it.

T - Tastes kind of neutral, nothing really jumping out at me, light hop on the back of tongue. very light malt taste but didnt notice at first sip.

M - this one coasts all the way down. Light, kind of thick but it might just be to cold. It would probably loosen up a bit if it warmed up.

D - Good one to serve to my family or friends who is not into craft beers. Almost reminds of Budweiser select. Wont be buying it again....might even be in my fridge till next christmas! LOL!!

Photo of Joemark
2.12/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Very disappointed in this beer.
Pours a nice lookin amber. All downhill from that point on. Scent is dull, and taste is light and unimpressive. I'm a big fan of winter/christmas beers for their robust scents, and complex flavors. This beer falls short in all aspects, as far as what I look for in a winter seasonal ale. Oh well, off to the next

Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass very active. The coppery brown liquid was topped with a big cap of foam which left moderate lacing down the glass.

The aroma is modest. Some nutty character and malt combine to convince you are drinking a "brown" beer, but nothing else. I would expect a deeper malt character for a Scotch ale. More of the same on the palate. Non-sweet malt which morphs into a dry hop character at the end. It finishes a little pepper, which must be from the hops. For a Christmas ale, comment on the lack of spice. For a Scotch ale, I would ask for more malt and less hop.

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.39/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a short, off-white head over a cloudy, orange-to-amber body with good carbonation showing. Great lacing.

Aromas were too light - only very faint cinnamon, and some sweet cherry-like aromas.

Light Northwestern hoppy bite on the palate, malts come through sweetly, a touch of clove, but no other discernable spices.

Plenty of carbonation keeps the mouthfeel clean, and somewhat powdery.

Drinks easily, nothing terribly strong or off-putting.

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

I poured this one into my St. Bernardus chalice, and was a little bit disappointed given Bell's great line of brews.

Pours amber, with light head and significant lacing. No real head here though, thats the major issue. Nose is full of piney hops - perhaps they are going for Christmas tree?

From a flavor perspective the first thing you notice is that this beer is too bitter/hoppy to be a scottish ale, and honestly isnt my style for my favorite beer season - Christmas. Mouth is a little thin. This beer is made for the hopheads, not those of us who love scottish or Christmas beers - at least in my opinion.

Photo of Thanby
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with a thin, soapy head and little carbonation. Nose is amber malt with mild seasonal spices, a little nutty. Taste is mostly the rounded amber malt, a little toasted almond, clove and coriander, a little bittering hops. Medium body, lightened somewhat by the spices, not bad overall. A good solid winter amber ale that's not too in-your-face with the spices.

Photo of farrago
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light head, finger of light tan to eggshell white, lots of larger bubbles which dissipate at a rapid clip, doesn't come up with much lacing. Gauzy orange rust in color with a burnt red dirt edge, slight loss of depth at the rims, loosely arranged bubbles spread throughout the glass. Clean evanescence to the nose, dried grass and straw, peat moss, pepper and sage, mild caramel and chocolate accents, as it warms you get more apricot, peach, yellow apple scents as well as scone, soda bread and honey. Medium-bodied, here the carbonation too active, prevents many of the flavors from finding a center and then soaking in. Noticeably dry, leads once more with a grassy earthiness, followed on by dry grapefruit, orange pith. The yellow apple, pear, apricot fruit tenuous, in turn not enough honey, toffee to elevate overall sweetness and bolster the fruit. Smidge of pepper and other bitter herbs, leading into a sour finish. Not horrible, but doesn't make you especially want another bottle.

Photo of paulozanello
3.36/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with a nice white head that has good retention and amazing lacing.

Smells of caramel malts, biscuit and some spicyness.

Taste follows nose with sweet malts upfront and fruity, spicy and mild tartness and bitterness in the finish.

Body is moderate to light with high carbonation.

Overall a malty and nutty beers with faint hop presence. Not very impressive for a brewery like Bells.

Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a mostly clear consistency. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A very subdued aroma of malt, caramel and hops.

T: Pretty much tastes like it smells: Malt and caramel up front with a slight hoppiness in the finish. Not a very dynamic or memorable flavor, but not terrible either.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Bell's has done better work, but this isn't a wholly undrinkable beer.

Photo of Lauthaha
4.57/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pure tan. Fizzy white head bubbles down to a wispy but present lacing on top of the beer and around the edge of the glass. Slight reddish tint to the beer. Somewhat cloudy, active carbonation.

Smell: Wheaty...cloves, raisins...just a touch of caramel in the malt, maybe. Very pure, a great smelling Scottish ale!

Taste/Mouthfeel: Mmm, very mellow, low (but present) bitterness, warmth from the alcohol, sweet bread or raisin bread, a great beer to chew for a moment. Cloves in the aftertaste. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It deserves a 5, in my book. Very tasty, not overly estery, not cloying, not weighed down in malt but not empty-bodied either. Perfect.

I love Scottish ales, and this is a good example by an American brewery.

Photo of bsuedekum
3.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bottle into a snifter.

A - Has about a one finger head that fades slowly to a thin head that remains along with carrying a solid lacing. It's a dull rust or copper in color.

S - malt and is it weird to say I get some field grass smell in there. It's a slight aroma overall that I'd say is best described by calling it an earthy malt smell.

T - Another reviewer calls this taste "rather plain and unexciting" and I think that nails it. It's not bad, but it's nothing special by any means. I've never felt more confident marking this down as an "average" beer in taste.

M - It does carry an effervescent mouthfeel.

D - At 5.4% it's definitely not hard to have several of these. And it isn't a bad beer by any means so I'd say it's slighty abover average as a drinker.

Photo of gopens44
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Decent enough looking beer with it's frothy head and dark red appearance

S - I didn't notice a ton of aroma here. Light toasty smells with hints of spice, but not overwhelming by any measure

T - Similar to the nose, not overwhelming. Perhaps some hints of dark cherry and a light hop presence. Malty would be the best base flavor description in my opinion.

M - Light and well carbonated. Not a ton of aftertaste.

Meh. Not my favorite seasonal this season, but it was balanced decently. Easy to drink if you aren't looking for an overwhelming taste bonanza.

Photo of StoutHunter
3.59/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this the other day since I have never had it before and because I love bell's. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- This beer poured a nice amber color with 2 fingers of chunky white head and nice lacing.

S- All I really pick up is a medium amount of malts, not much going on here. Smells more like an American lager then a Scottish ale.

T- Thankfully the taste is far different from the nose. There is a good amount of mild fruitiness that sticks out fairly well. The malts are present mixed with some mild spices and the hops have some pleasant bitterness and citrus on the finish that really helps tie this beer together.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, and a nice crisp finish.

D- I would have one or two of these before I moved on to something else, more then that might be too much sweetness and spices.

Overall I thought this was a good beer, I was not wowed by it but I would buy this again, specifically for the holidays. The combination of fruits and spices make this a worthy Christmas ale. Good job Bell's.

Photo of Frosty80
3.04/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours clear, light golden brown. sits clear, slightly dull copper

Smell: low malt sweetness with low diacetyl and spicy hops

Taste: watered down. very balanced malt sweetness and hop flavor. very low diacetyl with next to no bitterness. finish is light with a hint of graininess

Mouthfeel: clean and crisp. low carbonation. medium-light body

Notes: where did the flavor go? im re-reviewing this and is nothing like my notes. sometimes i wonder who is tasting for consistency!

Photo of photon3130
3.91/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 10027

Poured from the bottle into a merlot glass. Golden in color with a little bit of ruby red. There's a 2 finger white head that has good retention and lacing. This isn't a strong smelling beer, but I get some light fruit and floral aromas. The taste follows the nose and also has some added nutmeg/winter spices. The main fruit tastes I noticed were cherries and apples. The carbonation on this is a little high, but gives it a nice crisp, clean finish, especially with the spices. Overall, I enjoyed this beer and would have it again.

Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed coppery brown color with decent cap of khaki head. Scent brings forward a mix of sweet carmel malts, roasted nuts, citrusy hops and some prune/fig like qualities. Taste starts with the citrusy hops, followed by a 50/50 mix of sweet malts and roasted nuts, the back end features the lingering notes of dark dried fruits. Medium bodied, slightly high in carbonation. A decent beer, but the strange mix can overpower the palate - akin to a very hoppy brown ale in my opinion.

Photo of Giggy
3.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not a typical Christmas seasonal. I've tried this one every winter over the last few years. Taste changes from year to year.

Appearance: Red/Brown tint, slightly cloudy

Smell: Toasted sweet caramel malts

Taste: Roasted malts with a delicate citrus overtone

Mouthfeel: Spritzy and light in body

Drinkability: Sweet with a crisp finish

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,478 ratings.