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

Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,150 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 1150
Reviews: 460
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 13.41%

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: 1,150 | Reviews: 460 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Megahertz


3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a New Belgium Globe. Bottled on 10/15/12, consumed 12/02/12.

A - Clear deep red with a massive, pillowy head and very tight lacing. Beautiful.

S - Surprisingly sweet freshed baked bread with a subtle citrus & resin note in the background.

T - Fresh baked bread, crust and all, with a serious toasted note in the middle. Considerable ale esters - raisin, plum and cinnamon. Hop bitterness is present but very mild, clean and gentle. Medium dry finish. A refined flavor.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

O - A very nice ale - distinctly American yet complex. Nothing to do with christmas, but I'll drink it any time, anywhere.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 20:35:00 | More by Megahertz
Photo of CFHMagnet


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

Pouring aggressively gets me a finger of yellowy head. The body holds a lot of sediment. I love unfiltered beer :) It's color is approximately that of apple cider. Little bit of froth sits up top, lacing tries to cling to side of the glass but other than the ring at the top, most of it slides back down.

I smell malt, apricot and spices.

Slightly sweet malt and not-at-all sweet apricot immediately greet the tongue. Hop flavor on the back end is mild, vaguely pine and weak grapefruit.

Very mild beer. Medium bodied. Dry finish. Doesn't really coat the mouth. Doesn't make a big deal of itself.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 03:56:29 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of KYGunner


3.1/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This ale poured a cloudy, sediment filled and bubbly appearance with a nice creamy one finger head and no lacing. The scent was so subtle that I got nothing but a bit of ginger. The taste is sweet and typical of a Scottish Ale but unremarkable. I'd write more but this Ale is not particularly interesting and needs little else.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 23:28:16 | More by KYGunner
Photo of Biffster


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

Picked up a single at a local bottle shop. I've had almost everything from Bell's but this is a first.

It pours a deep copper, with brown and amber highlights. It is clear but not brilliant, and has a low but persistent coarse tawny head.

The aroma is rich and malty, with low to moderate smoky phenolic notes. This sample is a touch sulphury. The malt is rich and toasty, with graham cracker and pumpernickel notes. There is some toffee raisin and caramel aromas. It's not sweet and the richness is tempered by the smoky phenols.

There is a rich malty profile in the beginning - lots of raisins, plum, dark fruit, and dark malt. The aroma of graham cracker and dark rye bread crust is confirmed in the flavor. There is almost no hop flavor to speak of, but there is a low to moderate bitterness to counter the big malty profile. The finish is surprisingly dry, considering the malty start. It has a more than perceptible hop bitterness. Nevertheless, it finishes to the malt, with a lingering low caramel and bready finish.

It has a medium body, with a low to moderate smooth but spicy carbonation that lightens the overall mouthfeel and helps to enhance the hop bitterness and moderate the malt profile.

I dont know why they call this a Christmas Ale. It is a really impressive Scottish Ale. Clean, smooth, malty, but not at all sweet or cloying. Very impressive.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 01:30:03 | More by Biffster
Photo of tectactoe


3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a middle of the road copper color with reasonable clarity and a slightly off-white, small head that dissipates quick and doesn't leave much lacing to speak of. The aroma was hard to pick up on, at first I wasn't getting much of anything. I let it warm a little bit and started picking up some apple slices with peppery overtones, along with some other kitchen spices that were difficult to identify. Taste is crisp and full of spices, nutmeg and cinnamon being the most noticeable, along with the pepper flavor that rides the full wave. Some leafy bitterness at the end leaves you with an overall dry finish.

This beer is okay, nothing special. I'm glad I tried it, but there are many Christmas-time seasonal beers I'd choose over this one. Still worth a shot, though.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 13:19:04 | More by tectactoe
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Visiting family in NC so picked this up locally. Enjoyed from a spiegelau glass.

a - brew poured a deep rich mahogany with some visible carbonation and a thin off white head that was gone quickly.

s - spicy white peppery crispness. Boozy grapes with some nuttiness.

t - fairly lagery. Loss of grain and all malt. Some festive spicing of white pepper but not much going on.

m - light bodied to medium bodied. Crisp. Heavy lager vibe, kind of BMCish.

o - overall meh. Glad i only got a single of this one. Not really something i will seek out. I have had many scotch asked that i lives this was not awful, but boy above average.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 20:15:59 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of ChainGangGuy


2.35/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.09 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Batch: 11572, PKGD 10/22/12.

Appearance: Pours a medium amber-hued body chock full of suspended particles hidden beneath a thin, off-white head for not a hazed, but dingy appearance.

Smell: Weak bready-scented malts, slight citrus, slight additional fruitiness, with slight dirty, dead yeastiness given one last sip of half-sweetened iced tea.

Taste: Very lightly bready malts with a thin sweetness. Holds just shy of delivering a taste of toast, a taste of toffee. Curious fruitiness in addition to some orangy citrus qualities. Slight spicy pine hint as well with sufficient bitterness. Hmm, it just doesn't mesh well or come together for me.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: This is one of the regular seasonal Bells offering that I seem to always miss every year like clockwork, which I did regret from time to time, and, now that I've had it, well, I wouldn't have it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 22:08:31 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of buddha5050


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

A: About 1 finger of tight white head, nice clear red/ruby appearance, decent carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

S: Caramal, toasted malt, grapefruit, orangepeel

T: Little bitterness at the front, citrus peel, dry finnish, not what I would call a true scotch ale but not bad either.

M: A little thin and watery but decent carbonation

O: Nice beer for alot of brewers but not what I expect from Bell's. I guess when you do almost everything so well, once something does not measure up to your normal standards it gets noticed. With that said I would love to produce something like this at home, very drinkable

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 03:13:14 | More by buddha5050
Photo of theHoff77


4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pokal glass.

A - Hazy dark orange/amber color, like an apple cider color. Thick foamy white head. Just off first glance I got the impression this was going to have a fruity taste to it.

S - Fruity in smell. I get an apple vibe from it.

T - Tastes a lot like Dead Guy Ale, which I happen to really like. But I don't make the connection as to how this is a scotch ale. Once again I get a predominate apple flavor, which is good but it's not complex.

M - Has a dryness about it like a cider. Crisp and clean though.

O - Maybe I'm totally off with the apple theory but that's what I'm getting; Bell's Christmas Apple Ale. I thought this was pretty good beer though, enjoyed the flavor and it was easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2012 04:59:42 | More by theHoff77
Photo of kylehay2004


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

Had this back to back with Goose Island's Christmas Ale. Reviewed from notes.

A: two finger head on a hazy amber body.

S: lots of caramel malt, some hops which provide an earthy note.

T: caramel malts and honey. The hops add more of an earthy and herbal flavor.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: A nice beer but not quite to the usual Bell's standards.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 00:43:16 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of melitameister

New York

3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle already 18 months old from great beer store on Topsail Island, NC. Was in the cooler and apparently well kept.

Not much to remind me of a Scottish Ale and surely not typical of a Christmas ale. Label says "malt driven," but fairly dry, more like a very well made pale than a Scottish.

Appearance - Burnt orange with some cloudiness with a nice creamy head. That and yeast in the bottom says this is a live beer.

Smell - Orange, citron, pine and malt.

Taste - Full but dry malt balanced with hops bitterness and some dry hop fruit. Lots of subtle esthers carry on to make the taste last.

Mouthfeel - Light but creamy. Despite not getting what I expected from a Bell's Christmas, a highly drinkable and delicious brew. What I have come to expect from Bell.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 22:45:12 | More by melitameister
Photo of MarvinTheMarzen


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

This is a really pleasant beer, tasting much lighter than a typical Scottish and for a beer of 5.4 ABV. Bell's website doesn't list a style but does not that no extra spices are added as there are with other holiday beers.

Scent, taste, and mouthfeel are all good. The carbonation is a bit high but not as bright as a pilsner. A definite malt presence.I will get this again if I can find it.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2012 01:25:39 | More by MarvinTheMarzen
Photo of klkatz


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

smell - sweet, piney... malty..

color - nice reddish/orangy amber... - nice thick quick foaming head..

taste - crisp, sweet, piney about a 3/3.5

should have had this during christmas, but life happened..
Bell's is usually on top of their game.. the two hearted ale is excellent... this is above average... worth a swig

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 02:45:24 | More by klkatz
Photo of samie85


2.3/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Batch 10729.

Bottle gushed a bit upon opening.

Pours a clear copper color with a finger of white head.

Some hints of bubblegum and with some malty and earthy notes.

Bubblegum and clove come through in the taste. This has to be an infection.

The body is a little thin with quite a bit of carbonation.

I really think this was infected. What I took away from this didn't match any of the other reviews.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2012 05:56:05 | More by samie85
Photo of TechTriumph


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

From notes on 12/26/11:
Bottled: 10/26/11; Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - Two inch off-white bubbly head with good retention; Slightly hazy and a light amber color; Some lacing left behind

S - Notes of sweet caramel, floral, piney, and orange-like citrus hops

T - Some bitterness hits immediately with some acidic citrus flavor; Lots of floral characteristics step forward from mid-taste to finish with a hint of pine and toffee in the background; An herbal tea-like flavor comes through as well

M - Moderate carbonation; Medium bodied; Somewhat dry finish

O - I thought this beer was pretty solid. It doesn't seem to fit in the typical holiday beer mold without the usual spices in there, and had a unique flavor for sure. That said, the taste still reminded me of Christmastime, even though I cracked this beer open a day late. Overall, I feel this beer is a good option to enjoy in good company.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2012 16:56:56 | More by TechTriumph
Photo of bjohn84


3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber brown, fairly transparent with lots of tiny bubbles, head dissipates quickly

S - Lots of sweet caramel with hints of spices

T - Blackberries and a hint of spices and maybe some acidic citrus

M - Very low on the body and drinkable, fairly dry

O - Reminds me of a beer version of a dry, fruity sparkling wine, but actually fairly drinkable

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 03:28:59 | More by bjohn84
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

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

A - cloudy copper/orange, small head, little lacing

S - hops, grains, malts, sweetness, heavy caramel

T - a weird taste honesty.. kind of a smoked honey taste, with lots of sweet malt, bitter hops to ration it out

M - nice and smooth ale that just goes down without questioning.

O - this is not like most christmas ales.. i don't taste many spices, but it sure is awesome.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 22:06:43 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of trxxpaxxs

New York

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

Thanks to wintbs379 for this bottle.

A: Pours a really nice amber hue with about a half finger of bone white head that fades into a think halo along the top of the beer. There is very little lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose of this beer seems really complicated. I'm getting notes of malt, berry, and mild spice. There may also be a touch of citrus in there as well.

T: The flavors of the beer follow the nose. I get some malty sweetness, some hints of berry, a touch of spice, and just a little bit of lemon peel. It's really pleasant.

M: Light bodied beer. Sweetness right up front, a bit chewy, and it finishes thick.

O: This is one of the best Scotch Ales I've had, and definitely one of the better Christmas Ales on the market. I'd drink this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 02:36:47 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of beagle75


3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium amber color with one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Moderate lacing remains and some eager streams of fine bubbles rise in the column from the sides of the glass.

S: Candy-like, with both toffee and mixed fruit represented. A trace of husky grain emerges as it warms.

T: Begins off-dry, with caramel malt and herbaceous aromatics that are authentic in their delicate astringency. Acidity is mild and citric into the middle where understated bread is clean and sweetness is able to surge incrementally. The finish is comparatively vacant of flavor, compared to the other acts, with a fine thread of phantom astringency from earlier in the profile and a whiff of savoriness that lingers on the palate, turning to fermented tea late.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet but balanced on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This ale is relatively malt-forward, but conservative. It has a nuanced and dynamic sweetness that is, perhaps, its most interesting feature. When one considers that other notable qualities include an early herbaceous burst that is not particularly hop-like, it seems like a reasonable contribution to the style and a worthwhile candidate for food pairings.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 00:37:59 | More by beagle75
Photo of tsauce2


3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is brick red. Translucent. Head is off-white with red tinge, 1 in, dissipates to 1 cm. Medium carbonation. Heavy lacing.

S: Full malt aroma, caramel, some holiday spices, hops.

T: Full malt base, floral and citrus hop notes, mild caramel sweetness, light holiday spice. Aftertaste is mild piney hops, malt, caramel.

M: Medium body. Carbonation and malt give a full, creamy texture that follows initial hop forwardness. Wet finish.

O: The one thing I think is generally overdone with scottish/scotch ales is the malt presence. Sometimes they are so malty and give such a full, creamy feel that it is difficult for me to put down a pint without feeling full. Not this beer; the forward hop notes totally balance this ale and make it quite drinkable. Well balanced and, despite the larger initial hop presence, this beer really comes through as a scottish ale. I will buy this every winter going forward.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 14:23:52 | More by tsauce2
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

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

12oz Bottle - thanks to cfrancis for this

Appearance - Slightly hazy reddish/copper colour with a large size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hay/straw, cherries, grapefruit, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and some herbal notes. There is also a cherry sweetness mixed with light hops. It ends with a malty and spicy aftertaste.

Overall - The beer definitely has a taste all it's own. It's a mixed bag of all kinds of flavours, unfortunately one of them is a little too artificial. Still a beer with a taste that is interesting enough to warrant trying it.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2012 17:11:45 | More by spinrsx
Photo of distantmantra


3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a straight pint glass.

A: the beer pours brown-ruby red color with a thin head of yellowish foam that dissipates quickly.

S: I get an initial note of yeast and candi sugar, along with some sweet malt.

T: There's a real strong graham cracker flavor with the beer, backed by Belgian candi sugar and a bit yeasty funk. There is also a bit of a peppery note hanging around in the beer as well.

M: Very smooth mouthfeel with decent carbonation.

O: A little too sweet, but still enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2012 06:04:55 | More by distantmantra
Photo of Goliath


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

This beer pours a deer amber color with ruby hues in the light. There is a one inch light tan head. There is nice head retention and some heavy lacing.

The aroma is decent. There is a strong citrus hop profile with a very sugary sweet aroma as well. There's a bit spicing as well.

The taste is nice. Again some citrusy hops with a big dose of sweetness. There is a decent grain profile giving notes of caramel and raw grain.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a small carbonation bubble that provides a gentle tingle.

Overall it's a solid beer. There is a pleasing nose and taste, however nothing that stands out as being mind blowing. A great seasonal go to? Definitely.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 00:27:45 | More by Goliath
Photo of shand


3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Bell's Christmas Ale pours a red-amber color with a finger of head. The aroma is a nice mix of sweet fruits, caramel malts, and a bit of spices. The taste follows this, with a sweet cherry taste and some light spices up front, with a bit of herbal hops on the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and well-carbonated, and the drinkability is good. Overall, a solid beer. I meant to drink this actually on Christmas, but the whole working at 3 AM the day after Christmas thing put a whole damper to my holiday celebrations.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 05:56:32 | More by shand
Photo of shanblur


3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

10/26/11A printed on label. Poured from 12oz bottle into a snifter. A - Hazy amber color with an off white minimal head. Spotty lacing. S - Sweetness up front with caramel malts and candy aromas. Hint of a floral spice. T - Sweet up front on the taste as well with a minimal hops bitterness. Definitely more sweet malts than hops. M - A moderate carbonation and medium body. A very nice flavorful beer, rather sweet from the malts. Perhaps needs more spice to go with the name.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 18:38:47 | More by shanblur
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,150 ratings.