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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.

492 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 492
Hads: 1,541
Avg: 3.58
pDev: 22.91%
Wants: 46
Gots: 208 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 492 | Hads: 1,541
Photo of andrewjraab
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Copper orange with a crisp white head that leaves some decent lacing at first but thins out

S. not a very big nose on this. Pale hops and orange peel.

T. This Is a good tasting brew that is easily drinkable, but I guess was hoping for just a bit more. It is just meh all the way around.

O. Meh, I would drink it again, but it will not make the regular Christmas rotation.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-dark orange gold with a nice frothy light cream colored head. good lacing.

S-smells like barley and hops...a lot like how beer smells before the yeast is added. might have a hint of baking spices to it. not a very well defined scent. seems scattered...can't put my nose on exactly whats going on. not terrible though. decent strength

T-comes in tasting surprisingly how it smells. i've tasted wort once, what the beer is after the boil before the yeast is added. this beer tastes closer to that than any drink i've ever had. its a definitely not a bad taste. it might lack a lot of flavor, maybe doesn't taste quite right, but it definitely tastes like a real and authentic beer. the grains and hops taste so raw, not flavorful at all as they often are, and maybe often exaggerated too as well. this just tastes like a grunting blue collar beer. the after-taste has a good amount of bitterness to it.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a dry finish

O-its an interesting beer. its not as glamorous as the typical christmas beer. this is much more raw. as much as i appreciate the authentic approach, its a boring beer. there isn't much here at all. i'm not even sure what kind of beer its supposed to be, it definitely doesn't resemble a scotch ale...i'm not sure who decided that was this style. something i won't get again. skip it. i expect more from Bells.

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Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date on the bottle is 10-15-12

A - Pours out a deep amber color with little particles floating around in this partially see through ale. Produces a two finger off white yellowish head that looks nice and creamy.

S - On the nose it is all bready malts, some mustiness and slight hops. Really, mellow on the nose.

T- Interesting here. Is definitely malt forward on this with some sweetness,ginger bread, lactose, pepper flavor, and some light bittering hops in the finish. Leaves a slight bitterness in the palate that builds while you drink into it, it develops a zesty spice flavor.

M - Nice full bodied fluffy creamy mouth which happens to be well carbonated.

O - Not sure what to make of this beer it is well made and is not off-putting but it is not one I would reach for again. It flavors are a little strange and I am having a hard time placing them. It almost reminds me of a lactose beer I had in the past. Try it your up to something different but do not expect to be blown away. Cheer!

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy copper/amber color with puffy 2 finger, off white/cream head.

S - Caramel malt, bready, a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar and a touch of molasses. Faint, but there.

T - I'm trying to work out where I've tasted this before. It tastes a bit like a candy, sort of a Werther's Original butterscotch and something very sugared. Heavy on malt, a bit of cinnamon at the end. It's not bad, but it's kind of odd.

M - Thick, syrupy, and a little drying from the cinnamon.

Overall - I'm not really sure what to think of this one. I'm not blown away by it, but I'm a bit intrigued. A decent beer? Yes. A good beer? Not so sure.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with some suspended dustiness; amber in color with a clumpy off-white head. Even laces to some effect.

Light malty nose with vanilla and mace. Sweet, clean, and perfumy. Almost a berry + leather pairing in the nose. Hard to describe how inviting it is.

Plummy malts with lots of fruity esters, all the while accented by some Christmas spices. Nutmeg and mace and an herbal element of sage or thyme. Sweet and malty, like the nose, with a light vanilla bent. Too light for a warmer, with the alcohol level being disguised. Caramelized sugars are creamy and light, also. Touch of peach. Maybe grape. Perfumy, too. Certainly interesting in its candy sweetness.

Drinks like a champ. Especially, at the end of the night. Simply crafted to be consumed.

Curious about the low rankings, as this is a nice spiced Scottish Ale, perfect for the Christmas season. I feel like this years' is a vast improvement from the last.

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Photo of patpbr
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bells Christmas ale pours a red color with a nice off white head. Nice lacing. Malts are upfront here. Slight toasted and a bready or earty. The body doesn't hold up as I would like. Some spice in the finish. An easy drinker in the Scottish Ale category.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Bright ruby, some carbonation, one finger head. Really the only part of this beer that scream Christmas.

S-Malt, weak on the spice, balance isn't there, maybe some grass.

T- Off. Unbalanced, spices are there but not balanced, some cinnamon, nutmeg no bitterness.

M-Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation.

O- The beer was off, poor balance and didn't have the spices I like from a christmas ale.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the bottle: "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."; "Batch # 11581, pkgd 10/30/12".

A nightcap following the Steelers' win over the Ravens a little while ago. I love an aggro pour as it really creates as much head as possible and opens up the beer's nose. I got two-plus fingers of dense tawny head with excellent retention from my nearly-inverted pour. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose was rich with malt, giving rise to truth in advertising. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching fullness with respect to its near-creaminess. The interplay between the malt, which was prevalent on the nose, and the hops, which now seemed to take center stage on the tongue, was notable. As the head began to fall, loads of sticky lacing was left behind. I was having a hard time believing that this was a Scottish Ale, but at the same time, I was totally digging it! I just wish that the malt had been more smoky as opposed to outright sweet. Finish was semi-sweet with the hops reigning in what could have been too much.

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Photo of Megahertz
3.96/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Biffster
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.51/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of cosmicevan
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.37/5  rDev -33.8%
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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Photo of melitameister
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of MarvinTheMarzen
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of klkatz
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
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

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Photo of samie85
2.34/5  rDev -34.6%
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.

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Photo of TechTriumph
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of bjohn84
3.64/5  rDev +1.7%
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

 351 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

 376 characters

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 492 ratings.