1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
81
good

1,309 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,309
Reviews: 467
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 41
Gots: 94 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,309 | Reviews: 467 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DAllspaw
4.3/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass

Amber color, a little cloudy with solid 1 inch off white/tan head. Plent of tiny bubbles.

Malt is king here, most notable in the aroma then same in the taste. A bit of caramel and toffee which remind me of other scottish ales, though others I've had are darker.

Slightly sweet and even a little smoky aftertaste. Reminds me more of ESB with, but regardless a very nice beer and perfect for time of year. Plenty going on, another strong offering from Bells.

DAllspaw, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of IrishColonial
4/5  rDev +12%

IrishColonial, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of HumphreyLee
4/5  rDev +12%

HumphreyLee, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Slightly hazy amber with lots of tiny particles and a three-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a while. Nice lacing.

S: Pine hops and fruit.

T: Moderately sweet and moderately bitter. Sweet malt. Spicy hops. I do taste honey as others have mentioned.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Creamy and slightly dry.

O: This Scottish Ale is comparable to the other two I've had. Pretty good, but it especially look really good.

SolipsismalCat, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of birderbeerer
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown ale with ruby hues, mostly white head, fairly translucent.

Smell is unremarkable, mostly malt with a little oaky sweetness.

Taste is a bit more complex. Good balance of sweetness and dryness. Toffee/caramel mostly. A little pepper. Mostly a dry, malty ale.

Perfectly nice as a session or as a one-off to break up the regular mix.

birderbeerer, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of Jimmys
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. bottled on 10/123/11

A: a slightly hazed ruby red body. 1 finger head with O.K. retention and lacing. good looking body, but i wouldnt hate a bigger, longer lasting head.

S: aroma is fruity, but with a significant hop nose. if i had to guess i would say a healthy dose of citra hops were used for aroma/dry-hop.

T: very bubblegum-like. very bubblegum-like. crystal malty-ness that has a fresh, fruity sweet flavor to it off the bat. a bitterness follows that brings a nice balance to the opening sweetness.

M: moderate amount of carbonation adds a tingle to this malt driven body.

D: not your typical holiday winter warmer. a neat take to have a scottish as their Christmas Ale. good tasting brew from a brewery that doesnt really make a ad one.

Jimmys, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's December, time for the annual Christmas Ale run!

It's a medium tan color with lots of foam. Smells of malt, grapefruit, and nutmeg, ok but not impressive. The taste is quite nice, with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove floating over a nice malt base. The body seems light for either a scottish ale or typical winter lager but the taste more than makes up for it.

DesMoinesMike, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of uziangis
4/5  rDev +12%

uziangis, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of kristenrae8
4/5  rDev +12%

kristenrae8, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of derricksmalls
4/5  rDev +12%

derricksmalls, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of MNJR
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy copper color, thin head, lots of bubbles. Smells of leather, fruit, toasty malt; no hops come forward. The taste is unique, and strange. My first impression was creamy/milky, coppery, dry oatmeal, slight tartness on the finish. Nicely carbonated with a sparkle on the wash-down. When the carbonation dies it leaves a watery aftertaste. A good percentage of the initial flavor dies out quickly, leaving a mild alcohol burn and not much else. Too thin overall for a Scotch ale? I like Bell's in general, but I think they could do better job on this "special" ale. They have done much better on other beers. Just not much to report here in terms of anything memorable.

MNJR, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of oldvines
3.5/5  rDev -2%

oldvines, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of buckyp
4/5  rDev +12%

buckyp, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of BasterdInABasket
3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage, 12 oz bottle poured into SA Perfect Pint Glass
A- Amber colored with a lot of carbonation, bubbles rising to top, 2 fingers fluffy, light-cream colored head, very good retention and lacing
S- Bready malt, sugary sweetness, slightly fruity. Pretty light nose overall, nothing really stands out
T- Toasted bread, candy sugar sweetness, almost Pez candy-like, minimal bitterness, A pretty easy, mellow taste to it
M- Meium body and carbonation, drinkable
O- Overall pretty solid, nothing really pops out, worth a try but not likely I'll be coming back to it
Reviewed 1-10-13

BasterdInABasket, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of DannyDan
3.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours an amber hue that has a thin whitehead that has good retention and fine lacing.
S. The aroma has a sweet caramel, honey and fruit scent.
T. The taste starts out with some fruit, followed by some caramel and finishes off with honey. A pleasant mix of sweetness and spiciness.
M. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, but leaves the mouth dry.
O. A nice relaxing beer to enjoy on Xmas, also this makes a nice gift for the beer lover on your Xmas list.

DannyDan, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of jminch
4/5  rDev +12%

jminch, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of iemailjack
3/5  rDev -16%

iemailjack, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of Brewdacris
4/5  rDev +12%

Brewdacris, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of soulfly1492
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Hoppy upfront. Pine. Some sweet malts, corn, mild phenols, wheat and spices.

Appearance: Amber brown, just a bit cloudy. ours a tall off-white head. Tons of lacing. Great retention.

Flavor: Tons of malt. Munich, caramel, sweet honey. Nice crisp bitter hops. Lots of honey in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Mild carbonation. Light and creamy. Overall a bit drying.

Overall: Pretty good, but I expect the best from Bell's. Nice malt flavor, and hops to balance out the mix.

soulfly1492, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of OneDropSoup
3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Beautiful deep red with pink-gold highlights, finger of white head that drops with a little lacing. Love that color, like a tree ornament.

Sweet fruit smell, but candy/dessert-ish, like Gummi bears or Jell-o citrus salad. Full & present, a little sweet tea.

Same candy-like fruit in the taste: strawberry, bubble gum, lightly spicy & mildly bitter hop presence that on the dry side. Getting just a little malt flavor, maybe a touch of honey or caramel. Good "dressing" but not as solid a center as I'd like. Subtle snap in the finish, too. Not bad at all, pretty enjoyable.

On the light side, but substantial, active & tingly.

Good flavors, good smell. This being my first one, I'm impressed with what I'm getting from it, but I'm not sure I'd rush to get it again. Definitely unique.

OneDropSoup, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of madeofsteel
4.08/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on Halloween this year.

A - Poured into a pint glass, pours a lovely mahogany color. Builds up about a two finger head, settles down to a thin layer after a few minutes, with nice lacing.

S - Sweet, fruity malts. A little bit of spice and hops in the back.

T - Biscuity malts, and very citrusy hops. Fruit and toffee flavors show up, but kind of get lost in the fold. I'm surprised at how hoppy this one is. Nice balance.

M - Creamy, with a bitter dry finish.

O - I liked this one a whole lot, and was happy that they didn't try to flavor it or something like that. Very drinkable, and a pretty good festive brew.

madeofsteel, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of JustABeerGuy
3/5  rDev -16%

JustABeerGuy, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of warnerry
3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 10/13/11

A - Pours a slightly cloudy amber/copper with one finger of dense tan head. Head has great retention and leaves nice lacig all down the glass.

S - Sweet malts, a bit of spice and some fruity aromas. Smell is subtle but interesting.

T - Slightly sweet malt up front, some piney hops I didn't pick up in the aroma, and some spices that provide a dry finish. Not sure what makes this a Scotch ale, but this is a pretty enjoyable brew.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - A pretty good brew overall, but not something I would seek out in the future.

warnerry, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of zoso1967
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bell’s Christmas ale pours a lovely reddish amber color. It is medium to deep in hue and has a nice beige colored cap of foam that posses wonderful retention and lacing properties.

The aroma is quite unique with a candy like character that does seem quite Christmassy. It is slightly fruity with some caramel malt sweetness, toasted aromas and a bit of earthy spice. All of these things combined remind me a bit of fruitcake.

The flavor is a lot more normal tasting to me with the candied character being more subdued. It has a very nice toasted bready sweetness that melds well with some earthy and floral hops to give the beer a well rounded and appetizing flavor.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller edge of medium with very nice carbonation that is appropriate in both volume and texture. It finishes with some sweet and toasty notes lingering on my palate.

Overall this is a pretty decent offering from Bell’s, but far from one of their best. It ticks all the boxes for the style but leaves me wanting more in most areas. Perhaps that is why they only brew it once a year.

zoso1967, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Bottled 10-19-11.

Appearance: Pours a deep and slightly hazy copper orange with lots of rising bubbles. Big six finger off white head with good retention. Lots of lacing sticking around the glass.

Smell: Lots of lightly toasted barley malts with good hints of caramel and toffee. Along with the malts is a subtle but noticeable hop presence with some citrus orange and earthy pine resin. Aroma reminds me of an English Bitter.

Taste: Very bready and fruity. Lots of toasted caramel and toffee malts up front giving a strong biscuit flavor. Notes of citrus orange and lemon follow along with some subtle herbal pine resin. Malt forward but the fruity hops make their presence known well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Crisp, creamy, and lightly prickles the tongue. Finishes somewhat dry.

Overall: A pretty solid Christmas brew. Nice use of malts and hops. It did pretty well without the spices as the Brewery website states.

MattyG85, Dec 07, 2011
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,309 ratings.