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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.
BA SCORE
81
good

1,198 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,198
Reviews: 461
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 32
Gots: 56 | 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: 1,198 | Reviews: 461 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bsp77
bsp77

Minnesota

3.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber-orange with very thin head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Cherry, caramel, tea, citrus and light spicy hops.

Taste: Dried-out caramel, cherry and tea malt backbone with a nice spicy English hop counterbalance and maybe a tinge of citrus.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, dry finish. Maybe too much carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: Pretty good balanced English/Scottish style ale. Like a more malt driven Bitter. Definitely drinkable but seems a little out of place for the season.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 19:27:47 | More by bsp77
Photo of JizackFH
JizackFH

New York

3.53/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color which was kind of surprising. There was a very large head on this beer that stuck around for quite a while leaving nice lacing on the glass. Smells very malty, with some dark malt notes and some caramel. The taste is creamy and malty. There are definitely caramel notes, and a hint of some roated malts. Some of the flavors were a little bit light. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Went down smooth. Nice creamy texture, with the body being a little bit on the lighter side. Drinkability was decent, I think it will be a good beer for christmas. I think its a nice christmas beer since a lot of the ones I have seem to be a bit over spiced. This one was nice though. Good job Bells. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 02:28:15 | More by JizackFH
Photo of Crittervision
Crittervision

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

reviewed on 12 april 2010

deep copper body, a pinky finger of head that recedes quickly.

smell is almost barleywiney. some darker fruit, fresh plum, candy-like, partial red ale, and faint hops.

taste is light caramel, hints of dirt and dry peanuts, more hints of a red wine thats lost its kick. a faint bitterness provides balance. a little dull.

highly carbonated, spritzy, light, and a touch thin of medium.

drinkability is good, but this one is fairly average.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2010 03:35:05 | More by Crittervision
Photo of Anthony1
Anthony1

Colorado

3.13/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

dark amber in color with a nice layer of off-white carbonation. biscuity pale malts and a generous dose of caramel, red apple, some grainy sugars balanced by an earthy hop aroma, more sweet grain complexity develops as it warms to room temp. carbonation delicate, around moderate level, medium bodied. pale malt base with heavy strokes of caramelized toffee, on the sugary side but balanced with a mostly benign English varietal hop flavor that gives a moderate bitterness, a touch of butter lingers

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2010 15:59:58 | More by Anthony1
Photo of RomaniIteDomum
RomaniIteDomum

Florida

3.93/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, it's July and I think it's time for some winter cheer.

Pours hazy brown with a nice big head. Good, but not extravagant.

Smells nice, like spice, candy, and a little hoppy bitterness.

Tastes pretty good. The hoppy bitterness is first, followed by candy. Lots of sweetness in the tail end.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but a little on the light side. Not bad at all.

This is a pretty drinkable brew, even when it is in the 90s outside with Florida summer showers. Good beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2010 18:20:37 | More by RomaniIteDomum
Photo of coryking
coryking

Missouri

3.4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For a Christmas release, I was expecting more of a beer. Light, unexciting, but obviously crafted well being from Bell's. Its labeled as a Scottish Ale here, dont know where that came from, but reviewing it based on that now, the beer is still just OK.

Nice, clear, caramely color. Nice head with sticky lacing. Aroma is light, not really overly inviting or exciting. Can pick up on the yeast character and malt. Medium mouthfeel with light toastiness. Finishes just fine.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2010 14:54:15 | More by coryking
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from Al's of Hampden.

A: The Scottish ale has a large head, nearly overflowing my glass with approximately 3 oz. left in the bottle. The dense head that results laces nicely, coating the mouth of the glass. The ale itself is a ruddy brown hue, opaque.

S: The nose is malty, heavy with caramel and darker breads. A touch of peaty thickness, rather light aroma-wise, runs around the background.

T: Sweet caramel malts, lightly roasted, take over from the first sip. A fruity apple flavor, thanks again to the malts, pairs with the caramel nicely. Theale is a comfort beer, I just feel better sipping my way through it. Beyond the caramel, flavors are a little light.

M: The mouthfeel is weighty upfront, warming the tastebuds early before settling down. The front of each sip delivers the best aspects of the beer.

D: I just sorted my Scottish ales and was reminded of Abbey Wright's Smokey Oak (mmmm, the best Abbey Wright beer ever). This is no Smokey Oak but it works in bad weather.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 21:00:25 | More by akorsak
Photo of BTPete
BTPete

New York

3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 3/6
12oz bottle to tulip

A: Dark amber with a big off white head. Spotty lacing.

S: Malts and more malts. There was a tiny if barely noticeable hop presence. Really nice carmelly malt smell though.

T: Really smooth and creamy tasting. Hints of roasted malt and caramel.

M: Active and well carbed.

D: very drinkable and a pretty solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 12:46:32 | More by BTPete
Photo of MEverritt
MEverritt

Florida

3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into my Tulip. Poured a amber/orange color. Almost like a watered down iced tea.

S- Slight hint of caramel malt with some fruity notes in there.

T- Very smooth mellow malts in the front with a fruity finish. Apples, pears, and the taste of sweet oranges.

M- Smooth med-bodied. Finishes crisp with lingering fruitiness. Well balanced.

D- I wouldnt call this a christmas ale. Its almost a summer beer for me. Like Id drink it after I mowed the lawn or something. Id drink it again but not gonna rush to the store to buy it.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 03:48:03 | More by MEverritt
Photo of OttoBomb
OttoBomb

Illinois

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass (February 26, 2010). Rear label says it's batch "9423" and the Bell's website says that it was "packaged on October 22, 2009." This was part of a mixed six pack of Christmas seasonal brews picked up at Armanetti Wine Shoppe and Beverage Mart in Chicago.

Eyes: Pours a very hazy deep orange with hues of red. Almost one finger head forms and dissipates in under a minute. A significant stream of bubbles arises from the etching on the bottom of the glass.

Nose: A soft combination backed bread and caramel, but a very modest profile overall.

Tongue: Malty, sweet. Actually tasted a bit metallic, some earthy components here, and a hint of hops. There is only a hint of the nutty spiciness that usually accompanies Christmas offerings.

Mouth: Medium body, decent carbonation.

Libation: I must admit it doesn't scream Scottish Ale. Very drinkable, but kind of average in almost every area. Goes down easy, but not memorable.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 07:18:18 | More by OttoBomb
Photo of FreshmanPour77
FreshmanPour77

Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 02-17-10
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Nice 2 fingers of foam, sits pretty well. Doesn't disperse quickly with a light tan head of foam, golden colored with carbonation present

S - Sweet spices and malts, hints of caramel and nutmeg and citrus, orange peels, very faint hop aroma

T - Medium to light bodied. Strong in the malt flavor, no hop bite aftertaste to speak of

M/D - Pretty good brew out of bells. For sure not a hopslam or Batch9000 but of course different brews all together, not comparing but noticing. I like the idea that Bell's can go to a very strong brews and turn it down a couple of notches to create a very drinkable seasonal and on the edge of a session able brew. I would recommend you pick some up and try for yourself.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2010 18:56:24 | More by FreshmanPour77
Photo of techfed87
techfed87

Michigan

3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle is from Batch #9,431

Pours a big, heavy head, very slow to dissipate.

Scent is fairly hop-laiden.

Taste is very satisfyingly malty, with an almost oatmealy quality to it. Has a touch of a honey-like sweetness, which is balanced well with the subtle bitterness of the hops.

A very nice, neat beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2010 03:31:07 | More by techfed87
Photo of Gyle41386
Gyle41386

South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Dark orange pour. 2+ fingers of foam retain very, very well and stick nicely.

Malty, malty, malty. Lightly sweet, and maybe even a little musty. Earthy hops. Not a particularly exciting flavor profile. Seemed more lager-y to me. Grainy.

Body a little lighter than I expected. Appropriately carbonated. Pretty smooth, easy drinker. Just not a very exciting one.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2010 02:46:28 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of Durge
Durge

Connecticut

3.8/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beauty from the Ohoove cellars looks cloudy rust colored with a decent off-white head and solid lacing. The aroma has a big earthy malt, maybe peat and allspice and banana clove. Very nice. The first taste brings a ton of carbonation with bright grassy hops and light toffee malt. It's mid to light bodied. The hop bites the tip of the tongue with just a hint of clove. It's very angry with tiny bubbles. I get some apple mash and a bit of belly warmth. Overall a good if unspectacular brew but also not evident of any traditional holiday characteristics. Drinkable enough, just wish it tasted as good as it smelled.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 05:08:48 | More by Durge
Photo of hackmann
hackmann

Michigan

4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice looking winter ale
S: Nothing bold, but nice aroma
T: Light toffee and earthy hops, bitter orange peel with some nice pine notes. Balance flavor between the malts and hops. Nice bite to the hops.
M: Smooth on the palate. No lingering taste.
D: Yes. Due to the mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2010 07:04:47 | More by hackmann
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a clear, rusty copper color with a two-finger, khaki-colored head of foam. It left thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel, toffee and toasty malt. It had a subtle earthy quality.

T - It tasted of toasty malt and sweet caramel. There was a light toffee flavor and an earthy hop presence.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a smooth finish. It was light to medium-bodied.

D - This is a nice Christmas ale. I always like it when a Christmas ale isn't just a winter warmer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2010 02:02:43 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gehrig
Gehrig

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Jupiter's.

Clear reddish-amber body with two full fingers of off-white head; nice retention and lacing--a good-looking beer. Lots of orange peel in the nose, but not much else. What I smell here, I like, but the problem is the aroma is tepid.

Nice taste, very citrusy and a bit hoppier for a Scotch Ale than one would expect. To be honest, also, I didn't know that this was a Scotch Ale until I located the beer here at BA. I had it pegged as a seasonal. It's not bad at all, but it's an atypical for a Scotch Ale--less malty, more fruity, not so robust. There is a slight bite to it, but it's mild.

This certainly smooth and easy on the palate--good stuff. I would love it if Bell's dumped in a few heaps more of malt to take this from nice to very impressive. It's nice now, but ramping up the malt would make it a must-have Christmas beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2010 01:54:15 | More by Gehrig
Photo of JohnQVegas
JohnQVegas

Tennessee

3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into pint glass.

Pours deep copper, light hazy, with a big, pillowy khaki head on top. Fantastic lacing, with layers sitting on the walls of the glass, and a dense 1/4" cap lasting the length of the glass.

Nose carries dense notes of caramel and toffee under an equally prominent layer of northwest hops.

Taste is further layers of caramel and toffee, just a bit of light toastiness, this time with a rum-soaked fruit presence, and on top of everything, lightly pungent northwest hops, lightly orangey and a bit piney. A few months really helped this one mellow out a bit and come into its own.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a very light syrupy quality, moderate but coarse carbonation.

Drinkability is nice - well balanced and flavorful, though the pungent quality could use a bit more time to mellow out.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2010 21:19:29 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of BeerBelcher
BeerBelcher

Ohio

3.3/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Solid, but hardly remarkable. I didn't really know what to make of this beer...I tried it because I didn't think I'd already had it, and that made it stand out on the draft list at Mellow Mushroom. But what a non-memorable beer...I didn't know anything about it such as targeted style when I ordered it, and I didn't know any differently after examining, smelling, and tasting it. It sort of struck me as a middle-of-the-road amber, not an APA and certainly not a Scotch Ale. It was brassy in color with a really nice head formation - this is a good-looking beer. Aroma was caramel, a bit of toffee, and just a touch of hop. The hop was more evident in the taste, and it was mild and understated. Body was firm and malty. I was sort of bracing for a ton of holiday spice (it being a Christmas beer), and that is noticeably absent from this beer. You know how Sierra Nevada sort of turns every beer into an IPA (i.e. Celebration - their Holiday beer)? I feel a little like Bell's has turned this beer into an amber (or more likely, based the recipe on Bell's Amber), which given the size of Bell's Amber in their portfolio, would hardly be surprising. Mouthfeel was pretty good.

This is a solid beer and I didn't mind it - but there was nothing in it to make me order another (I got a 2-Hearted after this instead). Not one to avoid, but not really one to seek out either.

I had this on-tap at Mellow Mushroom on Polaris Parkway in Columbus, OH.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2010 15:21:58 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of Mistofminn
Mistofminn

Minnesota

3.38/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another beer I found in my girlfriends fathers fridge and gave a shot.

Pours a clear light copper color with a nice three finer off white head. Excellent retention on the head and it leaves nice rings of lacing. I love it when you can see where the fluid level was before your last drink.

The nose is strong on the caramel malt with everything else in the background. I get a faint hop character, floral and fruity, maybe some orange peel?

Taste starts out like the nose, strong on the caramel malts. A light floral and grassy hop character lies in the background, only detectable if your looking for it. A mild fruitiness comes as the beer warms, adding a nice complexity to it.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a high carbonation, which takes away from the brew. As it warms, it calms down a little, but it's distracting. Drinkability is ok, nothing overly impressive. The carbonation issue definitely takes points away.

A pretty unique brew from Bell's. I don't think this is my cup of tea, but it was good to try.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 08:09:54 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of Imsothirsty
Imsothirsty

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours gold and copper, a little less orange than I expected
Leaves a solid 1 finger tan/cream head

Smells is interesting, malty and I swear I could smell banana.

Taste is mostly malt forward, a little bit of fruity, not bitter hop character, not very complex, no real lingering finish flavors.

Medium to light body, with solid carbonation, a smooth fast finish.

Easily drinkable, overall a solid beer, but I don't think it really fits the style, seems closer to an ESB mixed with and American Pale Ale, not the sour and bitter character of a Scottish Ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2010 02:50:14 | More by Imsothirsty
Photo of Pedro07
Pedro07

Michigan

4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep amber hue with a nice rocky white head that rises high. Lots of beautiful lacing. The beer is an iconic color and depth.

S- Very sweet off the bat, bot a whole lot of malts, but more candy and cherries. Do I sense a citrus hint in the nose? I digress, there is a small amount of earthiness present, but the nose on this beer is very unique!

T- If a beer can be very mild yet bold, this one toes that line. As opposed to the nose, I get a lot of yummy maltiness in the taste. I can't sense bitterness anywhere, this is one smooth beer. Maybe there is a small bit of dried fruit in the taste, but it's like rum-soaked cherries or cranberries.

M- Very full and satisfying. I'm quite pleased, the beer is mouthcoating.

D- Very sessionable beer with no negative qualities. The only thing I can think of is why they call this beer a scotch ale. When I think of scotch ale, I think of Dirty Bastard which is a lot more powerful than this one. Odd...maybe it's a mild english style?

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2010 01:38:38 | More by Pedro07
Photo of Contagion
Contagion

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is a nice rich amber. It has haziness to it of an unfiltered beer. After a while the beer starts to become clearer. Light passes through easily. When poured into a glass a thin off-white head forms. It fades quickly to a film on the top of the beer. There is some lacing.

Roasted malts give the scent a slight biscuity hint. There is an indiscernible fruit scent. The scent is pretty week and makes identifying the individual components that bring the nose together. The taste starts off with caramel malt and a hint of bread flavor. There is a good level of citrus hops that compliment the rest of the flavors. Due to the nature of the beer, there is also a slight yeastiness to it.

This is a medium bodied beer with a nice level of carbonation. Very easy to drink.

I found this to be a pleasant beer to drink. It's supposed to be a Scottish Style ale, but it doesn't have a lot of the characteristics associated with one. I enjoyed it, but it isn't something I'd go out of my way to get. Then again I could see this being a good anytime beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 03:03:03 | More by Contagion
Photo of DerekP
DerekP

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer reminds me of Great Divide's Hibernation Ale, which I bought a case of for the Christmas holiday. Compared to Hibernation Ale, it is a lot drier, with less sweet raisin flavor. Bell's Christmas is dry with a taste that is sort of thick, between a porter and a stout. Solid head retention, with a nice nougat-colored foam. A lot of roasted coffee notes. The smell and look of the beer are both pretty remarkable elements. I like it, but I don't know if I could have more than a few. I'm not sure what the ABV is (I'm going to check afterward), but considering how I felt after having one at McGrogan's (Canonsburg, PA), I'd say it's sitting at 6% or higher (maybe I'm off, they serve 20 oz glasses - practically two beers).

Definitely worth a try, but definitely a strong one to finish. A Christmas treat for sure, but I'm not exactly in love with it.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2010 23:19:14 | More by DerekP
Photo of abrand
abrand

Illinois

3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

The Xmas ale pours a mahogany color with a frothy white head. Lots of lacing lines the glass. Smell is mostly caramelized malts with hints of green pines. Taste is simple but refreshing with a nice hop characteristics for a scottish ale. Lots of malts are also noticeable. Mouthfeel is fairly rich and for the season a great brew to sip several down. Only thing it is missing is maybe some christmas spices.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 22:57:31 | More by abrand
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,198 ratings.