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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

1,189 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,189
Reviews: 461
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 13.45%
Wants: 30
Gots: 54 | FT: 1
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: 1,189 | Reviews: 461 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of cudmud
cudmud

Illinois

3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer has a deep copper color with one-half inch of foam. There is good head retention and lacing.

Smell: There are rich malty and hoppy aromas.

Tatse: The malts shine in the flavor of this beer. Plus, the hops accent the malts. All the flavors work well together.

Mouthfeel and Drinkabilty: This beer feels good in the mouth, but it's on the verge of being over carbonated. This beer is very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2010 04:53:53 | More by cudmud
Photo of whynot44
whynot44

Missouri

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

Slightly hazy bright copper color with a respectable off-white head that retains fairly well and produces some decent lacing.

The aroma is caramel malt, some general fruitiness - pears/plums? - with citrus and pine notes, a little different for a scottish ale but nice.

The taste is also caramel malt, some light nuts, pears, a hint of cloves and vanilla, finishing with some moderate grapefruit/pine hops. Not what I expected for a christmas ale, but that's OK.

Light/medium bodied, smooth, easy to drink, altogether a decent winter brew and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 02:49:11 | More by whynot44
Photo of LestatSabastian
LestatSabastian

Alabama

4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to say this beer was smooth.
the appearance Nice clear a but of rust color but pretty.
smell was so mellow for a Christmas beer with spices it fell short of its taste which was smooth nutty hent of cinnamon flavor
the mouthfeel was so nice. thin and went down smooth.
very drinkable will try again
Beau

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 20:21:13 | More by LestatSabastian
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful copper/orange body with a slight haze topped with a thick, dense, long lasting head. In fact, the head seems to last as long as the beer is in the glass - which isn't long on many of these I've opened this year. Aroma has a hint of malt but is mostly clean. Not much going on. Flavor also has a lot of malt sweetness, but there's also some bitterness and slight mandarin orange note. Nice, but not what I'd expect from a Scottish ale. Body is also average for most ales, a little light for a Scottish ale. Drinkability however is very good. Stylistically - throw this out the window. But by all means, get yourself plenty of this. Looks beautiful, tastes good, drinks easy. Perhaps an ideal winter session beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 18:49:22 | More by aaronh
Photo of jwinship83
jwinship83

Illinois

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

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A- this one pours out a clear light copper colored body with a solid two inches of head. the head lasts for a while and leaves behind nearly complete rings of lacing.

S- sweet caramel malts are the first thing that i notice. after that i detect a decent amount of fruitiness like banana, pear, and maybe a little bit of orange. at the end there i find hops. light grapefruit and orange. odd for the style.

T- the taste starts out like the smell with plenty of sweet caramel malt. its spicy too. almost rye like with apple and pear also. there is a definite hoppy bite at the end that is filled with orange and grapefruit like hops. it isnt too strong, but its still unusual.

M- medium bodied with a high level of carbonation.

D- im not sure id call this a scottish ale, but im also unsure of what i would call it. definitely a unique take on the christmas seasonal. i might check this one out again next year but probably wont before then.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 16:41:35 | More by jwinship83
Photo of drperm
drperm

Virginia

3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into my trusty Sam Adams glass.
Scottish Ale? Who labels these things on here? I call this a Pale Ale, or maybe a mellow Amber. Anyway, it's beer.

A: Bottle opens with a defiant SNAP-hiss and pours into my glass with a resplendent 2-inch high foamy head. Below the meringue is an apricot-brown slightly-cloudy elixir alive with bubbles.

S: I have to work through some of this foam to get to the nose. Warming hop aroma matches with an inviting malt backbone. Hints of apple and apricot. Nice.

T: Good, very good. Lots of mellow hop tones, roasty biscuit, but a slight metallic tinge (hard water?) on the end. Easy-drinking, with a grapefruit snap.

M: Snappy, festive, palate-scrubbing goodness. Malt-driven witout being syrupy or sweet *at all*. This is a nice American ale.

D: I call this something akin to an APA, and a tasty one at that. Bell's makes a consistently high-quality product, and here's another indication of that. Not one to stand out and be noticed, but it's excellent all the same.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 23:09:53 | More by drperm
Photo of strictly4DK
strictly4DK

Pennsylvania

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

12 oz bottle poured in my Spinnerstown flute glass.

A - Pours copper with a 2 finger fluffy white head. Head lasts all day and is extremely sticky. Slightly translucent and looks too thin for the style.

S - Primary scent here is ripe pear, light cloves and banana. Quite phenolic but doesn't become medicinal. Stays sweet and quite pleasant. Little else here, certain whiffs give a hidden note of sweet citrus hops or roasty malts.

T - Upfront this matches the nose spot on (pear, cloves, banana). Mid-palate is slightly metallic/iron as characteristic of the scottish ale style. Fades into honey and figs. Notes of roasty malts and coffee fight through, feebly.

M - Slightly thin bodied but the carbonation is biting and perfect for this belgian slanted ale. Residual flavors of fig and the lightest bitter grapefruit.

D - I was expecting a much more malt forward, winter warmer style but everything about this beer is extremely pleasant. However, if this is honestly supposed to be a scottish ale it's much too belgian slanted and sweet.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2009 01:22:39 | More by strictly4DK
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up when I was in Cleveland over the Christmas weekend.

Served cold into a pint glass, it has a slightly hazy coppery orange color. The head is small and dwindles quickly leaving no lacing behind.

Aroma is faint caramel and warming spices but both are very subtle.

Flavor is more that of a slightly sweet amber ale which makes sense now that I see how it's classified as a Scottish here on BA. Very mild spice over a caramel apple base, this beer is very easy drinking but not all that exceptional.

Mouthfeel is medium-light in body and lowish carbonation.

Overall it's pleasant flavor and easy to drink but not something as special as I was expecting from Bell's. A fairly average offering.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 23:17:03 | More by GilGarp
Photo of meatmallet
meatmallet

Illinois

3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with a thick frothy tan head with lots of lace.

Smell: Bready and very lightly spiced. It is not what I was expecting.

Taste: Again not what I was expecting. Not bad though. All of the flavors seem muted a bit and nothing stands out in any way. I get a faded out hop flavor and some malt.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Medium to medium-light body and medium carbonation. Rather dry.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 00:14:35 | More by meatmallet
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 1,189 ratings.