Christmas Ale (2017-)
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Christmas Ale (2017-)Christmas Ale (2017-)
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Style:
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #93
ABV:
7.5%
Score:
88
Ranked #15,669
Avg:
3.92 | pDev: 7.65%
Reviews:
90
Ratings:
260
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  6
Gots
  43
SCORE
88
Very Good
Christmas Ale (2017-)Christmas Ale (2017-)
Notes: This traditional Scotch Ale is rich and malty with notes of caramel and a warm finish. Certain to make any occasion festive, or at least a bit more bearable. Enjoy with the company of friends and family.
Reviews: 90 | Ratings: 260 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Kiiz
Kiiz

4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: dark amber/brown, khaki 1 inch head that turns to a halo, moderate lacing.

S: true to the style with a hint of Christmas spices. Pleasant.

T: dark malts, caramel, an almost dark chocolate/tobacco taste in there. A touch of cinnamon and possibly clove though the malts come thru much stronger. Tastes like a winter warmer without as much spice. Good depth balance and overall taste.

F: medium creamy body with an alcohol and cinnamon warmth on the finish as described. Malts along with cinnamon linger on the tongue, alcohol lingers in the back of the throat. Not heavy or light just a conservative mouthfeel with creaminess and heat.

O: one of my favorite winter beers so far, a more rugged version of Great Lakes winter ale but still smooth and enjoyable. Definitely worth a try.

Nov 25, 2021
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klarcbarr3 from Michigan

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Christmas Ale pours a red tinted dark brown, with a 2-inch off white head that came and went expediently. Slightly under-carbonated, the nose is mild but pleasant, a fruity air about it, with a hint of cinnamon. The flavor profile reveal peach and pear notes to the fruitiness, with a slight hoppiness, caramel and cinnamon rounding things out. It's a subdued, mellow scotch ale, with a nicely balanced mouthfeel. I would prefer a bit more brashness.. I'm used to Scotch Ales having a fuller taste, but it is a quite decent drink in the final analysis.

Nov 22, 2021
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imnodoctorbut from Texas

4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clear reddish-cola amber body with a thin tan bubble head that has very low retention and leaves no lacing behind as it dissipates to a thin halo with swirls of the thin bubbled head lingering

aroma is rich, sweet, roasted caramel malt with low spice and a touch of bittering hop

taste is robust and somewhat nutty, rustic, and suggests something between holiday spice and an old fashioned towards the end. rich malt takes the cake throughout, and there is a bittering earthy hop finish

mouthfeel is mid-level carbonation and medium-light body that is slightly oily but rounded out thanks to the carbonation. has a full feeling and warming without too much of a booze spike. finishes sweet and mildly spicy with a bitter hop and candied orange peel aftertaste

overall:
super solid. cant help comparing it to super malty old fashioned. will definitely look forward to this from now on.

Nov 09, 2021
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 9/27/21; drank 10/31/21 @ the Yarchives.

See-through brown/orange appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small tan head; frothy lace.

Caramel, spring water & faint orange peel notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel. Gourd, allspice & mild caramel flavors.

I get the Christmas-y vibe they are going for, but this is a bit abrasive, especially for the Scotch Ale style. I'm a big fan of Bell's dark beers, but this one is a miss for me, overall.

Nov 01, 2021
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beer_wanderer from New Mexico

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bells did a pretty good job balancing the spices that brewers normally add to call something a christmas beer while still maintaining that scotch ale flavor

Jan 16, 2021
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CaptainHate from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10/06/2020 12 ounce bottle. I'd been mildly interested in this for a while until @TongoRad's enthusiastic review in the Christmas beer group tasting put a sense of urgency in me. As you can see a prodigiously foamy head sits atop a dark brown body which isn't quite as dark as other wee heavies. Thick lacing along the sides. Smell is nicely rich of malts and earthy dark sweetness but not quite as complex as I was hoping; maybe if it warms but it's pretty cold in my attic. Taste is more caramelly and the aftertaste has almost a candy cane type sweetness to it which is as strangely refreshing as it is unexpected. As it warms up the sweets get more integrated in the taste while the smell stays the same. Mouthfeel is fine for the style.

This delivers what I was hoping. I might take a sixer next Saturday when my music buds and I get together.

Jan 03, 2021
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firesidewithphil from Illinois

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Christmas is a very approachable scotch ale. The smokiness of scotch ales tend to overwhelm but Bell's only adds a touch. It is not spiced, like most would think from a Christmas ale. It all comes together with a caramel sweetness.

IG: @firesidewithphil

Jan 01, 2021
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nicholas2121 from Ohio

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas Ale (2017-) Bell's Brewery Brewed by, Eccentric Café & General Store. This Scotch Ale/ Wee Heavy has an ABV of 7.50% This brew pours out of a 12oz glass bottle into a pint beer glass. The color is nice brown color with a nice off white head. There is also a nice amount of lacing to this brew, it sticks to the side of the glass well. The smell is rich with roasted grains an malts, light on the hop bitterness. There is also a nice mirror sweetness in the smell of this brew, as well. So far Christmas Ale (2017-) is a nice inviting brew. Now for the taste, it is Bold with flavors, you first pick up on the roasted grains an malts. Then the sweetest smooths it all out. The body of this Christmas Ale is a solid medium. There is nothing overpowering about this brew, it has a super nice balance to it. It is really hard to pick up on the 7.50% ABV in this brew, it is just that smooth. The mouth feel is Bold, Rich, Roasted, Sweet, Clean, Smooth and Refreshing. This brew would go nice on the holiday season. Overall I am going to this Christmas Ale a solid 4 out of 5. I would definitely look this brew up again givin the opportunity to. Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store did a super nice job with this Scotch Ale/ Wee Heavy.

Dec 26, 2020
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damndirtyape from Ohio

3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, packaged 10/15/2020, PRN 31157. Served in a nonic glass.

Appearance: Mostly clear (a bit of chill haze) coppery bronze color. Persistent 1/8" light tan head, with plenty of islands and sheets of lacing.

Smell: A bit of sweet malt, some fruity esters, and some metallic tang. The metallic aroma is stronger when the beer is cold.

Taste: Sweet caramelized malt dominates this beer, and it fits the style quite a bit. There is a mild english-style hop bitterness, but this includes some sharpness and metallic taste as well when still cold. This sharp metallic taste mellows out as the beer warms up.

Mouthfeel: Nicely thick, a bit chewy, and an initial prickly carbonation that mellows out.

Overall / Drinkability: This is a very different beer than the pre 2017 version I'm drinking now. It better hits the style vs. coming across as an APA. It is overly sweet such that I find I need to pair it with the right food to drink it, but otherwise, a solid example of the style. One per evening is enough though, and I'm not wanting another one right now.

Dec 24, 2020
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dcotom from Iowa

4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a thistle glass. Pours the color of a buckeye: deep brown body with a tan head that left tons of sticky lacing as it settled. Wonderful malty aroma with an almost perfumey floral overtone. Good carbonation, very easy (almost too easy) drinking. Medium mouthfeel, with just the right amount of bitterness. A little alcohol warmth, with a crisp finish and a touch of lingering bitterness on the palate. This is tailor-made for a cold winter night. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Dec 23, 2020
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hopley from Massachusetts

4.68/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2018 bottle, drank Christmas 2020. Beautiful beer.

Nice lasting head and color.

Nice spicy malty bouquet.

Great taste, scotch ale with some spices. Malty. Toffee. Raisin.

Medium to thick mouthfeel.

Really enjoyed this, would easily get again.

Dec 22, 2020
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Ceddd99 from Michigan

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is the first beer I have liked from this brewery. They are very popular where I live but the flavor profiles of their beers, though unique, just aren't appealing to me. However this one is decent enough, not great, very yeasty flavor with some malty and roasty notes almost reminiscent of a brown ale. I think there are better Scotch ales out there but I like the slightly lower abv and lighter body of this one making it. I would buy again.

Dec 10, 2020
Photo of Premo88
Premo88 from Texas

2.99/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

12 oz. bottle poured into tall tulip
(10/20/2020 born-on date printed on label)

L: dark murky brown with densely thick head of beige/tan foam, almost 2 inches tall off a medium pour; the head sticks some; keeps a full collar and part of a skin; claret/red highlights around the edges of the glass when held up to light; looks like it might clear up over time ... it's already clearing some and it's only been in the glass a few minutes; some lacing

S: raisin bread, burnt raisins, charred wood, earth ... very earthy to the point of being medicinal, almost earthy peat; lots of wood; as it warms, it sweetens and the malt lightens a bit and shows a bit more of the raisin bread; burnt butterscotch

T: earthy, again almost to the point of being peaty, cantaloupe rind, not overly bitter but almost medicinal; as it warms, the malt strains to try to provide a bit more sweetness, but it's struggling to overcome the baseline earthy/medicinal flavor; arguably a bit yeasty

F: medium weight, light but sturdy carbonation, nothing out of bounds

O: not great but it does improve as it warms up; it's definitely a Scotch ale and not a winter warmer type of "Christmas Ale", but unfortunately it's also a very Americanized version of the style with the barley malt tasting burnt and medicinal, not popping with any caramel sweetness sometimes found better versions; I appreciate Bell's and hate to ding them for a subpar brew, but this one is average at best — I'm on beer No. 1 of a 6-pack, and hopefully it will improve as I work through the six ... if so, I'll hop back in here and adjust this review accordingly

Dec 06, 2020
Photo of Judgie
Judgie from Indiana

4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Decided to taste one of a sixer prior to sharing at holiday gatherings (if there are any). Enjoy by date 0f 2/21/20. Poured into a small snifter, color is cloudy amber with minimal light, tan head. Smell is pleasant with a trace of wintery spice, but taste is straight up malty wee heavy. A little spice comes though on the finish but not enough to spoil the "beerness" that happens to some xmas ales. Mouthfeel is smooth & refreshing - not too syrupy and not too thin. I would drink this beer year round as there are not enough Scotch Ales to choose from IMO.

Dec 01, 2020
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Mugman8 from New York

4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful on the pour -- cloudy garnet-brown with big beige head and lacing. Aroma is sweet caramel and bread. Taste and feel follows the aroma - caramel, malty, creamy and smooth, with a nice alcohol kick that is well hidden. Another fine holiday brew from a brewer that rarely disappoints. I will be buying again!

Nov 29, 2020
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defunksta from North Dakota

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark brown, almost ruby, black cherry color with a strong bright off-white head. SRM of 20.

Aroma: Rather strong aromas of malts here. Mostly caramel, melted brown sugar, melted caramel, strudel, with a milk chocolate finish. Mostly syrupy caramel and chocolate cookie. (4.00)

Flavor: Flavor follows with delicious spiced caramel, melted brown sugar with a decent amount of spice. Evolves and finishes into a faint gingerbread flavor. Possibly cherries and chocolate. Quite nice. Mostly malty, but flavorful and finishes not too sweet. (4.00)

Feel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Feels very balanced. (4.00)

Compared to Great Lakes Christmas Ale 11/29/20: Pours a darker color. More caramel and cookie flavor. Less molasses, syrup, honey, melted cherry. Also has more spiciness. But still more malty overall.

Compared to Founder's Dirty Bastard 12/18/20: Pours a slightly lighter color with a milder head. Aromas/flavors have more caramel and milk chocolate. Less scotch, dark fruit, and vanilla. Less alcohol and slightly lighter with more toasty bread. Overall, similar, but this is a lighter version

Compared to Breckenridge Brewery's Christmas Ale 12/20/20: Pours a slightly darker color. Stronger and maltier aromas. More caramel, syrup, strudel. Less molasses and whiskey. A stronger malt body, heavier, and sweeter. Hides the alcohol better too. Winner: Bells'

Overall: A delicious Christmas drinking beer. A milder Wee Heavy. It's malty like a Winter Warmer with nice caramel and brown sugar notes. Maybe in between a Winter Warmer and a Wee Heavy. Not as robust as Founder's Dirty Bastard, and less scotch for sure.. That's alright because it has great caramel and milk chocolate flavors to make it better than many Winter Warmers or Brown Ales. Drinks smooth, malty, and delicious. On par for a Christmas beer. (Rating: 4.00, great, but less because tamer than Dirty Bastard)

Nov 29, 2020
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RacerX5k from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not a fan of Bell's, Hop Slam in my opinion may be the most overrated beer of all time. I can only compare apples to apples, this beer is ok but not nearly as good as Founders Dirty Bastard. Looks good, not much aroma, taste is malty caramel with an nice cherry note. Not bad but never need to have again.

Nov 28, 2020
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garymuchow from Minnesota

4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm enjoying this a it deserves a review, as I can see this becoming a habit come future late Octobers.
Great color and wonderful dense tan head. A beauty to look at.
Nice toasty aroma (but less so in the taste). Nice malt goodness.
Rustic malt character. Tastes like Scotland looks - rugged. Some toast. Not strong on caramel. Not sweet particularly, and a streak of bittering to tone down any sweetness on the finish. Hints of esters.
Soft and more than moderate feels. Nicely carbonated. Some warmth but not much.
This is just a nice beer.

Nov 26, 2020
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maddogruss from New Jersey

3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this from a bottle.
A: pours dark, ruby red amber body with an off-white head with limited retention and lacing.
S: burnt toffee malt notes with hints of sweet vanilla
T: burnt toffee tasting beer; slightly tart, but welcoming; alcohol is warm in the aftertaste
M: relatively light bodied and crisp
O: good scotch ale; nice burnt toffee notes; pretty filling beer with the significant malts

Nov 25, 2020
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown appearance with a small tan head that faded pretty quickly while leaving light lacing. Earthy, roasted malt aroma with hints of brown bread. Able to extract some dark fruit if patient enough. Taste stays focused on the malts with caramel overtones and just enough non-descript hops to add some balance. Modest sweetness in the aftertaste. Expected the finish to linger longer than it actually did.

Nov 25, 2020
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andrewjraab from Michigan

3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a dark ruby and mahogany brown with a huge pillow of head that quickly reduces to a cap around the glass. Thin webbing of head clings to the glass for the entire session.

S - Plum, figs, caramel, malts, some spices.

T - Malt forward balanced by fruits and a warming alcohol on the back end. Some figs, raisin, and maybe bit of smokiness on the back end.

O - Solid Christmas Ale to enjoy with family and friends. I'ma bit confused if this is a new beer or not as it appears the same as always, but the ABV seems to have gone up a bit.

Nov 15, 2020
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown/red color with a one inch tan head. Good retention.
Aroma of caramel and some spice.
Caramel taste, cinnamon finish.
Medium-bodied, pleasant beer.

Nov 08, 2020
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Greywulfken from New York

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went with a chalice - ruddy medium brown and clear, small brief tan head - mostly some wispy strands... A very reasonable Christmas ale - or a Scotch ale/wee heavy... Has that sweet shellacky and slightly bitterly tacky feel, with sweetness of candied fruit bread and seasonings of holiday sweet baked goods with a little bit of booze...

Are Bell's labels always ripped up, or is it just me?

Nov 03, 2020
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JRed from New Jersey

3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark brown in body with reddish edges. Light khaki head that dissipates. Aroma of toasted cinnamon bread, light caramel, hazelnut, maple syrup, vaguely medicinal. Tastes of caramel, hazelnut, cinnamon, gingerbread, maple syrup, a light booze note with an attempt at dryness towards the finish. Medium-thick bodied with medium carbonation.

Nov 01, 2020
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ChrisMon02 from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color with 2 fingers of off-white head. Small traces of lacing.

Smells of caramel apple, faint spice and a touch of smokiness.

Taste starts with sweet caramel apple, then transitions to some smokiness and finishes with a touch of spice.

Mouthfeel is fantastic. Medium with smooth carbonation.

A really nice Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. Hits all the marks and drinks easy. Impressed with how flavorful it is. I will definitely revisit soon.

Oct 31, 2020
Christmas Ale (2017-) from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 260 ratings