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 #119
ABV:
7.5%
Score:
87
Ranked #15,984
Avg:
3.9 | pDev: 7.44%
Reviews:
76
Ratings:
217
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  4
Gots
  38
SCORE
87
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: 76 | Ratings: 217 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Mugman8
Mugman8 from New York

4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
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!

Yesterday at 11:44 PM
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from North Dakota

4/5  rDev +2.6%
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 and strudel. Mostly caramel and 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.

Overall: A delicious Christmas drinking beer. Not sure if it quite hits the Wee Heavy level. It's malty like a Winter Warmer with nice caramel and brown sugar notes. Not as complex as Founder's Dirty Bastard. That's alright because it has great caramel and cookie flavors to make it better than many Winter Warmers or Brown Ales. Drinks smooth, malty, and delicious. On part for a Christmas beer. (Rating: 4.00, great, but less because not as complex as Dirty Bastard)

Yesterday at 10:49 PM
Photo of RacerX5k
RacerX5k from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Saturday at 03:09 PM
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow from Minnesota

4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Thursday at 01:16 AM
Photo of maddogruss
maddogruss from New Jersey

3.67/5  rDev -5.9%
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

Wednesday at 01:44 AM
Photo of milkshakebeersucks
milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Wednesday at 12:23 AM
Photo of andrewjraab
andrewjraab from Michigan

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
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
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.94/5  rDev +1%
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
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
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
Photo of JRed
JRed from New Jersey

3.47/5  rDev -11%
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
Photo of ChrisMon02
ChrisMon02 from Ohio

3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
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
Photo of Mindcrime1000
Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Nonic...

Pours dark brown, slightly hazed, and delivers an excellent tan-grey head that is creamy, foamy, and lingering.

Aromas of caramel malt, toffee, very modest smoke/peat and hints of herb.

Caramel malt sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Some robust medium-palate flavors of peat/smoke, crusty bread, and hints of coffee. The finish is somewhat spicy with warming booze.

Not as heavy in body as feared. Medium-full, but just enough carbonation.

Don't complain that it isn't really a holiday beer, or a true winter warmer. It's a pretty darn good wee-heavy that might make putting up with the in-laws worth it. The rich sweetness is more than ably balanced by some outstanding but suitably restrained smoke/peat flavor.

Oct 24, 2020
Photo of CTHomer
CTHomer from Connecticut

3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Crystal clear and dark amber with ruby highlights; 1+ finger finely pored tan head that receded to a wispy cap; OK lacing;

S: sweet malt, caramel, and spices;

T: sweet malt, caramel, and a touch of smoke; some raisin toward the end; no bitterness;

M: medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish; alcohol is warming, but not hot;

O: nicely done;

May 02, 2020
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm from New Jersey

3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

1/19/20....pours dark cherry reddish brown with fast dissolving foam. Caramel bready nose. Taste is a slightly sweet, molasses based. Light bitter tries to balance, but sweetness prevails over. Warm finish.

Mar 29, 2020
Photo of Hooded
Hooded from Texas

3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Notes from 2/29/2020
Bottled 10/14/2019.
The body is dark brown with a thin off-white head quickly receding to a thin cap. 3.5
The aroma is light and of sweet malt, and Crunch Berries. 3.5
The taste is medium-high in strength and of sweet malt, Crunch Berries, and a slightly less than medium bitter finish. There's another flavor in there but I cannot figure it out. 2.75
The mouth feel is medium-high in thickness and has a medium-low carbonation level and a moderately astringent finish. 3.00
Overall, I like Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries but not in my beer. 2.75

Mar 08, 2020
Photo of SHDoyle
SHDoyle from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Description: Brown, dark ruby color and clear with no real head. Aroma is dark fruit (cherry, plum, prune) with earthy and malty notes present. Taste follows the nose with more earthiness and rich malt alongside the dark fruits. Feel is a little light and more carbonation than expected, but altogether not bad.

Overall: 4 (This beer is good and I may or may not drink it again) It's a Christmas ale, but nothing about it really jumps out as "Christmas" (e.g., no spices) and that's fine with me. This is a solid Scotch or Old Ale and something you could drink year round, not only at Christmas.

Mar 07, 2020
Photo of dd53grif
dd53grif from Michigan

3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a foamy head that lasts quite a while. No discernable aroma but taste is pleasant. A bit sweet and a bit spicy and not at all bitter. Good mouth feel. An enjoyable beer for the holidays.

Feb 24, 2020
Photo of detgfrsh
detgfrsh from Texas

3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 12oz bottle. Medium brown color with tan head. Roasted malt smell. Kind of chewy mouthfeel. Bread and toffee flavors. A mild and drinkable Christmas ale, I could actually have more than one of these in a sitting.

Jan 24, 2020
Photo of 57md
57md from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish brown color with honey edges and not quite a finger of head. The nose is mostly bready but my nostrils also caught a tingling hoppiness as well. The flavor has the bready qualities expected in the style but not the deep maltiness of the best Scotch ales or winter warmers.

Jan 20, 2020
Photo of sjdevel
sjdevel from Utah

4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - nice dark brown in color with a weak head / retention not the best but lacing goes on
Smell - some caramel and toffee - slight nuttiness
Taste - Rich dark brown sugar and caramel - some tobacco and toffee - sweet at first but fades slightly as you go - some dark browned toast in the aftertaste
Feel - medium bodied - could be a bit fuller maybe
Overall - this is a very flavorful beer - nice ABV and provides a nice warmth for the holidays - would buy again for sure.

Dec 28, 2019
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82 from Texas

3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – The beer is served a brownish color with a one finger head of just off white foam. The head fades slowly over time to leave a decent sum of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is rather strong of a caramel and malty smell with the malty being of a lightly toasted bready smell. Along with these smells comes some notes of a chocolate and a touch of nutmeg and spice.
Taste – The taste begins with a very malty flavor with lots of toasted malt flavors and a bit of caramel and molasses sweetness. The sweeter tastes get stronger and stronger and are joined by some slightly grainy tastes and a bit of cocoa. Along with these flavors comes just a hint of holiday spice flavors and in the end leaves one with a very malty and slightly roasty taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is somewhat more chewy and thick with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. For the mix of malt and sweet the feel is OK and makes for a nice sipper overall.
Overall – Ahh… An alright winter warmer, although I was expecting a bit more flavor and complexity from Bell’s who normally delivers brews that are far from one dimensional, which for which this one I think somewhat is. Really it is just a roasty brew with a bit of sugary sweetness. Not tons of balance in comparison to some of their other brews. Still not a bad, brew, but not up to the norm for Bell’s in my eyes…

Dec 28, 2019
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daliandragon from Maryland

3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a growler for Christmas while heading up I-95 at State Line liquors on the Delaware border. Strong malt backbone and medium texture run the show in this one. There are some holiday spices and a touch of yeast but this is a real easy drinking holiday ale. Not overly Scottish, but definitely worth a try.

Dec 26, 2019
Photo of Stevenkolo
Stevenkolo

5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing brown ale for when you’re in the Christmas Spirit. The Christmas Ale is similar in flavor to one of Bells originals, Best Brown Ale, but when you in the mood for a little extra around the holiday season you have a hard time finding a better season winter ale.

Dec 23, 2019
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Pours a medium brown color, cream colored head. Good head retention. Aroma is caramel, toffee, a touch fruity. Similar flavor, on the sweeter side. Medium bodied, nice smooth mouthfeel, the right amount of carbonation.

Dec 22, 2019
Photo of michaelsmith11
michaelsmith11 from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this on tap. This was the 2019 version of the beer. It was very malt forward with a rich caramely taste and feel. The mouthfeel was good and rich. It had a good flavor with a little bite at the end. Not bad.

Dec 20, 2019
Christmas Ale (2017-) from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 217 ratings