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 #108
ABV:
7.5%
Score:
87
Ranked #13,927
Avg:
3.91 | pDev: 7.16%
Reviews:
47
Ratings:
153
From:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  4
Gots
  33
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: 47 | Ratings: 153 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Beaver13
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, packaged 10/14/19. Pours dark ruby amber with a big frothy off-white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet floral fruity peat malts.

The flavor is sweet toasted caramel malt with dark fruit and a little roast malt. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, nice scotch ale, but a bit sweet for me.

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Photo of Stevosps
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Scotch Ale when Poured from a bottle yields a 1/4 inch lacy head.it has a Fresh malty aroma.A nice dark rich amber color and A bold sweet Carmel Malt flavor. And taste satisfying with a winter seasonal finish. At 7.5 ABV It helps get you into the holiday season evenings. Enjoy !

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Photo of MikeWard
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass. Packaged 10/14/19, so almost 2 months old.

Looks the part, dark reddish brown body, clear mahogany when held up to the light. Small off white head shrinks to a ring and covering.

Solid malty aroma.

Malty, slightly sweet, sticky, some caramel. The overall taste is pretty good. Some faint coffee notes at the end. Abv is well hidden, though there is some warmth in the back of the throat.

Mouth a little above medium, finish light sweet malts.

Overall a nice enough drink. Not sure what makes it a Christmas Ale, but I'll drink it

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours deep brown. Smells of caramel malts and enough herbal and pine hops to keep it interesting. Tastes of caramel with a slick feel that dries out leaving a trace of herbs and pine bitterness. Medium heavy. A little sweet. A tasty beer and aptly marketed as a holiday treat as I wouldn't want to drink this very often.

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Photo of BB1313
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/8/19. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a mahogany/auburn with ruby hues; light khaki head that falls leaving nice retention and lacing. The aromas have a nice amount of caramel along with some cherries. Lots of malts. The flavors follow the nose. More caramel leading the way. More cherries in the mix. Some toffee. Some raisins along with some dark fruits. Mild hints of cocoa. Some wood and oak flavors. Solid malt backbone. Moderate to low bitterness. It's not that sweet. Alcohol basically goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium-bodied with active carbonation. It's sharp, spritzy, crisp, slightly fluffy, smooth and easy to drink.

This is a nice scotch ale. It's bold, but doesn't drink big. The craftsmanship is on point. It's fitting for the cooler weather. I like it.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 2019 12 fl. Oz. bottle dated 11/12/2019. Sampled on November 27, 2019.

Handsome looking deep brown pour with a modest cream colored head and lacing on the edge of the glass.

The aroma emits a fine roasted sweet chocolate malt sensation with a hint of dark fruit like plum or even black cherries. Low hop profile. Not as peated as I like in my Scotch Ales.

The mouthfeel is Light to medium but smooth.

Sweet roasted malt flavor and a mildly dry finish. Again, missing the peat that I like but still a n ice warming beer.

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Photo of MrOH
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant chestnut color, not much of a white head, but it sticks around. Good lace as well
Toffee, toasted nuts, and dried fruit in the nose.
Flavor reflects aroma. A little heavier on the fruit, though. More of a dark crystal malt fruit, not any sort of esters from the yeast.
Satisfying mouthfeel.
Pretty much the only non-spiced Christmas Ale I've had that tasted like Christmas.

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Photo of mngermanshepherd
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another solid beer by Bell's. I have read the raves and decided to try it.

Pours a dark cola colour, brownish when held to light. Best description is a Cherry Coke colour. Smell is bready/toast, inviting.

Taste is where it's at. Carbonation, bready malts and some hops on the finish. Light coffee notes, cocoa and some cinnamon.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On draught at Old Chicago.

Pours a deep amber with a fluffy off white head of foam. Good lacing.

Smells malty but not sweet. A bit of peat, light roasted malt.

Taste is kinda peaty, roasted and light caramel malt, some bitterness, some sweetness.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Scotch Ale...tough style for me to love. I like this.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Brief initial impression from a bottle below; I'd had the previous version and dug it so I had to nab this when I saw it for $9.99 a sixer (here in New Orleans, LA):

Malty and rich, hitting on toffee, caramel, bread crust, and rich amber malt/caramalt flavours. Not as toasty as I'd like, but the sweetness is dialed in...not oversweet/saccharine, but malty enough to honor the style.

Alcohol is well disguised...I'd put this at 6% if I tried it in a blind tasting.

Smooth, wet, aptly medium-bodied, well-carbonated, not unrefreshing, of apt thickness...this is a well executed mouthfeel for a Scotch Ale. Has a nice silkiness and weight on the palate which really livens it, opening up its malt flavours.

I don't see what makes it a Christmas Ale per se (it's no winter warmer or spice-driven Belgian ale) but it's a competently brewed Scotch Ale with plenty to offer the discerning drinker at $10 a sixer. Depth of flavour isn't the best, nor is its complexity, but when after a balanced basic Scotch Ale at an affordable price, you'd be hard pressed to do better stateside than Bell's Christmas Ale.

B- / WORTHY

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Photo of EMV
3.52/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Somewhat murky mahogany brown pour with 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Nice ring of lacing... a bit of sediment at the bottom of the glass.

S: Sweet malts and mild spice.

T/F: Sweet dark malts... some hopping for bitterness. Caramel and bread. Medium bodied... earthy... light on the Christmas spices which is nice. A bit of clove and nutmeg in the background.

O: I'm not a huge fan of Christmas beers, but this one is very drinkable... mostly a Scotch ale with a hint of spice. Well made... just not my favorite style.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I got this off the single shelf from my local Giant Eagle. It poured slightly hazy dark amber with off white head that is not leaving much lace. The scent had sweet malt notes. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink with dark euro sweet malt base. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall its a decent beer.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle packaged "10/22/2018."
This was poured into a thistle glass.
The appearance was a fairly thick dark rugged brown color, slight muddy kind of look to it. Small cap of an off-white foamy head softly dissipated. Some sliding lace.
The aroma had a wonderful blend of caramel/toffee malts, some smoke, great level of peat, moderate herbal character and some light notes of chocolate powder.
The flavor takes all of the prior mentioned aromas and brings them together in a sweet fashion. Smoke, peat and herbal characters are fairly light. Mild aftertaste of caramel/toffee and some smoke.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping to sessionable sort of feel to it. ABV felt good. Really nice smooth finish.
Overall, what a wonderful Scotch ale/wee heavy. Wish more brewers would do this style.

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Photo of HipCzech
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Central Market (Houston, TX), served in a shaker pint. Clear, medium brown with a froth head of off white foam and nice streaks of lace. Aromas of roasted grain, caramel and dark fruit. Malt profile continues in the rich flavor that hits some nutty and earthy notes as well. Medium body with moderate carbonation. A solid winter warmer with good malty character.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.9/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bell's Christmas Ale 2018 has a thick, ivory head, a dark red-brown appearance, with lazy bubbles and moderate glass lacing. The aroma is of sweet, dark malts and fruit, and the flavor is of those elements, with notable raisin, dates, fig, and prunes, along with spiced holiday bread. Mouthfeel is high medium, and Bell's Christmas Ale 2018 finishes sweet.

RJT

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Photo of AustinErikson
2.56/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.75

Tried this beer out on tap at a local restaurant to get in the holiday spirit. The beer smelt decent and the taste wasn't too spicy like most Christmas beers. The only issue I had with it was that it seemed very flat/non-carbonated... This could have been the tapper but still overall a decent beer for being a holiday one!

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Photo of Fatheroftoomany
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep red amber color with strong notes of caramel. Has a spicy aftertaste and smells spicy too. Good mouth feel but aftertaste leaves something to be desired.

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Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Poured out a clear, dark burgundy color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It smelled of peat, grass, some smoke and toffee. Nice peaty/earthy taste with roasted malt and toffee.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, PKG 10/11/2018. I had bought this thinking it had been a LONG time since I came back to it (8+yrs), but I didn't realize this is a new recipe as of 2017. Pours a deep burnt caramel colored body is capped with a creamy beige head that slowly fades to a foam. Sweet malty aroma hinting at toffee, caramel, earthy peat, brown sugar, and bread crust. Rich malty flavors stick to the palate with notes of sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee, grain, bread crust, fruitcake, and peat, along with a nice balance of bitter earthy & spicy hops. Full body, creamy, sticky sweet, spicy finish. I feel like this is an improvement over the 2016-and-previous version - definitely better than I remember. The higher ABV gives it a nice warming character and it has some good flavors packed into it. I think it's great when breweries recognize it's time for a change-up to improve upon a beer and re-ignite interest.

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Photo of justme
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If only it was Christmas all year long! Love lots of the special beers that show up now. First year I found Bell’s this far east and what a delicious delight. All the fun malts and dark fruit. Wonderful

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a burnt reddish brown color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a nice cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Earthy hops and some caramel up front along with some light fruitiness and nuttiness

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the caramel, earthy hops, and toasted malt. Goes into some fruitiness and nutty notes. Finishes with lingering earthiness and caramel

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A solid scotch ale that is very well balanced and super drinkable for 7.5%. Nice and malty with a good dose of hops. Check it out

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Photo of lastmango
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark root beer brown with a slightly frothy tan 2 finger head that dissipated quickly. Moderate lacing was present. Aroma is slightly earthy with a hint of caramel and root beer. Malt forward flavor with a hint of caramel and light grassy hops and spice. Moderate body and light-moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper/amber color, hint of ruby, with visible carbonation. A large thumb sized fluffy head displays excellent retention.
Fruity aromas, particularly dark fruit, including, plum, red grapes and cherry. A light toasty malt aroma along with caramel. Moderate aromas of Christmas like spices as well as mild grassy hops.
Taste of dark fruit, plum, red grape, and cherry, aligns with the aroma. Rich and silky amber malts flavors, bready and biscuity. A moderate spice is highlighted, particularly in the finish.
Medium bodied, smooth and creamy with a nice soft mouthfeel. The carbonation is gentle. Despite the overall sweetness of the malts, there is a bit of dryness to the finish.
Very tasty winter ale that I would have again.

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Photo of Parmesan
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L:. Pours a dark reddish brown with a medium tan head and good waves of lacing around the glass.

S:. Minerally and earthy with notes of caramel and toffee, and some cherry.

T:. Minerally and earthy, notes of caramel and toffee, some cherry and light to medium bitterness.

F:. Medium to full body with creamy carbonation.

O:. This ale is great on cold winter nights.

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Photo of wmartin
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Loved it and am giving it high marks! Reminds me of a quad, but with more sweetness. Bottle says it has a shelf life of 6 months, so if I find more, I'll add a few more bottles of this to the fridge. Very nice winter warmer. Some vague dark fruitiness in addition to the malty sweetness.

Oct. 2018 bottle imbibed in Dec. 2018.

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Christmas Ale (2017-) from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 153 ratings