Bell's Christmas Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale
1,714 Ratings
Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BierFan on 11-06-2008

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,714 |  Reviews: 531
Photo of GRG1313
2.52/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark orange amber with a thick and full white head.

Nose is very light, even at room temperature. There was an initial "flash" or light orange marmalade and then, literally, nothing! No nose, despiste room temperature and some swirling in a nice tulip glass.

Mouthfeel is clean and simple with nice balance and light creamy character. "Feels" well made.

Flavors are simple toast and lightly roasted grain. A modest beer that tastes like a decent brown ale. No spice character, nothing to indicate a Christmas or holiday brew.

Finish is simple light bitter coffee.

 579 characters

Photo of Seahorse
2.53/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A big disappointment,especially for a beer brewed by Bell's. Absolutely no taste or hint of spices or the flavors associated with Christmas Ales. Weak attempt at a Scotch Ale. Only thing I liked about this beer was the design of the label. Would not buy this one again.

 269 characters

Photo of jsh420
2.58/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

batch 9422

pours amber orange with a 1+ finger head that faded fast and left no lacng

smell of sweet malts and nothing else

taste is much of the same - just sweet malts??

mouthfeel is a medium body beer very smooth and creamy

drinkability is ok - not much flavor to this beer
glad i bought a single

 303 characters

Photo of AgentZero
2.58/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch 10093. Nice looking bottle.

A - Poured an amber-red color with a two finger head that had nice retention. Faded to an uneven cap.

S - Honestly, there is not a whole lot to talk about here. Smells like a lot of caramel, with some english hops. Not particularly good, but not offensive.

T - Tastes like a caramelly amber beer with some sort of english hops added just to try something. I don't really like this at all, pretty much is a bad mix, like a watered down scottish or failed attempt at a holiday beer.

M - Smooth, low carbonation, medium bodied. Needed a bit more kick on it.

D - This is a very easy to drink beer, which should be expected. It is not good though.

 681 characters

Photo of bluehende
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at a tasting. A hoppy brown that has a sour tinge. Not very good at all. Too much going on that does not actually mel with each other. I am not sure what bell's was going for here.

 195 characters

Photo of derekgw123
2.6/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Was expecting more. Not a great Scottish ale.

45 characters

Photo of mindspin315
2.61/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nutty brown color with orange/amber hues coming through. Good amount of head and the head retention is solid. Mild lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma is very sweet. Sugar coated plums, cherry juice, cereal grains, and a mild nuttiness. Also a sort of grape candy/juice sweetness hits the nose.

I'm getting that grape candy sweetness right away. A hint of grape medicine flavor as well. Toasted bread with jelly. Mouthfeel is rather thin. Not as much flavor compared to what I got on the nose.

Expected a little bit more flavor from this one. Also the overall style and feel of this beer seems disconjointed. On one hand you have a scottish ale...that would make sense to be on the heavier side for a winter (Christmas) beer, but is actually on the lighter side. Which also lacks a solid and strong flavor. Not that the beer has to be heavy but is missing some elements. Adding some spices or maybe a darker malt, would bring this together a little but more. I like Bell's but don't like this one.


 1,022 characters

Photo of theviper
2.62/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm generally a fan of Bell's beers. The look and pour fit the bill of my past experiences--rich in amber color, nice head. The smell was a faint spice that this reviewer could not place. The beer was smooth going down, but its flavor was rather bland and nondescript (a touch of toasted malt and sweetness). It's easy to drink, but why bother?

 344 characters

Photo of BlueCat1
2.63/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Christmas holiday beers are always something to look forward to. Frankincense and myrrh make for some pretty funky additives! Over the years many crafts have offered interpretations of an undefined style, so there's not really any right or wrong.
Bell's Xmas Ale, at least for 2010, is tame and uninteresting. It has a reasonably nice amber color. But beyond that there's nothing that strikes a notable chord. Not much hop taste exhibited, and the malt aspect is weak and almost watery.
There are many excellent holiday offerings out there. If you're looking for something to excite you don't look here. If you're looking for something that your Lite drinking sister-in-law might consent to drink you might try this.

 716 characters

Photo of Mdog
2.64/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Red-amber, good head.

Smell: Weird--cloves and upholstery? Slight grassy hop note.

Taste: Weird again, a candy sweetness followed a strange hop flavor like mint. Some spicyness shows up later.

Drinkability: I don't think I'll have this again.

Beer #2 of the winter mix 6 pack. I thought this was a winter warmer, but it's listed as a Scottish ale. In either case, it was strange smelling and strange tasting. Swing and a miss with this one for Bell's.

 467 characters

Photo of lessthanhadley
2.65/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Really unimpressed by this beer. I bought it even after seeing a few negative reviews just because Bells is a brewery who I tend to give everything that they put out a try. Generally one of my favorite breweries just didn't get it right here at all. Its a mix of christmas spice, citrusy zest and belgian yeast that just never identifies with anything and really just is not enjoyable. While not a drain pour definitely not something I'd ever go back to.

 454 characters

Photo of wedge
2.66/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazed orange-amber with a tall, fluffy head. Spotty lace. Smells...not like any Scotch ale I've ever had. Sweet fruit, hops, light bread, lemons. Herbal hops, delicate sweetness, spices, and peppery phenolics. No rich maltiness, no smokiness...why call this a Wee Heavy? It's not a bad beer, but they'd be better off leaving "Scotch ale" off the bottle. Medium bodied and fairly easy to drink, though it's strength is lower than what it should be. Meh...

"Malt driven Scotch ale" does not describe this beer at all.

 516 characters

Photo of sickpuppy
2.66/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer poured a ruby to dark red color with a cloudy appearance. The aroma is of faint spices and plum notes, almost herbal with a hint of malts and hops detected.
The taste is malty and medium bodied and although a great beer, it is a bit unremarkable for a Scottish ale in my opinion. With that said I think this is a great beer to share with family and friends around the Christmas holiday.

 396 characters

Photo of davemathews68
2.66/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

I was hoping for something and got nothing. Nothing of this beer is Christmas. Average at best. This would be good named "Bell's Average Ale". I am not a fan.

 161 characters

Photo of Maiora13
2.68/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hearty and filling. Perfect for the cold winter months. It is nothing that i would drink with the intention of having multiple but is definitely one i would enjoy in December.

 175 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.68/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Zipp's Liquor in Minneapolis, MN for $1.79 and served into a stem-tulip. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. 5.5% ABV according the label. Packaged 10/09/13. There's no indication on the label that it's a Scottish ale, so I'm reviewing it as an open-ended Christmas ale.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide had of white-light khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Retention is above average - about 3 minutes. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a translucent nontransparent orange-amber. Robust. Fine floating yeast particles are visible. Average vibrance.

Overall, it's a festive looking brew that isn't unique or special. There are no egregious flaws. I'm looking forward to trying it, but nothing stands out as exemplary.

Sm: Caramalts, candi sugar, bready malts. Fruity hop character is the only noticeable hop note I find. On the sweeter side.

Not much yeast character is detectable. There's no overt alcohol presence here. Not finding any spices. No off-notes.

I was expecting some festive spices given that it's a Christmas ale, but overall it's pretty pleasant. A clean aroma of average strength.

T: Candi sugar lends it a questionable sweetness. I'm shocked by how shallow the depth of flavour is; each note is barely evocative and comes off feeling a bit empty. Bready malts, bread crust, toffee, caramel, malty sweetness. Has a vague hint of unrefined sugar - maybe brown sugar or even piloncillo. Lightly syrupy. Balanced enough, but ultimately unimpressive. Cohesive, but not gestalt.

Average duration of flavour. Subpar intensity of flavour.

Lacks discernable complexity, subtlety, intricacy, and nuance. Very one-dimensional stuff. I'm not a big fan, but it's enjoyable enough.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through. There's no spicing.

Mf: Smooth, wet, fairly syrupy. Thick and medium-bodied. Overcarbonated. Okay presence on the palate. Unrefreshing.

Doesn't suit the flavour profile all that well.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Not for the discerning drinker. It's downable but forgettable stuff, and is disappointing coming from Bell's. Not sure what they were after with this one, but it's a pretty mundane Christmas Ale. I wouldn't trifle with it again or recommend it to friends. Really shallow.


 2,652 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
2.71/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of russpowell. Thanks Russ!
Coded 10023.

It's a hazy orange-red-brown with a 2 finger head of foam. Foam of the stubborn kind. A great looking brew.

I'm sticking my nose right into the glass as the smell is trying to evade me. Ok. I'm getting some malty/sugary sweetness. More whiffing and it's more of a fruity sweet.

The taste is kind of sweet, kind of tart/bitter as in fruity bitter. I've got me a weird tasting beer here. Getting some spicy notes now but not much of a malt profile, at least not to my palate and I've never tasted a Scottish Ale that tasted anything like this. Mixed feelings.

Good overall mouthfeel though maybe a bit brisk with the carbonation.

Getting down and dirty, I've decided this isn't my cup of tea at all and I'm, somewhat, struggling to finish the bottle. Bell's makes some really excellent brews so it's no big deal that I didn't find the Christmas Ale to my liking.

 922 characters

Photo of Eddie_Kobane
2.72/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

Photo of rustan
2.73/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pale ambers with thin white head.

S - Faintly of honey, but not getting much more than that

T - Grapefruit, yeast, finish with subdued bitterness

M - medium body, foams, dry

D - One was enough

Overall this was not what i was expecting. It was more pale and less spiced than your typical holiday seasonal. I can see how such a departure could be of interest, but this attempt fell short. Wouldn't have called this a scotch ale in a blind taste test either. Overall I was not impressed and happy that I only bought a single of this batch.

 550 characters

Photo of ohiobeer29
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Photo of thudean
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Photo of ackeeper
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Photo of JJFordick
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Photo of mwbrady12
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Photo of d5001986
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 1,714 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.