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

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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

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Reviews: 531 | Ratings: 1,714
Photo of mchegash
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4/5
Pours a moderately dark orange, slightly hazy, can see many small particles in the beer. About 2-3 fingers of very light tan head. An average amount of carbonation can be seen rising up the beer.

Smell - 3.5/5
Some slightly sweet malts, floral/herbal/slightly piney hops. Aroma is not really that strong so can't detect much else.

Taste - 4/5
Dark malts with a caramelized sugar feel. A slight cherry fruitiness. Earthy/resinous/herbal slightly piney hops. Interesting and complex flavor, very balanced.

Mouthfeel - 3.5/5
Medium bodied, average carbonation. Fairly crisp. Maybe a little bit syrupy.

Overall - 3.75/5
This was a decent beer. I'm on the fence about whether it's worth buying a 6-pack of (I just got one bottle as part of a build-your-own).

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Photo of ordybill
3.84/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a nice aroma of malt and yeast.
Appearance- An amber colored brew with an off white head
Taste- Toasted malt flavor, not bad at all
Palate- A medium bodied beer with medium carbonation
Overall- A really good ale. I would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a pretty, cloudy, amber color with two full fingers of white head that slowly dissolved into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer. There’s quite a lot of sediment floating in the beer. Is that normal/intentional?

Aroma: Malty and toasty. Notes of freshly baked bread, dry roasted nuts, brown sugar, clover and hops.

Taste: Interesting. Toasted malt up front, with strong notes of freshly baked and toasted sourdough bread or English muffins. Caramel-like sweetness, followed by some pronounced hops bitterness finishes the beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.5%, there is no presence of alcohol on the palate. Despite the sediment floating in the beer, there’s nor a gritty mouthfeel of partially solid substances.

Overall: This was a very good beer. Great toasted malt flavor balanced well with hops and caramel-like sweetness. I’m a little unsure if the sediment floating in the beer was intentional or not, but it doesn’t affect the flavor or mouthfeel, just the appearance.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Straight down the middle of the glass, the Christmas Ale pours a very thick tan, cream colored head. 3 fingered head. Rocky. The body of the beer is a hazy copper, red, maroon color. Pretty dark overall.

S- Big, bready, malt note. This is an all malt beer. It has a resinous hop smell that is quite pronounced. But at the same time, it's got toasted notes of toffee and of grains. The smell reminds me of the Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. The Christmas Ale has some citrus going on, such as orange peels, mangoes, pineapple and grapefruit. I get pine and leather as well. It's overall a rich, sweet malt, grainy and toasted, with an IPA nose on it.

T- It is a lot like the Celebration Ale. This is not as heavy in your face, "Here's an IPA, recognize me". It won't slap you around in the hops. But it will give a hop head what he needs. It's got a lot of red ale quality. It quite toasted and grainy. You get toffee and a caramel sweetness. You do get some of the typical spices that are used in fruit breads. Even some kind of gingerbread-ish flavor is detected as well. That's light. The holiday type spices are not heavy enough to overpower the beer at all. The hoppiness has a oily, resinous, dank quality to it. The hops were more bitter on smell than taste. Had a leathery taste to the hops as well. It finishes pretty dry like an IPA does. I also detect a light biscuity note and some sweet molasses.

M- The body is on the medium side, more towards mild. It's pretty crisp, clean, and it is refreshing. It's only slightly sticky sweet. It is making me smack my lips. It's also a little bit chewy like a big red wine. It drinks like a red ale meets an IPA meets the Celebration Ale.

Overall, this beer gets a B+, and an 85/100 from me. If you like the sweet grainy notes, toffee and molasses, and a hoppy beer, this one is for you! The beer is fairly dry, so it's gone before you realize it. I'd say get some. It's pretty awesome!

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.39/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear medium amber producing 2 fingers of beige, frothy, somewhat lasting, head that leaves a super coating of pasty lacing. Aroma is lightly toasted pumpernickel bread, caramel apple with hints of butter, roasted nuts, floral hops & a faint earthiness. Taste is similar to nose with more toast, apple fruitiness & floral hops. Pepper, Graham crackers & dark honey are added. The bitterness is nicely balanced with the toasted maltiness. Finishes wet but faintly dry (if that makes sense) & peppery with toast that becomes a toasty, dark tea like bitterness in the aftertaste. No smoke or burnt notes/hints detectable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied & moderately carbonated & lightly prickly.

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Photo of BWED
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

A- Amber with ruby highlights. Very light tan head. Dense, decent pad with a little lacing, and satisfactory retention.

S- Nice toasted malt. Bready. Fruity hop character. Dark fruit.

T- Toast comes out with some earthy hop bitterness. Not quite caramel, but some sweetness in there.

M- Medium body, with nice bitterness and a subtle sweetness.

O- Glad this isn't spiced, like most Christmas or Winter beers. Not bad. Mild. Could be a little heavier in body and ABV.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampling right now on 1/8/15. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass thumbprint mug. Packaged on: '10/03/14'.

Pours a hazy burnt-orange in color with close to a 1-finger creamy off-white head with some sheets of lacing seen when sipped. Sediment is seen at the bottom of the bottle around the edges. The aroma is of malts for the most part with some spice. Pretty much the same is said for the taste with some hops with a hint of orange also. The finish is slightly dry but not bad. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation for this style of brew. Overall it wasn't bad for a Scottish Ale.

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Photo of Brackh
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light brown. Smells nice and is consistent with most Christmas beers. Get a little bit of hops and some sweetness in the smell. Taste the hops (almost has a lemon taste that gives it the bitterness) and they are not overwhelming. Some sweetness that matches the smell. A good holiday beer. Not the best but good.

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Photo of davemathews68
2.66/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six of this at TW before Xmas, had some on Xmas eve and Xmas, saved one to review, let's give it whirl. Popping the top I get a nice deep zesty caramel waft. Pours to a light root beer color with a thin tan head. On the taste this brew has good mouthfeel, thick but not syrup tick. The taste is a consistent slightly spicy, flatly bitter yet with bits of sweet caramel coming through. Not really dominant in one flavor or another, balanced and contrite. Would have expected a little darker a little spicier for a Christmas beer along the lines of a winter warmer, but its imbibeable.

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Photo of Roxie_B
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks: Translucent amber with rich copper highlights. Straw colored head.
Smell: Apricot, pear, and red apple. Sweet and fruity. Cloves.
Taste: Clove and nutmeg upfront. Transitions to dry pear and red apple.
Mouthfeel: Medium light body and sprightly carbonation.

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Photo of AngusOg
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Not sure what a Scottish ale has to do with Christmas, but nevertheless a tasty and very easy drinking ale. Three of the six pack gone in the blink of an eye, could have easily killed the other three if it had been one of those type of nights. Shlante!

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Photo of barczar
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%

Aroma is slightly sweet caramel malt, with soft notes of cinnamon. Fairly subtle. Flavor reveals a clashing slightly sour/specialty malt fruitiness and a bitter finish. Toffee notes are welcome, but clash again with floral and perfumey hops.

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Photo of DarthVorador
4.75/5  rDev +32.7%

A VERY good session ale. Malty, but well balanced. Just a very wholesome flavor that screams QUALITY!!! ...Not sure I'd call it a Scottish Ale though.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber in color with some red tinting. I see an abundance of light sediment suspended in the body. There's a half inch of small and tightly packed foam that appears beige with a hint of amber. I smell some slightly earthy barley and I don't pick up anything else. I taste that earthy to gently sweet barley along with a subtle use of piney hops. The hops are definitely muted with no bite and are meant to keep the barley sweetness in check. The mouth is creamy and smooth.

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Photo of BikeChef
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

A really in-your-face maltiness-- as in the malt acts like hops would in a pungent IPA. A very balanced beer, with bittering hops coming in to act as a foil to all the malt. Once you settle in with this beer it grows on you. Good alternative to huge and/or spiced Xmas beers.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%

When I first started drinking this beer I thought "meh", decent, interesting spice but a little off in the finish. But I continued to drink the beer it smoothed out and I found myself enjoying it. The score kept going up. A beer I think I could drink a few of and enjoy but definitely not outstanding so came in under a 4.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%

This brew pours a beautiful brownish/red color with a white, fluffy two finger head and good carbonation.

The smell is sweet malts and floral hops. There are also some fruits and nuts in the smell along with a dank earthy smell contrasting with a sweet wheat like smell.

The taste follows the nose with sweet malts hitting first then floral, spicy hops. There is also a nutty taste followed by light caramel and ending with hop spices.

Overall this is a complex brew with a lot going on. This would be a good beer for a cold day but the low alcohol content keeps it out of the 'winter warmer' class.

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Photo of Billet
4/5  rDev +11.7%

I like this one a lot. I was expecting some spicy flavors, but there was little to none. Instead I had a very smooth malty brew with a medium-light body. It reminded me of a malty Pale Ale or maybe an ESB, both of which I like very much. Nicely done.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bell's other winter offering besides its witbier is its Christmas Ale. Many thanks to Halcyondays for sharing a 12 ounce bottle with me. On to the beer:

Attractive dark amber rests in the glass. But despite its monikor as a Chirstmas Ale, this Bells offering tastes more like a light English bitter filled with esters than a warming spiced ale. The taste is straightforward as dates and esters make much of it. The beer is on the lighter side, which means you could fool people in a blind test for which season this beer is brewed for.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 10/22/2014. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/amber color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of lemon, orange zest, pear, apple, plum, caramel, toasted bread, light honey/nuttines, floral, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of bready malt, earthy hops, and fruity yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of lemon, orange zest, pear, apple, plum, caramel, toasted bread, light honey/nuttiness, floral, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Light herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange zest, pear, apple, plum, caramel, toasted bread, light honey/nuttiness, floral, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and robustness of bready malt, earthy hops, and fruity yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from bitterness as well. Medium carbonation and body; with smooth, fairly creamy/grainy/bready, and lightly crisp/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 5.5%. Overall this is a nice and pleasant Scottish ale style. All around good robustness and balance of bready malt, earthy hops, and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and fairly crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.2/5  rDev +17.3%

A Scotch Ale? Nah.

A surprisingly quaffable and bright flavored malty concoction? Yes. Definitely not a Winter Warmer or a spiced beer. (No spices added.)

Light-bodied. Low-hop-bitterness. Nice fruity flavor to balance the malt bill.

Way better than the bulk of the Christmas Ales out there.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl - Pours brilliant light brown crowned by a 2" cream to light tan foam collar. Spicy, almost fruit cake, very soft carbonation, very pleasant and festive.

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Photo of sween100
3.04/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with a light tan head. Grainy malt aroma with a hint of spice. Could slightly smell some caramel and toffee. Tried this beer back in the winter months and enjoyed it as a winter beer. Wouldn't suggest drinking it during the summer months.

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Photo of ChrisL24481
3.82/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky amber color with a two inch head. Lacing lingers on the glass. The aroma and the taste of this brew combines of toasted bready malts, slight fruity hop flavors and some spice type flavor. Medium body with some carbonation. Goes down smooth too. A decent ale, but nothing spectacular though.

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Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.58 out of 5 based on 1,714 ratings.
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