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

531 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 531 | Ratings: 1,714
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Kind of a dark copper presentation with 1/3" off white head. Aroma of malt, brown, red up in here.

Taste, malty. Not quite winter warmer, not quite scotch ale, but somewhere in between. Mild bitterness, no real hop flavor though. Earthy. Tobacco. A little bit of holiday spice. Low carbonation but not a problem. Sticky caramel. A lot of brown and crystal malt, this one I can't figure out who I would recommend it to. Its middling ya know?

 453 characters

Photo of GreatHammerhead
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle packaged 10/24/16 poured into a pint glass.

Look: Hazy copper coloration with some suspended sediment and an off-white two finger head. Decent head retention.

Smell: Not much going on here, mostly just malts.

Taste: Malts, grapefruit rind and some light hop bitterness.

Feel: Medium body with light to moderate carbonation.

Overall: Not bad, just kind of bland.

 394 characters

Photo of FriedSlug
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

An amber colored beer with a lot of particles in suspension. The light tan head fades and leaves no lacing. The aroma is spiced apple cider with some caramel. The taste is sweet and yeasty with apples and spices that finish with some bitterness which doesn't linger. There is a decent amount of carbonation and the beer is medium to light in body. Quite a tasty beer that definitely stirs up feelings of Christmas with the cider and spice flavors.

 447 characters

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

Bottled 10/7/15; drank 12/31/15 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Semi-opaque red/orange appearance.

A rough pour yielded a HUGE eggshell head; frothy, tree-rung lace.

Allspice, orange citrus & candle wax notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Dry clove, mild orange citrus & candle wax flavors; ester dryness on the finish. Interesting, but this was a misfire for my palate.

 404 characters

Photo of Lingenbrau
3.49/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall, this beer is overly sweet, but not in the traditional kettle cooked caramel malt Scottish kind of way, but rather an artificial sweetener like resemblance, Sorry, not my cup of tea. Cheers!

 201 characters

Photo of Tripel_Threat
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A Christmastime tradition. Had this one served every which way. Spiced and malty/bready aroma leads to a flavor of dark fruits, plum, raisin, bread, and warm spice. Some sips are reminiscent of mulled wine. Very fitting as a Christmas ale, my second favorite Christmas ale behind Great Lakes.

 294 characters

Photo of Roguer
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Murky and active; nut brown; off white head with good retention.

Surprising amount of hops on the nose: fair bit of pine, and touches of citrus and herbal notes. Deeper, one finds the prunes and caramel expected from a Scotch ale. Notes of maple and honey round it out.

Flavor is unsurprising given the aroma: dry and grainy, with noticeable hop character. Caramel malt backbone, but this overall comes across more as a hoppy New World Oktoberfest than any Scotch ale.

Dry up front, but a sticky wet finish. Smooth and clean.

This is actually a very nice, enjoyable brew ... if you're not expecting a Scotch ale.

 616 characters

Photo of Squire123
3.9/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance is like dark amber honey with whitish cap and good lacing.

Aroma is toffee malt, some spice (hops I believe) and something vinous. Not a table wine sort of thing, more sherry like and reminiscent of the homemade muscadine wine of my youth.

Taste is rich toffee malt with spicy hints. Again the vinous quality is there but not intrusive. Rather like a buttress holding up the malt wall. Hops are lightly present and noticed more in the finish and lingering aftertaste. Not a complex flavor but a good one that seems to keep things neatly in balance. A Winter Warmer deriving it's spice from hops as it were. There is also a bit of nuttiness in the aftertaste which I presume is malt driven.

Texture is silky rich in a medium way, not heavy but certainly not a light weight.

Similar to Bell's Brown but this Christmas Ale is more balanced and nuanced. I like what I can only describe as the vinous touch because it adds a dimension which isn't a competing or overriding flavor. This is a well thought out brew without the gobsmacking wallop of heavy flavors or head whacking of high ABV. I must say my first impression was not a Scottish Ale, at least as I understand them, but a more refined version of something like Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale.

 1,277 characters

Photo of Casey3236
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Beer Store Malvern. I'm generally not a fan of spiced beers: don't really do the Christmas or pumpkin beers, so keep that in mind with my review. A kind of week Scottish ale with some winter spice, I expect more from Bells than just a Christmas beer for the sake of offering one but that was the impression I had of this.

 331 characters

Photo of MargotDarko
3.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I was a bit disappointed by this one. It looked and smelled quite nice but a little boring. It was easy to drink and inoffensive. It just had nothing interesting going on. Like others have said, it also did not really seem like a Scottish ale.

 243 characters

Photo of DrQuantum
1.53/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I was shocked actually, having picked up this six pack as something one of our local grocery stores had added to their lineup. Never before have I had a Bell's product that I wish I could return. How they think they can call this a "Scottish Ale" is beyond my ability to comprehend. Don't buy it thinking you'll get the rich, full bodied, malty ale you expect when you see that label attached to a beer. At best this is a brown ale, but I'm not inclined to be so kind as even to give it that label. The mouth feel is exceptionally thin, and the flavor is what I can only describe as "meh". Awful. Really very disappointed that I shelled out $10 for something no better than a mass-marketed brown ale.

 708 characters

Photo of Griffin2
3.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
L - Pours a hazy dark brown with a slight tanish white head.
S - Smells of malt and toffee.
T - Tastes like the smell, of toffee.
F - Medium feel with medium carbonation.
O - Pretty nice drinking beer. Not overpowering with spices like a lot of holiday beers.

 305 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.59/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Medium brown in color with a large light tan head on top.

S: Malty with toffee and bread notes.

T: Bread, toffee, and a touch floral with a nice long linger. Perhaps a little herbal in the finish.

M: Medium in body with a smooth feel, and moderate carbonation.

O: Overall pretty good. Not sure what about this particularly says Christmas.. But F- it. It's beer.

 374 characters

Photo of Beerboe
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Picked a 6-pack up on sale because I love Scotch Ales and it was from Bell's! The guy at the liquor store noted it has low alcohol content for a Christmas Ale, but I hoped it would make up for that with more flavor.

Drank some and couldn't taste much Scotch flavor in it. After a while I decided it's a nice Amber ale, nothing more. Disappointing but it makes a good mixer for other over-spiced Christmas beers, one of which I currently have, so there's that. It's not bad by itself, and very drinkable, contrary to what one very odd reviewer below said. Its just not a Scotch Ale as far as I'm concerned.

 611 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.87/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass: color is amber, translucent, head is finely bubbled light tan, some lacing.

Smell is fruity, grape dominant, with subtle toffee flavor - grape like flavor reminds me of munich at high levels in some homebrews i've prepared.

Taste is similar to the aroma with prominent grape like fruitiness - must be the Michigan malt - toffee at low levels, mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is clean, crisp, moderately carbonated.

Overall this is a pleasant and interesting brew - light to moderate grape like flavor from their proprietary malt - I like it - very distinct and unique flavor and style for this Christmas ale.

 635 characters

Photo of Hop_God
3.78/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: deep ruby to mahogany. Thin white head

S: hops some spices cinnamon cloves little bit of resin

T: hops. Winter spices.

F: thin. Crisp with spicy coating

O: nothing too special. Subtle flavors.easy to drink

 217 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a growler via DEPS in a snifter. This nice Scottish pours a lightly
chill hazed deep amber with a moderate head of white foam that settles
to a thick ring, light pool, and features some spotty light lacing. Nose of
caramel, toffee, light breaded notes, and subtle berry notes with light nutty
malt notes. Flavors lightly exceed the nose with light toffee and caramel
notes awash in light breaded malts with a hint of dark berry notes pm the
rear with a touch of zesty hops. Very nice mouth feel; medium carbonation,
medium on the feel, sweet lingering finish. Overall an excellent Scottish.


 609 characters

Photo of CNoj012
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a hazy orange amber color with a one finger off white head that recedes to a microfilm layer fairly quickly and leaves behind patches of lacing.

Smell is sweet dark fruit, caramel, nuttiness and bready malts. Very sweet smelling overall.

Taste is the same, but less sweet than the smell suggests. Also less complex, almost boring.

Feel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall a decent beer. Not something i'd pay for again, but I wouldn't turn one down either.

 477 characters

Photo of MNAle
3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber, somewhat hazy with solid carbonation visible. 3/4-inch off-white to tan head, receding moderately leaving splotchy lacing. Malty aroma, fruits, a bit of bread, nutty, anticipates a sweet taste. Thick feel. Mild initial taste, sticky, a bit sweet, subtle earthiness. Middle and finish remain as with the initial taste with a finish that clings to the mouth and tongue. Hardly any bittering evident. Moderately sweet finish. A bit simple in all aspects. Easy to drink, pleasant, enjoyable in its own right. If you read the brewer's web site description of this beer, it is hitting exactly what the brewer intended, so comparing it against spicy holiday beers or high ABV winter warmers in unfair. Their focus on all (or nearly all) local ingredients from malts to hops is laudable. Nonetheless, as pleasant and drinkable as this beer is, I like a bit more complexity in malty beers.

 892 characters

Photo of flaskman
2.45/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I purchased a six pack and took it to the cabin this weekend. I figured Thanksgiving was over and time for my first Christmas Seasonal. I made my choice based on my past experience with Bells and the nice graphics on the bottles. It looks good in the glass and had a decent head. The feel was good as was the carbonation. It looked and tasted fresh. The smell was malty sweet and it had a decent head. It tasted like a mixture of flavors that left you with an overly sweet and bitter taste that I honestly can't pin down. I can only think of watered down mangos to describe what I was tasting. The combination of hops and malt did not work - at all. At least for me. As I was drinking it all I could think about was how did this get into production. Did they try a test batch first? And then where does the "Christmas" come into this brew. I was very disappointed and would had expected much more from Bell's. Especially in a seasonal.

 954 characters

Photo of atr2605
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A-pours a reddish amber color with an off white head with decent retention
S-sweet malt, caramel, toffee
T-more sweet malt and toffee followed by a balanced biscuit flavor, hops providing a nice balance but not providing a lot of flavor
M-medium bodied with average carbonation
O-pretty solid scotch ale although not overly complex

 331 characters

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

Bell's Christmas Ale has a medium, ivory-colored head, a semi-clear, amber appearance, with lots of sediment chunks, some bubbles, and a bit of lacing left behind. Aroma is of mildly sweet brown bread crust, toast, and a touch of dried fruit. Mouthfeel is low-medium, and Bell's Christmas Ale finishes on the dry side.


 324 characters

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
2.79/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Look: Pours a cloudy, burnt orange hue with a half finger, off white head.

Aroma: The best part about this beer. Like fruitcake. Raisins, white sultanas, orange and lemon zest, cherries, cranberries, ginger, clove, honey, apples, cinnamon and even notes of toasted nuts and rum.

Taste: Too perfumy and sweet for my taste. I'm getting a big white grape, and candied raisin flavor upfront. Notions of heather, caramel, honey, more grapes and raisins... very fruity and sweet, slightly spicy with hints of clove. Mild hints of baked bananas, biscuits, sugar cookies and bubblegum on the finish.

Feel: Watery. Sweet and dry.

Overall: Hard to finish. Not sure what to say about this one. A fruity, malty, sugary scotch ale thats crisp and tastes of fruit cake and confections but it can be too sweet at times.

 808 characters

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

Pours a hazelnut brown color. Clear and crisp in appearance. Thin tan head dissipates steadily leaving no residual head or lacing.

Smell has notes of roasted malts, rustic wheat bread, nuts, and hint of caramel.

Taste follows the nose. Nice caramel and bready malts come through with some roast and nutty flavors. Hints of caramel, slightly sweet but not overly so. Touch of bitterness comes through on the aftertaste and linger. Its actually a nice flavor profile.

Feel is light and crisp, easy drinking. Medium carbonation.

Overall a really nice Scottish Ale. I think its a very good beer - so a bit better than what its rated here. I'd happily pick this one up again and enjoy it. To the people calling this "undrinkable" I'll just respcetfully strongly disagree. Its not the best scottish ale, but as an American take its a very good beer.

 850 characters

Photo of KEH
4.13/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bell's Christmas Ale is a surprisingly drinkable and refreshing Scottish Ale. Most of the American Scottish Ales that I've tried tend to be fairly high gravity. This one is much closer to a session beer. It certainly looks and pours like one would expect for the style. It also has many of the same characteristics in flavor - malty, bready and slightly sweet. I really appreciate Scottish Ales that have a lower ABV (then I can drink more of them!)

 455 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.58 out of 5 based on 1,714 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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