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 chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i poured this into a pint glass, it had a reddish color body, with a 2"tan head to it. The smell is sweet of malt. The taste is sweet of malt and has some citrus hop on the finish. I didn't detect any spices. The mouth feel is very nice, smooth and well carbonated. Overall a good beer. This is only the the 3rd scottich ale i have had.

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Photo of liamt07
3.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Siciliano's. 12oz into a tulip, batch 11572 bottled Oct 22, 2012.

Hazy reddish orange with a few fingers of cream coloured head. Nose has a sweet cakey malt, some fruits, a bit of grass/herbal and some grains. Taste has grainy notes, some dried fruits, citrus zest, and some spice. Mild bitterness, malt is sweet. Medium carbonation. Nice flavour profile on this guy, I'd revisit.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass at cellar temperature.

L – Medium amber color with a 1.5-finger bubbly, cream-colored head. Pretty good retention and some nice lacing. Lots of yeasty floaters make the beer appear murky.

S – Lots of caramel malt, some nutty and toasted malt, and some earthy and faintly smoky aromas, too. There may be some very faint orange hops in here, as well.

T – Sweet caramel malt up front giving way to toasted, nutty malt and some earthiness. Possibly a presence of bitter citrus hops can be appreciated at the finish.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and somewhat creamy mouthfeel, and a toasted and slightly bitter finish.

O – This is a pretty good beer. It just seems a little watered down, especially for a Christmas beer. I think it would do well with some more of that sweet caramelized malt and definitely some more smoky and earthy aromas and flavors. Still, this is a tasty and very drinkable beer. Even when Bell’s misses, they don’t miss by much.

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Photo of Jerone
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A - Hazy golden tan one finger head, some lacing. With every beer from my six pack I got large sized floatables that I do not like at all.

S - Nice malt smell, bready, touch of yeast, touch of hops.

T - Mostly bready malt with a kinda weird and nice aftertaste of yeasty bread with a hint of hops.

M - Mouthfeel was good, medium carbonation, pretty light body.

O - Meh, nothing I would buy again, could be done much better and I don't know why I kept getting large floatables in my beers, and yes I was very careful when pouring.

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Photo of Mojo
3.62/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle -> dimpled mug

This offering from Bell's Brewery pours up a kind of hazy copper with a big fluffy two finger head with great retention, and plenty of lacing. The smell is kind if grassy and pine. Taste is kind of dry and flat, not very strong at all. It isn't bad but it certainly wasn't as good as I expected it would be. Mouthfeel is okay, but has a mild lingering unpleasant aftertaste. I've had worse, but this was kind of a disappointment considering the brewery.

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Photo of bigaltemple
3.34/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Bottle Packaged 10/16/12

A - Bright copper with lots of yellow and orange. Two-finger, foamy, off-white head settles to 1/4" thickness and remains that way throughout. Thick sheets of lacing coat the glass after every drink. Just an amazing look to this beer!

S - Light caramel malts. Some muted spices. Small hint of orange peel and mild bitterness. Nothing really standing out here.

T/M - A bit spicy and lots of malt initially. Has some citrus rind bitterness, with a little hops bite. Light to medium body. A little thin. Very crisp carbonation.

O - After being stoked about the appearance of this one, everything else just stuck to a pretty average brew. Easy to drink, and I could very easily handle a few, but can't say it makes me want to seek it out.

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Photo of wingman14
4.08/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy orange caramel with a frothy off white head. Smell is sweet and malty, a little bready, very different and inviting. Taste follows, less sweet than expected but a unique malt flavor, with not much else except a hint of bitter at the end. I was surprised to read on bells website that they use no spices, considering the smells and flavors. A nice smooth medium mouthfeel. Overall a unique Christmas ale, definitely worth trying.

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

On tap at Bulldog-uptown
Served in a pint with a thin finger of white head that laces the glass. Looks like Christmas-copper/amber and clear. Smells of warm spices and breast caramel toasted malt. Slight aroma of pine tree hops. Taste is smooth. Malt forward with a nice finish of NW US hops. A full bodied brew with a hint of astringency/hop resin in the finish. Overall a very nice winter beer. Aromatic, malty with some nice complexity.

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Photo of mick303
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large snifter which yielded a healthy creamy head with good retention and lacing. Colour is an amber brown-copper, nice carbonation.

Smell has a very fragrant nutty, clove spicey malt. A light roastiness, and remains overall light and slightly fruity, apple and a bit of grapefruit, a subtle citrus tartness, some brown sugar.

Taste is initially a nice roasty malt with plenty of plumy fruit character. A touch of brown sugar caramel sweetness but also a bit of hops to counter this. Some candied orange and all-round good flavour that seems quite festive, none of it gets in the way of the beer though. Some vanilla oakiness towards the end, finish is dry.

Mouthfeel has a high carbonation and it really refreshing and sessionable, moderate body, and highlights the beer and hard to ask for much more. Leaves a dry fruity aftertaste.

Really enjoyed this, it incorporated a good range of flavour, decent complexity into a pretty well balanced ale, and avoided being overly sweet. A nice treat, could be more interesting but this is a nice easy-drinking xmas beer and worth a try.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle opened on 11.29.12

A - Pours a cloudy light brown with a one inch tan head with good retention.

S - Malts, orange peel and some toast.

T - Spice, Orange peel, and mild malts.

D - Good carbonation and a mediumb body.

O - Mild all-around - meh. Needs more in one direction or the other.

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

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a reddish amber color with a 1/2" finely bubbled ivory head that recedes very slowly leaving both some lacing on the sides, a ring of foam, and an irregularly shaped island over much of the liquid.

The aromas include some caramel and bread with some touches of fruitiness.

The flavors follow from the nose with the caramel and bready character along with some sweetness, an almost nutty flavor and some touches of citrus, fruitiness, and some spicy notes.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and nicely smooth with the moderate carbonation. The finish begins as the malt flavors and sweetness fade to allow some citric spicy bitterness to close out the show.

On the whole a well made beer that I'd not turn down if offered. That said it doesn't even come close to knocking my preferred Christmas ale from it's perch above the others.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
2.99/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Horny Goat pint glass

Appearance- The color is a hazy peach with a solid finger of off white head that only dissipates a small amount. Leaves a decent amount of cascaded lacing.

Smell- Some carmel, pine and bready malt.

Taste- First off, I have to say this barley reminds me of a scotch ale at all. I suppose there is a case to be made that it could be a winter warmer/scotch ale experiment gone wrong. You get this Wheat beer flavor with an orange peel flavor that is quickly cut off by a ton of smoke.

Mouthfeel- Nice medium body with medium carbonation that creates a crisp semi dry finish.

Overall- This beer is all over the place with the flavor and scent profile. As I described above, it is a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a reddish amber color with a nice one finger off white head. The head has a good level of retention giving a quite nice level of lacing.

Smell – The nose is overall quite light. It consists of a light bready smell mixed with some light citrus and brown sugar.

Taste – A bready and malty flavor greets the tongue. A decent sweetness is upfront being of a caramel and brown sugar flavor. Dark fruit flavors then come to the taste more toward the middle. While the dark fruit comes to the taste, the sugary tastes dwindling a bit. Some flavors of a smoky nature soon come to the tongue more toward the end and are accompanied by a light spice as well as some bitter citrus. These flavors, in the end, leave a malty but hop and sweet balanced flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the brew was on the thicker and creamier side for a brew of only 5.5 % abv. The carbonation level was on the slightly lower side, but very close to average. The combo of the thicker body and medium carbonation made it a bit of a slower drinker, but not too slow where it wasn't still refreshing and to where all the spice and sweet flavors lost their draw. Quite nicely done.

Overall – A great drinking Christmas ale with a good flavor and mouthfeel.

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Photo of 2BDChicago
4.5/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty redish amber haze, on top is a fluffy foam head that's kinda of kahki color.

Grabbing me with totaly non-standard flavors...esp for style (not always a fav).

Very low note of sotch ale on top of bubblegum.

Spice bombs are a distant memory.

What a mellow holiday brew, that has a personality. I could see this as a go-to brew on a long x-mas eve.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very hazy (almost cloudy) dark copper in color with some orange and ruby red highlights, moderate amounts of visible carbonation, and moderate amounts of small visible yeast particles in suspension. The beer has a two finger tall creamy beige head that slowly reduces to an even thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Overall, there is a rather light aroma to this beer with some light notes of toasted bready malts, spices, dark fruits, and yeast.

T: There is a moderate amount of maltiness to this beer - some caramel, some toasted, and just a hint of peat smoked malts.There are some lighter hints of spices and dark fruits in there as well, giving it a touch of sweetness upfront. There is a light to moderate amount of citrus/orange peel hops that contribute some light bitterness that lingers. Just a touch of yeastiness to the overall flavor as well.

M: Light to medium bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Not really what I expected, a little light in smell and taste for what I expect in the style - I expected something a little less generic from Bell's. Overall the flavor is pretty well balanced and enjoyable. Easy to drink because it is ind of generic.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, bottled on date reads 10/15/2012 so this beer is nice and fresh at only about 2 months old.

A - Pours a hazy dark orange with lots of sediment floating around and lots of bubbles rushing to the top creating a nice two finger head that lingers around.

S - I'm getting a lot of crisp malts in the nose, and a strong bubblegum smell, but not much else.

T - Nice roasted malts hit the palate right away, maybe a little bit of a hop presence, and definitely a touch of fruity sweetness hidden in the back somewhere.

M - The mouth holds a nice level of carbonation, not too weak, not too heavy. The resinous feel of the hops chills in the back of your mouth somewhere, as does the roasted malt flavors.

Overall, this isn't a bad beer to kick back and chill with in front of the hearth, after a nice fat holiday dinner. Nothing remarkable, but highly drinkable stuff.

Bell's Christmas Ale ---3.5/5.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Copper orange with a crisp white head that leaves some decent lacing at first but thins out

S. not a very big nose on this. Pale hops and orange peel.

T. This Is a good tasting brew that is easily drinkable, but I guess was hoping for just a bit more. It is just meh all the way around.

O. Meh, I would drink it again, but it will not make the regular Christmas rotation.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-dark orange gold with a nice frothy light cream colored head. good lacing.

S-smells like barley and hops...a lot like how beer smells before the yeast is added. might have a hint of baking spices to it. not a very well defined scent. seems scattered...can't put my nose on exactly whats going on. not terrible though. decent strength

T-comes in tasting surprisingly how it smells. i've tasted wort once, what the beer is after the boil before the yeast is added. this beer tastes closer to that than any drink i've ever had. its a definitely not a bad taste. it might lack a lot of flavor, maybe doesn't taste quite right, but it definitely tastes like a real and authentic beer. the grains and hops taste so raw, not flavorful at all as they often are, and maybe often exaggerated too as well. this just tastes like a grunting blue collar beer. the after-taste has a good amount of bitterness to it.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a dry finish

O-its an interesting beer. its not as glamorous as the typical christmas beer. this is much more raw. as much as i appreciate the authentic approach, its a boring beer. there isn't much here at all. i'm not even sure what kind of beer its supposed to be, it definitely doesn't resemble a scotch ale...i'm not sure who decided that was this style. something i won't get again. skip it. i expect more from Bells.

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Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date on the bottle is 10-15-12

A - Pours out a deep amber color with little particles floating around in this partially see through ale. Produces a two finger off white yellowish head that looks nice and creamy.

S - On the nose it is all bready malts, some mustiness and slight hops. Really, mellow on the nose.

T- Interesting here. Is definitely malt forward on this with some sweetness,ginger bread, lactose, pepper flavor, and some light bittering hops in the finish. Leaves a slight bitterness in the palate that builds while you drink into it, it develops a zesty spice flavor.

M - Nice full bodied fluffy creamy mouth which happens to be well carbonated.

O - Not sure what to make of this beer it is well made and is not off-putting but it is not one I would reach for again. It flavors are a little strange and I am having a hard time placing them. It almost reminds me of a lactose beer I had in the past. Try it your up to something different but do not expect to be blown away. Cheer!

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.21/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy copper/amber color with puffy 2 finger, off white/cream head.

S - Caramel malt, bready, a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar and a touch of molasses. Faint, but there.

T - I'm trying to work out where I've tasted this before. It tastes a bit like a candy, sort of a Werther's Original butterscotch and something very sugared. Heavy on malt, a bit of cinnamon at the end. It's not bad, but it's kind of odd.

M - Thick, syrupy, and a little drying from the cinnamon.

Overall - I'm not really sure what to think of this one. I'm not blown away by it, but I'm a bit intrigued. A decent beer? Yes. A good beer? Not so sure.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with some suspended dustiness; amber in color with a clumpy off-white head. Even laces to some effect.

Light malty nose with vanilla and mace. Sweet, clean, and perfumy. Almost a berry + leather pairing in the nose. Hard to describe how inviting it is.

Plummy malts with lots of fruity esters, all the while accented by some Christmas spices. Nutmeg and mace and an herbal element of sage or thyme. Sweet and malty, like the nose, with a light vanilla bent. Too light for a warmer, with the alcohol level being disguised. Caramelized sugars are creamy and light, also. Touch of peach. Maybe grape. Perfumy, too. Certainly interesting in its candy sweetness.

Drinks like a champ. Especially, at the end of the night. Simply crafted to be consumed.

Curious about the low rankings, as this is a nice spiced Scottish Ale, perfect for the Christmas season. I feel like this years' is a vast improvement from the last.

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Photo of patpbr
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bells Christmas ale pours a red color with a nice off white head. Nice lacing. Malts are upfront here. Slight toasted and a bready or earty. The body doesn't hold up as I would like. Some spice in the finish. An easy drinker in the Scottish Ale category.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Bright ruby, some carbonation, one finger head. Really the only part of this beer that scream Christmas.

S-Malt, weak on the spice, balance isn't there, maybe some grass.

T- Off. Unbalanced, spices are there but not balanced, some cinnamon, nutmeg no bitterness.

M-Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation.

O- The beer was off, poor balance and didn't have the spices I like from a christmas ale.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the bottle: "From our fields to your holiday. A malt driven ale, made with 100% Michigan grown two-row barley malt and a mix of Michigan and Northwest Pacific hops. A bit of cheer from the north country, sure to make any occasion festive."; "Batch # 11581, pkgd 10/30/12".

A nightcap following the Steelers' win over the Ravens a little while ago. I love an aggro pour as it really creates as much head as possible and opens up the beer's nose. I got two-plus fingers of dense tawny head with excellent retention from my nearly-inverted pour. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose was rich with malt, giving rise to truth in advertising. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching fullness with respect to its near-creaminess. The interplay between the malt, which was prevalent on the nose, and the hops, which now seemed to take center stage on the tongue, was notable. As the head began to fall, loads of sticky lacing was left behind. I was having a hard time believing that this was a Scottish Ale, but at the same time, I was totally digging it! I just wish that the malt had been more smoky as opposed to outright sweet. Finish was semi-sweet with the hops reigning in what could have been too much.

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Photo of Megahertz
3.96/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a New Belgium Globe. Bottled on 10/15/12, consumed 12/02/12.

A - Clear deep red with a massive, pillowy head and very tight lacing. Beautiful.

S - Surprisingly sweet freshed baked bread with a subtle citrus & resin note in the background.

T - Fresh baked bread, crust and all, with a serious toasted note in the middle. Considerable ale esters - raisin, plum and cinnamon. Hop bitterness is present but very mild, clean and gentle. Medium dry finish. A refined flavor.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

O - A very nice ale - distinctly American yet complex. Nothing to do with christmas, but I'll drink it any time, anywhere.

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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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