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

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BA SCORE
81
good
503 Reviews
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Bell's Christmas AleBell's Christmas Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
503
Ratings:
1,633
Avg:
3.58
pDev:
23.18%
 
 
Wants:
49
Gots:
260
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 503 | Ratings: 1,633
Photo of tectactoe
3.51/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a middle of the road copper color with reasonable clarity and a slightly off-white, small head that dissipates quick and doesn't leave much lacing to speak of. The aroma was hard to pick up on, at first I wasn't getting much of anything. I let it warm a little bit and started picking up some apple slices with peppery overtones, along with some other kitchen spices that were difficult to identify. Taste is crisp and full of spices, nutmeg and cinnamon being the most noticeable, along with the pepper flavor that rides the full wave. Some leafy bitterness at the end leaves you with an overall dry finish.

This beer is okay, nothing special. I'm glad I tried it, but there are many Christmas-time seasonal beers I'd choose over this one. Still worth a shot, though.

 775 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Visiting family in NC so picked this up locally. Enjoyed from a spiegelau glass.

a - brew poured a deep rich mahogany with some visible carbonation and a thin off white head that was gone quickly.

s - spicy white peppery crispness. Boozy grapes with some nuttiness.

t - fairly lagery. Loss of grain and all malt. Some festive spicing of white pepper but not much going on.

m - light bodied to medium bodied. Crisp. Heavy lager vibe, kind of BMCish.

o - overall meh. Glad i only got a single of this one. Not really something i will seek out. I have had many scotch asked that i lives this was not awful, but boy above average.

 631 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.37/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle - $2.09 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Batch: 11572, PKGD 10/22/12.

Appearance: Pours a medium amber-hued body chock full of suspended particles hidden beneath a thin, off-white head for not a hazed, but dingy appearance.

Smell: Weak bready-scented malts, slight citrus, slight additional fruitiness, with slight dirty, dead yeastiness given one last sip of half-sweetened iced tea.

Taste: Very lightly bready malts with a thin sweetness. Holds just shy of delivering a taste of toast, a taste of toffee. Curious fruitiness in addition to some orangy citrus qualities. Slight spicy pine hint as well with sufficient bitterness. Hmm, it just doesn't mesh well or come together for me.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: This is one of the regular seasonal Bells offering that I seem to always miss every year like clockwork, which I did regret from time to time, and, now that I've had it, well, I wouldn't have it again.

 983 characters

Photo of buddha5050
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: About 1 finger of tight white head, nice clear red/ruby appearance, decent carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

S: Caramal, toasted malt, grapefruit, orangepeel

T: Little bitterness at the front, citrus peel, dry finnish, not what I would call a true scotch ale but not bad either.

M: A little thin and watery but decent carbonation

O: Nice beer for alot of brewers but not what I expect from Bell's. I guess when you do almost everything so well, once something does not measure up to your normal standards it gets noticed. With that said I would love to produce something like this at home, very drinkable

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Photo of theHoff77
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pokal glass.

A - Hazy dark orange/amber color, like an apple cider color. Thick foamy white head. Just off first glance I got the impression this was going to have a fruity taste to it.

S - Fruity in smell. I get an apple vibe from it.

T - Tastes a lot like Dead Guy Ale, which I happen to really like. But I don't make the connection as to how this is a scotch ale. Once again I get a predominate apple flavor, which is good but it's not complex.

M - Has a dryness about it like a cider. Crisp and clean though.

O - Maybe I'm totally off with the apple theory but that's what I'm getting; Bell's Christmas Apple Ale. I thought this was pretty good beer though, enjoyed the flavor and it was easy to drink.

 728 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this back to back with Goose Island's Christmas Ale. Reviewed from notes.

A: two finger head on a hazy amber body.

S: lots of caramel malt, some hops which provide an earthy note.

T: caramel malts and honey. The hops add more of an earthy and herbal flavor.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: A nice beer but not quite to the usual Bell's standards.

 373 characters

Photo of melitameister
3.97/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle already 18 months old from great beer store on Topsail Island, NC. Was in the cooler and apparently well kept.

Not much to remind me of a Scottish Ale and surely not typical of a Christmas ale. Label says "malt driven," but fairly dry, more like a very well made pale than a Scottish.

Appearance - Burnt orange with some cloudiness with a nice creamy head. That and yeast in the bottom says this is a live beer.

Smell - Orange, citron, pine and malt.

Taste - Full but dry malt balanced with hops bitterness and some dry hop fruit. Lots of subtle esthers carry on to make the taste last.

Mouthfeel - Light but creamy. Despite not getting what I expected from a Bell's Christmas, a highly drinkable and delicious brew. What I have come to expect from Bell.

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Photo of MarvinTheMarzen
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a really pleasant beer, tasting much lighter than a typical Scottish and for a beer of 5.4 ABV. Bell's website doesn't list a style but does not that no extra spices are added as there are with other holiday beers.

Scent, taste, and mouthfeel are all good. The carbonation is a bit high but not as bright as a pilsner. A definite malt presence.I will get this again if I can find it.

 392 characters

Photo of klkatz
3.57/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

smell - sweet, piney... malty..

color - nice reddish/orangy amber... - nice thick quick foaming head..

taste - crisp, sweet, piney about a 3/3.5

should have had this during christmas, but life happened..
Bell's is usually on top of their game.. the two hearted ale is excellent... this is above average... worth a swig

 323 characters

Photo of samie85
2.34/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Batch 10729.

Bottle gushed a bit upon opening.

Pours a clear copper color with a finger of white head.

Some hints of bubblegum and with some malty and earthy notes.

Bubblegum and clove come through in the taste. This has to be an infection.

The body is a little thin with quite a bit of carbonation.

I really think this was infected. What I took away from this didn't match any of the other reviews.

 405 characters

Photo of TechTriumph
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes on 12/26/11:
Bottled: 10/26/11; Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - Two inch off-white bubbly head with good retention; Slightly hazy and a light amber color; Some lacing left behind

S - Notes of sweet caramel, floral, piney, and orange-like citrus hops

T - Some bitterness hits immediately with some acidic citrus flavor; Lots of floral characteristics step forward from mid-taste to finish with a hint of pine and toffee in the background; An herbal tea-like flavor comes through as well

M - Moderate carbonation; Medium bodied; Somewhat dry finish

O - I thought this beer was pretty solid. It doesn't seem to fit in the typical holiday beer mold without the usual spices in there, and had a unique flavor for sure. That said, the taste still reminded me of Christmastime, even though I cracked this beer open a day late. Overall, I feel this beer is a good option to enjoy in good company.

 918 characters

Photo of bjohn84
3.64/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber brown, fairly transparent with lots of tiny bubbles, head dissipates quickly

S - Lots of sweet caramel with hints of spices

T - Blackberries and a hint of spices and maybe some acidic citrus

M - Very low on the body and drinkable, fairly dry

O - Reminds me of a beer version of a dry, fruity sparkling wine, but actually fairly drinkable

 351 characters

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

A - cloudy copper/orange, small head, little lacing

S - hops, grains, malts, sweetness, heavy caramel

T - a weird taste honesty.. kind of a smoked honey taste, with lots of sweet malt, bitter hops to ration it out

M - nice and smooth ale that just goes down without questioning.

O - this is not like most christmas ales.. i don't taste many spices, but it sure is awesome.

 376 characters

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to wintbs379 for this bottle.

A: Pours a really nice amber hue with about a half finger of bone white head that fades into a think halo along the top of the beer. There is very little lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose of this beer seems really complicated. I'm getting notes of malt, berry, and mild spice. There may also be a touch of citrus in there as well.

T: The flavors of the beer follow the nose. I get some malty sweetness, some hints of berry, a touch of spice, and just a little bit of lemon peel. It's really pleasant.

M: Light bodied beer. Sweetness right up front, a bit chewy, and it finishes thick.

O: This is one of the best Scotch Ales I've had, and definitely one of the better Christmas Ales on the market. I'd drink this beer again.

 764 characters

Photo of beagle75
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Slightly hazy, medium amber color with one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Moderate lacing remains and some eager streams of fine bubbles rise in the column from the sides of the glass.

S: Candy-like, with both toffee and mixed fruit represented. A trace of husky grain emerges as it warms.

T: Begins off-dry, with caramel malt and herbaceous aromatics that are authentic in their delicate astringency. Acidity is mild and citric into the middle where understated bread is clean and sweetness is able to surge incrementally. The finish is comparatively vacant of flavor, compared to the other acts, with a fine thread of phantom astringency from earlier in the profile and a whiff of savoriness that lingers on the palate, turning to fermented tea late.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet but balanced on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This ale is relatively malt-forward, but conservative. It has a nuanced and dynamic sweetness that is, perhaps, its most interesting feature. When one considers that other notable qualities include an early herbaceous burst that is not particularly hop-like, it seems like a reasonable contribution to the style and a worthwhile candidate for food pairings.

 1,271 characters

Photo of tsauce2
3.56/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is brick red. Translucent. Head is off-white with red tinge, 1 in, dissipates to 1 cm. Medium carbonation. Heavy lacing.

S: Full malt aroma, caramel, some holiday spices, hops.

T: Full malt base, floral and citrus hop notes, mild caramel sweetness, light holiday spice. Aftertaste is mild piney hops, malt, caramel.

M: Medium body. Carbonation and malt give a full, creamy texture that follows initial hop forwardness. Wet finish.

O: The one thing I think is generally overdone with scottish/scotch ales is the malt presence. Sometimes they are so malty and give such a full, creamy feel that it is difficult for me to put down a pint without feeling full. Not this beer; the forward hop notes totally balance this ale and make it quite drinkable. Well balanced and, despite the larger initial hop presence, this beer really comes through as a scottish ale. I will buy this every winter going forward.

 961 characters

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

12oz Bottle - thanks to cfrancis for this

Appearance - Slightly hazy reddish/copper colour with a large size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hay/straw, cherries, grapefruit, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and some herbal notes. There is also a cherry sweetness mixed with light hops. It ends with a malty and spicy aftertaste.

Overall - The beer definitely has a taste all it's own. It's a mixed bag of all kinds of flavours, unfortunately one of them is a little too artificial. Still a beer with a taste that is interesting enough to warrant trying it.

 757 characters

Photo of distantmantra
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a straight pint glass.

A: the beer pours brown-ruby red color with a thin head of yellowish foam that dissipates quickly.

S: I get an initial note of yeast and candi sugar, along with some sweet malt.

T: There's a real strong graham cracker flavor with the beer, backed by Belgian candi sugar and a bit yeasty funk. There is also a bit of a peppery note hanging around in the beer as well.

M: Very smooth mouthfeel with decent carbonation.

O: A little too sweet, but still enjoyable.

 517 characters

Photo of Goliath
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a deer amber color with ruby hues in the light. There is a one inch light tan head. There is nice head retention and some heavy lacing.

The aroma is decent. There is a strong citrus hop profile with a very sugary sweet aroma as well. There's a bit spicing as well.

The taste is nice. Again some citrusy hops with a big dose of sweetness. There is a decent grain profile giving notes of caramel and raw grain.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a small carbonation bubble that provides a gentle tingle.

Overall it's a solid beer. There is a pleasing nose and taste, however nothing that stands out as being mind blowing. A great seasonal go to? Definitely.

 684 characters

Photo of shand
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Bell's Christmas Ale pours a red-amber color with a finger of head. The aroma is a nice mix of sweet fruits, caramel malts, and a bit of spices. The taste follows this, with a sweet cherry taste and some light spices up front, with a bit of herbal hops on the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and well-carbonated, and the drinkability is good. Overall, a solid beer. I meant to drink this actually on Christmas, but the whole working at 3 AM the day after Christmas thing put a whole damper to my holiday celebrations.

 575 characters

Photo of shanblur
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

10/26/11A printed on label. Poured from 12oz bottle into a snifter. A - Hazy amber color with an off white minimal head. Spotty lacing. S - Sweetness up front with caramel malts and candy aromas. Hint of a floral spice. T - Sweet up front on the taste as well with a minimal hops bitterness. Definitely more sweet malts than hops. M - A moderate carbonation and medium body. A very nice flavorful beer, rather sweet from the malts. Perhaps needs more spice to go with the name.

 477 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

unique take on a christmas beer. pours a heavy amber color with an off white head 2 inches high. smells very different, like wine grapes and other acidic fruits. malty and rich. flavors of the grapes are really bold, very unfamiliar territory on my beer palate, but i like it. theres fruit without sweet, which i like a lot. also a very smooth bready malt flavor which balances everything out. mouthfeel is a little heavy for me on this one, especially as it warms. it filled me up, which most beers usually do not. overall though an excellent beer which is apparently quite hard to come by. really different flavor, worth a try for sure.

 638 characters

Photo of troysoy2
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler at 1 for the Road yesterday. Kept it cold and dark, so it should be alright. This is my first Scottish Ale, so bear with me.

Poured into a pint glass, the head recedes rather quickly, leaving just a dusting on the surface. It's a nice, deep brown-red. Lots of tiny bubbles rush to the top.

On the nose, the malt is most apparent. Not overly woody or chocolatey, or anything for that matter. Very tame, but with just a bit of sweetness and spicey hops.

The taste is definitely a winner for me. You wouldn't expect it from the smell, but this is decently complex. The body of the taste is sweet, spiced fruit, and almost funky malt. Balance that with a hint of spice on the aftertaste, a smooth, smooth mouthfeel, and you'll get a rather tasty option for the winter months.

I could use a little more to the nose, to really bring out the subtleties in the taste, but hey - it's nice to curl up with a growler-full of a great, sessionable beer and share with a friend. Happy holidays.

 1,004 characters

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

Poured into a 12 oz snifter

Head dissipates rather quickly, leaving behind a ruby-brown colored beer.

Aroma of sweet malts, slightly fruity. Grape, cherry perhaps? Some yeasty notes also.

Flavor is malty, with freshly baked bread, graham cracker, slight caramel sweetness. Hops are slightly spicy and provide a good level of bitterness to balance. Some peppery / spice notes in the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth, medium carbonation. Overall it seems slightly astringent, but not terribly so. I think it would benefit from being a bit more malty overall, with the balance tipping away from hops. The finish is semi-sweet and the bitterness lingers for a while.

 662 characters

Photo of NODAK
4.12/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smell starts off initially a bit piney from the western hops it boasts on the bottle, but eventually becoming quite a fruity bouquet, notably with plums and dark fruits obvious.

Taste deviates from what most people think of with winter seasonals, in that it isn't spiced up at all. Actually, it has an interesting grape and plum fruit characteristic to its body that is definitely different not only for the season but for the style. It's a pleasing taste that goes down very easily, just different. There's a subtle wheat taste that shows up at the finish, though I'm not sure if that was used at all in the making of this....with a small but noticeable herbal bitterness to wrap it all up at the finish.

Different as it may be, I certainly did enjoy drinking it....not sure if it's really think "winter" when drinking it, but that at least makes it more versatile if a person lets it sit around until spring!

 912 characters

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
81 out of 100 based on 503 ratings.
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