Christmas Ale (-2016) | Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

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1,759 Ratings

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
The basic inspiration for Bell's Christmas Ale was to create a sessionable holiday beer, using locally grown malt, which would stand apart from the array of spiced winter warmers that are typically introduced this time of year. In contrast to many other seasonals, Christmas Ale doesn't contain any spices: all of the dry, toasted notes & subtle toffee flavors come from the Michigan-grown barley, custom malted by Briess Malting, while a blend of hops from Michigan & the Pacific Northwest lend earthy, herbal aromas

Added by BierFan on 11-06-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,759 |  Reviews: 541
Photo of Cramerican
4/5  rDev +11.7%

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 silversumo
3/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of groetman
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of CaptainHate
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of BHansen214
3.25/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of ButtomsUp
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%

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 CoryR
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of AndrewMichael
3/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of quintonmaximoff
3/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of senorscientist
3/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of chasmandocharles
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of PhineasGage
4/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of Mantooth
3/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of cates1tg
4/5  rDev +11.7%

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 AngryNucleus
4/5  rDev +11.7%

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 mtparty37
3/5  rDev -16.2%

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

Christmas Ale (-2016) from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 1,759 ratings