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

530 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
Reviews: 530 | Ratings: 1,713
Photo of Benjolovesbeer
3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Good Christmas beer but nowadays I'd rather have a Belgium holiday ale or Sam Adams Holiday.
Color is copper amber, apple cider look with a snowy white head that resembles a cinnamon Christmas spirit.
Aroma is malts.
Body is light to medium and watery with a dry finish.
Tastes is malty with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.

 339 characters

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

Pretty disappointing considering the style and the brewers, i expected much better. Also considering the much better examples of the style that are readily available this is again a bit of a disappointment. Looks weak, smell isnt bad but weaker tones of toffee and vanilla, taste is light with a bizarre finish not typical of a good Scottish ale, also don't see what is at all "christmas" related with this beer.

 412 characters

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

pours a hazy caramel with a medium head that poofs. riddled with tiny, spongy sediment. nose; candied fig, raisin, hops, & light booze. taste; caramel, citrus hops, lemon, bitter walnut & grape. very light on malt, leaving the taste a bit vinous/wine-like and anemic, which isn't bad per se, but there's not a ton going on in the mix. medium carbonation & slightly light mouthfeel. interesting ale for a christmas seasonal, and very unlike most (if not all) of them. one of the few beers where the nose outpaces the taste by a lot. more substantive caramel malts would have made this one better for me. as is, just decent.

 631 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
3.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a fairly transparent mud brown with a small head. The aroma is fairy faint, with caramel, nougat, and roast almond. My first sip makes me think of a slightly sweet bran muffin, but it changes to both roasty and hop bitterness at the end. It remind me of a burn cinnamon brown sugar pop-tart. The mouthfeel is rather creamy at first but thin on the end. I am drinking this well out of season, so it may be past its prime, but overall it is a rather pleasant but uninspiring beer. Nothing bad going on, nothing to exciting either.

 543 characters

Photo of Marraybay
2.09/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Look: Amber; +1 fingers of head

Smell: Non-descript

Taste: Desparately looking for some malt, but too me it's more tart upfront, followed by
moderate citrus bitterness. Nothing at all in the way of spice or sweetness.

Feel: See smell.

Overall: Inadvertantly bought an extra bottle of this unfortunately; Pretty disappointing
as a holiday beer or anything else for that matter. Not really getting this one in terms
of what Bell was trying-hoping to deliver. The extra bottle I have will be used for simmering
sausages or dogs. Not drinkable.

 551 characters

Photo of delta490
3.61/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clouded orange-amber with a solid cap of foamy light tan head. Moderate malty aroma, a little sweet with a hint of hops. The taste is a little off, more reminiscent of a lager than an ale with a little flavor of cornbread at first. It gets better with a little warmth. The body is lighter for a winter ale, mostly smooth with just a hint of a tingle on the finish.

 372 characters

Photo of EvoRich
4.14/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Amber color with some head. Head fades rather quickly. Smells of hops and caramel. But is overall sweeter rather than bitter. The flavor is mostly sweetness. Not much hop is present in the flavor. Tastes like a brown ale. This beer is daily light bodied.

 267 characters

Photo of puck1225
3.12/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pour a clear medium brown with a nice light brown head and decent lacing. A clean malty taste and smell. Not a remarkable beer but not unpleasant. Other more interesting Christmas season beers.

 193 characters

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

Appearance: Hazy, copper color with one finger of head that fades slowly with uniform lace.

Aroma: Nutty, husky malt and some starburst fruitiness

Taste: Caramel, nutty malt with a lot of carbonation keeps it quite light on the palette. Hints of tropical fruit add some interest on the back end leading to a nutty and slightly prickly bitter finish.

The Rest: Not bad, a nice change of the the normal spiced Christmas beers.

 432 characters

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

Bottling date of 10/07/15

Appearance - Pours hazy and amber in color with a finger's width of khaki head. Fair retention, eventually settling to a thin, broken layer of suds. Lacing consists of of a few small spots here and there.

Smell - Lots of caramel with a bit of toasted biscuit. Lesser hop character that hits on a floral aroma with a touch of citrus.

Taste - Lighter in flavor than the nose led on. Malts hit on a bit of toffee and caramel with a hint of toastiness. Floral hops balance out the brew, with a faint trace of orange and mild lemon in the aftertaste. Well balanced, but dare I say a bit watery.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium in body with moderate carbonation. Slick, easy finish.

Overall - Not exactly what I imagined for something called Christmas Ale, as it's a bit light in the pants. They're trying to do something different for the Winter months, but this doesn't really work for me, mostly because the flavor punches like a wet paper bag. There's nothing necessarily off-putting about this brew, aside from the weakness, but I wouldn't buy it again.

 1,079 characters

Photo of bluehende
2.6/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at a tasting. A hoppy brown that has a sour tinge. Not very good at all. Too much going on that does not actually mel with each other. I am not sure what bell's was going for here.

 195 characters

Photo of TH28
3.49/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ottled 10/21/15. Appearance: Amber, light brown and clear, with a thick khaki foam head. Nice lacing. Aroma: Toasted and caramel malt, touch of herbal and citrusy hops. Taste: Bready, toasty, slightly nutty malt flavor, notes of cherry, and a moderately strong bitterness. Little to no hop flavor. Mouthfeel: Medium body with high carbonation. Finish: toasted, nutty malt lingers. Definitely malt forward. Overall: Seems like a little bit of Scotch Ale, a little Vienna Lager, but not an outstanding version of either. Easy drinking and overall very nice, but nothing inspiring either.

 585 characters

Photo of Buck89
3.54/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Hazy reddish amber color with a generous light tan head. Great retention and lacing. Pleasant aromas of cereal, toffee and some herbal notes. Taste follows: bready malt with a touch of caramel, dark fruit and earthy notes. Medium-to-light bodied and carbed. Easy drinker.

 271 characters

Photo of Glanzman
4.03/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a dark golden color with a 1 finger off white head.

Smells floral, slightly citrus and holiday spices.

Taste quite the same. Good, but not great, beer.

 200 characters

Photo of metter98
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy dark amber in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of Grape-Nuts are present in the nose along with hints of toasted malts and bits of earthy hops.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has additional hints of smoke and spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied, a little smooth, and slightly dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and has an interesting blend of aromas and flavors, nothing of which is overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

 738 characters

Photo of KeithS
4.11/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the few 'Scottish Ales' that might not be too out of place in Scotland.

Maybe a little on the syrupy/sweet side, though it does invoke a slight honey aftertaste, which is pleasant.

Not too high an ABV either. Despite some views traditional Scottish beer is not that strong, but is drunk in 20oz pints. We also like to drink more than two!

Overall a very solid beer and a significant improvement over previous Scottish styles from Bells.

 446 characters

Photo of zac16125
3.76/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a pint glass

A: crystal clear, dark Amber, large light tan head, good retention and leaves a small amount of lacing. Pretty beer. 4.25

S: very malty, caramel, fairly sweet, some herbaceous noble hop type characters 3.75.

T: like the nose it's quite malty, some herbaceous characters, not too sweet , an almost smokey character; not a ton going on but pretty tasty actually 3.75

M/D: medium body carbonation appriate, drinkability avg 3.5

O: decent beer, worth a try3.75

 499 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.49/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. Bottled 30 October 2015. Can't believe I've never seen this one before.
A: Gorgeous ruby red. Almost glowing. Beautiful with a half-finger of head. Pellucid and lovely.
S: It smells like artificial cherry. Cheerwine or cough syrup. How strange!
T: Weird beer. It's...syrupy strange. Malty, but the fruit (cherry) character is the strange bit. Otherwise, spruce and freshy hops, with a lightly spritely citrus-hop aftertaste to temper the thick sweetness.
M: Herbal-fizzy mouthfeel, slightly sticky endtaste. A bit chewy. Caramel malt.
O: I hate to say, but I don't love it. It's a bit weird, muddled. Thickish and sort of syrupy.

 682 characters

Photo of 98green
3.61/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow this one is weird. Smell is all spruce, taste is carmel malts and some fruit. I don't get the grapes others do, but there is something here. Glad to have tried it but I'm one and done

 187 characters

Photo of Vogie
3.44/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 10/23/15. Poured into a pilsner glass.

Pours a nice copper with two finger soapy off white head. Aroma is very subtle with sweet malt and banana. Taste is rather bland upfront with a slight hint of caramel malts and ends toasty, dry, and bitter. Light body, decent carbonation, and almost sessionable.

Not feeling very festive after drinking this one. Perhaps some spices would put me in the mood.

 411 characters

Photo of jimdalton
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Cloudy, copper that pours a one finger head and a bit of lacing
Smell: Sweet Malt with subtle grape notes.
Taste: Toasted malt with a hint of grape and a very subtle herb flavor.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with average carbonation.
Overall: Very nice sweet ale that brings an interesting grape flavor to the table that maintains a flavorful malt base.

 364 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Packaged 10/6/15. 5.5% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Tiny particles of sediment are seen suspended in the beer after the pour. Smell is of toasted malt, grape juice, grape jelly, and slight caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, grape jelly, caramel, nut, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast and earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and dry mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with distinct grape characteristics that I wasn't expecting from this one.

Serving type: bottle.

 740 characters

Photo of Raime
3.59/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bell's Christmas Ale.

With Fall beer season being a distant dream it's time to divulge into some winter brews I've never tried. I've seen this one a few times but never bought it. Have no idea why since Bell's is my favorite brewery buttttt oh well. Paid $1.79 for a single bottle at my local Meijer. Not sure what to expect but I'm hoping it's tasty yo!. Let's get started.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle into a random dimpled pint glass. This beer pours a very deep amber with a two and a half finger slightly off white head that just barely fills out without spilling over the top. The carbonation is extremely high...honestly probably the highest I have ever seen in a beer. The head has thus far stuck around pretty damn well. It's quite pretty thus far. The lacing and stick are fairly alright after the beer has been consumed

Smell - The smell is completely dominated by an ever present light level of nuttyness and juicy grape like hops. The grape isn't like that of a cheap malt liquor, it smells quite juicy. Caramel malts are all there as well though the beer does not get earthy in the least. Smells like a lighter Scotch Ale...which I guess is the goal of a ' Scottish ' Ale ahaha.

Taste - The hops come through to be juicier than you may expect for any brew that has to do with Scotland. Definitely grapefruit like in nature but a long ways off from dank. The nuttyness meets at the halfway point and those two mentioned flavors make up the entirety of the flavor profile without anything else to say regarding the matter.

Feel - The body on this brew is a perfect level of medium without going far to one side or the other. The flavors all remain exactly the same as they were in their respective profile and the carbonation seems to die a bit as the beer sits in the mouth down to about moderate levels. Swallows easy as can be.

Overall - I did honestly expect a little better bit this is still a pretty good beer, especially for being a lower ABV Winter seasonal designed to obviously appeal to the hipster kids with the ball sack length beard extentions. Nothing to complain about,but nowhere near the best thing Bell's has put out by any means. Try it and come to your own conclusions..

 2,216 characters

Photo of Catracho5
3.91/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours reddish-orange color, white head, not much head retention, good amount of lacing, lots of sediment in the glass as I poured aggressively.

A: Picking up a smokey caramel sweetness, floral notes, brown sugar, hint of gingerbread crackers, caramel, floral, crackers, sweetness, aroma is mellow it's pretty complex.

T: Hint of smoke, caramel sweetness, mild floral hop bitterness, finishes sweet and dry with bread notes, very drinkable, nice balance of flavors.

M: Almost a medium bodied mouthfeel, dry finish, not much carbonation.

O: First impression, it's very drinkable and enjoyable, nothing jumps out but with some time Bell's Christmas Ale has some depth and complexity, albeit mild, balanced, bought it on a whim and while I am not blown away definitely not disappointed. I've tried on other Scottish Ale and the smoke and peat came through a lot stronger, this one is definitely milder.

 950 characters

Photo of Maiora13
2.68/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hearty and filling. Perfect for the cold winter months. It is nothing that i would drink with the intention of having multiple but is definitely one i would enjoy in December.

 175 characters

Bell's Christmas Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.58 out of 5 based on 1,713 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.