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

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BA SCORE
3.58/5
Good
1,759 Ratings
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
541
Ratings:
1,759
pDev:
12.85%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
58
Gots:
302
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,759 |  Reviews: 541
Photo of tmryan21
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of duvel1979
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of MJ64
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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 kybeerdrinker
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of OtisCampbell007
3.29/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of chewy6935
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of mooseo
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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 cbcrunch
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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 srw
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of PackenGreen
3.72/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of _Adam_
4.01/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Cluker
3.1/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

Photo of Squire
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 nwhittin
3.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of crob3888
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 WDJersey
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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