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RATINGS: 585   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.17   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 174   ABV: 5.8%
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The basic inspiration for Bellís 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 doesnít contain any spices: all of the dry, toasted notes & subtle toffee flavors come from the 100% Michigan-grown barley, custom malted by Briess Malting, while a blend of hops from Michigan & the Pacific Northwest lend earthy, herbal aromas. At 5.5% ABV, it stands as a smooth, highly drinkable beer intended to complement holiday menus, not overshadow them.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1179) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 25, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 11/4/13 and cost $2.89 ($0.24 per ounce).

Appearance: Nearly opaque shade of rusty orange/burnt umber. Pours to a rather large, khaki, frothy head which laces and retains well.

Smell: Sweet, orange and orange sherbet-like scent. Otherwise, nose is muted.

Taste: Iím not really sure whatís the deal with Bellís Christmas Ale. Currently, the brewery doesnít describe it as a Scotch Ale, though that seems to be what it was classified as in previous releases. Itís possible the recipe has been changed over time and doesnít conform to that style anymore, which is fine. I donít care much for styles anyway, but thereís definitely something to be said for marketing and expectations, and as a Christmas beer, this really isnít what I expect with something bearing that name.

Whatís ironic is the beer touts the fact itís brewed with 100% Michigan-grown barley, yet the hops seem to be the star of the show. Bright, orange citrusy hops are prominent from beginning to end. Not especially bitter, though, which makes it very drinker-friendly. The malt base is slightly sweet with notes of caramel, but is mostly a general bready-like composure. The palette here is not that complex, and delivers the same few flavors over and over. Despite a slight tanginess to the taste, the beer at least tastes pretty good overall with no flaws or off-putting features. I can honestly recommend it, but as a standard amber-like ale and not as a Christmas beer.

Drinkability: While Bellís Christmas Ale doesnít seem to work as a holiday brew, it does deliver as advertised as being a "sessionable" beer. The mouthfeel is cold, thin, rather tepid, but extremely smooth. Itís even refreshing for a moment as it crosses the tongue. At 5.5% ABV itís a nice medium-bodied beer, that could theoretically be sessioned, but one serving is probably enough for most drinkers.

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Criz (94) - - DEC 24, 2013
There are much better Christmas beers available. Pretty bland offering from Bells.

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
BackyardDogs (41) - South Carolina, USA - DEC 23, 2013
Bottle. Not much aroma. Not much flavor. Kinda watered down in my opinion. Not sure I would be to happy if Santa put this under my tree. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
madvike (2729) - Middleton, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 22, 2013
Bottle - Pours amber with a thin off-white head. Nose is...not much. Some lightly caramelly berady malt. Some faint herbal hops and a touch of clove. Taste is the same. Pretty subdued malt. Itís bready and a bit bitter on the finish, with some faint herbal hops. Thin and lightly carbonated. Pretty meh.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
beerbaaron (1245) - Arizona, USA - DEC 22, 2013
Pours a dark amber, tint of light brownish. Large frothy creamy off-white head, mostly lasting with some decent lace. Sweet, bready, malty, moderately fruity aroma. Lighter side of medium body. Kinda thin. Moderately dry bready finish. Flavor is sorta bland. Sweetish bready flavor.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
MarinEvelyn (552) - Wisconsin, USA - DEC 22, 2013
Strong scotch, malt aroma. Sweet, bready, some fruit. Taste is a little surprising, smoother, sweeter, more malt, less scotch. A little light, but fine. Doesnít taste much like a scotch ale, or a Christmas beer either. A little disappointing from Bells.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
Gamin (100) - - DEC 21, 2013
Too malt forward with not enough roastiness to balance it. Thin mouthfeel. I don't not like it but I find it a bit strange to call it a Christmas ale.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
JStax (2980) - Devola/Marietta, Ohio, USA - DEC 21, 2013
Draft pour. Pours a translucent amber with a beige head of foam. The aroma is sweet and candy like. Taste is more earthy sweetness but leaves an odd taste of gummy bears in the finish. Lighter bodied. Lower carbonation.

   AROMA 1/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
majorchaz (24) - Augusta, Georgia, USA - DEC 21, 2013
This one of the first Chirsmas beers I saw on the shelves, and since it was Bellís and only bottles 2 weeks prior, I grabbed it. This main impression was, as I have had with some of the other Christmas beers, where is the Christmas?? A fine, middle of the road amber ale, but I would like some spice or dark notes with my holiday brews...

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
UDBeernut (1720) - Moving to Jax, Florida, USA - DEC 20, 2013
translucent orange, off white head, plenty of lacing. nse of fresh toast. generally sweet, cereal grains. a quick bitterness and flowers on finish.

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