Serve in Thistle


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RATINGS: 658   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.19/5   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
EithCubes (5431) - New Jersey, USA - NOV 16, 2009
Bottle from batch 9422. Lightly yeast nose with bread crumbs and caramel, earthy notes and, indeed, malt-driven overtones. Pours a great brown-ruby (actually, I havenít really seen this color before, thereís definitely some orange in there) but the sudsy head is less than ideal. Noticeable if subtle, dark earthy bitterness balanced with light citric sweetness and heavy yeasty fruit, some bread dough and down-and-dirty dryness toward the end with mild spice (as from German hops). There are some nice dull, muted metallic tones and a hint of butterscotch, but this isnít infected. A little thin for style, and missing some of the the fruitier and peatier notes I like from Scotchies, but I still enjoyed it well enough. Smooth sipper.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - NOV 16, 2009
Fresh winter 2009 bottle, no batch number indicated. The pour yields a clear, dark, reddish-orange amber colored body. A spongy head of khaki colored foam settles quickly, leaving a frothy skin on the surface and some jagged flares and spots on the glass. Despite the malty claim on the deScription, this is one hoppy scotch ale. Notes of pine, grass, and grapefruit come across at near-IPA levels, lending bright, bittering notes to the underlying base of toasted bread, honey, and Lightly bronzed sugars. Flavors are similarly structured, striking a nice balance between resinous, citrusy hops, dough, toast, and light toffee-honey sweetness. The palate is medium-plus in stature, lively carbonated, finishing grassy, resinous, and semi-dry. As weird and non-traditional as it is, I actually like this brew. Judging based on enjoyment rather than style, I dig this hoppy-scotch hybrid.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
kseecs16 (1215) - Naperville, Illinois, USA - NOV 16, 2009
Bottle. Copper hued amber with a thin creamy off-white head that leaves thick swathes of lacing. Aroma is richly sweet. Flavor is soapy, pine flavor with a sugary cotton candy touch. Notes of ginger.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
msante79 (2224) - Mount Prospect, Illinois, USA - NOV 14, 2009
Pours clear reddish amber with off-white head. Aroma is toasted malts, some light caramel, and some dark fruits. Flavor is toasted malts, dark fruit, caramel and some toffee. Doesnít look or taste like a scotch ale. More of an amber. Average ale. Expect more from Bells.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
EricE (1367) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 14, 2009
Clear red brown pour with a white head. Not much on the nose. Some malt. Cotton candy - bubble gum flavor. Malty with hops.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
HonkeyBra (3961) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - NOV 13, 2009
Um, this isnít a scotch ale. I can tell from the pour. Orangish amber pour with white head. Aroma of citrus, sweet barely, cherries. Earthy flavor of barley, wheat. Some fruit and a bit of raw hops in there. It kind of disappears in the finish into just a light citrus note.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
argo0 (12821) - Washington DC, USA - NOV 13, 2009
12oz bottle. Medium beige head atop clear amber body. Aroma is medium sweet, maple, some brown sugar, caramel, earthy, light metallic. Taste is moderately sweet, caramel, brown sugar, some metallic. Effervescent light-medium body, light acidity.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
GT2 (9411) - Oceanside, California, USA - NOV 12, 2009
355 mL. Pours a clear light amber with a two-finger yellow, fizzy head that settles down very quickly. Leaves no lacing. Aroma is earthy, dirty, malty, brown sugar, maple candies, creme brulee. But this beer makes up for in taste and palate: it is not so much a scotch ale as just a raw, traditional ale: tons of brown sugar, raw/dirty malt, cream of wheat, oatmeal. Really good actually. Reminds me a lot of Great Lakes Elliot Ness. Yum! Really nothing about this is Christmas whatsoever, but I like it anyway.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
SSSteve (4006) - - NOV 9, 2009
UPDATED: DEC 12, 2014 12oz bottle. clear ruby under a huge off-white head. malty aroma with spicy grains and plummy fruit. malty, honey, dark fruits, cherry juice, fruit syrups flavor. smooth, resiny palate. doesnít really register to me as a typical scotch but i enjoyed it anyway. i really liked the smooth creamy palate. i had to re-rate this because by the time i finished the six pack i enjoyed it more and more. it really grew on me.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
CheersMate (1333) - Portland (Sellhood), Oregon, USA - NOV 8, 2009
12 oz. from Greens on Ponce De Leon. Georgia seems to be getting the mediocre Bellís beer. Fluffy head with a nice amber color, but for a scotch ale it is rather light in terms of color. Scotch Ale....huh? Doesnít look like one, and now it doesnít smell like one. An almost fruity malt and floral hop aroma. Really sweet sugar smell with a hint of spice. Somewhat of a pungent beer. Didnít smell like a scotch ale and didnít look like one, and now it doesnít taste like one either. A slight fruit flavor with a sweet malt backbone. Hops come through slightly but are really nothing special. I just donít see how this can be called a scotch ale.

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