Serve in Thistle


on tap

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RATINGS: 627   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.19   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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 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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
vyvvy (4739) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - FEB 17, 2009
Pours hazy amber with a brown / tan head. The aroma has sweet toffee / caramel and light spice. Medium slick body that is slightly cloying. The flavor starts with slick and sweet caramel, some toffee, light roast and a good deal of spiciness. The finish is fruity, mushy and very phenolic. An okay beer at best. A bit of a disappointment considering the brewery.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
mar (5027) - Dallas, Texas, USA - FEB 14, 2009
cloudy amber/orange pour with a cream head that dissipates into a ring quite fast. nose of fruit, light smoke, caramel and citrus. flavor of fruit, caramel and a touch of smoke. not the greatest aftertaste in the world though.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Rciesla (5499) - Exit 15W, New Jersey, USA - FEB 13, 2009
Bottle. Pours an amber gold body with an off white head. Sweet malt profile, with hint of caramel, butterscotch, a light woodiness and some light fruity esters. Citrus and some toasted malt and a hint of smoke. Some pine and grain. Eh not bad.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
DrBayern (1139) - Morehead City, North Carolina, USA - FEB 12, 2009
12 oz.bottle pours a clear, coppery amber that sports a medium yellow/tan head. Lightly grainy and malty with some hints of caramel. Body is medium with a nice creaminess, light carbonation, and a pleasant mouthfeel. Malt dominated flavors, although not overly sweet, and a softly dry, but not bitter fiinish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
decaturstevo (5492) - decatur, Tennessee, USA - FEB 12, 2009
Hazed orange gold pour with white head and lace. Just light maltiness on the nose with a hint of a sour like aroma. Flavor is a semi sweet almost like corn. A light/medium bitter finish. Creamy like mouthfell a hint of a sour/bitter like after taste. A very drinkable beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
trayns (246) - Beverly Hills, Michigan, USA - FEB 7, 2009
12oz bottle, Pours hazy dark gold. Huge malt flavor and sweetness. Toast flavors and caramel finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 5, 2009
UPDATED: FEB 6, 2009 From a 12oz Bottle. Courtesy of CharlesDarwin. Thanks, Tom! Somewhat hazy, golden caramel colored pour with a thick finger of fine bubbled ivory foam. Aromas of kettle caramelization and some grapey melanoidins. Notes of vanilla. Yeast characters are very restrained, with only a trace of mild fruity esters. Medium bodied, moderately carbonated mouthfeel with a rich, malty texture. Flavors of caramel and teething biscuit up front on the palate. Rich in malt dextrins, but not overly sweet. A pleasing toasted bread crust flavor comes in the finish. What is wrong with all the rates here? Since when does this beer claim to be a wee heavy? It’s 5.8%! A very respectable scottish ale.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
reggiedunlop (3475) - The dub c, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 3, 2009
pours a pale amber-honey color with a huge foamy light tan head. very miniscule sediment throughout. outstanding lacing and retention. aroma is very mild but has notes of sweet malts, spicyness, and a faint metallic scent. flavor has some cinnamon, spicy hops and some sweet caramel. mouthfeel is a bit thick and oily and finish lingers with spicy hops and cinnamon. not a bad beer but lacks balance and has some off flavors.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
tennisjoel (1232) - Rochester, Minnesota, USA - FEB 2, 2009
Vegetal aroma. Flavor is a little plain, with some light fruitiness, biscuit flavors, and gentle hop presence. Good session like qualities, however, a little boing for a Bells creation. Scotch Ale? More like an amber ale.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 1, 2009
In short: A messy amber ale of no specific style. Annoying.
How: Bottle 12oz. Consumed fresh a few months after its release. Sent to me by oakbluff, thanks Scott.
The look: Cloudy dark orange topped by a medium off-white head
In long: Faint nose of hard-candy and light spiciness. Taste is a mess. Extra light fluffy body, candied caramel, light smokiness that doesn’t fit in, metallic notes, orange zest, butterscotch, cinnamon, ginger (!?), more... Basically just a bunch of random flavours that do not work together. Hopping is very reminiscent of the leafy/floral hops of true English ESB. I usually like that hopping profile but here it just doesn’t work with the beer. On the positive, this was batch 8802, and even a wasted batch like this is taking us one step closer to Bells Batch 9000.

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