Serve in Thistle


on tap

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RATINGS: 588   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.18   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 174   ABV: 5.8%
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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 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Tmoney99 (10798) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 16, 2008
Poured dark hazy brown color with an average frothy white head that was lasting and produced good lacing. Good moderate chocolate, spice and malt aroma. Medium body with a smooth sticky texture and soft texture. Moderate bittersweet flavor with with a moderate bittersweet finish of average duration.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
BlackForestCO (977) - Aurora, Colorado, USA - DEC 16, 2008
Bottle from LeopoldStoch, thanks Brandon. Poured a clear amber color with a thick, rocky off-white head that slowly faded to a thick layer and left some spotty lacing. Faint aroma of caramel malts with just the slightest hint of peat and some light fruitiness, with hints of red apple and some raisin. A hint of butter also. Abrasive, moderately bitter entry with some faint hints of dirty water and an attempt at some peat that tastes more like plastic with some failed undertones of fruit that more closely resemble a a sour infect. Over carbonated. A surprising, utter failure from Bells. Wow.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
GJF (1255) - Mount Vernon, Iowa, USA - DEC 15, 2008
I am a big Bells fan, but this just does not live up to their name. It has an interesting citrus spruce flavor, but generally it is a thin beer, a little too sweet and carbonated.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
biznizness (1097) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - DEC 15, 2008
A rare disappointment from Bells. This was kind of hard to find, so I expected something pretty good. Instead, it was a very run-of-the-mill scotch ale. Grab some Chub and forget it.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
Nate (3727) - Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 13, 2008
From bottle. Has a fairly neutral aroma with just a bit of metallic tang. Mild sweet malt and fruity hops. Dark amber body with mild haze, topped with off-white thin lacing head. Medium watery body with heavy carbonation. Starts with roasted malt and light sweet character. Fairly bitter hop finish, not harsh, leaving a dry nutty bitter after with some carbonic acidic burn. Not really anything Christmas-y about it.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
mattmc1973 (477) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - DEC 12, 2008
12 oz bottle, pours a cloudy light amber. Aroma very faint, not nearly as strong as a scotch ale normally is, some faint pine and malt. Taste more like a pale ale, weak. Very disappointing!

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
timsilvia32 (449) - from Michigan now in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - DEC 11, 2008
Suprisingly light amber pour. Disapating off white head. Some malt, raisin aromas, but more piney citrus hops than would be expected for the style. Tastes similarly. Finish hop bitter clean. Overall, pretty drinkable, but I would classify this as somewhere between a pale and a scotch ale. I expected more with this style being one I have taken a liking to and Bells usually producing quality in the traditionally stronger flavored and abv styles. Bells still has its standouts, but many of their low gravity style beers are becoming rather mainstream.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
TheBeerGod (5284) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - DEC 11, 2008
Bottle. Copper pour with a tall foamy light tan head. Aroma is malt, caramel, soft fruit notes and earthy hops. Taste is slightly bitter with more fruit, caramel, sweet malts, earthy and spicy hops and light herbal, almost mint-like notes. Body is light and creamy with moderate carbonation. Finishes with more caramel, herbs, spicy and earthy hops, fruit notes and caramel. OK.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Dogbrick (8237) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 11, 2008
Sample at the Hopsnobbery Collective tasting on 12/10/08: The beer is a clear orange color with a thin and creamy beige head that recedes slowly. Top ring of lacing with spots underneath. The aroma is malty with some sweet fruity notes. Medium-bodied with flavors of earthy malt, caramel and fruit. Just a hint of hops. The finish is short and malty. Overall this beer is kind of a letdown, because if Bells puts "malt driven Scotch Ale" on their label you expect something more than this.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
polomagnifico (1202) - Saginaw, Michigan, USA - DEC 11, 2008
UPDATED: AUG 24, 2010 bottle. Aroma has notes of yeast, caramel, banana, clove. Medium amber hue with an off-white head that mostly diminished and left little lace. Flavor is sweet, yeasty, earthy and finishes slightly bitter. Palate is medium-light bodied and lively. Very yeasty with lots of belgian overtones. Would not want to try again.

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