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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 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 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
biznizness (1071) - 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 (5249) - 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 (8141) - 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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
puzzl (3251) - New York, New York, USA - DEC 10, 2008
Bottle shared by MaxxDaddy. Muddy, chewy, slightly peaty, very grainy. Kind of easy drinking but very muddy. Not much like a scotch ale at all.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
BustedFlat (554) - Edina, Minnesota, USA - DEC 9, 2008
Poured cloudy amber with a tan head. Mildly spicey aroma. Taste of earthy hops, herbal tea and roast malt with a hint of orange peel. Some bitternes. Not really my cup of tea.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
TomDecapolis (4477) - Milton, Delaware, USA - DEC 9, 2008
Pours a deep hazy orange amber with a medium creamy/bubbly off white head that left some lacing. Aroma of toasted malt, cereal grains, caramel, light citrus and nuts. Flavor of toasted malt, caramel, light banana, citrus, light hops, nuts, cereal grains. Interesting choice for a Christmas Ale from Bells. Not sure they are really calling this a Scotch Ale and I could see how some folks are say this is more like a pale ale. Sure the hops are there but not present enough to really be a pale ale. If you don’t worry about trying to plug this beer into a style I think in the end you come away with a solid session beer to share with friends.

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