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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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
auerbrau (3203) - Ithaca, New York, USA - DEC 24, 2008
UPDATED: DEC 5, 2009 On tap at the Michigan House Cafe. Light malt, toasted cumin, and faint mediterranean cafe dusting in the aroma. Soft, soft, soft. Pours a light caramel copper, clearish, with a rim in off-white. Flavor develops a soft, soapy malt, lubricated by a confused mingle of spice and almonds. Christmas-like in a Potpourri kind of way. Seems dryish, but really holds a tooth of sweetness way out into the finish which doesnt really develop any strong hoppy balance. Malt is just not strong enough to make this a good example or an interesting beer and the muddled house yeast and spice character is somewhat off-putting.

12oz Bottle, purchased at Warehouse Liquor - Duluth, MN. The last time I had this beer, it was during its first release, on draft at The Michigan House. I didnít particularly care for it then. This time around, Iím not sure I feel any different. Itís still got a muddled soapy spice flavor that drowns out any malt nuance. The yeast seems too up front. And, now, itís a bit oxidized and light-struck. Better Christmas beers have been had. Itís just too thin and weak for my kind of Scotch Ale.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 24, 2008
12oz bottles courtesy of johnd513 and masonjer poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy reddish amber with a creamy one-finger head that hangs on for a while and leaves decent lacing. The aroma is very much bready with some barley whiffs, not the sweetness of caramel malts I was expecting. There are also earthy hops in the nose as well. The taste is also more grainy than sweet with a biscuity character that dominates throughout. The grassy hops are in the background and taste, like the smell, is less sweet than any scotch ale Ive ever tasted. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, maybe a little thin for me, with moderate carbonation. I dont say this about a Bells beer, but I was not too impressed with this one. As a scotch ale, its subpar, but still generally a decent beer.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
CanIHave4Beers (3897) - Pouring Bus, Iowa, USA - DEC 24, 2008
UPDATED: JAN 13, 2009 Malt forward but not too sweet. Speaking of sweet there is a tart sweetness to this beer that is just kind of hard to place. Hops seem to be balancing all this interestingness out with a mild crisp and spicy bitterness. The beer seems a little thin for the flavors, I would like to see this developed on a little bit, but I do think this is a tasty christmas beer that I will be drinking more of this season.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
kiefdog (1826) - Tampa, Florida, USA - DEC 24, 2008
12oz bottle from Parti-Pak Liquors (Indianapolis, IN). Pours a hazy red-brown caramel color with a one finger tan head that settles slowly and provides lacing on the glass. Aroma is slightly malty with notes of spice, flowers, vanilla, candy sugar and chocolate. Flavor is sweet and sour malt, honey, molasses, and a hint of spice. Generally medium body with a slightly malty chocolatey finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
TheAlum (6825) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - DEC 23, 2008
12 oz bottle courtesy of the Binnys Singles Rack (Orland Park, IL). Pours a very nice copperish ruby red grapefruit juice, highly hazed hue with moderate offwhite head. Aromas are malty, caramel, toffee, cinnamon, and a touch of a hoppy bouquet. Initial taste is malty, but more somber than anticipated. Malty sweetness, caramel on the back end, touches of light spices tucked into a fairly light and watery beer. A tad one dimensional. Hoppy bitterness comes through, but does not stick either. Thin, watery, not really a true Scotch ale. Fair.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
mephisto (1284) - TAIWAN - DEC 22, 2008
this is one of the more disappointing bells. it has copper color with off white head, the nose is bready and the flavor is very malty as a scotch ale should be. very caramelly.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
jsquire (4060) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - DEC 21, 2008
Copper colored with some suspended particulates. Big, rocky off white head. Light malty nose with some dusty cinnamon and some light toast. Caramal sweetness with hints of smoke, buttered toast, spice, and some hop bitterness. The grassy hops come out in the finish. Many have rated this beer down as not being scotch enough, but as someone who does not prefer that style, I enjoy this seasonal offering.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Hoptagon (239) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - DEC 20, 2008
12 oz. Bottle. Ruddy dark orange in color with a thin white head. Aroma is somewhat medicinal, a bit of toasted bread and caramel. Flavor is fairly nondescript showing mostly malt sweetness and a touch of hop bitterness. There must be some underlying spices in this one too, as it tastes slightly herbal. Carbonation is persistent and the body is somewhat thin, especially for a beer described as a scotch ale. Finish is brief and a bit like swallowing a bite of bread. Really had high hopes as I love scotch ales, but this was a bit of a letdown.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Moggman (235) - Columbus, USA - DEC 20, 2008
Bottle. Pours hazy copper/amber with medium head. Aroma is sweet with a little hop citrus. Flavor is sweet malty with medium bitterness in the finish.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
SHANER4 (490) - Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 20, 2008
12 oz. bottle - poured haxy copper color with small off white head. Good head retention. Aroma - Smelled like a bowl of cherrios. Flavor - Bland and very boring. not impressed. Palate - Metallic and carbonation is fizzy giving you a 9 volt battery feeling on tongue. Overall - Did not like this beer. Had a hard time finishing it. Must be the low quality Michigan grains and hops??

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