Serve in Thistle


on tap

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RATINGS: 624   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.18   SEASONAL: Autumn   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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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 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
BellsFan (49) - Michigan, USA - DEC 8, 2008
Light color. Almost too light for a Scotch Ale. Im a huge Bells fan, but this one is a disappointment.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
adrian910ss (2387) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 8, 2008
Pours a deep caramel amber with a medium sized foamy beige head. Aroma of barley, toffee, caramel and light citrus hops. Taste of slightly tangy citrus hops, barley and caramel malt.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
incutrav (577) - Woodbury, Minnesota, USA - DEC 8, 2008
This has to be the lightest "scotch" ale ever produced. Light in color, light in malt, just...light. Drinks more like a pale ale, but with very little hop bitterness. Just looked at turdfergusons review, and I just typed almost the same thing as him. This was ultra dissapointing to say the least from Bells.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
TURDFERGUSON (4004) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - DEC 8, 2008
Sampled at Carrboro Beverage Company. This is an interesting Christmas Beer. It doesnt really make sense to be in that category. Let alone scotch ales. Is this a joke? This beer drinks like a pale ale. It has some good hops balanced by some nice barley malts. A good beer, but slightly mislabeled in my opinion.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 7, 2008
Orange copper color with a smaller light tan head. Sweet caramel and pine and light citric hops aromas. Dryer caramel flavors mix with some sweet pine in the middle. Flavors are not coming together for me. Some earthy hops and malt in the finish. A bit acidic and thin in feel at times. Not enough malt depth for me. A better than average amber.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
cheap (4389) - Beaver Valley, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 6, 2008
On tap at the Trivia pub. Big creamy head. Smell is a little vanilla. Cloudy brown iced tea color. Flattish on the palate with little carbonation. Some interesting earthy flavors. Slight malt bitterness. Has a few identifiable Christmas spices. Not bad for a Christmas brew.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
beersnake63 (1) - Crystal Lake, USA - DEC 6, 2008 does not count
Much more of a session style of beer than I thought it would be. Not really a true scotch ale. Only the butterscotch notes in the taste would match with the scotch in scotch ale. Once I got over the fact that this was not your typical Christmas beer, I thought that it was different enough to take note. What Oberon is for the summer, this beer is the winter polar sister!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
heemer77 (5148) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - DEC 5, 2008
Ruddy, rusty red with a light khaki head. The aroma is lightly sweet with mango and some amaretto. There is also a little bit of bread crust. The taste has light bread crust and pecans. There was a little bit of orange peels. The body is light and bright with just enough sharp carbonation.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
edfitz (118) - Toledo, Ohio, USA - DEC 5, 2008
Deep copper color with a frothy, lasting head. Malty with hints of caramel and dark fruit. Not overly sweet like some Christmas Ales. Some are too sweet and I cannot have more than one or two. This is one is not that way.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ClarkVV (3929) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 5, 2008
Bottles drunk over Thanksgiving 2008 Wasnt sure what to expect, noting that Bells dosent brew special releases to any particular style guidelines, yet scotch ale was mentioned on the label. Im not a big fan of scotch ales, as they generally combine many qualities that I dislike in beer relatively high sweetness, lots of different dark malts, caramelization in the boil, lots of stickines and/or syrupiness in the mouthfeel, but I was very, very pleasantly surprised to find a very dry, even crisply finishing, balanced beer upon first sip. The malts are lightly grainy, with only a hint of caramel flavor and restrained, yet obvious PNW hop aromatics and bitterness. The lean body makes it extremely drinkable and I was finished with my glass in a shockingly short amount of time. I suppose I can see some of the low scores from people who are expecting a traditional scotch ale, but since when was Bells, or most any brewer, for that reason, held to style guidelines on this site? Excellent, drinkable, beer with a very fresh, wholesome, malt flavor that really lets the barley shine through and downplays the yeast character or any obtrusive hoppiness, though the bitterness and hop flavor is just enough to balance the finish. Great stuff, incredibly sessionable.

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