Serve in Thistle


on tap

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RATINGS: 660   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.19/5   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.

ClarkVV's rating

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ClarkVV (5781) - Boston, 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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 10/20
mjmoen (324) - - JUL 24, 2016
D. Pours a deep amber color with white head. Not a good flavor. Doesn’t get better through the glass

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
BREWMUSKCLES (2558) - New Jersey, USA - JUN 10, 2016
caramel and butterscotch with a bit of dank. how can you dislike that? touch of pine and chewy in the body in spots.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
oldrtybastrd (5003) - Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 4, 2016
Deep dark color. Malty and sweet aroma. Flavor is of roasted barley, chocolate malt and light hops in the finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
JDBaker11058 (1935) - Maryland, USA - APR 12, 2016
appearance: medium amber, lots of floaters, short, fizzy beige head. aroma: brown bread, hint of caramel, some earthy hop notes. taste: toasted pumpernickel, hint of cracker jacks, light earthy, spicy hops. finish: abrupt, palate is medium carb and slightly astringent. notes: Disappointed. I like just about everything Bells puts out, but this was a miss for me. I get what they were going for, but there just wasn’t a lot of character to this beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
obguthr (5642) - Staunton, Virginia, USA - FEB 28, 2016
Strong pecan, medium roast nose. Cloudy copper, many fine floaties, medium lacy yellow head with pretty good retention. Slightly sweet pecan at first, finishes drier with malt and dried leaves. Light body, moderate carbonation. Better than most scotch ales, IMO, because it is not as cloying. No British malt character though probably more of an ABA.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
maley1 (1116) - Calgary, CANADA - FEB 3, 2016
Copper colored pour with small off white head. Aromas of malts, caramel, hops and spices. Taste of roasted malts, grains, hops, slight caramel and burnt toffee. Light bodied, higher carbonation, bitter hop finish. Not coming all together very good on this one. A little disappointed.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Alpha10 (615) - Ontario, CANADA - JAN 25, 2016
2015/01/25 - Pours a hazy amber colour with a thin, creamy, khaki head that quickly reduces. Aromas are roasted grain, bread, light toffee and earthy hops. Taste follows nose; toasted malts, sweet toffee, cereal, bread and earthy hops. Starts slightly sweet and ends moderately bitter. Mouthfeel is medium and slightly oily with average carbonation and a sharp, drying finish. Pretty bland. Should have read the label more closely, as this tastes nothing like I expected when I read "Christmas Ale." ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Beerdedone (3222) - Croydon, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 20, 2016
Bottle. Pours a dark copper color with a foamy off-white head. Aroma of caramel, bread, and toasted grain. flavor of toasted malts, caramel, bread, light toffee and had some nuttiness.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Goodgrief (1994) - Middletown, Delaware, USA - JAN 10, 2016
I appreciate a holiday beer without all that "junk" in there. Reddish brown pour, thin head. Malty. Lots of caramel malt, some light cocoa like notes and some toffee. Subtle. Not sure where "scotch ale" comes from, but whatever. Not a lot of character, but a good malty ale.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Dal9000 (527) - Ohio, USA - JAN 5, 2016
Pours murky copper with a huge thick off white sticky head. Initial burst of sweet malt that fades quickly. A hint of bread at the finish. ---Rated via Beer Buddy

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