Bell's Christmas Ale (-2016)

Formerly brewed at Bell's Brewery
Style: Scotch Ale
Galesburg, Michigan USA
Serve in Thistle


on tap

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RATINGS: 685   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.

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ehaak26 (794) - - DEC 19, 2016
Bottle from Liquor Barn. Aroma was candy and malt. One person said they noticed grape. Way too carbonated.

unclemike (3217) - Junction City Kansas, Kansas, USA - DEC 16, 2016
Copper-brown with a small head that persists. Aroma of spiced candy apple. Flavor is the same, with some wood and toasted nut shell on the finish. Maybe some faint smoky caramel, but then again maybe I only wished it were there. Almost-medium body is a little too fizzy and finishes dryish

Cimbasso (1094) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 15, 2016
Sampled on draught at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. A deep copper colour with a thin head that does not last. The taste is of brown bread and toffee and is quite sweet. Some fragrant notes and little bitterness. A pleasant and well-made dunkel beer.

willisread (4028) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - DEC 4, 2016
Bottle from West Side. Pours a clear, deep copper color. Big toasted bread malt nose. Light body. Dry on the palate with some light grassy hops. Light bitter finish. Very Oktoberfest like. Simple and drinkable.

MNAle (250) - Minnesota, USA - NOV 30, 2016
Dark amber, somewhat hazy with solid carbonation visible. 3/4-inch off-white to tan head, receding moderately leaving splotchy lacing. Malty aroma, fruits, a bit of bread, nutty, anticipates a sweet taste. Thick feel. Mild initial taste, sticky, a bit sweet, subtle earthiness. Middle and finish remain as with the initial taste with a finish that clings to the mouth and tongue. Hardly any bittering evident. Moderately sweet finish. A bit simple in all aspects. Easy to drink, pleasant, enjoyable in its own right. If you read the brewer’s web site description of this beer, it is hitting exactly what the brewer intended, so comparing it against spicy holiday beers or high ABV winter warmers in unfair. Their focus on all (or nearly all) local ingredients from malts to hops is laudable. Nonetheless, as pleasant and drinkable as this beer is, I like a bit more complexity in malty beers.

Braudog (6972) - Yorktown, Virginia, USA - NOV 29, 2016
Bottle. Every once in a while I stumble onto a beer I’m surprised I haven’t rated before. Here ya go. Pretty straight forward, medium brown, thin to no head. The aroma has a vague note of sweet candies. This drinks with a middle of the road malty baseline, light toffee, tight tart top notes. (#6436, 11/29/2016)

ozzy70 (1409) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - NOV 27, 2016
Multiple samples from bottle. Pours light amber, beige head. Aroma was malty, toasted grains. Taste was sweet, malty, spicy.

RedSox2004 (2005) - Pacific Palisades, California, USA - NOV 26, 2016
Deep copper/red, a slight haze, with a small off-white head and modest lace. Aromas of toffee, toast, caramel and a hint of earth. Taste is mostly caramel and toffee sweetness, with toast and a whisper of offsetting hop bitterness. Medium body, average carbonation, smooth mouthfeel and a dry finish.

ronaldtheriot (2054) - Laplace, Louisiana, USA - NOV 24, 2016
Bell’s Christmas Ale has a medium, ivory-colored head, a semi-clear, amber appearance, with lots of sediment chunks, some bubbles, and a bit of lacing left behind. Aroma is of mildly sweet brown bread crust, toast, and a touch of dried fruit. Mouthfeel is low-medium, and Bell’s Christmas Ale finishes on the dry side. RJT

Hinez57 (253) - Clinton, Mississippi, USA - NOV 24, 2016
Decent beer, not a good scottish ale. Aroma is malty, raisins, hint of apricots/stone fruits. Bright clear beer that looks beautiful in glass with a hint of lace. Taste is quite dry, well bittered which dominates the finish, slight fruity esters that are more british than scottish in nature, no phenolics, woody herbal hop character comes through. Palate is crushed by the bitterness which just doesn’t play well with the malt character. It is simply too hop forward for style. Overall it’s drinkable, enjoyable even. However a Scottish style ale it is not.

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