Serve in Thistle


on tap

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RATINGS: 683   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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Pawola22 (3262) - Woodridge, Illinois, USA - NOV 19, 2009
12oz bottle. Pours a crystal clear, copper-orange body with a finger-width, frothy, off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a moderate lacing. Aroma is malt forward with a berry fruitiness to it. Sweet candy caramels, some peat, and an earthy orange peel. Flavor is intially bold, but is quick to fade and ends up being pretty thin. More of a toasty caramel joins the rest of the sweet malts up front for more of a scotch ale malt taste than the aroma led me to believe. A lightly peppered bread malt comes in during the middle with more fruits before this finishes with a slightly spicy orange peel, moderate earthy bitterness. Dry with a medium length aftertaste of resiny pines that didn’t really show up until now and some toasty caramels. Medium body and smooth, although like I said earlier, somewhat thin and watery feeling. Overall, more hops than most scotch ales, but I didn’t find it to work the best with this one. The flavor is enjoyable, but for the most part, this was average.

gkost (1069) - Alaska, USA - NOV 18, 2009
Poured orange. Nose was weak sweet malt and some floral hops. Flavor was mild hops, sweet malt, toasted grains, hints of fruits. Drinkable, but overall underwhelming.

ganache (6050) - New Jersey, USA - NOV 16, 2009
Bottle from batch 9422. Lightly yeast nose with bread crumbs and caramel, earthy notes and, indeed, malt-driven overtones. Pours a great brown-ruby (actually, I haven’t really seen this color before, there’s definitely some orange in there) but the sudsy head is less than ideal. Noticeable if subtle, dark earthy bitterness balanced with light citric sweetness and heavy yeasty fruit, some bread dough and down-and-dirty dryness toward the end with mild spice (as from German hops). There are some nice dull, muted metallic tones and a hint of butterscotch, but this isn’t infected. A little thin for style, and missing some of the the fruitier and peatier notes I like from Scotchies, but I still enjoyed it well enough. Smooth sipper.

Beerlando (3343) - Orlando, Florida, USA - NOV 16, 2009
Fresh winter 2009 bottle, no batch number indicated. The pour yields a clear, dark, reddish-orange amber colored body. A spongy head of khaki colored foam settles quickly, leaving a frothy skin on the surface and some jagged flares and spots on the glass. Despite the malty claim on the description, this is one hoppy scotch ale. Notes of pine, grass, and grapefruit come across at near-IPA levels, lending bright, bittering notes to the underlying base of toasted bread, honey, and Lightly bronzed sugars. Flavors are similarly structured, striking a nice balance between resinous, citrusy hops, dough, toast, and light toffee-honey sweetness. The palate is medium-plus in stature, lively carbonated, finishing grassy, resinous, and semi-dry. As weird and non-traditional as it is, I actually like this brew. Judging based on enjoyment rather than style, I dig this hoppy-scotch hybrid.

kseecs16 (1216) - Naperville, Illinois, USA - NOV 16, 2009
Bottle. Copper hued amber with a thin creamy off-white head that leaves thick swathes of lacing. Aroma is richly sweet. Flavor is soapy, pine flavor with a sugary cotton candy touch. Notes of ginger.

msante79 (2244) - Mount Prospect, Illinois, USA - NOV 14, 2009
Pours clear reddish amber with off-white head. Aroma is toasted malts, some light caramel, and some dark fruits. Flavor is toasted malts, dark fruit, caramel and some toffee. Doesn’t look or taste like a scotch ale. More of an amber. Average ale. Expect more from Bells.

EricE (1372) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 14, 2009
Clear red brown pour with a white head. Not much on the nose. Some malt. Cotton candy - bubble gum flavor. Malty with hops.

HonkeyBra (4044) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - NOV 13, 2009
Um, this isn’t a scotch ale. I can tell from the pour. Orangish amber pour with white head. Aroma of citrus, sweet barely, cherries. Earthy flavor of barley, wheat. Some fruit and a bit of raw hops in there. It kind of disappears in the finish into just a light citrus note.

argo0 (14127) - Washington DC, USA - NOV 13, 2009
12oz bottle. Medium beige head atop clear amber body. Aroma is medium sweet, maple, some brown sugar, caramel, earthy, light metallic. Taste is moderately sweet, caramel, brown sugar, some metallic. Effervescent light-medium body, light acidity.

GT (10017) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 12, 2009
355 mL. Pours a clear light amber with a two-finger yellow, fizzy head that settles down very quickly. Leaves no lacing. Aroma is earthy, dirty, malty, brown sugar, maple candies, creme brulee. But this beer makes up for in taste and palate: it is not so much a scotch ale as just a raw, traditional ale: tons of brown sugar, raw/dirty malt, cream of wheat, oatmeal. Really good actually. Reminds me a lot of Great Lakes Elliot Ness. Yum! Really nothing about this is Christmas whatsoever, but I like it anyway.

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