Bell's Christmas Ale

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Well-Known Member
May 3, 2013
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So...I'm looking to get going on a Christmas ale. I love Bell's Christmas Ale and would really like to make something similar. I've searched all over the internet and have found nothing. Anybody know what's in it? I believe the label says they use their own barley with Pacific hops. Ideas?


Well-Known Member
Aug 19, 2013
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I dug around and found this recipe:

Their description is:
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.

Based on their description, the recipe someone posted to Brewer's Friend is way different just looking at the ABV. There's a ton of sugar in the recipe which sounds good, but I think the recipe can be great but it is not even close to Bell's. Point of posting is that the guy is calling it their Christmas ale all the same.

All this aside, taking a stab in the dark, I think I'd try doing this:
4 lbs amber LME
3 lbs pale LME
1 oz Chinook hops because their profile indicates earthy/piney @ 15 min?
.5 Willamette hops @ 60 mins?
1/2 lb roasted barley
1/2 caramel 60L
1/2 lb white wheat malt
1 oz brown sugar @ 10 mins
2 cinnamon sticks @ 5 min boil
1 oz sweet orange peek @ 5 min boil

BeerSmith says it will be about 5% ABV 1.052 OG and I think 1.013 SG. Looks like it is about 31.8 IBUs and this can obviously be changed. But I was trying to target the "sessionable" nature of Bell's. The problem is clearly that Bells isn't spices and I think we have to because they use proprietary hops, malt and barley.

I'm only just getting into making recipes and I'm very new, but I'd brew this and buy Bell's Christmas ale when it is out. I mean, for science. I haven't had the brew in a year so it's hard to remember.


Well-Known Member
Dec 28, 2012
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I know this is an old thread, reason to start a new one. I emailed Bell's to see what kind if info I could get without any specific questions.

This is the very general reply I got about the malts that's used.
The current version is made with a mix of Pale Ale malt, some medium Caramel malt, some melanoidin malt and a bit of de-husked black malt for color.

As for yeast they said one of the Chico strains is what they would recommend.

No info on hops, but I didn't ask. Given that the style is a Scotch ale the hops are just playing a supporting role, bit not much as this has a sweet taste to it.

I might play around with some software and look around for some other Scotch ale recipes. In the end the malts needs to bring the dried cherry, maybe some apple/pear with caramel and toffee present. The bitterness is mild, I would say no more than 20IBUs. I would think the FG is above 1.015.