canary dog (685) - Rutland, Vermont, USA - JUN 14, 2001
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
What an unusual beer. Most either love it or loathe it. So I had to try one. I have to say, it was an acquired taste. But I acquired it. Hard to describe, but it had a tricky balance to it, the beer fools you. Mine was this past yearís. On the beginning note, you think the beer is going to wallop you with a sharp hop kick, but it gives it to you gently and gracefully on that second note. Remarkably smooth finish, considering where you have been. Has dark, spicy overtones. A good, if not unusual, brew.
Shadallion (534) - Sacramento, California, USA - JUN 1, 2001
3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
2000 edition. Lots of stuff going on here: lemon, ginger, nutmeg, chocolate, and more I couldnít peg. But lots of flavor doesnít always mean a great beer; it all seemed too rich, oily, and gooey.
Astrologer99 (22) - Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - MAY 3, 2001
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
1999 bottling. This ale should be stored at least a year before drinking. Itís rough, gangling and awkward when first released. Aged, itís winter heaven in a glass. Deep, spiced, harmonious, complex.
ner99 (2) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 19, 2001 does not count
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
i have only had the 2000 but it was one of the best spicy beers i have ever tasted. great combination and great taste. i wish i bought more when it was out. i canít wait for next years!
blatz (138) - Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Florida, USA - JAN 19, 2001
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 18/20
A wonderful seasonal beer - aroma - bready and enticing - faint smells of an evergreen - or maybe it really was my tree. Anyways - rich ruby/mahogany color, tight off-white head. taste warming - hints of gingerbread, christmas trees and maple. Palate - probably the only negative - tended to leave a burnt, bark like taste on the tongue - not pleasant. Best if left out of the fridge for 20 minutes or so to reveal all the flavors - savoring my laast bottles...Cheers!
Indra (2694) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - DEC 18, 2000
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 15, 2004 Everything about this beer is delicious. The perfect spiced winter ale.
Zach Diesel (906) - Sisters, Oregon, USA - DEC 14, 2000
3.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Just not very good. Nice fruity aroma though.
P-tor44 (886) - Anchorage, Alaska, USA - DEC 14, 2000
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
midi tops, i really wasnít a fan, disapointing for an anchor product
HoppyKev (50) - Redford, Michigan, USA - DEC 5, 2000
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
This is for the 1999 OSA, this is a great beer to sip on as you decorate the house or tree, good spicy flavor but, not over done to the point it loses itís balance.
PhillyBeer2112 (2610) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - DEC 1, 2000
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: FEB 3, 2004 This is for the 2000 Christmas release, labelled as Our Special Ale.
Interestingly spiced with definite hints of nutmeg and ginger. I also imagined a trace of ginseng, but it was probably the nutmeg.
Interesting complex beer good for sipping
and studying on a quiet cold evening. Aging may
be order for better flavor integration.
Addition: 1998 bottle sampled in February 2004! Very dark brown, reddish tinge, dark enough to be near opaque in the glass. Creamy tan head, fading quickly. Aroma modest but there's a dense complexity: mostly unchanged from fresher samples, dark chocolatey/nutty malts with a cardamom quality. Flavor is dark and slightly burnt/woody,with the malt continuing to be chocolatey and walnutty. Spices come through quite clear, I get nutmeg first and foremost. Ginger may also be present, as may be ginseng, cardamom. Any juniper flavor, if its an actual ingredient as hinted by the label, is pretty hard to notice, but I'm less than 100% sure what it tastes like. Finish is light, generally clean, with the aforementioned spices lingering all over the palate in the aftertaste.
I've raised the numbers for this after rating the 6 year old bottle. I think this beer really does get better with age, so this rating will now reflect "aging" quality.