hopscotch (9896) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - DEC 6, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
This beer rocks.
Rich spicey aroma. Notes of perfume, gingerbread, alcohol, baked apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, ah hell, lots more, but you get the idea. Liquid Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanuka, whatever!!!!
Crystal clear deep ruby ale with a light brown, frothy head. Mostly diminishing with no lacing. Still, a beautiful beer.
The flavor is malty and spicey up front. Lightly pungent and bitter on the backside. I also detect prunes. Excellent and interesting flavor.
Lively carbonation. Full-bodied with a heavy and oily mouthfeel. Short, lightly tart, lightly bitter, herbal finish. Great Winter Warmer!
JFGrind (1883) - Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 6, 2002
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
This week I had my first taste of this year’s Special Ale on draft. Aroma is a strong and spicy. Color is dark, and head is tan and strong. When it comes to Anchor Special Ale it’s all about the spice. This year’s edition the spiciness is less evident than in past year. I have to run out and grab a case or two of 2002 so I can cellar it. I’ll be drinking my private stock this beer for periodically the next year. It will be pure enjoyment.
YogiBeera (2527) - New Jersey, USA - DEC 6, 2002
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Wonderful chocolate ginger and spicey nose. Black with a big frothy head. It tastes like Gingerbread with initial tones of hops that leads to a dry nice bitter finish. Great and with the 2000 my favorite vintage of Anchor special Ale.
Dorwart (2411) - Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA - DEC 5, 2002
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Nice thick, creamy head. Not overly spicy like some ’christmas’ ales. Hint of nutmeg present. Excellent dark roasted color. A little sweet though. Slightly bitter aftertaste. One of the better (more drinkable) holiday brews I have had.
DankbrewedDank (162) - East Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - DEC 4, 2002
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Smelled like a pumpkin pie. Probably the nutmeg in it. The spices really worked well in this dark ale. They were well balance with the malts so it wasnt too overpowering. It was smooth and good and just got better as it warmed. I think this is the first spice/herb/vegtable I actually liked.
hoorayforbeer (105) - Denton, Texas, USA - DEC 3, 2002
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Yup, it’s heavily spiced. I don’t think my spice cabinet even has all the stuff I tasted in this one. I’m still not really sure how I feel about this one...
Hopistotle420 (1178) - Amherst, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 3, 2002
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Tannish pink head. Deep ruby-garnett brown hue. Nutmeg, ginger, vanilla nose. Light footed, sweet first. Spices are very nicely balanced, light caramel accents, vanilla, nutmeg, cranberry, chocolate overtones, and lingering bittterness in the finish, almost perfumey. Terribly drinkable.
Bov (10060) - Bienne, SWITZERLAND - DEC 2, 2002
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
either is this vintage more balanced than the 2001 or my appreciation for those spices has changed - dark ruby-brown colour, no head, deep ginger and nutmeg aroma with vanilla notes, sweet and tart with an incredibly long spicy and bitter finish - this beer is really something special and it smells like christmas ... and I’m still not sure if I like it or not !
AceOfHearts (1374) - Mountain View, California, USA - DEC 1, 2002
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark, slightly reddish color. Sudsy-looking pour and sloshing. Spicy nose but less prominent than their ’01. Very complex and interesting flavor: Spicy nutmeg, cinnamon, and some hints of pumpkin pie as it warms, as well as pine needles. Nice taste! I want more!
baobubba (455) - Starkville, Mississippi, USA - DEC 1, 2002
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: MAY 24, 2003 Dark amber color with a tan head. Aroma mostly malty (caramel and roasted malts), THEN spice (nutmeg or mace) and a little yeast. Sweet beginings with relatively little else. Roasted malt, chocolate, and grapefruit bitterness in the finish. A little light on the flavor towards the front. However not as spicy as other ratings here would lead you to believe. There are spicier brews.