foduck (328) - Denton, Texas, USA - NOV 14, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Impressive without being too high-gravity extreme. Malts dominate doggy aroma. Spices dominate flavor, spicy hops and some holiday spices. Some bitterness from some kind of coniferous tree, goes down very nicely, satisfying. Great beer, reminds me of my homebrew a lot.
beerguy101 (5206) - Newark, California, USA - NOV 14, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Dark brown color. Medium white foamy head. Aroma is ginger bread and spices. Year after year, I always have trouble describing this beer. Its one of my favorites and I always look forward to it arrival, but then I got to figure out what to say about it. Each year that gets just a little harder. To be VERY simple (and probably incorrect) It’s a brown ale with spices added, the spices change subtly from year to year and every once in a while there is a real surprise (the 2000 edition with spruce tips comes to mind) this years batch highlights ginger and nutmeg(?) Its still really young and needs at least a couple of months to mature. But this year’s version is very smooth for a young beer. Its nicely balanced and very easy drinking. This one has potential of being really great. Stay tuned… Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.
happy4hops (376) - Bel Air, Maryland, USA - NOV 14, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Reminds me of there porter somewhat(very spiced/flavored though)I like how this brew evokes christmas.Hard to pin down all the spices used.It has a moderate dark tan head some lace.Nice dark brown/red color.Nice lively yet mellow Anchor carbonation.Sweet bubblegum,pine,licorice,some chocolate...Seems quite mellow overall(compared to other vintages)
Brodie (540) - Blowing Rock, North Carolina, USA - NOV 14, 2003
2.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 3/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 5/20
This rating is going to be in sharp opposition to most of the other ratings for this beer. I did not like it at all. I actually sent it back, not because there was something wrong with it, just because I wasn't going to be able to finish it. My gripe is that the sample I had was completely over-powered by a black licorice aroma and flavor (which I don't like, obviously). Vanilla was the next spice/flavor, followed by a blend of other spices, possibly clove, ginger, and/or cinnamon. I had this beer fresh on tap, maybe it needs to age until Christmas to balance out.
guzzler67 (1435) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - NOV 10, 2003
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Dark brown with a brick red tinge. Complex, shifting aroma displaying a wide array of spices, including many found in pumpkin ales. The ginger stood out in the taste, though; the liquid equivalent of a ginger snap. Lively carbonation in the full-bodied, moderately sweet flavor. Crisp, dry, lasting finish.
scraff (2121) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 10, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Super dark reddish brown in apperance, nice thick tan head that left beautiful lace work. A rich, sprucey pine, vanilla, ginger, clove, nutmeg, chocolate extravaganza. And it's not that sweet! Just enough hops to balance the malt. As stated below, this beer is awesome when fresh, I'm kind of curious how it develops over the next year or two. One of the best winter seasonals I've had so far this year...and it's only November!! Keep'em coming.
JFGrind (1725) - Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 8, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
11.07.03 - Draft at Anchor Brewery tour. To try this beer before it's offical release at the brewery was a treat. Deep brown color, with creamy tan head. Spiced aroma evident even before you lift the beer of the bar. Flavor is of a spiced old ale, and is a spiced - herbal explosion in your mouth. Excellent "fresh" beer, but I look forward to cellaring this beer for a taste again in a few years.
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - NOV 8, 2003
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
A deep garnet color as it set’s in the glass, the head portly in size, frothy in its texture and a nice deep tan in color with the lace a velum like curtain to drape down the sides of the glass. The aroma of vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and yes I even thought a bit pepper, along with sweet malted grains greets your nose, crisp and fresh, and most certainly a one of a kind nose, start is rich in malt, lightly sweet, top is light to moderate in feel. Finish is benign in its acidity with the hops meaningful in their spiciness and a desert dry and lingering aftertaste, got a case to age and enjoy for many years to come.
FlacoAlto (3506) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - NOV 7, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: OCT 9, 2004 Sampled October 2004
Pretty golden light brown head sits atop a clear beer that is dark enough brown that it looks opaque. Ginger Bread man aroma, very enticing. Heavy molasses notes as well. Aroma is intoxicating, reminds me of a rich Christmas spice cake. The taste is rich with concentrated Ginger cookie spicing that pairs with a hit of molasses. A bit of sweetness ties this all together, though it is not overly sweet at all. This is really nice right now. The mellow astringency that was here when fresh has died down quite a bit, and this beer is still quite spicy, it is an awesome spiced beer at this stage. It is really quite nice.
Sampled November 2003
Pours with a brown head a top a clear dark brown beer. The head is pretty stable. It has an aroma of molasses with some herbal type notes that are hard to pick out. The smell is reminiscent of ginger bread and a dense dark Christmas cake. It has a thick creamy body, and it finishes fairly dry. There is a light bit of astringency in the finish, preceded by a spiciness that hits my tongue. There are no sharp bitter herbal notes like the 2000 vintage, so this is much more enjoyable much sooner (like right now). A year of age would be about perfect, I think, for this beer (good thing I bought a case). The body of this beer is quite nice, thick and creamy without being sweet.