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Anchor Our Special Ale (2003)



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RATINGS: 354   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.64/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
Our Special Ale, a dark, rich, heavily spiced ale with a recipe that changes with each passing year.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
DrBeer (862) - Solna Stockholm, SWEDEN - AUG 15, 2005
Brown with delicate beige head. perfumed aroma with notes of flowers, milk, pears, wood, bitter chocolate, coffee and merengue. Bitter flavor with notes of hops, bitter chocolate, alcohol, mint, fruit, wood, apricots, sugar, citrus and juniperwood. Dry finish.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
philbertk (1873) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 10, 2010
Anchor Brewing Company--Our Special Ale--2003 12 oz. Bottle. 5.35% ABV? (4.5 / 5.0) Thick.Light head. Clear burnt black red color. Spicy spruce nutmeg mild hop front. Roasted dry sweet burnt cherry spice smooth crusty body. Clean mellow burnt spice mild piney citrus hop end. X-Mass! Sampled 1/9/2004.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
mreeves (276) - Sammamish, Washington, USA - FEB 11, 2004
Wonderful spicy aroma and flavor. Very dark in color--almost black. Aroma is dominated by ginger, cinnamon, other spices. Very nice flavor, unique with all of the spices. Nothing makes me think of Christmas like this beer. Perfect for a cold winter's night.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
DarkElf (3051) - La Jolla, California, USA - AUG 4, 2004
(Draft: OíBrienís in San Diego, CA) I donít know why this beer gets a new entry for each year; Anchor claims the recipe is different each year, but Iíve rated this beer every year since 1993, and my notes are always about the same, with only minor variations; Spicy nutmeg is front and center, closely matched by the moderate dark roasted flavor; This dark roasted flavor, along with a modest smokiness assert themselves in the finish; Of course, itís fairly bitter from start to finish as well; Itís also moderately sweet, but itís not something that you notice right away because the dark roasted maltiness, the bitterness, and the nutmeg are so potent; The palate is medium bodied and thinner than expected, but still has enough body for a winter; The nose is dominated by the nutmeg aromas; Dark, dark brown in color; Tan head is sizeable on the pour, exhibits excellent retention, but little to no lacing

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
eboats (1082) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - AUG 10, 2004
UPDATED: JAN 17, 2006 Oh man! Heavenly smell. Smells like Christmas time like the label suggests. Gingersnaps, cinamon, and cloves. Unbelievable smell. Tastes like roasted almonds, gingersnaps, cinamon and cloves. Has a somewhat bitter aftertaste. This appears black, but in the light you can see a brilliant ruby glow. It comes with a tan head that actually looks dirty yellow in areas. Definately a holliday brew. I will be drinking this on Christmas Eve for years to come.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
waveman352 (178) - Saratoga Springs, New York, USA - NOV 30, 2004
This was the first year that I tried their christmas brew and now iím addicted. Wonderful flavor and smelled of malts and nuts. A very full bodied beer poured to an off white head and a dark brown color. Went down very smoothly with very little bitterness. Iím absolutley pumped to try the 2004 vintage.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
ChillCoat (1029) - Concord, California, USA - DEC 22, 2004
Bottled- I drank this one side by side with a bottled version of the 2004. Both were similar in color but the 2003 is much more "gingery" (is that a word?). The aromas of the 2004 were stronger than the kegged version I rated earlier. Hereís the 2003 rating; Pours very dark with the slightest hint of an amber tint. Huge aroma of ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spices, chocolate and port. Viscous mouth feel with huge notes of ginger. Tastes like Christmas in a bottle.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
sneagrams3 (2337) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - JAN 31, 2007
Right in the middle of a verticle tasting. 1997-2006 (sans 2001). Lighter body comparitively. Still a nice deep ruby hue. More of a malty sugary toffee nose. Lively effervescence. Most thus far. Plummy and other deep dark fruit. Bitter hop profile. Fruity esters. Lively with a 7-Up ness. Citrusy and thick. On the cusp between fresh and aged. Could go either way, but still retained a lot of the fresh qualities. Gold metal winner of the evening. Perfect blend between sharp freshness and mellow melded aged brew!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
smcolw (617) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - APR 11, 2009
The aroma is complex. My immediate thought is spruce, lots of pine. There is also a sweetness--caramel or melted sugar. I also detect some nutty smells, mostly macadamia. Deep brown, too dark to shine light through a regular pint glass. Beige head that dies quick but leaves a thin layer of tiny bubbles and dramatic lace. Very rich beer that offers multiple malt flavors--roasted nuts, slight chocolate, sweet crystal, a touch of black patent. Very low hop, but it doesnít need it since the flavor is already so robust. Highly carbonated, but subtle because of the oily nature of the liquid. The post-swallow flavors are chewy, dark and dessert-like. This is a beer to have by the fire with great friends and great conversation.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
slowrunner77 (10146) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 5, 2014
one of the best Christmas beers ever, this is a solid beer in every way...smells, looks, and tastes great. right up there most years with old foghorn as my favorite anchor brew. try on tap if you can...itís even fresher."

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