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Anchor Our Special Ale (2004)



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RATINGS: 435   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.64/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
This is the thirtieth special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is available from early November to mid January. The ale's recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. In ancient times, trees symbolized the winter solstice, when the earth with its seasons appears born anew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
bhensonb (12960) - Woodland, California, USA - AUG 12, 2013
Thanks to bu11zeye for this bottle. Pours ruddy very dark brown with a tan head that never made it. Aroma is smoky, rosemary, prune. Med body or nearly. Flavor is aged, wood, with what I’d call dried rosemary twig. Pretty woody. Suspect many aromatics have departed. Drinks well. Not excessively oxidized. Still has a touch of herb tang.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
marcus (8001) - Sacramento, California, USA - AUG 12, 2013
Bottle shared by bhensonb. Pours dark brown with no head and a smoky nutty dark fruit aroma. There is a slightly fruity dark malt flavor that has dried out over time, with a bit of rosemary in the finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
shigadeyo (3388) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - AUG 1, 2013

2004 Vintage

6/06/2010: Anchor Our Special Ale 2004... Aroma: Molasses, dark brown sugar, fruit cake, caramel, hint of ginger; brandy-like alcohol. Appearance: True mahogany color; opaque; scant beige bubbles on the surface; fine carbonation bubbles. Flavor: Dark, aged fruit cake; mild spice (clove, allspice, nutmeg; ginger); molasses; a tinge of oxidation in the middle; earthiness; chocolate and roasty coffee notes in the finish; bread crust, fig/date chutney, and roasted barley in the aftertaste. Palate: Medium-body; thin texture; mostly smooth. Overall: It still amazes me how well this beer can stand up to time despite it’s low alcohol and hop content; however, it is starting to fade a bit at this point; the finishing flavors and aftertaste save this beer for me...

12 fl. oz. bottle (4NJ) from IrishBoy via trade. Thanks Richard! Rating #423 for this beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Nordcore (1198) - Lyngen alps, NORWAY - JAN 1, 2013
Bottle 33 cl. Label Merry Christmas 2011. Black with a large lightbrown head. Aroma of nice christmas spices(carnation), gløgg, chocolate, grapes and plumb. Nice sweet taste with a soft spices end, best christmasbeer i have had, waiting 1 year was worth it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
sthlm (1262) - Duluth, Minnesota, USA - JAN 30, 2012
[Bottle] This is a really, really solid beer. Perfect balance between spices and underlying malt, with vinous notes, and just mild oxidation. Good mouthfeel, smooth, and a long finish. Wow, I appear to be in the minority in how much I enjoyed this, but I thought that this was one of the best spiced beers that I have ever had. Much better than the ’05, which I tried immediately after this.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
arminjewell (8842) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - DEC 18, 2011
Pour is dark reddish brown with thin off white head, aroma has notes of lots of pine and spruce notes, touch of caramel, dark fruit and molasses that are very mellow, touch of minty in there as well. Taste is a mix of molasses, dark fruit, hints of cinnamon spice, lots of pine and spruce with a mint touch, the combination is a bit weird but this one is rounded out a bit better.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
adnielsen (10199) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 10, 2011
Bottle @ Bull & Bush Christmas tasting. Brown appearance with a light brown head. Minty, ginger, fairly carbonated aroma. Somewhat oxidized, dull toffee, minty spicy flavor. Not all that bad- well at least in comparison to the older vintages.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
jredmond (6659) - New York, New York, USA - DEC 4, 2011
Bottle vintages 2000-2006 shared at Paul’s Dec 3rd tasting. The 2000 and 2001 were by far the best - very interesting how this beer has aged especially considering the low alcohol to begin with. Aroma of the older years is full of prune, fig, raisins, and molasses. Mouthfeel is getting thinner and thinner in comparison to the older years - still with notes of dark fruits, molasses and some spices.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
j12601 (8050) - Poughkeepsie, New York, USA - DEC 4, 2011
Bottle courtesy of Andy at Paul’s tasting. Pours a clear brown with a thin beige head. Peppery, prune and plum, malt and sweet toast. Malty and sweet, very nice caramel note, though there is a bit of age on it as well. Finishes with more sweet caramel, oxidized and toasty.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
alexsdad06 (7462) - Ohio, USA - SEP 24, 2011
12 oz. bottle from my cellar and consumed at home on a cool early fall evening. Pours a clear brown in color with a small beige head that disappears quickly. The aroma still has quite a bit of allspice, some sweet malts, mild earthy notes and a touch of oxidation. The flavor has mild notes of allspice, mild malt sweetness, light fruit notes, some earthy and herbal notes and a splash of vanilla. The problem I had was this had really thinned out and the flavor was watered down. I haven’t had this since I started on the site and without notes don’t feel comfortable blending the ratings, but this has definitely fallen off in the past few years.

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