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Anchor Our Special Ale (2004)



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RATINGS: 438   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - NOV 24, 2004
2004 - Not sure of any tree being used in this one as there are not any notations anywhere on the bottle that states so. But Iím sure something is in there as the smell has good hints to a fir as does the taste, but not nearly like the past OSAís. Ruby crimson lit within a dark brown maze; thin spongey, firm, and delicate dark tan cap. Maintains a good collar and the lacing starts in glaring sheets to break up fastly into big globuels. Aroma is calming, soothing, and cleaner then the others in this vertical tasting of 2000, 01, 03, & 04. Dark ginger spice, roasty sweet malts, chocolate bread, slight pinewood fir notes whisps underneath. Flavors are seemingly packed with much more chocolate then the others, and I do like it. Much more imploring and approachable in that manner. The spices arenít over the top as some years past when fresh. Spices of ginger, cinnamon, and fir are nicely meshed inbetween a malty roast and sweet chocolate cake drizzled with caramel. Ends delicately with an airy mist of sweetness then builds with some chewy roast and spice hinderenences. Swell finish. Feel is smooth and calmingly slick with a sticky finishing over a sweet laden intangled spicy layered goodness. About medium bodyish and well-crafted. Not sure what it is about this one right now, but man it goes down fast and easy. Especially against the other vintages. The 2001 still stands on its own as my favorite here, but the 04 is the drinker among the bunch. The spices now seem tame so as it ages the chocolate and roasty sweetness may subside letting those spices come through more. Time will tell...

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
jasonp (1573) - Ashburn, Virginia, USA - NOV 24, 2004
Pours a clear dark ruby brown with a nice light brown head. Great aroma filled with pine, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Taste has notes of roasted malt, ginger, dark fruit, brown sugar/molasses. Good amount of sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium and a bit watery at the end with very subtle carbonation. Good head retention.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
verymerrymonk (413) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - NOV 24, 2004
Very deep, dark mahogany color with very little head. Aroma of slight hops with black licorice and other cola-like sweetnesses. The beer itself tastes like someone took a Christmas tree, shoved it in a bottle of water, swirled it around, and sent it for sale. Very spicy and dry, I finally see what all the hype is about. Good stuff.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
DYCSoccer17 (3629) - Woodland, California, USA - NOV 24, 2004
Holy pine tree aroma! Damn, also notes of cinnamon and maybe a touch of pumpkin in the nose of this beer as well. A very intriguing aroma! Transparent dark mahogany color with a nice creamy and fluffy light tan head with gorgeous lacing. Start is mildly sweet with maybe some dried fruits/raisins in there. Piney PNW hops to finish turning into a very long dried roasted malt finish. A dry beer. I am not a fan of dry beers, unfortinately. Still good, and IMO, underrated.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
SG (465) - Valley Center, California, USA - NOV 24, 2004
Very dark black licorice color with a hint of deep ruby red. Almost no head with some lacing. At first I thought my palate was jacked because this beer hardly tasted or smelled like anything. But it was a bit too cold, because once it warmed up a fig and mildly fruity flavor appeared. Slightly sugary, caramel, burnt. Pretty subtle aroma and flavor profile. Nice carbonation level. Not spicy at all. Maybe my palate is jacked...because this sure isnít tasting like much.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
shadey (2079) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - NOV 23, 2004
On tap at MacGreggors in Henrietta. Beautiful deep red color with a fluffy soapy head. Spicy holiday aroma. Lots of different aromas that were tough to distinguish in the bar. The flavor was smooth and tasty. Lots of spice, but nothing too powerful. All very subtle with a nice sweet malt finish. Very nice stuff.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
mdi (573) - Nebraska, USA - NOV 23, 2004
120z bottle Nice looking in the glass, good frothy/creamy tan head, deep dark color, showing blood red in the light. Smells of cedar and gingerbread and seems to be faintly briney. Drinks fairly smooth, nice bodied...chocolatey dark malts give it some character along with more of that gingerbread spiciness and woody, piney quality then a whack of hop bitterness comes in. Hey, Iíve never been a big fan of this beer, Iíve always thought that it was disgustingly over spiced/flavored....but this one doesnít taste as much like a rancid Christmas candle as some of the older ones I remember. I actually havenít drank it for a few years because it turned me off so much, but this one is OK, although I wouldnít want to drink it all night.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
JPDIPSO (5657) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 23, 2004
Iíll start by stating that his is the way I remember this one smelling. Aromas of nutmeg, ginger snaps and juniper berries. Chestnut color with a tall light tan head and ringlets of lace. Malty start leaning toward caramel and a touch of roasted malt. Fairly thin on feel, but does seem to get thicker and more oily as it warms. Hints of alcohol show up mid quaff. Bitterness seems to come from both hops and some black malt. A definite holiday porter. Somewhat in Ernestoís camp with this one, in that the recipe does not seem to change significantly each year, but if they say it does, it does.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BŁckDich (5464) - McCall, Idaho, USA - NOV 23, 2004
Dark chocolate color with ruby edges. A light fizzy brown head & small islands of lacing. Nose of ginger, candi sugar, peppery spice. Tastes unique, lots of ginger, I canít pin it down but itís good. Lots of ginger.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 22, 2004
Dark ruby-brown body and nice foamy tan head (after an aggressive pour). Great aroma of raisins, dark spiced rum, nutmeg, and hints of chocolate and cherries. Dark fruit and malty flavor. Cloves and nutmeg are apparent. Medium light body, but very clean and nice. An excellent holiday beer.

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