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Anchor Our Special Ale (2004)



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RATINGS: 432   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.63   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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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 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
joshpiledean (315) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 21, 2004
Mohoghany pour. Medium head, very creamy head. Aroma is rich spice. First pull is the same. Malts are definately present, providing some light chocoalate notes, but the big star here is the spice which provides a nice depth and interesting flavor. Nice aftertaste follows.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Sham (1845) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 20, 2004
Dark brown with ruby hints. Thick and creamy tan head. Strong lacing. Aroma is full of ginger and cinnamon. Piney hops. Caramel in the flavor with small bittering hops. There is an abundance of spices. Again, the ginger is hanging about. Cinnamon. Spruce. Thick body. Finishes bitter and spicy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
herbjones (742) - Orange, California, USA - NOV 20, 2004
I like the fact that they didnt go overboard with the spices this year. The deep roasted malt flavor is allowed to be the star with all the spices relegated to a backup role. Very nice, one of the better years imo.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 20, 2004
Bottle thanks to bucknaked. Pours a wonderfully deep brown black. Up to the light there are dark ruby tinges. Mocha yellow head. Bubbly. Aroma of spruce (yes, I was told to look for this, but hearing that, it is undeniable), light ginger (oh no.), light brown malts and some honey and a touch of belgian yeast!!! yes!! even though it is moderately filtered, you can taste a touch of yeastiness, like a belgian brown ale. Flavor is highly reminiscent of a belgian bruin, but add in the spruce, big right off the bat and then add in some ginger, cinnamon and a light hops. Thank god, I was about to give up on OSA. Last year was as close to undrinkable as it gets. This year returns to its stoutish roots. medium full and a bit too much carbonation. So refreshingly better than last year. thank god.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Sven (229) - Lancaster, California, USA - NOV 19, 2004
Draught at Stuffed Sandwich, San Gabriel. 2000-2004 Vertical tasting on 11/19/04
Beautiful chestnut coloured body with an ample, fluffy, lasting tan head. Very different recipe than the past few years, this is much more malty with a great dark roastiness, almost porter like, lots of nut and caramel with the slightest hint of cream and banana.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
sfontain (811) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - NOV 19, 2004
NOT EVEN CLOSE to last year’s version, which I currently consider the best beer I’ve ever had. Last year this beer was absolute heaven; now it’s only above-average. Pour is very dark garnet with a small ring of bubbly foam. Aroma is just not nearly and round and full as last year; this year’s version has a lot more nondescript sugary, fruity sweetness, rather than having the chocolate and vanilla and spices come through; a lot more cinnamon this time around; some deep brown sugar hidden in there. Flavor is heavily nutmeg, malty sweetness, and that’s gonna pretty much do it. Thick and sticky; the spices linger on the tongue faintly for a while, which is pleasant. Why, oh why couldn’t they have just stuck with last year’s recipe?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Ernest (6302) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 19, 2004
Head is initially average sized, frothy, light brown, mostly diminishing. Body is dark brown. Aroma is lightly malty (cookie, dark chocolate), lightly yeasty (dough), with strong notes of allspice, nutmeg, scorched pine needles. Flavor is moderately sweet, moderately acidic, moderately bitter. Finish is lightly sweet, moderately acidic, heavily bitter. Light to medium body, watery texture, lively carbonation, lightly astringent. Virtually identical to the previous years’ when I had those fresh. Maybe a little more burnt smelling, and a little thinner bodied, but I really don’t see the need to split these entries by year. Bah.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
frankR (145) - Davis, California, USA - NOV 18, 2004
Dark brown liquid, slight amber hue. Creamy diminishing tan head. Nose of Anchor yeast, roasted tones, coffee and chocolate and fruit. Fluffy light but tingly body. Flavors starts with roasted tones and finishes with fruit, some slight hop bitterness and some noticable minty herb. Very delicious stuff for the holidays.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
BuckNaked (1230) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - NOV 18, 2004
Bottle: Deep ruby brown, slightly opaque, with a medium light brown head. Aroma: Very crisp, fresh pine, gingerbread, spruce boughs, banana, maple, cinnamon, brown sugar, spiced plums, bubblegum, pinefresh. Taste: More bitter than I expected, but in a good way. Dark gingerbread, cherries, chocolate, roasted malts, spruce, anise, ginger, light coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, belgian candy sugar, mild caramel, and just a hint of citrus & grapfruit hops in there that keep everything else in check. Finishes mildy dry, bitter, leaving you with a distinctly cinnamon, spruce, and chocolate tasting malt on your tongue. Medium to full bodied. Excellent beer for the holidays.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
biz82 (1328) - austin, Texas, USA - NOV 18, 2004
Pours deep red with little head. Very appealing and fresh aroma of dark caramel, raisens, maple, spruce, with a sharp winey hint. Thick, rich body and mouth feel. Flavors match the aromas. There is little bitterness or hop character. Previous years seemed more intense. An exceptional ale none the less and particularly good on draught.

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