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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 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
eboats (1082) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - NOV 21, 2004
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. The only distinction I made between 03-04 versions was that the 04 didnít have quite the pronounced gingersnap taste the 03 did.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
brewcat (5) - USA - NOV 21, 2004 does not count
I liked this beer a lot. The aroma is the real winner here. Subtle yet complex. Initial impressions were of fresh roasted french vanilla coffee beans. Later chocolate malts, and carmel come through. Flavor follows nicely with the spices really shinning through, cinnammon and dash of cloves? Subtle bitterness complements the coffee aroma nicely and fades gentlely as the dry finish leaves you wanting more.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Tejas (955) - Dallas, Texas, USA - NOV 21, 2004
I think I just swallowed a Malt flavored Christmas tree. I guess this one isnít as spicy as years past but itís spicy, nonetheless. Not overpowering though. Almost reminds me of a Porter b/c itís so dark & malty. Glad I tried it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
joshpiledean (316) - 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 (4852) - 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 (851) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - NOV 19, 2004
NOT EVEN CLOSE to last yearís version, which I currently consider the best beer Iíve ever had. Last year this beer was absolute heaven; now itís 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 yearís 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 thatís gonna pretty much do it. Thick and sticky; the spices linger on the tongue faintly for a while, which is pleasant. Why, oh why couldnít they have just stuck with last yearís recipe?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Ernest (7034) - 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 yearsí when I had those fresh. Maybe a little more burnt smelling, and a little thinner bodied, but I really donít see the need to split these entries by year. Bah.

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