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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 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 (7350) - 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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
frankR (144) - 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 (1327) - 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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
heemer77 (5295) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - NOV 18, 2004
Very dark amber and brown body. Has a thin yellow head that stays around. Aroma is gingerbread and some bananas. Also has a little bit of musty tree, like standing in a stand of trees, with just hint of pine. The flavor is a little thin and reminds me of a dark bread with hints of anise and some currants. A very rich brew that would probably age well.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
szkot (100) - Minnesota, USA - NOV 17, 2004
A nice winter warmer. Taste is well rounded, not terribly bitter, nor too sweet.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Kevin (2192) - New Mexico, USA - NOV 17, 2004
bottle. pours almost black with a lasting grey/orange head. aroma is nutmeg and sweetness with cinnamon and ginger. remarkable gingerbread taste. very sweet but not overly so. finish is lingering spice of ginger. mouthfeel is clean if a little watery.i enjoyed this immensly.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Lumpy (1802) - Carrollton, Texas, USA - NOV 17, 2004
Bottle. Dark pour, a little red when a bright light shines through it. Strong roasted malt flavor. Other flavors that come out are ginger bread, spruce grum, bubble gum, prune and a very light cinamon. They did a great job of combing just the right amount of spices and malts. Very, very enjoyable.

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