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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 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
HogTownHarry (6371) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - MAY 7, 2008
Bottle (12oz). Shared with Garthicus, courtesy of superman - I mean Irishboy. Clear deep ruby, decent sized off-white head. Dry roast aroma, coffee beans, cocoa, herbal bitterness, a hint of sharp pungent medicinal molasses and a little dry cinnamon. The taste - wow, thatís a toughie - big maple syrup/caramel backbone, but incredible dry, leeched out pungent spice/herb bitterness, like an aged sultana/candied fruit/treacle Christmas cake had been steeped in a light sweet stout for a couple of years. Slick, somewhat flat, dry/acidic mouthfeel, long bitter medium-weight finish. Showing its age, but very nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
garthicus (2826) - Dublin, IRELAND - MAY 7, 2008
Shared with HogTownHarry, Harrys bottle with thanks to Irishboy (another double whammy) Appearance: Deep black colour, brown small but creamy head. Lovely oatmeal, thick chocolate too, canít wait for the flavour! Flavour: Cinnamon, pine, malt, bitter hops, and some old pine needles... very little carbonation, little alcohol too but somehow quite warming.. A quirky beer but a great one at that! (strangely there is an almost dusty-raisen finish!) Thanks Harry!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
BlackDonald (1126) - Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA - APR 18, 2008
This was quite spicy, like drinking a Christmas tree. Lots of nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. One of the better vintages, but just too spicy for my palate, not just what I want to drink in a seasonal beer. More pronounced hop bitterness this time around, with an underwhelming bitterness, but still lighter and quite dry in the finish. Which seems to be on par with other vintages.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Snojerk321 (2960) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 16, 2008
12oz bottle from BevMo. Dark ruby brown color, foamy tan head. Very malty, plenty of spice, nutmeg, anise. Well balanced, not overly spicy or malty. Some dryness on the finish, light bitterness. Medium bodied and pretty creamy. Very nice.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Boutip (5357) - Gatineau, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 25, 2008
Bottle courtesy of Unclemattie: Poured a deep dark brown color ale with a nice light brown foamy head with good retention but no lacing. Aroma of big caramel and toffee malt with light spices, which may include spruce. Taste is also dominated by some spices with huge caramel and toffee malt with some moderate sweetness. Full body with average carbonation and no apparent alcohol.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
GG (2332) - NorCal, California, USA - JAN 16, 2008
Not much else to add to this years verion. Itís still very tasty but some of the spicy character have mellowed a bit and the malts are more prominent. It has the usual suspects in the flavor and aroma profile. Thankfully the ginger has been toned down, but they left out the spruce character. I also didnít pick up any chocolate on the flavor, but it seemed a bit more raisiny too me. A nice beer though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Tmoney99 (12408) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JAN 13, 2008
Bottle found at Village Pub in Covington, KY. Poured dark reddish brown color with an average frothy light brown head that lasted with good lacing. Good complex sweet spicy aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Good sweet dark fruit spicy flavor with an average sweet finish of moderate duration. Complex good brew.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
AmEricanbrew (6463) - Same Trailer, Different Park, Louisiana, USA - JAN 9, 2008
12 oz. bottle. Pours a beautiful clear garnet hue with a tan head. Sweet fruity, spicy smell - strong cloves. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Malty sweet taste with cloves, caramel, and bananas. A nice fresh Pac NW hop burp finishes off this stand out brew. One of the best Christmas beers out there.Nov 2004

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
mgermani (1002) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 3, 2008
Bottle of 2004 vintage, provided by Capflu (thanks for the trade!)

What a distinctive beer - where to begin? Pours a beautiful near-black amber with a lovely deep brown head wich great retention and lovely lacing. Aroma is unbelievable. Wow - reminds me of Pannepot. Rich and sweet, notes of graham cracker, toasted oatmeal cookie... sweet and pungent. Taste is very complex - fig, chocolate malt, slightly dry finish, definitely some bittering hops, light astringency. The fig really shines through, I find, and itís a bit watery. Wonderful creamy but slightly thin body with good carbonation. What an interesting beer, I wish we could get it year-round. And what a great opportunity, to enjoy the 2004 vintage nearly 8 years later. Thanks again to Capflu!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
nimbleprop (6342) - SouthWest, Washington, Washington DC, USA - DEC 18, 2007
2004 vintage came out of the cellar in the magnum sized bottle. Head was slightly off white, thick and foamy and lasted throughout the glass. The body was oily looking, nearly opaque deep dark brown and looked a lot more developed than the 2007 vintage. Aroma was yeast, holiday spice, malt and alcohol. Flavor had mellowed nicely with the holiday spice and biscuit flavors and had added a nice chocolate tone to it. Became heavy and oily on the tongue and warmed the cheeks. Really developed body, flavor, finish and aroma in the cellar for 3 years. Wish I had more of this to keep around.

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