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RATINGS: 1950   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Aleís recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons appears born anew.

Editorís Note: due to the significant similarity in style and strength from year to year (despite potential differences in the exact spice blend), this beer is no longer separated by vintage.


4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
yesyouam (1016) - Fairport, New York, USA - JAN 30, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 28, 2009 [28 Nov 2009] Anchor Our Special Ale 2009 is a very dark brown ale with a thin, dense mocha colored head that leaves sip lines all the way down the glass. It smells a little sweet, sort of like ginger bread. Other spices are present in the aroma, notably nutmeg. Itís smooth and medium bodied with a dry, astringent finish. Thereís a lot of flavor going on here. The malt is a little sweet and resiny and it melds well with all of the spices. The nutmeg and cinnamon start to create an apple pie flavor, but ginger and juniper take over and provide the spicy, bitter finish. Actually, this doesnít seem as bitter as it has in the past. Itís all about the spices. [Aroma: 9 (4.5) Appearance: 5 (4.5) Taste: 9 (4.5) Palate: 4 (4) Overall: 4.5 (18)] [28 Nov 2008] Anchor Our Special Ale 2008 is a very dark and dim red-brown ale with a thin, splotchy, mocha-colored head that leaves nice lacing. It has a coffee and orange peel aroma thatís slightly sweet like molasses and cola. It has a dry medium body with a slightly scratchy finish. Itís flavored with a burst of spices: nutmeg, licorice root, ginger and candied orange peel. It has a hint of sweetness, like Coke syrup and some nutiness. It is complex and unique. [Aroma 8/10, Appearance 4/5, Flavor 8/10, Palate 3/5, Overall 15/20] [30 Jan 2007] This beer pours a deep brown with a red-orange hue. It has a small, off-white head of big thin bubbles. Great clarity. The aroma is that of a medium malt, redwood trees, and orange peel. There are spices present in the smell as well: Clove, cinnamon, nutmeg-- maybe even coriander seed. This beer is commandingly hopped; moreso than Liberty Ale. The aftertaste is of bitter grass with a powdered cinnamon feel. This is the kind of beer that gets me excited about beer. [Aroma 10/10, Appearance 4/5, Flavor 8/10, Palate 3/5, Overall 18/20]

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
RichardGretton (4406) - Leicestershire, ENGLAND - JAN 28, 2007
Bottle. Black beer with a light aroma. The aroma is weirdly herbal, and the flavour is quite medicinal and sweetly alcoholic. Overall a weird beer.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Miguel (1181) - Saint-Ours, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 28, 2007
…dition 2006. Robe brune aux reflets rouges surmontťe díune mousse beige mince qui persiste. ArŰmes de canelle, de cerises et de muscade. Saveurs de canelle, de muscade, de cerises et de caramel.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
JMFG (1587) - Florida, USA - JAN 27, 2007
2006 bottle. Poured dark brown with a ruby tint when held up to a light. Aroma is a meld of cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe some juniper or licorice. Subtle cinnamon and nutmeg tones in the taste with a mild, dry hop and orange rind finish. The palate was a bit thinner than I expected.

3.1
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
alexanderj (3405) - Branson, Missouri, USA - JAN 27, 2007
Based on the overall rating, was expecting it to be much better. Aroma was of spices, and some light malt. Taste was much of the same, but was watery and thin. Overall it was decent, but wonít be in any rush to try it again.

2.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 8/20
cole45 (21) - USA - JAN 26, 2007
The spice is WAY, WAY, WAY TOO MUCH. Iím just glad I didnít spring for the magnum they had at the local beer shop.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
robinvboyer (3491) - Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 26, 2007
2005 edition very piney,and spicy. with a tad bit of sweetness thrown in. very interesting, definetly a sipper. dont think ill have it again.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Beerdedone (2933) - Croydon, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 23, 2007
2006 bottle sampled with Stegosaurus. Pours brown with a tan head. Aroma of spices, fruit, and molasses. The flavor is fruit, spices, molasses. Good beer.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - JAN 23, 2007
2006 Edition. Pours dopplebock-like, dark brown and clear with garnet highlights. Head is just smaller than average, fizzy and frothy, and beige; surprisingly it is somewhat lasting. Nose is full of spices; vanila bean, spruce, light chocolate, and mint bubblegum; not expected but weird and intriguing. Very similar flavor, spruce needles, light chocolate, toasted bread, and that mint bubblegum note still. Nice but better as an aroma than a flavor. Bitterness is fairly low. Palate is medium-light, lively, and a bit slick in texture. Finishes with lightly burnt toast, faint coffee, and a little anise. What a weird take on a winter beer; not bad, just unique and strangely inticing. One of those beers that is hard to hate, but hard to really like a whole lot, but very hard to rate. I had my friends try it and they all just looked at me with a dumb face; no complaints, no real compliments...

3.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
mansquito (4054) - Nueva York, New York, USA - JAN 22, 2007
The version from the year 2006. The beer pours a nice dark brown colour with a thick, tan, moldable head. The smell is not very pronounced and I could at no time detect exactly what it smelled like, though two of my friends mentioned mint bubblegum. As for the taste, it is complex at worst. There is really a lot going on in this beer. Iím not going to bother identifying whatever spice goes where, but just mention that the finish is definately chocolate. I have no idea what they threw into this beer, but at the end of the day it made for a quality, full-bodied ale.


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