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RATINGS: 2050   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only 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. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons appears born anew.

Editor’s 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.


3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
riversideAK (6149) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - OCT 4, 2007
2005 version from Hollingshead Deli. Dark brown beer with a small velvetty tan head. This beer smells like nutmeg, fruit cake, and egg nog. Flavor is mostly bitter with some roast, some nutmeg, and some egg nog. Is this pretty much the porter with some spices thrown in?

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
yayforbeer (753) - Orange Park, Florida, USA - OCT 3, 2007
2006 version. Two 12oz bottles purchased at European Street Café. Clear dark brown beer with a light tan head. Aroma is nice and light with spices and rumcake. Full bodied beer. Flavor is good, with dark malt, spicy and nutty. A bit of chocolate and coffee appear, along with a tingly astringency from the hops. Lacks focus, the flavors go wildly in different directions. Bounces between nut brown ale, porter, stout, and spice/vegetable ale. It’s a decent brew and reasonably enjoyable to drink, but not spectacular enough to make you want to go back and buy more. Feels like an immature sibling to the Anchor Porter which I think is one of America’s most classic and noteworthy beers.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Zinister (1423) - Houston, Texas, USA - OCT 2, 2007
2006 bottle from KAggie97. Whoop Whoop! Pours a great dark brown with thin tan head. Nose of bread, spiced fruits, pumpkin bread and mulled spiced. Flavor is china cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted coffee and some nutty notes as well. A bit carbonated compared to the flavor, but still a very nice beer that reminds me of a spiced porter...thanks KAggie!

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
tjthresh (1867) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - SEP 25, 2007
2005. 12 ounce bottle from my SS Summer 07
Pours a dark brown with some burgandy highlights. Pours with a rich, stiff light brown head that fades to a light layer.
The aroma comes off like a Christmas fruitcake. Some spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice), some bready, cakey aromas, and fruity (chreery, and grapes).
Lots of the same flavors.
Sort of a medium/light body. Light carbonation. Dry finish.
A fine beer, and a craft brew classic.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
ilovedarkbeer (2712) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - SEP 25, 2007
2005 Vintage. Pours a browish red color with a tan foamy head. Smells of sugar and spice (and everything nice.... sorry had to say that) Tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and malt. Good beer very original....is this beer good for aging? Please message me if you know!

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Miksu (5047) - Jyväskylä, FINLAND - SEP 13, 2007
1.5 l bottle, 2006 vintage. Dark reddish brown color with thick creamy tan head. Sweetish and parfumy aroma with notes of cinnamon, clove, licorice and charcoal. Dryer woody and malty taste with licorice and bready notes. Long woody finish with charcoal. The yeast sediment makes the palate softer.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 6, 2007
UPDATED: APR 30, 2009 Re-rate. 2005 vintage, aged 4 years. Well, what can I say? My original rating was due to a combination of factors. 1) My palate wasn’t ready for the complexities that this beer offers, and 2) this beer really comes into its own after some aging. Pouring dark mahogany brown in color, with a foamy tan head, this brew leaves sticky, intricate lacing behind. Aromas include dry chocolate malt, dark caramel, various dark fruits, and a myriad of spices that have softened considerably over the years. Vanilla and perhaps a hint of smoky molasses make an appearance, along with some hazelnut and an overall candyish overtone to the fruits. Flavors mirror the nose, only perhaps a bit more chocolate forward than expected. The aggressive spices that plague this beer when fresh are gone, their earthy notes settling in nicely and joining the rest of the beer harmonically. Medium bodied and perfectly, softly carbonated, the mouthfeel is perhaps just a bit too thin. I’m glad I gave this brew a second chance, because it really is nice with some significant age on it.

Original rating. Courtesy boboski. 2006 Vintage. Very dark mahogany body that is borderline black. Small tan head that settles to a thin film. Droopy, spotty lacing coats the glass momentarily but eventually rejoins the body. The aroma is striking, but not in a good way. I picked up bubblegum, banana, spiced rum cake, and dark roasted caramel. The flavor is heavy fruitcake up front, with sour dark fruits, nutmeg, and perhaps a little rootbeer. Medium body, and a moderately astringent, unpleasant finish. This beer is all over the map. Its part Porter (body), Stout (appearance), Hefe (bubblegum and banana), and Spice/Herb/Vegetable (everything else). Complex, for sure, but misdirected. Its a mess, in my honest opinion. Borderline drain pour.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
drawde (115) - San Francisco, California, USA - SEP 2, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 24, 2007 2006 Pours near opaque dark red. Huge coffee-colored head. Aroma is spicy cinnamon. Flavor is malty with a lot of cinnamon, peppermint, a spice kick and a lasting bitterness. Really nice and would go well by a fire.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
kp (10884) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - SEP 1, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 31, 2012
Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2005
Mode: Bottle
Source: Green’s, Atlanta
Vintage: 2005
Aroma: good fresh spicy aroma on top of slightly sweet malt
Body: light body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, mellow spices, great fresh like a well aged osa, may not age well

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2005
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2005
Appearance: very dark with ruby edges, big tan head
Aroma: nice cinamon and allspice aroma
Body: creamy body
Flavor: big spice flavor on a rich malt base, lots of chocolate, light bitterness, very well balanced for a fresh osa

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2006
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2005
Aroma: spice aroma have muted a bit, the cinamon has faded letting the allspice take the lead
Flavor: lots of bitter spicy flavor, hint of tartness, upon warming the chocolate aroma shows up but the flavor is still spice dominated, body is thinning out a bit as well

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2005
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head, streaks of lace
Aroma: spiced dark chocolate aroma, light minty spicyness
Flavor: sweet minty flavor, dark chocolate, light spicyness, earthy bitterness, touch of roasted

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2006
Mode: Bottle
Source: Pop’s
Vintage: 2006
Appearance: clear dark burgandy, fine tan head, specks of lace
Aroma: strong spruce aroma with a fleeting hint of mint
Body: body is a bit thin initially then becomes creamy
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor balanced by lots of spicey herbal character, only a touch of the traditional cinamon and nutmug but ginger is coming on strong, long light bitter finish from the spices
Overall: noticable difference between the 06 and the prior two years in a vertical lineup - much milder on the malt and a change from holiday spices to more herbal

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 26, 2006
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2006
drinking a bottle by itself a couple of days later reveals nothing new, just a lot of rich chocolate and the herbal spices to balance, may end up aging a bit better than the last couple of years

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2006
Mode: draft
Source: Wild Wing, Marietta
Vintage: 2006
lots of nice tan lace, chocolate gets even richer on draft, showing a bit more of the traditional spices although the herbal character still dominates, the more I drink it the more that this years version grows on me, like moss on a pine tree

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: December 12, 2006
Mode: draft
Source: taco mac
Vintage: 2006
the mint is making another brief showing in the flavor,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2006
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head, streaks of lace
Aroma: dark chocolate aroma, light spices, touch of sweet pine
Flavor: dark chocolate flavor, balancing milk chocolate sweetness, light spicyness adds depth, hint of pine
Overall: this is the first subtle one of the batch working back from 2012, the others have retained much for of the Christmas spirit

Aroma: 6/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 25, 2007
Mode: Bottle
Source: Sherlocks, GA
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: opaque dark brown, wispy beige head, drippy sheets of lace
Aroma: chocolate aroma with a touch of sweetness balanced with spruce and peppery spices
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, touch of sweetness brings out the chocolate, nice spicy balance with a nutmeg and pepper character, touch of fresh green spruce, bitterness rises out of the spices for a light lasting flavorfull finish
Overall: continues the trend of dumbing down every year but makes it really tasty fresh

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2007
Mode: draft
Source: taco mac
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: dark brown with clear ruby edges, dense tan head, thick lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate aroma with plenty of fresh spruce
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, nice malty sweetness is well balanced with the spices
Overall: draft and bottle are very close this year

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 19, 2010
Mode: bottle
Source: tasting
Vintage: 2007
sweet chocolate, touch of spruce, light spicyness,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: opaque brown, short lived tan head
Aroma: spicy chocolate and clove aroma, touch of spruce
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, light spruce, light background spicyness, spruce appears to add a sweetness

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 8/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 18, 2008
Mode: Bottle
Source: Sherlocks, GA
Vintage: 2008
Appearance: dark brown with ruby edges, fine tan head, lots of drippy lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate aroma, lots of different strong spices this year including sweet spruce
Flavor: sweet chocolate and caramel flavor, lots of balancing spices, touch of cinamon, allspice, long bitter finish
Overall: spices are mellower in the flavor than the aroma, a return to to more agressive

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 19, 2008
Mode: draft
Source: summits woodstock
Vintage: 2008
Aroma: sweet chocolate and pine aroma is a bit more subdued on draft
Flavor: richer and sweeter chocolate flavor on draft

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: March 13, 2009
Mode: draft
Source: summits woodstock
Vintage: 2008
draft is actually getting a bit more agressive as it ages, sweet pine is coming out stronger,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2008
rich chocolate porter, spruce and a growing earthyness remaining from the original spicyness,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 16, 2009
Mode: Draft
Source: Summits - Woodstock
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: opaque dark brown with ruby edges, creamy tan head, spidery lace
Aroma: sweet spicy aroma, sweet chocolate, pine, complex array of spices
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, caramel and vanilla sweetness, lots of balancing spicyness, mellow spruce hangs tight and becomes a dominant character, hint of cinnamon, balancing bitterness follows the spices
Overall: a bit more of the caramel sweetness this year changes up the chocolate character and puts it ahead of the spices except for the spruce that comes on strong in the end

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2009
Mode: bottle
Source: hop city
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: clear dark brown, lasting creamy beige head, drippy lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate and spruce aroma, lots of spice and cinamon
Body: creamy body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, balancing spicyness, touch of spruce and pine

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: opaque dark brown, creamy tan head
Aroma: rich chocolate aroma, herbal mint, milky sweetness, spicy
Body: creamy body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, spices have muddled a bit, minty spruce hanging in there

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 25, 2010
Mode: Bottle
Source: Total Wine, GA
Vintage: 2010
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head
Aroma: big chocolate and spruce aroma, black pepper and sweet licorice, allspice
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, lots of spices, plenty of spruce brings out a sweetness, a bit of undesirable bitterness emerges from the spices

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 6/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 13/20
Rating: 3.3/5.0
Drinkability: 6/10
Score: **+ /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2011
Mode: Draft
Source: Taco Mac, Woodstock
Vintage: 2011
Appearance: black, creamy beige head, heavy lace
Aroma: big sweet pine and cinnamon aroma
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, cinnamon and nutmeg, touch of traditional spruce, caramel sweetness yeilds to a light ginger
Overall: less of the tree and more of the traditional spices this year, biggest divergence in years

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2012
Mode: Bottle
Source: Hop City, Atlanta
Vintage: 2012
Appearance: opaque dark brown, frothy tan head
Aroma: sweet spiced chocolate aroma, lots of chocolate, spices, cinnamon, clove, spruce, sweet licorice
Flavor: sweet chocolate flavor, caramel sweetness, mellow blend of spices, touch of minty spruce, peppery, light earthyness follows the spices

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: December 12, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: tmac kennesaw
Vintage: 2012
the spruce is bigger and fresher on draft, spices are bigger and bolder as well, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet chocolate provids the backing base the the complex array of Christmas character,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 6/10
Score: *** /4

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
DougShoemaker (3147) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 27, 2007
Spicey nose, cinnamon, nutmeg and pitfruit too, deep auburn, pours a large firm toffee head, very pretty lace. Big candied malt flavour, caramel, underlying spices are cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, some woody notes, nutty also. Medium bodied, well balanced, pleasantly bitter. Very good.


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