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RATINGS: 2046   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 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SamuraiArtist (292) - portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 22, 2007
Draft: Pours dark dark brown with a big white foamy head. Aromas of chocolate, malt and spruce. Flavor is slightly chocolatey but not roasty, subtle but noticeable spices. A little bitterness at the finish. Perhaps some minty like Northern Brewer hops.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
ElGaucho56 (394) - USA - JUL 20, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 2, 2007 2006 variety. Pours a opaque black with discernible brown/red facets, slight head. Xmas spices noticeable in all stages, on the nose, palate, and finish. Nutmeg, cinnamon, maybe ginger?, accompany medium body and hop bitterness, though no flavor, in the finish. Good stuff for the holidays. 2007 vintage seems even better balanced, rich and complex spices in great balance with sprucy hops. Delicious.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
thenick (766) - North Bellmore, New York, USA - JUL 18, 2007
Pours a deep brown to almost black with a lacy, tan head. Aroma is largely of nutmeg, with slight cinnamon characteristics as well. Taste is heavily nutmeg, though the beer becomes more complex as it travels across your tongue. I caught some vanilla, chocolate, and a slight citrus/hoppy characteristic as well. An excellent beer, a perfectly heavy companion while sitting next to a fire on a cold winter’s day.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
gunhaver (1030) - Tampa, Florida, USA - JUL 11, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 5, 2008 2006. Some fresh aromas, albeit a bit muted, including apple, chocolate, citrus. Pours lovely into the glass; dark brown, nice two fingers of head. Taste is light, with some vanilla, citrus, chocolate. Has a tiny tart bite at the end. Good beer.

2005 bottle, opened Feb/08. Pours black, but not pitch black. Red highlights. Very fluffy, comfy-looking tan head. Nice lacing. Ginger, coriander, zest, and chocolate in the nose. Very interesting. Malts, raisin, ginger, brown sugar, caramel, zest, molasses. Very smooth body, watery finish. Well-balanced. Enjoyed this more than ’06.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Padron4KM (790) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - JUL 7, 2007
2006 version.

Dark brown with a tan head. clumps of lace

Aroma is interesting and complex, roasty, chocolate, liquorice, prune, spice.

Flavor is along the same lines, but the liquorice stands out more, with a little vanilla in the finish.

Interesting beer, but the heavy liquorice makes it hard for me to drink more than one.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
adrian910ss (2558) - philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 6, 2007
2006 vintage. Pours a dark brown with red tints and a medium beige head. Xmas spicy aroma with hints of dark berries, dark bread, figs and black licorice. Taste is malty with hints of dark cherries, faint chocolate, black licorice and light xmas spices. Not bad, but nothing special either.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Papsoe (25063) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - JUL 4, 2007
(Bottle 35,5 cl) Vintage 2005. Pours a very dark brown with a reddish tint and a fine, light brown head. Very delicious aroma - spicy almost cola-like. Medium body with very roasted - but never burned - malt accents and some spices although they’re hard to pinpoint. The finish is dry. Lovely. 280607

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
LilKem (1213) - Marietta, Ohio, USA - JUN 25, 2007
mike and i picked up a huge ass bombr (50 fl. oz.) of the 06 for $12.99 in Little Rock a few weeks ago and are just getting around to drinking it. pours almost black with thick khaki colored head. smells like black licorice and cherry, with vanilla, oak, and hints of chocolate and spice. flavor is vry strange. stays with the black licorice theme with a lot of lemongrass and cucumber, with some green pepper and alfalfa. weird but good with carmel and vanilla and birch.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Svesse (7699) - Hässelby, SWEDEN - JUN 22, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 23, 2007 (Bottle, vintage 2006) Very dark brown colour with thick brown head leaving traces of lacing. Comlpex, roasted nose with chocolate, soy sauce, dark bread, coffee and notes of citrussy hops. Roasted, spicy taste with chocolate, dark bread and hints of juniper berries, followed by bitter notes of roasted coffee and, in the finish, notes of citrussy hops. Rather sweet, not overly hoppy, but with a balanced bitterness in the finish. Medium body, smooth mouthfeel. Maybe a bit more balanced (and less adventurous) than some of the earlier versions. Nice and tasty (even when sampled on a Midsummers eve).

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
nearbeer (4718) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - JUN 22, 2007
UPDATED: JAN 3, 2009 Bottle, 2006 vintage. Dark brown black and nearly opaque. Huge lasting head. Aroma is blackberries and prunes boiled in wine and dry spices, with a dab of cream on top! Initial flavor is chocolate, raisins, figs and berries. Turns dryer and earthier towards the middle, and finishes with some sour and tart berry-wine flavors. Lots of other flavors; in many ways tastes like a mild (alcohol-wise) Belgian abbey ale. Palate is thick and mostly smooth. Nice buy at an $8.49/six fire-sale in June 07. Update: 07 version is similarly nice. Update: 2008 version is annoyingly spicier and much less tasty.


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