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RATINGS: 1826   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.54   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 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.


3.4
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
rcmatthews (10) - USA - AUG 14, 2006
UPDATED: AUG 15, 2006 Aroma is like Christmas. Cinnamon and clove especially. Had this wishing it was Christmas time (its too hot!!!!) and got exactly what I was looking for. THere is however, something lacking in the flavor component. Its not that it tastes bad, its just not incredible. There is a nice gingerbread like aftertaste

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ty5592 (1018) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 3, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 22, 2006 Very dark with massive aroma. Smell such as clove, molasses, cinnimon,pine, and ginger are very noticable. The taste is malty and very spicey. Not something I would drink all the time, but good around the holidays.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MiP (13596) - Sønderborg, DENMARK - AUG 3, 2006
Bottle. Very nice and powerful malty aroma. Very nice, dark brown colour. Very small head. Malty flavour, a bit of a citric note. Creamy mouthfeel. Very nice, but the citric notes give me a feeling of beer brewed on maize.

3.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Drew (2411) - Kent, Ohio, USA - JUL 18, 2006
Aroma is fruity with plenty of spices - an interesting blend of piney hops and clove and ginger. Taste is raisin/plum, gingerbread, and a bit of roasty chocolate near the end along with some spruce.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Dogbrick (7971) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUL 3, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 19, 2008 <b>2005 Magnum:</b> Deep dark brown color with a little red around the edges, with a thick beige head that retains well. Patchy lacing. Aroma of malt and pine, as well as some dark fruits. Pleasant flavor of roasted malts, spices (ginger mostly), and pine. The finish is spicy with some hops and a bit of chocolate. Solid, as with pretty much every year. It doesn’t seem like Anchor ever does anything too drastic to the recipe but that is fine.

<b>2006 Bottle:</b> This year’s version (sampled Oct 2007) is a dark reddish-brown color with a medium light beige head that dissipates pretty quickly. Speckled lacing. Spicy, malty aroma with some herbs. Medium, smooth body with nutmeg, fruit and earthy malt flavors. The finish is mildly spiced and short. Not quite as good as the previous year but still enjoyable. .

<b>2007 Bottle:</b> This year’s version (sampled Feb 2008) is dark mahogany with a thick beige head that lasts awhile. Pine and spices in the nose. Medium-bodied and smooth with pine, herbal hops and spice flavors. The finish is moderately bitter hops and leaves a dark fruit and spice aftertaste. Par for the course with previous years. .

<b>2008 Bottle:</b> Sample at the holiday beer tasting at Blacklick Wine & Spirits on 11/13/08. Pours dark brown with a medium khaki head that diminishes slowly. Stringy lacing. Aroma of malt and circus peanuts, plus some pine. Medium body with flavors of sweet malt and pine along with ginger and cinnamon. The finish is lightly spiced with a sweet aftertaste. Seems to have fallen off compared to past years.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Bov (9443) - Bienne, SWITZERLAND - JUN 26, 2006
very dark brown colour and a big creamy beige head; a ton of spices (as usual for those Anchor Christmas beers): cloves and ginger dominate; notes gingerbread; oily and medium-bodied; high carbonation, dryish spicy finish where some chocolaty notes appear - rich and tasty but not quite the way I like it

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jtxx (148) - san antonio, Texas, USA - JUN 24, 2006
Cloves and Cinn..very nice Christmas beer. Mild body. Creamy, black with thin white head.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
larsga (6179) - Oslo, NORWAY - JUN 19, 2006
Small light brown head over deep dark barely translucent red body. Deep, sweet aroma of hickory, cloves, cinnamon, and some paper. Notes of licorice. Taste is dark wood, some bitterness, and the aftertaste is a mix of licorice, wood, and tar. Surprisingly tart taste compared to the sweetness of the aroma. Interesting and complex; also quite challenging because of all the spices. Very well balanced for such a spicy beer. (0.355l bottle.)

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
IrishBoy (3824) - Bakersfield, California, USA - JUN 16, 2006
UPDATED: MAY 31, 2008 Parallel tasting of 2003, 2004 2005.. 6/16/06 2005 bottle; Nose is fruity and spicy with a raisiny note, Walnut body (same shade as 2004) with a little more and longer lasting head than the other two. Taste is malty with raisins, and cloves.8/4/8/4/16 4.0 2006 bottle 5/31/08; Nose of raisin pie with cloves, mutmeg, and cinnamon; black with a huge lightly lacing tan head; flavor of raisins, spiciness, and toffee notes; excellent with a lighly sweet, malty finish! 8/5/9/4/17 4.3

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
eaglefan538 (2886) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - JUN 7, 2006
A nice job by one of my more appreciated brewers. Poured a nice dark brown color on draft. Aroma is spicey with chocolate and light citrus. Flavor was much of the same, the chocolate background most interesting. Finished with a nice hop balance to the fairly rich maltiness. Spices prominent in the flavor profile. Pretty drinkable and for the relatively low holiday abv, this one gets much kudos. They did a lot with the flavor without swamping it with alcohol all over the place.


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