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RATINGS: 2040   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MrBunn (2643) - The Wet Side of a Dry Town, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 29, 2007
Bottle. 2006 vintage. Pour is dark brown with a little translucence around the edges. One finger khaki head on top. It seemed to be a little thicker than I expected on the pour... remember thinking it looked a little syrupy. Aromas are pleasant and full... Cinnamon and toffee dominate, but there is a lot of spicy (anise and molasses?) stuff that I’m too impatient to figure out. Flavor is excellently balanced and develops well. Very earthy and lots of spicing make this interesting. It doesn’t have the syrupy mouthfeel that I thought it might. The cinnamon and toffee come through with the toffee flavoring having a little sharp note to it that borders on molasses. Very nice.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
gwpom (297) - Akron, New York, USA - MAR 24, 2007
12 oz bottle compliments of beerlord. Haven’t had one of their special ales before, I was surprised at how dark it poured, almost looking like a porter. The aroma and flavor dispelled that quick enough, and the one flavor that came through quickest, which I had a hard time identifying at first, was carmel. I know there are a mixture of other flavors in here too, and from the looks of other reviews here they are harder to identify. Over all though a very tasty, unique blended brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Headbanger (3720) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - MAR 22, 2007
UPDATED: JAN 12, 2014 ’06 bottle- A dark brown body with a nice tan head with an aroma of nutmeg, spices , and malt. Taste of nothing on the front end and the it builds to the middle with the spices followed by a dark malt and caramel taste and then finishes with a burnt malt flavor. I wish they would change the recipe every year or alter it more than they are currently. A solid x-mas brew. ’07 Bottle(3/08)-A dark brownish/amber with a nice tight tan head which emits an aroma of various spices including cinnamon, cloves, and some ginger. Taste of this full bodied brew comes across with all these spices, roasted malt, coffee, slight hops, and finishes with a slight bitterness. Also, seems a little watered down form previous years but still a decent tasty brew. Same score as ’06. ’08 bottle 7/19/09 (Binny’s Naperville)-Pours a dark brown with a huge tan head and an aroma of spices, malt, and prunes. Taste of cinammon, spices, malt, prune, roasted malt, and a dryness. This full bodied brew’s year is still very tasty. 7/3/7/3/16 ’12 Vintage 1/4/13 (Trader Joe’s Naperville)-Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma of spices, malt, and dried fruit. Taste of the same with a dryness and bitterness on the back end. This full bodied brew is again rather tasty and seems a bit better than previous. 7/3/7/3/16 ’13 Vintage 1/12/14 (Trader Joe’s Naperville)-40° in Lager Glass-Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma of sweetness and spices. Taste of the same with bitterness coming in. this medium bodied brew is the same as previous years. 7/3/7/3/15

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
pivo (2650) - GERMANY - MAR 20, 2007
Spicy nutmeg nose, dark brown ruby color, low tight head. Sweet honey malt, cinnamon spices too. Big and complex with dark fruit tastes and spices. Alcohol comes through too, making this brandy-like at times.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
505 (271) - Echo Park, California, USA - MAR 19, 2007
Mild aroma, nice balance of hops and malts, dark fruits. Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Flavor is quite nice. Complex with dark fruits, licorice, a slight tartness, bitter up front, with a sweet finish. Relatively full bodied. Not bad.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
BigBeer45 (1389) - Michigan, USA - MAR 17, 2007
Bottle, poured a dark ruby, caramel, nutmeg, coriander spice scents with malt and dark malt fragrances, faint licorice and coffee, some cloves and anise in the nose, little pepper fragrances, malt and dark malt flavors with some coffee, faint nutmeg and licorice flavors, I did not enjoy this beer, I think it is because of the licorice flavor which I am not fond of.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
StompBrockmore (316) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 16, 2007
UPDATED: MAR 17, 2007 12oz. bottle - pours very dark brown with ruby highlights and a light brown, caramel head leaving elegant lacing in the glass. Aroma is very malty, fruity and tart, somewhat sweet. Reminded me of many traditional English dark ales, actually, but with notes of chocolate and molasses. Flavour however is a kick in the ass, a very complex array on the palate. Starts off with some sweet chocolate, spruce, lots of spice that I can’t put my finger on. Finishes with toffee and chocolate, along with some sweet maltiness and light vanilla. The aftertaste is long and delicious. This is a very unique, complex and satisfying beer. Great!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
VeloVampire (625) - Parkdale, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 15, 2007
12 oz bottle, 2006 edition - pours dark, dark red with a little white head that leaves rather quickly. Beautiful aroma of dark fruits, prunes, sour cherries, molasses, and some sweet malt. Flavour is more of the same, although a bit too carbonated, making the beer at times feel like a Dr. Pepper or something. Yeah, kind of poppish at first, but as the glass warms, this fades. Dark pine sap notes and some intriguing exotic spice, and a bit of tar as well. Good, very good. Bitter finish. Very nice on a cold winter’s eve.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
TheRimmer (483) - Florida, USA - MAR 13, 2007
Pinecones, cloves, cinnamon nose. Pine, sweet taste with plenty of spice. Finishes with bittersweet chocolate, some tartness. Smells and tastes like christmas. However a Florida christmas smells like tequila, vomit, and pork. Brew that up next year.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
fonefan (42424) - VestJylland, DENMARK - MAR 11, 2007
Bottle. Clear amber / brown color with a small virtually none lacing off-white head. Aroma is modereate to heavy malty, licorice , dried fruit, vintage, alcohol. Flavor is moderate to heavy sweet and light bitter with a average duration and dry finish. Body is medium, texture is oily, carbonation is soft.

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