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RATINGS: 1975   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 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
chef201atc (261) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - DEC 20, 2006
Deep, deep brown pour that light barely penetrates. Topped with a frothy dark tan head that dissipates quickly. Great nose – ginger bread cookies and sweet dried fruit. I could smell this all night! Palate is somewhat thin and mildly carbonated. Taste is more bitter than the nose suggested. Some of the ginger comes through in the flavor. Has a nice dry finish.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
chimpscampee (566) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 20, 2006
I don’t know if aniseed and corianderar are part of the spicing but whateverit is it is gross. I taste cranberry more than cherry. Unbalanced with too much malt. Syrupy and a bit cloying. Yuck.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rune (9661) - Tromsø, NORWAY - DEC 20, 2006
355ml bottle, vintage 2005, bought at Ølbutikken in Copenhagen a year ago. I suppose one year aging in the cellar has enhanced the flavour. Pours a yellow-brownish head over a deep, rusty brown body. The smell is rather weak but dark fruit offset by vanilla can be detected. Rich and complex taste of aniseed, dark malty sweetness, black coffee and spicies (a pepper note). The beer finishes off with crisply bitterness. Medium palate (20.12.2006).

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
grease (42) - Reno, Nevada, USA - DEC 20, 2006
An annual disappointer, the spices are always way too much in this beer. To Anchor’s credit, age can work wonders on some years. I had the pleasure of multiple vertical tastings of 20+ year-old to near-current bottles, and there were some real winners in the pile. 2006 has assertive spruce and other holiday spices, but not quite as intense as the last several years. Still, one bottle a year usually does it for me. Worthy of setting aside to follow the maturation.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
mocarmel (48) - Fortville, Indiana, USA - DEC 20, 2006
Nice even flavor. Taste like traditional anchor steam that has been malted up a bit. Slightly chocolate/vanilla overtones.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
brigg (562) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 19, 2006
(bottle) Dark mahogany body with thick brown head. Aroma has chocolate, cherry, spices, and is moderately sweet. Taste is medium sweet with a hint of fruit (cherry, among others); rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Light to medium body but leaving a mouth-coating film afterwards.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
dirkules (629) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 19, 2006
2005 bottled at beer bistro. Dark brown / black pour with a full malty and sweet smell. Even more prevalent in the flavour. Not quite as enticing as the Traquair. Could use a bit of restraint. But the beer quality to it is still anchor special. Clean and crisp. And it does the job getting you drunk.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
savitska (163) - Smyrna, Georgia, USA - DEC 19, 2006
The darker of the two beers I drank, the second I drank and the second in my heart. Malty, syrupy and spicy (think aniseed and coriander, not chile peppers). Worth a pint if you want something new and different and you like "holiday" flavorings.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GTown (127) - New York, USA - DEC 19, 2006
Draught. Pours dark brown with off-white head. Minimal lacing. Aroma is plum and raisins. Brown sugar, vanilla and coffee flavors mixed with some chocloate. Not as good as year’s past. Middle of the road Christmas offering. Aging would probably enhance the rating.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
porterhouse (1580) - Boothbay, Maine, USA - DEC 19, 2006
(Bottle (2006) from <A HREF=http://www.ratebeer.com/Place/maine/augusta/l target=blank>Lou’s Beverage Barn) Soft and spicy but kind of sour...Pours dark birch beer brown with a tall tan head. Aroma is mostly spice, although I’m not sure what (cinnamon?, clove?). Mouthfeel soft and smooth. Scant patches of lacing. Flavor predominately mirrors the spiciness of the aroma. Malty but not really sweet. A pleasant, quality brew but there was a sourishness that kind of threw me. Also was getting some soapiness in the finish.

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