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RATINGS: 1823   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 Aleís 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.

Editorís 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.


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
egajdzis (5275) - Spring Mount, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 11, 2006
Poured a very dark brown (near opaque) color with a medium sized, tan, creamy head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of spices, pine, figs, mint, gingerbread, caramel malt, and chocolate. Taste roasty and spicey, with dark fruits, light wood, and some nuts as well. Thin mouthfeel.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
shadey (1879) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - FEB 8, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 5, 2007 2005 Vintage. Fresh. Dark red color with a very rich cream head. Beautiful lacing. Spicy malt aroma. Flavor is full of mild spice and beautiful full malt. Body is just right. Nice and smooth. A well done winter ale. 7/4/8/5/17
2006 Vintage. Fresh. Very dark pour. Brown. Head is a creamy tan ring. Aroma is spices, specifically nutmeg. Almost smells like a pumpkin ale. Earthly sweet nutmeg flavor. Definitely a nice holiday brew. A pleasure to consume.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
GarrettB (998) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 7, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 4, 2013 I had the Special Ale 2005 in the midst of many ďsame olí same olíĒ winter ale beers that I had cheap from the local liquor store as part of an eclectic variety pack. The general theme of the six pack had me believe that this fun little gem from Anchor would be like its consanguineous brothers in the other five slots. Not so. The beer did pour the regular dark stoutish color with a mocha lab color transparency, and had a similarly flat and unexciting head, but the aroma and taste were far from the resounding conformity the other beers had displayed. What set it apart was a well placed floral essence that fit into the darker melody of the beer with sartorial precision. All the familiar groupies were there; the broad shouldered and dower chocolate, the everymanís visage of malts, the peppy and somewhat obscure flow of fruits, and then thereís the new guy: an aromatic and potent fellow of a garden variety flavor. A flower one to be specific, and it makes the whole drink dark enough for to satisfy the testerone requisite, and floral to make it a good dark drink for an indoor feast. Now that I think about this, the flavor of this beer would fit in very well in the Redwall series of books. December 16th 2011 Tasting Notes Update - 2011 edition. Pillowy, tan and brown head. Brilliant aroma of blueberries, celery salt savoriness, and a salty gravity. Flavor is unpleasant. Muted, woodiness, underripe fruit. Sugar, but mostly ligneous wood flavor.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Quinten (1039) - zaandam, NETHERLANDS - FEB 7, 2006
very dark color, nice fruity and some bitterness, the rest is a complex part. Overall a very nice one!

2.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
bikesandbeers (547) - san diego, California, USA - FEB 6, 2006
poured a dark brown with almost now head. no carbonation either. Sweet and spicy nose, the flavor was the same. Cloves and nutmeg with hints of coffee. Cerrtainly one of the more unique beers Iíve tried, but this didnít quite sit right with me. Mouthfeel was the worst part. like drinking flat coke.

2.9
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
IslandHaole (1091) - Yokosuka-Shi, Kanagawa-Ken, JAPAN - FEB 5, 2006
Dark brown with a small tan head. Scent reminds me of that red Grenadine syrup used in tropical drinks mixed with the thin slices of ginger I get in sushi bars on the side. Sweet candy taste, Dr. Pepper, with wood, spices and a sprinkle of snuff. A dry finish and bitter follow. Rather thin feeling.

2.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
NachlamSie (2736) - Denver, Colorado, USA - FEB 1, 2006
bottle. Pours a deep red with not much of a head. The aroma is eggnog, some cedar, and some spiced candies. This isnít so bad initially, mostly of grains, cookies, nutmeg and some chalk, but there is a bubblegum flavor that compounds with each sip I take and becomes really annoying. After a while, itís all I notice. Maybe thatís because I hate bubblegum.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
lethe (177) - New York, USA - JAN 31, 2006
Dark brown pour with minimal white head. Nose is pleasing with a rush of chocolate, spice and bready malt. Palate is slightly sticky with heavy carbonation. Flavor is surprsingly close to a wheat (banana, clove) at first, followed by chocolate and gingerbread that finishes a little acrid and chewy. Pretty good overall with the flavors working up until the end when they become a bit harsh.

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Zeswaft (1361) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JAN 30, 2006
Very interesting beer. So many different aromas and flavors going on. Pours dark brown, almost black with a frothy light brown head. Aroma is spicy and pumpkiny and some type of fruits like grapes or raisins. Flavor is sweet, fruity and some hints of coffee and chocolate. It seems like they poured a bunch of different beers together.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Hollywoodt (239) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - JAN 30, 2006
Poured very dark brown. Aroma hinted of caramel, chocolate and spice. Flavor was all that plus a little cinnamon. I get this brew every year at the holidays, and am never disappointed. Get in my belly!


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