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RATINGS: 1972   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
WISEGUY572 (1377) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 18, 2006
Nothing to complain about, but no longer seems remarkable. Is it that everyone makes a moderately spiced beer now, so that a little holiday spicing in a sweet dark beer no longer is especially novel? Is it that the spruce bough flavor is toned down this year, replaced with a very slightly nutty, very slightly piney taste and mouth feel? Great dark brown pour, huge dark tan head, nice spice in the nose, good dark malts. I would have liked either something more remarkable ... like the old spruce taste ... or more hops. Maybe just overtaken by other holiday offerings? Probably the 2006 should not be combined with the 2005 on the ratings.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
morrdt (715) - Dirty Mo’, North Carolina, USA - DEC 18, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 28, 2007 2006 edition. Pours a dark brown color with a think cream head. Aromas of cinnamon, vanilla and a bit of pine. Flavor is unique to say the least, with a tinge of bitterness on the finish. Not bad, but may be a lot better with some aging. 2007 Edition/b> This edition is a huge improvement from last year’s version. This is very drinkable. I would make a case that this year’s version should have its own ratings, as the ’06 version wasn’t all that great.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
kevd193213 (946) - Hope Valley, Rhode Island, USA - DEC 18, 2006
This was for the 2006 edition. Dark brown pour, medium light brown fizzy head. Aroma of pine and soy sauce. Flavor is the same, with some faint sours and fruits. Nice finish. Different, but pretty good celebration ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
lukin013 (215) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 17, 2006
2006 bottle. Mahogany-brown clor with thick tan head. Aroma of cinnamon, brown sugar and some toasted malt. Flavor is similar but a little over-hopped with a sticky, soapy finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
joshwilfong (1200) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - DEC 17, 2006
nice dark mahogany appearance with a light tan head. flavor of plums with a touch of sourness. could use some time to mature. pretty good, nice holiday brew

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
tcfishler (65) - USA - DEC 17, 2006
Deep mahogany-brown with a good-sized, fairly sticky tan head. Aromas are roasted but at the same time high-toned, with anise, vanilla, and even a hint of soap. Moderately heavy carbonation and a medium body, with a suggestion of acidity from front to back. Flavor profile is less roasted than the nose, with more fruitiness, spice and some yeastiness too. Ends tangy and ever so slightly astringent. Doesn’t suit my tastes nearly as perfectly as Anchor Steam or Liberty, but still a very characterful brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
DuffLover (111) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - DEC 16, 2006
2006 from a 12 oz. bottle. Aroma of nutmeg, ginger, and other spices. Appearance is dark brown with a light tan head. Flavor is spices, black courants, and some toasted malt. Palate is medium. Overall a great seasonal - much better than the overally spiced 2005.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Capa (2425) - Kitsap, Washington, USA - DEC 16, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 12, 2007 2006. Spicey. Aroma was of roasted malts, fruity sweetness, and plenty of spice. Flavor was of sweet roasted malts but was a little overpowered by the spices. Finished slightly bitter. Good, a little to spicey for my tastes.
(Dec. 16, 2006 - 7-3-6-3-13-3.2)

2007 version: very dark brown with a massive, beige head. intense spice in the aroma. Nutmeg, clove, ginger, malts, dough, molasses, and a touch of raisin. Body is a tad thiner than expected, not bad though. The spices power through in the flavor. Cloves, nutmeg, toasted malts, cinnamon, and a little molasses that seems to be covered by the spices. The spices get a little annoying in the long finish. While I’m generally not a fan of overly spiced beers I found this to be enjoyable anyhow. Rating adjusted to the ’07 version.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
milewide (1823) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - DEC 16, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 10, 2007 2006 batch. Mostly roasted malt aroma and flavor---but with a strange spice addition which I didn’t enjoy. No hops as far as I can tell. Liked 2007 better---more malt richness and less spice. 2007 batch was better. Less spices and more malt. New rating 3.2.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
MarkBarnes (394) - Waterville, New York, USA - DEC 15, 2006
Dec. 15, 2006. 12 oz. bottle of 2006 vintage sampled Dec. 8 at Farm 255, Athens GA. Drank this one in dimly-lit conditions at my sister-in-law’s wedding party, and am now referring to hastily scrawled notes on the back of a business card: "Raisiny, hoppy, frothy, full-body, lasting malt palate, dark fruit, 18/20, aroma-avg." Sounds like it was pretty good! ;-) (Haven’t met an Anchor product I didn’t like -- a lot.)

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