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RATINGS: 2050   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 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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
sfontain (851) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 29, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 1, 2008 1/1/2008: 12 oz. bottle. Our Special Ale 2007. Dark brown pour; very minimal head that dissipates into a tiny ring. Aroma of caramel, dark fruits, and spices including cloves and nutmeg. Flavor of brown sugar, spices, caramel; very light roast. Medium-bodied with very little carbonation after half an hour. Better than 2006 if I recall, but nowhere near the 2003 version.
7/4/7/3/15 = 3.6

12/29/2006: 12 oz. bottle, Our Special Ale 2006. Firstly, I canít believe I somehow missed the 2005 offering. Secondly, why the hell are the latest years lumped together into one beer? Pour is very dark brown with a hint of garnet when held to a light; the pour gives a short-lived, creamy, tan head that dissipates into a medium-sized ring around the top of the beer; a small amount of head can be revived by swirling. Aroma is spicy with cinnamon, cloves, licorice, bubble gum, and caramel. Flavor is worse than the 2004 beer, which was worse than the 2003 beer (why is this beer getting worse every year?); surprisingly nondescript and fairly sour; cinnamon, cloves, malt, and rotting vegetables (nice); more hops than previous years if I recall correctly. I canít get over the sourness of this or the lack of the complexity we saw in previously years. Palate is smooth if a little light. I rate this beer perhaps more seriously than I rate any other beer because it was mindblowing in í03; this isnít a bad beer, but itís by far the least outstanding Our Special Ale Iíve had to date. I will be cellaring about 4 of these, and Iíll give it another try next year.
8/4/7/3/15: 3.7

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
jezmez68 (404) - Chesterton, Indiana, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Just okay. I wanted to note that ratebeer totally pussed out by not including a separate 2005 and 2006 version of this beer, but merely has 2005 and later. Way to mail it in, ratebeer. If itís a different beer every year, we should honor it, even if it is only half-assed. Enjoy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 8/20
stison42 (318) - Blacksburg, Virginia, USA - DEC 28, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 21, 2007 Black. Lightly spiced, a bit more spice would have added to the beer a lot. Only an Ok beer.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
bitbucket (2165) - Kirkland, Washington, USA - DEC 26, 2006
On tap at Beveridge Place Pub. Pours a hazy dark copper with a lasting yellow head. Sweet taste with a dry finish, with lots of spice along the way, which almost makes it taste like a pumpkin beer.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
swanmann (734) - Norman, Oklahoma, USA - DEC 26, 2006
2006 12oz bottle poured like molasses with an orange tinted tan head. Moderate retention. Definite soy aroma, heavily roasted. Flavor is heavily roasted malts, smokey, no real bitters to speak of, but very mild sweet finish. Full, mellow palate.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Panzuriel (1952) - Westerville, Ohio, USA - DEC 25, 2006
Dark brown beer with a full tan foam. Nose is of spices and maybe a hint of evergreen. Taste is more spice and evergreen and a bit of coffee as well. body is full. Finish is dry and warming.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ingevara (904) - SWEDEN - DEC 25, 2006
2006. Tempting magnum bottle, promising fragrance, high long lasting head. Fullbodied maltiness, balanced bitterness, a little smoke but not dominant. Full of spicies and not too much sugar or alcohol. STurde companion to any christmas meal.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
RichJ7 (1175) - Cullman, Alabama, USA - DEC 25, 2006
2006. Very dark brown pour with ruby highlights and a half-inch tan head. Malty aroma with some dark spices. Flavor is nice and rich: roasted malt, sweet with a ginger bite. Nice full mouthfeel. Very nice, spicy little Christmas ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
pnista (1007) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - DEC 24, 2006
2006 bottle. Pours a dark dark brown, into porter territory, with a light tan head, healthy at first, dying back eventually. The nose is lightly sweet, but overwhelmingly dominated by ginger. Cinnamon (mostly), nutmeg, allspice/cloves seem to pop up too. Not necessarily christmasy, but certainly festive. The palate is creamy and smooth, feeling like velvet in the mouth, with decent viscosity and nice levels of carbonation. The flavors are truly surprising. I hate spice beers as a general rule, but this is downright pleasant!. Ginger and cinnamon take center stage over a constrained but obvious sweetness. Also in there is a nice burnt roast characteristic, that makes this beer not overburdened by its spice complement. The finish is all sweet roasty malt with some spices, while the aftertaste is where the cinnamon and ginger come back. The ginger in this beer is not nearly so offensive as it is in most beers, and thatís a very good thing. I could actually drink more of this, and I have 5 more bottles!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
tcruicks (282) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - DEC 24, 2006
2006. Very very brown in color with a medium-small tan head. A lot of ginger in the aroma, also super spicy, sweet and some malt (even a faint amount of chocolate). I thought it tasted like bread and lots of spices and roast- but not so much of the ginger in the flavor. Its one of the better spice/herb/vege beers that Iíve tried so far! I initially rated this a 3.4, but bumped the overall up one because its so good in the style.

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