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RATINGS: 1826   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 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.


3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Foxbush (1264) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 31, 2005
This is Anchor’s Christmas and New Year’s version for 2005. The head was thin and disappeared quickly. The color was a deep brown. The flavors were of sweet malt. There were hints of spice and finished with some bitterness. Happy New Year!!

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jercraigs (7782) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 31, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 8, 2009 2008-12-06. Dark brown body with a modest khaki head. (3+) Sweet malt aroma, spice is well rounded, nutmeg? (7+) Sweetish flavour has a malty base, nutmeg, spice. (7+) Average plus palate. (3+) Pretty much how I remembered it from previous years! 7+/3+/7+/3+/15-16 = 3.5 <i>2008 Vintage. On tap at Coles, Buffalo</i>

2006 Vintage. Bottle at Volo. Very dark brown-black body with a smallish creamy tan head (3+). Spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon) and sweet malt in the aroma. Flavour is similar to aroma, with the addition of ovaltine/cocoa notes. Nutmeg, very light anise, sweet malt middle. Average palate. Pleasant, but as always with this one I find it hard to wrap my palate around the melange of spice flavours. 7/3+/3/7/14 - 3.4 <P> 2005 Vintage. December 2005. Draft @ Coles in Buffalo. Black body with small creamy tan head. (3+) Sweet malt with abundant but mild spice notes in the aroma. Flavour has lots of nutmeg and something I called anise that may or may not be. Mild nutty notes at some points. Plenty of malt throughout. I enjoyed this a bit more than previous years, but there is still something unharmonious about the whole package that detracts from it for my tastes.6/4/6/3/14 - 3.3

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Kingsley (26) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 30, 2005
Tasted this alongside the 2003 versiuon, which seems to be the same recipe but vastly improved with aging. Dark ruby-chestnut in color, with a tan head. Strong aroma of clove and nutmeg, which comes through even more assertively in the taste. Flavor hits pretty hard in the early profile with clove, licorice, nutmeg, vanilla, hops, toffee, then the bottom drops out and the clove and licorice linger. A bit less malty than I’d like, although judging from the 2003 version +2 years, aging does the trick just fine. Drink one now and save the rest for future years.

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
raymow (813) - Bensalem, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 30, 2005
Had this years version on Christmas Eve while getting the presents ready under the tree. As usual, it was very enjoyable although I only had 1 bottle this year as opposed to the case that I bought last year. Good stuff to start a Christmas tradition with!

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
eve (240) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - DEC 30, 2005
Pours dark brown with thin beige head. Served too cold, but after I let it warm up a bit, a strong aroma of nutmeg, almost like eggnog. Taste was more nutmeg and gingerbread, Christmasey indeed. Some people at my table thought the spices were way overdone to the point of oddity but I found it satisfyingly assertive. This improved with every sip so by the end of the glass, I quite liked it.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Palidor19 (2936) - Brandon, Florida, USA - DEC 29, 2005
More on the fruity side and less on the X-mas side of taste. Still very good though. Taste a little tart with with fruit. Mild Chocolate notes. A real pleasure to drink

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
fly (1417) - austin, Tejas, Alabama, USA - DEC 29, 2005
Hmmm. I like this, but please help remind me why the years are separated. I know it gets a slightly new recipe each year, but as I’ve been drinking them for over 20 years I really can only remember a year or two that stood out from the rest and it might have had to do more with my pallet than the beer. Nice over all and will probably enjoy them for many more years despite tending not to like spiced ales.

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Hotspur2001 (44) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 29, 2005
Like drinking a Christmas Tree.......Dark Brown color, spicy aroma and full bodied taste, with a definite aroma and taste of pine, as well as hints of ginger, and the usual Christmas Ale spices and tastes. I think this one has more taste than the past Anchor Christmas Ales.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jazz88 (2551) - San Francisco, California, USA - DEC 29, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 23, 2009 Rating Bottle - 2005 (7 4 7 3 16). A very dark brown color with a brown head. A sweet gingerbread aroma and flavor with molasses, nutmeg, chocolate, spiced apples, caramel and earthy notes. The Our Special Ale always hits the spot. Rating #2 Bottle - 2006 (7 3 7 3 16). Brown color with a lush brown head. Black Licorice and anise flavor with a spiced malty flavor. Bottle - 2005 (consumed on 01/22/09) (7 4 7 3 15) The aroma is filled with molasses, licorice and earthy malts. Mellow and smooth with a light raisin or prune finish with a solid malty base. This one held up well.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Indra (2607) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - DEC 29, 2005
12oz. bottle. Sweet, tangy aroma, full of dusty spices and fruit with hints of dark berry, orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa and perhaps some mild roastiness and pine, overall very lively and inviting, as usual. Deep red color, nearly black in fact, with dark red highlights appearing only in semi-full lighting and a lasting, creamy tan head leaving behind a thin sheet of lacing. Bittersweet, fruity flavor profile, some cherry and nut to be found alongside a multitude of ever-present spices and a mild bitterness up front that fades, leaving behind a juicy red licorice character and some mild earthiness. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel, effervescent yet not overwhelming, while the body is medium. I’m glad I was able to procure some of this year’s batch, for a while there it was proving difficult to locate.


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