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RATINGS: 2047   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 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
pintocb (652) - Hoon, Georgia, USA - DEC 24, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 18, 2007 Dark pour, not much head. Smells a little sweet. Looks thin. Taste is thin as well, but not a bad thin. Looks like a weak porter, drinks like a dark lager. Very light tasting. Finishes well with some sweet flavors. 06 Version Re-rate. What a difference a year makes. The body is so much stronger and the flavors much more pronounced. I got a lot of dark spices in this one and almost a meaty quality. Loved it this time. So much so Iím changing my score for the rerate.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 7/20
ford9719 (371) - Vilseck, GERMANY - DEC 24, 2006
Bottle. Poured a slight dark with white head. Had the aroma of pine. But tasted like a flat coke. Not that great of a beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
luckygirl (1223) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - DEC 23, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 25, 2007 2007. Beer is dark, warm brown with a small, light brown, frothy, mostly and quickly diminishing head. Scantly lasting.<P>The aroma is malty with light notes of toasted grain, light shortbread cookie, touch of molasses; Hoppy with a moderate honeysuckle-like floral, trace of resin; Yeasty with a light note of bread dough; Moderate/heavy notes of winter spices, pepper, sassafras.<P>The flavor is moderately sweet, lightly bitter, lightly acidic/sour finish. Lingering aromatic finish of gingerbread. <P>The body is light, the texture is watery and the carbonation is lively.<P>Liquid gingerbread house. ;) 2006. Bottled. Beer is hazy, dark brown colored. Head is large, beige, frothy, diminishing but lasting.<P> The aroma is floral, spicy and feminine. Itís malty with a light note of toasted grain, trace of shortbread, moderate note of toasted rye bread crust; Hoppy with an essential trace of resin/pine, moderate floral rose; Yeasty with a light note of dough; Busting with miscellaneous notes of moderately weigty clove, ginger, cola.<P> The flavor is lightly bitter, moderately sweet with a long, warm, lightly bittersweet finish. Purfumey retros.<P> The body is medium, the texture is watery and the carbonation is lively.<P>Charming.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
Ernest (7249) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - DEC 23, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 12, 2014 Bottle (2014 batch). Head is initially average sized, frothy, light brown, mostly diminishing. Body is dark brown. Aroma is lightly malty (cookie, dark chocolate), lightly yeasty (dough), with notes of scorched pine needles, peppermint, nutmeg. Flavor is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is lightly sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, moderately bitter. Light to medium body, watery texture, lively carbonation. Havenít had this since í06 but itís almost identical...lots of pine needle aroma, thin-bodied and sour. Mediocre at best, as with all Anchor beers.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
cewldre (268) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 23, 2006
Bottle: Merry Christmas. Pours a dark brown color with a nice tan head. I smell some sweet chocolate in there, maybe some slight nut smell in there as well. I smell some spice in there as well, maybe ginger. Taste was a little underwhelming. I note a hint of ginger in this one and some chocolate. I also notice that hint of nut character that I smelled. Iíd say this was good, but not great.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
HighlanderOne (1200) - York, SC via NJ, South Carolina, USA - DEC 22, 2006
Poured from bottle. 2006 batch. Looks like Guinness with a sloppier head. Malt, chocolate, clove, pine, and even mint in the aroma. Hops and malt blend well in the flavor, but theres something else, woody and bitter in there that lingeres into the aftertaste - could be ginger. Has a porter-like feel to it. Nice beer for a slow, winter drink.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
BeerBelcher (972) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 22, 2006
I had this on-tap at Nessun Dorma in Milwaukee. This beer poured nearly black and was opaque (the bar was also pretty dim). It had a tan head with not too much staying power. It smelled of chocolate with no hop aroma. First taste had only a little hop and seemed a bit sour. Character of the beer improved as it got a bit warmer and an oaky-bourbony flavor came out. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, but I thought it drinkable. Overall this beer was decent, but not as good as some other winter warmers Iíve had this year including the Goose Island Christmas Ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
madcow75 (426) - Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 21, 2006
bottle. Pours brown with a red hue when held up to the light. Thick light brown head. Fruit, leather, some toffee and spices in the aroma. Taste of toffee and some fruit, dry and finishes with some tobacco. Not bad for a holiday brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
TheEpeeist (3709) - Media, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 21, 2006
12 oz bottle - 2006. Burgundy brown with a short, smooth tan head. Grape, orange, cloves. I think sangria or mulled wine. Rather sharp and fizzy. Toffee is overwhelmed by wood alcohol and bitter spices. Sour apple with a chalky finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
RollinHard (1024) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - DEC 20, 2006
12oz "and later" bottle. Pours a dark redish brown with a small dissipating head. Aroma starts off really weak so I let the beer sit. Then the spices start peak through, which is nice for the aroma. Some nutmeg, ginger,wood, and cinnemon. Tastes of nutmeg, light toffee, and some off tangy quality that seems like it should be fruity, but itís not. Finishes dry, and even more woody, while the cinnemon lingers in my nose. Cloys badly in the finish, and the beer wasnít even that sweet to deserve such an effect. Without the spice flavors and aromas, thereís nothing going on in this beer at all. This beer reaffirms my experience with Left Handís XXXmas, in that I just donít want these darn spices in my beer.

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