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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.


3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Aquilo (540) - Berkeley, California, USA - DEC 28, 2005
Pours very dark, you can see a deep red hue if you hold it up to the light. Thin mocha head. A bit rough on the palate, and has a spicy flavor. This is not my favorite seasonal ale of ’05, but it tastes wonderful after a long day.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Brigadier (2930) - Clevelandish, Ohio, USA - DEC 28, 2005
Pours deep red with a thin tan head. Smells of gingerbread and nutmeg. Light, dry palate. Tastes of gingerbread, spice and pine along with malt. Fun to drink.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
beerbuzzmontreal (3490) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 28, 2005
Pours a deep black color with a thin light brown head. Aroma of gingerbread and spices. Flavor of roasted malt, gingerbread and spices with a bitter finish. The palate is light and dry. I feel that this year’s OSA is less interesting and remarkable than the previous years.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Holdwine (1075) - Beertimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 27, 2005
Nice year. Some piney spiced notes to mix with the regular suspects. Well hopped. A pleasure to drink.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
fordest (1972) - Santee/San Diego, California, USA - DEC 27, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 26, 2006 12 oz 2005 bottle. Dark Dark pour with decent head. Aromas were spice. Flavors were similar with some dust and just a hint of metal. Good, but not great.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
elnadeau (786) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - DEC 27, 2005
Bottle. Recognizable with the same spice/hops profile the previous year, but I enjoyed this much better than the ’04 version, it was much better balanced, good round mouthfeel and clean finish. Good stuff.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
IPFreely (1470) - Sanborn, New York, USA - DEC 27, 2005
Bottle. Deep chestnut color, nearly opaque with ruby highlights and a firm tan head on top, some lace. Spicy? OSA? Surely you jest. Very earthy, dry chocolate along with some ginger and cinnamon. The malts are pretty assertive and the spice does a nice job of weaving in throughout, the finish is mildly bitter and also fairly dry. Medium bodied. Very nicely put together, I do look forward to this offering every year.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
nick76 (4213) - Tampa, Florida, USA - DEC 27, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 26, 2008 05 was looking for this one and I was not disappointed. The aroma is spruce, lemon, rosemary, nutmeg, licorice, and toasted malt. The appearance is dark red brown (almost black) with a small foamy head. The flavor is as complex as the aroma. Caramel malt is mixed well with fruit, licorice, pine, spices, and a pepper like finish with a hint of coffee. 06 Less herbal than the 05 with an aroma of ginger, allspice, toasted malt, caramel, and citrus. The flavor is slightly sour but mostly like sweet coffee. I always look forward to having this beer every Christmas but the 05 was better. 08 Aroma is spicy porter with licorice, spice. Taste is the same.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
beermatrix (1497) - Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA - DEC 26, 2005
This years batch is made with Quercus agrifolia or commonly know as Coast Live Oak which has dark green holly-like leaves and is native to the coast ranges of California. Dried dark blood reddish brown color with a small, densely compacted, and smooth sandy brown cap. Keeps a solid skim present for a good length of the session. Thin sheeting lace sticks along the glass. Aroma is of chocolate waffer cookies with a broad dashing of floral-esk vanilla and ginger. Smells like many other OSA’s from past years with perhaps a bit less woody spice. A bit more subdued here, as oak tends to be less aromatic then pine or spruce. It does tend to have a mixed peppery/minty/ rosey thing going on thats creatively mingling into a potpourri of bakery spices. Taste is mildly dashing within some molasses-like malts with a slide into some chocolate cookie dough and brown sugaryness. Mild woody and chocolatey bitterness leans into the middel areas and floating off from there. Some spices of vanilla flowers, ginger, and blackened banana find there way in and out at opportune times but come up short overall. Finish is nicely rounded in chocolateyness, which I liked. Overall, cookie-ish, short lived, and tamer then years past. It was a bit to shy and perhaps to light at first but then it began to grow on me. Especially well into the second helping. The chocolate tones were nice enough for me to enjoy it a bit more then I thought. Feel is foamy and fluffy in a light milky-like texture. Mediumish body, with a light drying finish, mildly spiced and bittered with one nice little build of chocolatey things as you get into it. Perhaps not one of the better years Anchor has produced this classic, yet the 2005 still has its subtle quality and overall special uniqueness that is still likeable enough for this lover of the OSA. It doesn’t always have to be a complete masterpeice does it? A very easy going edition this year. Smooth and quite drinkable; two or three won’t be a problem.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Kevster (344) - Bradenton, Florida, USA - DEC 26, 2005
Pours black with tones of red and a small light brown head. Aroma has hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and pine. Very creamy and smooth to drink but leaves a dry finish. I enjoyed this beer and I’m looking forward to the 2006 release.


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