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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 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 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
brigg (616) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 19, 2006
(bottle) Dark mahogany body with thick brown head. Aroma has chocolate, cherry, spices, and is moderately sweet. Taste is medium sweet with a hint of fruit (cherry, among others); rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Light to medium body but leaving a mouth-coating film afterwards.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
dirkules (629) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 19, 2006
2005 bottled at beer bistro. Dark brown / black pour with a full malty and sweet smell. Even more prevalent in the flavour. Not quite as enticing as the Traquair. Could use a bit of restraint. But the beer quality to it is still anchor special. Clean and crisp. And it does the job getting you drunk.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
savitska (163) - Smyrna, Georgia, USA - DEC 19, 2006
The darker of the two beers I drank, the second I drank and the second in my heart. Malty, syrupy and spicy (think aniseed and coriander, not chile peppers). Worth a pint if you want something new and different and you like "holiday" flavorings.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GTown (127) - New York, USA - DEC 19, 2006
Draught. Pours dark brown with off-white head. Minimal lacing. Aroma is plum and raisins. Brown sugar, vanilla and coffee flavors mixed with some chocloate. Not as good as year’s past. Middle of the road Christmas offering. Aging would probably enhance the rating.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
porterhouse (1580) - Boothbay, Maine, USA - DEC 19, 2006
(Bottle (2006) from <A HREF=http://www.ratebeer.com/Place/maine/augusta/l target=blank>Lou’s Beverage Barn) Soft and spicy but kind of sour...Pours dark birch beer brown with a tall tan head. Aroma is mostly spice, although I’m not sure what (cinnamon?, clove?). Mouthfeel soft and smooth. Scant patches of lacing. Flavor predominately mirrors the spiciness of the aroma. Malty but not really sweet. A pleasant, quality brew but there was a sourishness that kind of threw me. Also was getting some soapiness in the finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
rayg1 (586) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - DEC 18, 2006
So I had both the 2005 and 2006 editions today thanks to ross and I have to say I liked the 2006 better. I have to say this beer poured darker and with a darker head than the 2002, 2004, or 2005. Aroma was present and spicy almost like a cooking experiment gone wrong. Taste is where this beer sells itself. Bold, spicy, and sweet to start but then a welcoming bitterness to end. This is something that I didn’t experience with the earlier years. Good damn beer

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
redave (166) - squaw valley, California, USA - DEC 18, 2006
2006 edition: Nice very thick darker beige head. Thin but full lace down the glass. Not much aroma, some spicy malt smell. Very dark color, darker than expected, some reddish brown highlights on the edge, but very dark. Nice flavor, malty spicy flavors. rather dry finish. NOT a thirst quenching beer. Rather grainy after flavors. Nice with a meal though.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Aurelius (5068) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - DEC 18, 2006
2006 vintage. Very sensual nose from the bottle - dark bitter chocolate, yeast, fine unlit cigars, floral elements. Astringent, acidic, dark chocolate, moderately sweet, licorice, coffee. Medium body. Finishes off with a toasted nut and chocolate flourish. Low carbonation. Beady caramel-colored head, dark cola brown beer. Good cap, bad hippie font this year on the label, good engraved tree. Tangy on the lips. Just a shade across the session line -- a little too acidic and clingy in the tailend for you to want to sit and swill six of them. It was a fine brew though.

   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.

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