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RATINGS: 1830   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.


3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
ThomasE (5176) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - DEC 19, 2005
Deep reddish colour with a foamy light brown head. malty, light roasted aroma with a faint spicy note and hoppy pine touch. Sweet malty flavor with notes of chocolate, some dark fruit and a dry light spicy finish.

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
frankenkitty (1959) - Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA - DEC 19, 2005
A lucious, deep, dark mahogany/red with a rocky tan head. I swear to god this smells like a Christmas tree! A ton of initial pine that settles with cinnamon, prune, plum, chocolate, beef broth and gingerbread/anise cookies... awesome! (I sadly ran across some turpentine notes, otherwise a 10 for aroma.) Flavor is solidly prunish with malts in abundance, but rather one-dimensional after such diverse aromas. A touch of lemony citrus and alcohol to finish. Full-bodied with a dry texture, this beer is currently the definitive Christmas offering in my book this year.

<font size=-4><a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Beverage Depot, Orland Park, IL 60462<font size=-1>

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
antzman (315) - Clarksville, Indiana, USA - DEC 18, 2005
Bottle. Pours a deep brown with a bit of amber tint and a thick off white head. The aroma is spicy... caramel malts, nutmeg. The taste is excellent. A bit of chocolate malt, a little clove and cinnamon. A good bit of carbonation, with a medium to heavy mouthfeel. Looking forward to cellering a couple of these to see how they are next year.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Lou18 (1353) - West Paterson, New Jersey, USA - DEC 18, 2005
I really liked this. Warm, fuzzy, fruity and spices. Good smooth brew, not overly spiced.

3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
barenada (211) - Georgetown, Indiana, USA - DEC 18, 2005
(draft) Pretty damn good. Higly malty, with a touch of coffee. No chocolate or licorice at all, but still a good beer.

3.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - DEC 17, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 3, 2006 Draught. Dark dark brown. Almost opaque. Tan head that laced the glass. Milk chocolate and maybe some clove aroma. Smells a bit like a chocolate shake. Chocolate and brown sugar flavors, but fairly dry. There is a hint of burnt wood that lingers. Very tasty and unusual.

3.2
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JohnC (3000) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - DEC 17, 2005
I had this on draft at Hollingshead deli in Orange, Calif. Pours very dark brown with a one finger head. the flavor reminded me of a very dry porter with a hint of spicie in the background. It finished very dry. It was good, but not ’special’.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
duff (5484) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - DEC 17, 2005
Bottle. Lovely stuff. Smooth dark chocolate and Christmas spices. tastes like a Christmas pudding. Some nice chocolate oraneg in there aswell. Sweet, and fairly rich mouthfeel. Very balanced/rounded mouthfeel. Yum!

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
fiulijn (14978) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 17, 2005
UPDATED: AUG 8, 2010 2010-08-08, vertical tasting, vintage 2008, 2 years old, 7-4-4-3-10=28
The color is very dark, no light passes through; generous, compact head. Good aroma, chocolate cake, cedar peel, chinese spices. The body is lean, the mouthfeel quite dry; it has some roasted malt flavor, heavily roasted nuts, not very good. The final is dry, with the black, roasted malt only, dusty. Not pleasant.

2010-08-08, vertical tasting, vintage 2006, 4 years old, 6-4-6-3-12=31
The color is very dark, no light passes through; generous, compact head, a bit more brownish than the 2008; immediately evident that it has less carbonation. Strange aroma, mild, gingerbread and soap, almost metallic; some chocolate. The body is a bit rounder and less dry than the 2008; chocolate and roasted malt flavor, also here the malt is heavily roasted, but better hidden; there are traces of a starting oxidisation and of metal. Balanced, better than almost all Scandinavian Julöl, but nothing spectacular.

2010-08-08, vertical tasting, vintage 2005, 5 years old, 6-4-6-3-13=32
The color is very dark, no light passes through; generous, compact head, more similar to the 2008 than 2006. Delicate aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and spices. The body is round enough like the 2006, but a bit more dynami, probably because of a light sourness; the flavor is again chocolate and roasted malt and roasted nuts; it shows less oxidization than the 2006, and it doesn’t have the metallic trace. Balanced, as well not spectacular.

2008-02-15, vintage 2007, 6-4-6-3-11=30
Dark chestnut color, almost back, with a reasonably big head. The aroma is strange, with soap, meat, sweet nuts, spices and cookies. It has a medium mouthfeel, with a medium flavor of roasted malt and some spices (nutmeg and maybe cinnamon in the front); the almost roasted malt feeling is more evident at the end. Boring, unbalanced, not very pleasant. I won’t come back on this one soon.

2005-12-12, vintage 2005, 7-4-7-4-15=37
Dark brown color; creamy beige head. I’m quite disappointed by the first impression (too dry mouthfeel) so my recommendation is to leave it to breathe in the glass for 20 minutes…
The aroma is nice, with malt, caramel, spices, light gingerbread or cookies. The taste is round, well malty, with a brandy touch, caramel, spices and raisins (a light Christmas pudding). And the hopping is quite good as well. Very pleasant.

3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
hezron (610) - Viroqua, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 17, 2005
Aroma of chocolate, licorice, butterscotch and bourbon. Great aroma. Dark mahogany brown with a light brown head. Flavors of spruce, coffee and chocolate with a woody, cardboard-like finish. Light body, watery texture, seems a little weak. This would be great without the cardboard flavors and an improved palate.


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