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RATINGS: 1926   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53   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.


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
lethe (177) - New York, USA - JAN 31, 2006
Dark brown pour with minimal white head. Nose is pleasing with a rush of chocolate, spice and bready malt. Palate is slightly sticky with heavy carbonation. Flavor is surprsingly close to a wheat (banana, clove) at first, followed by chocolate and gingerbread that finishes a little acrid and chewy. Pretty good overall with the flavors working up until the end when they become a bit harsh.

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Zeswaft (1422) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JAN 30, 2006
Very interesting beer. So many different aromas and flavors going on. Pours dark brown, almost black with a frothy light brown head. Aroma is spicy and pumpkiny and some type of fruits like grapes or raisins. Flavor is sweet, fruity and some hints of coffee and chocolate. It seems like they poured a bunch of different beers together.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Hollywoodt (239) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - JAN 30, 2006
Poured very dark brown. Aroma hinted of caramel, chocolate and spice. Flavor was all that plus a little cinnamon. I get this brew every year at the holidays, and am never disappointed. Get in my belly!

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
turbothy (1127) - Bonn, GERMANY - JAN 29, 2006
Pours a very dark red with small head and excellent lacing. Aroma of nutmeg and oregano (!?). Flavour is nicely roasted and warming. Good coffee aftertaste and a smooth palate. Excellent.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ABUSEDGOAT (2416) - California, USA - JAN 28, 2006
First of all, I’d just like to say that getting this beer was a huge pain in the ass. As far as I know, it cannot be found in NY, and I found in in MA when I wasn’t even looking for it. Poured the darkest reddish brown imaginable, almost looks like a Stout. Aroma is spicy (cinnamon, nutmeg) like other years, but this one has notes of chocolate as well. Flavor is the same with notes of caramel and earth. Reminds me of Fantome, it’s weird but good.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
TaktikMTL (6088) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - JAN 27, 2006
Bouteille de 12 oz achetée au Beverage Warehouse (Winooski, VT). Arôme: Odeur de café et d’épices. Apparence: La couleur est bourgogne très foncée avec une faible densité de bulle. Présence d’une mince col crémeux beige et d’une fine dentelle sur le verre. Saveur: Goût de de chocolat , de café, de muscade et de prunes. La durée de l’arrière goût est moyenne. Palette: Le corps est plein avec une texture sirupeuse. La durée de l’arrière goût est moyenne. Senstation de fumée en arrière goût. (Rating #425)

2.6
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
tronraner (2459) - Walland, Tennessee, USA - JAN 26, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 1, 2007 Ok, I couldn’t stand the 2005 batch, so I tried the 2006 batch to see if I still hate it. I do, but I paid more attention to the details this time, so it warrants a re-rate. The aroma still reminds me of bubblegum right off the bat. The flavor does, too, but I’ll try to break it down. My friend pointed out orange blossom, with which I now agree. There is also clove, anise, tons of sassafrass, candy cinnamon (like the kind they put on apples at the fair), and a very strange sugary note. I drank it without any problem, but I still don’t like it.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
DocLock (8094) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 23, 2006
Draft at the Drafting Room. This one pours dep brown. The aroma was chocolatey and spicy, with a gingerbready malt presence. The flavor was like minty, spicy chocolate chip cookie dough dipped in molasses, then pureed. Well done, as usual from these guys.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
SSSteve (3862) - - JAN 21, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 7, 2010 2010. drunk 11/7/10. deep murky brown under a medium frothy tan head. nose of anise and licorice..maybe some figs and raisins. flavor seems more bitter this year, like tonic water. not creamy or malty as i remember. typical spice mix. i have not changed my orginal rating though. 2008. drunk on 9/22/09. dark brown under a large foamy tan head. the usual aroma..maybe a bit sour. someone described the flavor like blackjack gum, which is what i get too. creamy palate. a bit tart this year. still similar to the previous few years. 2007. dark brown with a medium sized orange/tan head. aroma of nutmeg, licorice, anise, other christmas spices. flavor has some dry, roasted black malts and its heavily spiced with the spices from the aroma and ginger. seems very similar to the 2005 version if i remember correctly. maybe a little more chocolate character in this one. same score this year 2005. aroma of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, anise, chocolate, and licorice. murky dark ruby brown color with a medium sized brown head. flavors are much the same as the aroma. lingering ginger and anise aftertaste. good stuff.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
SpudClampDawg (1029) - Jasper, Indiana, USA - JAN 21, 2006
Murky brown pour. The aroma sums up Xmas beers for me - cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee beans and gingerbread blended beautifully with bready malt. The body is creamy - full of caramel sweetness and holiday spices. The beer turns a bit sour towards the finish, which is a pleasant change of pace. This beer never dissapoints - a great winter sipper.


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