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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 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
thebirdshow (27) - Burlington, North Carolina, USA - DEC 15, 2005
Dark with a small head. Slight glaze with mild malt smell. Smooth with a chocolate and spice taste. Not very heavy for its appearance.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
johndoughty (3960) - cheslyn hay, West Midlands, ENGLAND - DEC 15, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 31, 2006 Dark brown and pours with a medium sized head.Some nutiness and a wonderful warming mouth feel. An all round pleasant and interesting beer.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
SledgeJr (3577) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - DEC 15, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 19, 2009 In the bottle. Vertical tasting 2003-2005. I like 2005 much better than 2004. This one is better rounded on the edges. Smoother malt balance to the excessive spices. Again, no detectable spruce. This is chocolatey and has a delicious roasted palate. However, not as good a 2003. I would easily be able to drink several of these in a session, and I’ve not been able to ever say that before about Anchor OSA. UPDATE 2006: Real good. Purple in color. The spruce aroma is BACK!. Works this time- not like floor cleaner. Coriander and gingerbread cookies. Silky flavor and a bit of black pepper. Milky and chalky palate. Big mouth feel. 2007- Big spruce aroma this year, very sour flavor. Same chalky palate as last year. Not filled with the subtle flavors as last year, but otherwise very similar. 2008- Milder in the spruce, but then again, this year it seems milder all the way around. I like the fact that this is one of the smoother AOS versions. You can actually drink a whole glass of this and not have your palate croaked for any other beer. One of my favorites of the series because of the understatement. 2009- I suspect that very few changes were made this year from last year. The nutmeg and ginger seem to be discernible in the aroma, but it remains smooth and drinkable this year with a milder palate of chocolate. Again, drinkable in mass quantities.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
crazyvin (1933) - New York, USA - DEC 14, 2005
poured a brownish red hue actually it had a cola like color. It had almost no head to it and what little it head disapated quickly. ARoma was mainly allspice and nutmeg with a slight hint of caramel. Taste was initally sweet and finished with a spicy malt bitterness. Really smooth finsih.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
bkurtz (749) - PERU - DEC 14, 2005
Pours a nice dark reddish/black. Not much head. Christmas spices (some cinnamon?, coriander? allspice? Liquorice?). A good holiday beer. Merry Christmas and thank you Anchor.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
pilsnerrogge (2488) - Finspång, SWEDEN - DEC 14, 2005
Deep ruby colour. Rich, creamy head. Liquorice and toffee aroma. Very spicy as usual but also very balanced and smooth. Burnt cocoa finish followed by a long bitterness.

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
entertheiceman (242) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - DEC 14, 2005
Rich, earthy, spicey, with some dark fruit in the flavor. Very little of that comes through in the aroma, however. Suffers from the watery palate that many other seasonals succumb to.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Doppelganger (1388) - Dry County, Arkansas, USA - DEC 13, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 31, 2008 Pours a deep ruby brown, almost black. If I didn’t know better, I’d say by looks it was a porter. Attractive cap of soapy bubbles that settle and leave some lace. Corriander kinds of smells, and a fresh character like a pine forest after a rain. Hint of underlying smoke. And some bubblegum. Gentle roast, accentuated by a prickly carbonation. A bit of pleasant maltiness. Light body, dry finish. Update: 2008 vintage, on tap in some little place in Philly. With Traci, Fin & Loz. Just before we said goodbye to Fin & Loz so kind of a melancholy occasion. ruby brown, beige head. Bubble gum and caramel aroma. Sweet dark fruit and rum cake flavor, hints of pepper and cardamom. Very soft and decadent. (7/4/7/4 14)

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
heykevin (1275) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - DEC 13, 2005
Deepest of rubies, with a tannish head. Strong ginger aroma, bits of liquorice and nutmeg/allspice. Medium-bodied with a significant ginger zing, a malty chocolate note, but then back to a spicy dryness. I think Clark is right on with the mincemeat pie analogy. This is decent, but I really don’t feel like having another of these. I am tempted to pull an old bottle out of the archives and remind myself how these things taste when the spices tame down a little bit

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
ClarkVV (3892) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 13, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 4, 2006 2005 bottle on 12/9/05. Deep beige colored head is well-retained, but eventually recedes to cover and ring. Dark french roast coffee colored body with amber-tan tints, pretty clear when held to the light. More chocolate than in the past two years, contributing, methinks, to a better balance against the ginger, that is still there in force. Strong in the nose, but the vanilla and sweet toffee help balance it. Flavor has tons of raisin tarts (chewy, cookie crust, little sweet things, almost like minced meat pie), prunes, chocolate, vanilla, pie crust, ginger (of course) and something else that is smooth and lightly spicy, but I can’t say for sure what it is. Licorice and chocolate as in older versions but still too much ginger. Mouthfeel is smooth, lightly watery on end, only a medium body overall. Chocolate and raisins linger on, no alcohol or yeast apparency.


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