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RATINGS: 1830   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.54   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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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 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.

   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)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
heykevin (1277) - 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

   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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
matta (1140) - Tampa, Florida, USA - DEC 13, 2005
Dark cola like body… lots of anis in the aroma and flavor; Kind of reminded me of Jägermeister mixed with Coca Cola. A bit nutty but with and some watery coffee bitterness in the finish… More herbal notes of juniper berry, ginger root, rosemary, lots of evergreen pine likeness. This years vintage was a strange release overall. - The palate is rather watery for this beer, judged by past vintages, but like I mentioned, somewhat like a watered down and spritzy Jäger.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Mads Langtved (2245) - Copenhagen K, DENMARK - DEC 13, 2005
Dark, nut brown head. Quite sweet and malty. A significant amount of bitterness in the finish. Nice complex brew, with a lot of xmas in it.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
HopheadHans (804) - Bay Area, California, USA - DEC 13, 2005
Pours very dark with a nice brown head. The aroma is of spices and nuts with a hint of gingerbread I would say. The flavor is more of a nutty, gingerbread kind - this makes the beer somewhat sticky. Not my favorite Holiday ale.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - DEC 13, 2005
12oz - Aroma is carmel malt, toffee, molasses, and spice. Pours cola black with a huge brown head and great lacing. Flavor is milder than aroma. Similar characteristics but the spice is more pronounced. Palate is tart, syrupy, and sticky. A nice fireside brew.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Rballs01 (279) - Madison, New Jersey, USA - DEC 12, 2005
Delicious as usual. A wee bit lighter this year from the previous. Poured a deep dark auburn. The flavor was malty and silky smooth in texture with a hint if some unknown flavor. This holiday ale is another priceless work of art. However, as I do every year put one away, preferably a 1.5L bottle and let it sit until next Christmas and no longer. One year tops and it’s even more delicious!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DrBayern (1139) - Morehead City, North Carolina, USA - DEC 12, 2005
Dark mahogany, pretty nice tan head that dissolved to a thin layer that lasted to the bottom of the glass. Nose is caramel and spice. Medium body, sweet malty flavor with some dark fruity and spicy highlights. Stays pretty sweet, although not cloying, through the finish. Drinkable, and not overdone like many "holiday" beers which often hit you over the head with spices. This is more subtly done.

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