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RATINGS: 1826   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 Aleís 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.

Editorís 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 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
BBB63 (6013) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - DEC 5, 2005
Bottle and served in Stone RIS snifter: The beer is quite dark, nearly opaque with a small but lasting fizzy head and some nice lace, a bit oily as well. The aroma has spruce, nutmeg, cinnamon, smoked beachwood, caramel and a hint of chocolate. The taste starts slightly acidic and fruity before a nice dose of spice and pine kicked in. Much more balanced than many of the lastest offerings of this brew, more like I remembered when I bought a case of this stuff every year (which I have not done since that disaster of 2002). Smooth mocha and bready undertone with a finishing touch of smoke and bitters, even a bit of coffee. The feel is thin-bodied yet crisp and refreshing. This is what I want in an OSA, now I will have to go out and get some more. Fritz would be proud of this brew.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
rickgordon (3843) - GŲteborg, SWEDEN - DEC 5, 2005
Bottled. Dark brown. Spicy menthol nose with hints of lavender and licorice. Light mouthfeel, spicy with lavender. As boring and predictable as last years brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
trokini (1025) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 5, 2005
I had very low expectations going into this beer, given the history Iíve had with Anchor. But, as Harry Dunn would say, this beer totally redeemed itself. Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma is mulling spices, with light chocolate and coffee hints. The taste is nice. The spice and roasted malts are all up front, which fades into cocoa and the bite of clove. A really nice beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 4, 2005
Dark brown/mahogany color with a thin head. Aromas of cola, spruce, juniper,eucalyptus, sassafras, rootbeer,wintergreen, dark berries, and earthy spices. Great flavor with nice bitterness, spice, roasted malt, and flavors akin to what was found in the aroma. Great mouthfeel--rich and hearty but not too thick. Very well balanced with a tiny touch of sweetness just before a long herbaceous finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Crit (3334) - Surrey, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 4, 2005
Deep brown,thick lasting tan head.Sweet carmel,nutmeg nose.Sweet carmel malt taste with vanilla,nutmeg,ginger, slightly piney,some alcohol heat. I like this one!!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Nejhleader (1228) - Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 4, 2005
well i had higher hopes for this one. Chritmas brews donít really some to be doing it for me. Seemed pretty average to me nothing really stands out about it. Had a nice spice to it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Cornfield (5465) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - DEC 3, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 16, 2007 Vintage 2005 Always a seasonal favorite, this yearís seems creamier to the palate than prior versions. The aroma is mint, pine needles, nutmeg, cinnamon, nutmeg, anda touch of chocolate. The flavor is a tasty chocolate malt with the aforementioned spices and the addition of clove. Itís got a refreshingly minty and needley aftertaste. Nice.

Vintage 2006 This has the look of other yearsí ales. It seems to have added the flavor of candied rum balls, cream, and a touch more clove. The malt is crisp and cookie like, fitting for the seasonings. Tasty.

<font size=-4><a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Liquors, Chicago, IL<font size=-1>

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
AndrewM (126) - Waco (Buckle of the Bible Belt), Texas, USA - DEC 3, 2005
Pours deep brown with a thin than head. Spicy, peaty, earthy aroma. Some notes of coffee, clove, and, well, other things I canít place. Taste is light coffee with a roasty finish. Mouthfeel is average, almost watery. As it warms, aroma gives off hints of spearmint (??), and flavor changes from coffee to spice. Interesting twist. A decent holiday brew. From Specís in Conroe.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
agl108 (784) - Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 3, 2005
On draft (Flat Rock Saloon). Pours a very deep brown with a thick tan head. Aroma is of caramel, chocolate, and spice.. Flavor is a mixture of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) and a surprisingly heavy banana ester taste. Although complex, it works pretty well.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
zach8270 (3431) - Henrietta, New York, USA - DEC 2, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 14, 2008 [draft at MacGregorís - Henrietta, NY] Dark black and murky pour with a slightly creamy tan head. Looked very nice in the goblet it came in. Aroma was slightly sweet with hints of caramel, malts, grains and some hops. The taste had a lot of hops in it with a touch of sweetness and caramel on the top. Very nice tasting. I wish Anchor would let people know what spices they used in it. I couldnít really put my finger on this years.

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