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RATINGS: 1829   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.


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
oldrtybastrd (3223) - Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA - DEC 6, 2005
Pours a dark brown with an reddish head. Aromas of ginger/nutmeg with some pepper. Big floral flavor with some spice.

3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 12/20
Nuffield (3671) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 5, 2005
Mahogany brown with some yellow at the edges, moderate head production. Aroma blends roasted notes with Christmas tree hops, and touches of lemongrass, nutmeg, some alcohol, and a little smoke. The flavor gives a little more dark fruit, such as dried blueberries, gingerbread dough, and a light toffee. Some gentle bitterness rides out the finish. It went very flat very quickly and although somewhat oily, the palate is really tiresome--while a good English bitter works well with this level of carbonation, the darker, more roasted side does better with a little gentle lift. Not my favorite incarnation of this beer, in large measure due to the flatness I experienced.

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
sliffy (2040) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 5, 2005
Dark Brown pour, the head seemed almost orangish when first poured, now a medium tan. Some nutmeg, as well as others. Taste is quite unique some smoky flavor as well as the nutmeg and combination of other spices. It’s solid, but I think last years was better.

3.8
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
BBB63 (6045) - 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.

2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
rickgordon (3843) - Göteborg, 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.

3.9
   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 I’ve 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.

4.1
   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.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Crit (3350) - 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!!

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Nejhleader (1241) - Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 4, 2005
well i had higher hopes for this one. Chritmas brews don’t 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.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Cornfield (5482) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - DEC 3, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 16, 2007 Vintage 2005 Always a seasonal favorite, this year’s 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. It’s got a refreshingly minty and needley aftertaste. Nice.

Vintage 2006 This has the look of other years’ 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.

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