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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 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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
NYHarvey (2153) - New York, New York, USA - DEC 2, 2005
Courtesy of AndrewM <P> Sweet dark cake/pie..brown sugaresque aromas, gingerbread, cocoa, and light spice. Iím not doing the aroma justice because there are elements to it I canít name, but this smells fantastic. Deep brown with a firm pinky thick head. Rich malt base. Sweet breads, very mild licorice notes.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
maltdog (618) - Colorado, USA - DEC 2, 2005
Bottle, near room temp. Light-absorbing red/brown in the glass. Dense Guinnesslike sand-colored head amazingly does not shrink at all. Pumpkin pie spices, maple, sugar cookies, and cardamom augment the buttery malt nose. Sweetish flavor with candied fruits, gingerbread, Swiss milk chocolate, aloe, sassafrass, and mace/clove/cardamom. Mild cocoa nib bitterness. Phenominal satiny milkshake mouthfeel. Halfway down the glass, and the lacing is solid, as if it were spray paint. Mellow aftertaste of cinnamon-laced coffee, chocolate covered raisins, and surprise! ripe mango. Balanced to perfection. Stunning!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Tejas (872) - Dallas, Texas, USA - DEC 2, 2005
Draught > Flying Saucer. Wow, much better than last year. Nice smooth palate with a creamy taste on the tongue. Doesnít overpower you with spice either. Really nice balance this year! I might actually buy a 6 pack to enjoy at home.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
3fourths (8099) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - DEC 1, 2005
UPDATED: JUN 18, 2012 Looks the same as the others... it looks like Anchor OSA. Rich and sharp toffee, butter and perhaps scotch aroma - sharp is the key word. Very fresh, very robust and it smells almost chewy. Piney flavor up front with a semi-caustic texture - rough and brittle it feels. My first impressions are that it may need some cellaring, but for now itís a decent presentation of juniper and spruce-like mellow spicyness with a light buttery note as well. Itís going to be really interesting when I do a vertical including this year as Iíve done in the years past. OSA is still one of the top beers I look forward to every winter.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
mustangjoe (183) - redondo beach, California, USA - DEC 1, 2005
On tap @Najas, Redondo Beach, Ca. Dark brown, just about black with a nice tan head on top. My first Anchor OSA, and it was great. Aroma was overflowing with spicyness and earthy overtones. Delicious flavors come through as well to make this a definite new favorite of mine. It was great drinking this brew while the sun was setting over the Pacific.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
TChrome (1420) - Bedford, Texas, USA - DEC 1, 2005
Beer pours dark brown with a gourgeous, creamy, dark tan, totally retained head. Aroma is sweet malty goodness, with spices, and some kind of tree aroma I am not able to identigy, spruce maybe? The malt flavor of this beverage is one of the deepest and thourough I have had. The flavor is sweet, earthy, with cinnamon, trees in the flavor as well. The elements sound disparate, but the whole is compelling and convincing. Delicous.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
Storm (2684) - Amager, DENMARK - DEC 1, 2005
On tap. Very dark reddish brown colour with a nice head. Aroma of fresh pumpkins. Light body but with a lot of flavour of cinnamon, spice, sweetness and a touch of pumpkins. Bu ends up little bitter.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
pinkzambia (1505) - Boise, Idaho, USA - NOV 30, 2005
Bottle: I havenít had a bad Anchor brew yet. This one is a dark, dark brown with a reddish tint along with a fluffy light brown head. The aromas are rich and malty as well as those of sweet spices. The tastes were licorice, peat rich soil, spices and organic root beer. The alcohol flavor seemed to come through pretty strong. The feel is perfect for a winter beer, a thick, full body. Deeeelishous!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Gorbalev (2927) - Ontario, CANADA - NOV 30, 2005
Bottle, bought in San Francisco. Very dark brown, big bubbly tan head. Aroma of Christmas! Well, Christmas tree at least. And rosemary. And perfume. And nutmeg and cinnamon. Not your typical "festive" beer aroma by any stretch, much more herbal and plant like. Very earthy. This perfume / spice mix transfers over to taste. Thin body; wish it had a little more. Silky mouthfeel. Weird and interesting, not sure I could drink a lot because it is quite sweet as well, but kudos to the effort and originality. My first Anchor "Special Ale".

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jde123 (764) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - NOV 30, 2005
This is my first taste of Anchorís Special Ale, and I really like the idea of a changing recipe. Pours dark but thinly into my glass, developing a very large tan head. Upon first glance (discouting the head) and sniff of the aroma, I had incorrectly deduced it as a porter. I think it was the strong coffee and caramel notes. These also come through in the flavor, but more towards the end, when you sit in the glow of a finished glass of beer. Otherwise a complex amalgam of flavors, a little bit of dark fruits some nut flavor. Very good!

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