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RATINGS: 1845   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 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JoshuaB (474) - Detroit, Michigan, USA - DEC 2, 2005
Very cool looking. Deep garnet with lots of foamy tan head. Nose is mad gingerbread, along with some pine, dark malts, and light spicing. Taste is different, but nice. Starts out with some nice semisweet malts and then progresses to involve ginger, light hops, cinnamon, pine, a nice sourness, and some chocolate. More chocolate undertones, its tart and bitter near the end. A good effort. Not a cookie cutter Christmas ale by any means, and by far the most complex. Cant really drink more than one of these in a setting, but I will enjoy my sixer within the next couple weeks.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
iowaherkeye (2694) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - DEC 2, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 12, 2006 Pours a clear deep brown with a two finger light beige head. Aroma is a lot like real root beer. There is some sweet mint, cinnamon, black licorice, brown sugar, toasty malts. Flavor follows much the same, though not quite as sweet as the aroma, with a wood and chalky slightly bitter finish. There was also a bit of bubblegum--not like in a hefe, but straight regular bubblegum. Medium body, medium to high carbonation. Not too bad, though I canít really tell much of a difference from last yearís batch. Old rating commences12oz. bottle, 2005. Pours a deep brown with a moderate creamy tan head. Smells very sweet and sugary and some spices. Smells great, but my nose canít separate them all. Iím getting some cinnamon and nutmeg along with some toasty caramelly maltiness. Watery mouthfeel, not really any bitterness. Great brew. 8-4-7-3-17

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 9/20
beervana (781) - Libertyville, Illinois, USA - DEC 2, 2005
On tap at Firkinís, Libertyville, IL and as a 12 oz brown bottle purchased from Armanettiís, Mundelein, NY. ABV 7%. Dark ruby black hued ale having small creamy diminishing light brown head with spare lacing. Soft carbonation. Aroma bouquet of caramel, prune, and caramel. Medium to full bodied with a mild creamy texture that starts with slight sweet malt, raisin, coffee, spices, and pine flavors and slight bitterness. Finishes dry with tiny bitterness. A delicious mild drinkable ale. I thought that the bottled version tasted better (more flavorful) than the tap version. The tap version had a notable milder flavor and a distinct hint of cherry and pine (missing from bottle version). My rating is the combination of the tap and bottle samplings.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Terminus (3272) - Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA - DEC 2, 2005
bottle-pours deep mahogony with a small fizzy off-white head. spicy, chocolate, brown sugar and faint sourness in the aroma. big spicy flavors with notes of ginger and the typical osa malt profile (ligthly sour and big chocolate notes). overall, the beer is less complex than previous years i think. body feels fizzy which has always been a turn off for me and OSA every year.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - DEC 2, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 4, 2005 Sampled December, 2005
Pours with a frothy, large bubbled, though thick, light brown colored head. The beer is a deep brown almost black color that has amber highlights to it when held up to the light. The aroma is much more focused on dark molasses notes and dark malt than the spices. The spices are here though, just a bit softer than in the past; definitely has a resinous, sharp, tree sap type character (perhaps a mix of pine, mint, menthol, and a vibrant character I donít know how to describe, is it the spruce). The aroma also has notes of milk chocolate, a bit of ginger, and a mix of spices that definitely reminds me of root beer.

The taste is pretty dry, but it does start out with a soft chocolate note, but quickly moves to a sharp spicy character. The dryness really plays up the spice character, though the finish has a long, lingering note reminiscent of the impurities found in molasses. Some how this beer seems slightly tart; which almost makes me think of tamarind, though I donít mean to say this was an actual ingredient. There is definitely a sort of resinous, almost mint like flavor (that coolness that mint has is here), and it mixes quite well with the chocolate notes.

I am not quite too sure how this will age; it is softer and quite drinkable now (this seems to be a trend the last couple of years), which is unlike the vintages from a couple of years ago on back. This is definitely still nice (though I could wish it was a bit fuller in the body) and it is always a treat every year.

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

   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 (619) - 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 (874) - 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 (8211) - 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.

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