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RATINGS: 1821   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 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.


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Odeed (1775) - Bakersfield, California, USA - NOV 24, 2005
what a nice way to end a thanksgiving day..with a anchor special ale.the 2005 poured a super dark red body with a light brown head.its actually a very nice looking beer.i gathered aromas of ginger bread,cinamon,christmas trees,and caramel malts.the flavor had much of the same with a little earth and carbonation thrown in as well.i noticed the finish was a little on the dry side this year.this is yet another solid year of o.s.a. although i would not say its my favorite.

4.3
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
ericmc83 (207) - Arkansas, USA - NOV 23, 2005
Aroma is amazing. Spices galore. It is a perfect reminder of what season it is...the aromas I associate with this time of year are captured very well in this brew. The spices I sensed on the nose are slightly less dominant in the flavor. Rather, the flavor is a rich, chewy, chocolate, toffeeíness that collaborates nicely with the spice. This is my first OSA and wow...Iím impressed to say the least.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
ontario102 (794) - Boise, Idaho, USA - NOV 23, 2005
Spicey cinnamon and nutmeg nose, malt; woody chocolate and lightly piney hop flavor; notes of ginger and fruit cake; some creosote and peppery notes; well balanced.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
Lumpy (1802) - Carrollton, Texas, USA - NOV 23, 2005
Bottle. Dark almandine body with a thick foamy head. Nose-smells like a really malty saison-lavender, heather, chamomille. Taste-clove, char, licorice, very light smoke (more of a byproduct of the char flavor), and roasted marshmallows. A lttle too thin and watery, which allows the charred flavor to really come up and bite you. Not the best OSA I have had. I will need to try this one again after it has sat in the cellar for a little while. Palate loses points because it is both watery and acrid at the same time.

2.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - NOV 23, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 12, 2007 2005 Bottle
Pours a beautiful black brown with a thick head of tan. Aroma has hints of smoke, plum, and nutmeg. Flavor is like a dull barleywine, with a tinge of smoke and mulling spices. Interesting beer. As it warms, the flavors become more defined and complex. Smoke becoming more prominent as the minutes tick by. A tinge of citrus seems to be trying to poke its head through the fog of flavors, but it never really ascertains itself. Clove is becoming prominent, and I seem to be detecting some roasted malt in there as well. However, the flavors are now dulling in intensity, and Iím left with a typical seasonal that lacks punch. Palate is too watery; needs thickness to give the taste more assertiveness. Iím not quite impressed with this one.

2006 Bottle: Aroma is melted pennies offset by a peachy spice. Deep mohagony black with a frothy head and nice lacing. Slight smoke flavor followed by roasted chocolate; a tinge of cinammon emerges as it warms. Full and coating mouthfeel with a dry finish. Stinks but it tastes great.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
ChristianSA (368) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - NOV 23, 2005
Bottle. Very dark chestnut with huge, tan and very stable head, dragging excellent lace. Aroma is awesome with the spices being in your face without being overpowering. I get licorice, clove , cinnamon and worchestershire sauce. Flavor is lightly roasted and malty with a long roasted aftertaste. The spices are only barely noticeable - just as I like my spiced beers. A bit watery in the mouth and a bit too fizzy, but not enough to distract you from the qualities of this brew. Very good for a spiced beer.

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
hippie4beer (162) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - NOV 22, 2005
Bottle.Pours a black ruby color with a large tan head. Great lacing on the glass. Aroma of fruity chocolate with notes of spice. Flavor is strange; chocolate and fruit maybe, with notes of alcohol on the finish ... different, but great. Mouth feel is slightly carbonated with a silky body. Good winter brew!

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Veer (362) - Landskrona, SWEDEN - NOV 22, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 6, 2007 2007:
Aroma: sweet, nectar, lilac, dark malts, sweet yoghurt, woodland strawberry, distinct floweriness and sourishness. Absolutely wonderful.
Flavour: very balanced, sweet, malty with a sourish bitterness. Absolutely outstanding. Honey, roasted malt and long, powerful aftertaste. Some chocolate-like flavours can be sensed in the malt and some bitter almond-funkiness aswell (probably from the hops). Flowery. If it only were a bit heavierÖ
Appearance: superdark red towards brownish black with yellowish-beige, fine head leaving a smooth film.
Palate: wonderful, thick. Perhaps a bit more carbonation than Iíd wish for, but overall very good, especially for such a light beer.

2006:
Aroma (8): wonderful, nectar, lilac, smoky, wort, chocolate, malt, honey. Good, fresh hops.
Appearance(4): extremely dark brown, beige yellow head - fluffy w/ fine bubbles.
Flavour(7): perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness, slightly sourish, good hopflavour, slightly papery.
Palate(4): soft, fluffy, slimy, some stinging co2 that cuts through.
Overall: 15 - Total: 3.8

2005:
Aroma (9): malt, nectar, honey (as in yoghurt), lilac, hops, wild strawberry, wortbread, chocolate toffee.
Appearance (4): Dark, dark, dark brown w/ beige yellow head.
Flavour (8): Sweet, wort, malty, bitter, wonderful, well balanced.
Mouthfeel (4): refreshing, cooling, warming for the soul, rich.
Overall: 16 - Total: 4.1

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
5000 (6211) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Bottle: Dark chocolate in color, beige head, foamy, nice lacing. † Cocoa, slight coffee, chocolate, herbish, with a either the white or black Necco wafer on the nose. † Necco wafer tainted malty start with fairly sweet chocolaty finish. † Not many brews like this one. † Definitely herbish, and also has a bit of licorice or anise. † Very interesting. † Body is fairly nice, mouthfeel seems moderate. † Long finish of those Necco wafers. † Good thing for Anchor is that I really like Necco wafers. † Good, and very different.   Very similar to last year, but a bit more flavorful I think.


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Dark chestnut color with a moderate rolling tan hills head. Lots of nutmeg in the aroma. Light allspice and ginger mix with pumpkins and lightly toasted malt in the background. Some licorice come out as it warms further. Vanilla seems to dominate the first taste. Middle returns to some malts and only a touch of ginger. Darker malts come out late in the quaff and linger in the finish. My fifth of the six. My appreciation of this brew has grown slightly with each one. The first really seemed thin to me, and while I donít think this is as thick and full as some of the past efforts, it still does have a nice winter coat feel. Linger returns to pale malts. Still an enjoyable brew after all these years.


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