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RATINGS: 1844   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 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 (1523) - 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 (2943) - 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!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
AlabastorJones (805) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 30, 2005
a decidous tree with leaves in the holiday season? california is mad weird, brown body with an uber thin ring of head, spicey nose, sprucey, citrusy and cedar like, dry rye flavor, super sweet thick malt finish, light and delicate on the palate, crisp tart and bitter, well done (clapclapclapclap)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
Magjayran (1379) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - NOV 30, 2005
Pours a dark brown color with a thick tan head. I get nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in the aroma with a faint bitterness that I have a hard time describing. The flavor has some cinnamon/sugar and nutmeg along with way too much ginger that is harsh and overbearing. Rocky mouthfeel and a taste that actually gets harder to deal with as it gets warmer. One day I will try to age on of these in magnum form and maybe Iíll like it when itís a few years old. Iíve never been overly impressed with this one fresh.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
DrnkMcDermott (2821) - Downers Grove, Illinois, USA - NOV 29, 2005
UPDATED: JUL 30, 2008 12 oz. 2005 bottle, rated "live." Very promising start. Opens with a sweet smell of cinnamon, vanilla, raspberries and mulling spices. Pours a deep ruby red with a ocher head. Taste is a heady melange of spices, with nothing dominating. I can point out impressions of sassafras, orange peel, nut roast malts, red wine, ginger, nutmeg, maybe the slightest hint of red pepper. What hops I find help tilt it to the earthy side. A fine festive brew, light on alcohol as holiday beers go, for the enjoyment of all!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
pfr (121) - KÝbenhavn, DENMARK - NOV 29, 2005
Draft Color - Red/Dark Brown Head - Long Beige Aroma - Fruit, Sweet, Pumpkin, Flowers Flavor - Light, Littel bitterness, sweet ? - Good Beer

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
blankboy (6197) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - NOV 29, 2005
Draught at Coleís, Buffalo NY. Pours black with ruby hues and a small diminishing off-white head. Aroma of Xmas spices, brandy, hops, roasted malt and molasses. Flavour is predominently Xmas spices followed by sweet malt, sugar and a slight hop bitterness. Bodyís a little thin. Itís pretty good but itís also quite sweet, I can only handle it in small doses

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
BitchesBrew (714) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - NOV 28, 2005
[bottle] Pours a deep, dark brown color. Tan head that fades out quickly and leaves a little rim around the glass. Aroma is sweet and spicy. Taste is a lot of sweet molasses, roasted malts great spices. This is the first Anchor Iíve had- I am impressed.

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