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RATINGS: 1972   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
fiulijn (16924) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 17, 2005
UPDATED: AUG 8, 2010 2010-08-08, vertical tasting, vintage 2008, 2 years old, 7-4-4-3-10=28
The color is very dark, no light passes through; generous, compact head. Good aroma, chocolate cake, cedar peel, chinese spices. The body is lean, the mouthfeel quite dry; it has some roasted malt flavor, heavily roasted nuts, not very good. The final is dry, with the black, roasted malt only, dusty. Not pleasant.

2010-08-08, vertical tasting, vintage 2006, 4 years old, 6-4-6-3-12=31
The color is very dark, no light passes through; generous, compact head, a bit more brownish than the 2008; immediately evident that it has less carbonation. Strange aroma, mild, gingerbread and soap, almost metallic; some chocolate. The body is a bit rounder and less dry than the 2008; chocolate and roasted malt flavor, also here the malt is heavily roasted, but better hidden; there are traces of a starting oxidisation and of metal. Balanced, better than almost all Scandinavian Julöl, but nothing spectacular.

2010-08-08, vertical tasting, vintage 2005, 5 years old, 6-4-6-3-13=32
The color is very dark, no light passes through; generous, compact head, more similar to the 2008 than 2006. Delicate aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and spices. The body is round enough like the 2006, but a bit more dynami, probably because of a light sourness; the flavor is again chocolate and roasted malt and roasted nuts; it shows less oxidization than the 2006, and it doesn’t have the metallic trace. Balanced, as well not spectacular.

2008-02-15, vintage 2007, 6-4-6-3-11=30
Dark chestnut color, almost back, with a reasonably big head. The aroma is strange, with soap, meat, sweet nuts, spices and cookies. It has a medium mouthfeel, with a medium flavor of roasted malt and some spices (nutmeg and maybe cinnamon in the front); the almost roasted malt feeling is more evident at the end. Boring, unbalanced, not very pleasant. I won’t come back on this one soon.

2005-12-12, vintage 2005, 7-4-7-4-15=37
Dark brown color; creamy beige head. I’m quite disappointed by the first impression (too dry mouthfeel) so my recommendation is to leave it to breathe in the glass for 20 minutes…
The aroma is nice, with malt, caramel, spices, light gingerbread or cookies. The taste is round, well malty, with a brandy touch, caramel, spices and raisins (a light Christmas pudding). And the hopping is quite good as well. Very pleasant.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
hezron (611) - Viroqua, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 17, 2005
Aroma of chocolate, licorice, butterscotch and bourbon. Great aroma. Dark mahogany brown with a light brown head. Flavors of spruce, coffee and chocolate with a woody, cardboard-like finish. Light body, watery texture, seems a little weak. This would be great without the cardboard flavors and an improved palate.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ratman197 (11766) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - DEC 16, 2005
Bottle poured a clear dark mahogany with a large, lasting brown head. Aromas of carmel, coffee, vanilla and spices. Palate was medium bodied. Flavors of chocolate, vanilla and spices with a hint of smoke and a smooth finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
VAYankee (336) - Virginia, USA - DEC 16, 2005
Dark brown body and a thick brown head. Malty, spicy aroma includes cinnamon, nutmeg, light pine and a touch of cocoa. Flavor includes moderate malt(slightly chocolate), spice and licorice followed by a lightly dry, roasted malt aftertaste with a bit of smokiness.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
stouby (4152) - Holbæk, DENMARK - DEC 16, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 18, 2007 Bottle, at home. Brown with light brown head, mostly diminishing, no lacings. Aroma moderate malty, hoppy and spicy (burnt, licorice, clove, cinnamon). Flavor moderate sweet, moderate to heavy bitter/spicy/dry. Light to medium body, oily, soft carbonated. Definitely a Christmas ale, but not in balance! -- Draught at Delirium Cafe, vintage 2007. Redbrown with ok lacings. Aroma moderate/heavy malty (caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, licorice). Really nice.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
rajendra82 (999) - Alpharetta, Georgia, USA - DEC 15, 2005
Poured out of the stubby anchor bottle with an Oak tree on the label for the year, the deep ruby color of the beer was distinctively OSA. The generous head and a foaming gush out of the bottle would have made a Belgian quadruple proud. The spicy and woody aroma was like gently soothing potpourri. The taste was laden with nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla, with sawdust like dryness. Not as sweet as I remember last year’s vintage to be, but feels more vigorous and refreshing. Some smoke also came through in the flavor. Easy to drink and well made as always. Age will likely bring out the hidden fruitiness.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
thebirdshow (27) - Burlington, North Carolina, USA - DEC 15, 2005
Dark with a small head. Slight glaze with mild malt smell. Smooth with a chocolate and spice taste. Not very heavy for its appearance.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
johndoughty (4587) - cheslyn hay, West Midlands, ENGLAND - DEC 15, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 31, 2006 Dark brown and pours with a medium sized head.Some nutiness and a wonderful warming mouth feel. An all round pleasant and interesting beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
SledgeJr (3577) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - DEC 15, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 19, 2009 In the bottle. Vertical tasting 2003-2005. I like 2005 much better than 2004. This one is better rounded on the edges. Smoother malt balance to the excessive spices. Again, no detectable spruce. This is chocolatey and has a delicious roasted palate. However, not as good a 2003. I would easily be able to drink several of these in a session, and I’ve not been able to ever say that before about Anchor OSA. UPDATE 2006: Real good. Purple in color. The spruce aroma is BACK!. Works this time- not like floor cleaner. Coriander and gingerbread cookies. Silky flavor and a bit of black pepper. Milky and chalky palate. Big mouth feel. 2007- Big spruce aroma this year, very sour flavor. Same chalky palate as last year. Not filled with the subtle flavors as last year, but otherwise very similar. 2008- Milder in the spruce, but then again, this year it seems milder all the way around. I like the fact that this is one of the smoother AOS versions. You can actually drink a whole glass of this and not have your palate croaked for any other beer. One of my favorites of the series because of the understatement. 2009- I suspect that very few changes were made this year from last year. The nutmeg and ginger seem to be discernible in the aroma, but it remains smooth and drinkable this year with a milder palate of chocolate. Again, drinkable in mass quantities.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
crazyvin (2026) - New York, USA - DEC 14, 2005
poured a brownish red hue actually it had a cola like color. It had almost no head to it and what little it head disapated quickly. ARoma was mainly allspice and nutmeg with a slight hint of caramel. Taste was initally sweet and finished with a spicy malt bitterness. Really smooth finsih.

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