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RATINGS: 1946   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53   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 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.


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
heemer77 (5159) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - DEC 12, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 18, 2006 From a 2006 bottle sampled in Nov. 2006. The body is a dark roby almost brown with a large light brown and khaki head. The aroma has earthy notes of ginger and coffee. The taste has some old coffee along with some toffee, iced tea and ginger. There is also a note of parsnips, but slightly less sweet. The finish is dry and laced with cocoa. An interesting winter warmer. 2005 rating follows. Very dark brown body that is almost black. The light brown head is thin. The aroma is buttery (diacetyl?) with some ginger and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet with some toffee and ginger snap cookies. There is a strong roasted coffee note in the finish. This seems almost like a porter. this smooths out as you drink with more sweetness of molasses. Not quite as smooth as some other vintages I have tried.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
TheBeerOrg (2145) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - DEC 11, 2005
Pours dark brown with reddish hues and a foamy white head. Aroma of nutmeg, juniper, and rich caramel malts. Taste is cinnamon, clove, and rich chocolate malt. Mouthfeel is heavy and slight sticky, with lush carbonation. The spices make this an appropriate holiday ale, and the residual gravity make this a beer to be savored slowly.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
theacelatrain (262) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 11, 2005
Bottle. Pours DARK red-black with a foamy tan head. Aromas of cherry, anise, chocolate and a hint of spice (ginger, nutmeg). Flavors of cherry, smooth, light chocolate, cola/root beer, molasses, with dark chocolate and black cherry flavors coming through seconds later. A bit too tarty/sweet on the finish and mouthfeel could be thicker. Amazingly complex, though, and a little bit warming. Like fruitcake.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
jefcon (1476) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - DEC 11, 2005
Malty, cinnamon, nutmeg and gingersnap aromas from the glass. Perhaps cloves and rosemary as well. The beer is quite good-looking in the glass, deep and dark, with a good tan head and significant lacing. Tons of gingersnap on the taste, along with an oaty, coffee roundness. Bitter finish, lots of heft on the palate. I’d love to know what ingredients create the spice beer classification for this one.

4.1
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
joshuah (37) - Ferndale, Michigan, USA - DEC 11, 2005
2005 Last Night thanks to a guy named Garth! Great taste, very good, enjoyable Winter bre.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
asheft (2686) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 11, 2005
Very dark red-brown with a yellowy tan thin cover and lacing. Cardboard and juniper, blueberry, coffee, grape jelly, liquorice aroma. Flavour: black liquorice, molassesy gingerbread and a light bitterness. The nice gingerbread flavour lingers pleasantly. Medium body, considerable carbonation, gentle quinine bitterness. This is really good.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
BrewDad (5117) - Olympia, Washington, USA - DEC 11, 2005
A nice dark brown color with an aroma that just wafs a malts nose that was heavnly. Loved the malt flavrs and the hint of hops where just enough for me. Had a great overall warm flavor that was true to this type of seasonal beer.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
OhioDad (2492) - Hilliard, Ohio, USA - DEC 11, 2005
1.5L magnum that I picked up to take to my wife’s holiday party. Pours dark brown with some ruby highlights and a beautiful belgian-like tan head. Aroma is cinnamon, chocolate, caramel, orange and a bit of pine. Flavor is chocolate, roasted malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and pine. Palate is smooth and creamy with a nice airy mouthfeel. I of course shared this bottle with a friend but it is so drinkable I could have taken it down myself I think. Wonderful wonderful beer!

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Habanero (3095) - Tranbjerg, DENMARK - DEC 11, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 18, 2005 Bottle: Pours mahogany with a light tan and lasting fizzy head. Aroma is cherry, cinnamon, chocolate, and vanillal. The flavour is spicy of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon. Sweet with molasses and caramel. Some fruitiness with oranges and lemon. Roasted coffee and light chocolate in the taste with notes of pine and liquorice. It is medium bodied and smooth in palate. The finish is medium lasting and sweet/ bitter.

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
bu11zeye (12112) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - DEC 10, 2005
(Bottle) Pours a dark brown body with a small tan head. Aroma of pine, orange, licorice, and nutmeg. Flavor of nutmeg, cocoa, roasted malt, and molasses.


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