BückDich (5467) - McCall, Idaho, USA - NOV 13, 2005
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Very pretty ruby crimson color through the light, pellucid with an otherwise unassuming dark asphalt color. The head is off-white, nearly tan; fizzy, non-retentive. Moderate lacing. Nose of light dark cocoa/chocolate and piney fruity herbs and hops. The flavor is bright up front with zesty hops then mellows to a large chewy body of mainly chocolate and other lightly roasted malts and light cloved orange notes. The finish is a bit much for my palate, seems to just dance over it like water on a hot skillet. Very nice edition of this seasonal gem.
sebletitje (5415) - Enghien, BELGIUM - DEC 19, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Thanks to super Dave, the cellar king of FL for bringing these rare offerings.
Got to try the 2005 and 2006 versions.
Both of them pour brownish with light tan - beige head, 05 had a more lingering lacing on the glass.
Aroma was a little more in the favor of the 05 version with a more nutty nose vs. a piny approach for the 06.
05 offers a more gingerbread taste with spices, smooth and light caramel. 06 has more light chocolate notes and caramel with molasses. with attenuated cinnamon touch.
Overall bot are very enjoyable beres that have aged well. Score goes to the 05 version.
BBB63 (5406) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - DEC 5, 2005
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle and served in Stone RIS snifter: The beer is quite dark, nearly opaque with a small but lasting fizzy head and some nice lace, a bit oily as well. The aroma has spruce, nutmeg, cinnamon, smoked beachwood, caramel and a hint of chocolate. The taste starts slightly acidic and fruity before a nice dose of spice and pine kicked in. Much more balanced than many of the lastest offerings of this brew, more like I remembered when I bought a case of this stuff every year (which I have not done since that disaster of 2002). Smooth mocha and bready undertone with a finishing touch of smoke and bitters, even a bit of coffee. The feel is thin-bodied yet crisp and refreshing. This is what I want in an OSA, now I will have to go out and get some more. Fritz would be proud of this brew.
riversideAK (5404) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - OCT 4, 2007
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
2005 version from Hollingshead Deli. Dark brown beer with a small velvetty tan head. This beer smells like nutmeg, fruit cake, and egg nog. Flavor is mostly bitter with some roast, some nutmeg, and some egg nog. Is this pretty much the porter with some spices thrown in?
larsga (5324) - Oslo, NORWAY - JUN 19, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Small light brown head over deep dark barely translucent red body. Deep, sweet aroma of hickory, cloves, cinnamon, and some paper. Notes of licorice. Taste is dark wood, some bitterness, and the aftertaste is a mix of licorice, wood, and tar. Surprisingly tart taste compared to the sweetness of the aroma. Interesting and complex; also quite challenging because of all the spices. Very well balanced for such a spicy beer. (0.355l bottle.)
after4ever (5279) - Brier, Washington, USA - MAY 22, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JUN 12, 2006 12-oz bottle. Pours a deep piano-key ebony with a dense, substantial tan head that falls to lace within a couple of minutes. Definite soft fragrance of squash and some cinnamon. Creamy, pie-dough mouthfeel, with that spicy pumpkin coming through. Big roasty finish. Hops are there just enough to steady the flavor, rather than contrast or enhance it. Really a beautiful way to spend a winter evening...or, well, count down the last couple days before Memorial Day (put ice cubes in your pockets if you really need that frosty nip). Another Anchor triumph.
Cornfield (5276) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - DEC 3, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: NOV 16, 2007 Vintage 2005 Always a seasonal favorite, this year’s seems creamier to the palate than prior versions. The aroma is mint, pine needles, nutmeg, cinnamon, nutmeg, anda touch of chocolate. The flavor is a tasty chocolate malt with the aforementioned spices and the addition of clove. It’s got a refreshingly minty and needley aftertaste. Nice.
Vintage 2006 This has the look of other years’ ales. It seems to have added the flavor of candied rum balls, cream, and a touch more clove. The malt is crisp and cookie like, fitting for the seasonings. Tasty.
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beerguy101 (5206) - Newark, California, USA - NOV 13, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
I always know when the holiday season is here when I spot this beer on the shelves. Has it really been 31 years that they have been making this gem? This Christmas Ale pours a dark brown color from a 12 oz bottle. Medium sized white foamy head. Aroma is nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel. There are other aromas in there as well as some hop aromas but I need a better nose then mine to pick them out. A medium bodied ale. Malts are chocolate and semi sweet. Hops are citrusy. But the spices dominate the flavor with nutmeg, cinnamon, orange peel, chocolate and raisins. Yet with all those spices it has a nice fruity finish. This has all the indication of being an excellent brew this year. Will need to get a couple of 6 packs to age and let mellow. Oh, and this year’s tree is Quercus Agrifolia. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.
Svesse (5195) - Hässelby, SWEDEN - JUN 22, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: JUN 23, 2007 (Bottle, vintage 2006) Very dark brown colour with thick brown head leaving traces of lacing. Comlpex, roasted nose with chocolate, soy sauce, dark bread, coffee and notes of citrussy hops. Roasted, spicy taste with chocolate, dark bread and hints of juniper berries, followed by bitter notes of roasted coffee and, in the finish, notes of citrussy hops. Rather sweet, not overly hoppy, but with a balanced bitterness in the finish. Medium body, smooth mouthfeel. Maybe a bit more balanced (and less adventurous) than some of the earlier versions. Nice and tasty (even when sampled on a Midsummers eve).
downender (5187) - Bristol, Gloucestershire, ENGLAND - DEC 15, 2007
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle (2006 edition) from Corks, Bristol. Deep ruby red colour with a short-lived tan head. Big aroma of christmas cake with plenty of cinnamon, nuts and dark fruit. Chewy mouth feel with plenty of spiced flavours and a dry, hoppy finish. Very enjoyable.