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RATINGS: 2048   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
HopBackDoc (474) - Hatboro, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 5, 2006
2006 batch. Pours black with small tan head. Aroma of grains, spice and yeast. Big malt flavor and mild carbonation. Accented with coffee, some chocolate and a berry in the finish. Not bad.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
Ctplt777 (474) - - DEC 25, 2015
UPDATED: DEC 26, 2015 Interesting beer. Lots of fig, plums, and molasses in the aroma. Very chewy and sweet. It tastes like a big oatmeal raisin cookie. Lots of sweetness, with bit hints of molasses, chocolate, nutmeg and spice. Not quite a stout but totally full of complexity and flavor. Definitely a great holiday beer.

4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
natejgood (473) - Bozeman, Montana, USA - NOV 17, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 19, 2008 I’m rating the 2007 Spcial Ale. It pours relatively dark with a lot of medium brown head. The head leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. It smells of holiday spices, including nutmeg, cloves and pumpkin spice. It smells like the holidays. The flavor starts with some sweet coffee, moves onto some of the holiday spices, and ends with a bit of bitterness around the sides of my mouth. The beer leaves the mouth a little dry, and the carbination is very light. This is a very good offering for a holiday beer. An update to my rating. The 2008 beer is just as splendid as the 2007.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
ElBorracho (472) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 19, 2005
On tap at The Village Tap. Poured nice and dark with a thin head. Lots of coffee, burnt wood, clove, and other spices. Finishes with a really nice hop kick that really makes this one stand out. This is good one that makes the impending cold a bit easier to take.

2.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
MrRain (472) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 17, 2008
12oz bottle poured into an English pint, starting temperature is 39 degrees F. AOSA 2008 pours dark burgundy with a medium-sized off-white head. This is a pretty beer. The aroma consists of mild hops, spicy nutmeg, a hint of mint. The flavor is very spicy. The flavors tend to sit on the beer rather than blend with the beer. The flavors include nutmeg and pepper with a thin caramel base. The beer could be a bit thicker to help absorb the spices. The finish is spicy and leaves the feeling of raw ingredients in your mouth.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
M82 (469) - Kansas, USA - NOV 8, 2013
Three year aged 2010 offers big cherry characteristics adorned with chocolatey, caramelly, spiced biscuit, bold flavor from a quaffable, slightly sticky medium

A deep mahogany body supports a fading, tight, delicate, frothy head which fades to a thick ring
-
I can’t believe how well this 5.5% brew has held up, the aroma and flavors are saturated in rich cherry characteristics with herbal accents and delicate chocolatey, caramely, bready notes featuring whispers of vanilla, finishing with an eloquent base of yeasty, doughy biscuit accentuated by the aforementioned components

12oz 2010 vintage served at 55ş into 15.125oz Riedel Vivant Chardonnay Tumbler


3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
alagnak (468) - Littleton, Colorado, USA - NOV 25, 2009
2009 version. Nose is Christmas in a glass - coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses. Flavor is more of the spices upfront (like a cold, slightly yeasty chai tea), with a darak caramelly slightly roasted flavor underneath. A little strawberry shows up as it warms. Body is just a touch on the watery side. Pretty decent stuff.

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
youdictategood (467) - Florida, USA - NOV 16, 2012
2012 - Single bottle from Total Wine. Very dark amber pour with a small tan head. Heavy lacing. A lot of vanilla and ginger in the aroma, along with some pine, citrus, and dough. Pretty heavy malt taste to start, then grass/pine, bread, bitter chocolate. Finishes with some cinnamon/ginger spice. Medium-bodied, low carbonation. Not bad, but wouldn’t keep me from reaching for a lot of other winter releases first.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
HomeBrewHawk (464) - De Soto, Kansas, USA - DEC 26, 2007
2007 vintage. 12oz. bottle served in a shaker pint glass. Poured a dark, reddish brown. One finger of fine bubbled light tan head. Lots of pine and cinnamon spice in the aroma. Very fragrant. Medium to full bodied. Plenty of caramel malt and some dark fruit. Pumpkin pie spice and spruce in the finish. The spice seems a little more subdued this year allowing the base beer flavor to be more evident. A Christmas tradition for me that I always look forward to drinking.

3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
KieferUGA (461) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 3, 2007
12 oz. bottle. 2007 vintage. Pours a deep, clear mahogany with a small light, cream color head. Aroma of pine tree and cinnamon. Mouthfeel is a combination of spices, maple syrup, and licorice. Hint of a bitter ending, but not too overpowering.


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