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RATINGS: 2046   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.


4.1
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
MarkBarnes (405) - Waterville, New York, USA - DEC 15, 2006
Dec. 15, 2006. 12 oz. bottle of 2006 vintage sampled Dec. 8 at Farm 255, Athens GA. Drank this one in dimly-lit conditions at my sister-in-law’s wedding party, and am now referring to hastily scrawled notes on the back of a business card: "Raisiny, hoppy, frothy, full-body, lasting malt palate, dark fruit, 18/20, aroma-avg." Sounds like it was pretty good! ;-) (Haven’t met an Anchor product I didn’t like -- a lot.)

2.9
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
ScipioA (405) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 4, 2013
This is a 12 oz bottle from the 2013 batch. I haven’t had the others so can’t comment in comparison. Pours out a dark brown with a chocolate head that reminds me of many porters I’ve had, but with slight red tint. Nice big pillowy foam. Even once the foam had gone away there wasn’t much to the aroma to note, some roastiness and a little wine-like yeast stood out. Sweet with sort of a bittersweet chocolate fruityness. However the spices are very distracting, it’s like accidentally getting all the spices you’d use making gingerbread dough all up in your nose. Very light mouthfeel with a surprisingly strong alcohol flavor for 5.5%. Call me a grinch but I just ain’t digging these spiced winter seasonals.

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
kreepindeth (404) - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA - NOV 5, 2006
Not a huge fan of this one. Pours a ruby-brown color with a very thin head. Cannot place aroma, almost like dried dates. Taste is slightly toffee-like with hints of spiciness that I cannot quite place. A fun beer to try once, but I probably won’t be picking it up again.

3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
jezmez68 (404) - Chesterton, Indiana, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Just okay. I wanted to note that ratebeer totally pussed out by not including a separate 2005 and 2006 version of this beer, but merely has 2005 and later. Way to mail it in, ratebeer. If it’s a different beer every year, we should honor it, even if it is only half-assed. Enjoy.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Crafty07 (404) - Florence, Kentucky, USA - FEB 12, 2008
Without a doubt, I feel warmly filled with the Christmas spirit after drinking this delicious spiced beer despite it being mid-February. Dark mahogany pour with decent beige head, this winter beer hits the drinker with a sweet mixture of spices (cinnamon? toffee? someone suggested pumpkin) I noticed a strong chocolate presence as well. Very smooth spiced beer that finishes well.

2.3
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 8/20
wihlan (403) - Malmö, SWEDEN - NOV 29, 2014
Flaska från systemet - Doftar verkligen jul och lite parfym. Färgen påminner om julmust och med vitt skum. Har en tydlig smak av jul med men tyvärr smakar den parfym med.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
leitrim65 (402) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JAN 2, 2006
Brownish/black body with large tan head. Coffee nose with a touch of chocolate and alcohol. Light - medium bodied. Coffee flavors are balanced by elements of cinamon, clove, nutmeg, roasted nuts, and finishes with a gentle lasting hop bitterness.

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
beergodd1 (400) - Conneaut, Ohio, USA - JAN 1, 2011
On tap at UPick6 in Erie PA. Aroma is.... gingerbread? and other spices such as cinnamon, brown sugar, light molasses, malty, some dark fruits underneath. Every year "IS" different. This is better than last years. Flavor is, ginger, cinnamon, somewhat sweet, caramel malt, brown sugar, some hop bitterness on the finish. Lingering sweet and spiced aftertaste. Carbonation is up there, prickly, medium body. Very nice. I would like to find a 6 pack of this.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Shot (399) - Westerville, Ohio, USA - JAN 17, 2014
The 2013 pours dark brown with a rocky beige head. Aromas are chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, orange peel and hops. Upfront malty flavor with dark chocolate, spice, and raisin. Slight apple and licorice finish. Creamy mouthfeel. Another great brew and year from Anchor!

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
lemasney (398) - Trenton, New Jersey, USA - JAN 25, 2009
Deep brown body with some clarity. Head barely hangs on. Deep in color and character. Wine-ish. Not a favorite. Finish improves it for me, but still less than what I expected from both the brewer and the style. originally posted at: <a href="http://beercritic.wordpress.com/2009/01


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