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RATINGS: 1944   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 Aleís 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.

Editorís 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
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
fiulijn (15990) - 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 JulŲl, 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 doesnít 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 wonít come back on this one soon.

2005-12-12, vintage 2005, 7-4-7-4-15=37
Dark brown color; creamy beige head. Iím quite disappointed by the first impression (too dry mouthfeel) so my recommendation is to leave it to breathe in the glass for 20 minutesÖ
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.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
yngwie (14762) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - APR 9, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 24, 2008 Bottle, 2005 vintage. Clear, brown body with a beige head leaving lacings. Beef-stock, christmas spices, malt and dried fruits in the aroma. The flavor has cloves, cardamom and beef-stock. A full-bodied beer with a spiced finish. A lovely Christmas beer. Rating: 7-4-7-4-15-3.7. (070331)

Bottle, 2007 vintage. It pours a beautiful clear, dark brown body with a reddish hue. Thick, creamy beige head on top, with good retention and leaving nice lacings. The aroma needs a little aeration to be really good I think, but then it gives cinnamon, cloves, some ginger, dried fruits, some chocolate and leather, a tiny alcohol note (), chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of metal. So tender on the nose, and so packed with different aromas. Thereís also a little earthy note. The surprising touch of alcohol from the aroma is present in the flavor too, in fact itís even more evident, but considering itís a beer for the darkest days of the year, itís only appropriate and pleasant. Itís velvely and next-to full-bodied, with a quite sweet backbone, some bitterness towards the end, and all the good from the aroma is present in the mouth as well. Spices, fruit, chocolate and so on, itís all there. Even the little metallic touch, but thatís only showing itselves in the finish, and itís quite weak and undisturbing. Thereís also a weak touch oxidation, or at least some earthy, cellary notes, but to me thatís just nice. At least in this way. Itís not a beer giving me the perfect Christmas feeling, but itís sure a lovely beer. Well suited for the long, dark nights of winter, and still smooth and refreshing enough to go well on a late summer night. Lovely. (080624)

3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Travlr (14676) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - AUG 21, 2014
OK, maybe THIS is my final beer rating of 2012. Bottle courtesy of Ken, thank you sir! Very dark brown color, small tan head. Aroma of pleasant Christmas spice. Taste is nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice. Decent.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
harrisoni (14587) - Ashford, Kent, ENGLAND - MAR 14, 2006
Bottle from Utobeer. Very dark ruby with beige head. Spice and fruit peel with some herby hop on the aroma. Nice dark malts. Spice, charcoal, tarry, espresso coffee all in the mouth. It has a strange character. You expect it to be all spice from the aroma, but it has body and presence. Thick and unctious. This is good stuff. Orange zest on the palate on the finish

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
saxo (14430) - HÝjbjerg, Aarhus, DENMARK - FEB 10, 2008
Bottle. Medium head with medium duration. Color is dark brown. Aroma and taste are malt, herbs and hops.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Dedollewaitor (14336) - Odense, DENMARK - JUN 4, 2012
My Rating # 10300. Bottle @ Bierzwerg.de. 2011. Pours dark amber with a creamy lasting head. Spicy nose and flavor. Lots of clove and liquorice root. Smooth and medium bodied. A little one dimensional but well brewed.

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Theis (14085) - Frederiksberg, DENMARK - DEC 10, 2006
Bottle (2006) at home. Dark - almost black - brown head. Chokolate, light coffee, spicy, coriander, pinewood, orange, raisins, roasted, hoppy, dried fruits.

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MiP (13999) - SÝnderborg, DENMARK - AUG 3, 2006
Bottle. Very nice and powerful malty aroma. Very nice, dark brown colour. Very small head. Malty flavour, a bit of a citric note. Creamy mouthfeel. Very nice, but the citric notes give me a feeling of beer brewed on maize.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
TBone (13449) - Pori, FINLAND - DEC 20, 2005
Bottled (BB 09/2007)
Very dark brown, small tanned head. American hoppy, slightly roasted malty nose. Malty, hoppy, easy to drink, some roasted flavors and hints of spices. Good malt and hop profile, that is.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Leighton (13203) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 17, 2009
Tap at the Bell House, Brooklyn. Pours a dark, almost black maroon with a medium, off-white head. Sweet-smelling aroma: lightly roasted malts, caramel, some spices. Flavor is rich and varied with strong notes of sweet, dark fruits, candies like licorice, and some slight maltiness. Also hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Really, pretty dynamic. Medium bodied with decent carbonation, the beer is easy to drink. Quite good; stands apart from the crowd.


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