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RATINGS: 1830   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.54   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.


3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
hopdog (9018) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 21, 2005
On tap. Poured a darker reddish-brown color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, light spices and pine. Tastes pretty much the same with roasted malts.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
pivnizub (8923) - Bochum, Porúří, GERMANY - MAY 6, 2009
Bottle (vintage 2007): Deep ruby amber coloured, a bit hazy, small off-white foamy layer; christmas spices, coriander toasted malt and dried fruits in the nose; moderate to solid - relatively dry - bitter-sweet flavour, medium bodied; dry bitter finish, rounded by some toasted malt and spices. Pleasant, well rounded stuff.............

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
maeib (8750) - Wootton, Northampton, Northamptonshire, ENGLAND - SEP 28, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 26, 2011 Bottled. A black beer with a lovely long-lasting beige coloured head and a touch of lacing. The aroma is spicy with lots of cinnamon. Sugary, a little waring and certainly Christmassy. The taste is also pleasantly spicy. A little thin in the mouth and not as spicy as the 2004. Almost restrained flavours. Drinkable but not particularly special. Score 3.6
Subsequent rating scored 3.7. Score unchanged

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Sammy (8726) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 21, 2008
UPDATED: AUG 29, 2012 2006 Fir ’n’ spruce flavoured and aroma ale. Always somewhat different and interesting and carbonated. Pours yellow with off-white head. Full mouthfeel. 2007 dark fruit, nice roasted chestnut dryness, licorice..even better. 2008 on tap at Cole’s, bit sour and chocolately. 2011 was OK, more nutmegy and some cinammon. A little hoppy.

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Drake (8617) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - FEB 26, 2008
UPDATED: DEC 10, 2008 2007 bottle from Whole Foods Charlottesville. Pours reddish-black with a very large head and mad amounts of lacing. Strong cinnamon/coffee aroma. Taste of coffee, raisin and spice (anise?) behind a very thin mouthfeel. Taste is good, but the rest is lacking. 6/4/7/2/11..... 12 ounce bottle from Whole Foods Market Charlottesville, 2008 release. Pours a dark brown color wirh a medium head. Highly splced, slightly tart aroma. Taste is also highly spiced with hop notes, eggnog. Medium bodied. 6/4/6/3/11

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
MoritzF (8562) - Bochum, GERMANY - MAY 30, 2006
(bottle, vintage 2005, with many thanks to bierkoning !) Dark brown colour with a stable tanned mid-sized foam. Moderately sweet and slightly roasted malt aroma with a floral note of violets, toffee, liquorice and cinnamon. Bittersweet flavour, medium body, moderate carbonation. Roasty malty taste with liquorice, violets and citrus peel; dry, malty and spicy finish with a lasting aftertaste with chocolate and spices. Complex and tasty brew.

3.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 13/20
Benzai (8545) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - JUN 18, 2011
Small bottle (with 2010 on it), shared with Drebus. Great color, dark with a deep-red glow. Makes you feel warm in cold days just by looking at it. Smelling it is completely different though. I smelled pepper! On first notive the taste is good, light bitter, but the aftertaste is pepper again, and that is somethibng I do not want to taste in my beer.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
JoeMcPhee (8510) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - NOV 28, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 20, 2010 2009 bottle. Deep dark brown beer with a very thick sticky pour. Good looking beer. The nose is great. A bright nose of light evergreen resin, a bit of cinnamon, fruity pine and a touch of molasses and dark malts. A kiss of toasted character. Pretty nice rich brew. There is a little bit of rye spice and a kiss of light herbal hoppiness as well. It’s pretty solid. 2008 bottle. Deep dark brown beer with a nice sticky tan head. The nose is quite spicy. A bit of cocoa and soft pine. Cinnamon and nutmeg as well as a bit of light fruitiness. Dusty cocoa and a bit of herbal character. Some light mintiness and a touch of chewy sweetness. Molasses and a bit of toastiness. Some rye and wheaty spice. As it warms the spruce and juniper picks up. Lovely toastiness and a bit of soft spice. It’s lovely. 8 5 8 5 17 2006 bottle. Dark brown/ruby tinted beer with a thick tan head. Aroma is of dark toasted malts, sweet breadiness with loads of fresh ginger and bright fresh cinnamon. There is also a lot of pine/spruce aroma that comes to the fore as the beer warms up. Flavour is malty sweet, toast and whole wheat spiciness, cinnamon and nutneg and ginger. Soft chocolatey malt notes behind the sweet spices as well. Lingering pine flavour and earthy/herbal bitterness. Smells and tastes like Christmas, which I gather was the point. I like this years better than 2005s version. 8 5 8 5 16 2005 bottle. Beautiful deep brown/ruby beer with a thich long-lasting brown head. Sweet caramelly aroma, a bit of toastiness, assertive licorice and even a touch of smokiness. Flavour is quite spicy aroma, bready sweet pudding-like malt and spice backgroung. Cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel with a long sweet and brown sugary finish. Dark cherries and black pepper on the back of the palate as well. Ar 7 Ap 5 Fl 7 Pa 3 Ov 15

2.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
GT2 (8510) - San Diego County, California, USA - DEC 5, 2009
12oz. Pours a cloudy deep red with a one finger dark tan head that has little retention and lacing. Aroma is spice, toffee, apple cider, nutmeg, cinnamon. Taste is spicy, watery, spruce, huge medicinal feel. Lots of cough syrup, Sudafed, Nyquil. Pretty light bodied but syrupy mouthfeel. Sort of gross. I’m surprised that a brewery with as much to live up to as Anchor would actually produce something this bad every year.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Dogbrick (8251) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUL 3, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 19, 2008 <b>2005 Magnum:</b> Deep dark brown color with a little red around the edges, with a thick beige head that retains well. Patchy lacing. Aroma of malt and pine, as well as some dark fruits. Pleasant flavor of roasted malts, spices (ginger mostly), and pine. The finish is spicy with some hops and a bit of chocolate. Solid, as with pretty much every year. It doesn’t seem like Anchor ever does anything too drastic to the recipe but that is fine.

<b>2006 Bottle:</b> This year’s version (sampled Oct 2007) is a dark reddish-brown color with a medium light beige head that dissipates pretty quickly. Speckled lacing. Spicy, malty aroma with some herbs. Medium, smooth body with nutmeg, fruit and earthy malt flavors. The finish is mildly spiced and short. Not quite as good as the previous year but still enjoyable. .

<b>2007 Bottle:</b> This year’s version (sampled Feb 2008) is dark mahogany with a thick beige head that lasts awhile. Pine and spices in the nose. Medium-bodied and smooth with pine, herbal hops and spice flavors. The finish is moderately bitter hops and leaves a dark fruit and spice aftertaste. Par for the course with previous years. .

<b>2008 Bottle:</b> Sample at the holiday beer tasting at Blacklick Wine & Spirits on 11/13/08. Pours dark brown with a medium khaki head that diminishes slowly. Stringy lacing. Aroma of malt and circus peanuts, plus some pine. Medium body with flavors of sweet malt and pine along with ginger and cinnamon. The finish is lightly spiced with a sweet aftertaste. Seems to have fallen off compared to past years.


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