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RATINGS: 2047   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.


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Dogbrick (11180) - 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.

3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Borup (11044) - Albertslund, DENMARK - DEC 11, 2006
Bottle. Dark brown colour with a brown head. Aroma and flavour of chocolate, coffee, fruit, roasted malt and hops.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
crossovert (11015) - Illinois, USA - MAR 15, 2011
From a magnum bottle, taste Christmas! This one taste sort of like Christmas tree and Christmas caramels. I liked it.

3.5
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rune (10928) - Tromsø, NORWAY - DEC 20, 2006
355ml bottle, vintage 2005, bought at Ølbutikken in Copenhagen a year ago. I suppose one year aging in the cellar has enhanced the flavour. Pours a yellow-brownish head over a deep, rusty brown body. The smell is rather weak but dark fruit offset by vanilla can be detected. Rich and complex taste of aniseed, dark malty sweetness, black coffee and spicies (a pepper note). The beer finishes off with crisply bitterness. Medium palate (20.12.2006).

3.5
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Sammy (10891) - 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.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
kp (10884) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - SEP 1, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 31, 2012
Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2005
Mode: Bottle
Source: Green’s, Atlanta
Vintage: 2005
Aroma: good fresh spicy aroma on top of slightly sweet malt
Body: light body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, mellow spices, great fresh like a well aged osa, may not age well

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2005
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2005
Appearance: very dark with ruby edges, big tan head
Aroma: nice cinamon and allspice aroma
Body: creamy body
Flavor: big spice flavor on a rich malt base, lots of chocolate, light bitterness, very well balanced for a fresh osa

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2006
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2005
Aroma: spice aroma have muted a bit, the cinamon has faded letting the allspice take the lead
Flavor: lots of bitter spicy flavor, hint of tartness, upon warming the chocolate aroma shows up but the flavor is still spice dominated, body is thinning out a bit as well

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2005
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head, streaks of lace
Aroma: spiced dark chocolate aroma, light minty spicyness
Flavor: sweet minty flavor, dark chocolate, light spicyness, earthy bitterness, touch of roasted

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2006
Mode: Bottle
Source: Pop’s
Vintage: 2006
Appearance: clear dark burgandy, fine tan head, specks of lace
Aroma: strong spruce aroma with a fleeting hint of mint
Body: body is a bit thin initially then becomes creamy
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor balanced by lots of spicey herbal character, only a touch of the traditional cinamon and nutmug but ginger is coming on strong, long light bitter finish from the spices
Overall: noticable difference between the 06 and the prior two years in a vertical lineup - much milder on the malt and a change from holiday spices to more herbal

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 26, 2006
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2006
drinking a bottle by itself a couple of days later reveals nothing new, just a lot of rich chocolate and the herbal spices to balance, may end up aging a bit better than the last couple of years

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2006
Mode: draft
Source: Wild Wing, Marietta
Vintage: 2006
lots of nice tan lace, chocolate gets even richer on draft, showing a bit more of the traditional spices although the herbal character still dominates, the more I drink it the more that this years version grows on me, like moss on a pine tree

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: December 12, 2006
Mode: draft
Source: taco mac
Vintage: 2006
the mint is making another brief showing in the flavor,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2006
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head, streaks of lace
Aroma: dark chocolate aroma, light spices, touch of sweet pine
Flavor: dark chocolate flavor, balancing milk chocolate sweetness, light spicyness adds depth, hint of pine
Overall: this is the first subtle one of the batch working back from 2012, the others have retained much for of the Christmas spirit

Aroma: 6/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 25, 2007
Mode: Bottle
Source: Sherlocks, GA
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: opaque dark brown, wispy beige head, drippy sheets of lace
Aroma: chocolate aroma with a touch of sweetness balanced with spruce and peppery spices
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, touch of sweetness brings out the chocolate, nice spicy balance with a nutmeg and pepper character, touch of fresh green spruce, bitterness rises out of the spices for a light lasting flavorfull finish
Overall: continues the trend of dumbing down every year but makes it really tasty fresh

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2007
Mode: draft
Source: taco mac
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: dark brown with clear ruby edges, dense tan head, thick lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate aroma with plenty of fresh spruce
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, nice malty sweetness is well balanced with the spices
Overall: draft and bottle are very close this year

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 19, 2010
Mode: bottle
Source: tasting
Vintage: 2007
sweet chocolate, touch of spruce, light spicyness,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: opaque brown, short lived tan head
Aroma: spicy chocolate and clove aroma, touch of spruce
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, light spruce, light background spicyness, spruce appears to add a sweetness

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 8/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 18, 2008
Mode: Bottle
Source: Sherlocks, GA
Vintage: 2008
Appearance: dark brown with ruby edges, fine tan head, lots of drippy lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate aroma, lots of different strong spices this year including sweet spruce
Flavor: sweet chocolate and caramel flavor, lots of balancing spices, touch of cinamon, allspice, long bitter finish
Overall: spices are mellower in the flavor than the aroma, a return to to more agressive

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 19, 2008
Mode: draft
Source: summits woodstock
Vintage: 2008
Aroma: sweet chocolate and pine aroma is a bit more subdued on draft
Flavor: richer and sweeter chocolate flavor on draft

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: March 13, 2009
Mode: draft
Source: summits woodstock
Vintage: 2008
draft is actually getting a bit more agressive as it ages, sweet pine is coming out stronger,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2008
rich chocolate porter, spruce and a growing earthyness remaining from the original spicyness,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 16, 2009
Mode: Draft
Source: Summits - Woodstock
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: opaque dark brown with ruby edges, creamy tan head, spidery lace
Aroma: sweet spicy aroma, sweet chocolate, pine, complex array of spices
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, caramel and vanilla sweetness, lots of balancing spicyness, mellow spruce hangs tight and becomes a dominant character, hint of cinnamon, balancing bitterness follows the spices
Overall: a bit more of the caramel sweetness this year changes up the chocolate character and puts it ahead of the spices except for the spruce that comes on strong in the end

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2009
Mode: bottle
Source: hop city
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: clear dark brown, lasting creamy beige head, drippy lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate and spruce aroma, lots of spice and cinamon
Body: creamy body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, balancing spicyness, touch of spruce and pine

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: opaque dark brown, creamy tan head
Aroma: rich chocolate aroma, herbal mint, milky sweetness, spicy
Body: creamy body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, spices have muddled a bit, minty spruce hanging in there

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 25, 2010
Mode: Bottle
Source: Total Wine, GA
Vintage: 2010
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head
Aroma: big chocolate and spruce aroma, black pepper and sweet licorice, allspice
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, lots of spices, plenty of spruce brings out a sweetness, a bit of undesirable bitterness emerges from the spices

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 6/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 13/20
Rating: 3.3/5.0
Drinkability: 6/10
Score: **+ /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2011
Mode: Draft
Source: Taco Mac, Woodstock
Vintage: 2011
Appearance: black, creamy beige head, heavy lace
Aroma: big sweet pine and cinnamon aroma
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, cinnamon and nutmeg, touch of traditional spruce, caramel sweetness yeilds to a light ginger
Overall: less of the tree and more of the traditional spices this year, biggest divergence in years

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2012
Mode: Bottle
Source: Hop City, Atlanta
Vintage: 2012
Appearance: opaque dark brown, frothy tan head
Aroma: sweet spiced chocolate aroma, lots of chocolate, spices, cinnamon, clove, spruce, sweet licorice
Flavor: sweet chocolate flavor, caramel sweetness, mellow blend of spices, touch of minty spruce, peppery, light earthyness follows the spices

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: December 12, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: tmac kennesaw
Vintage: 2012
the spruce is bigger and fresher on draft, spices are bigger and bolder as well, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet chocolate provids the backing base the the complex array of Christmas character,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 6/10
Score: *** /4

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Meilby (10865) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - DEC 10, 2011
Bottle 355ml vintage 2011 @ home
Pours deep brown with a off-white head. Aroma has notes of malt, clove, ginger, caramel and orange. Taste is medium sweet and light to medium bitter with a long finish of christmas spices. Body is medium, texture is oily, carbonation is soft.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
daknole (10840) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - FEB 22, 2009
Pours a nice dark color with some dark red at the edges and a very small head. I will be damned if this beer doesnt smell and taste a lot like fruit cake. Aroma has a ton of dates, raisins, figs, and baking spices. Flavor is much the same. Dates stand out, with prunes, raisins, fig preserves, sweet malt and a hop finish to balance well. Good shit!

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
hopscotch (10557) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - NOV 4, 2005
UPDATED: NOV 22, 2006 2005 Bottle... Clear, way dark, crimson ale with a small, fizzy, tan head. Smells like a combination of black bread and gingerbread. Spicy, gingerbread flavor. Lightly malty. Well-bittered. Balanced nicely. Medium-bodied and creamy with lively carbonation. Tangy, spicy finish. Extremely nice for what it is... a light winter warmer.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
adnielsen (10445) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 3, 2010
UPDATED: NOV 27, 2012 Tap @ Falling Rock Denver. 2010 vintage. Very dark red/brown appearance. Very spicy aroma with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Dark tasting flavor full of special spices. Quite tasty and quite unbelievably tasty. Great beer (4.6)

Bottle @ home picked up at Wilbur’s Fort Collins. 2012 vintage. Minty, ginger, allspice, spicy bready aroma. A bit tangy, smooth, toasty malty, light chocolate, a touch nutty, minty, ginger flavor. Please don’t change the recipe! (4.4)


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