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RATINGS: 1946   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 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.


3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
DocLock (8424) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 23, 2006
Draft at the Drafting Room. This one pours dep brown. The aroma was chocolatey and spicy, with a gingerbready malt presence. The flavor was like minty, spicy chocolate chip cookie dough dipped in molasses, then pureed. Well done, as usual from these guys.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
MartinT (8396) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 9, 2005
The Lure:
Embedded star anise tries to rise above the rooty cola reminiscence. Roasted malts play a second-tier role, but with the prevalent sweetness creates stout-like passages. Sturdy conifer needles point their way once in a while.

The Festivities:
Prominent earthiness, tree root and bark surround themselves with roasted molasses and a plethora of blackberries and mushy blueberries.Their union is balanced in an ample but easy to digest body. Negligible dryness and bitterness appear in the finale; this is unique stuff as always.

Transcendence:
Nicely laid out ornaments do enliven the atmosphere.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Quack-Duck (8391) - Down South, GERMANY - AUG 5, 2009
bottle, vintage 2007, mit Dank ins Ruhrgebiet! Dark red-brown colour, large beige head. Fruity nose. Intensively malty with lots of fruit flavours: berries, plums, blackcurrant. Bitter-sweet with lovely citrusy hops that add flavours of bitter orange marmalade. Lingering finish. Delicious!

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JorisPPattyn (8344) - Ursel, BELGIUM - OCT 10, 2007
2006 vintage, from a shelf in my cellar, generous donator unknown but thanked Huge, darker beige head, creamy, over fully dark-opaque, red-shot brown beer. Spicy nose; roasted grains or roasted (sweetish) multi-grains bread. Resins and rosemary, cloves, meatgravy aromas. Roasted taste as roasted coffee, breadcrust and walnutpeel. Flavours of clove or allspice and liquorice. Ends pretty dry - spicy/bitterish, near tartness. Restsugars all but gone. Rather well-bodied, neither slick nor chewy. Some discreet alcohol. Decent spicy winter ale, not too sweet, but not too special neither. Bit roasted-roasty...

3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jercraigs (8334) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 31, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 8, 2009 2008-12-06. Dark brown body with a modest khaki head. (3+) Sweet malt aroma, spice is well rounded, nutmeg? (7+) Sweetish flavour has a malty base, nutmeg, spice. (7+) Average plus palate. (3+) Pretty much how I remembered it from previous years! 7+/3+/7+/3+/15-16 = 3.5 <i>2008 Vintage. On tap at Coles, Buffalo</i>

2006 Vintage. Bottle at Volo. Very dark brown-black body with a smallish creamy tan head (3+). Spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon) and sweet malt in the aroma. Flavour is similar to aroma, with the addition of ovaltine/cocoa notes. Nutmeg, very light anise, sweet malt middle. Average palate. Pleasant, but as always with this one I find it hard to wrap my palate around the melange of spice flavours. 7/3+/3/7/14 - 3.4 <P> 2005 Vintage. December 2005. Draft @ Coles in Buffalo. Black body with small creamy tan head. (3+) Sweet malt with abundant but mild spice notes in the aroma. Flavour has lots of nutmeg and something I called anise that may or may not be. Mild nutty notes at some points. Plenty of malt throughout. I enjoyed this a bit more than previous years, but there is still something unharmonious about the whole package that detracts from it for my tastes.6/4/6/3/14 - 3.3

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
rosenbergh (8316) - Tampere, FINLAND - NOV 26, 2010
355 ml bottle. 2010. Finland.
Dark reddish brown colour with small creamy tan head. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, toffee and hops in quite tempting aroma. Flavour is a dab more harsh with darkish hops, roasted malt, chocolate, spices and coffee. Rather wintery.

2.6
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
gnoff (8289) - Mölndal, SWEDEN - NOV 6, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 2, 2014 First rating
Initial Rating Date: 11/6/2006
330 ml bottle at Haket, Göteborg.
2006 Christmas ale.
Ruby red color, tan head. Spicy clove scent. Taste is clove and lots of spicy malts. Low bitterness.
8/4/7/3/14=3.6

Second rating
UPDATED 11/19/2006
Bottle
Vinous a bit minty, strong sugary smell. Deep ruby red color, tan head. A bit fruity taste, thin and boring, vinous. No bitterness. Just plain too boring.
5/3/5/2/9=2.4

Rerate
On tap as part of a flight at Brewer’s Tasting Room, St. Pete, FL, on January 22, 2014.
Clear very dark red color, light brown head. Sweet, spicy taste. Tart, dry aftertaste. Thin mouthfeel, low bitterness. Sweet scent, a bit spicy.
5/4/5/2/10=2.6

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Fin (8199) - Merton, Oxfordshire, England, Oxfordshire, ENGLAND - DEC 8, 2008
Had this at a Café/bar in the company of Loz, Casey and Traci on 17-11-08, just before we said cheerio to Casey and Traci. Pours very dark brown with light beige head. Really nice and creamy, some condensed milk and big caramac flavours leapt out at me quite yummy with good Christmassy feel. A7 A4 F7 P4 OV14 3.6

2.4
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
DSG (8199) - Tel Aviv, - JUN 9, 2012
UPDATED: APR 23, 2013 Re-rate 4/13: Bottle sample at a tasting Beer Market Jaffa. Thanks Tom. 2012 bottle. Winter spices and some licorice. Sweet and malty. 5/3/5/3/10=2.6

Bottle sample at beerandbeyond farewell tasting at Dagan’s place. Thanks beerandbeyond. 2011 bottle. Brown-colored. Aroma of malt and lots of winter spices. Sweetish malty flavor with spices, a bit of molasses and a dry finish. Medium-bodied. 4/3/4/3/8=2.2

3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
DrSilverworm (8185) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 27, 2011
2010 version. Smells great, definitely a pine smell in it that’s appropriate for the season, maybe even some roasted nut smells. Appears to be a very dark brown color when poured, but when shining a light through the glass the beautiful red color becomes very apparent. Stickier texture than I prefer, lively carbonation though. Sort of an odd vegetable-ish after taste, but it’s certainly interesting and not too strong.


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