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RATINGS: 1941   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.


3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jercraigs (8153) - 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

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JorisPPattyn (8125) - Antwerpen, 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...

2.6
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
gnoff (8051) - 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 (7915) - 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

3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BMan1113VR (7884) - Los Angeles, California, USA - DEC 6, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 26, 2009 2007 vintage in a magnum bottle. A very good tasting extremely dark ale with a very large brown head. Medium to full bodied with a short duration. Aroma is very fresh, with possibly some pine scents. Very much different from Anchor’s other products.
Dec 6, 2007.
Ar: 7; AP: 2; F: 8; P: 4; O: 14
Total Score: 3.5/5.0

2005 Vinatge. Waited too long on this one. Mar 3, 2008. Pours with a light brown, creamy, head that lasts. Murky brown body. Aroma of soy, madera, and prunes. Alcohol legs on the glass. Taste is way too oxidized. Sat for too long. Creamy mouthfeel, with some fizz left. Bitter and very very oxidized.
Ar: 6; AP: 4; F: 5; P: 3; O: 12
Total Score: 3.0/5.0

2006 Vintage. This one was waited on for too long. Pours with a decent sized, light brown, foamy head covering a hazy dark brown body. Aroma has elements of oxidation, figs, plums, yeast, cinnamon, and vanilla. Taste is salty, smokey and oxidized. Over the hill in a baby SA Triple Bock sort of way. I am disapointed because this one looked and smelled quite good. I guess I know that these will not last much longer than a year (low alcohol I guess). Too bad.
April 21, 2008.
Ar: 7; AP: 4; F: 5; P: 3; O: 12
Total Score: 3.1/5.0

2008 vintage. November 16, 2008. Bottle marked 803. Pours a deep mahogoney with a fluffy light brown head. Good lacing and retention. Aroma of allspice, cinnamon, pine, molassas, caramel and maple. Taste is spiced with some tabbacco, allspice, caramel, plenty of hazlenuts, and bitter molassas. Creamy mouthfeel, light bubbles, slightly warming. Good winter warmer.
Ar: 7; AP: 4; F: 7; P: 4; O: 15;
Total Score: 3.7/5.0
2009 had a bit more of a twang to it.

2.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Scopey (7881) - Croydon, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 20, 2010
2010 edition on tap at the Euston Tap. Colour; dark ruby with bubbly beige head. Nose; GINGER, sweetness, cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste; bitter, dominant ginger, warming sweetness, nutmeg, pumpkin and currants. Too thin and weak for a christmas beer!

2.3
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
mcberko (7830) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 13, 2010
12 oz. bottle, pours dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and clove. Flavour of christmas spices and heavy on the ginger. This definitely isn’t for me.

3.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
DrSilverworm (7692) - 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.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
rosenbergh (7657) - 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.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
deyholla (7370) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - DEC 22, 2010
Bottle shared by someone at the 2010 Winter Solstice. Poured a hazy brown with a yellowish brown head that lasted throughout the beer. Aroma was full of holiday spices with a dark grain note as well. There spices seemed to be mainly cinnamon and nutmeg. Flavor was similar with the same holiday spices joined by some dark fruits and grains with a the spice really coming out in the finish.


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