BeerRules (243) - Houston, Texas, USA - NOV 21, 2005
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Cola colored with ruby edges, pillowy beige head. Aroma dominated by holiday spices. Man I really dont llike these spiced up beers, but aside from the spices which I dont like, the beer is good.
Nuffield (3547) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 5, 2005
3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 1/5 OVERALL 12/20
Mahogany brown with some yellow at the edges, moderate head production. Aroma blends roasted notes with Christmas tree hops, and touches of lemongrass, nutmeg, some alcohol, and a little smoke. The flavor gives a little more dark fruit, such as dried blueberries, gingerbread dough, and a light toffee. Some gentle bitterness rides out the finish. It went very flat very quickly and although somewhat oily, the palate is really tiresome--while a good English bitter works well with this level of carbonation, the darker, more roasted side does better with a little gentle lift. Not my favorite incarnation of this beer, in large measure due to the flatness I experienced.
heykevin (1272) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - DEC 13, 2005
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Deepest of rubies, with a tannish head. Strong ginger aroma, bits of liquorice and nutmeg/allspice. Medium-bodied with a significant ginger zing, a malty chocolate note, but then back to a spicy dryness. I think Clark is right on with the mincemeat pie analogy. This is decent, but I really donít feel like having another of these. I am tempted to pull an old bottle out of the archives and remind myself how these things taste when the spices tame down a little bit
hezron (606) - Viroqua, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 17, 2005
3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Aroma of chocolate, licorice, butterscotch and bourbon. Great aroma. Dark mahogany brown with a light brown head. Flavors of spruce, coffee and chocolate with a woody, cardboard-like finish. Light body, watery texture, seems a little weak. This would be great without the cardboard flavors and an improved palate.
fiulijn (13000) - MalmŲ, DENMARK - DEC 17, 2005
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
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.
beerbuzzmontreal (3490) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 28, 2005
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours a deep black color with a thin light brown head. Aroma of gingerbread and spices. Flavor of roasted malt, gingerbread and spices with a bitter finish. The palate is light and dry. I feel that this yearís OSA is less interesting and remarkable than the previous years.
GarrettB (849) - La Jolla, California, USA - FEB 7, 2006
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: JAN 4, 2013 I had the Special Ale 2005 in the midst of many ďsame olí same olíĒ winter ale beers that I had cheap from the local liquor store as part of an eclectic variety pack. The general theme of the six pack had me believe that this fun little gem from Anchor would be like its consanguineous brothers in the other five slots. Not so. The beer did pour the regular dark stoutish color with a mocha lab color transparency, and had a similarly flat and unexciting head, but the aroma and taste were far from the resounding conformity the other beers had displayed. What set it apart was a well placed floral essence that fit into the darker melody of the beer with sartorial precision. All the familiar groupies were there; the broad shouldered and dower chocolate, the everymanís visage of malts, the peppy and somewhat obscure flow of fruits, and then thereís the new guy: an aromatic and potent fellow of a garden variety flavor. A flower one to be specific, and it makes the whole drink dark enough for to satisfy the testerone requisite, and floral to make it a good dark drink for an indoor feast. Now that I think about this, the flavor of this beer would fit in very well in the Redwall series of books.
December 16th 2011 Tasting Notes Update - 2011 edition. Pillowy, tan and brown head. Brilliant aroma of blueberries, celery salt savoriness, and a salty gravity. Flavor is unpleasant. Muted, woodiness, underripe fruit. Sugar, but mostly ligneous wood flavor.
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - NOV 23, 2005
2.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
UPDATED: JAN 12, 2007 2005 Bottle
Pours a beautiful black brown with a thick head of tan. Aroma has hints of smoke, plum, and nutmeg. Flavor is like a dull barleywine, with a tinge of smoke and mulling spices. Interesting beer. As it warms, the flavors become more defined and complex. Smoke becoming more prominent as the minutes tick by. A tinge of citrus seems to be trying to poke its head through the fog of flavors, but it never really ascertains itself. Clove is becoming prominent, and I seem to be detecting some roasted malt in there as well. However, the flavors are now dulling in intensity, and Iím left with a typical seasonal that lacks punch. Palate is too watery; needs thickness to give the taste more assertiveness. Iím not quite impressed with this one.
2006 Bottle: Aroma is melted pennies offset by a peachy spice. Deep mohagony black with a frothy head and nice lacing. Slight smoke flavor followed by roasted chocolate; a tinge of cinammon emerges as it warms. Full and coating mouthfeel with a dry finish. Stinks but it tastes great.
Magjayran (1379) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - NOV 30, 2005
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pours a dark brown color with a thick tan head. I get nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in the aroma with a faint bitterness that I have a hard time describing. The flavor has some cinnamon/sugar and nutmeg along with way too much ginger that is harsh and overbearing. Rocky mouthfeel and a taste that actually gets harder to deal with as it gets warmer. One day I will try to age on of these in magnum form and maybe Iíll like it when itís a few years old. Iíve never been overly impressed with this one fresh.
Crash (526) - Macomb, Illinois, USA - DEC 12, 2005
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Poured a dark brown/black with a little head and good lacing. There wasnít much aroma or at least I didnít catch it. I didnít get much in the way of spices and judging from others, I wonder if I got a bad bottle.