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RATINGS: 1821   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.54   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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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.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Driftwood6 (214) - USA - DEC 7, 2007
On tap at Brixie’s, Brookfield IL. Spices pretty subdued. Most noticable was the dry finish with a touch of bitterness. I think I liked the Great Lakes Christmas Ale a little better.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
mybestfriend (263) - Gothenburg, SWEDEN - FEB 17, 2008
2007 bottle. Pours an almost black colour with a beige head, On the nose I got some fresh, but artificial, citrus (made me think of detergent) mixed with some ginger, roasted coffee beans and julmust (a swedish christmas soft drink). The taste is a bit sweet and resembles the aroma but with much more ginger!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Drake (8030) - 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

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Blom (831) - Odense, DENMARK - MAR 20, 2008
2005 tasting notes. Ruby red with a grey massive head. Sweet and spicy aroma with some orangy fruits and perfume. The flavours are spicy but balanced and it finishes a bit dry.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
basewars (169) - Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 19, 2008
2008 Batch. Pours dark with some translucence around the edges. Fairly stout-like appearance. Aroma is pine and a bit of ginger with some malty sweetness. Flavor is underwhelming. Some bitterness but not much flavor.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
tastybeer (1666) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - NOV 13, 2010
Draft. Pours ruby with a tan head. Reminded me of tea, very dry with spices.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
mile (2853) - Helsinki, FINLAND - NOV 15, 2010
Bottle. Dark brown, average mostly diminishing light brown head. Moderate, spicy (aniseed and cinnamon) and sweetish aroma. Body is light to medium, malty and spicy flavor (less than in aroma), some roasted malt. Finish is short to average, malty with dryish spiciness. Moderately spiced Xmas ale. Call me puritanist but aniseed and cinnamon in beer just do not work (at least for me).

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
BilltheButcher (12) - Arlington, Texas, USA - DEC 9, 2010
Dark brown appearance, tan head. Smells like coffee with creamer, molasses, sweet, roasty. Tastes sweet, spicy, maybe a little bit of spruce. The spices come on strong and overpower any roasty malty notes. Slightly bitter finish. Seems fairly complex though not directed in any way, but it grows on you.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 13/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JAN 8, 2011
2008 bottle. Pours reddish brown out of the bottle and settles in an opaque mahogany that only has ruby hints around the edges. There is a healthy beige head that recedes to a hefty cap with good lacing. Aroma is sweet and malty but with lots of subtle spices mixed in, including cinnamon and nutmeg. There is also an interesting juniper berry and evergreen character. Almost a minty type aroma. The taste has an initial juniper kick alongside the sweet caramel malts. The spices become much more evident in the finish where I’m left with a cinnamon and herbal zing on the palate. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with lots of spices popping on the tongue. This a really well crafted and very drinkable winter warmer. After 2 years, the spices have settled down a bit and let the sweetness of the malts come out.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
DavoleBomb (1467) - Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 18, 2011
Poured into a pint glass. 3.5 A: Dark brown, black if not near light. Two fingers of frothy light tan head with below average retention, but moderate amounts of lacing. 4.5 S: The aroma is very appropriate for a beer with "Christmas" in the title. Lots of spices in the form of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, and gingerbread. Cake icing, spruce, candied dark fruits, resiny and herbal hops. Light toastiness and nuttiness. Quite pleasant. 3.5 T: Taste is pretty bland compared to the nose, but still good enough. Definitely a big hop component with a moderate bitterness and sticky piney and orange hop flavor. This is surprisingly dry, which is a bit shocking considering how sweet the aroma is. Some of the spices come through well (especially cinnamon, spruce, and nutmeg), but not much of the cake and candied fruit flavors. This allows for the roasty toastiness and nuts to come through more, but I’d prefer a cakey sweetness. 3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate amounts of carbonation and somewhat spritzy. Reasonably smooth, but I wish this was thick and rich and super creamy. 3.5 D: Having recently had my first St. Arnold Reserve #9, I suppose I was hoping this would be somewhat like that after the nose gave me a similar vibe. The problem is that I didn’t get much of what I wanted/expected. This isn’t a bad beer, but doesn’t deliver on the sweetness and warmth (or even spiciness in the taste) that I associate with some of the best Christmas beers. Serving type: bottle Reviewed on: 12-11-2010 04:58:58

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