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RATINGS: 1826   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 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
EKGoldings (526) - Radford, Virginia, USA - DEC 13, 2007
Had this beer may times over the last 25 years or so. Dang, I’m old. Somewhat variable because they supposedly use a different recipe each year. This one rarely rings my bell. This one from 07 reminds me of years past, where the flavor of spice dominates and does not please me. Course, I generally frown on spiced beers, preferring hops to dominate. Nonetheless, this is a well-made, spiced Christmas ale that should be on everybody who enjoys this style’s short list. I’ve had these at one year age and didn’t find my enjoyment particularly improved.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
SirSlarty (68) - Reading, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 16, 2007
Looks and smells almost like a brown ale. Frothy tan head. Looks great. Tastes good too. Surprised me. Major hints of apple and other fruits.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
BlackForestCO (977) - Aurora, Colorado, USA - DEC 21, 2007
07 bottle. Poured a tawny brown with a pillowy, light tan head that left nice lacing. Nice aroma of caramel, spices (clove and ginger mainly), and a hint of pine. I didn’t enjoy the flavor as much as the aroma. It began with a slightly spicey pine taste that led into a somewhat smooth caramel finish. It was relatively smooth on the palate. I just couldn’t really get into this beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
GG (2039) - NorCal, California, USA - DEC 24, 2007
I’m not a huge fan of this beer when it’s fresh. After a bit of age on it it comes around nicely, but aside from that issue it’s not a bad beer. Aroma is holiday spices, like cinammon and nutmeg, some clove and allspice wrapped up in a caramel bow. Appearance is dark brown, cloudy with some red edges coming thru the light, a nice one-finger thick head. Mouthfeel is a touch watery. Flavors were mostly an uncharacterized sweetness, perhaps caramel but the spices really make this hard to distinguish. A tasty beer for sure, but as I said after 1-2 years this beer really hits it’s peak. Looking forward to trying the ’07 in ’09.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
bleeng (1513) - Houston nowhere near Beersel, Texas, USA - JAN 4, 2008
2007 version. Thick full white head on top of a dark, almost opaque beer. Nose of pine cones, spices, like a clear, cold winter day in the Rocky Mts. Taste is sweet, tangy, a bit hoppy with a nice malt background. Of course the pine cones and spices overwhelm this beer. A bit over-carbonated and the finish is a bit thin. One is enough. These are best aged for at least one year.

   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 (8322) - 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.

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