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RATINGS: 1850   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Scopey (7221) - 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!

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Koelschtrinker (10966) - Köln (Cologne), GERMANY - JUL 6, 2011
Malzig-fruchtiger, etwas scharfer und sehr würziger Geruch, der mehr verspricht, als das, was das Bier dann tatsächlich auch zu bieten hat. Malzig-würziger, aber noch milder Antrunk, minimal bitter. Später malziger und süßer, besonders die starken Gewürznoten, die im Geruch prägend waren, fehlen mir hier. Zum Ende hin etwas grasig und röstmalzig. Fast schon entäuschend. Test vom 27.6.2007, Gebinde: Glasflasche Noten: 11,8,8,9,10,8 - 8,55

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
rodeleeuw (19) - The Hague, NETHERLANDS - AUG 25, 2011
Zucht, dit is een moeilijk bier. Ik ben niet meteen gecharmeerd door het aroma, dat valt moeilijk goed te maken tijdens het verdere proeven. Op kamertemperatuur bevalt het bier me veel beter dan gekoeld. Ontzettend complex, een smaakpallet dat we niet gewoon zijn in Europese bieren. Ook het relatief lage alcoholpercentage is ongewoon voor een kertbier. De 2010 variant die ik heb geproefd heeft een schuimkraag die snel verdwijnt, de kleur benadert die van de porter, het aroma en de smaak kan ik moeilijk omschrijven, er zit namelijk zoveel in... Van chocolade tot kruidnagel en "port zonder suiker". Zeer interessant maar niet meteen erg lekker is het wat verwarrende eindoordeel.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
tmongoose (1368) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - DEC 6, 2011
12oz bottle pours dark brown. aroma is of spice notes and i get anise as a flavor...the first taste was like the last one i had a few years back a licorice pine tree. i do not like this beer but others will disagree...

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
BlackHaddock (4052) - Shropshire, ENGLAND - APR 15, 2012
2009 Version: My first review of 2011. The house is calm again, so I can relax and have a quiet beer, slowly. My football team won 6-1 today and 7-2 on New Years Day, so this is my celebratory drink for both games. Poured into my Westmalle chalice, the brown 355ml bottle had a best before date of 20 Oct 2011. Imported into the UK by James Clay and Sons. The beer was a lovely ruby red when held up to the light, darker in the dull lighting of my living room. The full cream coloured head soon left, leaving behind a small wisp and nothing else. The beer seemed to be in good condition, so I was suprised the head ’did a runner’ so swiftly. No great smells, some hints of coffee and malty molasses, expected more. The taste was all malt, well carbonated (again, why the disappearing head), with a hop roughness more than bitterness in the aftertaste. The 5.5% ABV sat nicely within the brew and could be found easily as the beer warmed in the glass, not so obvious when the beer was colder. I was expecting more to be honest, not a bad beer by any standards, but not the rich, creamy special I hoped for!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
sawbuck (359) - Round Lake, Illinois, USA - FEB 1, 2013
2012 version. Aromas of dark cherry, cinnamon, and corriander....some citrus notes. Dark red-wine in color, thick tan head. Strange lack of flavor initially. Barely there cinnamon, with some spiciness, finishes with slight cherry, then very dry at end. Tastes like a very weak stout with cinnamon. Wonder if this is a bad bottle.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
gonzosauce (157) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - MAR 22, 2013
(2012) Weird, interesting beer. Indeed, almost every aspect of the beer surprised me! Much darker than expected, though a lightly colored head. Necco wafers (!), berried hard candy and a touch of juniper in the smell, along with some mellow but certain root beer action. Summarily, smells like a root beer Necco wafer. None-the-less, not too sweet, nor junipery in the flavor. That being said, definitely on the sweeter side, but even as a guy who shies from such, I’m enjoying this one. Actually a pretty enjoyable flavor, if not a bit confusing. Indeed, this is a good example of a beer with a heavily accented flavor that is still well-balanced in it’s overall taste. Mouthfeel was a bit sparse, and aftertaste suffered in comparison to the flavor, but these weren’t detriments. My only complaint is that it never really occurred to me what I was drinking. Which, come to think of it, isn’t necessarily a complaint. Off to work on this very large bottle.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
janubio (425) - SPAIN - JUL 29, 2013
2011 bottle. Pours dark red-brown clour, with a big off white head that disappears soon leaving some lace.Smell is very faint, some chocolate and spices. Very soft palate taste of chocolate and spices, cardamom or clove, and maybe allspices. Not bad, but I was hoping for something better.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Rrauth (1196) - North Carolina, USA - DEC 19, 2013
2013. Dark brown with brownish head. A tad bitter. Not to heavy on the spice. Nice to share at card night. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
Vac (2445) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 8, 2006
Pours wtih a red-brown body topped by a thin head with some lacing. It’s sour with a slight underlying sweetness with a note of cranberries and a slight roastiness. Full bodied and dry wtih a deep warmth.

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