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RATINGS: 1972   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Aleís 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.

Editorís 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 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - NOV 23, 2005
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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
Magjayran (1379) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - NOV 30, 2005
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.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
Crash (532) - Macomb, Illinois, USA - DEC 12, 2005
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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
IslandHaole (1159) - Mililani, Hawaii, USA - FEB 5, 2006
Dark brown with a small tan head. Scent reminds me of that red Grenadine syrup used in tropical drinks mixed with the thin slices of ginger I get in sushi bars on the side. Sweet candy taste, Dr. Pepper, with wood, spices and a sprinkle of snuff. A dry finish and bitter follow. Rather thin feeling.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
NoiZe (2323) - Amersfoort, NETHERLANDS - FEB 27, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 12, 2011 6th Dutch Ratebeer Gathering. Also had it at ít Klooster in Delft, was sold as Anchor Snow. Black, brown appearance. Very bitter and spicy flavor, with clove.

Had the 2007 version, chocolate aroma, earthy, roasted malts.

2009 version tap @ Beertemple. Black, spicy, cloves, metallic, malty, chocolate.

2010 version: Black, spicy, cloves, sweetness, malty.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
keoki182 (305) - West Bend, Wisconsin, USA - AUG 22, 2006
Purchased at Liquor Lodge in Menomonee Falls. Opaque with a big tan head. Smells spiced, like mulled cider. I can smelll anise too, along with some hops. The flavor is black liquorice candy (Good N Plenty) and ginger. Iím not a big fan of this one. To be fair, it is a winter seasonal from 2005 that Iím first drinking in August of 06. It may have gone bad?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
islay (1712) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - NOV 24, 2006
2006 bottle. Spicy but weak aroma. I detect ginger with a hint of cinnamon and cloves. Smells much like a watered-down dunkelweizen. The beer pours a deep, opaque dark brown with a tall and thick tan head. The spices, which seem to include those present in the aroma as well as pepper, are surprisingly subdued in the flavor. Tastes like a hoppy old ale with a spice mix shaken on top. The aftertaste is off. It is overly bitter and dirt-like. I canít tell if this taste comes from the hops or the spices (I lean toward the latter), but either way it isnít good. I have chosen to punish the palate, rather than the flavor, for this offense. Otherwise, this soft, medium-bodied beer is quite pleasing to the palate. Overall, the beer looks great, and the smell and the primary taste are good although understated. The unpleasant aftertaste, however, significantly mars what otherwise would be a fine brew, and that is quite disappointing.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Panzuriel (1558) - Westerville, Ohio, USA - DEC 25, 2006
Dark brown beer with a full tan foam. Nose is of spices and maybe a hint of evergreen. Taste is more spice and evergreen and a bit of coffee as well. body is full. Finish is dry and warming.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Soonah (1120) - Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA - DEC 30, 2006
The pour is dark brown with ruby highlights and a moderate off-white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is of spice and a little bit of roasted malt. The flavor is nutmeg. Then some more nutmeg and even a little bit more nutmeg thrown in for good measure. With a little bit of sour mixed in there. Tightly carbonated. While I appreciate the effort at continually innovating this brew, Iím glad this stuff isnít around very long.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
bdjames29 (273) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JAN 1, 2007
Bottle. My worst Anchor experience thus far. I am having a difficult time settling in to this style. Tried a few this season and was on the verge of enjoying them. This is a difficult beer for me - the spicy, salty taste is hard to handle. Consistency and feel in the mouth is a bit heavy and fuzzy. Iíll work on it again next year.

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