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RATINGS: 2041   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
BeerRules (243) - Houston, Texas, USA - NOV 21, 2005
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.

3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 12/20
Nuffield (3981) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - DEC 5, 2005
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.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
heykevin (1281) - Decorah, Iowa, USA - DEC 13, 2005
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

3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
hezron (613) - Viroqua, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 17, 2005
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.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
fiulijn (18056) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 17, 2005
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.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
beerbuzzmontreal (3487) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 28, 2005
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.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
dionysus (1485) - Arizona, USA - NOV 13, 2010
Bottle pours murky oxidized amber with a tan head. Aroma is slightly oxidized and malt driven with sweet caramel and underlying raisin/fig. Almost like a fruitcake. Overall body is moderate and soft, with sweet malt being followed with minimal bitterness.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
koekiesbakker (89) - NETHERLANDS - NOV 22, 2010
These spiced beers are not for me, I can take one but usually donít want to drink more than one. Spiced quite a bit. Sweetness as well.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
madvike (3172) - Middleton, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 8, 2010
2005 bottle - Pours deep, dark mahogany with a small creamy tan head. Licorice, wood, soy sauce, brown sugar, and light spice on the nose. Pretty much the same flavor--all the OSAs Iíve had so far have that really rich flavor that oscillates between savory and sweet. Itís odd as hell, but interesting. This one doesnít linger quite as long, and seems to be a bit more mellow. Still, not entirely my thing.

3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
JDBaker11058 (1763) - Maryland, USA - FEB 21, 2011
Appearance: dark mahogany with deep ruby highlights; light tan head. Aroma: graham crackers, ginger snaps, fresh-cut pine boughs. Taste: as the aroma indicates, almost exactly; a little toasty and sweet, giving way to those resinous hops. Finish: toasty (almost burnt); well-balanced; lingering and dry. Notes: Definitely tasted like a holiday brew. Not my favorite, but I did enjoy the play of holiday flavors. Like eating a gingerbread house with pine needles.


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