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RATINGS: 1957   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53   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 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.


4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
17thfloor (2437) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - OCT 28, 2008
UPDATED: FEB 2, 2010 [2006 Bottle - almost 2 years old 10.28.08] Pours a dark thick murky reddish brown with a small thick creamy beige head. Smells like christmas spice cake & eggnog, cinnamon, raisins, tons of nutmeg and a touch of oxidation. Rich flavor, dry nutty caramel malts, touch of coffee, hint of dark molasses, the spices blend seamlessly with the malt and are surprisingly not overpowering. This is a beer to be reckoned with; pecan-pie in a bottle. I love the nutmeg. Faint hint of oxidized hops that give it a brandy like richness, decadent. Medium/full body, lightly chalky/creamy with very smooth fine fluffy carbonation, great mouthful. This is one of the better beers I’ve had in a while. . . . . . . . 8.5.9.5.17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [2009 bottles are quite good!]

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Cybercat (4087) - Georgia, USA - DEC 6, 2008
Had the 2008 version. This one pours a dark chocolaty opaque brown with a fine-bubbled tan head. Rich, malty aroma has strong hints of spice. Flavor is strong and mouth filling, malty, very spicy, with a solid undertone of unsweetened chocolate. Texture is smooth and a little syrupy so it goes down well.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
xibalba89 (147) - New York, New York, USA - DEC 17, 2008
Pours a dark reddish brown with a big tan head. The aroma is really cool... mint and light, bitter hops blended with spruce...! The flavor is great, with caramel and malt rounding it out nicely. Mouthfeel is light, but not too watery. A really nice, unique holiday beer.

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
ARMed (622) - Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 18, 2008
UPDATED: DEC 3, 2014 Thanks Joeyplush for this great birthday gift. It is an outstanding brew with a ton of flavor and a lot of character. Great spicey flavor of winter porter with the aroma of a pine forest. I wanted a second one! Just opened the 2012 on Dec. 3rd, 2014. Still spectacular!

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
bsp77 (724) - Minnesota, USA - NOV 10, 2009
Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Dark brownish-ruby with creamy tan head that mostly recedes with slight lacing lines. Aroma of faintly sweet spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and gingerbread; nice chocolate and caramel undertones. Bittersweet roasted malts with light notes of coffee, chocolate and caramel. The spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) are subdued overall, especially compared to the smell, but provide a nice counterbalance. Slight bitter finish from the roasting. Almost seems a little stale, akin to an English Old Ale. Moderate carbonation, medium body, somewhat dry finish. This appears to be a Robust Porter with a fairly subdued holiday spice profile. This is a must purchase every year.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Suzie_Johnston (1) - California, USA - DEC 20, 2009 does not count
Anchor Steam "Our Special Ale" is the beginning of the holiday season. Though the taste is a bit different every year somehow the taste of a Christmas tree comes through. My husband always finds it for me to make my holiday perfect. This is the taste of the solstice.

4.4
   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
jikvig (269) - NORWAY - OCT 1, 2010
Had the 2008 vintage On the nose, I digg the raisins, coffe, chocolate flavours that show up! Also getting "glřgg" which is a Scandinavian thing, almost like a gluhwein (google it) It´s kinda shy in taste at the begging, before it builds up. Soft bitternes, a lovely rich malt flavour. Really smooth in the mouth. Getting some roasted malt aswell in on the end palate. This is for me, christmas in a bottle! Never tried this beer, but doing so in the middle of july makes me look forward to snow and december! The nose is fantastic, and taste is really good! I just wish the beer was more foamy in taste, but it holds really good for a 2 year old beer! I want to get my hands on an 09 as soon as possible!

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
adnielsen (10138) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 3, 2010
UPDATED: NOV 27, 2012 Tap @ Falling Rock Denver. 2010 vintage. Very dark red/brown appearance. Very spicy aroma with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Dark tasting flavor full of special spices. Quite tasty and quite unbelievably tasty. Great beer (4.6)

Bottle @ home picked up at Wilbur’s Fort Collins. 2012 vintage. Minty, ginger, allspice, spicy bready aroma. A bit tangy, smooth, toasty malty, light chocolate, a touch nutty, minty, ginger flavor. Please don’t change the recipe! (4.4)

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Beerheart65 (1116) - Pori, FINLAND - SEP 21, 2012
Strong aroma has herbs, sweet licorice, pine. Clear rd/black. Short beige head leaves lacing. Palate is lively and has both sweetness and dry roasted crispness. Taste has spicy herbs, almost like medical herbs, pine, caramel, anise, nutmeg, cardamom. Lots of Christmas spices. Enjoyment.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
Braastad (434) - FINLAND - MAR 23, 2013
Dark red, almost black beer. Creamy head that lingers. Great beer, lots of berries, blackcurrant?


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