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RATINGS: 1971   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
rmussman (1702) - California, USA - MAR 1, 2007
Another classic Anchor winter brew. Flavor is full of shaped spices that release a very nice aroma. Appearance is dark with a frothy head. Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth for a dark beer. A wonderful brew if you can get your hands on it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
oldno7 (137) - Spokane, Washington, USA - JUN 18, 2007
First thing I noticed was how much darker this beer was than most Spice/Herb/Vegatableís. (2005 Vintage) Pours almost black with a tan head. Aroma is plesant with notes of malts, fruit, raisen, black liqourish and ginger root. Flavor is Extremely complex with a perfect balance, notes of malts plum, spices, nutmeg, clove, mollasses, and chocolate. I could never get enough of this beer. Without a doubt my favorite Spice/Herb/Vegatable so far.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
troopie (2291) - Munchen an der Willamette, Oregon, USA - NOV 30, 2007
Looked ike a good jar of stout dark brown with much lacing Sweet floral aroma of rose and tulips. Malty body with notes of espresso coffee, chocolate and toast. More flowers. LIngering floral finish. My first comment was "Itís like drinking flowers."

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
wickedpete (634) - Lexington Park, Maryland, USA - DEC 9, 2007
2007. This is a great holiday brew. Dark brown body with a tall head. Strong aroma similar to egg nog. Flavor is like egg nog as well, with a sizable nutmeg spiciness to it, with some cola flavor and a bitter finish. Creamy overall, this is my favorite holiday special.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
badnloose (111) - North Hollywood, California, USA - FEB 2, 2008
Absolutely delicious. Other "Christmas" beers I have had canít compare. Aromas and flavors of everything one would expect from the season, alternating with each sniff or taste. Aggressive, yet soothing.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
FJN (3) - , Michigan, USA - NOV 20, 2008 does not count
2008 12 oz Bottle: This is the third year I’ve enjoyed this beer. I find it less defined by Christmas spices than a robust hoppiness this year than in previous years. It was superb last year on tap at the Berghoff in Chicago and I imagine this years would be, too. It’s thicker than Guiness, (Guiness is watery) and delivers a remarkably robust flavor. I find it reminds me of gingerbread cookies. Others I introduce it too find other flavors. Everyone agrees, however, that the combination of texture and flavor might well be disastrous in other beers, but in this case, are extraordinary.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
pollardjt (27) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - DEC 27, 2008
A tasty spiced ale, absolutely perfect at my local pub on Christmas Eve. Deep brown with a thin tan head. A nice aroma, clove and allspice, with a hint of cream. Flavor is spice, brown sugar, and roasty malts with nice carbonation that tingles just a bit. Finishes clean, and refreshing. Not something to drink everyday, but a great seasonal

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
noompa (130) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 2, 2009
12 oz. bottle (2008), poured into a Guinness pint glass. The best Christmas ale out there, in my view. Ar: Pine, nutmeg, Cinnamon, bread, faint molasses, ginger, lots of pine and spruce. Ap: Pours a large, frothy roan head that diminished into some nice lacing fairly quickly. Clear caramel-ruby color. Fl: Citrus, tons of spice, ginger, dry roasted malts and some chocolate, anise and cloves even. Pa: Swills around nicely in the mouth and not as thin as some found it, but I didnít want anything dense. Nice dry balance @ the end. Aroma was the strongest suit- great holiday beer. Had a year old 2007 bottle as well- flavors become more distinct, but less complex. One of my faves.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
VertBaconStrips (2223) - Asshat, Alberta, CANADA - JUN 26, 2009
UPDATED: NOV 23, 2013 2013 vintage Oddly similar to most of the other years. 3.7. Bored. 2010 vintage 7373 14 Ultra dark red with some head. Sweet caramel and odd chocolate, almond, raisin, wonderfully light spice - very nice and subdued aroma. Light bitterness hits early, light sour and tang, Xmas spices that are mild, malty and tasty. I like. Highly drinkable. Nice malty finish.

Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow. 2008 Vintage.
Smoothly poured out this latest version into my Affligem glass. It poured in total silence, flowed so smooth. Dark brown with obvious reddish hues, so-so sized brown head with really good retention. Immediate wafting aromas of gingerbread, mild pine, medicinal scents, cookie dough found in pails sold for fundraising, cola, background milk chocolate - wow - what a blend! And all that stuff is found in the mild aroma. The taste follows the same standard: mellow but packed with goodness. Nutmeg, gingerbread cookies, dull chocolate, toasted malts, mild and well portioned pine, tangy citrus hops (orange, peach, lemon in order of strength of impression). Finishes quite spicy. Medium to medium full bodied, nice soft carbonation, lasting spicy and bitter (where was this before?) aftertaste. Man, this stuff went down so smoothly. Incredibly well balanced. A massive improvement over the 2007 which wasnít bad but just odd. I find nothing wrong with this beer at all except that I have no more in my glass.

2007 Vintage

Poured out a medium brown brew with red hues, a mid range brown crown of average size with good retention and a little bit of spotty lacing. The aroma here is pretty cool even if it doesnít immediately appeal to you since it is odd. Roasty and fresh, the fruit is both prune like and orangy at the same time, there is also a vegetable aroma that is very squash like, biscuit and smoke. The smoke is there for sure with weak cloves. Something makes me think of chocolate but it is not chocolate.... Iíll question this next time. Some how, I give this an 8 even though it is not overly appealing - just unique and complex. The taste is of wet biscuits, a toffee roast, mild piny hops and a slight spice. Main flavor for me is the roasted malts. The mouth feel is quite nice with a very welcoming carbonation, medium to medium full bodied, ends with dark roast on the aftertaste and a bitterness that fades as the beer warms. I think this is a bit too roasted for me but either way it is an interesting beer.
8 3 7 4 14 = 3.6

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
beercamel (84) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - OCT 15, 2009
Pours like ancor stem beer. Very spicy and piney warmth oif christmas in a bottle. A favorite in december and love to open gifts with a few around.

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