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RATINGS: 1830   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 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 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 (2088) - Assat, 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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Rustyham (1727) - St. Petersburg, Florida, USA - JAN 29, 2010
This tastes like a Chirstmas tree! very strong flavor and aroma of treacle, cinnamon, nutmeg, and loads of other spices. The strongest flavor though, is Cloves- like a fancy cigarette, this beer stays in your mouth for a very long time, thus the epic palate score. Fantastically deliscious. Bottle at Zekeís, Miami Beach.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
mattdev (74) - Oregon, USA - DEC 12, 2010
Pours a very deep, dark brownish red with a poofy brown head and almost zero opacity. Smell is rich of allspice, christmas cookies, some metallic notes, cinnamon, cloves and roastyness. Caramel and a slight woodyness comes through as well. Taste is moderately sweet and moderately bitter, but most of the bitterness coming from the toasted malt and spices. Huge nutmeg and cinnamon with hints of ginger and beautiful maillard qualities. Finishes with a lovely spice linger. This will age phenomenally.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
AR (1000) - Georgia, USA - DEC 17, 2010
A malted chocolate aroma wafts through the air as the bottle is opened. The beer pours dark brown with just a hint of red. The flavor is a complex blend of chocolates, coffee, licorice, cinnamon, grapes and orange. Very smooth.

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