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RATINGS: 2050   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 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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
VertBaconStrips (2326) - Blerkablerka, NIUE - 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 wasn’t 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 doesn’t 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.... I’ll 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 (1836) - 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 Zeke’s, 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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
jjgmd (1996) - Coral Springs, Florida, USA - NOV 23, 2011
Dark appearance , with malty aroma, hints of vanilla and nutmeg, heavy bodied with a short slightly bitter finish. Great winter ale , very drinkable, goes down pleasantly without any astringency.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
BadAprilia1000 (407) - Sevierville, Tennessee, USA - JAN 18, 2012
This beer pours a nice ruby red color with a decent head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is of cinnamon, nutmeg, and yeasty gingerbread. Taste is very much so gingerbread and Christmas cookies in general with sweet malts flowing throughout, along with a very prevalent nutmeg note. Great flavor in this beer, big but drinkable

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
ads135 (4254) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - NOV 17, 2012
Anchor’s 2012 iteration is a solid outing from the brewery. The same bitter backbone and pungent aroma. Heavy on the spice, esp. nutmeg, but also has some caramel and bread in the flavor. Tried at the Burger Stand in November, 2012.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
BeerKurve (520) - - FEB 1, 2013
Spruce, Cinnamon, Licorice, Spices and Malts. The flavor itself reminds me of Christmas and and Pine Trees. Body is light and carbonation is just right, giving it a easy and crisp drinkability. Overall one of the best Winter Warmer ales I’ve had yet!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
zacgillbanks (4533) - Tyne & Wear, ENGLAND - MAY 26, 2013
UPDATED: MAY 20, 2016 2015 Blended bottles from 2006 and 2014. Drank 2015-12-24, aged for 8 1/2 years. Hazy very dark brown-black with liquorice, sherry, currants and slight sour red fruity flavours. Leather and slight sarsaparilla on the finish. Aged pretty well. 2013, 2014, 2015: An extremely dark brown-black beer with ruby red highlights. Sarsaparilla, blackcurrant, vanilla and orange blossom flavours with chocolate, liquorice, pine and a sweet floral hoppy spicy finish. Superb! 2012: Drank after being aged for around 3 years. Black-brown in colour with ruby red highlights and a thin white head. It has gentle cola, red fruit, spice and sarsaparilla flavours followed by a creamy citrus fruit and chocolate flavour. Not as zesty and full flavoured as when young, but more subtle and rounded. Still Excellent! 2009 Bottle from Hi-Spirits, Knaresborough. 2009 bottle aged for 4 years. Dark brown in colour with dark chocolate and floral flavours, orange notes and a sweet bubblegum finish. 2006: Drank in 2014, aged for around 7 1/2 years. Hazy dark brown with sherry, currants and slight sour red fruity flavours. Leather and slight vinegar notes are followed by creamy ‘wet paper’ and sarsaparilla on the finish. Not as good as a younger vintage.

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