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RATINGS: 1823   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.54   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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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.


4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Cable (286) - SE, Oklahoma, USA - DEC 9, 2005
Sampled from bottle. OSA 2005 pours dark ruby with a sudsy light tan head and nice lacing. Aroma is dominated by nutmeg and orange liquer. Flavor is well-balanced with rich malts: caramel, toasted, chocolate and faint hint of rye or smoked malts (maybe). Honeysuckle and nutmeg are also at the forefront. Remarkably clean finish for this higher gravity beer. Full-bodied and moderately carbonated. Warming for a crisp Winter night. OSA is always a welcome treat.

4.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
wattsdog (17) - Maryland, USA - DEC 19, 2005
A dark beer with a big creamy head like a stout. Has a malty aroma with a hint of spices. Has a good smooth taste with a hint of holyday spices to it. overall a very good holyday beer.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
shadey (1879) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - FEB 8, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 5, 2007 2005 Vintage. Fresh. Dark red color with a very rich cream head. Beautiful lacing. Spicy malt aroma. Flavor is full of mild spice and beautiful full malt. Body is just right. Nice and smooth. A well done winter ale. 7/4/8/5/17
2006 Vintage. Fresh. Very dark pour. Brown. Head is a creamy tan ring. Aroma is spices, specifically nutmeg. Almost smells like a pumpkin ale. Earthly sweet nutmeg flavor. Definitely a nice holiday brew. A pleasure to consume.

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
CEZ (397) - Milano, ITALY - FEB 20, 2006
Hazy dark brown body, good tan head. Smells like licorice, flowers, caramel, yeast. On the palate, it shows a strong toffee and roasted malt character. Smooth and medium-bodied, with loads of subtle spicy notes coming through (orange peels, nutmeg, pine). Long slightly tarty finish. Complex, yet quite drinkable.

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
winegarner (220) - san diego, California, USA - MAR 26, 2006
Poured black with reddish edges and a full, lasting, tan head. This is a very complex beer, a light acrid roast flavor combined with a minty, spice flavor with the possible use of ginger. Hop bitterness is moderate and balancing, with some floral flavor an aroma. Very dry roasty finish.

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 2, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 29, 2007 Release 2007 The beer departs the stubby 12-ounce bottle a clear brown with a portly creamy light tan head; as it evaporates, the lace provides a thin curtain to drape the glass. Nose has a sweet malt aroma, followed closely by the spices, cinnamon, and cloves, crisp and clean. Start is decently malted, sweet and a touch of bite at the back, top is moderate in feel. Finish has a determined acidity, the hops perfect; the spicy sweetness carries to the end, as always a good drinking beer that only gets better with age. Anchor Our Special Ale 2006 The beer pours from the stubby 12 ounce brown bottle a deep mahogany color, the head modest in size, the color a light tan and the texture creamy as it fades away, the lace forms a concealing blanket to cover the glass. Nose has a sweet malt presence, spicy and appetizing, hints of pine. Start has a nice malt profile, the top light to moderate in feel. Finish is sternly acidic, somewhat sweet, the hops delightful, and the aftertaste dry and lingering, a good beer, but one that improves with age. Release 2005 Upon its extraction from the 12-ounce stubby brown bottle, the beer sets in the glass jet-black with a creamy tan head that is mountainous in size as itís slowly fades to nothingness, the lace forms a thick blanket to obscure the glass. Nose is sweet with hints of Oak, Cherries, maple syrup, quite a treat for the old schnozzle, start is lightly sweet, the grain presence delightful, top is light to medium in its feel. Finish is delectable in its acidity, the hops pleasingly spicy, the aftertaste dry and long lasting, a fine drinking beer that does improve with a little age.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
after4ever (6088) - Brier, Washington, USA - MAY 22, 2006
UPDATED: JUN 12, 2006 12-oz bottle. Pours a deep piano-key ebony with a dense, substantial tan head that falls to lace within a couple of minutes. Definite soft fragrance of squash and some cinnamon. Creamy, pie-dough mouthfeel, with that spicy pumpkin coming through. Big roasty finish. Hops are there just enough to steady the flavor, rather than contrast or enhance it. Really a beautiful way to spend a winter evening...or, well, count down the last couple days before Memorial Day (put ice cubes in your pockets if you really need that frosty nip). Another Anchor triumph.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
MrBendo (1064) - Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA - NOV 20, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 7, 2007 2006 Bottle. Poured a cloudy deep burgundy, with a medium, long lasting head. Aroma of orange peel, cinnamon, sweet fruits. Taste of sweet caramel malts, raisins, finish of hops. Thick and mildly sticky texture. A very good christmas-time beer.

4.2
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
HopDuvel99 (39) - Tennessee, USA - JAN 1, 2007
2006, bottle. Dark brown and ruby with a thick light brown head. Hoppy/spicey/alcoholic aroma. Full bodied, foamy mouthfeel. Hoppy but plenty of malt flavor, roasty/hoppy finish. Superb. Rich, festive, artfully crafted.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
yngwie (13209) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - APR 9, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 24, 2008 Bottle, 2005 vintage. Clear, brown body with a beige head leaving lacings. Beef-stock, christmas spices, malt and dried fruits in the aroma. The flavor has cloves, cardamom and beef-stock. A full-bodied beer with a spiced finish. A lovely Christmas beer. Rating: 7-4-7-4-15-3.7. (070331)

Bottle, 2007 vintage. It pours a beautiful clear, dark brown body with a reddish hue. Thick, creamy beige head on top, with good retention and leaving nice lacings. The aroma needs a little aeration to be really good I think, but then it gives cinnamon, cloves, some ginger, dried fruits, some chocolate and leather, a tiny alcohol note (), chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of metal. So tender on the nose, and so packed with different aromas. Thereís also a little earthy note. The surprising touch of alcohol from the aroma is present in the flavor too, in fact itís even more evident, but considering itís a beer for the darkest days of the year, itís only appropriate and pleasant. Itís velvely and next-to full-bodied, with a quite sweet backbone, some bitterness towards the end, and all the good from the aroma is present in the mouth as well. Spices, fruit, chocolate and so on, itís all there. Even the little metallic touch, but thatís only showing itselves in the finish, and itís quite weak and undisturbing. Thereís also a weak touch oxidation, or at least some earthy, cellary notes, but to me thatís just nice. At least in this way. Itís not a beer giving me the perfect Christmas feeling, but itís sure a lovely beer. Well suited for the long, dark nights of winter, and still smooth and refreshing enough to go well on a late summer night. Lovely. (080624)


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