RATINGS: 276   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.63/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
Our Special Ale, a dark, rich, heavily spiced ale with a recipe that changes with each passing year.

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Dixonian (1562) - Plano, Texas, USA - MAY 23, 2011
12oz bottle thanks to bu11zeye. Dark reddish brown brew with a good amount of tan head. Aroma has less spices than the 2003 with some spruce and roast. Flavors of roasted malt, spruce/pine, and some cardboard (oxidation rears it’s ugly head).

bu11zeye (13029) - Frisco (Dallas), Texas, USA - MAR 2, 2011
(12oz bottle, 2002 vintage, courtesy of Lumpy) Pours a dark mahogany body with a spare tan head. Aroma of soy, cola, caramel, cocoa, and light roastiness. Flavor of soy, roasted malt, pine, raisins, chocolate, and grass.

Cavie (4760) - Arlington, Texas, USA - FEB 23, 2011
Bottle courtesy bu11zeye. Pours a slightly dark brownish red to orange highlights in the light. Small bubbly head. Aroma is quite spicy. Lots of sharp nutmeg and dry notes. Flavor is a mix of spice and cardboard. Dry bitter flavor that has some cooking herbs near the finish. Probably oxidized.

SuzyGreenberg (1603) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JUN 10, 2010
Magnum; thanks Tom!! Side by side with a bottle of 1999; pours clear dark brown with foamy dark tan head; spruce, raw spice, dry hops and brown sugar; full bodied and much more complex and full compared to the 1999 bottle; creamy mouthfeel with chocolate, spruce and yummy mix of dry spices and chocolate; delicious

Ughsmash (7508) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - MAR 28, 2010
2002 bottle. Poured clear, rich brown with amber accents.. spotty cap of dark tan head. The aroma picked up molasses, treacle, and dark honey sweetness with cinnamon and nutmeg accents.. slick, dry, almost vinous impression on the back. The flavor found honey and molasses primarily at the core, with intermittent graham cracker notes.. dry cinnamon, nutmeg, and lesser clove around.. sharper degraded malt, oak, and dried spices on the finish. Light-medium bodied with a slick feel on the palate and low carbonation.. a bit sharp at times, but a decent feel beyond that.

philbertk (1873) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 10, 2010
Anchor Brewing Company Our Special Ale--2002 12 oz. Bottle. 5.35% ABV. (4.5 / 5.0) Winter Ale--Clear dark bronze black red color. Mild lacy tan head. Nutmeg malt spice toasted floral hop front. Sweet burnt piney spicy rich dry cherry caramel body. Cloying sweet spicy roasted nutmeg mild hop end. Sampled 1/12/2003.

AmEricanbrew (6878) - Same Trailer, Different Park, Louisiana, USA - FEB 11, 2010
From the cellar, enjoyed 02.07.2010. Mahogany color/ light brown head. Awesome nutty sweet vanilla bean aroma, with mint leaf, fresh baked gingerbread cookies. Light/ medium body with soft carbonation. Roasty brown malt flavor with vanilla extract, black licorice, ginger, other sweet spices. very fucking good

theisti (4157) - Kansas, USA - FEB 5, 2010
All beers shared by csbosox, courtesy of his departed friend Mark. Cheers to you Mark.

Side by Side of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Vintages:
1999 - Pour is a ruby brown, hazed, with a thin rim of an off white head. Aroma of big full nutmeg, soft, spiced coriander, bunch of yeast. Nice delicate and full nose. Taste is pretty metallic, oxidized, behind that, and after the oxidiation clears there is some of the spiced nutmeg of the nose. Palate is medium, lightly carbonated, with a lingering yeast aftertaste. (8,4,6,3,14 - 3.5)
2000 - Pour ditto to the 1999, though a bit flatter looking. Aroma is metallic showing substantial oxidation. After that clears, a bit of nutmeg, clove. Taste is showing the oxidation with a dry metallic nature, followed by spruce, nut, tree bark. Palate ditto the 1999. (6,4,5,3,11 - 2.9)
2001 - Pour ditto the 1999. Aroma is full and round, chestnut, vanilla, cinnamon, even some cranberry. Certainly the best nose of these three. Taste is really well integrated, some of the nut berry and yeast of the nose, along with a pleasant dry fruit character. However, there are also some phenols present that detract. Palate ditto the 1999. (8,4,6,4,16 - 3.6)

Side by Side of the 2002, 2003 and 2004 Vintages:
2002 - Pour is a hazed brown ruby with a 1/4 inch tan head. Aroma is big spice yeast, clove, hazel / nutmeg, dry fruit even. Nice. Taste is dry fruit light sweetness, along with the spice yeast, touch of oxidation in the back. Palate is thinner than some of the older vintages, medium to thin. (8,4,7,3,15 - 3.7)
2003 - Pour ditto the 2002. Aroma is the typical potpurri of spice, with some light metallic. Taste is showing oxidation, up front followed by the potpurri spices, dry fruit ester sweetness and a hint of vanilla. Palate is medium to thin, some light carbonation, long spiced finish. (6,4,6,3,12 - 3.1)
2004 - Pour ditto the 2002. Aroma ditto 2002. Taste is spice, cinnamon, earth, yeast and nuttiness. Nice integration of flavors, really get the malt in this more than others. Palate is medium, more full bodied than the 02 and 03. This was the class of the session. (8,4,8,4,15 - 3.9)

Tasted by itself:
2007 - Pour is hazed brown ruby with a 1/4 inch tan head. Aroma is softly spiced, potpurri, clove, yeast esters. Much more subdued than others. Taste is clove, light white pepper, general yeast. Not much malt, some faint pine hop. Palate is thin to medium, long dry pepper aftertaste. (7,4,6,3,14 - 3.4)

after4ever (8025) - Mukilteo, Washington, USA - NOV 28, 2009
magnum, capped. no head, lace, or legs, after a few minutes...but theres massive head at first and a big web of honeycombed bubbles in the bottle on first pour. big dark spice nose, with hardwoods and earth showing. creamy medium body. plenty of firmly active carb. earth, roast, coriander, cloves, and chocolate on the mid palate. long spicy finish.

bsjay (54) - Oregon, USA - OCT 15, 2009
Do I remember exactly what this one tasted like 7 years ago? No. Do I have the willpower to save bottles for vertical tastings ten years down? Absolutely not. That said, I have tried every year’s offfering and rarely been disappointed, unless 02 was that one year it was too clovey. Hmm

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