UnionMade (621) - Connecticut, USA - DEC 13, 2002
Very very complex. This year's seems to be hoppier than usual, definitely more bitter, and probably my favorite so far. The spices take a back seat to the "regular" beer flavors. The hops coupled with the dark roasted malts provide for a unique flavor i throughly enjoy. Drink out of a special glass, since it's a special beer. This one will probably benefit from some aging, maybe a year or two. Still a little rough. Probably THE christmas/holiday ale to judge all others by. legion242 (2348) - Richardson, Texas, USA - DEC 21, 2002
Darkest garnet; kahki head with great lace; a nose that swirls with drak fruit and other un-name-ables. Warming. This tastes "black". Lots if ginger this year. they really held back on the pine thankfully. aobecksy (700) - Middle of no where, Ohio, USA - DEC 25, 2002
2002-The grownups hot chocolate with fruity undertones and hoppy finish. I could drink this all day long as long as there was a log fire burning. jbrus (4989) - Delft, NETHERLANDS - JUN 16, 2003
I love this beer. The best by Anchor I had so far. Coffee and hopperfume aroma. Very dark brown color, brown creamy head, very good lace. Spices and light coffee flavors. Finishes light roasted, bitter with a long lasting coffee flavor. Well balanced use of hops, spices and dark malts. Hugerat (452) - somerville, Massachusetts, USA - APR 20, 2004
2002 tried in April, 2004. Flavors appear to have mellowed quite substantially and the beer is left with a ton of fruit flavors. Nose is of peaches and bananas, flavor of licorice, bananas, peaches, raisins and mild chocolate. This was really a treat. Finish is long and rich, but not overwhelming.
hopdog (12953) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 24, 2004
Vintage 2002 (tasted on 12/24/04). I brought this one back with from my recent CA trip (purchased at the Stuffed Sandwich). Initially looks black in color until you hold it up to a light then you see it is a very dark brown color. Averaged sized brownish head. Some floaters. Aromas of spices (nutmeg with some cinnamon), roasted and chocolate malts. Additional flavors of vanilla and molasses. Smooth body and easy to drink. 2 years of aging did this beer well. I’ve always like the Anchor OSAs and this one was not a let down. beerheart (237) - Erie, Colorado, USA - SEP 7, 2007
On cask at the Gingerman in Houston in 2004. One of the best beers I’ve ever tasted. I think I would call it a porter more than an ale, because of the wonderful chocolate aromas and flavors that intermingled with the spices and citurs. Pours a deep red-brown with a nice head. Sits medium-full on the palate with gentle carbonation. Very well-seasoned, as you can imagine, sitting 2 years in a cask. Tastes of chocolate, nutmeg. Nicely malted. The chocolate really comes through with warming. JFGrind (2064) - Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 6, 2002
This week I had my first taste of this year's Special Ale on draft. Aroma is a strong and spicy. Color is dark, and head is tan and strong. When it comes to Anchor Special Ale it's all about the spice. This year's edition the spiciness is less evident than in past year. I have to run out and grab a case or two of 2002 so I can cellar it. I'll be drinking my private stock this beer for periodically the next year. It will be pure enjoyment. ElGaucho (2401) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - JAN 12, 2003
Sweet aroma with hints of cinammon and nutmeg, black berries? Huge, light brown, creamy, rocky head. Opaque with a faint red hue when viewed through light. Excellent lace. Passes very well for a holiday beer. Very Christmasy. An excellent effort. Cinammon and nutmeg notes come through in the taste for a pleasant, mildly hoppy brew. jeffin7 (613) - Silver Spring, Maryland, USA - JAN 14, 2003
This beer makes me feel like god loves me. Thats no joke, the combination of this beer and the holiday season was a religious experience to me.