RATINGS: 352   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.65/5   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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Sham (1845) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 1, 2003
Pours a very dark brown, borderline black. Against the light the edges are brown. A tannish head tops this beer and a fine layer of lace covers the glass. Big spicy nose full of nutmeg and cinnamon, almost smells a bit like a pumpkin pie. Nutmeg dominates the flavor, some malts showing through. Very creamy palate that smooths out into a spice filled finish. Nice.

jimhilt (2647) - Bow, New Hampshire, USA - NOV 30, 2003
Pours with a three fingered, light brown head that goes slowly and leaves some lace. Dark ruby color, starts malty and raisiny, finishes smooth and hoppy/malty, this is a complex brew. Nose is sweet, raisiny and malty. Good carbonation. Medium bodied Their site calls the ABV variable???

jzzbassman (1639) - Arlington, Texas, USA - NOV 30, 2003
Nice spicy flavor with a wonderful evergreen nose. Last years was a bit smoother, but this is very similar and a really good seasonal. The finish is really good with just enough hop bite to counter the sweetness of what seemed like juniper berry.

mixamatt (427) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 30, 2003
Sweet fruit cake, ginger bread aroma.Dark chestnut appearance.Sweet spiced flavors of perhaps rose water and ginger with some caramel malt and mild hops at the finish.

aracauna (3754) - Georgia, USA - NOV 29, 2003
Blackened ruby body. It has a dense creamy head that sheets the glass instead of lacing it. It still has that almost-cloying hard candy-like quality to the aroma and flavor, but it's less overbearing this year. There's that bit of coniferous resin flavor in there along with molasses. This one's easier to drink than the 2002.

ARMed (625) - Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 29, 2003
Dark brown with a deep crimson red hue when held under the light. Light brownish soft head that dissipates in a fluffy glaze. Quickly recovers with a few small swishes of the glass. Moderate lacing that is not terribly long lasting. Smooth and gentle to the palate with a very nice hidden alcohol taste. Slightly maltly and sweet with plums, apricots and chocolate noticeable. A fine winter brew that warms the stomach and the body. Very nice to drink several in front of the fire or the TV watching some great college football.

jeffc666 (1985) - Fairfax, Virginia, USA - NOV 29, 2003
Dark ruby black colored body. The head is big light brown and rocky. The lacing is quite nice. The aroma is very strong, sweet and spicy lots of ginger. The flavor is dominated by ginger. There are some burnt malt flaovrs also. Body is medium and smooth. Overall good but not my favorite. Some of the older vintages were better.

cquiroga (371) - Tujunga, California, USA - NOV 29, 2003
11/25/03. Poured out of bottle, bought at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA 11/12/03. Pours a dark ruby brown. Clearish but very dark. Light tan head that lingers in a fair tuft and gives decent, blotchy lacing. Aroma is spiced and sweet, lightly tobacco-y and almost like a pile of wet leaves. But not altoghether bad. Body is medium-full with a creamy texture. Flavor is malty and with a subdued spiciness, a little acrid and bitter on the edges. Finish turns tangier and emphasizes bitterness, dirty malts, and the creamy texture and residual flavors. Again a little bit of sweetness. Very nice mouthfeel, probably the best thing about the beer. Decently balanced but not quite as good as I think it will be when some of the spices mellow out a bit with age. Different and not bad, but it'll get better.

evinal (78) - Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 28, 2003
deep dark with burgundy highlights. creamy rich head. Wonderful spicy aroma and flavor. Actually, a little more alcohol would be nice.

Dogbrick (14510) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - NOV 28, 2003
This beer seems a little more different from the 2002 version than the 2002 version was from the 2001 version to me. Pours a dark mahogany color with a medium light brown head. Thin and slow lacing. Nice woody aroma of roasted malt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Somewhat rich with a lot of ginger in the flavor, along with malt, nutmeg and other spices. The finish is a little on the bitter side. Overall this is probably the best OSA I have tried, and I imagine this one would be even better if it aged a bit.

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