overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2108   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.

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3.6
JorisPPattyn (9981) - Ursel, BELGIUM - OCT 10, 2007
2006 vintage, from a shelf in my cellar, generous donator unknown but thanked Huge, darker beige head, creamy, over fully dark-opaque, red-shot brown beer. Spicy nose; roasted grains or roasted (sweetish) multi-grains bread. Resins and rosemary, cloves, meatgravy aromas. Roasted taste as roasted coffee, breadcrust and walnutpeel. Flavours of clove or allspice and liquorice. Ends pretty dry - spicy/bitterish, near tartness. Restsugars all but gone. Rather well-bodied, neither slick nor chewy. Some discreet alcohol. Decent spicy winter ale, not too sweet, but not too special neither. Bit roasted-roasty...

4
oteyj (2139) - New Hampshire, USA - OCT 8, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 26, 2008 2005 version from Utobeer in London. Pours dark brown with tight, light tan head which dissapaits slowly. Aromas of licorice, cinnamon, brown sugar, roasted malt, and dark fruit. After about 3 seconds, bursts with flavours of roasted malt, chocolate, spices, herbs, raisins, and bread. Dry almost chalky finish with astonishingly rich mouthfeel. This is a very unique brew indeed. 2008 version from Winooski. Pours super dark with nice white head. Aroma is predominantly roast with lots of sweet dark fruit notes, as well as a gamut of spices. Flavor is chocolate, deep malty roast, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Sweet and expertly balanced. I look forward to this one every year- this year’s installment is no exception to the tradition of delicious, unique holiday oriented beers. A fire side sipper to be enjoyed with the best stouts and barleywines.

3.3
riversideAK (6261) - Shoreline, Washington, USA - OCT 4, 2007
2005 version from Hollingshead Deli. Dark brown beer with a small velvetty tan head. This beer smells like nutmeg, fruit cake, and egg nog. Flavor is mostly bitter with some roast, some nutmeg, and some egg nog. Is this pretty much the porter with some spices thrown in?

3.4
yayforbeer (753) - Orange Park, Florida, USA - OCT 3, 2007
2006 version. Two 12oz bottles purchased at European Street Café. Clear dark brown beer with a light tan head. Aroma is nice and light with spices and rumcake. Full bodied beer. Flavor is good, with dark malt, spicy and nutty. A bit of chocolate and coffee appear, along with a tingly astringency from the hops. Lacks focus, the flavors go wildly in different directions. Bounces between nut brown ale, porter, stout, and spice/vegetable ale. It’s a decent brew and reasonably enjoyable to drink, but not spectacular enough to make you want to go back and buy more. Feels like an immature sibling to the Anchor Porter which I think is one of America’s most classic and noteworthy beers.

3.6
Zinister (1423) - Houston, Texas, USA - OCT 2, 2007
2006 bottle from KAggie97. Whoop Whoop! Pours a great dark brown with thin tan head. Nose of bread, spiced fruits, pumpkin bread and mulled spiced. Flavor is china cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted coffee and some nutty notes as well. A bit carbonated compared to the flavor, but still a very nice beer that reminds me of a spiced porter...thanks KAggie!

3.4
tjthresh (1873) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - SEP 25, 2007
2005. 12 ounce bottle from my SS Summer 07
Pours a dark brown with some burgandy highlights. Pours with a rich, stiff light brown head that fades to a light layer.
The aroma comes off like a Christmas fruitcake. Some spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice), some bready, cakey aromas, and fruity (chreery, and grapes).
Lots of the same flavors.
Sort of a medium/light body. Light carbonation. Dry finish.
A fine beer, and a craft brew classic.

3.8
ilovedarkbeer (2741) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - SEP 25, 2007
2005 Vintage. Pours a browish red color with a tan foamy head. Smells of sugar and spice (and everything nice.... sorry had to say that) Tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and malt. Good beer very original....is this beer good for aging? Please message me if you know!

3.5
Miksu (5053) - Jyväskylä, FINLAND - SEP 13, 2007
1.5 l bottle, 2006 vintage. Dark reddish brown color with thick creamy tan head. Sweetish and parfumy aroma with notes of cinnamon, clove, licorice and charcoal. Dryer woody and malty taste with licorice and bready notes. Long woody finish with charcoal. The yeast sediment makes the palate softer.

3.8
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 6, 2007
UPDATED: APR 30, 2009 Re-rate. 2005 vintage, aged 4 years. Well, what can I say? My original rating was due to a combination of factors. 1) My palate wasn’t ready for the complexities that this beer offers, and 2) this beer really comes into its own after some aging. Pouring dark mahogany brown in color, with a foamy tan head, this brew leaves sticky, intricate lacing behind. Aromas include dry chocolate malt, dark caramel, various dark fruits, and a myriad of spices that have softened considerably over the years. Vanilla and perhaps a hint of smoky molasses make an appearance, along with some hazelnut and an overall candyish overtone to the fruits. Flavors mirror the nose, only perhaps a bit more chocolate forward than expected. The aggressive spices that plague this beer when fresh are gone, their earthy notes settling in nicely and joining the rest of the beer harmonically. Medium bodied and perfectly, softly carbonated, the mouthfeel is perhaps just a bit too thin. I’m glad I gave this brew a second chance, because it really is nice with some significant age on it.

Original rating. Courtesy boboski. 2006 Vintage. Very dark mahogany body that is borderline black. Small tan head that settles to a thin film. Droopy, spotty lacing coats the glass momentarily but eventually rejoins the body. The aroma is striking, but not in a good way. I picked up bubblegum, banana, spiced rum cake, and dark roasted caramel. The flavor is heavy fruitcake up front, with sour dark fruits, nutmeg, and perhaps a little rootbeer. Medium body, and a moderately astringent, unpleasant finish. This beer is all over the map. Its part Porter (body), Stout (appearance), Hefe (bubblegum and banana), and Spice/Herb/Vegetable (everything else). Complex, for sure, but misdirected. Its a mess, in my honest opinion. Borderline drain pour.

4
drawde (115) - San Francisco, California, USA - SEP 2, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 24, 2007 2006 Pours near opaque dark red. Huge coffee-colored head. Aroma is spicy cinnamon. Flavor is malty with a lot of cinnamon, peppermint, a spice kick and a lasting bitterness. Really nice and would go well by a fire.


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