overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2105   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 Ales 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.

Editors 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
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Svesse (8360) - Hsselby, SWEDEN - JUN 22, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 23, 2007 (Bottle, vintage 2006) Very dark brown colour with thick brown head leaving traces of lacing. Comlpex, roasted nose with chocolate, soy sauce, dark bread, coffee and notes of citrussy hops. Roasted, spicy taste with chocolate, dark bread and hints of juniper berries, followed by bitter notes of roasted coffee and, in the finish, notes of citrussy hops. Rather sweet, not overly hoppy, but with a balanced bitterness in the finish. Medium body, smooth mouthfeel. Maybe a bit more balanced (and less adventurous) than some of the earlier versions. Nice and tasty (even when sampled on a Midsummers eve).

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
nearbeer (5237) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - JUN 22, 2007
UPDATED: JAN 3, 2009 Bottle, 2006 vintage. Dark brown black and nearly opaque. Huge lasting head. Aroma is blackberries and prunes boiled in wine and dry spices, with a dab of cream on top! Initial flavor is chocolate, raisins, figs and berries. Turns dryer and earthier towards the middle, and finishes with some sour and tart berry-wine flavors. Lots of other flavors; in many ways tastes like a mild (alcohol-wise) Belgian abbey ale. Palate is thick and mostly smooth. Nice buy at an $8.49/six fire-sale in June 07. Update: 07 version is similarly nice. Update: 2008 version is annoyingly spicier and much less tasty.

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
oldno7 (137) - Spokane, Washington, USA - JUN 18, 2007
First thing I noticed was how much darker this beer was than most Spice/Herb/Vegatables. (2005 Vintage) Pours almost black with a tan head. Aroma is plesant with notes of malts, fruit, raisen, black liqourish and ginger root. Flavor is Extremely complex with a perfect balance, notes of malts plum, spices, nutmeg, clove, mollasses, and chocolate. I could never get enough of this beer. Without a doubt my favorite Spice/Herb/Vegatable so far.

3.8
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
mccracke (6) - USA - JUN 17, 2007 does not count
Thick dark brown beer, cant see through to the other side of the glass. Thick light brown head. The various flavors blend well. Malty and delicious.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
MesandSim (7117) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - JUN 16, 2007
A Sim rate (bottle from Rudiger): Ridiculously complex aroma: berries, sweet spices (particularly clove-studded oranges that you have at Christmas), cranberries, plums and brandy. Almost perfumy. Fucking amazing! Very dark black cherry colour. Flavour is lacking in the complexity of the aroma with a bittersweet finish. Plum, blackcurrant and spices pop out. Great beer!

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
rshah16 (39) - Illinois, USA - JUN 8, 2007
pour dark brown with thick tan head. smells like gingerbread cookies. thick mouthfeel taste is ginger, malt, nutmeg, fruit. a lot of fun to drink, but i cant imagine having more than one at a time.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
cking (1175) - North Canton, Ohio, USA - JUN 1, 2007
Rated 12/11/06: Spices and fruits and malts oh my! Lovely spiced winter brew here. Aroma is rich with ginger, clove, nutmeg, and a splash of pine. Dark burgundy pour, nice tan head and moderate lacing. A touch watery on the palate but smooth and easily drinkable. Flavor resembles the hearty aroma but some nice fruit flavors come through. This is a prime standard of what a well spiced ale ought to be. A richer maltiness and this one would be hard to beat. Went really well with my Bavarian chocolate cream stick.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
mgumby10 (1856) - Jupiter, Florida, USA - MAY 30, 2007
2006. Pours a murky brown, with a medium, bubbly brown head. Big aromas fill the air before I even sit down. Some nice dark fruit, cinnamon, molasses, and raisins formulate the smell. The taste is medium-bodied, lightly sweet and kind of nutty. It has a slight bitterness to it in the finish. The dark fruits give it that touch of sweetness. Big malty flavors pretty much round it out, but its kind of a mixture of nutty vs. sweet. Falls somewhere in between. Decent.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
georgekappus (296) - Brookfield, Connecticut, USA - MAY 26, 2007
2006 vintage. Pours a chocolately brown with a thick caramel colored head. The flavor is of bitter coffee and mocha. Perhaps nutmeg as well? Not an overly enticing beer which is why it took 6 months to finish the six pack.

3.7
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
joe1510 (501) - Illinois, USA - MAY 24, 2007
12oz. Bottle 2005 $10.99 6-pack Binnys Orland Our Special Ale poured an extremely dark mahogany that is only transparent along the edges of my pilsner glass when held to the light. A creamy 2 finger mocha head sits on top and fades a a 1 finger dense craggy head. Sticky webbed brown lacing trails down the glass. The smell makes me think of Christmas with all the smells coming from the kitchen. There are a lot of spices in the nose including nutmeg and maybe a touch of cinnamon. The others are hard to pick apart. Theres even some bing cherry and plum. Also, reminiscent of warm bread pudding. A slight roasted malt in the background but the fruits and spices take over. I think this is what a winter warmer should smell like. It has it all crammed in there. The roasted malts serve as the backbone and dont really show themselves until a minor bitterness in the finish. The spices come through up front with the nutmeg taking the front. The dark fruit come through mid-palate and dance around on your tongue in holiday cheer. Very nicely done. The mouthfeel is the only thing holding this beer back. Its average but if it was a little heavier in body it would be great. The mouthfeel is on the thin side and feels a little dead in my mouth. Dont get me wrong its not bad just nothing to get excited about. The weaker mouthfeel actually helps the drinkability a little bit. If it were creamier it would make a better beer but it would be too filling to get high marks for drinkability. I could definately sit around and drink a couple of these on a cold winter night. I really like Our Special Ale and would recommend it to anyone to try at least once. The spices really add a nice touch. Great cold weather beer. One to share with friends and family.


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