RATINGS: 2104   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
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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   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
505 (271) - Echo Park, California, USA - MAR 19, 2007
Mild aroma, nice balance of hops and malts, dark fruits. Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Flavor is quite nice. Complex with dark fruits, licorice, a slight tartness, bitter up front, with a sweet finish. Relatively full bodied. Not bad.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
BigBeer45 (1496) - Michigan, USA - MAR 17, 2007
Bottle, poured a dark ruby, caramel, nutmeg, coriander spice scents with malt and dark malt fragrances, faint licorice and coffee, some cloves and anise in the nose, little pepper fragrances, malt and dark malt flavors with some coffee, faint nutmeg and licorice flavors, I did not enjoy this beer, I think it is because of the licorice flavor which I am not fond of.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
StompBrockmore (316) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 16, 2007
UPDATED: MAR 17, 2007 12oz. bottle - pours very dark brown with ruby highlights and a light brown, caramel head leaving elegant lacing in the glass. Aroma is very malty, fruity and tart, somewhat sweet. Reminded me of many traditional English dark ales, actually, but with notes of chocolate and molasses. Flavour however is a kick in the ass, a very complex array on the palate. Starts off with some sweet chocolate, spruce, lots of spice that I cant put my finger on. Finishes with toffee and chocolate, along with some sweet maltiness and light vanilla. The aftertaste is long and delicious. This is a very unique, complex and satisfying beer. Great!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
VeloVampire (625) - Parkdale, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 15, 2007
12 oz bottle, 2006 edition - pours dark, dark red with a little white head that leaves rather quickly. Beautiful aroma of dark fruits, prunes, sour cherries, molasses, and some sweet malt. Flavour is more of the same, although a bit too carbonated, making the beer at times feel like a Dr. Pepper or something. Yeah, kind of poppish at first, but as the glass warms, this fades. Dark pine sap notes and some intriguing exotic spice, and a bit of tar as well. Good, very good. Bitter finish. Very nice on a cold winters eve.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
TheRimmer (483) - Florida, USA - MAR 13, 2007
Pinecones, cloves, cinnamon nose. Pine, sweet taste with plenty of spice. Finishes with bittersweet chocolate, some tartness. Smells and tastes like christmas. However a Florida christmas smells like tequila, vomit, and pork. Brew that up next year.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
fonefan (47622) - VestJylland, DENMARK - MAR 11, 2007
Bottle. Clear amber / brown color with a small virtually none lacing off-white head. Aroma is modereate to heavy malty, licorice , dried fruit, vintage, alcohol. Flavor is moderate to heavy sweet and light bitter with a average duration and dry finish. Body is medium, texture is oily, carbonation is soft.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
MullMan (1099) - Brooklyn, New York, USA - MAR 10, 2007
2006 bottle. darkest chestnut ruby color, mostly clear. medium tan sienna head that is thin and creamy. deep caramel malt aroma, a little molasses and smoky evergreens. mouthfeel is fairly smooth, pretty strong carbonation. flavor is roasted caramel malt, some light tangy hop, and finish is sweet roasted caramel malt with a bit of allspice.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
thehoff (598) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - MAR 6, 2007
UPDATED: MAR 28, 2009 2005. Deep black with a nice tan head. Pours a nice head. Smells of sweet malts, syrup, toffee, dried fruit. Very odd beer. There is a weird tangy flavor at the beginning, almost tart sourness leading to a dry palate. Smoky almost, coating the tongue. Very different. There may be a spice here that I am missing that is causing the sourness but I cant pick it out. RATED 2.7. 2008 Settles like a nice stout: Guinness comes to mind. deep black with hints of amber color. Frothy tan head. Beautiful in the glass. Great lacing. Smells of spice and malt, coriander and cloves. Tastes excellent, fruity, candy, licorice maybe, a little chocolate malt, some espresso. Dry and bitter finish, not hops bitter but cofee bitter. Way better than the 2005 RERATED at 3.7

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
omhper (24623) - Tyres, SWEDEN - MAR 6, 2007
Bottled. Very dark ruby, rich firm off-white head. Spruce aroma. Medium sweet with clean mouthfeel. Spices are evident - spruce needles, cinnamon and nutmeg is what I get. Hops lay unerneath togehter wih ligtly roasty malt. Due to the clean mouthfeel the body feels light. Finishes with medium bitterness.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
illinismitty (2271) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - MAR 2, 2007
Bottle from Ross. Pours deep brown with a nice beige head. Aroma of christmas tree needles and spices (cinnamon stick and nutmug). Medium thin mouthfeel. Flavor of bitter chocolate, vanilla, and cheap red wine mixed in with spice flavors of clove, cinnamon, and spruce. Bitter and spicy finish, in which I pick up more spruce. I am not really digging this, perhaps there is too much spruce and not enough residual sweetness. The 2004 was much better.

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