overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2124   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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3.7
joe1510 (501) - Illinois, USA - MAY 24, 2007
12oz. Bottle 2005 $10.99 6-pack Binny’s 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 don’t 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. It’s 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. Don’t get me wrong it’s 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.

3.2
krysztofar (345) - belleville, Illinois, USA - MAY 16, 2007
06 vintage consumed in may of 07. color is garnet as the pour begins when done it’s a deep brown with 1/2 inch of khaki head on the top. nose has some sweet dried fruit and spices cinnamon and clove in particular. interesting flavor starts with a tart cherry with some coco on the edges. the hops are effervescent and as they fade bring back a licorice and spice flavor that lasts. different that’s for sure.

3.6
padrefan98 (854) - (San Diego) Santee, California, USA - APR 26, 2007
12 oz bottle 2005 done as a verticle with the 2004 thanks to fordest. I thought this one was better. Less oxidation, more flavor. The freshness factor played a part here. Same earthy spicey flavor.

3.5
jerome6957 (17) - New York, New York, USA - APR 23, 2007
2006 bottle. Pours a dark ruby with a thin brown head. Very enticing aroma of spice, complex dark fruits, cola, and citrus. Flavor explosive...roasted dark malts followed by a unique spicy, earthy flavor (is that allspice? nutmeg?) and citrus. Just as you’re falling in love the body thins out and leavves you alone with a little astringency. Well balanced, but thin on the palate.

3.3
littlefelix (29) - Santa Clarita, California, USA - APR 23, 2007
2006 as well. This was a very complex beer. I enjoyed it, but cannot drink to many. Almost a barleywine in flavor, just not as strong %-wise. You can really taste the raisen/prune/veggie flavors in there. Thick and slow drinking.

2.6
blinesam (235) - USA - APR 21, 2007
2006 edition. 12oz bottle. Mediciney, too many flavors and spices to be a good beer. would probably be a better just to smell it and drink another beer.

3.2
BREWMUSKCLES (2759) - New Jersey, USA - APR 16, 2007
starts out with a cherry cough medicine and quickly a brandy feel comes in to class it up. then a banana nut kind of caramel comes in (how dare you sir) and somehow it all works out. probably because it’s christmas time and you have awoken our pleasant memories. tinge of bitter and pale ale needles of pine quickly run thru the mild astringent tight bubble wash. 2006 aaahhh a good year

3.6
gunnfryd (15516) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - APR 15, 2007
Bottle. Dark brown colour with a beige head. Aroma is roasted, caramel, alcohol. Flavour is sweet, cardamom, spices, roasted. Nice beer.

3.5
spector (906) - Lancaster, Ohio, USA - APR 9, 2007
Heavy malt and lots of spices in the aroma.Pours black with a medium tan head.Got some roasted malt and spices in the flavor.Medium mouthfeel with a bit of a roasted finish.

4.2
yngwie (17284) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - APR 9, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 24, 2008 Bottle, 2005 vintage. Clear, brown body with a beige head leaving lacings. Beef-stock, christmas spices, malt and dried fruits in the aroma. The flavor has cloves, cardamom and beef-stock. A full-bodied beer with a spiced finish. A lovely Christmas beer. Rating: 7-4-7-4-15-3.7. (070331)

Bottle, 2007 vintage. It pours a beautiful clear, dark brown body with a reddish hue. Thick, creamy beige head on top, with good retention and leaving nice lacings. The aroma needs a little aeration to be really good I think, but then it gives cinnamon, cloves, some ginger, dried fruits, some chocolate and leather, a tiny alcohol note (), chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of metal. So tender on the nose, and so packed with different aromas. There’s also a little earthy note. The surprising touch of alcohol from the aroma is present in the flavor too, in fact it’s even more evident, but considering it’s a beer for the darkest days of the year, it’s only appropriate and pleasant. It’s velvely and next-to full-bodied, with a quite sweet backbone, some bitterness towards the end, and all the good from the aroma is present in the mouth as well. Spices, fruit, chocolate and so on, it’s all there. Even the little metallic touch, but that’s only showing itselves in the finish, and it’s quite weak and undisturbing. There’s also a weak touch oxidation, or at least some earthy, cellary notes, but to me that’s just nice. At least in this way. It’s not a beer giving me the perfect Christmas feeling, but it’s sure a lovely beer. Well suited for the long, dark nights of winter, and still smooth and refreshing enough to go well on a late summer night. Lovely. (080624)


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