RATINGS: 2082   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 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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HopDuvel99 (39) - Tennessee, USA - JAN 1, 2007
2006, bottle. Dark brown and ruby with a thick light brown head. Hoppy/spicey/alcoholic aroma. Full bodied, foamy mouthfeel. Hoppy but plenty of malt flavor, roasty/hoppy finish. Superb. Rich, festive, artfully crafted.

bdjames29 (273) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - JAN 1, 2007
Bottle. My worst Anchor experience thus far. I am having a difficult time settling in to this style. Tried a few this season and was on the verge of enjoying them. This is a difficult beer for me - the spicy, salty taste is hard to handle. Consistency and feel in the mouth is a bit heavy and fuzzy. I’ll work on it again next year.

cbrixius (136) - Newberrytown, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 30, 2006
This one was better than I expected, but partially because it was had with dessert, so the fruitiness (cherry, by my account) settled in nicely. Not overly complex or heavy. Overall, an enjoyable experience.

punkrkr27 (903) - Berkley, Michigan, USA - DEC 30, 2006
2005 bottle. Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights and a thick, dense tan head. Roasty caramel malt aroma, light citrus hops, and a complex spiciness. Healthy malt flavor with notes of smoke, and dark fruit. Finishes with a pronounced hop bite, lots of spice and smoke lingering on the taste buds. Full creamy body.

Soonah (1120) - Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA - DEC 30, 2006
The pour is dark brown with ruby highlights and a moderate off-white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is of spice and a little bit of roasted malt. The flavor is nutmeg. Then some more nutmeg and even a little bit more nutmeg thrown in for good measure. With a little bit of sour mixed in there. Tightly carbonated. While I appreciate the effort at continually innovating this brew, I’m glad this stuff isn’t around very long.

dornoy (701) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - DEC 30, 2006
2006 version. Brown head , orange body. Very tasty, good for a new year beer. Worth the try.

TURDFERGUSON (4058) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - DEC 30, 2006
12oz 2006 bottle. I dont normally like spicey winter warmers, but this one has a little more to it. A solid offering from a innovative brewery.

sfontain (851) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - DEC 29, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 1, 2008 1/1/2008: 12 oz. bottle. Our Special Ale 2007. Dark brown pour; very minimal head that dissipates into a tiny ring. Aroma of caramel, dark fruits, and spices including cloves and nutmeg. Flavor of brown sugar, spices, caramel; very light roast. Medium-bodied with very little carbonation after half an hour. Better than 2006 if I recall, but nowhere near the 2003 version.
7/4/7/3/15 = 3.6

12/29/2006: 12 oz. bottle, Our Special Ale 2006. Firstly, I can’t believe I somehow missed the 2005 offering. Secondly, why the hell are the latest years lumped together into one beer? Pour is very dark brown with a hint of garnet when held to a light; the pour gives a short-lived, creamy, tan head that dissipates into a medium-sized ring around the top of the beer; a small amount of head can be revived by swirling. Aroma is spicy with cinnamon, cloves, licorice, bubble gum, and caramel. Flavor is worse than the 2004 beer, which was worse than the 2003 beer (why is this beer getting worse every year?); surprisingly nondescript and fairly sour; cinnamon, cloves, malt, and rotting vegetables (nice); more hops than previous years if I recall correctly. I can’t get over the sourness of this or the lack of the complexity we saw in previously years. Palate is smooth if a little light. I rate this beer perhaps more seriously than I rate any other beer because it was mindblowing in ’03; this isn’t a bad beer, but it’s by far the least outstanding Our Special Ale I’ve had to date. I will be cellaring about 4 of these, and I’ll give it another try next year.
8/4/7/3/15: 3.7

jezmez68 (404) - Chesterton, Indiana, USA - DEC 28, 2006
Just okay. I wanted to note that ratebeer totally pussed out by not including a separate 2005 and 2006 version of this beer, but merely has 2005 and later. Way to mail it in, ratebeer. If it’s a different beer every year, we should honor it, even if it is only half-assed. Enjoy.

stison42 (318) - Blacksburg, Virginia, USA - DEC 28, 2006
UPDATED: JAN 21, 2007 Black. Lightly spiced, a bit more spice would have added to the beer a lot. Only an Ok beer.

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