RATINGS: 2123   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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hippie4beer (162) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - NOV 22, 2005
Bottle.Pours a black ruby color with a large tan head. Great lacing on the glass. Aroma of fruity chocolate with notes of spice. Flavor is strange; chocolate and fruit maybe, with notes of alcohol on the finish ... different, but great. Mouth feel is slightly carbonated with a silky body. Good winter brew!

Veer (362) - Landskrona, SWEDEN - NOV 22, 2005
UPDATED: DEC 6, 2007 2007:
Aroma: sweet, nectar, lilac, dark malts, sweet yoghurt, woodland strawberry, distinct floweriness and sourishness. Absolutely wonderful.
Flavour: very balanced, sweet, malty with a sourish bitterness. Absolutely outstanding. Honey, roasted malt and long, powerful aftertaste. Some chocolate-like flavours can be sensed in the malt and some bitter almond-funkiness aswell (probably from the hops). Flowery. If it only were a bit heavier…
Appearance: superdark red towards brownish black with yellowish-beige, fine head leaving a smooth film.
Palate: wonderful, thick. Perhaps a bit more carbonation than I’d wish for, but overall very good, especially for such a light beer.

Aroma (8): wonderful, nectar, lilac, smoky, wort, chocolate, malt, honey. Good, fresh hops.
Appearance(4): extremely dark brown, beige yellow head - fluffy w/ fine bubbles.
Flavour(7): perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness, slightly sourish, good hopflavour, slightly papery.
Palate(4): soft, fluffy, slimy, some stinging co2 that cuts through.
Overall: 15 - Total: 3.8

Aroma (9): malt, nectar, honey (as in yoghurt), lilac, hops, wild strawberry, wortbread, chocolate toffee.
Appearance (4): Dark, dark, dark brown w/ beige yellow head.
Flavour (8): Sweet, wort, malty, bitter, wonderful, well balanced.
Mouthfeel (4): refreshing, cooling, warming for the soul, rich.
Overall: 16 - Total: 4.1

5000 (6900) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Bottle: Dark chocolate in color, beige head, foamy, nice lacing.   Cocoa, slight coffee, chocolate, herbish, with a either the white or black Necco wafer on the nose.   Necco wafer tainted malty start with fairly sweet chocolaty finish.   Not many brews like this one.   Definitely herbish, and also has a bit of licorice or anise.   Very interesting.   Body is fairly nice, mouthfeel seems moderate.   Long finish of those Necco wafers.   Good thing for Anchor is that I really like Necco wafers.   Good, and very different.   Very similar to last year, but a bit more flavorful I think.

JPDIPSO (6296) - Wauwatosa, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Dark chestnut color with a moderate rolling tan hills head. Lots of nutmeg in the aroma. Light allspice and ginger mix with pumpkins and lightly toasted malt in the background. Some licorice come out as it warms further. Vanilla seems to dominate the first taste. Middle returns to some malts and only a touch of ginger. Darker malts come out late in the quaff and linger in the finish. My fifth of the six. My appreciation of this brew has grown slightly with each one. The first really seemed thin to me, and while I don’t think this is as thick and full as some of the past efforts, it still does have a nice winter coat feel. Linger returns to pale malts. Still an enjoyable brew after all these years.

Metalhead (644) - Lake Zurich, Illinois, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Deep mahagony pour,short lived almost non existant head. Very subtle aroma of x-mas spices and slight sweet maltiness. Spices are these but not in yer face,mild malt,good mouthfeel but still too subtlefor my taste. This beer is usually overrated and this year it is again.

muzzlehatch (4974) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 21, 2005
12 oz bottle from Winooski Beverage Warehouse in Winooski, VT. Ruby-flecked dark, hazy molasses with an everlasting immense tan head...as usual, allspice is a dominant component in the nose along with ginger and nutmeg, roasty maltiness, and anise...seems a bit subdued like last year’s and not an aromatic explosion such as 2003...on the tongue, though, this is rather dry like two years ago, with prickly carbonation, some tarry, ashy burnt wood character to go with the creme brulee and light piney hops...right now I’m gonna say this is far from my favorite, though I’m a sucker for this beer and even this year’s is special enough. I suspect a few months will help cut the tarry bitterness to a level that’s more enjoyable.

bb (9790) - Alamo, California, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Bottle. Rich brown beer with a lt brown head. Malty aroma with christmas/pumpkin pie spices. Body a little thin. Pumpkin pie spice flavor with a bit of roastiness and fruit. Not as goos as years past. Too much ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon - it tastes like a holiday beer kit I brewed last year (and that lasted for too many months).

StewardofGondor (1933) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Deep garnet / mahogany in color with a dusty tan head and cascading lace. Aroma is delectable, with this season’s arrangement consisting of pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, anise, pepper, brown sugared sweet potatoes and mince meat pie. Flavor proceeds in a similar fashion, highlighted by plums, prunes and nutmeg. Dry and spicy. Unrefined, pressed cocoa beans meet a chipped walnut shell. Added dark fruit essence is emphasized with mild black strap molasses. Dry, sweet palate load and medium-bodied. Formidably balanced and still suitable for aging. Finishes with unsweetened raisins, prune juice and stark nutmeg. A damn good holiday tradition.

BeerRules (243) - Houston, Texas, USA - NOV 21, 2005
Cola colored with ruby edges, pillowy beige head. Aroma dominated by holiday spices. Man I really dont llike these spiced up beers, but aside from the spices which I dont like, the beer is good.

biz82 (1327) - austin, Texas, USA - NOV 20, 2005
Deep mahagony color, thin creamy tan head. Licorice and cola aroma with some sasparilla and spruce. Rich mouthfeel, though not as full as some other years. Flavors of nutmeg, cola some spruce and a hint of hops. Dusty, relatively dry and slightly astringent finish. There’s no mistaking this beer and it is welcomed warmly each year.

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