RATINGS: 2105   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
novemberpapa (3) - FINLAND - DEC 20, 2016 does not count
Aroma has caramel, banana, dried fruit (dates, raisin), spices (cloves, cardamom), even gingerbread malt, and resin and spruice hops. Very dark brown, almost black color with a frothy brown head. Medium sweet taste with light bitterness and saltiness. Full bodied, creamy and thick texture, soft carbonation and slightly bitter finish. Decent, very x-massy, with a hoppy backbone.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Derek881 (1269) - Denver, Colorado, USA - DEC 19, 2016
Poured from the bottle into a pint glass to drink. The beer had a dense brown color with a dark ruby red hue with a very large and creamy tan head with excellent retention, cling, and lacing. Its aroma featured pine and spices with perhaps some cinnamon and nutmeg, and a light presence of cereal and grain hops. The taste had a pleasant, subtle sweetness with a touch of caramel and bread, but mostly featured a modest bitter spice and light hops tones. The body was quite smooth and creamy, with average carbonation and life, and a good mouthfeel.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
mgajdaczewa (1993) - Katowice, POLAND - DEC 19, 2016
W aromacie goździki, pierniki, imbir, świątecznie na podwalinie ciasteczkowego słodu lekko wpadającego w czekoladę z orzechami. W smaku podobnie, przyprawowo, goździkowo, świątecznie, raczej niezbyt słodko, dobre proporcje i pijalność. Udane.
Earlier Rating: 12/16/2013 Total Score: 3
Bardzo ładny piernikowy aromat, niezbyt słodki, poparty palonym słodem. Ale w smaku... kompot z suszonych śliwek, taki wigilijny. A ja tego smaku nienawidzę. Będąc rzetelnym smak dość oryginalny, wytrawne, stosunkowo lekkie jak na piwo zimowe. Uberświąteczne piwo.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
JPC1524 (188) - Devon, ENGLAND - DEC 18, 2016
UPDATED: JAN 13, 2017 Bottle from Vessel Beer Shop, Plymouth. Pours dark mahogany with a good sized tan head. Aromas of alcohol rich fruitcake and molasses. Flavours of dark malts, chocolate and dark fruits. Amazing mouth feel. Lovely dry bitter finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
kaserov (526) - Oviedo, SPAIN - DEC 18, 2016
Color marrn oscuro casi negro, opaco, con capa de espuma marrn de dos dedos de grosor (retencin decente). Carbonatacin mnima. Aroma a licor, chocolate, caramelo, madera, profundo. Bastante cuerpo. Sabor a chocolate, dulzn, caramelo, con regusto final a nuez y chocolate muy ligeramente amargo. Hiper rica.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Beerdrinker79 (2174) - Idaho, USA - DEC 17, 2016
12 oz bottle, surprised this year got a new entry- Pours very dark brown with a large light tan head that holds nicely that leaves a rootbeer like rocky head. Aroma is cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg, toffee and caramel. The taste is cinnamon and nutmeg, toffee is prominent, along with caramel, some sort of nuts, the hops impart a dry medium bitterness, smooth, rich and pretty tasty.
Earlier Rating: 11/12/2011 Total Score: 4.1
12 oz. bottle- Pours very dark red with a two finger creamy dense tan head, beautiful looking beer. The aromas is wow Christmas spice, cinnamon, clove, peppermint or mint, allspice, it totally smells like Christmas. The flavor is weird, not as in your face with the spices although are still noticeably there, finish is bitter, but malty as well. Body is actually thinner than expected, carbonation is soft. Overall a nice departure from the flooding of somewhat boring winter warmers, I could drink more than one. Santa should get a glass of this instead of stupid milk!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 12/20
coachd (748) - Missouri, USA - DEC 17, 2016
Rich brown ale aroma. Cocoa, slight pine hop, Xmas cookie spice, malt and Im getting some hazelnut. Very dark brown color with a large light brown head. The taste is just the same as the aroma with more spices present in the aftertaste. Hardly any hops, just a trace at the end. Great palate - just dense enough, silky and very easy drinking. This was ok, let it warm up before drinking.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
EdKing (2529) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 17, 2016
Ive been drinking Our Special Ale since 2008 and this is th best so far. Almost clear dark brown with some hazing, off white head which dissipates to nothing. nose is sweet, treacle, pine, ginger, clove, dried coriander, basically five spice. Taste is sweet, spicy, dried coriander, pine, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg. Its got more sweetness than usual. Really really nice. Will buy a couple more.
Earlier Rating: 3/20/2011 Total Score: 3.9
2009 bottled version. Pours dark brown. Slight head. Aroma is complex. Roasted malt, pine kernels, Christmas spice, bit of citrous at the back. Flavour is rich with toasty malt, citrous, pine, spice. Nice combination of unusual flavours. Mouthfeel is fairly thin, so schwartbier rather than British Christmas ale, porter or stout. 2012 - nose is malty pine needles, slight menthol, earthy, cinnamon. Taste is malty, caramel, cinnamon, pine needles, menthol. Body is a bit weak, but its nice. Would rate it 3.8.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
AJL1980 (121) - West Yorkshire, ENGLAND - DEC 17, 2016
Pint from decanter wine bar in leeds. Dark winter fruits on the nose, appearance wise its black. The taste is complex and challenging, again the winter fruits come to the fore with the inevitable coffee. Strong but very moreish.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
krumbum (1106) - truckee, California, USA - DEC 16, 2016
Nice roasted dry cocoa bean with a hint of piney hop come through the smell. Deep brown with frothy soap bubble head. Dry char lets a light spice and a fragrant fruity pine come through. A little soapy mouth feel.
Earlier Rating: 12/26/2015 Total Score: 4.5
Big roasted flavors to the nose. Deep dark brown with light head but lasting head. Really smooth intro fades to a slight spice in the finish. Good doesnt get you too Christmasy.

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