overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2080   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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3.4
Mr_Pink_152 (5110) - Lincoln, Lincolnshire, ENGLAND - DEC 24, 2016
Bottle from Real Ale Store, Newark. Deep ruby to black colour with tan head. Stewed fruity aroma and and taste. Thick body.

3.7
jmgreenuk (9553) - Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA - DEC 23, 2016
Tap at Cherry Reds, Birmingham. Poured a clear dark brown with a frothy off white head. The aroma is grainy malt, crisp alcoholic red berry fruit, some yeast. The flavour is moderate sweet with a rich, smooth, sweet fruit, hop bitter, light alcohol, light spice palate. Medium bodied with average carbonation. A real heart warming Christmas ale.
Earlier Rating: 12/20/2014 Total Score: 3.4
Tap at The Beer Temple, Amsterdam. Poured a reddish brown with a frothy white head and some broken lace. The aroma is rich spicy over ripe red berry fruit. The flavour is moderate bitter sweet with a light veggie mineral light fruit palate. Medium bodied with soft carbonation.

3.4
Jyrsa (875) - - DEC 23, 2016
Bottle from Systembolaget. Dark brown with small head. Molasses, dark malt, herbs, red fruit. Tart with berries, apple, malt. Long, sour finish.

2.7
Demens (456) - Budapest, HUNGARY - DEC 23, 2016
UPDATED: JAN 26, 2017 On tap. Thick dark colour with long lasting beige head. Aroma: Very light notes of vanilla, whiskey barrel and caramel. Not the most aromatic one. Taste: Light sweet start with lots of barrel (wood) taste and a bit soapy too (juniper berry?) with a full bitter mouthfeel. Not my favourite combination. Medium body with soft carbonation. Long sopay finish. Not my cup of tea.

3.7
RichTheVillan (7936) - Birmingham, West Midlands, ENGLAND - DEC 22, 2016
Bottle from Cotteridge Wines; dark brown pour with a big frothy light tan head, aroma has sweet molasses and some winter spicing, taste has rich sweet malts, dark fruits, quite heavy spicing of nutmeg, pine essence, cinnamon and the like, creamy mouthfeel, could get you pissed.
Earlier Rating: 11/26/2013 Total Score: 3.5
Bottle from Cotteridge Wines; dark mahogany red pour with creamy tan head, caramel and spice aroma, taste has caramel, hint of roasted malts and a big undercurrent of Christmas spices, nutmeg and cinnamon jump out.

3.6
slowrunner77 (12159) - Reno, Nevada, USA - DEC 21, 2016
So what are the changes in this edition of this annual beer that allow it it’s own entry, when the last 11 version are all lumped together? Don’t get me wrong...Anchor comes right out and says the recipe is tweaked EVERY year, but as a different entry isn’t allowed every year, why THIS year? Dark brown pour from the bottle with a tan cap. I only had one this year, after a 6 pack plus usually a pint on tap being a yearly tradition. The one I got was not quite the molasses backed Christmas tree in a bottle I so love. Smooth as usual but actually was a touch thinner it seemed. It was still good, but the spices were a touch off and it was like someone was imitating Anchor’s beer. With the plethora of beers available, while I enjoyed it, it was less than the usual low 4, and I decided to pass on more.
Earlier Rating: 9/5/2014 Total Score: 4.3
A favorite spiced beer and favorite Christmas beer, year after year. Nearly 6000 beers in, and I’ve never had another that comes close to the unique mix of spices and herbals and malt that is Anchor OSA.

3.8
Cybercat (5895) - Georgia, USA - DEC 21, 2016
Taps coffee brown with a thick buff head. Aroma delivers roasted malt plus cloves, cinnamon, and a snip of nutmeg. Bold flavor presents cloves, woody, roast malt, nutmeg, cinnamon and a litle molasses for a very enjoyable winter beer. Mouthfeel offers typical body but lively fizz and a nice woody and spicy finish. Whatever you celebrate, may it be merry!
Earlier Rating: 12/6/2008 Total Score: 4.4
Had the 2008 version. This one pours a dark chocolaty opaque brown with a fine-bubbled tan head. Rich, malty aroma has strong hints of spice. Flavor is strong and mouth filling, malty, very spicy, with a solid undertone of unsweetened chocolate. Texture is smooth and a little syrupy so it goes down well.

3.4
Estebanik (1172) - Lublin, POLAND - DEC 20, 2016
Piana znikoma, dość szybko ucieka. Kolor piwa wpada w brązowy, z rubinowymi przebłyskami. W aromacie grają nieokreślone przyprawy, trochę piernika, trochę więcej banana, troszkę czerwonych owoców. Jest przyjemnie, tylko, że niezbyt intensywnie. Wysycenie średnie do wysokiego, trochę denerwuje, bo sprawia, że piwo wydaje się bardziej wodniste i sprawia, że Special Ale traci na zawiesistości. Pustkę na finiszu zastępuje lekki karmel, a dalej czerwone owoce. Podczas dłuższego posiedzenie nasycenie oczywiście spada, a w piwie ujawnia się gumowata (jak w scotch ale), karmelowa słodowość. Pije się to na prawdę okej, fajna odskocznia od zawalonych przyprawami polskich odpowiedników.

3.5
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.

3.8
Derek881 (1272) - 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.


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