overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2109   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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4.1
Beerdrinker79 (2188) - 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!

3.3
coachd (836) - Missouri, USA - DEC 17, 2016
Rich brown ale aroma. Cocoa, slight pine hop, Xmas cookie spice, malt and I’m 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.

3.9
EdKing (2586) - London, Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 17, 2016
I’ve 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. It’s 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 it’s nice. Would rate it 3.8.

3.6
AJL1980 (121) - West Yorkshire, ENGLAND - DEC 17, 2016
Pint from decanter wine bar in leeds. Dark winter fruits on the nose, appearance wise it’s black. The taste is complex and challenging, again the winter fruits come to the fore with the inevitable coffee. Strong but very moreish.

4.1
krumbum (1109) - 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 doesn’t get you too Christmasy.

3.4
madnorwegian (230) - FRANCE - DEC 14, 2016
Really enjoyed this one. Often Xmas brews are too boozy and sweet. This one has malty fruitiness but also nice crisp bitterness. A good one.

3.3
Jashiu (1315) - Gdañsk, POLAND - DEC 14, 2016
2016 edition on tap @Lawendowa 8 Gdańsk (Dec 2016)
Very spicy aroma full of cinnamon, nutmeg and plentiful others. Some molasses and caramel also present. Taste is sweet and very weak bodied, feels watery and that was a disappointment.

2.9
Sledutah (7524) - Utah, USA - DEC 12, 2016
12oz bottle from the state store
Pours clear dark brown with a small beige head, light lacing. Aroma of toasted malts, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spices. Flavor of dark fruit, nutty, caramel, bready and spices
Ok, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Earlier Rating: 12/13/2010 Total Score: 3.4
2009 bottle shared at the SLC holiday tasting
Appearance: Dark brown with a medium off-white head and good lacing
Aroma: Pine and brown sugar
Taste: Pine and dark fruits
Very nice

3.4
Sarlacc83 (2287) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 12, 2016
2006 bottle thanks to Douglas. A: Pure black with a cappuccino head. N: Cola, all-spice, pumpkin malt, minerality, oxidation, some toffee, and a good amount of clove. T: Sweet and a bit spicy. M: Medium body, no alcohol, soft carbonation. O: Still going. This has aged decently, though I wouldn’t let it go any farther before consuming lest it fall apart.

3.6
Saeglopur (2177) - Vienna Woods, AUSTRIA - DEC 12, 2016
355 ml bottle from BeerLovers, bb 08-2018.
Dark copper-brown body, with a big, creamy, lacing, dark beige head.
Aroma of nuts, dark bread, dried fruits, spices, some banana, some cocoa.
Tastes of dark bread, cocoa, spices, dried fruits, roasted nuts, some toast, some liquorice.
Medium, oily mouthfeel, with an average carbonation.
Finishes smooth, roasty, a bit dry, toasty, bready, a bit spicy, with cocoa and some roasted nuts.

Nice one. Smooth and well balanced, with a well hidden alcohol. Less spicy than previous Anchor Christmas Ales I’ve had, but with interesting dark bready and medium roasty notes instead. I’m just missing the last bit of character maybe, while it still is a pleasant, dark winter ale.
Earlier Rating: 12/16/2014 Total Score: 3.7
355 ml bottle from Ammersin 5 Vienna, 2014 version.
Dark copper body, with a medium, creamy, beige head.
Aroma of yeast, christmas spices, dried fruits, some chocolate.
Taste follows this pretty much, with some more subtle bitter hops.
Quite full, creamy mouthfeel, with an average carbonation.
Finishes very spicy, quite dry, a bit bitter hoppy and slightly sweet malty.

Nice! Not my favourite Anchor beer, but a nice christmas beer, quite unique, with lots of spices. Lacks the last bit of character though in my opinion.


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