overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2124   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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3.6
simontomlinson (673) - Blackburn, Lancashire, ENGLAND - JAN 3, 2017
Light beige head soon left a cover on a near black still body. Sweet nutty aroma. Medium body feel, well carbonated - clean on the palate. This has lots of malts, nutty flavours, spice, hints of cinnamon - tangy on the back. Good Christmas flavours. 2016 Bottle.

3.3
wombat23 (2147) - Texas, USA - JAN 1, 2017
Shared 12 oz. bottle. Pours almost black with a beige head. Aroma and taste of roast, chocolate, nutmeg, Christmas spice. Good.

3.5
lamas (1661) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 31, 2016
1.5L magnum bottle. Pours a dark mahogany with a thick and fluffy khaki head. Toffee, caramel, cinnamon raisin bread, light grains, and plenty of wintry spices in the aroma. Thin to medium-bodied and pretty smooth on the way down. Toffee and cinnamon raisin bread upfront in the taste. Toasted grains follow. A hoppy bitterness at the end. Wintry spices throughout. This version is a little more hop forward than in previous years. A holiday tradition of mine. Pretty tough to find this year too. Not sure why this year has its own listing either.
Earlier Rating: 12/21/2005 Total Score: 4
Bottle. Bottled on: 10/04/05. A clear ruby pour with a thick mocha head that leaves some lace. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg along with some anise, cocoa and caramel in the aroma. Pretty nicely balanced with a solid malty base and a bit of bitter hops in the finish. Medium to thin-bodied. Lots of fresh cinnamon sticks and spices are upfront. Cocoa and some coffee follow. Starts off sweet, then mellows nicely. Anchor’s best, year after year.

3.6
martjoobolut (5337) - Tallinn, ESTONIA - DEC 31, 2016
Bottle (from SIP). Pours dark brown with beige brownish head. The head stays for a second. Aroma is spices, cola, sweetness, malt. Flavor is sweet and bitter, spices, cola, malt, some roast. Finish is dry-spicy bitter. Overall: good.

3.8
Johnstledger8 (1409) - Dublin, IRELAND - DEC 31, 2016
Bottle. Pours an opaque dark brown with a thin beige sift foamy head. Aroma is of caramel, dark fruits, raisins, figs, nuts, warm spices, ginger. Taste is of caramel, figs, raisins, blackcurrant, toffee, ginger, plum, nutmeg. Soft foamy mouthfeel, soft to medium carbonation.

4
poisoneddwarf (2688) - Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, USA - DEC 30, 2016
Earlier Rating: 12/30/2016 Total Score: 3.8
12 oz bottle, thanks brenn79. Aroma is cola, dark bread crust, vanilla, spices (nutmeg, cinnamon I think, clove possibly). Pours dark brown with red highlights and a one finger beige head with decent retention. Taste starts out lightly malty sweet before some significant herbal hop bitterness kicks in; finishes with a faint tartness. Spices are there in flavor, but they’re a bit vague. This seems a lot better than previous years. I know the alcohol is higher, and I don’t remember it ever having this much hop presence before. I wonder what else changed.
Earlier Rating: 11/14/2011 Total Score: 4
12 oz bottle. 2011 bottle. I rated this yesterday on paper. Thanks Brenn79. Pours mahogany with ruby red highlights. Has a medium beige head that collapses in a couple of minutes. Aroma is minty, dark fruits, other unidentifiable spices. Tastes like minty gingerbread. Sweet and meaty with a lightly dry bitter finish. Average carbonation with a somewhat thin body. Very Christmasy. Tasty.

3.3
rodsquad (379) - Aberdeen, SCOTLAND - DEC 29, 2016
UPDATED: DEC 24, 2017 Bottle from Fountainhall Wines. Pours dark, dark brown with a creamy light tan head. Smells of sweet malt and demerara sugar. A treacle-sweet taste with mild bittering malt. Moments of caramel. It has a smooth silky mouthfeel with gentle carbonation. This is a sweet, easy drinking brown ale. Nice and mellow. [re-rate 2017 bottle]. Pours dark brown with a fluffy tan head. Very nice looking indeed. Nose has chocolate, treacle, dried fruit and a ligh caramel. Flavours are similar with a little aniseed noted. It has a smooth feel with a light effervescence. It’s easy drinking that gets better as it rests. A malt chocolate sweetness with enough fresh light fruit to prevent it being cloying. Nice festive brown ale.

4.2
cinek (491) - krakow, POLAND - DEC 29, 2016
butelka. czarne, bez refleksów, średnio obfita drobnopęcherzykowa piana utrzymująca się do końca picia. aromat: będzie słodko! lukrecja, brązowy cukier, piernik, ciemne słody. w smaku pełne, ale nie ulepkowate, nasycenie w punkt, słodycz dominuje. mega dobra edycja’16

3.3
darbeer75 (1112) - Round Rock, Texas, USA - DEC 27, 2016
Aroma: lots of malt, molasses, with a little nutmeg and ginger; basically smells like a christmas cookie Appearance: extremely dark amber with creamy offwhite head that lingers; Taste: follows nose with a little too much spice; needs a bit more malt and hop to counterbalance; Palate: medium body with long, spicy finish; Overall: okay but probably won’t get again.

3.8
jlong1965 (16) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 27, 2016
Not too much aroma but nothing bad, some caramel. Taste rich toast and bread with some sweetness. Poured real dark with good tan head. Finished caramel like.


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