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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3.7
jmgreenuk (10333) - 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.

3.5
deanso (10271) - Chiang Mai, THAILAND - NOV 8, 2012
35cl bottle from ABCBeers, the Hague. Thick off white head. Clear black pour. Herbal taste but quite smooth. A nice brew.

3.7
Maria (10211) - Thisted, DENMARK - FEB 4, 2007
Vintage 2005, bottle. It’s an almost black beer with a delicious, steady and creamy head. The aroma is hoppy and spicy just like the flavour, that also has notes of nutmeg, licorice, plum, pine needles and a dry, slitghtly btter finish. A nice Christmas beer.

3.6
MoritzF (10199) - Ottobrunn, GERMANY - MAY 30, 2006
(bottle, vintage 2005, with many thanks to bierkoning !) Dark brown colour with a stable tanned mid-sized foam. Moderately sweet and slightly roasted malt aroma with a floral note of violets, toffee, liquorice and cinnamon. Bittersweet flavour, medium body, moderate carbonation. Roasty malty taste with liquorice, violets and citrus peel; dry, malty and spicy finish with a lasting aftertaste with chocolate and spices. Complex and tasty brew.

3.8
MartinT (10155) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - DEC 9, 2005
The Lure:
embedded star anise tries to rise above the rooty cola reminiscence. Roasted malts play a second-tier role, but with the prevalent sweetness creates stout-like passages. Sturdy conifer needles point their way once in a while.

The Festivities:
Prominent earthiness, tree root and bark surround themselves with roasted molasses and a plethora of blackberries and mushy blueberries.Their union is balanced in an ample but easy to digest body. Negligible dryness and bitterness appear in the finale; this is unique stuff as always.

Transcendence:
Nicely laid out ornaments do enliven the atmosphere.

4.1
JoeMcPhee (10129) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - NOV 28, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 20, 2010 2009 bottle. Deep dark brown beer with a very thick sticky pour. Good looking beer. The nose is great. A bright nose of light evergreen resin, a bit of cinnamon, fruity pine and a touch of molasses and dark malts. A kiss of toasted character. Pretty nice rich brew. There is a little bit of rye spice and a kiss of light herbal hoppiness as well. It’s pretty solid. 2008 bottle. Deep dark brown beer with a nice sticky tan head. The nose is quite spicy. A bit of cocoa and soft pine. Cinnamon and nutmeg as well as a bit of light fruitiness. Dusty cocoa and a bit of herbal character. Some light mintiness and a touch of chewy sweetness. Molasses and a bit of toastiness. Some rye and wheaty spice. As it warms the spruce and juniper picks up. Lovely toastiness and a bit of soft spice. It’s lovely. 8 5 8 5 17 2006 bottle. Dark brown/ruby tinted beer with a thick tan head. Aroma is of dark toasted malts, sweet breadiness with loads of fresh ginger and bright fresh cinnamon. There is also a lot of pine/spruce aroma that comes to the fore as the beer warms up. Flavour is malty sweet, toast and whole wheat spiciness, cinnamon and nutneg and ginger. Soft chocolatey malt notes behind the sweet spices as well. Lingering pine flavour and earthy/herbal bitterness. Smells and tastes like Christmas, which I gather was the point. I like this years better than 2005s version. 8 5 8 5 16 2005 bottle. Beautiful deep brown/ruby beer with a thich long-lasting brown head. Sweet caramelly aroma, a bit of toastiness, assertive licorice and even a touch of smokiness. Flavour is quite spicy aroma, bready sweet pudding-like malt and spice backgroung. Cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel with a long sweet and brown sugary finish. Dark cherries and black pepper on the back of the palate as well. Ar 7 Ap 5 Fl 7 Pa 3 Ov 15

3.6
JorisPPattyn (10113) - BELGIUM - OCT 10, 2007
2006 vintage, from a shelf in my cellar, generous donator unknown but thanked Huge, darker beige head, creamy, over fully dark-opaque, red-shot brown beer. Spicy nose; roasted grains or roasted (sweetish) multi-grains bread. Resins and rosemary, cloves, meatgravy aromas. Roasted taste as roasted coffee, breadcrust and walnutpeel. Flavours of clove or allspice and liquorice. Ends pretty dry - spicy/bitterish, near tartness. Restsugars all but gone. Rather well-bodied, neither slick nor chewy. Some discreet alcohol. Decent spicy winter ale, not too sweet, but not too special neither. Bit roasted-roasty...

3.5
gyllenbock (10025) - Stockholm, SWEDEN - DEC 7, 2009
Bottle. Very dark but not completely pitch black. Large light brown foam. The aroma contained coffee and chocolate, but most of all pine needles. Also some spices. The taste was almost a little sour, fresh and drinkable.The flavor of wood was there, as well as spices, smoky notes and ash. A different and dry "ale", good but not superb. Something that pulls down the grade a bit is that I felt that the aftertaste was a little watery and that the body was somewhat weak.

2.8
GT (10017) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 5, 2009
12oz. Pours a cloudy deep red with a one finger dark tan head that has little retention and lacing. Aroma is spice, toffee, apple cider, nutmeg, cinnamon. Taste is spicy, watery, spruce, huge medicinal feel. Lots of cough syrup, Sudafed, Nyquil. Pretty light bodied but syrupy mouthfeel. Sort of gross. I’m surprised that a brewery with as much to live up to as Anchor would actually produce something this bad every year.

3.5
mabel (10004) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 6, 2008
UPDATED: APR 10, 2009 [854-20071124] 12floz (Vintage 2006, w/ jerc). Strange old musty booze aroma with dog paw and burnt grain hints. Black body with a quick creamy curry-tan head. Christmas spicy coffee malt flavour seems like it has an invisible stick of cinnamon resting in the glass. Medium-full body. Interesting but not impressive. (6/3/7/3/14) 3.3

[1893B-20081206] Tap. Mild spicy Christmas fruits and rum and sweet toasty yeast aroma. Clear, dark brown red body with a long-lasting creamy off-white head. Sweet caramelized leaves and mild spices and honey and grainy yeast bread and mild perfume in the flavour. Medium body. Repeatable, enjoyable. (7/4/7/4/15) 3.7
(Vintage 2008 @ Cole’s; Buffalo, NY)


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