overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2110   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
sebletitje (10080) - Enghien, BELGIUM - DEC 19, 2008
Thanks to super Dave, the cellar king of FL for bringing these rare offerings. Got to try the 2005 and 2006 versions. Both of them pour brownish with light tan - beige head, 05 had a more lingering lacing on the glass. Aroma was a little more in the favor of the 05 version with a more nutty nose vs. a piny approach for the 06. 05 offers a more gingerbread taste with spices, smooth and light caramel. 06 has more light chocolate notes and caramel with molasses. with attenuated cinnamon touch. Overall bot are very enjoyable beres that have aged well. Score goes to the 05 version.

3.6
JorisPPattyn (10004) - Ursel, 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...

2.8
GT (10000) - 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.

3.6
MoritzF (9901) - 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 (9880) - 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.

3.3
onceblind (9689) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 15, 2011
2010 edition. Dark mahogany pour with a light tan head that doesn’t last too long or leave much lace. Smells malty velvety, and not unlike a pumpkin ale with some pumpkin notes and some nutmeg-like spices. Taste is a delightful purprise of malts, spice, and a more generous hop bitterness than I imagined. The malt profile is somewhat bready and nutty, with a hint of chocolate helping out in the background. The spice is appropriate for a holiday ale, but could just as easily fit in a pumkin ale. Flowery hops only arise in the end, and are just right and fitting, neither making too much noise or being too subdued. In all, a great ale, just not my thing I guess. I would greatly reccomend it, but I do not think I will get it again. Something about the sweetness or the level of the spice...I dunno. It’s just not for me I think.

3.4
arminjewell (9675) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - JAN 8, 2012
12 oz 2011 bottle pour at home is dark reddish almost black, thin off white head as well. Aroma brought notes of caramel, chocolate, some coffee and roast, with some spicy ginger, cinnamon and clove in there with the pine needle/juniper notes. Taste is a mix of chocolate, coffee, spruce and ginger notes combining actually fairly decently, a slightly spicy and bitter finish. Different, but enjoyable!

3.3
DrSilverworm (9671) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 27, 2011
2010 version. Smells great, definitely a pine smell in it that’s appropriate for the season, maybe even some roasted nut smells. Appears to be a very dark brown color when poured, but when shining a light through the glass the beautiful red color becomes very apparent. Stickier texture than I prefer, lively carbonation though. Sort of an odd vegetable-ish after taste, but it’s certainly interesting and not too strong.

3.8
Quack-Duck (9484) - Down South, GERMANY - AUG 5, 2009
bottle, vintage 2007, mit Dank ins Ruhrgebiet! Dark red-brown colour, large beige head. Fruity nose. Intensively malty with lots of fruit flavours: berries, plums, blackcurrant. Bitter-sweet with lovely citrusy hops that add flavours of bitter orange marmalade. Lingering finish. Delicious!

3.7
jmgreenuk (9457) - 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.


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