RATINGS: 2104   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ales 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.

Editors 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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   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
viktorvee (510) - Greater London, ENGLAND - DEC 20, 2013
Mild vegetable quality, gingerbread quality, musty, clove vibe but ultimately a bit thin and slightly watery, dank. Not my cup of tea.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Wulfstan (509) - California, USA - DEC 21, 2007
The 2007 ale, in December 2007: dark, almost black, red-brown with a big, thick light brown head that is long lasting and leaves some lacing. The aroma is nutmeg, rootberr, and hint of anise and clove over a malty-toasty body. The taste is rather like a porter-brown ale (of the Newcastle type) mix with spices, toasted grain (not burnt), rootbeer, and faint hints of coffee and chocolate. There is a light bitterness. Its fairly complex and hard to pin down and is very tasty, interesting, somewhat complex, satisfying, and smooth.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
cellar (508) - Dublin, IRELAND - DEC 24, 2008
unclear dark brown w nice head. Strong malty aroma w spices, dark fruit, dark flowers and some wood develops in mouth.Flavour is sweet w bitterness in finish. Gotta get some more of this!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
sjorsvdg (507) - NETHERLANDS - DEC 21, 2014
Een volle, zoetige en kruidige geur en dito smaak. Duidelijke aanwezigheid van hop. Ideaal om mee te stoven, maar vooral om te drinken. (2014-versie.)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
MOboy (504) - Kansas City, Missouri, USA - DEC 17, 2008
Dark brown with a big, biscuity foam. Aroma of gingerbread, chocolate and nutmeg. Tastes of gingerbread and anise. A very well balanced ale that just screams "HOLIDAYS!". Always a welcome winter treat.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ceebs25 (503) - Naperville, Illinois, USA - DEC 21, 2011
12 oz bottle (2011 version). This is really is the the quintessential Xmas session ale. Simple, smooth, highly drinkable, with just enough subtle sweet and spicy qualities. It pours with a decent, creamy tan head, some retention and lacing, and transparent yet bold auburn red body. The aroma is unassuming, but delicately rich and spicy. Some good herbal notes, toffee, honey, light whisky, melon fruits, minor peppery candy, and light cinnamon role. Medium to light body, well balanced, though not with a high degree of bitter. Fruity and rich up front, more peppery, spice and sweet malts come through after. Caramel cookie, juicy fruits, light brandy, and herbal spice, with candy apple and light blended spice through the finish. Again, this is nothing terribly special, but just a solid holiday ale that should appeal to a range of different palates.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mikey (503) - farmington, Utah, USA - MAR 5, 2012
The 2011 has a nice soapy, herbal nose with prune and raisins. The taste starts malty up front with cocoa, spices and dark fruits hit the tongue strong. Semi-sweet cola rounds out the back end. Hints of spices & prune make for a rather dry finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
joe1510 (501) - Illinois, USA - MAY 24, 2007
12oz. Bottle 2005 $10.99 6-pack Binnys Orland Our Special Ale poured an extremely dark mahogany that is only transparent along the edges of my pilsner glass when held to the light. A creamy 2 finger mocha head sits on top and fades a a 1 finger dense craggy head. Sticky webbed brown lacing trails down the glass. The smell makes me think of Christmas with all the smells coming from the kitchen. There are a lot of spices in the nose including nutmeg and maybe a touch of cinnamon. The others are hard to pick apart. Theres even some bing cherry and plum. Also, reminiscent of warm bread pudding. A slight roasted malt in the background but the fruits and spices take over. I think this is what a winter warmer should smell like. It has it all crammed in there. The roasted malts serve as the backbone and dont really show themselves until a minor bitterness in the finish. The spices come through up front with the nutmeg taking the front. The dark fruit come through mid-palate and dance around on your tongue in holiday cheer. Very nicely done. The mouthfeel is the only thing holding this beer back. Its average but if it was a little heavier in body it would be great. The mouthfeel is on the thin side and feels a little dead in my mouth. Dont get me wrong its not bad just nothing to get excited about. The weaker mouthfeel actually helps the drinkability a little bit. If it were creamier it would make a better beer but it would be too filling to get high marks for drinkability. I could definately sit around and drink a couple of these on a cold winter night. I really like Our Special Ale and would recommend it to anyone to try at least once. The spices really add a nice touch. Great cold weather beer. One to share with friends and family.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
natejgood (500) - Bozeman, Montana, USA - NOV 17, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 19, 2008 Im rating the 2007 Spcial Ale. It pours relatively dark with a lot of medium brown head. The head leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. It smells of holiday spices, including nutmeg, cloves and pumpkin spice. It smells like the holidays. The flavor starts with some sweet coffee, moves onto some of the holiday spices, and ends with a bit of bitterness around the sides of my mouth. The beer leaves the mouth a little dry, and the carbination is very light. This is a very good offering for a holiday beer. An update to my rating. The 2008 beer is just as splendid as the 2007.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Dragonfly1 (500) - Colorado, USA - DEC 29, 2007
Draft- Country House. Black liquid with thick tan head. Very smooth, sweet taste- licorice, spice, chocolate. Some orange peel at the end to balance the sweetness. I enjoyed this beer- it really was a "holiday" ale- very spicy, sweet, different. Not just a dark beer labeled as a holiday ale.

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