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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2.7
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.

4.5
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. It’s fairly complex and hard to pin down and is very tasty, interesting, somewhat complex, satisfying, and smooth.

3.8
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!

3.3
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.

3.7
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.

3.1
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.

3.7
joe1510 (501) - Illinois, USA - MAY 24, 2007
12oz. Bottle 2005 $10.99 6-pack Binny’s 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 don’t 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. It’s 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. Don’t get me wrong it’s 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.

3.6
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.

3.3
gary07734 (500) - Tyne & Wear, ENGLAND - JAN 1, 2010
Drank from the bottle, tasty and interesting beer, a malty sweet background with flavours of oak, whisky and fruit, banana, then a lingering malty finish. Pretty good.

3.3
mwelsh13 (499) - Maryland, USA - DEC 18, 2007
Deep brown, almost opaque pour. "Guiness" type head. Laces nicely around the glass. Bread like and spice aroma. Dry on the tongue, almost astringent. Nice full mouth feel with a tart aftertaste. Cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger taste. Hops bitterness more in the aftertaste than in the initial. Almost a slick taste to it. Not undesirable, just not expected. I definitely liked 2006 more. Wish I would have kept more of it. But, this was a nice beer overall.


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