overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2109   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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2.9
Oakes (17664) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - DEC 21, 2007
UPDATED: NOV 30, 2011 2011 version. Pours dark brown with a thick head. Smells soapy on the initial pour, with lots of herbals. As it warms, the aroma mixes pine with orange, cinnamon and some dark sugars. On the palate, it’s a bit thin, lacking any serious malt sugars. This in turn reduces the ability of the beer to carry the spices across the palate comfortably. The spices are muted, leaving only traces of cinnamon and clove on the palate. So spiced ale yes, winter warmer, no. It’s just too light.

2007 Magnum
Dark brown. Spicy, minty, cinnamony aroma doesn’t disappoint. Grk. Thin and flat body. Spices limp along without any particular malt to back them up. Liquorice flavour is strong but comes across far too bitter - again showing a lack of residual sugar. Thin, weak, poorly executed. Far below Anchor’s and this beer’s standards. Had to choke it back. 7 - 3 - 3 - 1 - 6 = 2.0

3.7
TBone (17527) - Pori, FINLAND - DEC 20, 2005
Bottled (BB 09/2007)
Very dark brown, small tanned head. American hoppy, slightly roasted malty nose. Malty, hoppy, easy to drink, some roasted flavors and hints of spices. Good malt and hop profile, that is.

3.5
chrisv10 (17420) - DENMARK - DEC 30, 2011
Bottle, 2011. Very dark brown with medium beige head. Aroma is malt, caramel, spices and a little roasted malts. Flavour is little roasted malts, spices, medium sweet, caramel, dark fruits, little chocolate and medium bitter.

4.2
yngwie (17049) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - APR 9, 2007
UPDATED: JUN 24, 2008 Bottle, 2005 vintage. Clear, brown body with a beige head leaving lacings. Beef-stock, christmas spices, malt and dried fruits in the aroma. The flavor has cloves, cardamom and beef-stock. A full-bodied beer with a spiced finish. A lovely Christmas beer. Rating: 7-4-7-4-15-3.7. (070331)

Bottle, 2007 vintage. It pours a beautiful clear, dark brown body with a reddish hue. Thick, creamy beige head on top, with good retention and leaving nice lacings. The aroma needs a little aeration to be really good I think, but then it gives cinnamon, cloves, some ginger, dried fruits, some chocolate and leather, a tiny alcohol note (), chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of metal. So tender on the nose, and so packed with different aromas. There’s also a little earthy note. The surprising touch of alcohol from the aroma is present in the flavor too, in fact it’s even more evident, but considering it’s a beer for the darkest days of the year, it’s only appropriate and pleasant. It’s velvely and next-to full-bodied, with a quite sweet backbone, some bitterness towards the end, and all the good from the aroma is present in the mouth as well. Spices, fruit, chocolate and so on, it’s all there. Even the little metallic touch, but that’s only showing itselves in the finish, and it’s quite weak and undisturbing. There’s also a weak touch oxidation, or at least some earthy, cellary notes, but to me that’s just nice. At least in this way. It’s not a beer giving me the perfect Christmas feeling, but it’s sure a lovely beer. Well suited for the long, dark nights of winter, and still smooth and refreshing enough to go well on a late summer night. Lovely. (080624)

3.3
jtclockwork (16581) - , New Jersey, USA - MAY 5, 2017
Bottle 2010 - pours brown with tan head - nose and taste of molasses, toffee, caramel, spice - medium body

3.8
brokensail (16447) - Dublin, California, USA - FEB 19, 2010
2009 release. A: This is a damn good looking beer. A deep, dark brown with a thick light brown head. S: All the smells of Christmas in a glass. Cinnamon, all-spice, chocolate, caramel, toffee, and a nice, sweet maltiness. T: So much going on here. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, spices, and maybe a bit of nuts. M: A solidly medium body with mild carbonation. D: I’m not usually the biggest fan of winter warmers, but Anchor always does right with these beers.

3.3
Dedollewaitor (16158) - Odense, DENMARK - JUN 4, 2012
My Rating # 10300. Bottle @ Bierzwerg.de. 2011. Pours dark amber with a creamy lasting head. Spicy nose and flavor. Lots of clove and liquorice root. Smooth and medium bodied. A little one dimensional but well brewed.

2.8
FatPhil (16102) - Tallinn, ESTONIA - FEB 1, 2017
355ml bottle - thanks Marduk!
Sickly sweet aroma, some solventy aspects. Dark. Molasses, spicy, erm, what and why? This is no "our special ale", this is an amateurish immitation. Dry harsh finish.
Earlier Rating: 6/22/2007 Total Score: 4.1
Keg (Gallows Bird, Espoo)
Really dark, almost black, tight cappuccino head. Huge aroma - dark fruits, spices and ginger. Huge, but wonderfully well integrated range of tastes. Dark fruits, raisins, plenty of chocolate malt, burnt caramel, and some tantalising spices - some not out of place in a christmas pudding. Anchor’s best ever beer (so far...) (8-4-9-4-16=4.1)
Rerate: Bottle 2007, drunk 2010-01 (7,4,8,5,15=3.8)
Really mellowed, rich, spices also mellow. A proper non-gimicky winter ale. Lovely smooth palate,carbonation soft. Finish delicately burnt, but very liquoricey. BCs well.
Rerate: Bottle 2010, drunk fresh (7,4,7,4,14=3.6)
Sweet spicy aroma, very spicy - cakey. Deep red, small ring head.. Spicy - woh!!! mint! Full and roasty body, but the mint comes through so much. Full palate, sweetly smooth, crisp carbonation. Finish has roasted choco. Very drinkable, packed full of flavour. Refreshing. Good, but possibly weak compared to prior ones. Too light?

3.5
MiP (15667) - Sønderborg, DENMARK - AUG 3, 2006
Bottle. Very nice and powerful malty aroma. Very nice, dark brown colour. Very small head. Malty flavour, a bit of a citric note. Creamy mouthfeel. Very nice, but the citric notes give me a feeling of beer brewed on maize.

3.2
Benzai (15586) - Oirschot, THE NETHERLANDS, NETHERLANDS - JUN 18, 2011
Small bottle (with 2010 on it), shared with Drebus. Great color, dark with a deep-red glow. Makes you feel warm in cold days just by looking at it. Smelling it is completely different though. I smelled pepper! On first notive the taste is good, light bitter, but the aftertaste is pepper again, and that is somethibng I do not want to taste in my beer.


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