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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3.8
DuffMan (10427) - the land of bitumen, beef & beer, Alberta, CANADA - DEC 7, 2007
UPDATED: AUG 27, 2011 2007 vintage. Clear deep copper with a light brown gense foamy head showing excellent retention and strong early lacing. Very intriguing spicy aroma. Not the usual spice, this is more like mace and bergamot with a little ginger and licorice. Also some cedar mulch aroma. Very interesting! Same spice-dominated palate overlying some nice crystal malt with flavours of orange rind, clove, ginger. Smooth and medium bodied with a surprisingly bitter finish, ending with a tartness that reminds of a good California common style. In fact, that is what this is like in a nutshell-- a very spiced-up, well-made California common. Unique and delicious and perfect for the season!

3.8
alexsdad06 (10400) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 22, 2010
12 oz. bottle 2006 vintage. Pours a ruby infused brown color with a small fleeting beige head. The aroma is mild chocolaty with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and licorice. Some fig and raisin fruitiness is also present along with slight vegetal notes. The flavor is more mild chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, figs, raisins, and caramel sauce. This is at the lower end of medium bodied. Year after year one of the better Christmas beers you can find.

3.4
jercraigs (10374) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 31, 2005
UPDATED: AUG 4, 2015 2008-12-06. Dark brown body with a modest khaki head. (3+) Sweet malt aroma, spice is well rounded, nutmeg? (7+) Sweetish flavour has a malty base, nutmeg, spice. (7+) Average plus palate. (3+) Pretty much how I remembered it from previous years! 7+/3+/7+/3+/15-16 = 3.5 2008 Vintage. On tap at Coles, Buffalo

2006 Vintage. Bottle at Volo. Very dark brown-black body with a smallish creamy tan head (3+). Spicy (nutmeg, cinnamon) and sweet malt in the aroma. Flavour is similar to aroma, with the addition of ovaltine/cocoa notes. Nutmeg, very light anise, sweet malt middle. Average palate. Pleasant, but as always with this one I find it hard to wrap my palate around the melange of spice flavours. 7/3+/3/7/14 - 3.4

2005 Vintage. December 2005. Draft @ Coles in Buffalo. Black body with small creamy tan head. (3+) Sweet malt with abundant but mild spice notes in the aroma. Flavour has lots of nutmeg and something I called anise that may or may not be. Mild nutty notes at some points. Plenty of malt throughout. I enjoyed this a bit more than previous years, but there is still something unharmonious about the whole package that detracts from it for my tastes. 6/4/6/3/14 - 3.3

2.6
gnoff (10336) - Mölndal, SWEDEN - NOV 6, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 2, 2014 First rating
Initial Rating Date: 11/6/2006
330 ml bottle at Haket, Göteborg.
2006 Christmas ale.
Ruby red color, tan head. Spicy clove scent. Taste is clove and lots of spicy malts. Low bitterness.
8/4/7/3/14=3.6

Second rating
UPDATED 11/19/2006
Bottle
Vinous a bit minty, strong sugary smell. Deep ruby red color, tan head. A bit fruity taste, thin and boring, vinous. No bitterness. Just plain too boring.
5/3/5/2/9=2.4

Rerate
On tap as part of a flight at Brewer’s Tasting Room, St. Pete, FL, on January 22, 2014.
Clear very dark red color, light brown head. Sweet, spicy taste. Tart, dry aftertaste. Thin mouthfeel, low bitterness. Sweet scent, a bit spicy.
5/4/5/2/10=2.6

3.7
olio (10269) - Tampere, FINLAND - NOV 21, 2012
355 ml bottle.
Originally rated on 20101104. (8+3+7+3+15)
Pours slightly hazy ruby red color with a medium-sized frothy head. Aroma has less surprisingly very spicy with cardamom, ginger, some yeast, mild malty notes and some ripe fruit notes. Lots of spices on the flavor also, some fruits, mild toffee notes, wood and malts. Not too over the top with the spices, decent christmassy brew.
3425

3.5
KyotoLefty (10254) - Kyoto, JAPAN - DEC 31, 2009
2008 vintage, one year old. Magnum bottle. Huge spice, licorice, anise, cinnamon, can’t really tell. Roasty bitterness that is stout-like. Fresh dark fruit: cherry, blueberry. Very interesting--rich yet rather light-bodied. Very fruity, with too much spice to drink much of, yet it’s fun.

3.8
phaleslu (10247) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - NOV 27, 2010
Draft served in a tulip at International Tap House-Soulard. Pours a dark amber-brown color with a tan head that laces the glass. Aroma of figs, cherries, lums, vanilla, caramel malts, raisins, grapes, nutmeg, and other winter spices. The flavor stays pretty faithful to the nose. Medium-bodied, with low carbonation and a malty, spicy mouthfeel. Good winter beer.

3.6
marcus (10222) - Sacramento, California, USA - JAN 17, 2006
This dark brown ale poured with a nice tan head. The flavor is very malty with a spicy finish. This year’s brew seems maltier and less spicy than most of the previous years.

3.7
Maria (10212) - 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.

3.5
deanso (10132) - 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.


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