overall
89
97
style
RATINGS: 2124   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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3.3
onceblind (10889) - 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.

3.6
kp (10880) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - SEP 1, 2007
UPDATED: DEC 31, 2012
Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2005
Mode: Bottle
Source: Green’s, Atlanta
Vintage: 2005
Aroma: good fresh spicy aroma on top of slightly sweet malt
Body: light body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, mellow spices, great fresh like a well aged osa, may not age well

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2005
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2005
Appearance: very dark with ruby edges, big tan head
Aroma: nice cinamon and allspice aroma
Body: creamy body
Flavor: big spice flavor on a rich malt base, lots of chocolate, light bitterness, very well balanced for a fresh osa

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2006
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2005
Aroma: spice aroma have muted a bit, the cinamon has faded letting the allspice take the lead
Flavor: lots of bitter spicy flavor, hint of tartness, upon warming the chocolate aroma shows up but the flavor is still spice dominated, body is thinning out a bit as well

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2005
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head, streaks of lace
Aroma: spiced dark chocolate aroma, light minty spicyness
Flavor: sweet minty flavor, dark chocolate, light spicyness, earthy bitterness, touch of roasted

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2006
Mode: Bottle
Source: Pop’s
Vintage: 2006
Appearance: clear dark burgandy, fine tan head, specks of lace
Aroma: strong spruce aroma with a fleeting hint of mint
Body: body is a bit thin initially then becomes creamy
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor balanced by lots of spicey herbal character, only a touch of the traditional cinamon and nutmug but ginger is coming on strong, long light bitter finish from the spices
Overall: noticable difference between the 06 and the prior two years in a vertical lineup - much milder on the malt and a change from holiday spices to more herbal

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 26, 2006
Mode: bottle
Vintage: 2006
drinking a bottle by itself a couple of days later reveals nothing new, just a lot of rich chocolate and the herbal spices to balance, may end up aging a bit better than the last couple of years

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2006
Mode: draft
Source: Wild Wing, Marietta
Vintage: 2006
lots of nice tan lace, chocolate gets even richer on draft, showing a bit more of the traditional spices although the herbal character still dominates, the more I drink it the more that this years version grows on me, like moss on a pine tree

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: December 12, 2006
Mode: draft
Source: taco mac
Vintage: 2006
the mint is making another brief showing in the flavor,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2006
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head, streaks of lace
Aroma: dark chocolate aroma, light spices, touch of sweet pine
Flavor: dark chocolate flavor, balancing milk chocolate sweetness, light spicyness adds depth, hint of pine
Overall: this is the first subtle one of the batch working back from 2012, the others have retained much for of the Christmas spirit

Aroma: 6/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 25, 2007
Mode: Bottle
Source: Sherlocks, GA
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: opaque dark brown, wispy beige head, drippy sheets of lace
Aroma: chocolate aroma with a touch of sweetness balanced with spruce and peppery spices
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, touch of sweetness brings out the chocolate, nice spicy balance with a nutmeg and pepper character, touch of fresh green spruce, bitterness rises out of the spices for a light lasting flavorfull finish
Overall: continues the trend of dumbing down every year but makes it really tasty fresh

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2007
Mode: draft
Source: taco mac
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: dark brown with clear ruby edges, dense tan head, thick lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate aroma with plenty of fresh spruce
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, nice malty sweetness is well balanced with the spices
Overall: draft and bottle are very close this year

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 19, 2010
Mode: bottle
Source: tasting
Vintage: 2007
sweet chocolate, touch of spruce, light spicyness,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2007
Appearance: opaque brown, short lived tan head
Aroma: spicy chocolate and clove aroma, touch of spruce
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, light spruce, light background spicyness, spruce appears to add a sweetness

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 8/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 18, 2008
Mode: Bottle
Source: Sherlocks, GA
Vintage: 2008
Appearance: dark brown with ruby edges, fine tan head, lots of drippy lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate aroma, lots of different strong spices this year including sweet spruce
Flavor: sweet chocolate and caramel flavor, lots of balancing spices, touch of cinamon, allspice, long bitter finish
Overall: spices are mellower in the flavor than the aroma, a return to to more agressive

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 19, 2008
Mode: draft
Source: summits woodstock
Vintage: 2008
Aroma: sweet chocolate and pine aroma is a bit more subdued on draft
Flavor: richer and sweeter chocolate flavor on draft

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: March 13, 2009
Mode: draft
Source: summits woodstock
Vintage: 2008
draft is actually getting a bit more agressive as it ages, sweet pine is coming out stronger,

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2008
rich chocolate porter, spruce and a growing earthyness remaining from the original spicyness,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 16, 2009
Mode: Draft
Source: Summits - Woodstock
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: opaque dark brown with ruby edges, creamy tan head, spidery lace
Aroma: sweet spicy aroma, sweet chocolate, pine, complex array of spices
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, caramel and vanilla sweetness, lots of balancing spicyness, mellow spruce hangs tight and becomes a dominant character, hint of cinnamon, balancing bitterness follows the spices
Overall: a bit more of the caramel sweetness this year changes up the chocolate character and puts it ahead of the spices except for the spruce that comes on strong in the end

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2009
Mode: bottle
Source: hop city
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: clear dark brown, lasting creamy beige head, drippy lace
Aroma: sweet chocolate and spruce aroma, lots of spice and cinamon
Body: creamy body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, balancing spicyness, touch of spruce and pine

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 24, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: cellar stock
Vintage: 2009
Appearance: opaque dark brown, creamy tan head
Aroma: rich chocolate aroma, herbal mint, milky sweetness, spicy
Body: creamy body
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, spices have muddled a bit, minty spruce hanging in there

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 7/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.7/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 25, 2010
Mode: Bottle
Source: Total Wine, GA
Vintage: 2010
Appearance: opaque dark brown, fine tan head
Aroma: big chocolate and spruce aroma, black pepper and sweet licorice, allspice
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, lots of spices, plenty of spruce brings out a sweetness, a bit of undesirable bitterness emerges from the spices

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 6/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 13/20
Rating: 3.3/5.0
Drinkability: 6/10
Score: **+ /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 27, 2011
Mode: Draft
Source: Taco Mac, Woodstock
Vintage: 2011
Appearance: black, creamy beige head, heavy lace
Aroma: big sweet pine and cinnamon aroma
Flavor: rich chocolate flavor, cinnamon and nutmeg, touch of traditional spruce, caramel sweetness yeilds to a light ginger
Overall: less of the tree and more of the traditional spices this year, biggest divergence in years

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 7/10
Score: *** /4

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: November 23, 2012
Mode: Bottle
Source: Hop City, Atlanta
Vintage: 2012
Appearance: opaque dark brown, frothy tan head
Aroma: sweet spiced chocolate aroma, lots of chocolate, spices, cinnamon, clove, spruce, sweet licorice
Flavor: sweet chocolate flavor, caramel sweetness, mellow blend of spices, touch of minty spruce, peppery, light earthyness follows the spices

Name: Our Special Ale
Date: December 12, 2012
Mode: bottle
Source: tmac kennesaw
Vintage: 2012
the spruce is bigger and fresher on draft, spices are bigger and bolder as well, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet chocolate provids the backing base the the complex array of Christmas character,

Aroma: 7/10; Appearance: 8/10; Flavor: 7/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 15/20
Rating: 3.6/5.0
Drinkability: 6/10
Score: *** /4

3.6
marcus (10869) - 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.

3.9
leaparsons (10862) - Wigston, Leicestershire, ENGLAND - OCT 29, 2006
Bottle. Swan and Rushes, Leicester. Black with a small beige head. Aromas are herbal and spicy with root vegetables and liquorice. Some dark chocolate bitterness. Flavours are herbal, medicinal and berruy fruit with bitter dark chocolate and spices. Earthy and smoky with a long aftertaste. I could still taste this on the palate after a half hour walk home. Very good.

3.5
KyotoLefty (10809) - 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
DuffMan (10762) - 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!

4.4
cubs (10740) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 3, 2010
UPDATED: NOV 27, 2012 Tap @ Falling Rock Denver. 2010 vintage. Very dark red/brown appearance. Very spicy aroma with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Dark tasting flavor full of special spices. Quite tasty and quite unbelievably tasty. Great beer (4.6)

Bottle @ home picked up at Wilbur’s Fort Collins. 2012 vintage. Minty, ginger, allspice, spicy bready aroma. A bit tangy, smooth, toasty malty, light chocolate, a touch nutty, minty, ginger flavor. Please don’t change the recipe! (4.4)

3.7
olio (10691) - 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

3.7
KimJohansen (10498) - Frederiksberg C, DENMARK - DEC 25, 2007
Pours black medium off white head. Spicy roasted aroma. Roasted flavor with spicy notes and a dry finiish.

4
sebletitje (10477) - 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.


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