Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 2, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 29, 2007 Release 2007
The beer departs the stubby 12-ounce bottle a clear brown with a portly creamy light tan head; as it evaporates, the lace provides a thin curtain to drape the glass. Nose has a sweet malt aroma, followed closely by the spices, cinnamon, and cloves, crisp and clean. Start is decently malted, sweet and a touch of bite at the back, top is moderate in feel. Finish has a determined acidity, the hops perfect; the spicy sweetness carries to the end, as always a good drinking beer that only gets better with age.
Anchor Our Special Ale 2006
The beer pours from the stubby 12 ounce brown bottle a deep mahogany color, the head modest in size, the color a light tan and the texture creamy as it fades away, the lace forms a concealing blanket to cover the glass. Nose has a sweet malt presence, spicy and appetizing, hints of pine. Start has a nice malt profile, the top light to moderate in feel. Finish is sternly acidic, somewhat sweet, the hops delightful, and the aftertaste dry and lingering, a good beer, but one that improves with age.
Upon its extraction from the 12-ounce stubby brown bottle, the beer sets in the glass jet-black with a creamy tan head that is mountainous in size as it’s slowly fades to nothingness, the lace forms a thick blanket to obscure the glass. Nose is sweet with hints of Oak, Cherries, maple syrup, quite a treat for the old schnozzle, start is lightly sweet, the grain presence delightful, top is light to medium in its feel. Finish is delectable in its acidity, the hops pleasingly spicy, the aftertaste dry and long lasting, a fine drinking beer that does improve with a little age.
after4ever (8025) - Mukilteo, Washington, USA - MAY 22, 2006
UPDATED: JUN 12, 2006 12-oz bottle. Pours a deep piano-key ebony with a dense, substantial tan head that falls to lace within a couple of minutes. Definite soft fragrance of squash and some cinnamon. Creamy, pie-dough mouthfeel, with that spicy pumpkin coming through. Big roasty finish. Hops are there just enough to steady the flavor, rather than contrast or enhance it. Really a beautiful way to spend a winter evening...or, well, count down the last couple days before Memorial Day (put ice cubes in your pockets if you really need that frosty nip). Another Anchor triumph. MrBendo (1064) - Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA - NOV 20, 2006
UPDATED: NOV 7, 2007 2006 Bottle. Poured a cloudy deep burgundy, with a medium, long lasting head. Aroma of orange peel, cinnamon, sweet fruits. Taste of sweet caramel malts, raisins, finish of hops. Thick and mildly sticky texture. A very good christmas-time beer. HopDuvel99 (39) - Tennessee, USA - JAN 1, 2007
2006, bottle. Dark brown and ruby with a thick light brown head. Hoppy/spicey/alcoholic aroma. Full bodied, foamy mouthfeel. Hoppy but plenty of malt flavor, roasty/hoppy finish. Superb. Rich, festive, artfully crafted.
yngwie (17109) - 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)
oldstock23 (11) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - NOV 2, 2007
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)
2006 vintage. I have a magnum of 2005 I can’t wait to open but thought I’d try an 11 month old 12oz. Nose was not as spicey as I had expected. The chocolate had evolved a bit deeper than the initial level and still had faint hints of orange peel. After about three seconds I totally got the anise, nutmeg, and what I thought was ginger but is probably something else. Couldn’t find any cinammon. Man do I love this beer. sthlm (790) - Blank, Alabama, USA - NOV 6, 2007
UPDATED: FEB 3, 2012 [Bottle, thanks Guerde] Pours dark brown-amber with a thin beige head. Aroma is extremely spicy, with nutmeg strongest, but cinnamon also present. Taste is a little bitter up front, which is then followed by a strong bubblegum flavor. Medium mouthfeel. Pretty good finish. Very unique beer that I couldn’t drink a lot of, but that would be nice to have again around Christmas. Old rating: 8/3/7/3/16=3.7Optigon (562) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - DEC 7, 2007
Re-rate: [’10 Bottle] Mulling spices integrated beautifully (more nutmeg than cinnamon), barley shows through towards the end. Fuller mouthfeel than I remember, long finish. A really, really enjoyable beer.
[’05 Screwtop bottle at 7 years old] Much more muted taste and aroma, and a little muddled compared to the ’04. The spices especially are subdued and more oxidation is present. Still has nice underlying vinous character. Slightly thinner and finish length is shorter. I still enjoyed this, but I had it pegged in the mid 3 range at best.
[’08 Bottle at 4 years old] This one is a bit of a disappointment, and the least impressive vintage I have had so far. Oxidation is really showing, and the spices are buried. Low 3’s to upper 2’s.
2007. Pours dark brown, a bit of lacing, moderate white head. Aroma is herby with a bit of a bubblegum quality. Mouthfeel is moderate. Flavor is again, akin to bubblegum with qualities of coriander and chamomile. LordCorkscrew (1774) - Ronco Scrivia (GE), ITALY - DEC 8, 2007
Straordinaria birra di Natale in stile dunkel con varie spezie, bottiglia da 33cl al Duca. Aroma speziato dominato dalla noce moscata, che si sente anche nel sapore abbastanza complesso e piccante con finale secco. Straordinaria. drpimento (3714) - La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 18, 2007
Not a huge fan of spice beers, but this one is substantially better than the rest. Pours with a big dark tan frothy foamy head. Plenty of lace. The spice is definite but yet balanced with some good bitterness. Some sweetness there too. The finish is good with the flavor not too heavy. Not quite a session beer. Had this one on draft at Bodega Brew Pub downtown La Crosse, Wis USA. They have bottles of the ’06 & ’07 as well.