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Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

589 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 589
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.81%
Wants: 8
Gots: 40 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: notchucknorris on 11-04-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 589 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Blueribbon666:
Photo of Blueribbon666
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Blueribbon666, Dec 24, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a standard pint glass a deep walnut brown with a deep amber tinge,a sticky half finger khaki colored head atop.Aromas have some molasses and cookie dough coming thru,a faint "woodsy" note lingers.Flavors of honey graham crackers and chocolate really stand out,I really like the graham cracker notes,ever so lightly medicinal and earthy in the finish.Anchor comes out with something new every year for the OSA and it doesn't always wow you but it's always something to look forward to.

oberon, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of ExtraStout
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Great color here--very dark amber with a beautiful tan head that stands tall and recedes rather slowly. The lacing is pretty good too.

Smell: There's a lot going on. Chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, ginger, fruit...and more aromas I'm sure. This is one unusual winter warmer, but I like the smell.

Taste: This is a letdown. There's a lot of flavors, but it leaves a weird taste in my mouth, and it finishes rather odd, and not in a good way. There is the roasted malt, chocolate, ginger, citrus...I don't know. It just doesn't work so well.

Mouthfeel: Things might come together better if this didn't have such a flat mouthfeel. A little more carbonation may have helped. Again, I don't like the finish at all.

Overall: I have a lot of respect for Anchor, as they are usually very consistent. I do appreciate the effort to provide a winter warmer that is unique, but not everything works too well here.

ExtraStout, Apr 03, 2014
Photo of MadScientist
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: A gorgeous looking ale that is dark brown with a deep garnet hue and a persistent head of tan foam. The head pour a bout two finger tall and is made of compact bubbles.

S: A sweet malt aroma with a pomegranate fruitiness blending with a piney, citrus hops notes.

T: The flavor is similar to having the pine hops flavor, pomegranate with the addition of some deep, somewhat dark malt flavors including a touch of molasses, some dark treacle and a touch of dried fruit. The malt sweetness is slightly stronger than the moderate hops bitterness making for a balance that is slightly towards the malt. The aftertaste if of fruit and hops with a long medium finish.

M: A creamy, medium-full bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation.

O: The smell is great, it totally reminds me of the holiday season without smelling like a glass of potpourri.

MadScientist, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of Tiernan
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Tiernan, Nov 09, 2013
Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

tbryan5, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of GameOfBeers
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%

GameOfBeers, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

BubalooBrewMaster, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of SunDevilBeer
4/5  rDev +9%

SunDevilBeer, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of mattt317
2.45/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Anchor Christmas is my pinecone in a bottle since my first sip in 1991. It has no real equal, unique. I love it. This year, my first taste, I thought it had a slight skunky flavor, sour and thin ... no pinecone at all. Still, I will head over to Tornado in the near future for the traditional happy hour pint or two...

mattt317, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of Fcip78
4/5  rDev +9%

Fcip78, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of Doomcifer
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%

Doomcifer, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of Beerswag
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Beerswag, Dec 11, 2013
Photo of Billolick
3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle. An annual must try favorite, going back to my earliest days of fine beer appreciation.

Pours a rich shade of dark brown, mocha head, stays well then goes to a film, thicker collar and some decent looking tongues of sticky stuff.

Chocolate, licorice, juniper on the nose.

More of the above on the palate. Meh, tastes a bit off somehow, with the chocolate note being overpowered by an off putting burnt plastic hint.

Maybe it will improve some in the bottle, but its unlikely I'll be able to witness it. These tend to be a crowd pleasing holiday favorite

Billolick, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Single bottle picked up at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo, part of our Christmas beer haul.

Pours a deep caramel brown colour into a short tasting glass. Half an inch of mocha head that recedes into a thick ring with lots of lace.

Nose is most certainly Christmassy - big malt, toffee, chocolate, and loads of spices, including ginger, allspice and cinnamon. I'm also getting a decent hit of evergreen boughs as well.

Very tasty Christmas ale that tends to emphasize spices over the malt. Spruce and cinnamon are the heaviest hitters for me, with nutmeg and toffee coming in the background.

Certainly an enjoyable beer to be had around this time of year. Spices get a great chance to show off, and the brew has a sufficient malty base to provide some nice heft. Definitely will pick up a few more of these in the coming years to see how the recipe changes!

JohnnyBarman, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

alienlifeforcecube, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of seymourcox
2.89/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I didn't open this beer with high expectations. I'm not much of a fan of the 'tastes like mulled something' class of beers, but I thought i'd give it a chance, anyway. It's actually decent. It's got a very mild smell to it that kind of reminds me of the way the furniture smells a couple of hours after my wife polishes it. The taste is a little stranger. It definitely has that 'Christmas punch' thing going on that I was worried about, but it's fairly mild. Without the spices, it would probably be a a pretty nice, light bodied, darkish red ale. If you do like that kind of 'seasonal spice', then you'd probably like this. My wife said it tasted like someone accidentally spilled cider in it.

seymourcox, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of bsp77
4.16/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Dark brownish-ruby with creamy tan head that mostly recedes with slight lacing lines.

Smell: Faintly sweet spices of allspice, clove and ginger. Nice chocolate and caramel undertones with a mild roastiness.

Taste: Bittersweet roasted malts with light notes of chocolate and caramel. The spices counterbalance the Porter-like base nicely, and include gingerbread, allspice, clove. A hint of a sour finish.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, somewhat dry finish.

Overall: Much better than last year, but not as good as 07 and 09, which remain my favorites.

bsp77, Nov 18, 2013
Photo of dankjohn
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

dankjohn, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of wattoclone
4/5  rDev +9%

wattoclone, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of mjtiernan
2/5  rDev -45.5%

mjtiernan, Dec 19, 2013
Photo of mte1972
4/5  rDev +9%

mte1972, Dec 06, 2013
Photo of MattyG85
4.26/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. Huge four finger tan head that slowly settles into a thinner creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing clinging around the glass.

Smell: A spicy, sweet, and roasty winter ale aroma with lots of chocolate hints and winter spices. Upfront scent of holiday spices with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and ginger. Toasty and roasted malts with hints of chocolate, biscuit, toast, coffee, cream, caramel, toffee, grains, and nuts. Sweet scent of brown sugar and slight molasses. Some earthy hops with hints of pine and grass. A very solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a very spicy, roasty, and fairly sweet winter ale taste with good notes of chocolate and spice. Upfront mixture of winter spices with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove. Roasted barley malts with notes of chocolate, biscuit, toasted bread, coffee roast, caramel, toffee, cream, nuts, and grains. Sweet taste of brown sugar along with some light notes of molasses. Earthy hop presence with notes of pine and grass in the background. A pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very creamy and spicy. Finishes dry and smooth.

Overall: Another good year for this winter brew. Good mix of spices and toasty sweet malt notes.

MattyG85, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A 355ml bottle with a BB of Oct 2015. Picked up recently from the York Wine & Beer shop. The latest installment of Anchor's seasonal brew - I seem to recall reading that they were going to make significant changes this year. Let's see....

Poured into a Delirium chalice. A very dark reddish-brown hue with plentiful carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy beige foam that lasts for a few minutes before settling as a patchy surface layer. Slight lacing. Aroma of warm spicy notes: cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg and a touch of coriander, underpinned by fruity malt, earthy yeast and stewed leaves. A hint of harsh cardboard in the background.

Tastes of acrid spice and mildly fruity malt, with a dry, bitter finish. Notes of woody cinammon, clove, nutmeg, mild ginger, fruity malt, earthy yeast, stewed leaves and harsh cardboard. The dominant spice character is excessive and discordant. A leafy, herbal bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with decent carbonation and a satisfactory body for the style. Rather astringent, followed by an aftertaste of dry, bitter spice/herbs, stewed leaves and faint malt.

Hmmm - not Anchor's best attempt at a Christmas ale. It looks OK and the aroma is pleasantly rounded, however the flavour possesses a harsh, dry bitterness that swamps any other contributing characteristics. Body is alright. Basically, the spice addition is a little heavy-handed. I've had better Christmas brews - no need to hunt this one down.

jazzyjeff13, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of amstokesdb9
4/5  rDev +9%

amstokesdb9, Dec 28, 2013
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Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 589 ratings.