1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

569 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 569
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.11%
Wants: 8
Gots: 32 | FT: 3
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)
View: Beers (24) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 569 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

11-26-2013 04:37:46 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of ethanmc12
ethanmc12

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-26-2013 03:26:36 | More by ethanmc12
Photo of John_Squires
John_Squires

New York

2.75/5  rDev -24.9%

11-26-2013 02:01:12 | More by John_Squires
Photo of jkermitj
jkermitj

Mississippi

4/5  rDev +9.3%

11-26-2013 01:42:30 | More by jkermitj
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

355nl bottle. Whassup Wassail!

This beer pours a clear, dark, dark ruby amber hue, with two fingers of lazily puffy, and mostly creamy beige head, which leaves a bit of random splattered lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of spicy, sweet toffee - like those twisted wrapped confections I used to get at Hallowe'en, with further toasted caramel malt, brown sugar-spiked baker's chocolate, a touch of black licorice, soft notes of coffee and cardamom, maple-syrup coated pine needles, and the faintest hint of cold wood smoke. The taste is quite consistent with the nose, if somewhat toned down - spicy, edgy butter toffee, roasted caramel malt, anise, clove, ginger, and a hint of metallic cinnamon spice, rather dry treacle, maple cookies, and a distant log fire, filtered through a mile or so of leafy pine forest.

The carbonation is a bit tight and flinty, but to no great disservice, the body on the wan side of medium weight, and mostly smooth, those swirling spices taking a wee pound of flesh here and there. It finishes on a strong drying trend, the metal of the spices combining with the dry roast to send things off thataway.

A rather pleasant seeming winter warmer, as ever was from Anchor's Our Special Ale annual. However, at this early juncture for the 2013 version, the integration is somewhat lacking, like a not quite mixed-up batch of cookies. Maybe after a few more weeks, one of these will be a salve after shopping. And after another few, for the big shebang itself.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2013 01:41:32 | More by biboergosum
Photo of rwshelton2
rwshelton2

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

11-26-2013 01:10:11 | More by rwshelton2
Photo of beergoot
beergoot

Colorado

3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark mahogany body with an exceptionally thick, rich, creamy head. Spice and fruit aromas; coriander, cinnamon, allspice; orange and lemon peel; Christmas pine. Toasted malt flavors with all kinds of residual fruity esters and a twinge of alcohol warmth; further savoring reveals some licorice and anise. Medium-light body; juicy.

Quite the mouthful of aromas and flavors. Surprisingly light bodied for a big winter ale yet jam-packed with taste bud treats. If a winter holiday fest beer is what you're in the mood for, this would be a prime candidate.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 23:09:15 | More by beergoot
Photo of Boone757
Boone757

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-25-2013 22:18:19 | More by Boone757
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 22:08:24 | More by oberon
Photo of Kmat10
Kmat10

Alberta (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

11-25-2013 22:01:53 | More by Kmat10
Photo of mikefuski17
mikefuski17

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-25-2013 16:49:47 | More by mikefuski17
Photo of kwkurdziel
kwkurdziel

Florida

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

11-25-2013 11:09:05 | More by kwkurdziel
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Its a curiosity-love relationship that I have with Anchor's, "Our Special Ale". Each year their similarities are going to be close and I'll always enjoy them. But I'm always going to expect more from them.

Again, the beer pours a deep bark brown hue as it builds a dense but short-statured head of sandy-tan foam. As the beer seems to dissolve into the ale only halfway through the sessioin, it amounts to pocketed lace scattered about the glass.

Wood, toast and cocoa reaches the noes in that respective order- its nose is spicy-sweet, with burnt toffee, dry molasses, coffee grounds and earthen chicory root really digging into its dry, dark and earthy tones. Obvious burnt pine needles, sap, and char round out its scent.

Its taste is of burnt toffee and dry black-strap molasses mixed with fresh ground coffee, cocoa powder, walnut oil, and a certain burnt dirt taste. Its middle is of charred toast, but not roast. Dry in its malty middle, the ale drifts into a roasted pine cone finish with resin-like bitterness, campfire and burnt embers. Even a pep of cinnamon spice with nutmeg and allspice echo in its dry wood finish.

Medium-light in body, the beer is given a bit of heft from its malty and dry chocolate upstart. But its dry finish sips over its middle development and into a woodsy-earthy-spiciness that provides an overcast of any would-be savory sweetness. Its finish is sprucy, gin-like in its warmth and with certain grain-derived astingency that impedes its drinkability somewhat.

Our Special Ale is one of those enigmas of an ale. There's nothing to suggest that this beer would improve with age, but these ales do. As this fresh example is rough about the edges and is largely immature and unrefined, versions up to five years old have proved to mature and mellow with taste and texture to all them to improve. Though nice in its fresh state, it could turn "world class" in a few years if you have better patience than I.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 07:17:20 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Botulizard
Botulizard

Massachusetts

3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Oily black with a thick mocha head that shows a bit of reddish color as well. Lots of bubbles on the side of the glass, and a fair amount of lacing.

S: Smells strongly of ginger and fresh bread (although maybe not quite gingerbread, haha).

T: Robust spicy flavor- strong on the maltiness with a fantastically bitter finish. Very well balanced.

M: Smooth with medium-high carbonation and a wonderful slight burn from the spices upon finish.

O: My only complaint is that I wish OSA had a higher ABV so there would be the added element of alcohol warmth that I feel would really take this beer above and beyond. At 5.5%, it's a bit light for a winter warmer, but it still tastes fantastic, and I can be sure I'll be drinking a lot of these over the course of this winter.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 05:01:40 | More by Botulizard
Photo of NickThePyro
NickThePyro

Washington

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-25-2013 02:54:04 | More by NickThePyro
Photo of Desmondloki
Desmondloki

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +9.3%

11-25-2013 02:34:18 | More by Desmondloki
Photo of JamLand
JamLand

Texas

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-24-2013 23:28:30 | More by JamLand
Photo of jordanmckell
jordanmckell

Texas

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-24-2013 22:33:14 | More by jordanmckell
Photo of ThomasAWilson2
ThomasAWilson2

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

11-24-2013 22:31:55 | More by ThomasAWilson2
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

4.44/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights around the edges. A large rocky tan head forms with excellent retention. Spiderweb looking lace is left behind. I always love the wat this looks in my OSA Tumbler.
S: Toasted malts, baked bread, light chocolate aromas. Then the spices. Gingerbread, light anise, peppery cloves. Finishes with more toasty malty aromas. Excellent.
T: Like the nose a big old malty profile up front. Toasted malts, baked bread, and chocolate. Then the spices. Gingerbread cookies. Cloves, pepper spice. All with perfect balance. The spices are not out of wack at all. Finishes with a light bitter bakers chocolate.
M/D: A medium body with moderate carbonation. Ultra smooth. So easy to drink. I can take long gulps of this. I will be getting many more six packs.

Still one of my favorite Winter Warmers every year. So many other spiced winter releases have the spices so unbalanced with everything else. Here the spices are a great compliment to the rest of the malty base. I love it.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 21:40:58 | More by champ103
Photo of Sazz9
Sazz9

Texas

3/5  rDev -18%

11-24-2013 21:19:48 | More by Sazz9
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 10/24/13.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy dark-khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, gingerbread, spice, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with toasted malt and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice blend of spices in this year's version.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 21:10:32 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of SlamLord
SlamLord

North Carolina

3/5  rDev -18%

11-24-2013 18:09:57 | More by SlamLord
Photo of JimGlonke
JimGlonke

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-24-2013 16:36:11 | More by JimGlonke
Photo of Celtics76
Celtics76

Rhode Island

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

11-24-2013 15:34:56 | More by Celtics76
Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 569 ratings.