Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
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Ratings: 578 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
3.44/5 rDev -6.3%
First let me say that I'm disappointed by the fact that natural flavors are added after the brewing. I kind of look at that as cheating (just my personal opinion).
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.
11-28-2013 01:13:56 | More by DeFaz
3.85/5 rDev +4.9%
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.
11-26-2013 01:41:32 | More by biboergosum
3.89/5 rDev +6%
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.
11-25-2013 23:09:15 | More by beergoot
3.9/5 rDev +6.3%
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.
11-25-2013 22:08:24 | More by oberon
3.73/5 rDev +1.6%
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.
11-25-2013 07:17:20 | More by BEERchitect
3.55/5 rDev -3.3%
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.
11-25-2013 05:01:40 | More by Botulizard
Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.