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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

665 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 665
Reviews: 118
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 12.84%
Wants: 9
Gots: 62 | 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:
Beer added by: notchucknorris on 11-04-2013

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 665 | Reviews: 118 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jkermitj
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of biboergosum
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of rwshelton2
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of beergoot
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +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.

Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of mikefuski17
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of kwkurdziel
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
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.

Photo of Botulizard
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of NickThePyro
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Desmondloki
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of JamLand
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of jordanmckell
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of ThomasAWilson2
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of champ103
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.

Photo of Sazz9
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.59/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of JimGlonke
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Celtics76
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of PKS
1/5  rDev -72.7%

Photo of thecheapies
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Red-black to very dark brown with a big fluffy coarse head of dried out bubbles. Lacing is plus.

Clove, star anise, wintergreen, dark bread, allspice, candied orange rind, maraschino cherry, and spearmint. Totally of the herbal/spice drop bent. Hints of dark fruit hint at figgy flavors. Pretty nice nose this year.

Lots of allspice, clove, star anise, and wintergreen with a citrusy hop this year, instead of the staple piny flavor. Orange peel, spearmint, clove, and light bubble gum are supporting characters. The malts are a little thinner than I would expect in a winter warmer, so this becomes a bit of a spice bomb. The recipe is well-integrated this year and it exhibits its own character.

Has a medium-to-wooly feel with okay heft and actively surging carbonation.

It's a really solid effort this year. I could easily polish off a six-pack.

Photo of XicanoBeerRun
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of ocelot2500
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep cola color with a lot tight, tan head that leaves good sized bits of lacing.

Smells of a bit of roasted malt with some spices.

Tastes of a nice roasted malt character with some sweetness. Leads off with a bit of molasses and dark fruits. This gives way to a little brown sugar sweetness and toasted bread. Finishes with a bit of spices.

Mouth feel is medium with a smooth amount of bitterness.

Overall, I find this enjoyable, but it could use a little more oomph.

Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.