Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 582 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
4.24/5 rDev +15.5%
Lots of woodsy berry flavors in this! This is no easy-drinking winter warmer, and I like it that way! Forces you to come to terms with juniper, clove, molasses, pine, roots, twigs, and branches in the flavor! Definitely complex and unique. Would complement an apple pie or something like that.
12-12-2013 23:15:10 | More by shigg85
District of Columbia
4.24/5 rDev +15.5%
Think Chimay Blue, but a little lighter and a little more caramel. Very pleasant. Very drinkable. Makes me want to eat a roast beast.
Thin head that deteriorates at a decent rate. Solid mouth feel. Dark appearance.
Malt, chocolate, dark fruits, caramel. Emphasis on the last two.
Very good seasonal ale with a lot of great pairing opportunities.
11-30-2013 22:40:01 | More by Dreizhen
4.23/5 rDev +15.3%
12oz bottle poured into a Libby globe porter/stout glass. Date stamp of bottling: 3OX (2013 October 24).
Appearance: Dark brown, clear cola brown at the edges. Very thin foam across the top with persistent sheets and strands of lacing.
Smell: Christmas spice smells - nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, hint of some charred malt as well.
Taste: Lots of holiday spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, plus a hint of anise) plus a roasted malt sweetness. Finish is mildly bitter, some very mild leafy hop notes at the end.
Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, slick, little bit spicy on the tongue, little bit sticky on the teeth.
Overall / Drinkability: This may be one of the better Christmas Ales I've had from Anchor in regard to flavor and aroma. Lots of spicy flavors and aromas, and very very drinkable. I could easily have another bottle, but for some reason I feel I have to let this beer last the month like it's a special treat. Well, I suppose it is a treat since it only comes out once a year, isn't it? Well done!
12-01-2013 23:26:04 | More by damndirtyape
4.23/5 rDev +15.3%
355ml bottle poured into tulip 30/11/13
A dark brown with a deep maroon glow when held to the light, two fingers of dark tan foam hangs around for a few sips leaving a few partial rings on the way down
S anise, root beer, cola, herbal and leafy notes, dark toffee, faint coco, spruce, a pile of freshly chopped fire wood, fruit cake and winter spices I can't quite place
T more spice and some brown sugar and molasses I didn't smell, everything's still there in one form or another but the nose just has a little something over the flavor
M medium bodied, slightly foamy but manageable, spicy, herbal finish
O great nose, complex all-around, I could smash a 6er no problem and I just might right now
Another great Christmas ale from Anchor, I look forward to this one every year and I grab a magnum to age but I always seem to drink it before next years release
12-01-2013 04:06:52 | More by wordemupg
4.16/5 rDev +13.4%
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.
11-18-2013 00:58:12 | More by bsp77
4.16/5 rDev +13.4%
12oz bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a deep cola brown with a huge, dense, and fluffy looking light brown head that took forever to fade into a thin collar that left sticky patches of lace down the glass.
S: Very inviting notes of forest spices, holiday baking spices, and fruity hops and yeast. The nose is complex and it’s hard to nail any one scent down, but I get notes of cardamom, peach, mint, wood, forest floor dirt, clove, cookie dough, brown sugar, nutmeg, and antique shop.
T: Follows the nose with complex flavors of spice rack mixed with dough and forest. Bitter citrus pith, spearmint, tropical hops, and a touch of powdery chocolate come through as well. The finish is full of green leafy spices, and the aftertaste reminds me of a dark Belgian ale except more bitter. Reminds me of mint chewing gum at times.
M: Medium body, smooth and drinkable mouthfeel with a good dose of bitterness to it. The carbonation is frothy but soft and splashy.
O: Hoppier than I remember in years past with a good dose of bitterness and complex spice flavor. Very delicious, as usual.
01-25-2014 19:50:31 | More by scottfrie
4.11/5 rDev +12%
12 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.
A - Pours a dark brown with a reddish tint. One and a half fingers of light brown head.
S - Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, caramel, and toast are all apparent in the aroma. A bit of sweetness along with the spice.
T - I get a lot of the holiday spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, with pine / spruce, caramel, toasted malt, earthiness, and a hint of chocolate. I can definitely see how this is a Christmas ale. Great amount of complexity yet it remains balanced between sweetness and spices.
M - Thin-to-moderate body with moderate carbonation. It feels a bit sticky at times, but is not as thick as I would have hoped. Nice earthy aftertaste.
O - I was pleasantly surprised at this one, not knowing what to expect as this is my first one. Has a great complexity and range of flavors with the spices, sweetness, and earthy tree notes. I will be looking forward to future vintages of this.
12-31-2013 03:21:38 | More by ExaltedNecrosis
4.11/5 rDev +12%
Smells of a bit of roasted malt with some spices.
Taste- Very nice spice backbone, and slight ginger, and some hop bitterness. Slight chocolate notes. I liked this years version. The flavors played well with each other.
A fan of this from start to finish.
11-30-2013 09:03:10 | More by Celtics17
4.1/5 rDev +11.7%
A standard pour of Anchor's "Our Special Ale, 2013" yields a dark brown body that lets through just enough light to reveal ruby highlights when held up to strong light. The pour also yields a respectable tan head that falls slowly and leaves behind some sticky froth atop the brew. Carbonation is gentle. I expect a gentle mouthfeel.
The nose comprises a mix of familiar roasted aromas and seasonal spices. Molasses, raisins, and nutmeg, and a splash of port wine are easily appreciable.
The taste follows the nose before moving well beyond it. Molasses, prunes, raisins, and nutmeg are out front. Bitter spices dominate the middle. I pick up, in addition to nutmeg, touches of cinnamon, clove, and allspice. Roasted nuts appear on the back end. Port wine's sweet and alcoholic flavors develop during the hang. Hoppy flavors aren't clearly palpable, but I suspect that some of the spice flavors owe themselves to well-balanced hopping. A warm mixture of raisins molasses-coated toasted almonds seasoned with holiday spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove), enjoyed while sipping sweet port. Yes, that's what this beer tastes like.
"Our Special Ale, 2013" is an outstanding winter warmer. The flavors are clear and delicious. The profile is complex and layered. This may be the best warmer I've had to date.
01-21-2014 19:53:41 | More by GMB
4.05/5 rDev +10.4%
12oz (kyle) Singler
A winter staple - I could never pick one vintage apart from the rest as they always seem to taste identical to me. It's always been very pine forward - like you were ingesting a liquefied version of your x-mess tree. Gingerbread, spruce, a touch of cinnamon. I always have room for 1 or 2 of these suckers a year.
12-15-2013 00:04:12 | More by dirtylou
4.04/5 rDev +10.1%
12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
A - Dark chocolate brown with ruby highlights, the 2013 vintage of Our Special Ale is almost black looking and crowned with an off-white head that dots the snifter in lacing as it subsides.
S - Deep toasted malt pulls through the woody, pine-like aroma of Our Special Ale, introducing rich complexities of raisin and plum into the beer. Hints of ground nutmeg and ginger add a subtle spice to the beer while a swirl releases brown sugar and caramel sweetness for a lingering complexity.
T - Substantially more shallow in flavor, Our Special Ale has a somewhat thin malt base consisting of toast and hints of roast which work well with the beer's overall earthy profile, sprinkled with spice but, sweetness is strangely absent as are the fruit complexities.
M - With a medium-light body this Winter Warmer has a smooth, easier drinking flavor profile than that of some of the more robust, truly warming winter beers but, that doesn't stop it's earthiness and delicately lingering spice from completing the seasonal beer.
O - Despite the recipe changing from year to year, Anchor's Our Special Ale always seems to remain familiar; robust earthy, pine-like aromas and malty, toasted flavor with a sprinkle of holiday spice. This year has a fantastic and complex, welcoming aroma that unfortunately dies off slightly in flavor but the smooth body allows the beer to finish out nicely for a winter treat.
12-22-2013 19:47:29 | More by BeerFMAndy
4.03/5 rDev +9.8%
A: Pours a deep brown color with ruby hues when held to light. A tightly laced sand colored foam head stays at about half a finger.
S: Has a great blend of baking spices mixed with some bready malt and some dark fruit notes. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, banana bread, cola, light chocolate. Digging it.
T: Bready with some spices poking through. Some molasses, dark bread, cinnamon and a rich nuttiness throughout. Mouthfeel is a touch thin, but this is really good. I'm liking this a lot more than last year's.
11-04-2013 22:24:37 | More by notchucknorris
4.03/5 rDev +9.8%
Always good to see this release on the shelves around here. I wasn't too happy with last year's version of this beer, but I still wanted to give this a review and see if anything improved. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Very dark in appearance - blackened with some slight plum or reddish hues that streak the sides of the glass when held against the light. There was a phenomenal amount of off-khaki colored foam, which almost overflowed over the glass at about 5 fingers high. Looks a lot like cherry cola from a afar, and while it leaves a bit of lacing as it goes down. I owe this more from the aggressive pour rather than the quality of the beer itself, but it still presents itself nicely as any Noël ale should.
The aroma is as good as always - mulled spices with dark fruit and baking spice notes. There's a lot of dark cherry pits and plums at the nose, which meld with the spices that range from sweet to spicy. Cherries and cranberries meld with clove, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a bit of rosemary. There's a ginger backbone to this that is undeniable and the molasses and caramel make up a good deal of the malt profile as a whole. The pine/anise flavor that comes in is a bit distracting from the nice array of spices, bread, and dried red and dark fruits, but overall it's good. Nice and sweet, with spicy notes that keep it interesting.
If memory serves me right, this is a far better batch this year - less of the burnt, overly malty notes of the '12 offering, and larger emphasis on the spices, molasses, and cranberry notes. This really IS Christmas in a bottle. Notes of pine, ginger, and orange peel immediately hit the tongue, followed by molasses, cranberries, black cherries, and blackcurrant. Slightly tart and and under ripe, with cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, baking soda, cinnamon, and burnt salted caramel following right afterwards. The burnt note is subtle this time around, and the cinnamon gets progressively stronger with each sip. The cherry/plum combo is really fabulous here, and this reminds me so much of a nicely spiced fruitcake as it warms up, which is different from its gingerbread cookie profile in its early stages. Just like mulled wine, this continues to change over time, and it never gets truly cloying - thick, well carbonated, and bready, rather than syrupy. The bitterness really keeps this refreshing and cleanses the palate for another sip. Good stuff.
Much happier with this batch, but perhaps my taste buds towards these seasonal spiced beers have changed? Nevertheless, I'll gladly pick up a magnum for when the family comes in town. This is balances the spices (which are excessive, to be honest) with some really nice dried fruit notes that make this a good one to drink. It's pretty heavy even at 12oz, but I'm glad I'm enjoying it more than I expected to. Happy holidays!
11-16-2013 05:53:39 | More by magictacosinus
Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 582 ratings.