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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:
Photo of Chiefy770
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl. ounce bottle. "2013" is printed on the label.

Appearance: Perhaps the strongest suit this brew had to offer. The body was dark brown with a slight red glow. A very light brown, fluffy and dense foam head formed during the pour. It lingered around for quite some time. It collapsed and left a very good amount of sticky lacing.

Smell: Incredible herbal notes. Pine stood out as well. Sweet fruity notes were present. The malts were very subtle, producing a very mild beady scent. Take what you want from this, but I found this beer to smell a lot like the holidays. There was a very earthy scent which reminded me of a freshly cut Christmas tree sitting in a living room. The sweet and fruity notes were very reminiscent to how the house would smell when my grandmother would load the oven with cookies and pies. The scent triggered a lot of great memories in my mind.

Taste: This scent smelled good but unfortunately it did not translate to taste very well. The hops created a rather overwhelming fruity taste. I felt like the taste in the first few sips was similar to the taste of Chardonnay. The herbs and spices were very unique but again, they were overwhelming. There were great unique flavors present but they just were not very well balanced to my liking. More malts may have enhanced this beer for me.

Overall: This was not a terrible beer. I bought a six-pack and I intend to finish it, which is more than I can say for a number of seasonals I've had over the years. This is not my favorite winter warmer but there are great things happening in this brew and I look forward to next year's selection.

Chiefy770, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of Eisen
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Poured a light black with a thin white head that faded quickly with little to no lacing. Smells of chocolate, toasted coffee, and a plethora of spices. Nothing in particular stands out. Taste like chocolate, nutmeg, a touch of ginger, toast, slight hops, perhaps juniper and pine or other evergreen foliage. Never the best tasting or drinkable beer, but definitely a must try every winter.

Eisen, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of brewskifan55
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

A: Chocolate brown with a tan one-finger head that dissipates to big bubbles. Great lacing.

S: Picking up a roasty dark chocolate. Woody, leather, anise.

T: Heavy malts roll in with dark chocolate. Sweet, robust, smokey with a clove-like finish. Somehow the tastes collide in the mix and it doesn't really complete in the finish. It's missing that "pulled together" taste that puts the punctuation at the end of the swallow. I think the clove is what muddles the mix.

M: Medium but not much carbonation.

O: I really wanted this to be better after reading the reviews. There's a cohesiveness lacking in the total taste. Makes me want to rush out and get an Anchor Steam. They sure got it right with that one.

brewskifan55, Nov 16, 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 DeFaz
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

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.

DeFaz, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of mttaylor1066
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I seem to recall the head brewer at Anchor claiming that there are few options left for the Special Christmas Ale. I think it's true. How many different recipes have they gone through at Anchor? Not all of them can be successful.

Looks great, tan head. Delicious appearance.

Aroma is of dark malt an non-Noble hopping. Some burnt grass and pine sap.

The taste starts with a red plum skins, bitter and warming but this fades into a black licorice aftertaste with some malt coming along for the ride. The combination is not terribly annoying, but it overwhelms any spice that I can pick up.

Mouthfeel is OK. Fine carbonation.

Overall, this is not one of Anchor's better holiday efforts. The wrapping is pretty, but it's just another tie that Dad will be required to wear at family gatherings.

mttaylor1066, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of JulianBaughman
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer poured a deep dark brown mahogany, the color of the fretboard on my first guitar and it left a small tan head.

The smell was like raisins, baked sweet rolls with a little clove or coriander smell that I couldn’t quite place.

The taste was a big malty ball of awesome. Spicy, with a bready finish and a hint of chocolate.

JulianBaughman, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

tbryan5, Jan 01, 2014
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

BubalooBrewMaster, Dec 30, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Beerswag, Dec 11, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

alienlifeforcecube, Jan 02, 2014
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

dankjohn, Dec 17, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

valkyre65, Dec 15, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

tdm168, Jan 26, 2014
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Damian74Shensky, Dec 09, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Bdel34, Dec 25, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

JT99125, Dec 24, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

hiphopj5, Dec 19, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

heystevec, Dec 07, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

ironchefkook, Nov 23, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Matt73, Jan 16, 2014
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Kuhnzie8637, Dec 29, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

g_jenkins, Dec 26, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

dvanhandel, Dec 15, 2013
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3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Russ_Griswold, Jul 21, 2014
Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 589 ratings.