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)

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BA SCORE
83
good

651 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 651
Reviews: 114
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 13.11%
Wants: 9
Gots: 58 | 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)
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Ratings: 651 | Reviews: 114 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scootercrabb
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of od_sf
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Norseman
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of swierczt
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Blueribbon666
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of BJSmit
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Huffs
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of ummswimmin
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of korguy123
3.26/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle into tulip.

A- Opaque, dark brown pour. Half finger of beige head. Lacing is minimal.

S- A touch of coffee, some cloves and cinnamon. Smells more reminiscent of a brown ale to a winter warmer. Some chocolate with a touch of cherries or strawberries.

T- Metallic taste up front, bitter chocolate and coffee with some cloves.

M- Light body, decent carbonation.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A 355ml bottle with a BB of Oct 2015. Picked up recently from the York Wine & Beer shop. The latest installment of Anchor's seasonal brew - I seem to recall reading that they were going to make significant changes this year. Let's see....

Poured into a Delirium chalice. A very dark reddish-brown hue with plentiful carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy beige foam that lasts for a few minutes before settling as a patchy surface layer. Slight lacing. Aroma of warm spicy notes: cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg and a touch of coriander, underpinned by fruity malt, earthy yeast and stewed leaves. A hint of harsh cardboard in the background.

Tastes of acrid spice and mildly fruity malt, with a dry, bitter finish. Notes of woody cinammon, clove, nutmeg, mild ginger, fruity malt, earthy yeast, stewed leaves and harsh cardboard. The dominant spice character is excessive and discordant. A leafy, herbal bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with decent carbonation and a satisfactory body for the style. Rather astringent, followed by an aftertaste of dry, bitter spice/herbs, stewed leaves and faint malt.

Hmmm - not Anchor's best attempt at a Christmas ale. It looks OK and the aroma is pleasantly rounded, however the flavour possesses a harsh, dry bitterness that swamps any other contributing characteristics. Body is alright. Basically, the spice addition is a little heavy-handed. I've had better Christmas brews - no need to hunt this one down.

Photo of BigMarty1980
3.32/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of BWED
3.34/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip

A- Deep brown in color, with a creamed coffee head. A little lacing.

S- Caramel, roasted malts, and spice. Maybe even an evergreen hint, or maybe because I'm looking at the festive bottle.

T- Spices and roast are the players in this. Not much else.

M- Lighter than I was expecting, almost watery. Spicy, bittersweet finish.

O- Really not what I was expecting. Biggest knock is on the consistency of the mouthfeel, but overall I was looking for a little more complexity.

Photo of Chiefy770
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

Photo of Eisen
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

Photo of IreRican
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of brewskifan55
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Photo of ExtraStout
3.44/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of DeFaz
3.44/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of mttaylor1066
3.44/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of JulianBaughman
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Beerswag
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of dankjohn
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 651 ratings.