1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 589 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jdhilt
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2013 version, Pours a three finger khaki head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Clear deep brown/orange color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Spicy nose and flavor is burnt cinnamon, dry woody finish. $2.50 for a 12oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

jdhilt, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +9%

afsdan, Apr 21, 2014
Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 10/24/2013. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, ginger, nutmeg, juniper, spruce, brown bread, licorice, floral, and herbal earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, ginger, juniper, nutmeg, herbal, floral, brown bread, and herbal earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, brown sugar, juniper, ginger, nutmeg, brown bread, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and complexity of malt and spice flavors; with solid robustness and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and smooth mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good winter warmer style. Good balance and complexity of malt and spice flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

superspak, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of wrightst
5/5  rDev +36.2%

wrightst, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Gonzoillini, Jan 29, 2014
Photo of brandoman63
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

brandoman63, Dec 23, 2013
Photo of smakawhat
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Real nice dark amber, and hinting of deep burnt red body, pours out like chestnut milky brown though for the body color. Head is three fingers and a perfect styrofoam light tan and slight hinting red accented cap color. Slow retention and falling nicely.

Christmas herbs and warmth in a glass. Spicy warmth and cherry tones, hints of spruce and milk sweetness. Very light chocolate and hinting fruit cake sensations also.

Palate comes with a little bit of light chocolate milk action. Slightly wet with a YooHoo character, but some real nice spice action. Finish has a soft lingering pine and sweet spruce like quality that matches nicely. Some light cinnamon and a faint earth like hop just want to squeak out on the finish as well, some faint herbality makes an appearance also.

Overall, it's always fun to try these guys out, but I think I may have enjoyed previous versions, but that being said is splitting hairs either way.

smakawhat, Jan 20, 2014
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a deep murky amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a medley of spices, including spruce, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg with a light earthy caramel.

The taste mimicked the aroma with a residual herbal hoppiness.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall a pretty good Christmas ale.

plaid75, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of tdm168
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

tdm168, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of sendbeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

sendbeer, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.
Pours very dark mahogany but clear, looking like a porter.
The aroma is spicy; not so much as to mask the medium and dark roasted malts but enough to suggest it may be over-spiced. Thankfully, that is not the case. The spicing mixes nicely with the malts, and among other things has a clear if unexpected note of allspice. Still, I'd prefer this with less spice rather than more. There may be a dash of spice from the hops too which otherwise manifest themselves by controlling the sweetness.

Althoug allowed to warm for a while prior to uncapping, this changes and develops nicely with further warming.

O: a very winter beer from Anchor. If memory serves me, this is better than last year (and I recently helped kill a magnum bottle of that) but perhaps not as great as 2011.

chinchill, Jan 24, 2014
Photo of PEIhop
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

PEIhop, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a huge bottle (gallon I think) into a shaker pint, the beer is a very dark, ruby-amber coloring with a tall, frothy, light, clingy, off-white head. A lot of carbonation and head left to settle pouring from that monster magnum bottle. Good looking once settled, though. Aromas of dark roast caramel, candied sugar, pine tassels, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice. Very heavily spiced nose. Flavors are rich on the forward tongue, with a solid molasses backbone that is dark and sweet, with roasted caramel highlights, woody notes, and a more subtle spicing of pine tassel, cut grass, peppery hops, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Smooth, rich, robust bodied, with a tangy sweet and rich aftertaste. This beer is heavy. The finish is smooth, with a subtle dryness and bitter that helps cut the otherwise cloying linger. Very tasty, and I seem to like this one more than recent year's versions. Cheers Anchor!

GarthDanielson, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4/5  rDev +9%

iL0VEbeer, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of dirtylou
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

dirtylou, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of wordemupg
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

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

wordemupg, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark russet brown with a fine two finger tan head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet bready, lightly toasted malt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice very seasonal. Flavor is a nice blend of caramel and lightly toasted malt, cinnamon, ginger, light nutmeg and allspice, a hint of pine. Finishes with an herbal bitterness and residual seasonal spices. Surprising light creaminess and medium body. A pleasant and well spiced winter ale, lying in style somewhere between a dark bitter and very light brown ale. I liked the spicing this year and it fit well with the malt body. A nice light ale for the holidays. This was one of the better tasting years for me, although I miss the pine element that is frequently.

LiquidAmber, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of xnicknj
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

xnicknj, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

GraduatedCashew, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of Bitterbill
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This pours a very dark brown with a 1 finger head of tannish foam that doesn't leave a lot of lacing behind. The brew itself looks very nice. The foam is rather short lasting.

The smell is nice, notes of a gingerbread man come to mind. Nice amount of cinnamon and nutmeg make the small very holiday like.

The taste gives what the smell promises. Gingerbread with the right spices, malt forward overall with very little bitterness, if any.

What I have here is a very nice Winter Warmer. I'll get to try it on draught at the local Old Chicago but the bottles are satisfying. A + is the good lowish abv so I can enjoy a few without getting blasted. I like.

Bitterbill, Dec 08, 2013
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.04/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
5.5% ABV

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.

BeerFMAndy, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of chippo33
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

chippo33, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of vfgccp
2/5  rDev -45.5%

vfgccp, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of claspada
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

claspada, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of Boone757
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Boone757, Nov 25, 2013
Our Special Ale 2013 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 589 ratings.