Our Special Ale 1999 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 1999 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 1999 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

40 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 31
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 20.97%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  ABV ?

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SheepNutz on 01-02-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 31
Reviews by jreitman:
Photo of jreitman
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with reddish hues and a nice off white head. Nice fruity aromas with some spicy undertones. Some candy sweet smells were also apparent. Cinnamon and nutmeg like flavors were most apparent with some fruit and other spice underneath. Finishes dry and slightly bitter. The more I drank the more I noticed a piney flavor lingering. Pretty complex and enjoyable in my book. Much better than the 2001 which I had in the same sitting.

More User Reviews:
Photo of dwvarner77
3.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to sheepnutz for sharing. Thanks to kmpitz for hosting a great session tonight with sheep, clvand0, and me.
Pours a deep brown coffee color with a quarter inch of beige head.
The aroma is rather fruity and hoppy; figs and raisins are prevalent.
Taste is sweet at first, raisiny with a touch of molassas maybe, but a dark roast or coffee flavor steps in, followed by a slight finish of hops and alcohol. Finishes cleanly, not much to let you know it was there, one way or the other.
Mouthfeel is slight. Carbonation doesn't leave mcuh of an impression on the tongue.
Pretty easily drinkable. Good taste. Happy to say I've had it.

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample taste at Chicago Beer Society vertical tasting, Dec. 1, 2005. As I go further back into the past, I find the beers are getting darker in color. This one continues the line. Taste is nice, with a bit of fruitiness from aging. This one has begun to lose its spiciness. Malts are a deeper brown ale style, in fact, this one comes across with an impression of an English nut brown ale.

Photo of Brent
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a special magnum vintage bottle for New Year's eve. The beer had held up well, and the spruce flavor had better integrated into the beer with a little caramelized character. At the same time, it seemed to be more tame than other years' editions, and not quite as noteworthy.

Photo of erosier
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a six pack at a really small local place so I picked it up to try.

It pours a deep dark brown, almost black with a light bodied and very short white head that settles pretty fast and laces the glass well all the way down. The smell is of deep roasted malts and a bit raisiny from ferementing for so long. The taste is of very nice deep roasted malts, hints of cinnamon and other winter spices but I can't put my finger on them because their flavors have blended so well over the years. The aftertaste is a bit harsh due to its cellaring I believe but it was still pretty good. The mouthfeel was very mellow and warming which made for a pretty drinkable beer.

Photo of Zorro
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Possible to review through a Beer trade With Redwoodgeorge, Thanks a lot guy!

Pours a deep dark brown that blocks all light with a good brown head. Only the time the head lasted prevents this from getting a 5.

Smell is very bready and spicy with a hint of fruitiness from the yeast and good scent of brown sugar. Alcohol fumes carry more intense scents of fruits, cherries, figs, raisins, and faint ginger and chocolate. After 6 years of aging this smells very much like a Belgian double and is very much like St. Bernardus Abt 12 in odor at this point. If this was just a little more intense then I would have given this a 5.

Taste is fairly bitter and roasty at first tasting like imperial stout. Big flavors of fruit and bigger flavors of coffee and chocolate dominate the flavor. Roasted flavors and hop bitterness have at this point stayed while the spices have mostly disappeared. Fruity flavors from the yeast remain, but the only spice that remains is ginger. Not bad but this was once much more than it is now, namely a good stout with a faint spice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is still good, might have left some body in the bottle with the sediment.

Drinkability is still quite good. It remains a very good stout to my tastes but the spice flavors have departed the bottle. After 6 years the carbonation remains quite strong but the spices and aromatic hops have gone back to god. Very much worth tasting if you can get some at this late a date in good shape.

Photo of RBorsato
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark chocolate brown with a low creamy light brown head and decent carbonation. Complex aromas of molasses, brown sugar, and light smokiness. Smoky flavor dominates a la ashes and tree bark flavor. Medium bodied and smooth with a smoky finish.

My favorite A: OSA from what I can recall so far.

Per Label: "25th Christmas Ale" & "Olneya Tesota"

Code: 9ON2
Tasted 12/29/03

Photo of rabidawg
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Desert Ironwood, huh? Interesting . . . .

Tasted: 12/03/2004

Appearance: Substantial head arises, tan and creamy. Settles to a nice skim and glazes the inside of my tulip with lace. Still well-carbonated.

Smell: Smokychocolatecoffee with slight sherry notes of oxidation. Smells caramel sweet with burnt sugar notes at the edges. Alcohol is oddly noticeable.

Taste: Slightly thin at first, with almost-fizzy carbonation. Acidic and dry. The chocolate malt really comes through, and this really does seem like a Christmas porter more so than anything else I can conjure. Still a decent amount of hop bitterness left, but not unpleasant. The body is truly lacking, though. Age may have thinned it out some, but it almost seems watery to me. Overall, an enjoyable brew that seems to have withstood aging relatively well.

I picked this beer as my second BA-birthday review. And what a great two years it has been. Cheers to all!

Photo of TMoney2591
2.87/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

On the first day of Beermas... The daily vertical begins. This entry pours a deeply murky dark brown topped by a mild layer of white foam. The nose comprises chocolate, caramel, buttery biscuits, a hint of hickory, figs, nutmeg, and rye bread. A silent intimation of alcohol hangs in the air above the surface. The taste focuses on the biscuits, adds a touch of char, and melds everything else together in a messy melange of cruelly aged flavors. I wanna say the culprit is oxidation. The body is a languishingly hefty medium, with a mild carbonation and a swampy feel. Overall, the years have not been kind to this bottle. I can still sense something of what the beer once was, but 'tis only a shade. Alas.

Photo of womencantsail
2.45/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Greg for sharing this "ancient" beer. To put this in a personal historical context, I was in 6th grade when this beer came out.

A: The pour is a slightly hazed rusted amber color with a minimal off-white head on top.

S: The nose is inviting and quite typical for the Anchor Christmas beers. Plenty of spice: cinnamon and clove for the most part. There are also some nice fruits in the form of figs and raisins.

T: There's something very "off" about this beer. A slightly meaty/fishy taste which overpowers the other flavors for the most part. A bit of fruit and sugar is all that saves this one.

M: The body is medium with a fairly decent level of carbonation.

D: It's unfortunate that this one seems to have taken a turn for the worst. I don't quite know what I would suggest to do with this beer.

Photo of silenius
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to TheLoneGunman for this sample!

Tasted in Nov. 2004.

Pours a dark buckeye brown with a thin wispy tan head that disappears quickly. I don't expect something 5 years old to have a killer head on it.

Smell is a nice subtle combination of milk chocolate, stewed plums, brown sugar, molasses, coffee, curry, and mulling spices. More subtlety than power here.

Taste starts with a slightly oxidized chocolate coffee taste and slowly turns into something a little more molasses-like. Slightly dissapointing, but hey.

Mouthfeel is light and the bubbles dance around before surrendering.

The oxidation takes a little away from this, but I still am glad I got to try this 5 year old beer.

Photo of stephendr
3.37/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 1999 vintage bottle opened on 11/25/06 - 50.7 oz. bottle – dark dull brown – light brown head – a ton of sediment – nose of old potpourri , malt , orange zest , brine , and sulfur – taste is soft malts , chocolates , spicy , and nutmeg – soft body – aftertaste semi menthol and chocolate

Photo of bruachan
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

my buddy pulled this out of his fridge (8/17/04) when we were otherwise out of beer. seemed to think drinking it would be a joke. i was delighted

the beer pours a rootbeer brown with a red tint when light comes through (more like sasparilla). no head to speak of. the first aroma i picked up was a winey one, with a little roasty malt sidekick. the spicing is very delicate; along with the vinous tones reminded me of a mulled wine. i was mildly repulsed at first by the idea of a winey brew, but i "warmed" up to it and progressed to even liking it by the time i was done with the beverage. i'd be interested to taste one of these right off the shelf

very low alcohol for a "winter warmer." i don't know that i was all that warmed

Photo of scottum
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark dark brown with a large tan head. This is a complex brew. Many spices work together to add to the Xmas flavor. I can't believe I was in highschool when this beer was released! I'm glad it's still around! Mouthfeel is lovely. I'll be buying a few cases.

Photo of dwarbi
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First of all: I love the label. It mixes the classic Anchor label with the tree whose sap is used in the beer.
Very dark beer. Almost black. Not much of a head. Smells spicy. Also smells like shoving your nose into where the roots of a tree meet the soil. Slightly buttery, too. I feel like I can taste the sap -- comes across as an evergreen to me. Slightly bitter on the tongue. Clingy. Wonderful.. very tasty. I wish I had many to drink.
(did you hear that, Santa?)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

6 years later time to rotate stock! Classic, deep chestnut color. Great shade of mahogany with a very slight head. Aroma somewhat muted. Notes of pine, with a spicy backround. Some earth/oak tones. Good, full malty flavor. Burnt sugars, some caramel, melange of spices. Pine/spruce flavors that I have come to associate with this classic winter brew. Body is right there with the flavor-has not diminished in 6 years. This beer has aged very well. A great winter warmer. Having just bought the new 2005 version this is eerily similar. If you have any I'd get down with it.

Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, nearly black, small head. Slightly spicy nose, nutmeg and clove? Brown ale, toasted malts spicy aftertaste, slight hoppyness. Very complex flavor. Flavors more intense and mellower taste when tasted a few months later. This beer ages well.

Photo of mschofield
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cellared this one for 4 years, finished my last one in a OSA vertical tasting over Christmas.
Pours a deep, deep garnet with a one finger dark khaki head, quickly dissipated.
Barleywine like alcohol aromas, some pine, spices (cinammon and nutmeg). It definitely matures over time, I feel the pineyness falls back, and the spices become more rounded.
Green apple in the taste, cherry and unripe plum, a little tart. A little chocolate hiding in there.
Smooth with a medium-full body, robustly flavored. A good amount of bitterness.
Not something I'd call a session beer, but a special brew thats good to celebrate with.

Photo of clvand0
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to sheepnutz for sharing his magnum of this beer. It pours a dark brown color with a medium head with nice retention and it has nice lacing. The aroma has a lot of dark malts in it, but it is dominated by a strange spice - maybe some pine and extreme ginger. Odd. The flavor isn't as thick as I would like for it to be, but it is six years old. Spices come from the ginger and there is a lot of flavor from the dark malts. Pretty darn tasty. The drinkability is ok on this one.

Photo of SheepNutz
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1.5L Magnum poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep opaque brown color with 3 fingers of light tan head, even after 4 years of cellaring. There is a fair amount of lacing left down the sides of the glass. The smell is of cedar trees, black licorice, cloves, and nutmeg. The taste is very piney, slightly sweet with burnt malt and toffee. A slight zing of hops on the finish. The mouthfeel was just a little lighter than I was expecting for this brew. The drinkability is superb though, and between me and my brother, this magnum went quick!

Photo of psugrad98
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This dark, seasonal beer is Anchor's tribute to the Christmas Season. Each bottle comes adorned with a unique label and holiday greeting.
This beer is dark and inviting with a clove/nut or spicey smell. Taste is of some sort of long forgotten wassail. Rich and dark with spicy overtones and full mouthfeel.

Photo of Vancer
4.68/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to timtheenchanta for the vertical tasting, from 2005 to 1999 – WOW! Year 1999 of the series sent to be in BIF46.

As usual, a deep cola brown capped by a tannish head, sticky rings of laces slide all the way down the diamond encrusted crystal snifter. Nice ring of yeasties on the bottom. This one has MUCH more in the way of sheet lacing.

Citrusy malts, coriander, dark fruits and pine in the aroma. The piney hops have softened greatly years. Smooth and delectable. Full bodied, a little trail of oil is left in the mouth for a lingering finish. Still has thee nice pop of chocolaty malts kicks in the finish, and the amount of dark chocolate and cherries in here is mind boggling!

This one is maturing nicely. Err, really, unbelievable

Photo of Bighuge
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just uncovered this gem recently. Since I have no patience, I will crack it open in the middle of July instead of waiting for Winter.

Deep dark ruby appearance. A creamy brown head of decent size adorns this beauty. It recedes to a healthy and long lasting collar in a minute. The nose is journey in and of itself: Juniper, molasses, cinamon, bread pudding, fruit cake, ginger, allspice and a little spruce. Damn fine aroma. The flavors of this X-mas brew are subtle compared to the fresh ones I usually enjoy. This one's got cinamon, ginger, soy sauce, Evergreens, sap and fruits.....dark fruits. Very nice. Just a notch down from what I'm used to. There's a nice lingering bitterness noted as well. Hop derived I believe. I'm happy I found it.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, deep brown hue and lacks-a-daysical retention. Smell is lightly muisty with undescribable spices and herbs mixed with a coffee/toffee roasted malt aroma. The spices get a little better definition. Some cinnamon and nutmeg for sure mixed with nice roasted malts. I also noticed hints of bananas and cloves. Pretty unique tasting beer.

I'm still very impressed with how Anchor's winter warmers stand the test of time. Don't be afraid to give them a try when your local beer store cleans out their cellar.

Photo of kmpitz2
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Big props to SheepNutz for breaking out the magnum to share with us kids.

It pours a dark brown color with deep ruby highlites. the slightly tan head sits 3 fingers over the beer, falling to a generous coating. Very pretty.

The nose is sweet and spicey. I get gingerbread and molasses with a slight figgyness. Not too bad.

Flavor is a little light for the OSA series. The molasses and ginger are there, but just a little subdued. Could be more in my face and strong. Still good.

The feel is the downfall of this beer. Its moderate, with a light to moderate carbonation. I want just a bit more body and a bit less carbonation. Its not bad, just leaves something to be desired.

All the things I find as short-comings actually make this beer a bit more drinkable. Its pretty smooth and the flavors are not offensive. These flavors have a fine balance between nice and too much. Overall, a nice brew.

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Our Special Ale 1999 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.