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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

40 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 40
Reviews: 31
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 21.29%
Wants: 0
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: SheepNutz on 01-02-2002)
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Ratings: 40 | Reviews: 31 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by matjack85:
Photo of matjack85


4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

02-12-2013 01:11:43 | More by matjack85
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03-11-2013 06:10:10 | More by spycow
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3/5  rDev -19.1%

02-08-2013 23:51:53 | More by Thunder
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2/5  rDev -46.1%

08-18-2012 14:21:19 | More by t0rin0
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1/5  rDev -73%

02-18-2012 17:25:15 | More by chrispoint
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3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

01-08-2012 21:51:17 | More by imperialking
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3/5  rDev -19.1%

12-05-2011 04:34:33 | More by HopStoopid120
Photo of woosterbill


3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Darkness glass. Thanks to my tasting group for sharing this piece of history.

A: Brown with clear ruby highlights; a thin, brief layer of tan head. Ok.

S: Spicy, piny, herbal and sherried. Smells like Christmas, so I guess that makes sense.

T: Nothing but spice and fruit. Cinnamon stands out pleasantly. Hugely dry, spicy finish. I kind of like it.

M: Light body, moderate carbonation. Not bad.

O: This one held up quite well, but wasn't a terribly tasty beer despite that. I did like it more than most at the tasting, but it was certainly a bit heavy on the mulling spices - a bit like liquid potpourri.


Serving type: bottle

11-29-2011 22:47:04 | More by woosterbill
Photo of JAHMUR


4/5  rDev +7.8%

11-27-2011 20:32:28 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of TMoney2591


2.83/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 08:29:45 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of womencantsail


2.33/5  rDev -37.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2010 21:35:44 | More by womencantsail
Photo of erosier


4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2008 14:11:15 | More by erosier
Photo of Vancer


4.72/5  rDev +27.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2007 00:16:46 | More by Vancer
Photo of stephendr


3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2006 00:24:47 | More by stephendr
Photo of scruffwhor


4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2006 20:30:34 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany pour with visible crimsom highlights with a thin but persistant khaki head that laces well.

Aroma is dark malts, chocolate, dried fruit, cherry?, with cinnamon, clove, and a hint of pine needle and orange peel.

Flavor is roasty malts, chocolate covered raisins, pine, candied orange peel, baking spices, and faint whisper of coffee, and piney hops in the finish.

Body is medium, very creamy and slick, and far more palatable than the older vintages I've tried. I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't much care for more than 6-7 years on a bottle of this.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2005 01:43:12 | More by AlexJ
Photo of DrunkMcDermott


3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2005 14:37:01 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of lackenhauser


4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 02:47:02 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of Zorro


4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2005 03:00:18 | More by Zorro
Photo of RedwoodGeorge


3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours into the chalice a chunky molasses black with a smallish lumpy tan head. The foam dies off a bit but leaves a chunky layer on the top and a lot of lacing on the glass itself.

The smell is more than a bit fruity - notes of figs and raisins, quite a strong prune note and lots of holiday spice. Some smoky notes to go along with the nutmeg and ginger (oddly, no cinnamon or it's quite muted) Flavor follows the nose but there's quite a noticeable vanilla tone - though it's quite soft in texture. Spices are present but rather 'round' - soft instead of sharp as with a younger OSA. Malty and plenty of treacle both in sweetness and a lingering molassess flavor.

Mouthfeel is a bit heavy and undercarbonated but likely true to style. Oily residue on the palate and no real bittering as a finish makes this a bit cloying...

Still drinkable after five years but not something I'd have outside of the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2005 03:49:14 | More by RedwoodGeorge
Photo of clvand0


3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2005 02:26:46 | More by clvand0
Photo of dwvarner77


3.98/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2005 02:14:46 | More by dwvarner77
Photo of kmpitz2


4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2005 02:08:28 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque mahogany with generous reddish caramel highlights. This version looks quite a bit darker than the other OSAs that I've had. The two finger cap of golden beige is tight-bubbled, but isn't sticky enough to grace the glass with more than scant lace.

The nose is more cocoa-like than I remember, although no more powerful overall. It's a little buttery and is also a little musty, as if the years haven't been overly kind. The spices are weaker than I would like and are only appreciated with olfactory concentration. Mine, not the beer's.

It's hard to compare the different iterations of the OSA formula without side by side sampling, but I'll do my best. I still feel that these beers are relatively weak as winter warmers go, but again, I can't tell if this is close to the way it tasted back in '99 or if it has deteriorated during its long sleep. I still maintain that Our Special Ales aren't wonderful beers for aging, despite the fact that prominently displaying the year of creation makes such a thing tempting.

The flavor profile consists of weakly roasted malt with chocolate/carob notes and a little coffee nip on the finish. While spices are present, they feel flat rather than lively on the palate. As alluded to above, the body/mouthfeel is on the thin side, especially given the winter warmer style.

My quest to taste all of the OSAs between 1998 and the present has brought me to this, the 25th Anniversary version of this holiday favorite. I still find it to be no better than slightly above average beer. I'm not sure how much Anchor changes the recipe from year to year, but they've yet to hit on a formula that pushes my buttons. I will persevere though. Next up, OSA circa 2000.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2005 15:18:57 | More by BuckeyeNation
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Our Special Ale 1999 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.