Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

273 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 273
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 1
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 11-04-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (26) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 273 | Reviews: 239
Photo of mfnmbvp
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with a more than obvious vintage date, and a code on the label 5OU. I'm cracking open a little piece of history here today, in the spirit of the Christmas season. Anchor Brewing Co.'s Christmas ale, vintage 2005. This bottle is eight years old this year, making this the oldest beer I've ever drank. I have no idea what to expect.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a thick viscous ruddy caramel color; nearly opaque in the glass with some caramel coloring around the edges when held to the light. Conjures about a quarter finger of light brown foam. Forms a ring of bubbles around the glass. Produces a nice thick finger of mocha foam when given a good swirl. Looks excellent.

S - Smell is of sweet caramel malt, earthy tea leaves, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits - raisins, black cherries, currants, figs, hint of faded herbal spice, vanilla, and some woody earth character.

T - Taste follows the nose: smooth creamy caramel, toffee, notes of chocolate / cocoa, earthy tea leaves, wood, twigs, some vanilla, some vinous grape / cherry / berry notes, and some raisin / fig presence.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy, but still retains a bit of crisp carbonation to it, even after all this time. Light-bodied, and slightly watery. Some dark chocolatey roast notes lingering on the palate.

Overall, I'd say this was an excellent winter warmer that has thoroughly stood the test of time well. Definitely excites me to try out the other vintages to see what they hold. Definitely worth seeking out.

Anchor Brewing Our Special Ale 2005 ---4/5.

Photo of adrock7309
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired a bottle from Blue Max in Burnsville. Not much of a pop when i opened and feared it was flat but when i poured into a snifter, it created a 1 inch head of off white foam atop a dark burgandy body. Head dissapated rather quickl.

Aroma of werthers toffee and some faint hops.

Flavors present were dark caramel, some light vineous notes and a bit of gingerbread-esque spice. No much of a yeast profile.

Overall a very top notch beer that has aged very well.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

The Seventh Day of Beermas... It pours a murky black-brown topped by a half-finger of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises raisins, red grapes, brown sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg, and slightly musty cocoa. The taste is dominated by a somewhat odd meatloaf sorta combination of gingerbread and pumpernickel, which is backed up by raisins, figs, red grapes, and the syrup from a can of mandarin oranges. As odd as it all sounds together, it wasn't quite as bad as the previous vintages have been. The body is a hefty-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda thick feel. Overall, another step in the right direction, though the spices come across a tad strangely. I'm now actually looking forward to the next few years.

Photo of pants678
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a magnum at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica, black from what I could tell. Dim bar lighting didn't help.

Smells of cinnamon and ginger, little bit of pine.

The base is a combination of raisin and spearmint, there's a citrusy edge to it as well, ginger and nutmeg spice up the coffee flavor. Pine is not nearly as persistent as in their more recent years and the alcohol sticks out, riding the plum/prune taste. At times it is simply sour and a better hop-presence would have helped.

I think this one went a little too long, it thinned out and the deep flavors can be overpowering. Needs a stronger cola-esque feel to sort things out.

Photo of fropones
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted 2/2010

A - Nearly black with brown at the edges and khaki head.

S - A bit autolysed, some ginger, baker's chocolate.

T - Somewhat sweet, anise/licorice, giner, and molasses.

M - Pretty thin, killed by age. Half decent carbonation.

D - Drinks well enough for a 5 year old 6% beer.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from the cellar. Uncapped and poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. OSA appears a deep chestnut brown color , almost opaque, with about a finger of light ecru foam. Flavors and aromas consist of birch syrup, root beer, molasses, bitter cocoa powder, mocha, some coffee, raisins, medium roasted grains, dark bread, slightly sour. Body is a bit thin at this point, but the carbonation has held up very well. Not sure if this would benefit with any more time in the cellar.

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Bruery snifter glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades down to a thin layer. Leaves slightly splattered lace. Color is a dark ruby hued dark chocolate.

Aroma: Lots of spice notes, caramel, malt, molasses, chocolate, nutmeg, and even some pumpkin.

Taste: More spices, big caramel and molasses flavors. This beer has a big malty taste to it; not a lot of hops. Lots of cocoa and raspberries. Pretty solid.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and legit. Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends slightly dry and spiced.

Overall, a pretty solid beer. It definitely help up for being over 4 years old. I am glad I got to try this one. Pretty drinkable as well.

Photo of pmccallum86
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark mahogany root beer color with very little head, due to the age I'm sure.

Smell is very complex, tons of aromas exude from the glass. Some spice, big malts, pumpkin and maybe a little root beer.

Taste is very complex, similar to the smell. A little watery flavor underneath topped with A LOT of meshed up flavors. Nutmeg, molasses, maple and maybe some random fruit stuff.

Mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing. Light carbonation, very pleasant.

Very solid beer, I like it.

Photo of sweemzander
2.78/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a stemmed glass. No bottled date, but its the '05 vintage.

(A)- Pours a thick dark brown color that is totally opaque. Produced a thick tan to brown head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Potent burnt raisin bread & a slightly sour cherry/soy sauce; almost salty finish/ Fig-like, but in a funky way. Overly flat, sour cola like aromas. Bits of brown sugar.

(T)- Very thin; the age definitely has diminished the potency & richness of what this would be fresh. Very bread-like with roasted raisins that turn into a sour coffee thing. The taste definitely has diminished.

(M)- Good to see it still has good carbonation, but the feel of the beer just seems thin & watery at this stage.

(D)- Surprisingly kinda drinkable, but funky & watery. This much age definitely was too much, however, I am glad I was able to try it anyways. Not awful though.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale stemmed glass. 2005 Vintage.

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing this beer!

A - Dark ruby amber, mostly black looking, with a low tan head. Low retention to the loose bubbles but left a big ring and a thin blanket. Bits of lacing stuck to the glass.

S - Very potent aroma on the pour. A bit of soy sauce mixes in with a deep malty bread nose and a dark fruit blend of raising and plum with molasses. Very funky. Not too appetizing but definitely intriguing.

T - For as potent as the aroma is, the taste is very thin. A roasted raisin bread flavor that comes and goes pretty quickly. A sharp but short burst of soy sauce is there too. Its just too plain.

M - Smooth with a dry bitter finish. Low carbonation aids in its drinkability a bit. Thin feeling too.

D - Really not bad for a 2005 bottle, but it's definitely not a beer to be aged. The aroma is potent and funky while the flavor is just lacking. Just not good this far out.

Photo of BigAl723
3.21/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I purchased this from the late great Bello Vino in Ann Arbor three years ago. I figured a 75 degree September afternoon would the perfect time to crack it open.

A: Ruby red and dark. This beer is a lot darker than I thought it would be. It also had a fairly dark/tan head. Only about a half inch thick.

S: Lemons and alcohol. A little carmel seeps through as well. I think the time it has had to age lets the alcohol out big time. It smells like pure alcohol.

T: Okay, the taste helps out the smell big time. Orange, lemon zest, cocoa, and nutmeg. Spicy too, like a winter warmer should taste. Slightly malty and complex.

M: Very light in the mouth. Light carbonation also.

D: Like I mentioned earlier, I think because it sat for so long the alcohol is very pungent. It takes away from the drinkability slightly but not too much. I'm not a big fan of winter warmers so IMO it's so-so.

Overall, a decent brew. I probably could have drank this three years ago but I never did. Not sure why either.

Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle courtesy of SQNfan.

A: The ale is amply carbonated, offering up 3 plus fingers of white head that slowly dissapate, leaving nothing in the wake. The ale is a dark red color, highlighted with crimson.

S: The aroma is very pungent, heavily spiced with nutmeg and orange peel. A hint of mint clears out the nostrils. Very heady and deep, could be spiced and mulled even.

T: Initially complex, the flavor quickly drops off leaving a mildly spiced dark ale. The nutmeg and orange hit the right notes, fully strong. They are a flash in the pan, quickly disappearing with only a mild nutmeg left behind. Dark malts try to fill the void, offering chocolate and coffee. The more I sip, the fuller it becomes. The big problem is the drop-off from spice to malts, it is too drastic and sudden without a decent buffer. The finish is nutmeg and mild hops.

M: The mouthfeel is complex, spicy and malty and mildly hoppy. The nutmeg upfront and wall of spice in the finish stand out.

D: The alcohol is mild, assisting the ale. The flavor profile is strong at times, a minus that balances things out.

Photo of beertunes
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. Poured a bright deep amber color with a light tan head that left more sticky lacing than expected for a 3 year old. A lovely aroma that has a solid but not sweet malt foundation topped with just enough spice and hops. The taste is just wonderful. The time has let all the flavors meld together, while keeping their personalities visible. Nicely drinkable, I could have 3 or 4 of these in a row. I feel this beer is probably at or near peak. Much more time and the flavors may start to lose their independence. Highly recommended.

Photo of champ103
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby brown color. A two finger beige head forms and leaves some sticky lace.
S: Of rich, dark roasted malt. A dark roasted coffee flavor and chocolate. Some dark fruits. A hint of spices and peppermint. Three years has been great to this beer.
T: This has a wonderful roasted malt, chocolate and coffee flavor. A light twang of hops. Spice, peppermint, and pine flavors are very light. Very porter like IMO.
M/D A medium to full body. A light crisp snap of carbonation, and a good creaminess follows. This is easy and smooth to put away.

I had this recently at the Gingerman in Houston. They had a vertical of the 05, 07, and 08 Our Special Ale's. This is without a bought the best of the three. The spicy peppermint flavor has really taken a back seat here. Instead of being up front and center, it is a nice compliment to the other roasted malt flavors.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black color with a huge frothy light brown head that lasted with excellent lacing. Good complex sweet spicy aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Good bittersweet spicy flavor with a medium commplex bittersweet finish of average duration.

Complex good brew.

Photo of nick76
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was looking forward to this one and I was not disappointed. The aroma has spruce, lemon, rosemary, nutmeg, licorice, and toasted malt. The appearance is dark red brown (almost black) with a small foamy head. The flavor is as complex as the aroma. The caramel malt is mixed well with fruit, licorice, pine, spices, and a pepper like finish with a hint of coffee. A great beer.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/19/2005 (12oz bottle):

Pours a very dark black-brown color, large head, tan in color, good lacing around the edges. Roasted aroma with malts, chocolate, flowers, slight hops. Flavor of malts, sweet, light alcohol, spices, slight bitterness, good carbonation, slightly tannic. Cellaring might do this one good.

Photo of gkatsoris
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very, very black; no light shines thru. The head is beautiful. Thick, very light tan head. The head lasted for about 3 - 4 minutes.

S: Delicious. Cherries, cinnamon, allspice, clove. Fresh bread. And raisins. This smells so yummy.

D: Very malty. Lots of bread. And it finishes with spices (clove, cinnamon) and coffee. This is pretty complex comparing it to the aroma. I tasted the cherries and raisins way way after.

M: Very thick and chewy. Little carbonation. Very nice.

D: Very nice.

Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice rich chocolate color with a tan head. The nose has some bready candy malts with a collection of christmas spices. Taste was a little bland for the style and compared to other vintages. The body is smooth and a little fizzy, but drinks well. A good beer but this year was more similar to a dark english mild in my opinion.

Photo of mnapier
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed, 01132008. Service Temperature 40 degrees. Service Glassware, 12 ounce Tulip.

Appearance is on the level of dark and with little or no light throughout. The foamy head is salt and pepper with a modest fine hair of lace left behind. The aroma, a little bit of oak with some brown sugar, mild cinnamon, and mild cloves, waft across my nose. As I sip the dark fluid across my tongue, I detect mild spices; such as cinnamon, all spice; along with some biscuit & a medium hop back end.
Overall mouthfeel still remains heavy, and my feeling is that this has at least another year in it. Cheers

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer twice over the last couple of months. The first time in Chicago, the second time in Atlanta compliments of Ding- thanks so much for the opportunity! In a vertical tasting of the 2003-2007, I thought the 2004 was the best,but in a different tasting of the 2004-2007 I liked the 2005 best. Oh well,cellaring can be fickle.In any case this review is based on my first tasting in Chicago, where this year was the winner.

Pours dark brown with a nice caramel tinged head that settles to a thin cap. Aromas of spice and caramel, gingerbread, and that beautiful spruce note that I love so much. Tastes nicely of spruce as well as mint, Moravian spice cookies, and orange peel. Mouthfeel is soft and a little sweet, with a slight bite of tannins on the finish. What a great beer!

Photo of tpd975
1.84/5  rDev -52.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a nice dark cola color with very little head.

S: Very pungent aromas. Smoke and pine right out front. A touch of vanilla along with cherry and apple. Over ripe raisons really linger with touches of rum. Unique aromas but a little too much for me.

T: Pretty complex. Dark fruits kissed with brandy and gin. Vanilla and a very deep dark malty taste.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

D: Not really. Not a favorite of mine

Just too much going on here. I can't get past the aroma on this one. It is not pleasing as I raise it to the mouth. The taste is just a mix of several things that don't really mesh together. Not one I will revisit.

Photo of Gehrig
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another tasty version of Anchor's OSA, 2005 does not disappoint. I've had this cellaring for a few weeks and decided to rest my sore back with a good Winter Warmer. This does not disappoint. The appearance is first-rate, with two fingers of dark mocha froth resting atop a black body with brownish tint. The smell is typically curious--some roasted caramel and honey, mixed with cedar and a good deal of fruit. I detect grape, orange, and cherry. The taste is no less impressive, with the fruit most pronounced, but the roasted bite isn't far behind.

This is eminently drinkable, and should serve me well as I finish it by the fireplace taking about animals with my son. Cheers!

Photo of pmcadamis
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is my first review under the new scoring system (which I don't like), and I'm curious to see what letter grade this gets when I finish my review.

A - A massive three finger head of milk-chocolate colored foam rises above a black brew that shows some dark brown highlights. The creamy, dense head shows outstanding retention, and leaves a copious amount of lace on the glass.

S - From far away, I smell bourbon and oak. Putting my nose to the glass, I pick up more chocolate and thick honey, but the bourbon is still there too. I also smell some cedar chip woodiness and some dark bakery stuff....like dark bran muffins. There are some marshmallow notes there too. Outstandingly complex.

T - Tangy mesquite smoke hits me right of the bat, and is surprising given the more sweet and rounded nose. The flavor is definitely rustic and woodsy with loads of cedar and oak in addition to some salty soy sauce and charred hot dog flavors. This is one complex brew indeed! I'm picking up a shitload of crazy flavors that just keep developing with each sip.

M - Full bodied and lushly carbonated with a very dry and woody finish that feels like putting wood chips in my mouth. Despite the dryness, there is a very oily texture to this beer...almost waxy.

D - While this is very complex and intriguing, I don't think this has any real session potential. This is a damn fine brew, but it's too odd to be very drinkable.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A two year old sample...

An opaque brown with a creamy tan head. Sheeting lace on the glass. A quite piney smell under which is the aroma of rich roasty malt

The flavor is of roasty malt and lots of piney bitterness. Lightly sticky in the mouth with that piney taste all over the finish.
Lots more pine taste and a lot less spice than the 2006 recipe. Good stuff.

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Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 273 ratings.