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

Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

269 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 269
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%

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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: maxpower on 11-04-2005)
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Ratings: 269 | Reviews: 239 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 OSA - Sampled Fresh

Presentation: Oh so familiar short fat squat clean lined 12 fluid ounce heavily seamed Anchor bottle. The OSA format is, as always, maintained to perfection. The cream colored label has red writing and a green picture of a "Quercus Agrifolia" (Coast Live Oak) as the chosen foliage for the 2005 label.

Appearance: Served, for once, in the right glassware (I happened to snap up a 2005 straight sided gold rimmed Pint Glass) the body has a glazed but clear dark mahogany with ruby flashes. Thick and creamy tan colored head seems to have excellent retention in the Anchor OSA2005 Pint Glass for some reason, does it know it’s in the proper glass maybe!? Average carbonation, but a generally a very good presentation.

Nose: Spicy as always but a heady gingery tingle fingers the testicles of the malty middle and Brandy Snap ending. Thermal gradients reveal chocolate, oak and warm freshly baked Gingerbread soaked and covered in a melting home made Vanilla Ice-Cream. Damn good.

Taste: Hints of currants and warm Parkin (a Yorkshire delicacy made with Oatmeal and Treacle) fill the mouth. The middle has a feel so reminiscent of Lyles Golden Syrup, which adds a rich depth to this years treat. Dark malts are nicely hidden. Feels so English at times,

Mouthfeel: The head never disappeared, neither did the carbonation. Aerated like a freshly baked soft Gingerbread Man, yet as soft as melting Vanilla Ice Cream it has it all. Spicy and enthralling.

Drinkability: Almost cracked another one straight from my Six-Pack, I loved it.

Overall: My favorite, at least of the OSA’s that I have tried whilst residing in the USA since 2001, has always remained the 2002. Yet, unlike others, I actually took to the OSA2005 quickly and enjoyed the 2005 straight off the bat….

…you know I always tried to explain to myself why I love OSA so much, and strangely enough, for a brew from one of, if not the, first American Craft Brewers, I think it is because it has a very English Dickensian Christmas feel to it; my fellow Limeys that love Lyle’s Black Treacle and Golden Syrup, McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger Cake and English Brandy Snaps will know exactly what I mean. This is a winner, not as good as the 2002 but a close second; I will not be missing the opportunity to get a Magnum of this one if I can.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2005 08:13:55 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of edchef1850

New York

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thouroughly enjoyed this years offering from Anchor, a wonderful aroma waftsd up to my nose as i stare into the glass , a guy sitting next to me comparing it to used motor oil, a pretty accurate parallel but oh so misleading. Nice spice in the mouth subtle but real, i dont get a lot of hop in this brew but its not a malt bomb either. its a really drinkable beer, i could drink it all night long no problem. A great beer for a cold december night sitting in a bar with friends enjoying the holidays.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2005 02:31:00 | More by edchef1850
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark dark brown body with a tan head that leaves splasy lacing all over the place

Smell: Gingerbread, dark chocolate, prunes and nutmeg

Taste: Starts out with a dark fruity, spicy (ginger and nutmeg) compote; mid-palate, some bitterness kicks in along with a molasses bent; the overall effect is a subtle blend of dark chocolate and licorice

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This is a great vintage year for Anchor; it really comes together for me

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2006 01:06:15 | More by brentk56
Photo of KarlHungus


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a solid opaque black color. The head is two-fingers high, creamy, tan and has good aretention. The aroma is of malt, ginger and other spices, and is rather strong. The taste is identical to the aroma. The mouthfeel is creamy and medium-full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a superb winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 22:51:46 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of hero27


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby bottle. I always look forward to the Christmas Ale from Anchor..

Pours a very dark auburn. Tan head that holds quite well but a little too oily too leave much for lacing. Smell is always heavenly...big chocolate aroma with a piney hop presence that smells just like Christmas tree needles. Taste seems more "piney" than last year..less gingerbread noticed..also seems less bready in general..more astringent. Some spices mixed in also, leaving a cinnamon & ginger aftertaste mixed with the dark chocolate flavors. You really do need to let this baby warm up to you to let the flavor come out. I pour this and let it sit for 10 minutes before taking the first sip. It's very complex for a beer only a tad over 5% alcohol, but the flavors are masked under 45-50 degrees. Overall, not quite as good as last years (in my opinion), but I'll sit a few bottles down for a year or two to compare. Still a great, highly unique seasonal from Anchor.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2005 00:01:20 | More by hero27


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - 1/4" tan, creamy head. Hangs around nicely until it finally falls to a spotted cap. Dark brown - porter like in appearance. Great sheet of lace.

S - Spice cake. Cinamon. Orange. Ginger. Nutmeg. Clove. Rich.

T - Malt. Sweet. Spices. Ginger. Clove. Molasses cookie.

M - Full, creamy mouthfeel.

D - Very, very nice.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2006 02:57:05 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of murrayswine


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is some damn fine beer!

Poured a lot darker than I thought it would, a blood ruby with brown murk. Very good head retention.
The smell is subtle candy sweetness, light, airy malts, and a slight English style hop sense, I smell Fuggle, though I have no idea what the hops really are.
The taste is slightly tart at first, like a dubbel. Sweet with yeast. low dark fruits and a slight nutty toffee finish round this beer out.
Damn fine brew!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 06:46:35 | More by murrayswine
Photo of jameaterblues

New York

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first Anchor OSA that I have ever had. It was also the first spiced beer that did not overwhelm me. A friend's father sent it to me when they came to visit....I really wish I had a whole six pack.

The color of the beer was a dark brown/blackish tint...with a head that remained me of the anchor porter. This beer was much darker than I expected it to be, but that ended up being a good thing.

The smell was nice and roasty...the malt was very much prevalent, and the spicing really did remind me of the holidays....even though I was trying to be done with them.

Taste also remained me of a porter, but not quite as heavy. It had a nice cinnamon and spice flavor in the body and the finish. It was very nice medium to heavy body, and was slightly heavy on the stomach.

Drinkability: I really wished that I had more of this beer, especially to save for next year. If you can still find it I highly recommend giving it a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2006 16:36:26 | More by jameaterblues
Photo of nvsblman


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed as part of vertical tasting including '03, '04, and '05 versions in Jan 2005.

Nearly opaque dark brown with about a finger of slightly brown head. Brown sugar, pine, coffee, and spices in the aroma. A little more aromatic than the older versions. The flavors already seem to be blending well with this one! Roasty malts, caramel, and spruce with some nice cinnamon and nutmeg notes. Meduim bodied and well carbonated. This is already drinking so well I'm not sure that there's much room to improve this with age.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2006 20:04:38 | More by nvsblman
Photo of ProfessorHops


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark with a beige head. Nothing deceptive or over eccentric about the look.

Smell- sweet, sassy, with elements of cedar.

Taste- excellent. Most seasonal X-mas brews are just a cheesy version of their regular brew, with some cinnamon added. But this one is different. Anchor went out to achieve something new with this brew, and I commend them on it. Plus they added some of the cheesy spices as well.

Mouthfeel- moderately light.

Drinkability- not as easy as it could be. But keep in mind it's a winter warmer, not a winter quencher.

One of the finniest X-mas beers I've ever had. The 31st Christmas recipe by Anchor, they change it every year. I hope next year's is as good as this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2006 15:41:31 | More by ProfessorHops
Photo of mnapier


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 03:18:35 | More by mnapier
Photo of champ103


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2008 03:42:49 | More by champ103
Photo of EPseja

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one from both a 12oz bottle as well as a magnum (which I prefer), so this review is a concatenation of both experiences.

Served in a pint glass at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours a clear, deep chestnut color, spawning a creamy medium tan head that rises to a respectable two fingers. The head remains for quite some time, setting its hooks into the side of the glass as a base for some beautiful lacing. A fine looking brew indeed.

S - Ah, there's that good old OSA smell... for some reason, even though each year's batch is different, there is still that common Anchor smell -- clean, crisp, and wintery. Warm, roasted malts with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, offset by a blanket of piney hoppiness. Hints of vinous alcohol are also present, but in amounts small enough to keep it from being a detractor. This beer smells delicious and inviting like a warm fire on a chilly night.

T - The first thing in the mouth is a fire-ember smokiness that belies a rauchbier tone. This is quickly supplanted by a full-bodied but clean maltiness. The swallow brings out notes of dark, dried fruit and finishes up with a great hoppy dryness that rounds out the flavors. This is one tasty brew.

M - Fairly active carbonation that leads to a tinge of over-sudsing in the mouth. However, this beer remains creamy and smooth despite that one shortcoming.

D - Happy New Year! Now pick a good winter beer and stick with it for the rest of the evening. No problems. I've got my Anchor OSA right here and I intend to savor it all night long. Unless of course you'd like a sip... in which case I'd be glad to spread the word like a good BA.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 01:46:18 | More by EPseja
Photo of PatYoda


4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. This leaves a great 2 finger cream colored head that takes forever to go away and leaves some solid lacing. Smell is very unique - I get some spices, maybe some cinnamon, definitely some bready malt, and a toffee aroma.

The taste imparts a strong toffee flavor onto the palate which lingers for a loooong time in the finish. Along with that is the cinnamon and other spices also found in the smell, and a vinous, dark fruity flavor. I also get some herbal hops in the finish. I love it!

The mouthfeel is plenty full enough that it complements the brew nicely and adds some serious smoothness. The drinkability here is only hindered by the herbal flavor and the toffee which never seem to leave the palate.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2006 23:15:46 | More by PatYoda
Photo of taez555


4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a dark black body with a very small off-white head.

Taste was medium to full bodied. A very light carbonation. Tastes are an amazing mixture of licorice, soft cocoa powder, milk chocolate, coffee and very subtle spices. There's a nice even but not overpowering bitterness. It's almost reminisant of a dobel bock in the big malt character, but it's clearly an ale. Hops are present and give it a nice balance of earth to to the malt.

Wow!! This is one great beer. Not overly hoppy or bitter, with just enough malt to make it oh so tasty. The perfect beer to sit and drink while taking in the relatives over the holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2005 00:00:22 | More by taez555
Photo of kmpitz2


4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rubyied color, bordering on brown, with a finger of head that falls to a very light full coat over top. The nose is apparent without really sticking my nose in it. There are big gingerbread notes. Good thick molasses with a piney undertone that really smells nice. I also get nutmeg and allspice. Flavor is more caramel sweet and chocolatey and less thick than the nose would imply. Spices are also more subdued. The most subdued version of this beer that I can recall. Feel is a very full moderate with a moderate carbonation as well. Drinkability is good here. The caramel and chocolate are nice and full with the other flavors playing in the background. I dig it.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2006 02:00:45 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a viscous ink black with a nice tan head that recedes fairly quickly. The aroma starts off with gingerbread, followed by some molasses, nutmeg, cinammon, vanilla, oak, chocolate and christmas tree pine. The flavor doesnt stray much from past years, with big gingerbread notes, molasses, vanilla, oak nutmeg, cinammon, pine tree, dark fruits (plum, fig, grape), chocolate and some light floral and piney hop notes. Mouthfeel is rich and smooth with medium body and light carbonation and drinkability is quite good. Another nice edition of OSA, a favorite winter seasonal of mine, very christmas-ey and quite tasty

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2005 03:20:10 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of plaztikjezuz


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep dark brown with a little off white head.
the smell of an unidentifed spice is present, carmel, slight hopsack.
the flavor is very rich and malty the spice maybe nutmeg?? slight hop flavor.
the enjoyed this beer i have had itin the past and it seems not as spiced this year.
beer is very drinkable over a winter fire.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2005 05:11:30 | More by plaztikjezuz
Photo of woodychandler


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured with a huge, deep-tan/light-brown head above a very dark colored liquid that was deep-brown with garnet undertones. The nose was spicy, like a mix of pine and nutmeg. Yow! The mouthfeel was thick and full, with a cinnamon-like spiciness on the tongue. As it warmed, it took on a chocolaty-fudgy aspect both in taste and mouthfeel. It left behind one of the most really sticky Belgian laces that I have seen in a long time.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2006 18:22:05 | More by woodychandler
Photo of goochpunch


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an absolute pitch black with a mountainous cafe au lait head that forms peaks and valleys and leaves some strung out lacing. Nose is a mix of roasted malt, rye bread, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, dark chocolate, molasses and butter cookies. Taste is composed of dark roast malts, marbled rye, and cane syrup with an undiscernable and subdued spice presence than in the nose. Finishes with a slight lactic twang, hop bitterness, mild citrus hops, and lingering chocolate and coffee flavors. Mouthfeel is really to thin and a little too bubbly for this. Not watery, just not all I think it could or should be. Goes down really fast, but this would be a lot more drinkable if it were more substantial. Wish I would've gotten this fresh almost a year ago.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2006 04:57:19 | More by goochpunch
Photo of loving44


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours creamy and inviting. Dark ruby almost black with an inch or so of bubbly tan head.

This brew smells absolutely delicious. The first thing that came to my mind was fresh gingerbread cookies… ginger, cinnamon, and sugary molasses sweetness. A very soothing aroma that just screams Christmas!

As I sipped this brew I again was bombarded by the gingerbread flavor. A nice balance of spice and sweetness with tight carbonation. It leaves your tongue feeling tingly from the spice and the hops are very well balanced with little bitterness. Although very tasty now, I think it would benefit from some aging to mellow the flavors a bit.

This beer has a very nice creamy syrupy thick mouth feel and is rather light on the tongue due to the tight but persistent carbonation.

I could probably drink these all night but this beer is such a special treat it really needs to be savored slowly and with care... I'm going to age a few bottles for sure!!

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 02:05:56 | More by loving44
Photo of malty


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cola colored liquid with a healthy 1" beige head.

Lovely aroma of figs, coffee, licorice, lavender, pinesap, chocolate & mint. The dark roasted malts smell so very FRESH, almost as if they were right there damp in the palm of your hands.

The flavors are slight variations of the aroma, but still very similar. I definitely get the coffee & chocolate notes mixed with the piney hops flavors also. There's also a hint of jasmine hidden way in the back.

Mouthfeel is a little softer and lighter than previous years, but that's a good thing IMHO. Medium bodied with a velvety soft feel thanks to the ultra fine carbonation coming in at just the right level. A somewhat dry and chalky (long and flavorful) finish.

Drinkability is very nice. Again, since this year's version is a bit lighter in body and the flavor profile is 'simpler', I sure can see me putting a few of these babies to bed before putting myself to bed. An excellent choice on this Christmas morning.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2005 16:49:46 | More by malty
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Glowing transparent burgundy with a fluffy beige head. Aromas of cloves, cinnamon, and orange pulp, maybe allspice, too. Cloves predominate and lend this beer one of it's most unique and fascinating characteristics. The aforementioned "holiday" spices emerge in the taste (yet again, cloves are the strongest and most recognizable flavor), but an orange-lime juice acidity emerges as well. Initially airy and light, the mouthfeel follows through as primarily juicy. Medium-thin body. Not as roasty, malty, or heavy-bodied as other winter seasonals, but Anchor's offering is always interesting, and at best quite intriguing and tasty. I'm looking forward to next xmas already.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 17:37:28 | More by orfeu
Photo of Suds


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful, deep, dark brown color with a touch of red. The head is small, but thick and creamy. Nice aroma: sugar, spice, a little fruit. Molasses and sugar. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Orange zest and ginger. There’s a lot of spice flavor, but it’s well-layered on top of a distinct malt aroma. There’s not much in the way of hops in the smell. The taste not very sweet, but the flavor of malt and spice come out strong. Nice dryness contributes to the mouthfeel, which is full and satisfying. Very good winter ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 11:01:12 | More by Suds
Photo of NoLiberty


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from one of nicest bottle presentations on the market; short and stout with a classic label design.
In the glass it's color of a good porter with softer amber edges and mocha head that subsides into a low but persistant cover and long lacing.
Aroma is nice. Caramel apple and roasted malt; fairly sweet with an apple-fresh crispness. The nose is subtle but fulfills the flavor.
Taste is initially tart followed by a strong chocolate malt middle with tones of caramel apple - right where the sweetness lives. Finishes out clean, crisp and lightly sour for the overall richness of the beer. The beer is surprisingly sprite and has a zesty blend of matched flavors.
The body is filling and carries the beer throughout the mouth and continues during each drink.It's not coating, but enhancing.
Definitely awaiting next year!

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2006 18:51:33 | More by NoLiberty
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 269 ratings.