Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) - Anchor Brewing Company
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 271 | Reviews: 239 | Display Reviews Only:
1.78/5 rDev -53.9%
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.
12-24-2007 19:33:44 | More by tpd975
1.88/5 rDev -51.3%
Pours out to a clear very dark ruby, forming a meringue-like dark khaki head with very good retention and lacing. The aroma is hideous...absolutely tons of soap, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon, overpowering any aroma of what might be beer. There is a touch of smoke in there as well, which is the only appealing thing about the aroma. As it warms, vanilla becomes apparent. This reminds me of a Xmas beer I brewed (which I hated and all my friends loved), and since then I've never been fond of heavily spiced ales. Carbonation is moderate. Mouthfeel is oily and medium bodied. Surprisingly, the beer actually tastes less like spices and more like leather and tobacco. The bitterness level accents the leather, and detracts from the spices which is nice. There is a sharply pungent fusel-like bitterness, like unflavored snuff mixed with burning tires. Very odd. The finish is chemical, acrid spice. Fermented too warm, as there are abundant higher-alcohols which actually add a chemical bitterness that probably wasn't, nor should have been, intended. Perhaps not quite the sink-dumper as last years was, but still a sink-dumper. A really awful beer. Pass on it...it sucks.
11-14-2005 22:25:54 | More by Mitchster
2.17/5 rDev -43.8%
A dark brown color with hints of red, the head is a nice tan color and sustains very well. The first scent is of alot of spices from ginger and nutmeg, no hop or malt aromas are present. The taste the spices are pretty evident and then strangely enough some hop flavor comes in at the end. The taste is very unbalanced, the spices and the hops seem to counter one another. The mouthfeel is like a very thin syrup and a little oily, there is a tingle of carbonation at the end. This was very disappointing, the flavors just did not seem to fit together.
03-28-2006 07:43:30 | More by cameraman
2.33/5 rDev -39.6%
Poured a viscous half-used motor oil shade of brown with a 1/2" head that dissipated into a ring around the surface of the beer.
Smells of ginger, pine, some other unknown spices and a bit chemical.
Tasted a lackluster slightly sweet malt and then a cloying rush of raw ginger took over. Couldn't help but to think of someone taking ginger slices often served with sushi and grinding them into my beer. Right afterwards there was an unappetizing astringency that I couldn't pin down.
Looks heavier than it actually feels, I'd say its medium in body with latent carbonation that smooths it out.
Man, what a let down this was. I won't buy this one again, suffered through most of the bottle. Can't believe this is from the usually reliable Anchor.
12-12-2005 01:10:44 | More by ChiSox05
2.55/5 rDev -33.9%
Muddied blackened orange floating a sticky ecru mushroom.
Gingerbread and bread pudding nose, laid with fig jam, root vegetables, and cocoa powder.
Begins with a gingersnap maltiness that flees disjointedly towards sweeter things. Molasses draped sassafras, brown-sugared carob, orange paste, and date-heavy fruit cake. An astringency washes through midway, and is somewhat welcome, as it rids the mouth of the beginnings of cloy. Winds down with an uptick of ginger, and especially allspice, along with a notion of burnt potatoes, and concludes with a lazy impression spruce. Mentholated cherry preserves and singed gingersnap goop cling past the swallow.
The puffy body apes airiness up front, but soon gels into a coalgulated syrup, yet still maintaining a thin indistictness of structure. By the end of the first glass, I was working on finishing it, not enjoying it. Everything here seems to compete against itself.
The result is atonal and abrasive.
It should be noted that I've never been a big fan, and this year's will keep me off the bandwagon for another calendar year.
11-30-2005 05:56:47 | More by cokes
2.58/5 rDev -33.2%
Pours ruby black with red and brown edges and a nice head that slowly works itself down. Smells like nutmeg, cinnamon, and something I can only describe as buttery sweetness. Wish I knew what to put my finger on because it appears in the taste as well as the predominant flavor. Possibly ginger? Taste is underwhelming because of this predominant flavor, but is eased a bit by some toffee and a hint of hops in the finish. Cinnamon and nutmeg are also noted. Mouthfeel has a slight grittiness, but a drying one as if to leave unsweetened cocoa powder on the tongue. I feel like I need to brush my teeth to get this flavor out of my mouth. Don't think I'll be gettin this one again.
06-04-2006 01:06:42 | More by jwff
2.65/5 rDev -31.3%
A unique winter warmer from the Anchor Brewing Co. Poured out to a dark cherry color with a lively head of foam that calmed to about 1/4 inch. Aroma is very spicy - ginger, nutmeg, some plumb. Taste was too, ah, I don't know how to put it. To me it tasted like what I would imagine a Holly Bush to taste like. Maybe that is what they were going for. Very strong elements of green trees, some over sour cherries, some hops. Mouthfeel had substance to it, but not enought to make up for the odd and unappealing flavor. I probably wouldn't into another anytime soon...
12-26-2005 23:17:18 | More by Frozensoul327
2.68/5 rDev -30.6%
I remember the first time I had Anchor's O.S.A., and a friend telling me how it tasted like they used Worcestershire sauce in it. I couldn't really tell then, and I still can't tell now.
I'm sure this is supposed to be a pretty solid winter brew. But after drinking most of a six pack on 5 different occassions, I just cant help thinking that there is this "soapy" flavor/texture to the beer. It really turns me off.
I'm not picking up much of anything in the smell. That's probably more my fault, as I'm not exactly sure of what to look (smell) for.
The taste... like I said, there's this wierd texture & flavor that makes me think of soap. There's somewhat of an unpleasant aftertaste to this beer as well. Kind of sour, and it lingers.
After all is drank and done, I guess I have to say that there just doesnt seem like there's much depth to this beer. It reminds me of
Michelob Amber Bock in that it is dark, but dark without a whole lot of substance. The carbonation seems a bit high, and it is just not much of a pleasant drink. At $10 a six pack, I will not be having this again.
11-08-2005 02:21:11 | More by chOAKbarrell
2.68/5 rDev -30.6%
I was looking forward to this one since purchasing it last winter as a closeout. I drank one right away (I should have reviewed it looking back) and it was great. Nice and hoppy. Since this is supposed to age well, I thought, why not. Let me tell you why not.
Pours Dark brown with decent carbonation and a strange colored head- almost a hint of green(?) to it. Aroma was way too much juniper. I couldn't figure out what I hated about it until reading a few reviews after tasting and then it hit me. That's all I could smell and it was hard to get anything else but there were the usual dark fruits and other spices. The flavor didn't offer much more than the aroma. Too much juniper on the nose. The mouthfeel was nice though. Lighter than expected and lively carbonation. All-in-all, a dissapointment. Next time, I'll drink them fresh. Live and learn.
12-20-2006 13:58:54 | More by jj21
2.75/5 rDev -28.8%
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.
11-26-2009 02:52:18 | More by sweemzander
2.75/5 rDev -28.8%
Had this on my last trip to Max's in Fells Point. Usually, I get anxious to get this beer around this time of year as it has always been one of my favorites.
This year's version is a little darker than last year. A very deep reddish-brown with a slightly brownish head. The head stuck around until about mid-pint.
Smells okay. Somewhat roasted flavor. Minimal hop presence. Can definitely smell the usual holiday spices.
Taste was all malt. Not that this is bad but the complex and abundant flavors of roasted malt, hops, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. don't come through as in year's past.
Mouthfeel was terrible. Was this watered down? I seriously asked myself. Very thin and unusually high in carbonation.
Not very drinkable for the simple fact that it didn't taste that good. I couldn't wait to get through this to move onto something else.
Anchor has failed me for the first time, and hopefully, the last.
11-10-2005 16:54:25 | More by Terp96
2.83/5 rDev -26.7%
Pours brown with a hint of red. Huge, fluffy brown head.
Smell is chocolate, allspice, fennel. Very nice.
Very astringent flavor. Not infected sour, just harsh roasted barley sour. The spices are hidden beneath the astringency. Not my cup of tea. Leaves a harsh hop bitterness that has no malty back bone.
Thin, watery mouth, very little body. The appearance and smell of this beer scream "huge", but then there is nothing. A thin, lifeless beer, I'm not sure what to make of it.
11-29-2005 00:24:52 | More by nortmand
3/5 rDev -22.3%
Almost black in color with a tall tan head.
The aroma is of malts and spice, mostly cinnamon.
The flavor has many unique tones. There is a malty base that gives way to the spices. Cinnamon, many other spices and a slight coffee flavor are the ones that jump out at me. The hops are not very intense, yet remain noticeable throughout.
Mouth feel is light bodied and generously carbonated.
11-30-2005 03:00:17 | More by Naes
3.03/5 rDev -21.5%
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.
11-22-2009 16:53:49 | More by BeerFMAndy
3.05/5 rDev -21%
Stout brown bottle, a botanical drawing of Quercus agnifolia. Poured into a large brandy snifter. Dark brown color with shads of deep red, nice clarity. Poured with a three finger head which dissipated but some lacing.
The bouquet is sweet, crème caramel and over ripe strawberries. The flavor is also sweet; toffee carries through the start and middle with some coffee bitterness at the end. Not at all the complex spiced flavor that I was expecting; not particularly sophisticated.
Mouthful is a torch sandy. Almost the sensation of an agitated bottle conditioned beer without the sediment. Still, it leaves the mouth dry enough, but not parched, to both enjoy the space between sips and call for wetting the palate.
Note: I am hesitant about posting this review. This is a beer that I have enjoyed for several years. Some years are better than others but until this year none have disappointed.
12-02-2005 04:06:53 | More by Bcant
3.05/5 rDev -21%
Thanks to JackieTreehorn for bringing this over.
A - Dark brown body tan small dark head.
S - Fruity spicy aroma
T - Nutty, herbacious, a bit of choclate, low bitterness, not much maltiness. Not a real complext brew, nothing pronounced.
M - Medium to light body
D - This beer has no pizazz
12-25-2005 12:32:16 | More by Naerhu
3.1/5 rDev -19.7%
Bought at/Price: Woodman's / $8.79 6pack
Dennis: Last year we reviewed the 2004 version of the special brew from Anchor. And while I really wish I could say that the beer has proven to grow better with age, or more worth the price I just simply can't. The aroma is good, spicy and nutmeg'y...but everything else just disappoints. The body is flat and almost carbonation-less. The taste is just a bit of spices with a bitter twinge, and almost no follow-through. Over all it reminds me of coke that somebody shook up and made flat. It's a good beer, and over all worth having, but for the price they charge it's just not worth it.
Jen: Okay, this is a "special" brew that Anchor brewing does different every year. In my opinion, this one only slightly differs from last year. It has a a chalky, malty backbone, with very mild spices. I also get a slight taste of dry roasted coffee with a little toffee. This is not worth the $$, and I may have a hard time buying the '06 when it is released.
12-31-2005 19:05:14 | More by denjen
3.15/5 rDev -18.4%
This beer poured a nice, deep mahogony color. It had a creamy head that dwindled down to a ring around the glass. The smell is of cinnamon. It also has a fresh cut tree smell. The taste is spiced up a good bit. It has a lingering bite to it that distracts from the overall perception of the beer. The mouthfeel is affected by this as is the drinkability. But once a year in celebration of the season, I could go for this beer again. At $11.49 a sixer, I could only afford it once a year.
12-19-2005 00:23:12 | More by Enola
3.2/5 rDev -17.1%
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.
09-03-2009 20:09:29 | More by BigAl723
3.2/5 rDev -17.1%
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.
10-11-2010 02:34:16 | More by pants678
3.25/5 rDev -15.8%
The head is nice and big with thickness and a pretty hard to move lacing. The smell is perfume-like with flowery and sweet tones. It always reminds me of Christmas cookies. Taste is very dry and light with a little less flavor than when I had it over a year ago. Mouthfeel is very dry and a little harsh. Overall it was nice to try, but I wouldn't want to have it very much...occasionally.
01-06-2007 08:26:11 | More by Erdinger2003
3.25/5 rDev -15.8%
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.
11-02-2008 17:07:22 | More by jujubeast6000
Our Special Ale 2005 (Anchor Christmas Ale) from Anchor Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 271 ratings.